Getting the plot ready has been both a chore and a relaxing, soothing activity. I have been at it now for about a month. Its been a long month too because process is long and drawn out working on it one week letting it sit and going at it again. Rinse and Repeat.
In total, I have made 3 full passes on the plot with the cultivator. The first two passes were difficult because I had not used a cultivator before and I was still getting used to it. After the first two passes, done in one afternoon, I raked the entire plot and tried to make it as level as possible. Then I let the plot sit for a week or two. This turned out to be alittle problematic because when I started trying to do the third pass, the dirt had settled and gotten pretty compacted. The cultivator wasn't hardly getting into the dirt at all. I decided to break up the dirt using a fork. The entire process took me about a week, working in the evenings and then a Saturday afternoon. With the ground broken up, the cultivator did its magic. I removed the wheels and was able to move the cultivator around where I wanted it with ease. The aroma from the newly ground up dirt was great and gave me a sense of accomplishment letting me know that my hard work breaking the ground before hand had paid off.
I still had a few big clumps of dirt but I was tired and satisfied with what I had gotten done so far. I decided to rough out the beds using a rake. To do this, I raked along the perimeter pulling the dirt into the plot about 6 inches all the way around. After one pass raking the outside of the plot, I used the vertical posts of the fence as guides to separate the beds about 6 to 8 inches apart. After this was done, I raked the beds flat giving them a some what raised profile.
From here on out, I'm only going to working in the beds. The walk ways will be covered in landscape fabric and won't be used to produce anything so there is no reason to mess with them anymore.
I have worked on the beds since the pictures above. As you can see from the roughed out beds picture above, where were still really big clumps of dirt in the 2 beds on the right side of the picture. I have since gone back with the cultivator and ground up the dirt some more making it smoother and reshaped the beds afterword. The two beds on the left are positioned almost on top of where the grass was. I've cultivated the middle left bed, raked out the grass, and reshaped it as well. The far left one is next and I plan to do this over the weekend.
I will be repeating the process of cultivating and reshaping the beds for another month or so until the last frost of the year. Hopefully this will be late March early April. Until then there is still lots to do and lots to catch up on for posting to the blog so stop by soon.