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Spring Cleaning and Planting

March 11, 2012

I finally cleaned out the garden, and it is (almost) all ready for the new season! Even though I had started planting new seeds a few weeks back, I hadn’t broken down the old plants. It took me most of Saturday, but I pulled all the old plants and swept all the fallen leaves and other debris hiding under the pots.

Before Cleaning

After Cleaning

The last thing we have to deal with is the soil. I’ve researched the reusing of soil and found a wide range of opinions. Some say there’s no need to replace it, some say keep half and mix in half new, and some say to get rid of all of it. The main issues with keeping soil seem to be the old roots getting in the way of new roots and problematic pests sticking around from the previous season. Most of the pots we had were pretty full of roots, and we did have a few pests last years, so we decided to replace most of the soil. The problem is, we don’t really have anywhere convenient to discard the old stuff. A fraction of the soil came out when I pulled the plants. Since we don’t need all of the containers yet, we dumped the soil from some containers into other partially full ones in order to open up some space. We took one bag of soil to the compost collection stand at our local farmer’s market, and our plan is to continue to take over bags each week.

Condensing Old Soil

We have a few plants from last year that overwintered well and are still looking good. We only got 2 strawberries last year, but the plants lived through the winter, so we’re hoping maybe we’ll get more this year. The other plants that are still going are the thyme and the kale. We knew that the thyme would make it through the winter, but we were surprised that the kale is still going.  The plants are small at the moment, but I harvested the outer leaves this morning in hopes that they will start to get bigger soon. I used the little bit of kale to make a delicious smoothie for breakfast.

Kale Harvest

Smoothie: Banana, Strawberry, Kale, Almond Milk

In addition to clearing out last year’s remains, we started some more seeds for this year. We winter sowed Eggplant, Basil, and Oregano. We planted Mesclun Mix and Prizehead Lettuce in containers that we put under the portable greenhouse. Finally, we direct sowed scallions, cilantro, and spinach. We have a few more things that are ready to go in, but first we’ll need to get some more soil. Jeremy’s favorite part of gardening is labeling the containers with creative names.

Winter Sowing Containers in a New, Sunnier Spot

 Cilantro Seeds

Evergreen “I” Scallion Stallion

Finally, a quick update on what has sprouted so far. All the flowers that we winter sowed have sprouted. In addition, the parsley, kale, and one variety of tomato are all up and started. It is supposed to be a warm week, so we’ll see what else makes an appearance.

First Tomato Sprouts: Isis Candy

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