Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soil Preparation for 2013

Over the three day weekend last week my wife and I did a lot of work on our soil.

It seemed like an eternity since I was thinking about tomatoes, but the reality was it has been less than two months since the last harvest. First, I took out some grass in the back yard. However, this grass isn't for new growing ground. It's for placing an outside shed in the back yard. That point brings up another issue -- if things go as planned we will have less growing ground in the back yard for growing tomatoes. We grew 93 tomato plants in 2012. I suspect we'll grow around 60 this year. But...we'll see.

I also raked the hay off of the soil in the back yard. We highly recommend laying down hay during the fallow periods of the winter and early spring. Hay on top of the soil will hold moisture and a bit of heat within the soil. That encourages microbial growth and worm activity. In my opinion worms don't do a whole lot to your soil, but what they do only benefits the soil. And worms work for free. Anything you can do to encourage a happy environment for worms will pay off. Make it easy for worms to work for you! When the hay breaks down it is simply absorbed into the soil.

The hay was raked to the side, my wife applied fertilizer and phosphate and the hay was raked back over the soil. My wife also worked the soil in the raised beds and along the southern border of our back yard.

In the front yard we did a similar thing in the "koi pond". I raked the hay to the south side, my wife applied fertilizer and phosphates and the hay was raked back. The only difference involved moments of levity. There are at least 50 SunGold tomatoes in the dirt. I picked out about a dozen of them an tossed them into the streets.

Also, we had purchased some mulch and had it placed in our "corner office". We moved the mulch into all of the non-tomato growing areas of the front yard. The mulch had been purchased about three or four weeks prior and had just been sitting there waiting for us to move it into place. In that time it rained once or twice so it is inevitable some of the mulch leached into the soil. If I remember correctly, some mulch was left on top of the "corner office" but not the "koi pond". Now that I think of it I assume the corner office got some of the fertilizer and phosphate but I don't know that for a fact.

We worked pretty hard over the three day President's day weekend. We had heard a storm was going to hit on Tuesday and Wednesday, which proved true. So our soil additives got watered in somewhat. My wife also watered the front and back yards this weekend. Our soil is pretty well prepped for 2013.