New Kitchen Garden in 2012

I moved into another house a couple of months ago, and with that came a new garden for me to build. It was a complete unattended wilderness when I moved in but after much sweating it’s beginning to look like a kitchen garden.

This picture was taken about 6 weeks ago when I prepared a bed for potatoes:

It’s not good to start from scratch in the middle of the season with a wilderness, but at least a fun challenge. I’ll probably end up with a lot of garlic this season, as they’ll go in late, as far as I remember. It’s pretty chaotic down there in the kitchen garden at the moment as the race to get at least something growing is on before the season ends. Of course there are always crops like lettuce, spinach and radish that will produce something fast, but it’s not until next year I’ll get a normal yield from the garden.

The potatoes are growing well and will soon be ready for harvest. As I realized how late I was in the season I started digging like a madman, even in the pouring rain, but with an unexpected positive outcome: The soil is much easier to work with when it’s wet!

That is probably only true right here where the soil is very sandy, in fact too sandy, but for me it has always been the other way around: When the sun was shining, I was out there digging, which meant that the soil was dry, sometimes as hard as rock. If you have to go through a layer of grass or lawn it is worth to make a comparison of the soil consistency after a period of rain versus a period of sunny weather. I’m impressed with the speed at which I could go through a complete bed like the above one, but the soil might also be heavier to lift, especially if you have clay soil I guess.

In order to improve the sandy, lifeless soil here I’ve setup a primitive composting box made from wire mesh and round poles. There’s already a very cool looking compositing concrete tube installed in one corner of the garden, that I’ll be using as part of a 3 year system, where I’ll be moving the material from the Year 1 box to the Year 2 box, until the composted material ends up in the final Year 3 box, or tube, before it’s completely composted and ready to be spread out on the beds. (Thanks to Peder for this idea!) In the process of moving the material from box to box the material will be turned and mixed, so that green parts will meet with new brown parts and the composting process will be optimized. If the missus gets her rabbits installed at the other end of the property I’ll have access to manure that will speed up the composting process tremendously and I might be able to cut of a few year of the process. We are already collecting kitchen waste and throwing it into the compost to speed up the process so the lifeless sandy soil is soon a thing of the past.

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