4/22/14 Image from: http://blog.ereach.com/cincinnati/files/2014/04/earth-day.jpg
Easter has now passed and the weather is heating up in Pensacola, Florida. The time is right, as spring slowly slips from cool windy days, into moisture laden foggy mornings, into warm sunny afternoons. Twice this weekend, at 1:00 a.m., I was awakened to the shrill callings of one of our resident mocking birds. I am convinced that the moonlight bewitched him into thinking it was time to awaken. Just like that irritating bird call so early in the morning, spring has thrust itself upon us. My garden is heeding the call of spring also. The grandkid’s spaghetti squash, peppers, and tomatoes are all growing at a rapid pace. However, after last week’s rain storms totaling close to 9 inches of rain, I decided I had to do something to contain the soil in the garden by the shed. The rain pours off the roof of the shed and gouges out the soil, which then floats over the bricks lining the bed.
As you can see, the rich soil has eroded away, leaving the sandy soil to come to the top of the garden bed. To remedy this situation, my husband and I installed a plastic gutter to direct the rainfall into a containment pot at the far end of the shed. I can then reuse the rain water to water the plants growing in this space. Our soil in Northwest Florida is reddish brown in color. My particular soil contains clay and sand which is normal for the area. The University of Florida Extension Office in Pensacola, Florida at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021 will give you additional insight into amending your soil depending upon what you are growing. It is a good idea to visit the extension office in your area. Most, will test your soil at no charge and tell you which amendments you need to add to have a successful garden. In this particular garden site I added at least 5 bags of compost which I worked into the native soil. I will need to add a few more bags to adjust for the soil that has eroded into my grass from the violent rain storms. I will work the compost into the area with a shovel, mixing it with the native soil. In addition, I will use a trowel to work in the compost around the plants that are already growing. I don’t want to disturb their active root systems to keep them healthy. This should remedy the erosion problem in this garden area. If this does not work, I might add another layer of bricks glued to the existing layer with construction glue to insure that the soil stays put in this garden. After the next rains, I will update the condition of this garden site to see if our improvements have solved the problem. My shade garden is responding to the warmer temperatures also. I worked compost into this garden section last week and the Hosta (Plantain Lilies), Calla lilies, and Liriope are growing at a rapid pace. The addition of a hummingbird feeder has given us a spectacular view from inside the patio of our tiny bird neighbors.
This shade garden receives sunlight in the morning hours. My granddaughter harvested her first strawberry on Easter from the plants that she planted herself. That is what this gardening adventure is all about. Working with your hands and reaping the reward of your harvest. I don’t know of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than this! Happy Gardening!