Bed 3 Fully Planted 2 May 2010Here is Bed 3, fully planted with starts purchased today at OAEC’s Plant Sale.  In front are eggplants, peppers, a couple of green scalloped squash, and the rest are all different, interesting heirloom tomato varieties, including Al Kufta at the very back. Spacing is about 18-inches between the plants.

Bed Preparation: After “single-digging” (pushing a spading fork 12″ into the bed and moving it around to loosen the soil), raked in 6 cu. ft. home-made compost, 2 cu. ft. of  Fox Farm Planting Mix, 12 oz. Agricultural Lime, 2.5 oz. sulfur, 11.5 oz Gypsum, + 0.4 oz Boron (with the rest, 0.4 oz, to be added in the Fall).  This is all per the Soil Test recommendations from Timberleaf Soil Testing.

Home-made Compost:  Given that Beds 3-8 will require 6 cu. ft. (= 9 x 5 gallon buckets full) of compost each, that’s 36 cu. ft. of compost.  At 11.95 + tax per bag, Fox Farm Planting Mix (the only compost on the market that’s decent), that would be more than $430 just for those beds, and just for the Spring planting. Turns out that we’ve not only been composting our kitchen scraps and our bunny’s toilet (which makes beautiful compost, but not nearly enough). we’ve also composted all of the weeds we pulled last fall. And, guess what, they’ve produced “Black Gold”, the most beautiful compost you’ve ever seen, crawling with different varieties of earthworms! So, I sifted 9 x 5 gallon buckets and applied it to Bed 3. That’s why its soil looks so luscious.  My task over the next week will be to sift the huge mound of compost under our walnut trees into useable compost for our growing beds.  I think I’ll tackle about 9 x 5 gallon buckets full per day (that’s enough for a single bed) and see how far I get by next week-end.  Stay tuned.