Despite snow last weekend, it is indeed spring and that can only mean one thing on the farm – time for bed prep! Last year we read The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier. One of the tips in that book involves covering the beds with black tarps to kill the weeds while maintaining all the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. After growing a cover crop last season, we covered the majority of our tiny farm with a silage tarp (about 40′ x 100′). We were excited when we removed the tarp from the first few beds to find lovely, friable soil and no weeds (plus a few snakes)! This makes bed prep so much easier. These are the steps and tools we use for prepping our beds for direct seeding and transplanting:
- Apply compost – we add three 5 gallon buckets of compost to each 33′ bed.
- Broadfork to aerate the soil.
- Create a fine tilth using the Fire Fly hand plow. This lightly crumbles the top couple inches of soil to make a nice seed bed. The goal is not to turn the soil over or disturb the soil microbes too much.
- Smooth with the finishing rake.
I’m thrilled to see how these permanent raised beds are shaping up. Can’t wait to get some seeds in the ground and have these beauties teeming with life soon.