Preparing the soil for spring

This is the method I’ve used for 13 years in my square foot gardens.  It’s worked perfectly every single year and one of the greatest things is that it’s all free!  At the end of the season you’ll notice that you lose volume in your SFG boxes.  This is because the soil in a SFG is made up of at least 33% compost.  It continues to decompose and breakdown over the course of the summer and your job at the end of the season is to build it back up again.  I’ll post a couple more pictures in the coming days so you can get a look at how the process looks but it’s all very simple.  The first thing I do is empty as much of my finished compost as I can and put this in a container(bottom item in picture.)  I’ll then get my bucket of horse manure and a bag of leaves and put them right next to the SFG box that I’m preparing for spring.  I empty my garden box of all garden waste and put it in my compost unit.  I then loosen up the existing soil, level it all out, add a big layer of leaves followed by a thick layer of manure.  It’s true that this manure is not finished, but that doesn’t matter so much in the winter when your not going to be growing anything for several months.  That would not be the case in the growing season though as you’d want to avoid using unfinished compost.  This unfinished compost would heat up too much and burn whatever you’re trying to grow.  After that I add my last layer of compost.  I’ll add enough of all these ingredients so that it will be 4 or 5 inches higher than the box in the middle of the box.  Through the winter it will rain, snow, hail, sleet, and freeze.  It will also get sunlight.  It depends on how I feel, but I generally start to warm my boxes up by the first week of March.  Covering my boxes with plastic will have them ready in about 4 or 5 days.  At that time I’ll go and uncover the boxes, fluff everything up, and virtually all those leave will be gone.  My soil is now perfect to grow whatever I want to grow.  It’s been given everything it needs from leaves(carbon), manure(nitrogen), and compost(a rich mix of nutrients made of both nitrogen and carbon.)  This is a great and simple way to prep your SFG boxes.  Your soil is now on high dose steroids!  Not really but you get the point.  If you’re not making your own compost, you really should give it a try.  It’s doing a lot more than just reducing landfill.  Compost done right in your backyard will be superior to any commercially purchased bag of compost.

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