Preparing the soil for planting

The weather finally cooperated long enough for us to till and begin planting our garden on Monday. I took the day off and with the help of my awesome sister-in-law Lisa and her mom and daughter we got our fingernails dirty.

Girl standing by blueberry beds

Our first project was the blueberry patch. We bought 16 blueberry shrubs from the same nursery where we ordered our apple trees. First we prepared the beds, mixing in peat moss to make the soil more acidic.

Preparing the soil for blueberries

Then the shrubs were planted in two rows of different varieties (Northblue and Northcountry Blueberry), both cold-hardy for our Minnesota climate.

Planting blueberry shrubs

Two rows of blueberries

In a couple of years these shrubs should be producing 3 to 7 pounds of berries per bush.

Next we tackled the large vegetable plot. Using a borrowed tractor, I tilled the 25 x 60-foot plot.

Tilling garden with tractor

Then we set to work dividing it into several rows with walking paths between each. The plan is to put corn, peas, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, onions, beets, potatoes, and squash roughly in that order. The taller plants like corn go on the north side of the garden so they don’t shade the shorter plants.

Digging rows and paths in the garden

Last year I created my own drip irrigation out of PVC but it didn’t work as I’d hoped. So this year I ordered a drip system from a reputable dealer. I’m also experimenting with plastic mulch to see if my weed control fares any better.

Setting out the drip tape irrigation

Laying down plastic mulch in garden beds

Dumping wood chips for garden paths

It was exhausting work. We had to dig the beds by hand, lay the drip tape, then cover the beds with plastic and shovel dirt on the ends to hold it in place. Probably would have been easier if we had this:

This is just the first of many planting days. There are still the raised beds to prepare and my no-till experiment. After it warms a bit more, we’ll transplant the tomatoes and start the corn.

Planting days are here at last