Gardening with Recycled Materials
We’ll keep it short on words and long on pictures in this post as we review different ways of gardening using recycled materials. My wife and I prepped and planted our spring garden earlier this year. Here are some quick how-tos and tips for your 2014 garden.
There they are – a winter’s growth of cover crops. These guys are all ready to be folded back into last year’s soil which fed a bounty of tomatoes. Now it’s time to feed the soil.
There are a few articles out there on incorporating your cover crops into your soil beds. One says to get a pair of garden shears and do a bit of a mowing, trimming them all before anything else. We simply got a pitch fork and began turning the cover crops into the soil. It looks like hard work but it was actually pretty easy. The cover crops kept the soil moist and well aerated making short work of this task. The other thing we noticed was the soil, which was a light brown when we planted last year, was rich and dark black with worms and other small critters thriving below the surface. The beds were very much alive and healthy.
When done, our beds looked like this. Note that some of the greens are still at the surface. We didn’t mind too much because we planned on amending the soil with a few bags of organic soil. It is important, however, to make sure to cover up any of the greens. Remember, these guys are still alive with roots in the ground. You don’t want them to reestablished themselves amidst your new garden.
We added “Edna’s Best” potting soil to our gardens since it had a nice mix of soil, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworm castings, kelp meal, bat guano, feather meal and a natural wetting agent. It’s easy, just toss the bag on the garden bed, split it open with a shovel and then remove the bag. All the soil dumps right where you want it. We decided to spread it evenly across the top instead of folding it into the beds. Since it rains fairly often in Portland, Oregon, the soil and nutrients will melt into the rest of the beds. Again, this also keeps light away from any leftover cover crops to make sure they decompose into the soil.
The finished project: Soil is now spread evenly and ready for planting.