Winter is over and it is time to start thinking about how to prep the garden for the next growing season. Springtime and warmer weather means more work and lots of fresh air. Wether you have a small garden or large gardens, like we do, you will have to complete some sort of prep work to get your ground ready before you plant.
We have 3 kitchen gardens. One is 3ft x 20ft, the other is 20ft x 40ft and the third is 20ft x 30ft. Our market gardens are about 30ft x 60ft I would say and there is 3 of them.
Whether you have large or small gardens, the prep will be very similar. Small gardens will not need any machinery to be purchased or rented and you will be able to do all of it by had or with small hand tools.
Where do you start to prep your garden?
If you still have old plants in your garden space from last year, start by cleaning them out as well as any weeds and put them in your compost pile.
First, order your compost from a company that you trust or if your gardens are on the smaller side, you can pick up bags of compost at your local farm store.
Once it arrives, get it spread out in your gardens. We rent a machine each year called a Ditch Witch from the local hardware store. We buy 10 yards of compost every year and the first year we loaded it into our Gator (the yard tractor like machine with the dump bed.) by shoveling it by hand. Never again! It was back breaking work. The rental cost for us is worth not having the pain in our bodies afterwards. By renting the Ditch Witch, it also saved us half a day in labor.
Tilling up the soil
After the compost is spread out, it is time to till and work it in the soil. We have a rototiller we use and it does a nice job. If you are planting in raised beds, you will have to hand mix it in the soil. You can pick up a tool called a Garden Weasel/Garden Claw and it has 4 spikes on the bottom. You push it into the ground and once it is in all of the way, you take the handle and twist in a circular motion. It helps break up the dirt and then you are able to mix it all together.
Dave went over the garden about 4 times to make sure it was mixed well. I went out and picked up any weed roots that were exposed. Threw them into the compost pile, unless they are diseased or Thistle, it goes in the trash. I hate Thistle and cannot seem to eradicate it! I don’t need it to somehow sprout up in the compost pile and spread even further.
Any other steps do you need to do?
After your soil is mixed up, make sure you have a plan on where you are laying out your plants. As soon as your soil warms up and is around the correct temperature, you will be ready to plant.
other posts related to gardening:
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