Spring = growing

Zo . . .   it's Spring.  The snow has melted from the ground.  What's the thing to do now to get ready for the growing season?  Any gardeners here?

Reading the Reader's Digest "Illustrated guide to gardening" I'm going to be testing the soil to find out its composition and see what it needs.  I'm working on the compost pile from last year, which has been frozen and still looks like a pile of garbage.  I'm told that in a couple of months, after it thaws, it will look like the beautiful black earth it's supposed to be and ready to use.  It seems impossible.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  Meanwhile, I'm layering the new pile of organic stuff to get another section going.  This one should be ready by the fall.  Then we can treat the dirt before the winter.  So, that is something to do.

But... I'm overwhelmed by the actual planting and growing.  Is there something I should be doing to the planting plots?  We have 4 raised beds approximately 4' X 12' X 18" or so.  We had (my daughter doing most of the work) some tomatoes, zucchinis, potatoes, eggplants, lettuce and some herbs last year (I see strawberries jumped from their containers to the ground.  I think they'll need to be replanted somewhere else or they'll take over the grounds, right?).  Some of the stubs are still there.  Should I turn the dirt over and bury the stuff?  I suppose taking out the old stems is in order.

Is there somewhere something like a checklist that would tell me what needs to be done and when?  (And preferably how) 

Any ideas?

I want to get my hands on Mother Earth and make love with her     :-)    This should bring some sanity into my head.





Noa's picture

I am growing a veggie garden for the first time this year.  I'm learning the ropes from the internet.

Here are some of my favorite bookmarks:

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How-to info



Complimentary Planting






Planting by the Moon (I have had incredible results by following this calendar)



Bon chance!



Hey Bob,

If you get your soil right you will find it is all really easy. Essentially just keep adding organic material....your compost pile.....you can't beat it....you are best to mix it in to your garden and leave it for a while, couple of weeks is ok but a couple of months is better, and then plant.

I don't like to use chemicals and pesticides but have found that you do need to protect young plants....snails can do so much damage and even if the plant survives they don't grow properly. So I do recomend some powders and pellets just until the plant takes off, then it will defend itself in most cases with no problems.

Plants like water!...gives them a good watering maybe twice a day but don't create a swamp, it's OK to let them dry out a bit on a hot day, the dryig out and then watering helps get oxygen down in the soil. So heaps of water in two big soakings and then just leave them....

Over here many people will fence in a small area, often on concrete and then put a little bit of soil, lay a couple of layers of news paper and throw in all of the vege scraps, peelings etc, once you have a bit in there put another thin layer of soil, a layer of newspaper etc....just keep building it up for weeks until you have a reasonable depth and then let it sit for a couple of months...just before planting turn the whole thing over and you will  have awesome soil!

The other really important thing is mulch.....around all of your plants put about 6 inches of straw. Actually put it over your whole garden and then dig a hole through it when you are planting. 

I hope you enjoy it Bob, it is an incredibly rewarding thing and you will be amazed at how interesting it can be observing a plant grow. Also look out for all the natural predators that will help protect your plants...Beetles are generally carnivores, won't eat your plants but are there to hunt the dudes who will...my favorites are praying mantis's....if you grow a dope plant here you always get them and they stay in the one spot on the plant, you get to watch them grow up...lol...it's cool...some plants might have 7 or 8 and they all seem to just stay in there own area....



Wendy's picture

Look for a local gardening club or find some way to get in touch with local gardeners / farmers. You will get better advice from someone who is sucessfully gardening in your area. You probably could be starting seeds right now but I don't know when it's safe to plant in your area of Norway. Books, guides, the internet are best when the people giving the advice know your local climate and soil conditions.


Hey Wendy,

You make it sound so hard!....and I've never heard of planting being "unsafe"...Lol...It doesn't sound like you have much experience in the garden...

I strongly recomend to one and all no matter where you are in the world...get out, get your hands dirty and connect with nature...you cannot go wrong...although it might take a few goes to get great results......but thats part of the fun and part of learning natures rules........



Wendy's picture

It isn't safe to plant in New England now. All the young seedlings will freeze. We have to wait until the end of May to plant safely.

Waakzaam's picture

Good advice yaw-all.

Thanks for the links Noa.  I LOVE the gardening patch.  And, what's the the moon and planting?  I'm intrigued.  I'll be looking further into that.  And please let me know how your beginning experience comes along.

Jez and Wendy, that is good advice, both ways.  I can see that finding local people with experience is a smart idea.  It could serve as mutual support group, not just for gardening but also for whatever else comes up.

And yes, it IS fun doing it.  Thinking of what may be possible to do here and there.  Where can we put something that is going to create shade that will assist other plants that don't need so much sun, and so forth.  Also, I'm looking forward to work with biological pest controls, you know, having a mixture of bugs to control the unwanted ones.  Birds will love the profussion of bugs, but then, how (or when) do you prevent the birds from eating your veggies?  Interesting.  All along looking at this as the microcosm of the macrocosm.  Yes, I think I will get into it.





Wendy's picture

Hi Jez-

I just had a bit of fun looking up the climate in the southern most tip of Austrailia. Website I checked said 55 degrees F in the winter, no wonder you don't worry about when to plant and watering twice a day - we never have to do that other than the hottest days of our summer. This winter we saw negative 13 degrees F. We have a fairly short growing season here so I imagine it is quite a bit more challenging.


Hi Wendy,

Yeah we have perfect weather for gardens, well now that the drout has broken. For the last few years you weren't allowed to water lawns and could ony water your garden for like 2 hours a day every other day....this year I have noticed everyone's gardens are back....the guy next door gave us a huge zucchini a few weeks back and at work I have seen bags of tomatoes and we had the most beautiful blood plums off a guys tree.

Over here it is easy but it may work differently elsewhere....you always know what to plant here because you see will see seedlings in the supermarkets.....if you go to the local nurseries they will have all sorts of plants and again you just go buy whatever they have at the time....each pot will usually have a little tag with the name, amount of light and maybe a soil type. You can grow things all year round here but you get better results if you build a bit of a greenhouse. 

As for -13 degrees....no way!...Lol...I don't know how you do it.....I do not like being cold.....still have a jumper on when it is 40 degree's....lol....



onesong's picture

One way I've tried here that we had fun with-the Native American grouping called 'three sisters'. You select a bush type squash (like acorn or butternut types), a climbing bean and corn.  As the corn gets tall the beans climb up the stalk to grow and the bush squash provides ground cover to keep the other two plants shaded and holding moisture. More on this here


My very green thumb gardener husband said just put the seeds in the ground, give 'em a good blessing and enough water and you're good to grow.  Don't think it too much. Nature knows what she's doing!

mmmmmm...I can taste the homegrown tomatoes already.  

Waakzaam's picture

I never heard of planting like that.  However, I've not heard much about planting before either.   Howeve the world IS changing.    :-)

I will definately give that a try.

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