On Friday the forecast called for a sunny Saturday and then rain on Sunday which left me pretty bummed Saturday night as I just couldn't do all the work I needed to do to get the third raised bed finished. Luckily the meteorologists were wrong and we had an absolutely gorgeous day today.
When we moved into the house we started up a compost pile in the woods that we added material to for around eight or nine months before starting the pile next to the shed. When I say it is a compost pile I mean it. It was just a pile in the woods. Unfortunately Michelle ended up adding a ton of sticks to the pile which may decay sometime within the decade. Still there was lots of black gold in the mix to be had, so I whipped up a simple screen using four 2ft sections of scrap 2x4 and left of chicken wire. This let me sift out the large sticks and just get the good stuff.
After I had dumped the first of two wheel barrels full of compost on the third bed the scope of our garden started to settle in. We have far too much growing space and far to small a capacity to generate compost to supply the garden. One of my goals in the coming weeks is to find a good source of quality compost in the area as we need several cubic yards at least. Our soil isn't horrible, but it needs a lot of organic matter added to it. At the rate we generate compost we'll never catch up. Still the pile of black on the bed is a happy start.
The third bed will be the tomato bed this year and with it complete the majority of the prep work is done. I still have the 4x8ft fourth bed to prepare, but that'll be a breeze compared to the effort it took to prepare the first three. All told the garden provides a little more than 420sq ft of bed space. I don't count the asparagus bed even though I probably should. The asparagus and raspberry/strawberry beds are permanent fixtures so they really don't count as garden space that can be used in rotation. Including them we have roughly 750sq ft of beds growing edibles. Considering that we started with none we've come a long way in the past two years.
The garden is still largely devoid of life at the moment. The peas still haven't come up and I'm starting to worry a little about them. There is mustard growing everywhere and the salad greens have come up underneath the row cover. I also bought some more mature greens this weekend up at Medway Gardens as I was getting impatient. I'm hoping to keep a good stream of leafy greens coming through good succession planting this year.
The compost in the big black ball is coming along. Some of the paper still has a way to go, but the organics are looking pretty nice. When I rotated the ball this weekend and looked in I saw a ton of red wrigglers who looked very happy indeed. Ya for worm poop. Another week or two and I'm going to screen the ball's compost and see what we get.