Welcome to the first update of 2016. It will be a short one, but I can say that I have accomplished one goal and started on a second one already. (If you missed it, here are my 2016 goals.) While out in the garden yesterday afternoon to gather soil samples (and do some weeding), I also took a few pictures to share with you.
Yesterday was a mostly sunny day with temperatures in the high 40s, so it was a good day to get out in the garden. (Please note: 45 degrees in Charleston is much warmer than 45 degrees in New England. The sun is much warmer here and the high humidity makes it feel warmer.)
My main objective was to take two soil samples from each of my 21 raised beds for a soil analysis. (Click here for my process and where I sent it this time.) Although Clemson University has a great soil test, I need one with more detail – one which I can send for interpretation and suggestions for improvements.
I thought I’d start some weeding while I was at it, but after three hours, I was able to clear out only 3 beds – and the areas of each bed where I was digging for a soil sample. Even at that, I filled 3 and a half lawn and leaf bags!
While clearing out the first three raised beds, I got a few surprises. First, I found two pumpkins and two winter squash hiding under the weeds! I guess the “bedding” was enough to keep them protected from the frosts. They’re small, but I think they’re still good enough to eat.
Another surprise I got while digging for soil was finding this garden toad. I thought I had dug up a lump of dirt…until it moved!
He seemed okay as he hopped under the weeds to safety.
Here’s a really interesting surprise. I haven’t had lettuce in my garden since last spring, but I found two “volunteer” lettuce plants in a couple of my beds. They need a bit of watering, but I might have a taste of lettuce this week.
And now for the not-so-good surprise. My yard has become a mine field of fire ant hills, and I found four or five of them inside my raised beds. I’m going to need to get rid of them before I amend my soil, for sure. And they’re huge! Here’s the one in the bed where I had grown my okra.
I must say, I am sore from working in the garden after not having done it in a while. But it’s a good kind of sore. I’ll be back at it next weekend to clear out some more beds – and kill those fire ants.
Oh, by the way, since fixing the greenhouse, it’s been holding very steady – even through the windy storm we had a few days ago. And it’s nice and toasty inside. My key lime trees are doing great.
How are things in your garden/greenhouse this week?