how to start from scratch...

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Jesus Saves, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Jesus Saves

    Jesus Saves Well-Known Member

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    Well my garden area is all grass now. Looks just like the rest of the yard. It is a 15x 25 area. I want a garden next year. What do I do? Do I till it now or wait til spring? Do I do the garbage bag thing over it after tilling? Give me advice as if I was starting with just a part of the yard. What do you recommend I do to have a garden next spring? Im intellectually challanged. :monkey:
    Stephanie
     
  2. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    Hi, Stephanie. I'm a big fan of the "lasagna"-type gardening, and you'll probably hear from a few others like me. Here's what I do to lay out a new veggie bed:

    1) Lay out newspaper about 6-10 sheets thick on the area. I also use empty feed bags for this.
    2) Cover it up with some kind of organic mulch. We use the dirty straw from the goat barn - stuff it into trash bags, cart 'em over to the veggie bed, and spread the contents on top of the newspaper.
    3) Water well. This will prevent the stuff from blowing around and also tamp it down. Over time, these materials will kill the underlying sod and start to decay; keep adding more mulch materials and letting them break down. You can also sprinkle this periodically with fertilizer to enrich the mix - we use rabbit poop. By spring, you should be able to pull off the straw that remains and there should be some nice soil underneath, full of earthworms. You may still want to till, or you might not need to (depending on how heavy your soil is).

    In the spring, when the ground softens, we also pound in plastic edging around the bed. I keep using straw as mulch once the veggie plants are up and going. Then I cover the whole area again with straw when the growing season is over, and the soil gets better every year.

    Good luck and enjoy!
     

  3. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    You could just get a couple of pigs and fence them in that area and let them till and fertilize the area for you!

    If you go that route, let me know how you convinced your hubby (if you are married, that is) to get some pigs...I haven't figured out how to convince mine yet. SIGH!!!!!
     
  4. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd start by covering it up with black plastic and letting the August sun cook the grass and weeds. In September, I'd till in as much organic stuff you can find and water it well. Then cover it up again until the snow flies.
     
  5. Jesus Saves

    Jesus Saves Well-Known Member

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    Trixi-do I till after pulling off the straw in the spring or will it just be dirt by then. Right now it is just grass.
    Ardie-do I uncover it when it snows or in the spring?
     
  6. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd leave it covered until it snows. That way, the sun beating on the plastic all during Fall will further kill any seeds and vegetation that is in there. I'd take the plastic off when it snows so that the moisture can get to the soil.

    We used black plastic in the garden this year and never weeded! We put it down and peg it with wire and put boards on the edges to keep the wind from taking the plastic. Then we cut holes and plant. Cutting long rectangular(SP?) rows and seeding gets a bit dicey so we add boards along them until the plants are big. Otherwise the wind lifts the plastic.
     
  7. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    This years garden was horse pasture when I started. The 'pacing corner', no less, so packed hard.

    I laid newspaper, then mulched it with everything I could get my hands on. When spring came, I peeled back what was left of the mulch to seed, and tucked it back around growing plants. I didn't till a thing, and did no digging, other than poking holes or dragging finger trenches for seed. The garden produced more than I could keep up with this year!

    Meg
     
  8. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    I am with Ardie on this. Cover and let all the grass and stuff die. This fall you can cover with leaves and compost and then cover it again with black plastic.
     
  9. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    I use newspapers and mulch. Cheap and free! I use leaves if I can get them and straw if I can't. I also use horse barn scrapings...and chicken yard straw. I put several thicknesses down of newspapers and then put the straw on top. When you dig your little hole to plant your seeds it will have LOTS of earthworms. Earthworms LOVE newspapers! The newspapers will deteriorate and turn to compost and add to the organics in your soil. Black plastic will kill your grass but it won't compost down and improve your soil. I have used both and like both for different reasons. The black plastic will kill grass, warm up the soil, and keep moisture in the ground. The newspapers will kill grass, keep moisture in the ground, and decompose to add to your soil. You can go either way with success. Where we live you have to cover the black plastic with straw or something else or it gets too hot and fries the plants. Up North where Ardie lives it would be perfect to warm up the ground early.
     
  10. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You might try burning the area off. That will elimnate weed seeds and help with insects that over winter. After burning it off try tilling it up and and keep it loose and tillable.Then you can keep adding humus to it to build the soil up..
     
  11. KimM

    KimM Student of goatology.

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    Does your hubby like ham, pork chops and sausage? Go to the store and write down what it costs for the same amount of meat as one hog would produce. Ham and pork roast is 'spensive!!!

    By the way that's a very good idea letting the pigs till and fertilize. I have a garden spot in mind that is now hard, bare clay. I was going to have a load of top soil brought in and transfer the horse's manure pile to that spot and till it all up together....but I like the pig idea! I can always add the rest after the freezer is full of pork! Thanks for the idea! :goodjob: