1. Spring cleaning and purging - inside the home as well as outdoor (hobby shed, barn, and tractor shed).
2. Muck out the barn.
3. Repair the mailbox and post after having it damaged by the snow plow.
4. Tune up/service the lawn tractor.
5. Repair and/or replace the pasture fence.
6. Prepare the garden beds - create new ones and build new raised beds.
7. Plant seeds and transplants.
Flowers, vegetables, and herbs ready to be transplanted.
8. Build a chicken coop and introduce chicks to their new home.
9. Make repairs to any buildings damaged during the winter; and then paint them.
10. Start splitting and stacking wood.
This week, I'm focusing on planting seeds and transplants. Through our 4-H Club, we received ten Garden-in-a-Box kits. Three of the kits were given to families to manage at their own homes, and seven were kept at our farm to use as demonstration gardens, be used to harvest and share produce for those who participate in the summer gardening program; and to donate the surplus produce to the food shelf (our goal is 30 pounds).
Loading 35 bags of dirt into a pick-up before realizing that we didn't have enough vehicles with a significant amount of carrying capacity to carry 75 more bags of dirt.
Thus, we rented a U-Haul to transport 110 bags - or 2.2 tons - of soil to the farm.
The raised beds are different from the ones I've used in the past.
Friends/fellow 4-H parents help set up the 3'x4' bags for raised beds.
These are heavy-duty bags that "pop up" into a 3'x4' garden.
Each garden required 11 bags of soil.
Once the 440 pounds of soil was put in the gardens,
they weren't going anywhere.
We added 11 bags of soil (or 440 pounds) and two cups of fertilizer.
Olivia and Sophia work with fellow 4-Hers to set up the gardens.
It was so easy to set up the gardens compared to building raised beds from wood.
Bailey and Hoss supervise the work of 4-Hers.
The hardest work was behind us once the gardens were established.
About six days later, we put the transplants in the gardens. (It's amazing how quickly six days can go by.)
Olivia transplanting a tomato plant.
We are using the posts as a temporary way to mark off 12"x12" squares. We have 7 plants per raised bed or 49 plants total.
We placed different transplants into each section depending on their height. The plants that will grow the tallest are in the back row (the north side) and the shortest plants are in the front row (the south side). In this way, all the plants will receive the maximum amount of sunlight.
The plants are all in the garden and ready to start growing.
We have five spaces per garden (35 spaces total) to fill with other transplants or seeds. Some of the seeds we have and others we still need to purchase. We also need to purchase a few more transplants for this gardens as well as others that we want to establish this year. Our goal is to have everything in planted by end of the first week of June.
This past Sunday, we put down newspapers and then bark chips on top of that. It finishes of the gardens nicely. We still need to trim around the gardens and cut back some of the wild black raspberries that are growing on the north side of the 4 raised beds.
It will be interesting to see if our challenges with weeding are not as great as in past years since we are not planning to add any compost from our farm to the raised beds. We will be planting other gardens in which we do use compost from our farm (from the horses), and will see if there is a difference in terms of the number of weeds.
Other than that, it is such a sense of satisfaction to have gardens again. In a couple of months we should be enjoying fresh vegetables!