Easy DIY vegetable garden plots for next year, with car mats

Not much is going on right now, gardeningly speaking. We’re bringing in the peas and carrots a little bit every day. Actually, the peas never make it into the house. I purposely bought sweet peas and my kids gobble them like candy and beg me every morning to go pick some.

Peas are pretty dummy proof if you want to try it. The seeds and plants are hardy and only a rabbit will kill them. You need to provide support for the climbing plants, stakes driven into the ground with netting woven between them or just plain twine tied across each one.

Almost every breakfast the kids get to yank out one giant, fat carrot, I scrub it and we eat them. From table to tummy in under 5 minutes.

The brussel sprouts are getting ready to do something, all I do for the flowers is dead head them, and I planted a few bulbs for next year. I would recommend crocus bulbs. Nothing says hope to me like a crocus coming up through the snow. It promises that sun and happiness will come again. (I dislike winter intensely).

So for someone who wants to be out there, getting their hands dirty in the garden every day, this is a boring time. That means it’s time to prepare an area for veggies for next year!

There are two ways to do this, and you can add the second one on top of the first one if you like.

One
TURN OVER A PLOT FOR YOUR GARDEN NEXT YEAR.

Dig now while the ground is soft, after a good rain helps too. Put your spade in as far as it will go, making a square with it, pull out the foot square of Earth by the grass, turn it upside down and plunk it back in. Continue for a, let’s say, 2 foot by 3 foot rectangle.

Poke away at the dirt tops to sort of level them off, then water heavily to let everything settle. Try not to slice the earthworms in two. If you find one in your shovel just drop him off in an already set up garden. They keep the soil loose so water flows well to the roots of your plants and their poop is very fertile.

Over the winter as you let this plot lay fallow, the grass and weeds which are now under the dirt will decompose and fertilize the dirt. This new plot will be most productive in its second year of use but you’ve got to start sometime.

Two
CAR MAT GARDEN PLOT

excellent for garden prep for next year or for making paths between garden plots

excellent for garden prep for next year or for making paths between garden plots

For whatever reason, like the extra screws you wind up with after you fix something, we have 4 extra rubber car mats. I laid 2 down in between one of my vegetable plots and the strawberries so I could access each without having to weed a damn thing.

What the car mats have done is kill all the grass and weeds (no light) while helping to retain the moisture in the dirt. The dead grass decomposed, fertilizing the soil and next year I’ll plant in it.

Lay down some car mats now, carpet remnants or old bathmats you never want to see again and just leave them through the winter and early spring. This isn’t as good a method as the spade-turn-it-over method, but it’s pretty darn easy and works just fine. Again, this plot will be more productive the second year since it needs the first year to be broken in.

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