On April 2nd, the temperature reached 87 degrees, a new record. Time to get out in the dirt and start planting! Since this is our first year growing for market, we’ve scaled our growing capacity quite a bit and purchased tools to make the transition a bit easier. This post outlines what we are doing to prepare the beds for planting. This is a bit of a follow on to our post last year about how to prepare an urban lot for planting.
Plow under the cover crop
We really wanted to get more mileage out of the alfalfa we planted last August. However, we are also eager to get some seeds in the ground. So, we used the Grillo 107-d with the Berta rotary plow attachment (“Bertha”) to plow under the cover crop. This will add to the organic material in the soil, but we don’t think we gained much of the nitrogen fixing benefits of the alfalfa since it wasn’t in the ground long enough.
Prep the beds
Next, we prepared our beds according to the SPIN farming method. First, we had to pull some more rocks out of our soil (so many rocks!). Due to the layout of our plot and width of our tiller, we are using 25″ x 30′ beds rather than the 24″ x 25′ recommended by SPIN. We added about 24 cubic feet (or about 4 wheelbarrows full) of compost to each 30′ bed. Then we switched out the rotary plow implement with the Grillo rototiller attachment and tilled the compost into the soil. We set the tiller at a depth of about 4″. This mixes the organic matter into the bed.
Plant the beds
Once the compost has been added, we are now ready to plant! We ran tests with our Jang Seeder to determine the spacing and the wheels to use for each crop (will do a separate post with pics for this). We planted 5 beds as follows:
- Bed 1: carrots x 3 rows
- Bed 2: onions x 7 rows
- Bed 3: arugula x 6 rows
- Bed 4: romaine lettuce x 6 rows
- Bed 5: radishes x 6 rows
Will post an update once we see germination! Happy Spring and enjoy working the soil….