In Colorado we have had a surprisingly mild winter so far. Little to now snow, or precipitation. Which is bad actually as we have been in a drought for a very very long time here. So when I saw the weather forcast for about 10 inches of snow this weekend I was like "WHOOOOO HOOOO!", then reality set in that I have been working on my garden beds and I have more beds to lay down manure, rock dust, and wood chips for.... So I ran out the door this morning and put the manure and rockdust down in one of my existing in ground beds. I will be back out there during my lunch break to lay on the wood chips in a thick bed and then give it a nitrogen feed to get the composting action started in that bed with the wood chips and manure... Maybe give it a quick shot of water to make sure it has something to work with...
Think of Back to Eden garden beds sort of like making compost... If you have never made compost the formula is simple. Carbon(wood chips, leaves, straw, hay), Nitrogen(coffee grounds, table scraps, manure, urine), water... You don't want it too wet, but you want to get it moist so that the bacteria as soon as it starts to warm up will start feasting on the fabulous meal you have prepared for them! So in this case what we are after is to have the wood chips hold in that moisture, and to break down into that beautiful nutrient rich soil that plants, fungi, bacteria, worms just crave! So layer it on your beds... Then keep adding the nitrogen rich materials to accelerate the process. In the case of new beds we want to speed up the wood chips breakdown as much as we can as fast as we can to get our beds capable of sustaining our plants.
Of course over time we want to just keep layering on our materials and we don't need to rush as the process once it gets going and you have good growing beds you can take your time and it won't require as much materials to keep this going. Over time the need to keep adding decreases to the point it is every few years you remulch your beds and you just keep adding your local garden waste and composts to the garden. In other words less work and more gardening fun!
So hopefully I will have one more bed done today and then have to sit tight this weekend and wait for the return of the mild weather we have had.
In the mean time I have some indoor plants to get started that are cold weather tolerant. I plan to get the plastic up on the hoops over the raised beds and get some cold weather plants out in the next few weeks depending on when it looks like they are ready to move from the grow trays to the beds. So lets see what I get planted this weekend and how long before I can get things growing outdoors... :-)
Take Care, stay warm, God Bless you,