Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

Yesterday was spent mulling over how to fill the new garden beds.  I started with a thick layer of cardboard, followed by straw and peat with a sprinkle of alfalfa meal, then any combination of manure/compost/used potting soil (from last years's containers) and/or topsoil I could find.  Then I ran out to pick up some dog and rabbit food.  This in theory will help my layers heat up and break down more straw and a sprinkling of corn, gluten, soy, and alfalfa rich pet food went on top.  I only had time to finish off one of the beds; a mix of compost, peat, amendments, and vermiculite went next, and all was topped off with some black plastic mulch.  This will most likely be the sweet potato bed.  I need to finish the other 2 off today, but hubby needs to get me some loam first.

Here are the two unfinished beds, with a dog hovering...they are being tortured by the dog food in the beds.  Amusing to watch them try very hard to get their muzzles through the fence and into the straw.

The finished (for now) bed is seen here on the right.  I will need to top it off with quite a few inches of soil before planting.  My Wintersown tomatoes can be seen in the background inside a frame, the jugs are in bags for an extra layer of protection.  There has been no sprouting yet which seems odd since it has been very warm here.  I am afraid the little seeds got jumbled around and are too deep or something.  It is very tempting to break in there and dig around, I may just have to today.

I also need to turn my coldframe around at some point, it is facing the wrong direction, and now that the fence has been expanded it can face the proper direction for maximum sun exposure and be opened!

I saw on another MA blogger's post yesterday that the honeybees were out.  It seems too early, but sure enough, they were buzzing around my crocuses as well.  No bumbles though- and they are usually the early arrivals.

This bee had nice big pollen baskets.  We caught him and watched him under magnification for a few minutes.  He was quite distraught, but the kids thought it was cool to check out the busy bee up close.

This other little fella was hovering around as well, not sure what kind of bee it is.  But seriously, where are the big bumbles?


Thomas said...

Looking good Kel! I haven't decided how I was going to fill my new beds this year. I think I'll end up purchasing several yards of loam from a nursery near by.

Erin said...

Don't the critters invade the beds to eat the food? I really should put more thought into mine, I just use 100% load of compost and then annually top off with our own compost and topsoil, not very creative, LOL

Kelly said...

Erin, I would use all compost if it wasn't so must have a good place locally to buy it by the yard?

Erin said...

We do Kelly, I can get it for 36.00 a yard, our little trailer holds it so we save the delivery charge.

Heiko said...

dog food??? Whatever next? Never heard that one before. This method really only works for a small garden as far as I can ascertain. Our plot would need a truck load of compost / manure. And then I would have to find an efficient way to get it down 18 steep terraces.

We just fill up the car 3 or for times with animal manure from a neighbour and spread it thinly, so improving the soil slowly bit by bit.

Kelly said...

I would LOVE manure if I could find it. This lasagna style composting or bed making is for small spaces like you said. The corn and gluten etc. in the cheap dog food helps everything heat up really fast supposedly....that is what my composting book sais anyway. :)

Michelle said...

Uh oh. What direction is a cold frame supposed to sit? I may need to move mine AGAIN!?!

Your garden is looking so all the new beds. Isn't it so exciting? I am planting directly in the ground this year. So far, so good.

I am wondering about the dog food? What's that about?