Mother nature has started to tease us by sneaking in some warmer days, and seed catalogs have been marked up like it's Christmastime. It smells like spring is just around the corner. I love all of the newness that spring offers, this year more than ever. New birth, new growth, and new projects. In addition to the oodles of animals that will added to the farm this spring, getting my garden underway is a major priority. I didn't have a garden last year because of the move, and the year before that I had a pretty lousy one due to location at my rental house. It really has been two years since I've had a garden, and I am chomping at the bit to get digging in the dirt!
Because our land has been neglected for so long and is so overgrown, there isn't much available real estate for the garden. In fact, they actually had to clear land just to put in a new septic and leech field. Luckily, they over-cleared, and didn't end up using a large area to the right side of the leech field. This will be the location of my primary garden, but unfortunately it's not as easy and tilling it up and dropping some plants in. The area had loads of sand brought in with a little loom on top to keep it level and pitch south with the rest of the leech field. Sand is actually a great additive for gardening soil, as it allows drainage. However, growing vegetables with four inches of topsoil and a couple feet of sand will not work, so I have some work to do.
First thing, I have to break up the existing ground to prepare it for additional soil to be brought in. The key to this will be mixing the sand with new dirt to create an ideal combination, not layering new soil on top of sand. I will go over the area with a tiller to roughly chop it up and break ground. We have a local company that sells the blackest loom/compost mix you've ever seen for a pretty reasonable price. I am going to have them come in and dump as many dump truck loads as needed- my hopes are it won't take more than two. I can then spread it, and go back over it with the tiller and roughly chop it up to thoroughly mix the layer of sand and loom/compost. It will take some time to build the soil up where it needs to be, but by using the compost mix as opposed to straight loom, I think I am doing the best I possibly can for the first year.
Because I garden with the purpose of eating very well throughout the summer in addition to canning and preserving to get me through the winter, I need a large garden. The existing area mentioned above is roughly 20' x 50', which for some would be more than enough but just won't cut it for me. There is potential to expand the area, but there would be a lot of excavation involved. Anyone that's ever been to New England knows the insane number of rocks and boulders around. When the leech field area was cleared, they pushed all of the rocks to the right of where my garden will be. In order to clear that, it will require some serious heavy equipment to dig and bury the rocks, fill brought in, and then soil. Basically, a lot of money that I don't have right now for expansion.
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