Getting started on 2017

Hopefully, I’ll manage to keep up with posting this time.  I’m at the point where I want to refer back to previous years, and I have a pattern of falling off the blog wagon in June.

April 1, 2017

I got a late start to the garden this year.  I knew I had to remove the beds and dirt, so the size of the job felt prohibitive.  I love to procrastinate!

The old beds were cedar raised bed kits we bought 4 years ago when we bought the house.  They were degraded badly.  When I pulled the wood up, I found termites.  I didn’t realize termites would eat cedar, but these certainly did!

Once the wood was out, I had to remove the old dirt.  That seems weird, but there are some good reasons.

1. My tomatoes showed symptoms of several common diseases over the last two years.  Fusilarium and some blights I can’t remember off hand, but the spores live in your dirt.

2. This is Georgia. We have Bermudagrass lawns.  Have you ever seen that stuff? It grows by sending stolons out underground.  They can run 10+ feet and have several off-shoots.  It’s tenacious and in my opinion, behaves like an invasive weed.  When I installed the old beds, I laid cardboard down but of course it dissolves – so after 4 years the Bermudagrass had taken over my garden.  The only solution is to remove the dirt and lay a barrier impermeable by Bermudagrass.

3. Bugs.  Namely squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and squash borers. They overwinter in the soil.  More on that later.

The dirt doesn’t look bad.  It’s full of hummus and yummy organic material.  Unfortunately, it also has spores that are terrible for nightshades.

More on my soil solutions later.

We tried to bag it up to give it away for someone to use for landscape gardening, but the first bag was too heavy for us to move so we gave up on that.  After some reading, I settled on solarization.

The kitchen bed.  I removed the oregano, rosemary, chives, sage, and parsley from my old main garden beds and sat them in pots to rest here for a few days until we got the new bed built.  I was concerned about the roots contaminating my new dirt…

During the removal.  Layla (my dog #naughtlayla) is a great helper.

The posts are from the fence I had around the whole thing and my partner put the gourds on top to protect us from the tip of the posts.  I should have painted them with silly faces. My son removed the posts after I took these.

Here you can see that I was shoveling the old dirt onto the area of the old left beds.  The straw-looking plant matter is dried Bermudagrass.

It kind of looks like a giant grave.

I found this massive root.  We think it’s from the tree that’s about 20′ away.  You can see the Bermudagrass stolons here too. They look like dried roots/straw.


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