Cleaning Up the Garden from Last Fall and Preparing the Soil

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The daylight hours are lengthening as well as temperatures are starting to warm up. New Growth and Buds are visible on all the trees with the blossoms on the apricot trees opening first. It feels so good to be out in the fresh spring air with the bonus of intermittent warmth from the sun, felt on one’s face. It’s enough to motivate most of us into looking at and dealing with the left overs from last year and making plans for the new year.

Its time to complete the pruning/clipping of last year’s herbs that survived the winter, as well as pick up or rake the remainder of the dead, fallen leaves, limbs and nuts from the lawn. Most of the herbs that survived winter are a little too old and tough so trimming back is recommended in order to let nutrients go to the new growth. Once that’s done, the old flowers and root systems in the flower pots need to be removed and the soil tilled by hand. Satisfaction is felt as each and every area needing attention, starts to look renewed and ready to being again.

The first step in the garden soil preparation is 1 of 3 tillings with the garden tractor/rototiller. The unpicked vegetables/left-overs from last fall serve as a source of nutrients when tilled back into the soil. After 30+ years of the same process year after year, the soil is some of the most fertile around and produces what we call our annual “jurassic park” garden. There is also an easement behind the property which is planted, so that the adjoining properties/neighbors have access to the “bounty” as well.

After the first tilling of the garden soil, we typically wait a week before next tilling unless it rains, then we wait 2 weeks and the same holds true for the final tilling.  After the final tilling, rows will be established and ground crops such as swiss chard, beets, radishes and potatoes will be planted. In between the garden tilling, the greenhouse will be cleaned out/closed tight and heaters will be turned on as seeds are planted in their peat moss containers.

It is a lot of work but what you reap in the summer and fall, more than makes up for the efforts put out now. We do have a phenomenal group of young adults that have helped us over the years and its rewarding watching the older ones now incorporating what we taught them into their own personal lives/homes. Once school is out, we will have our grandchildren periodically and will have them take part in the daily garden adventures with the master gardener, grandpa. Of course, we do pay the grand kids for their time, but only if they earn it. Stay tuned, as there will be a lot more to come.


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