My garden beds are planted and the greenhouse is up and growing as green as could be with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers. We have extended our upper rhubarb patch to include some raspberry canes…freshly planted. The raspberry canes will take a year or two to become established before they produce much in terms of berries though. The camomile section of this patch is off to a good start…I think. The plants are so tiny to begin with but I am hoping for success any way.
We are experiencing the second straight day of solid raining which is great for the germination process on the garden. The dogs are however not enjoying the weather much. My composting efforts from last summer produced three big wheelbarrow’s full of excellent black soil to enhance the new raspberry patch. There was not enough to use in the vegetable garden so I added composted steer manure…which claimed to be natural as well as our own home-brewed fish gut fertilizer. We shall see if the crops improve. I’ve arranged with some of our friends that have horses to get some horse manure this summer. I’ll use it by the pillowcase-full to soak in a barrel of water…steep it like tea…and use it to water the plants like a nutrient-rich tea. This process eliminates any parasites that may be in the manure as well as dilutes it too.
I have been careful to disturb only the top 12 inches of soil in the bed to maintain the natural microbes etc underneath. I had gotten to weeding all except one bed last fall so there was only one weedy bed to work this spring.
We already have a great plan for next year regarding composting. We plan on getting chickens to help us out with the composting process. During the vegetable growing season I’ll toss the weed pickings into the chicken pen for them to work at and scratch into compost. At the end of the growing season, rather than clearing the beds by hand and moving it to a compost pile we will place several chickens in a portable pen onto the beds as required for them to till in the debris as they naturally scratch about. I just love this natural solution. We have to plan out a chicken coop and all the safe penning layout as well as acquire the chickens but that’s a next year project. I’m looking forward to fresh eggs too!