It is November now and I'm doing all my plant overviews. This does not mean I'm not working hard in the garden. I'm trying to get all my work done before the first freeze hits. The weather has been very cooperative. It has been mostly sunny and cool. We have had very little rain which is good for me, but not so much for the plants.
I had two major projects to do over the last week and a half. I'll write another post about the second since this post got way too long, but the first was to finish double digging the lowest bed. This is the bed near the fence. It used to be an herb bed and hasn't been dug in over fifteen years. Last year I dug up the section that ended at the white row cover. The section past that to the corner of the fence had my tomato pails.
When Pam, another garden blogger, came over, she asked me why I didn't just plant the tomatoes straight into the ground. The answer is right above the bed. This bed is at the drip line of the maple tree in my front yard. It puts out a lot of roots into the bed. To reclaim it I had to hack out some 2" roots and as long as I use the bed, I'll have to double dig it out every couple of years.
When I dug down I found a truckload of stones, all compacted together like concrete. I took out the bigger ones by hand, but about halfway through the project I decided they all needed to go. So I sifted the bottom section of the double dig. Sadly I only did it for the far half. In this little 2'x5' section I took out buckets and buckets of rock. I probably took out 15-20 gallons of little rocks (the big rocks were set aside as they are useful).
The problem with taking out a lot of rock is that the soil level sinks. Usually when you double dig a bed it gets bigger. All the air added to the soil really fluffs it up. This time I sunk the level a bit. Whoops. I solved my problem by adding soil from the tomato pails to it. I put five of the pails' soil on top. This leveled it out quite well. I could still use a bit more, but I'll just add a lot of compost next year.
I usually say I have three beds in the garden, but this is the fourth. It is half as wide as the others. I consider it part of my upper bed in my rotation. The upper bed is only about 12' long while the lower bed is 21' long, so it adds just about the right amount of space to make them even. Sadly now the middle bed is the small bed in my rotation and it will have my tomatoes in it.