Yesterday, the weather turned nice in the AM and my garden plots dried up enough by about 3PM to get at it with the tiller. I did the first pass shallow to turn in the weeds and leftover crops from last years seeds. The chickens got to spend a few minutes gobbling up a ton of worms brought to the surface. It was a nonstop worm buffet for the girls and they have never been happier!
I emptied my compost pile into both gardens, spread out in a thin layer. Then I did one more pass on a shallow setting to mix the compost with soil, and a final pass running deeply to get that compost incorporated well.
My neighbor commented on how beautifully black the soil looked! It is managed soil made from dirt and more… Yup, dirt is lame, soil is a living ecosystem, and my soil is very alive! Mushrooms and worms are densely packed, which are very sensitive to chemicals and other things that easily kill off their numbers. There are no chemicals used in the yard, so there are plenty of things living in the soil.
After giving it a day to mellow out and blend the new compost (plus it was late when I finished tilling), we planted our corn, beans, and squash after my 9-5. We bought all of our seeds from High Mowing Seeds in Vermont. We have purple colored green beans, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, spaghetti squash, and pie pumpkins in this garden, our other garden will be all tomatoes (San Marzano and Gilbertie paste ‘maters).
Most of our garden planted today is corn with pole beans bordering the back two sides and squash bordering the sunny two sides. This creates a cascading system so that all of the pants get plenty of sun. The pole beans have the fence to grow up as a trellis and the squash will create a semi spiky border to keep critters at bay.
The pumpkin will be the last to ripen in mid September. The beans, zucchini, and yellow squash will be the first to ripen in late July. Until that time, it is a matter of watering and weeding (mostly just watering). Once the corn is tall enough, the chickens will weed the patch for me and their poop falls well below the ears of corn, preventing contamination. I just need to use a stick to keep them away from the squash. Squash grows on the ground and can become contaminated if the chickens poop too closely.