Spring is early this year. The frost is gone from the top 18 inches of garden soil. Even the bigger compost piles have little or no frost left. The temperatures have been warm, some days as high as 20 degrees Celsius. But it feels desolate: there are no leaves on the trees and very little green anywhere. Still, we can prepare the ground, and so we go ahead.
The little tractor pulls the C-tine tiller through the earth. The beds are plowed, but not tilled, allowing the microbes to continue their work with little disturbance. The ground is drier than usual – we haven’t had much moisture this winter.
The tiller is used in our compost making area. Ken mixes his special blend of compost and peat moss, to help bring down the pH of our garden beds. The blended mix is layered on top of the plowed beds, giving a slightly raised effect.
Next the tarp is applied. It is a heavy silage tarp, recycled from a neighbour’s silage pit. We put the black side up, so that the soil is warmed and weeds can germinate. But the darkness under the tarp prohibits photosynthesis, and so the weeds die, as they cannot live without light. We plan to leave the tarps for two weeks, after which we will transplant the little lettuces into what we hope are weed-free beds!