So, I've spent a few hours in the last while going through my seeds and trying to decide what and how much of everything I need to plant this year. While doing this I was reminded of my very first garden on our new homestead. Oh boy! The mistakes I make!
We had a neighbor with a backhoe come in and do some work for us one day. While he was here he spent a bit of time digging a nice livestock drinking hole by one of our ponds. They are really kind of slews as they are quite shallow and filled with so many cattails you can hardly get to the water. We knew we would eventually have animals and thought while he was here he might as well spend a bit of time digging a watering hole for them. As he dug down he pulled up the most wonderful looking black dirt I have ever seen! Oh, I was so excited! A garden! I had wonderful new dirt for a garden! I wouldn't have to worry about tilling it or anything as it was soft and crumbly and wonderful. He spread it out all nice for me and I got busy. A little bit of hoeing here and bit of hoeing there and I was all ready to plant.
So, I planted a little bit of everything and was so happy to have my first garden.... and I waited for the plants to spring up, which they did, eventually. Then I waited for them to grow...... and waited.... and waited.... sigh.... What pitiful little plants they were. Not one of them got taller than about six inches. I couldn't believe it! What had I done wrong???
It was obvious that something was wrong with the soil. What had appeared to be beautiful black dirt was obviously a mix of soil and something else or perhaps the soil was too alkaline or the PH was off. Whatever the problem I had no way of testing it and my poor garden was not going to produce anything for us.
Now I can look back and laugh at it but back then it wasn't so funny. I've since done quite a bit of research and have a lovely spot for my garden and neighbors who raise beef and have been nice enough to bring me a few loads of aged manure. I can't wait to plant this spring!
If you are looking for tips or help with your garden here are a few sites that are wonderful.
How to Garden Advice .com