I would not describe myself as a gardener. I am a lover of vegetables that is hoping to become reasonably proficient at gardening. When we moved into a huge ancient farmhouse last fall I was very excited at the overgrown garden plot next to the house. All winter I have been reading and planning and thinking and plotting but now spring has finally arrived (yes, it doesn’t happen until May in Vermont…) and I’m a little nervous about getting my hands into the soil and actually making things grow.
I spent the very long winter reading The Woodchuck’s Guide to Gardening (Ron Krupp), Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardening (Better Homes and Gardens), and The Joy of Gardening (Dick Raymond). These books along with oodles of online research have led me to the following words of wisdom that I’m going to try to follow:
1. Tilling isn’t actually good for soil or plants
2. Finished compost is the best way to provide desirable nutrients to gardens
3. Once you’ve marked off where your rows will be, DON’T WALK ON THEM
This weekend was finally nice weather so we blocked off a new corner of the garden for this year’s compost and transferred the top layers of the old compost pile into the new corner to expose some of the “black gold” underneath. I’m hoping that the few remaining recognizable items buried in the mostly finished compost – I found a few avocado skins and some egg shells that went onto the new compost pile – won’t affect it too much. I also pulled weeds from my cold frame and put a couple shovelfuls of the mostly finished compost onto the soil.
We have an abundance of comfrey that is delighted with the soil in and around our garden. From what I’ve read, it’s impossible to get rid of unless you take out the entire root, which, naturally, is very long and firmly secured in the soil. I did pull some up to try making a comfrey tincture (see Woodchuck’s Guide for details) which will take about 2-3 weeks to be ready to use.