Sunday, December 11, 2005

Vegetable Gardening Plans for Next Year

This baby business is going to cramp into my vegetable garden planting this year. I am due right around the time that I need to be tilling and getting the garden to plant.

Do you think with a big belly with a baby ready to pop out of it I am gonna want to want to do any digging? Or after that when a 8 pound baby (I'm hoping it's not as big as I was when I was born) comes ripping through me (yes, I am scared of ripping! ouch!)? Or what if I need to get a c-section and am not going to be able to do digging stuff for a while?

So, I've decided that I am finally going to do something different with my garden. I started it last fall a little bit, but this spring I am going to do the whole thing. I am going to do a Lasagna garden. No, I am not planting pasta, cheese, & tomatoes (well, yes I will be planting tomatoes). It's a type of gardening that layers organic materials that composts and provides the plants with valuable nutrients, that my compact rocky soil is missing. There is no digging, no wedding & no tilling! Convinced yet?

I bought the 'original' Lasagna gardening book on the above link. I've had it for a couple of years and read it a couple times. I couldn't sleep last night so I read it again (a very easy read!)

Last fall I had Andy cover the garden with chopped leaves to see how just one layer affected the garden. I then had our tiller-guy (Tiller-guy went to college this fall and said he would probably not be moving back to the area until after 4 year.) go through the composted garden. It was amazing how just this layer of leaves composted over the winter made a difference in the garden. That was step one in my small test.

Step two was creating the small areas in my garden that were separated by walking paths made of an organic material (I used cut grass!). These paths cut down on my weeding tremendously. No longer did I have to weed in between rows of plants. I had also planted groups of plants in boxes rather than rows, which is supposed to allow more plants because you have less space for walking. Step 2 worked nicely as well.

What was also great was that I had some place to put my grass clippings and leaves and didn't have to bag them all. I have 2 compost bings behind the garage and both are basically full, so I don't really have room there for more clippings.

So, my plan is to go the Farmer's & Feed Supply Store and buy some straw, an inexpensive purchase. There is a layer of composting leaves and grass on it now, which I will rake to the side as I layer the bottom with newspapers (I actually did this newspaper things with some flower garden I put in, works nicely for most weeds, but somehow those persitant picker plants find a way to get through.) Then I will rake the composted layer back on, layer with some straw, and I'll have to make a trip to Wal-Mart or Lowe's to get some peat moss and maybe some bagged manure to add to the layers, then empty at least one of my compost bins on the garden and I have wood ask in the firepit, although I will have to be carefull sprinkling it as we have burned things with nails in there and such, so I'll have to watch for those things. And I imagine we'll have mowed the lawn once already and I'll throw that in the layers too.

To plant you just pull apart the layers and put in you plant or plant seeds on tops of the layers and cover with another layer. Oh, you do plant in blocks and have the paths too.

The first year is when the greatest cost is involved because you have the most layers to make and if the supplies are not all available for free to you, you make have to go buy some. After the 1st year you just keep adding more layers. It doesn't get all tall and huge because it composts down. You start out with an 18-24" pile when you start, and it composts down to 6" in no time at all and continues to compost after that even further.

So, that's what I am going to do. And now that I told you all about it, you can do it too.

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