Welcome to the new Grow and Eat It Garden! 2019 is my year to start over. My previous plot was recently returned to turf due to a landlord issue, so I had to find a new plot and start from ground-zero… literally! The new plot is half a mile north (No climate change, haha!), it was 100% turf for at least 50 years, so in NW Florida terms, that means more organic materials in the topsoil. Sandy loam is well known for not being able to hold onto organic materials long-term, so I was happy to find it wasn’t all sand. Starting over means planting nitrogen fixers like legumes and buckwheat to support the heavier feeders. I don’t expect great productivity from everything, but I’m not counting anything out. That’s part of working with nature… It’s slow, and so I will slowly work the soil into what I’m looking for in a well-rounded garden. It takes time!
I’m not normally a “till and kill” kind of guy, so plowing was not my favorite idea, but 13,000 sq ft is too big to sheet mulch into submission on a short timeline. Before plowing we spread the aged mulch I was able to save from the last plot, compost I’ve been building for over a year, and activated bio-char created last summer and fall (a rescued byproduct of beach bonfires). Thank goodness for tractors (and uncles who know how to use them to farm!) The next step is to disc it up and smooth it out a bit before planting. When the tractor work is done, I’ll install a fence and plant it with climbing legumes and flowers to create a green border to attract beneficial insects, feed the soil, and feed my family at the same time.
Having learned from my previous gardening adventures, I will be building quite a few trellises to maximize space for climbers like winter squashes and smaller melons. These trellises will also create some shade for some heat sensitive plants like lettuces. The sunshine factor is STRONG at the new plot, so I’ll have to learn as I go on placement. That’s all part of it, and it sure beats too much shade… You can create shade much easier than sunshine! I’m very thankful for my new plot, and my mother-in-law’s willingness to let me use her empty lot to grow food for our family. Less grass to mow, more healthy food to eat, and more money in our pockets at the end of the day. It’s a triple WIN!