We may have started the garden late this year, but somehow the cold April mixed with a few hot days and then spurts of rain in May created a monster garden in June. A friend visited in the last days of May, and we’d sit on the balcony overlooking the garden and could swear we saw the peas grow right before us.
Raspberries are growing and flowering, too. Even the late-term raspberry plants have flowers on them. Soon I’ll be hunting down jam and jelly recipes.
And the best news of all – I spied these tomatoes growing in peace under the broad green leaves of the plant.
We didn’t do anything differently, but somehow the weather – as unpredictable as it’s been this year – did some type of miracle work in the garden.
Here’s an excerpt from From Seed to Table with my husband’s secret for preparing the soil.
We don’t test our soil. Robert knows instinctively what the dirt needs when he begins working in the garden, and it’s a function of the moisture in the ground. When the soil dries out, it’s time to start working the beds for the plants ready to go into the garden. He starts planting from mid-March most years.
We’ve been gardening in the same spot for four seasons, so the soil is well conditioned. Robert might not use the rotor tiller this year. It’s not good to break up the soil too much, so now that the soil is in good condition, he hopes he can use a shovel and pickaxe to turn over and break up the soil.
Before he turns the soil, he’ll use a well-rounded organic fertilizer mix of nitrogen, potassium (also known as potash), and phosphorus. It’s important to amend the soil with these organics because it’s essential to the growth of plants and is usually not in sufficient quantities in most soils. As he’s making the beds, he sprinkles the organic fertilizers, dolomitic limestone, green sand, and pulverized phosphate rock. The mix of these organic and inorganic additions forms a dusty layer on top of the bed. He blends it all in with a pick approximately eight inches deep.
Usually every other year, he applies mushroom manure and sand. He gauges this application by how “friable” the soil is. He can tell it’s friable and ready for the root growth of plants, if he clumps it in his palm and the soil falls apart. That means the soil is loose enough without applying the manure or sand. Also, be careful about putting the mushroom manure on seedlings such as peas. Our peas didn’t grow through this top dressing so well last year, and Robert believes manure may not have composted enough, so it burned the seedlings. If the manure is worked into the soil deep enough, this would not have been a problem.From Seed to Table is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99. On June 13 and 14, you can download the book for FREE.