The plants have been picked out and it’s time to get the garden ready! Today’s post is all about prepping the soil, laying out the garden, and planting.
Where have the last few weeks gone?! Summer has been crazy busy already. We’ve gone to graduation and birthday parties, local festivals, kayaking, hiking, and more, and in the middle of all that we planted our vegetable garden.
I shared at the end of May how we picked out our plants, with tips such as “grow vegetables you eat the most” and “buy your plants from someone local.” Today’s post is all about getting the garden ready and actually planting all the veggies in the ground!
To prep the garden for planting, we went through a process involving raking and rototilling three times. Here’s all we did:
Clear garden from last year
We still had some plants in the garden from last year and a lot of weeds had popped up. I definitely want to do better at cleaning up the garden at the end of this summer, but this year Zack and his dad just took a tractor with a bucket and cleared off everything. I actually fed some of the leftover kale we grew over winter to Buddy the bull and he loved it!
Rake out rocks and weeds
A few weeks later, after they cleared it, there were still a lot of weeds and rocks, so Zack and I got to raking and pulling weeds. Our garden gets pretty rocky, so we tried to get out as many as we could.
Rototill & rake more
After we raked a bit, Zack’s dad came in with the big rototiller and tilled it all up. This actually pulled out and mixed in some of the weeds we missed, so we spent some more time raking out rocks and picking out weeds.
Add manure & rototill again
Zack’s dad then added a layer of cow manure (right from the barn) and tilled that in. The soil was now pretty wet and messy, so at this point there wasn’t much else we could do. I had planned to plant everything that day, but we had to wait a few more days for the manure to dry out some.
Rake more, add worm casings, & final rototilling
A few days later, after the manure had dried some, we went out and tried to rake some bigger chunks apart and get more rocks out. We were struggling a bit because now it was super hard, so we decided we should rototill it once more to break it up. Zack’s dad had borrowed the large rototiller tractor attachment from the neighbor and had given it back, so we got out the old walking tiller and Zack and I each did half. It was definitely way harder than I expected. Before we did this, though, we added some worm casings (aka worm poop), which adds even more nutrients to the soil, and mixed it in.
The garden was then mostly free of rocks and weeds and it was finally time for planting! I had mapped everything out on paper, but it definitely wasn’t to scale, so I used some of the rocks we dug out as our markers, so we could make sure everything was even.
Starting at the one end of the garden, here’s what we planted:
Sweet and bell peppers
Nasturtium (keeps bugs away from other plants)
Squash and zucchini
The broccoli was added a couple weeks later and we didn’t plan on it, but I’ve been working with community gardens in our area (post about this coming later) and we had a few broccoli plants leftover. We didn’t plan the potatoes, either, but I remembered we had a bag of them on the inside porch that were bad, so we stuck them in the ground.
We also planted marigolds around the outside, which will hopefully help keep any animals and bugs away from our plants. Plus it adds some more beautiful colors 🙂
Zack and I worked together to plant quickly, especially because it was starting to get dark! He would dig the holes and I would add the plants and cover. With the swiss chard, kale, and spinach, we made rows with the hoe, added all the seeds, then tried to cover evenly.
I had heard that both peppers and tomatoes love epsom salt, so after digging the hole, I added about 1-2 tablespoons, covered with dirt, then added the plants.
We planned to finish raking, rototilling, and planting on the same day, and even though it didn’t work out that way, we still got everything in the ground. Flint even hung out with us during it!
It was a bit of a process and not all our rows are completely straight. Even though I’m a bit of perfectionist, I’ve learned that gardening doesn’t have to be perfect. No matter how straight the rows are, how pretty the soil looks, or how many plants you plant, you’re still going to get fresh veggies right from your backyard, and that’s awesome.
Right now it doesn’t look like much, but everything is in the ground and we’re patiently waiting for the plants to continue growing!
Happy gardening! ♥
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