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Old 01-31-17, 02:06 PM   #23
Apprentice EcoRenovator
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: North Alabama
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Default 2017 Garden

Last year's (2016) garden was as productive as it could be considering how busy I was with the runt. Anyways, 2017 is gearing up to be a good year. Since I had a good base to start from, prepping the garden for this year took much much less time and effort. The first thing I did was get two truck loads of composted horse manure/wood shavings (total ~3 cu yd) and just pile that on top of the previous mulch. The guy that I got the manure from charged $15 per load, so $30 total.

I didn't get a before picture, but you can see on the far side what the garden looked like.

The finished product.

I put a 7lb bag of blood meal directly on the manure to help activate its decomposition. After that, I laid out cardboard as a weed barrier.

I am going to try cardboard out this year and see how well it works. From what I have read, everyone says it doesn't block rain water. I figured it would probably help a great deal on water retention in the warmer months. Since I will be planting a number of things from pots, I shouldn't have too much difficulty cutting holes in the cardboard with my trowel. Finally, I put about 1.5 cu yd of wood chips on top of the card board to hold it down and act as a final weed barrier.

As additional projects, I finished painting my final 5 concrete remesh tomato cages to make a total of 12. I figured I have another 30-40 years of gardening ahead of me so I might as well have them last and look semi decent. Also, I am buying all the parts I need for DIY LED grow lights. My florescent grow light is far too small and upgrading it would be much more costly. I will cover my LED grow lights in another post. Between the paints for the cages, one bag of organic fertilizer, and the two truck loads of horse manure/wood chips, I have spent $62.50 YTD. All I have left is to buy, directly for the garden, is seeds and potting soil. Overall, it is really nice to see my garden costs trending downwards (2015 - $317, 2016 - $231).
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