The seeds are coming. The seeds are coming! Okay, I am not Paul Revere, but the seeds are on the way all the way from way up north! Every gardener loves new seeds. Seeds are a promise, they are a prospect. We greet them with anticipation and hope. They are also a lot of dang hard work!
My seeds really are coming, so we spent the morning shoveling my pile of wonder soil onto a sheet of black plastic, breaking up clumps and retrieving worms as we went along. Then we spread nice burnt earth over the dirt, saturated it all with water and covered it with more plastic to let it sterilize in the tropical sun. This is a tried-and-true way to killing weed seeds and harmful bacteria in your soil before you plant new seeds. If you only want to work on a little soil, you can use oven or microwave sterilization methods but I found the odor from the oven a bit much and I want to work with almost a cubic yard of soil, so plastic has to be the method.
And, truth be told, I won’t be letting it sit for the full recommended number of weeks. In the “Northern Territories”, they recommend six to eight weeks of full sun. Intense tropical sun speeds things up but, even so, the seeds will be here before the soil is ready, and I will be counting the days until planting.
There are ways to fix that, of course. A blanket of landscaper fabric around the newly sprouted plant starts the fix but, if you are using the fabric, be sure to put an insulating layer of shredded bark, macadamia shells or the like over the fabric. Remember, black absorbs heat and a hot pot can kill a seedling.
We are also building a seedling table so I can stand up and work with my new sprouts. After all, I am (mumble, mumble) years old and putting sprouts on flats on the ground is getting to my knees, my back, my shoulders . . . . You get the picture. With a table at the right height, maybe the aches and pains will subside for a while.
Speaking of great soil and fewer aches and pains, I think it’s time to show you a picture of my friend Shirley’s raised beds, because she has got it so right. Three rounds of concrete blocks and just the right width for picking vegetables. She can even mix her kitchen scraps in with the soil, cover a bed with plastic and let it rejuvenate. What a plan! This is a picture of “a work in progress” (note the trellis in the background). Maybe soon I will post one of the finished project (if a garden is ever really “finished”).