Monday, April 20, 2009

Multi Tasking

To have a successful garden, a gardener must be a multi-tasker. In other words, it's not enough to get your seeds started.

Once the weather has warmed a bit and the soil has dried out too, early prep of the garden bed is necessary. Once you have a season in the garden under your belt, then much of this prep work will have been done in the fall, when you put the garden to bed for the winter. As a matter of fact that is the best time, as you can add copious amounts of organic matter in the form of leaves, grass clippings and other organic waste along with some valuable organic fertilizer like alfalfa meal and leave it all for winter to work its' magic. A late fall cover crop will add to the quality of your bed come spring as well.

However, if this is your first garden or like me you have had to neglect your garden because life just got in the way, then prepping your bed is something you want to get done as early in the season as you can.

Raised beds will warm up faster in the spring, you can cover the bed with material to help warm the soil as well. This morning at 7:30 a.m. when I took this picture the soil was 48 degrees F. The day will warm and warm the temp up to about 60.

Note: When you are thinking of planting and/or transplanting you always want to take into consideration the night time temperature of the air and soil.

Hoops can be placed over the bed for the placement of plastic over the beds to help heat the soil and to help hold the heat in over night.
Lengths of rebar are driven down along side the beds and PVC pipe can then be bent over the bed and slid down over the rebar.
This creates a great skeletal structure for plastic in the early and late season and shade cloth in the hot summer months.
In this picture you can also see how I used Hog Wire bent over and placed inside the bedding frame. This can be an alternative method to the PVC or the wire can be used to grow vining plants up on. This method can be used to companion plant. Plants that need more shade can be grown on the north side of this vining plant. That way in the hot summer months, once the vining plant has covered the wire a wonderful area of cool shaded area is provided for something like your favorite greens which need the cooler temps provided by the shade.
Think about what you are growing and how they can compliment each other. Use your space wisely and you will be able to grow more in less space.

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