Preparations for 2016 began in the late fall of 2015... I had repositioned the
"mini-hot house" to this location on the south end of the garden. This is the
starting layout and location for it. The size and configuration of it will
evolve as time goes on..
To the left of the future mini-hot house, are 2 extra large pots and 3
plastic milk crates. The pots were filled with soil. The crates were lined
with straw and then filled with soil. I then planted garlic cloves (about
an inch deep) in the pots and in the crates. These will all be moved elsewhere
in the garden to make room for the expanding hot house to be built...
Just before the begining of this year, the garlic started sprouting, You can
just see the little "spear heads" puncturing thru the soil. They may grow a
bit more before the winter freeze sets in. At that time, they will go dormant
until the spring thaw awakens them. A measure of protection for them would be
to cover them up with starw or leaves that I collected from the neighborhood!
The next photo gives a better view of the garlic planters. It also shows a bit
of progression with regards to the mini-hot house. Both the cinder blocks and
the bales of straw will be used as shelving space to place the trays of started
seeds (when the time comes). The purpose of the cinder blocks is not only to
hold the trays, but to act as heat sinks as well. They will heat up during the
warm spring days. They will then release that heat during the cooler spring
nights. In this way, we can get a jump start on growing some of our crops
like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and the like.
I also made some structural changes to the garden. Both the north and south
extreme ends of the garden along the back of the fence were not as productive
as I would have liked. I removed the cinder blocks from both ends and
repositioned then in the area between the 2 portions where the mini- hot
house had been for the last couple of years. I also removed the soil from
those 2 areas and used them to fill the new "planter bed". I had enough
cinder blocks to double stack them and create a really deep bed.
The next 2 photos show the progression of techniques I used to fill this
new deep bed. I first of course put in a layer of soil that I confiscated
from the former unproductive areas. I then filled it in with a deep layer
of vegetation and dead matter that I garnered from the spent remanents of
the garden. The purpose of this is to create organic matter (and compost)
within the soil of the bed. I then completed it by filling it in with the
remaining soil from the former areas. The height of the soil will lower as
the vegetation beneath it decomposes. But, that's ok.
I haven't decided yet what to grow in this new bed. The thought occured to me
that since this bed is so soft and deep, that I could and should grow some root
crops in there. The thought of carrots or turnups crossed my mind.
The size (43" x 58") and configuration of this bed, with all the surrounding
cinder block holes which are available lends itself to the possibility of
drapping a plastic sheet over it and truning it into a mini-hot house. This
certainly warrants experimentation.
And speaking of the cinder block holes. Those can be filled in with soil to
help the structural stability as well as allow the planting of some beneficial
polinato friendly flowers (or perhaps even herbs).