It is that time of the year when the garden is prepped to again bring forth its bounty (sorry, I'm listening to Beethoven and I'm feeling all kinds of classical).
This year I decided to go a different route than last year...i.e double digging, composting a bit, and then fighting with weeds for the rest of the year. This year...well...you'll see.
Here it is from the beginning. I am taking over the neighbors plot this year as they don't want to use it. It is this junk one in the front.
Tore out the ancient fennel and other dead bush and then began with newspaper. Yep, that's right. 4 layers of it. Notice that it is going right over the old grass and weeds. This will suppress the weeds, but still let the roots from the seedlings grow down. It also helps greatly with water retention due to the fact that the soil is not so loose that it just drains out, settling at a depth past the root systems.
These following pictures are not going to make National Geographic, but they do give a good idea of the progress. Here my brother Kyle and I are spreading TAGRO. Look it up. No joke.
This is followed by a few inches of organic compost. The thinking here is that the TAGRO, crazy rich in nitrogen, will seep into the soil. The new seedlings will hit it when they are a few weeks old and basically explode.
Here we have taken off most of the straw that protected my bed from last year. We did not throw it away, but moved it over to the site where our compost pile is. We'll use it all this year in making some great and FREE compost.
TAGROing it up again. I should mention that we applied about two inches of this stuff on both beds.
Here is the finished product. Pretty awesome. Labor is cut so dramatically it is laughable. Better yet, we'll have less weeds, less water consumption, better soil health (especially if we kept this process up year after year), and healthier plants as they will not have to struggle against weeds. What more could you ask for?!?
I thought I would give a couple update photos here on the seedlings as well. They are growing like crazy. Tomatoes already got repotted.
We did newspaper pots. Compostable and free! they work pretty well, but it takes a bit of practice to do it well. Soon these beasts will be putting off fruit for bruscetta, pasta sauces galore, and just plain eating raw with a bit of garlic mayo and kosher salt. Dang, now I'm hungry.