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garden plot

Here in the South, we are starting to see the first signs of Spring. Although we had snow a week ago, the following week was sunshine and then snow again, spring is fast approaching. All of that to say, we finally took the first steps to get our garden going! A few weeks ago, my husband cleared out a spot of land on the side of our yard that gets full sun for most of the day. The picture above is our daughter playing in the future garden plot. The area is very large, but we are going with a 10 x 25 foot garden this year. Honestly, we will probably only use half of it at most, but I’d rather start creating good soil on more space than we need than not have enough.

We are using a raised row no-till method that I’ve been following from the blog Old World Garden Farm. I found them after searching for an easy to follow, low cost gardening method. I need a step-by-step guide since I am very new to the gardening world, and they provide that! The advantage of the raised row method is that you don’t waste any space, water or compost. They recommend raised row beds 18″ wide and 10-12″ high in the center with a gradual taper off the side. There is plenty of walking space in between the rows as to not step on and weaken the root structure of the plants.

The first step in any garden is making sure you have good soil. So, their no-till method simply calls for a 3-5″ layer of chopped leaves or straw, cover with a thick black tarp and let sit over the winter or shorter depending on the time of year and how fast it decomposes. We have LOTS of leaves around us since we live in the woods, so we went with that option. They recommend chopping the leaves for faster decomposition time, but we don’t have a lawn mower (since we have no grass, just woods and pinestraw – kinda nice!) so ours weren’t chopped. I will let you know how long it takes to decompose, but I’m thinking probably more on the 2 month side.

leaves for garden

Once the leaves are down on your designated area, simply place a tarp on top of the leaves and secure with large rocks, bricks or in our case heavy wood pieces. We ended up turning the long pieces of wood sideways, but as long as the tarp won’t fly up it’s fine. This method eliminates all the grass underneath and allows for a fresh start to your garden.

tarp for gardenWe will give you an update on the garden plot after a month or two and let you know how things are looking. Next update to be on the lookout for is our composting efforts!

Are you planting a garden this Spring or Summer? Are you new to gardening or a long time pro? What’s in your garden?