Sunday, April 14, 2013

Garden Prep

Last month, I was fortunate enough to be able to get out and add some of my beautiful compost to my garden soil. The weather held long enough for me to till it into the cool earth, allowing it to enrich the soil that would soon house my vegetable garden.

Soon after that I mudded in my peas...and I waited. Then I transplanted my cruciferous vegetables, and again, I waited. And as spring approaches and nice weather MUST be nipping-at-our-heels, I feel that my soil work is not yet finished.

Today was yet another weather whirlwind. It was warm and sunny, then cold and windy and even flurries of snow graced us. But as all of this was taking place, I decided I had work that had to be done. I put on my big-girl-panties (sorry to embarrass anyone :-) and got to work. I started up the trusty tiller - on loan from grandpa, but it was great-grandpas! - and began loosening up the soil once again.

As I plowed my little plot, I wanted to make sure that this time, along with the compost already added, I would add one last additional supplement: Cascade Minerals.  This product is not a fertilizer; it contains natural minerals that are essential to plant health and growth. I am hoping that it will mainly help with my overall garden health, providing the tender plants with the nutrients they need to thrive. This is their product description:

"Cascade Minerals is made from finely milled volcanic basalt, the rock material from which many soils around the world have been formed. Over time, weathering breaks down the natural mineral component of soil which can result in low or imbalanced fertility. Applying Cascade Minerals to your lawn or garden is like adding a fresh deposit of natural soil minerals. Gardeners have reported that their plants are vigorous and fruits & vegetables are much better tasting when using this product. Because Cascade Minerals is not a fertilizer and contains no synthetic chemicals or man-made additives, it is safe to use around your plants, children and pets when used as directed."
 I simply applied this mineral supplement according to the package directions and tilled it into my soil. After tilling and raking it smooth, I decided it was time to plant my beets and Kohlrabi. After making sure the seed were safely tucked into their new homes, I covered them loosely with chicken wire to deter any local pests (cats, dogs, rodents, etc.) from digging them up. Snow, followed by the briefest of drizzles, graced my late morning so it was a perfect time to finish up for the day! Now I wait.
My compost does a phenomenal job on its own. We've had a great garden for the past three years using it. But this year I wanted to try something different; something to make it better than years past! By adding this to the soil I am hoping to see some noticeable differences in plant vigor and perhaps health and taste...if I continue to apply it according to their directions. And I intend too! Making this years garden GREAT is at the top of my to-do list and I hope this is the first step in that direction!
I'll keep you up-to-date on what I find :) Are you learning anything new in your garden so far this year? What types of things do you know work really well for you and what things are you excited to try this year? Share with us please...I love to hear it all!

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