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Getting the Garden Ready: Our Crazy Spring

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We live near the Genesee river and we have a very high water table and are prone to drainage problems due to the heavy silt soils.

A huge puddle in the back yard, muddy foot prints throughout the house, and running the sump to keep the basement dry, is expected when snow melt and spring rains team up.

However, this year we got lucky. It’s not that we didn’t have any of those joyful events, but they were short lived and it gave us a head start getting the garden ready.

A few weeks ago I mucked out the chicken coop and got all the dirty litter on the garden and tilled in. Since it’s not composted it’s going to need as much time as I can give it. First, the nitrogen content is probably off the charts and would burn the roots/kill the plants. Second is the possibility of pathogens.

From the time the manure was added, I’ll be looking at 2.5 – 3 months before I begin planting the garden and about 5 before I begin harvesting. My estimate is that this should be enough time for everything to mellow out.

As far as the pathogens are concerned, we’re also going to try the Stout system in the garden. I’m hoping the thick layer of mulch will also provide a barrier between the soil and the veggies. By preventing the soil from coming in contact with the food from simple things, like splashing, we should be ahead of the game.

The Stout system originally caught my eye as a way to prevent weeds. With a home business, the family, volunteer hours and everything else that comes up, we’re usually not that good at keeping up with the weeds.

Based on the estimate of 2 pounds per square foot in Mother’s article, we ended up with 10, 60 pound bales that I broke up and placed on the garden. As you can see in the photo (click to enlarge) I just grabbed a flake from the bale and flopped it down. I’ll break them up more as I begin to pull and make holes for the plants, but for now, they’re fine.

My hope is that I’ll be able to keep you updated on the garden’s progress throughout the season, and give progress reports on the stout system and other observations.

~Karlie

Written by Karlie

April 2nd, 2010 at 8:45 am

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