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Monday, April 2, 2012

Garden Expansion in Full Swing

The Boy tills while I start the rows by hand. No tractor here.

Several weeks ago, a neighbor brought his tractor over to help us create our new 30' x 60' garden expansion for this year. The area was part of our horse pastures but we have fenced it off so they (and the chickens) no longer have access to it. The ground has laid undisturbed for many years, and we were happy to find beautifully fertile soil underneath all of that grass.

Black fertile dirt = Black gold for gardens. 

Did I mention grass? Ahhh... yep, and not easily removed grass either. Of course we can't keep nice grass growing where we want it, but in the gardens we have the most beautiful thick green centipede grass that we couldn't kill if our lives depended on it. Ugg.

The Boy gets a workout with the tiller.
So even though our neighbor did a fantastic job of tilling the area up for us, we've still had a TON of grass to deal with that just won't give up. The Boy has used our push tiller multiple times in the last few weeks to help break up the tough grass roots. Yesterday he ran the tiller over it for the last time this season.

Semi straight rows... 

While he tilled and tilled, going over each area several times, I marked and made our rows by hand. Oh holy moly. My back is paying this morning, and there is still more to be done, but it looks great and my rows are (somewhat) straight. Since we don't use chemical sprays and such for weed or pest control, I am toying with the idea of using some of the hurricane damaged hay we have left to mulch between the rows in hopes of keeping the determined grass in check... but I'm also thinking I may need to take a tougher route and use a safe kill mulch under the hay between the rows (such as cardboard scraps) that will slowly break down during the year but still prevent grass from resurfacing.

Determined to get started on planting before the day was over, I was able to get our five rows of Silver Queen corn in the ground. (The red appearance is actually a fungicide on the kernels. I wish we were able to find organic seed corn locally but we couldn't. You probably should wear gloves when handling treated seed.)

Today, in between finishing up some custom painted egg orders for Easter and doing some cooking for the week, I'm hoping to get the rest of the rows made and maybe a few more planted. I also have a whole flat of tomato plants and pepper plants to get in the ground before I go to my "real job" tomorrow.

A day off today? Ha! Are you planting gardens right now? If so, what's going in them?

(PS. Join the Barn Hop!)


  1. Wow! That is a huge garden! And to think I was worried about the size of our little raised beds. :)

    We planted late this year (it's our first garden, so we had a lot of prep work to do) and I was sad to see we missed the window for spring greens. Next year. I'm most excited about peppers and tomatoes, too, mostly because I eat so much of them. :)

    1. We started with three 4x8 raised beds about seven years ago and added another bed or two every year after that. Our backyard space is limited so the gardens were at their max for the space... so now I have invaded the pasture :) It's addicting! I hope your new gardens are as fun as mine have been.

      Tomatoes are peppers are some of my favorites as well. Can't have too many of those! Especially since the extras freeze so well.

  2. It seems like every year my garden gets bigger and bigger!

    1. It's just like a flock of chickens... it keeps expanding every year :)


I have a virtual open door policy for thoughts and suggestions, and I'd love to hear what you have to say!