Thursday, January 26, 2012

6-Week Garden Plan: prep for spring!

Hi Friends,
Okay, its time! Lets get out in the garden and take some action.  It may seem early to work the garden for those Tomatomania tomatoes, but now is actually the best time.  It is also easier than you think and if you start now you’ll see how easy it is to have amazing soil for spring and summer plantings.  Trust me…your tomato plants will thank you and reward you with lots of scrumptious fruits all season long (Yes, a tomato is a fruit).
6 Week Garden Plan:  prep for spring!
1.    Plan your garden.  This is important for multiple reasons:
·      Zero in on where to concentrate your soil building efforts.
·      Crop Rotation:  gotta do it!  Growing the same crop in the same place every year is a no-no.  (…hello diseases and pests!)  If you’ve been growing your tomatoes in the same place, then its time to move them to another plot (or container!).  Follow this guide to easy crop rotation: click here.
2.    Start a compost pile…in your garden plot!
·      Time tested and easy. Take those kitchen scraps from dinner (veggies, paper, breads, peels, egg shells) and bury them directly in the garden.  Dig a small hole and put in those veggie and paper scraps.  Do this all around the garden and come spring, you’ll have worms galore! 
3.    Bale of straw…use as mulch and it will feed your soil.
·      Hit up your local feed supply store and pick up a bale of hay!  Sound funny?  It works!  Break apart the bale and spread it around the garden as a mulch at least a few inches thick (2” to 6”).  This will trap moisture and feed the beneficials living in the soil.  (Make sure you buy a bale that is weed seed free).  Use all season long…the more it breaks down the better!
4.    Add worms.
·      Worms are the true champions of a healthy garden. Buy them online or independent nurseries.  Sprinkle around in your hay mulched garden…BAM!!  Magic.
5.    Apply a layer of Malibu Compost.
·      Biodynamics is a fancy word for “Really Awesome Compost.” Support local with a purchase of Malibu Compost.  Apply in a ½” to 1” layer all around planting areas as a top dressing.
6.    Make compost tea and apply.
·      Easy and effective: buy ready made tea bags from Malibu Compost (instructions included) or use your own compost to make a solution of magic elixer for the soil.  Check out the book Teaming With Microbes, A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, by Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis for details. Compost tea infuses the beneficial microorganisms into our soil at a concentrated is soils version of eating yogurt.  Lots of good guys create a better environment for roots.
Happy Gardening!   Stephen.
Seedlings in the greenhouse...spring is coming.  Let's get out there and start prepping our soil!

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