Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How to Get the Garden Ready for Planting

I'm so excited because I was finally able to spend some time outside this weekend! Not only did the weather cooperate.....for a little while....but my back was much improved yesterday as well!

I can't tell you how good it felt to be outside working in the fresh air, instead of inside nursing a sore back.


I know my friend over on Henny Penny Lane would agree....here's hoping she'll be feeling better and out playing in the dirt real soon!


It was time to tackle the vegetable garden yesterday. I had given it a clean out earlier in the season, but at this point I needed to get rid of some weeds that had popped up and nourish the soil.

It's time to get ready to plant - I have some cool season veggies calling my name!

By the way, I did include links to some of my favorite products in this post but these are NOT affiliate links, nor is this a sponsored post - I just love these products!


I had stocked up on some supplies over the weekend, having the nice young man at Ace Hardware load my car with bags of potting soil, humus/manure, and peat moss.


My beautiful and very fit older daughter unloaded the car for me when I got home and put the humus right into the veggie garden for me. Thanks, honey - Mommy's back thanks you very much!


The plan was to remove the weeds and all debris first. Then I would feed it with some Vegetables Alive Organic Fertilizer.  Next, the humus/manure would get spread out and worked into the soil along with some buckets of compost my sweetie brought over for me.

Remember, feed the soil, not the plant!! I can't stress this enough!


I was trying out a new gardening toy I just got this season, a Cape Cod Weeder. I had often seen these advertised but honestly had no idea how they would work....or how to use it! 

YouTube to the rescue!

I figured that if generations had been using this tool for weed control it has to work, right?

Right, it does! And let me tell you something, it was EASY to use!! 


I used it with two of my other favorite gardening tools, my large red tubtrug and my deep seat garden bench/kneeler.  I use these two items constantly and they are fantastic! The garden bench flips over to become a kneeler....and the little tool pouch slips on easily no matter which way you are using it. Let me tell you, this item has made my gardening life so much easier, on both my back and my knees! It's amazing how having the right tool for the job really makes a world of difference. And that trug is an absolute workhorse - I have this large red one and a smaller orange one also....love them!

Anyway, once again I digress. I seem to do that an awful lot, don't I? Sorry....


Look how much better things are looking already, just after removing the weeds. My soil is gorgeous and rich, as you can see when I started roughing it up. But it must be fed every year, as the nutrients get somewhat depleted after each planting season. 


I gave the whole garden a heavy sprinkle of Vegetables Alive Organic Fertilizer, using a bag and a half for the veggie garden. The other half bag will be used in the new herb planters that are going on the deck. 


I used a knife to open the heavy humus/manure bags right in the garden bed to save my back, and dumped them right there in place. 

Next, I used a long handled cultivating fork like this one to spread out the humus/manure as evenly as I could. I also dumped in the buckets of compost that my sweetie brought over at this point. 


Now it was time to make use of another favorite tool - the Garden Weasel Claw Cultivator. This baby is a amazing! I bought this last year for turning over the soil in the veggie garden and it's so easy my younger daughter was able to do it for me....and she's only about 100 lbs soaking wet, just an itty bitty thing. 

You basically stick the tongs into the soil, twist the top, and it aerates and mixes the soil. Amazingly simple concept and yet so effective! Perfect for a little garden like mine. 

Bonus? It's a great core workout, even though you don't really feel it so much at the time!


I didn't turn the center portion, I just fed it with the organic fertilizer. I will be digging out any herbs that survived the winter when the new herb planters are ready on the deck. There's also some Ajuga in there that I will transplant to another location after it blooms. 


The small oblong terra cotta planter is filled with mojito mint, although I'm not sure it survived. I gave it a dose of fertilizer just in case. 


Last step was to take a rake and smooth out all the soil. Isn't it just lovely?

I know....I'm weird. I get excited about soil. And manure. And compost. 

Meanwhile, the pansies are out of the garage once again, for the third time, and the temps are supposed to drop to 24F tonight. 

Really? Again? I give up. They are staying out this time and I'm saying a prayer. 

I'm ready to move on and get spring started once and for all!

The perennials I ordered for the new garden bed by the garden cottage are on their way, they should be arriving on Friday - how exciting! 

