But for now, that’s all we can do, so I’m trying to spend the time wisely.
I’ve been spending a lot of the past few weeks reading gardening books – in particular, books about gardening in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve gardened in the south, on the west coast in a couple of different areas, and in Texas, where the weather can change from summer-hot to blizzard – literally – in just a few hours. But I’ve never gardened in an area that has so much water. It’s also a maritime climate, which will be quite a change from most of the other places I’ve gardened, which tend to be more on the desert side of things. I figure a little bit of research before jumping into the deep end is probably a good thing.
In addition, I’ve been trying to find out as much about the land as I can before we move out there. I was able to take a small soil sample the last time we were there (that’s part of it in the picture to the right) and do a very simple soil composition test on it. The results are the soil from that area of the forest is a sandy loam with a bit of small gravel mixed in. Which is pretty good, actually, because all of the rain there means the soil needs that more open structure in order to drain properly and not stagnate. The soil sample I took came from a small trench someone dug in a semi-cleared area. The trench was a couple of feet deep, and the soil looked to be pretty much the same from top to bottom, so I think that not only is the soil composition good, the soil depth probably is as well.
I will take several more soil samples while we are out there next, and run this test as well as some simple soil chemistry tests on them. Almost all of the soils out in that area are nitrogen-poor and acidic because the steady winter rain washes all of the nitrogen out of them. We will likely be spending a lot of time building up the gardening areas with compost and other soil amendments, but we prefer to garden that way anyway, so it’s not a problem. We garden exclusively organically, so we tend to throw all the clean organic matter we can find into the garden every year until the soil is fertile enough to grow our annual vegetables with only a little bit of side dressing.