i was hoping to start a bunch of seeds inside, but my mischievous kitten Banjo, has made that rather difficult. He chews up the seedlings, and digs in the soil. So the husband put together this cold frame, so i can try to get a few things started early. i typically plant seeds directly in the ground for almost everything. The exceptions have been tomato, peppers, broccoli/cauliflower, eggplant and sweet potato. i've never had great luck starting these inside and transplanting so in the past i have typically purchased them as plants from our local garden center. They actually have a great selection of heirloom varieties.
Last year i started a few tomatoes from seed and they did really well, so i bought a bunch of tomato seeds this year and am attempting to start them all from seed this year instead of purchasing them. i'm also starting seeds for Violet Cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli, because i can't get these variety at the garden center. i'm attempting to start my own sweet potatoes as well, but so far they are not producing any starts.
My front garden was a huge mess. It was never turned up in the fall, and the weeds had taken over. It was covered in chickweed, ground ivy and grass. We still do not have a working rototiller, so the husband turned up the bed using a pitch fork. Then i let the chickens get in there and really scratch it up. eat up grubs, weed seeds and some of the chickweed. They also eat the earth worms, which is good for them, but not necessarily good for my garden. They do leave a bit of manure behind, so hopefully that makes up for it.
i worked on turning up the soil in the main (summer) garden. Rather than planting in traditional rows, i like to plant in blocks. A few years ago i can across this method of making raised beds without building boxes or frames from Martha Stewart. You can see a video on it here. i really like this method, it allows you to concentrate your fertilizer or compost where it's needed most and helps with drainage. i also prefer the look of it. i always felt very limited when i planted in rows, but with blocks you can split up the blocks and plant much more of a variety.
i recently came across this chart on the Heirloom Organics Fb page, and thought it was great! It really shows how you can have fun with the blocks and create a nice looking garden without tons of space. i love how they incorporated the flowers in with veggies. i tend to plant nasturtium with just about everything. It's pretty and edible.
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." - Margaret Atwood