Also, I couldn't resist...I bought some annuals when I was off the mountain a few days ago. How could I walk away from a whole greenhouse full of blooms with nothing? 


I got some Snapdragons, Lobelia, and Sweet Alyssum. They can all take a bit of cold, but I'm not sure they are quite as hardy as the pansies. I guess I'll find out!

Red Snapdragon
I've been keeping them alive in the garage until I can plant them out. 

Lobelia
I think I'll do some planting this weekend for sure, which is almost as exciting as the fact that I have a sweet new friend coming for a visit to my little mountain top home!

Sweet Alyssum
The weather's looking good by the weekend and it seems that spring is really and truly arriving to the mountain top.

I hope and pray it's here to stay. 

37 comments:

  1. I'll be planting tomorrow. Love that lobelia, I have those every year. I can't wait to have something growing!

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    1. You and me both, Carole! I hope to see photos of your garden on your blog - don't you just love that we can all pop in and 'visit' each other's gardens in this way? :)

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  2. You need to get on Amazon and order you one of those little back massagers. Mine was less than $50 and believe you me I use it every night to get the kinks out. It heats up too. It's big enough to go across my back and I move it up and down. I'll go see if I can find it. A life saver if you're a gardener!
    Brenda

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    1. I have it in my shopping cart ready to go, Brenda - thanks for emailing me the link!!

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  3. Hi Deb: There are a lot of good tips for the not so knowledgeable gardener. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Agreed....there are many folks out there who are just learning to garden, so I hope this can help them start out right....not like me, who when I first started planting just dug a small hole the size of the root ball and plopped in the plant and walked away. Never looked back, never watered, just thought nature would take over. Ha!

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  4. You are a true gardener...looks like lots of work...I do admire you. I hope your back hold out for you. You know I love your garden spot, all fenced in to keep the critters out. Good for you. I do love your flowers too. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. It keeps many of the critters out but not all, Susie - it needs a little more rehab, I'm afraid, despite the TLC my sweetie gave it in the fall. I see the base board rotting away on the left side now....and on the interior of the right side. Sigh. Poor little crooked garden!

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  5. Glad your back is doing better - now don't overdo it! That is going to be an amazing garden when you're through with it!

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    1. Let's hope, Amy! Last year was a whirlwind, as I was just moving in....I didn't have the time to really plan it out properly....and yet it still produced like mad!

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  6. Yes indeed you are a full fledged gardener! Your soil is going to be amazing and wonderful and your plants will be healthy and gorgeous, I see it all now.
    I am sorry about your back...I have been taking Advil several times a day now that I am in the garden...rest up, sweet friend.
    xo
    Jemma

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    1. I am hoping you will share photos of your garden soon on your blog, sweet friend - I'd love to see what you've been up to! Oh and yes, Advil is my new best friend! You know what else helps the back? Vodka - I swear!! It must relax the muscles or something!!

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  7. Good to hear your back is better. I purchased a garden bench like the one in picture, it is a life saver for me, able to do more work with it. I enjoy all the everyday living and gardening articles on your site, so much useful information. Like you, I enjoy gardening, working outside is therapeutic for me. Hope you have some good weather in your area so you can start planting!

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    1. It truly is a life saver, Theresa, I totally agree! I had knee surgery a few years back and ever since then, kneeling has been quite difficult. This little bench/kneeler is just terrific - helps you get up and down without straining, a place to rest and pull weeds or work in the garden, etc. Awesome! I highly suggest the tool pouch to go with it - it's nice to be able to have a place to put your hand tools - I was forever losing them before I got the pouch - I would toss them down to do something and move on to the next section and forget where they were!

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  8. can't wait to see how your garden grows!!! also I will help you carry heavy things forevz

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    1. You'll be right there with me, helping with the garden this year, honey - isn't that awesome? Love you - thanks for helping your poor old mama!!

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  9. Yay for good weather and a double yay that you felt like working in the garden! I noticed your Gardens Alive bag. They used to have a storefront and we would drive down to pick up stuff. We still use Tomatoes Alive. Lobelia is one of my favorites...such a beautiful color. xoxo

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    1. That's so nice, Donna - honestly, I love their products but the shipping fees are a deterrent at times for sure! If they had a storefront near me I would surely be there to stock up! I've used tomatoes alive in the past also - now I just use the veggies alive to cover all the bases. And I use an organic liquid fertilizer throughout the season on all the veggies and the potted flowers.

