Front Yard Veggies

You can’t grow everything you eat, but you can eat everything you grow…

Archive for soil

5 minutes 13 seconds

That’s how long it took me to plant a new bed of lettuce greens.  Let me show you, because, we all are pressed for time.  Especially those of us with 3 kids.

I did this after putting the baby to sleep, before I put the big kids down.  They were brushing their teeth.

1. walk to garage to get a handful of bonemeal.

2. walk to veggie bed and level a 2’x2′ patch of soil that had been previously cleared. take picture.

3. dump a pile of coffee grounds from Starbucks and throw bonemeal on top. take picture.

4. spread these over patch and slightly, barely mix in with soil. take picture.

5. scatter mesclun mix seeds evenly on patch. take picture.

6. lightly cover with loose soil. take picture.

7. done.

Lettuce is easy.  Plant lots of it.  Don’t forget arugula.  This was actually supposed to be arugula, but at the last minute, I couldn’t find my seeds, and I only had 5 minutes and 13 seconds!

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Ask FYV – Preparing the Soil

“Take care of your soil, and your soil will take care of you”

-some smart guy

For maximum growth of your vegetables, you must have loose, nutrient-rich soil.  Here is why:

Look at that picture and you see the roots of a carrot going down up to 7 feet down.  As I will show below, that only happens when your soil is well cared for.

I am clearly no Michael Pollan, but let me attempt to boil down my rules for soil into their bare essentials.

loosen soil. add organic material. cover well. stay off.

That really is it, but I will explain a bit.  Let me also note, that if the thought of doing anything to your soil is overwhelming for your first time growing anything, then don’t.  I give you permission to make holes in the ground and put the seeds/plants in them and do nothing else.

soil structure – if you look at this picture, you can see the difference between loosened soil and compacted soil on the root structure.

Today I will cover just one aspect:

loosen soil

I do the following ONCE (as in ever) when I prepare a vegetable bed.  I mark out the area that I will be planting in, and start digging down ~1-2 feet and move all that dirt to the side.  Then I use a pitchfork and seriously loosen the soil a further 2 feet.  I throw in as much organic material as I can, then replace the top layer of soil and mix.  I then cover it with a couple of inches of (non-woody) mulch

That is a good bit of work and you don’t have to do it.  In between nothing and what I do, you can simply cover the ground with lots of good compost, coffee grounds, mulch whatever.  Add some organic fertilizers and you are set.  if there is organic material there, then earthworms will do the rest over time.  If you really want to understand this approach then I recommend “lasagna gardening”  The entire book is summarized in the first 10 pages or so.

I will delve into more details on what to add to your soil next.

Feed It, Then Brace for Bounty – NYTimes.com

This is a Teaser for what I am working on.

cheap soil amendment

This post is just a friendly reminder that one of the best soil amendments that you can put in your soil is used coffee grounds. and you can get tons of them from Starbucks for FREE! I don’t think that you can use too many. Earthworms just love them and they make your soil all dark and yummy. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make the soil acidic. They do help stablize the pH just below 7, which is neutral. I am a chemist. I have used a pH meter to determine this. seriously. Here is my pile of grounds going into the new bed:

Originally uploaded by chris brandow
Sent from iPhone