Digging In

Tuesday’s weather was just right and it seemed like a good day to work in my Hampton Victory Garden plot.  I forgot my apron (grrr…) and didn’t bring any “garden clothes” so I had to stuff my fancy pants into a pair of rubber boots and put on the old fleece jacket I had in my Jeep.

Bad Girl Scout.

My Hampton Victory Garden plot is about 14 feet wide and 20 feet long.  It’s in a shady part of the garden and because it’s conservation land, I can’t borrow a chain saw and remedy the problem.  We have had some trees removed, but the thing about trees is they keep on growing; I’ve accepted the dappled sunlight.

I have some perennial flowers, bulbs, and groundcover planted in the back third of the garden, along with my compost tumbler.  I hate throwing out vegetable scraps, so I’m always trying to make compost.  I’m getting better at it, but I have a lot more to learn.  Did you know there is a compost school just up the road in Maine?  Ayuh, sure is.

We’ll see.

In the front portion of my plot are two raised beds.  One is an old particle board bookcase my friend Jaxon gave me and the other is a real and true raised bed my father built for me.  I grew my lettuce in the bookcase and some tomatoes in my Daddy-oh raised bed.  For the last two years, I’ve covered the rest of the plot in landscape fabric to keep the weeds down and focused my energy on other garden projects.

Now that I have a blog and I need lots of material to write about, I don’t think rows of landscape fabric are going to make very good content.  It doesn’t even photograph well.  So yesterday, I took off the landscape fabric and turned the dirt.

The Hampton Victory Garden is located on what was, once upon a time, a chicken farm, so the soil is thick and rich, with lots of worms.  The dirt is more on the clay side and my spot slopes down a little bit; in the past, I’ve brought in more dirt to level things off.

I took a shovel and turned the formerly covered areas by hand.  There were a lot of worms in the dirt, big ones!  I opened up a couple of bags of compost and turned it into the dirt with the shovel again; then, I hoed it a bit.  I don’t think there is a right or a wrong way to prepare your soil for planting; I like to put a lot of energy into it and give my arms a workout.  Farm Arms are my goal, so my last few minutes were spent raking the whole area level and smooth.

In past years, we’ve had manure delivered to the Hampton Victory Garden, but someone who knows told me that fall is the best time to apply manure, or at least 60 days before planting to make sure it is adequately composted.  Some Victory Gardeners might remember all the gourds that grew in our gardens from last year’s manure and this was probably because the manure was not completely composted.  So no manure for my garden this year; just nice bagged compost from a good source.

While I was working, a few people stopped by to say “hello” and asked when the water would be turned on and when Mr. Young would roto-till.  Like a recess bell, the questions reminded me there was a lot of work to do and spring seemed to be creeping up in my rear view mirror, closer than it appeared.  I guess it’s time to step on the gas.

What’s the dirt about your dirt?

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