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  10. Hi Debbie, yes, I am one who gets excited about clean, rich dirt and beds. This time of the year has my enthusiasm high on the charts [not so much once it gets hot and humid, that's when it's time to kick back and relish the work done now :)]. I like that Cape Cod weeder, and am always interested in new tools for the arsenal. I use the weed hound, which is designed for dandelions, but works great for all (and saves your back!) (this link is from amazon, mfr discont'd, but still available : http://www.amazon.com/Hound-Products-HDP1-6-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B0000DI835/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1460559501&sr=8-2&keywords=hound+dog+weed ) Have fun playin' in dirt!
    Rita

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    1. Oh, yay, another weirdo like me!! :) Thanks so much for the suggestion on the weed hound - I've put it in my Amazon cart, right next to the back massage Brenda recommended!! :)

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  11. How fun! You won't believe, those cool weather plants you mentioned are almost ready to come out of our beds. It gets too hot rather quickly. I was just looking at that lobelia on Saturday. It almost glows!

    Have fun with your visitor.

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    1. I love Lobelia! I never found it does well in the heat, so maybe it will like my little mountain top house. I haven't bought it in years, but the color always draws me in!

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  12. Cant wait to see the finished project! Its looking good!
    Lisa

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    1. I can't wait to start planting - that's the fun part!!

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  13. I could feel your garden excitement while reading your post. I am happy for you.

    Happy planting ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Awww, shucks - thanks, Lorraine! Spoken from one gardener to another!!

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  14. You are so ambitious, even with your back hurting, bless your heart! I loved seeing all the neat tools and soil amenders that you use. I have been using my own compost on my garden, but wonder if I need to add more. I guess I need to get a soil tester to know for sure. Just reading your post made me want to get out and start digging in my garden, lol! Love how your vegetable garden is designed too! Take care of yourself, and hope that the back massager helps you :)

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    1. My compost isn't ready yet, otherwise I would be using that also. I think when you are growing veggies and flowers they need a little boost. Do you have compost tea? You could feed them with that!

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  15. You've given me spring gardening fever. I can see a gardening bench in my future, though. The old gray mare ain't what she used to be.

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    1. Nor it this one, Dayle....my old creaky bones yell at me after a day in the garden!

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  16. It looks like we had the same idea this week. We just finished redoing our veggie bed.

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    1. I'm going to pop over for a peek at yours, Betty - are you as excited to start planting as me? :)

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  17. We are finally planning to work in our yard this weekend. I love your garden spot. We would have to do something like that to keep those pesky deer from eating up everything! I am going to enjoy watching your garden grow!

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    1. Yeah, us, too. Actually I'm pretty sure that's why there's so much mint planted on the outside of the veggie garden fence. Apparently it keeps the deer away! However, it's the bane of my existence and creeps up under the fence and into my garden beds - and it's not even GOOD mint that I could use for Mojitos!!!!!

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  18. I love getting the garden ready too! Our weather turned cold so all my little pots with the seeds planted in them are now living in the back guest room with the door closed so Rufus does not dig through and destroy them. He has been so naughty lately. He dug up and killed the last remaining part of a Christmas Cactus that we had from our dear "Grandma" Anne. The plant was way up high on the top of a china cabinet but he just leap right up there. Thank goodness he didn't knock any of the porcelain birds down that were a gift from our Heather's aunt Cha Cha to me.

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  19. I love getting the garden ready too! Our weather turned cold so all my little pots with the seeds planted in them are now living in the back guest room with the door closed so Rufus does not dig through and destroy them. He has been so naughty lately. He dug up and killed the last remaining part of a Christmas Cactus that we had from our dear "Grandma" Anne. The plant was way up high on the top of a china cabinet but he just leap right up there. Thank goodness he didn't knock any of the porcelain birds down that were a gift from our Heather's aunt Cha Cha to me.

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    1. That Rufus is just a funny little squirt, isn't he? Your stories about him crack me up!! I'm sure you want to pummel him at times, but don't we just love our furbabies too much?!

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