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2009 “Get It Garden” Challenge – THE BIG DIG – Adding Compost and Tilling The Veggie Garden

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Welcome to the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge!! The challenge: create a garden that makes a difference in your life and your community, then share it with The Casual Gardener readers.

Finally it is time to till the soil on my front lawn. Planting a veggie garden in my delightful little suburban neighborhood comes next. Yes, my neighbors LOVE me – HA!

Determine first if the area is both warm enough and dry enough to complete the job if you want to build a garden. If it is too wet, the soil will compact and it will not provide a loose soil for the roots to grow in. Sixty degree temperatures here in Chicagoland for several weeks have assured me of the warmth, but it has been raining consistently, so I was concerned about doing the “big dig”. Fortunately it dried out and we got to work.

veggie garden

Chicagoland is known for its very heavy clay soil, which is backbreaking work to hand turn, so I had a good friend, Tom Barton, come with his big tiller and turn it the first time. Because the soil is clay, it can easily clump back together and prevent veggies from growing as beautifully as they should. To proactively assist the veggies, I add any rotted material I can find as well as compost or manure. To learn more about which soil amendments work best, click HERE. My big experiment this year – ROTTED BUFFALO MANURE. NO kidding! This compost comes from Limpert Environmental and although it does have a nitrogen content which will assist growth, what this manure is best for is helping the soil re-attain healthy bacteria and microbial action which we dramatically change when we till the top layers of the soil under.

First steps are to mark the garden area, remove the sod, add all the amendments, then bring the tiller in. Till about six inches deep being careful not to “over” till. You can see the very loud work being accomplished in the video above.

Next step is to layout the basic design of the garden so the plants get the most appropriate sun exposure. I am excited to get started!

veggie garden

Veggie Garden

Remember, as you follow along and build your garden, please send photos and details to me, Shawna Coronado, and I will post your successes – and your failures – so we can all learn how to make a difference with a garden. Please send anything you can – what do you do with all the vegetables you harvest for instance? Will you sell them for additional family income? Will you give them away to local food banks? My readers want to know ALL the details.

Let’s build a garden together! Please join the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge today and help make a difference for yourself and your community.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!

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  1. Goodness, Shawna, you’re BRAVE. I don’t think I could do it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my veggie garden, but don’t think I could put it in my front yard.

    You’re going to be at Spring Fling, aren’t you? Can’t wait to meet you! 🙂

  2. Hi Kylee! Brave is a good word to describe me. LOL! Much better than “CRAZIER THAN A LOON”!!! And yes, I’ll be at the Chicago Spring Fling – we are going to have a ball!

  3. Looks like a whole lot of fun & love.

    Just think of those warm , if not hot July & August summer days picking fresh veggies from the garden for dinner! woo hoo

    I heart my mom's veggies garden when I was a kid! Best of times! You Go Girl!!!

    (Sorry for the delete, I forgot to put my name down. …oops)

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