Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Preparing the beds...

Super excited for springtime right now!

Last year we moved into our new home in the middle of May...
So we missed the time of year when you would normally prepare your gardening beds for planting.

This year, however, we are GOOD TO GO!
(I'm clearly very excited about it)

We have several large beds in the front yard as well as our main garden bed in the backyard.
This post will focus on the front beds only.

There were several things that had to be done in the front.
The beds themselves are part of our brickwork in the front patio...so I didn't have to reconfigure them.

We started turning up the existing topsoil in the beds....to see what we were dealing with.

Turns out...there was FAR too much topsoil in the beds, so I had to remove the bricks surrounding the beds and replace them with large rocks found all over our property.

Next I shovelled out over 18 wheelbarrows full of excellent topsoil for use in other areas of our property.
This act made it possible to mix the remaining soil with other things that would help new plants proliferate.

Pure topsoil is great, but after a season of watering and weeding, tends to harden up pretty fast.
Good gardening soil needs a variety of moisture grabbing peat moss and nutrient rich compost.
I use a 3-in-1 topsoil mix and a peat moss mixed together and added to the existing topsoil.

(our sad empty frog pond)

The original owners used driftwood to decorate their beds.
We decided to make things simpler and remove the driftwood so the focus would be on the greenery.

The above shot shows a bed that we didn't do anything with...mainly because it had a lot of ostrich ferns already growing there!  We're leaving it for this year to see how many ferns and their locations.

The above bed is where we are going to plant ever bearing strawberries!
Husband purchased them for a school fundraiser and we are both seriously excited about the ever bearing species.  Having already grown normal strawberries...this should be interesting.

This was a bed long forgotten.
Last year, I started placing rocks around the outside edges.
There is an old metal pipe sticking out of the middle.
Turns out it is from the old well...so one day, when I get a solar water pump system...I'll be set!

I thought this would make a great spot for pumpkins or other melon-type veggies.

I started this bed for cooking herbs...but it turned into my son's play area.
I still plan on planting herbs here...but I thought it wise to make a pathway for little feet.

Why fight it when you can roll with it?

Once I dug out the surplus top soil from the beds, I set out to add the good stuff.
I purchased 4 bags of 3-in-1 landscaping soil and a big cube of peat moss.
I mix them together in a big half barrel, making sure I break up big clumps.
Next I dump the mixed soil into the beds and rake it out,
careful to make the ground level and break up any resistant clumps.

Nice work!

I was given some seeds this year to plant for a church fundraiser...plus I added some of my own selections.
(some seeds were saved from our garden 2 years ago!  We'll have to see if they are still viable)

Edible Plants:

Borage, Purple Cornflower (Echinacea)


Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Dill, Summer Savoury, Chives, Garlic Chives, Lemon Basil, Catnip, Coriander/Cilantro

Another really good buy (a long while back)  was a pack of craft popsicle sticks from Michael's.

I normally try NOT to buy stuff, preferring to make it myself or reuse/repurpose existing stuff.
The popsicle sticks are an amazing time/space saver!
I highly recommend them for marking purposes...mainly for little feet...until the plants start to grow and he can see where not to step.
(I've been using the same bag of sticks for years now...well worth it)

So the herb beds are all planted and waiting for rain...

Check back on my facebook pages to see their progress!

What have you planted already?

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