new northern Idaho garden

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sagecreek, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. sagecreek

    sagecreek Well-Known Member

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    I just cleared a new area for next springs garden and had a few questions.1) Do I take all manure and grass clippings and start a compost pile and spread that on the garden in the spring, or do I just start dumping it on the area now and till it under in the spring,or now? My partners in this project are my chickens,sheep,rabbits,and turkeys.2)I also heard about spreading plastic over the area to kill weed seeds, is that something I should do? Any other advise would be appreciated! Not my first garden,but my first starting from scratch. I live in Athol so any local advise would be great to! Thanks Scott
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    As you can see, our season here is quite short. I have converted completely to square foot gardening. If you aren't familiar with it, just poke it into the search feature here and read all about it.

    If you follow Mel's recommendations carefully, there is some expense getting started.

    Features I like about it. No tilling! Little weeding! Capacity to start early and go late via incorporating inexpensive pvc hoops and plastic. Around here, it can add as much as two months to your growing season. Raised beds warm quicker in the season and the day to get your garden off to a good and healthy start. Compact beds make it much easier and cheaper to fence the critters out. No water waste.

    Excellent production. I took three five gallon buckets of tomatoes off one 4x10 foot bed, along with I'd guess 100 lbs. of various summer and winter squash. I have three beds and bet I get more produce off them than I did when I grew an acre garden. Mostly because these beds get tended and I am learning to succession plant better.

    As for the future compost, you can do it either way, but since it is so close to the end of the season, I'd make a compost pile. That way you can add to it throughout the winter.

    Mel's garden mix by the way is 1/3vermiculite, 1/3 peatmoss, and 1/3 compost.
     

  3. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do raised bed method but I just fill my raised beds with compost. Works wonderfully well for me. sagecreek, kust be sure to have lots of bedding (dry stuff) in your compost pile. I just clean out the chicken house and goat barn 2-3 times a year, pile it all up, and the next year shovel into the beds and plant. Between cleaning out I just keep adding 1-2 inches fresh bedding to the barn/coop for months. Keeps things clean smelling and starts the composting process.
     
  4. TXlightningbug

    TXlightningbug Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Scott! The plastic spread over a plot of land to kill out the weed seeds should be done during the summer to allow the sun and the black plastic to cook the seeds before you plant. Bit late for that. But mulching will definitely help. I have been hearing about lasagna gardening, square foot gardening and Ruth Stout for a long time. I'm finally going to get around to going in search of the books so I can use what's best for my area. Those rabbits produce some great composting material too.

    I can't help you with much more than that since I'm here in Texas, but I thought you'd like to understand the purpose of the black plastic spread over the garden for any future garden you may prepare. Good luck and happy digging!

    TXlightningbug :yeeha:
     
  5. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    I would mark out 4' x xx' beds, scoop out some dirt for paths (pile onto beds), rake the beds fairly smooth, then pile on lots of manure and grass (leaf mulch, other organic material at least 6-8" deep) and leave it til spring. Then just plant down into it without disturbing the soil. Using tents of clear plastic or row cloth will warm things up early and get you off to a good start. Once things warm up and start to dry out, you mulch with compost. Keeps down weeds and gently nourishes. In the fall, I would use more manure and clippings and repeat the whole cycle.

    Hopefully, you will have enough "stuff" to build compost piles on the side, so that after the first year or two, you only need to use the compost that is ready. Then add a thick layer each fall. Weed thoroughly and carefully for up to 3 years, never letting a weed bloom and set seed, and you will find that chore very minimal in the future.

    Hope this helps--I wish you the best and I wish I were there. I've spent many a happy day at Hope and environs. Sister has a home there.

    Sandi
     
  6. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it's not too wet to work the soil, I'd till everything in now, in the fall, rather than waiting until spring. The main reason for this is that the soil stays warmer, longer (than the air) and the soil life is active longer. They'll have more time to break down the high cellulose stuff like dry leaves and straw, especially if it's mixed with some high nitrogen stuff (manure, green leaves, etc.) and kept a little moist.

    In the spring, the air warms a lot faster than the soil, so the soil life takes longer to reproduce and become as active as they are right now. If you are mixing finished compost into your new garden, then I'd wait until spring.

    Black plastic placed over damp soil with sealed edges is done in the summer to the sun can cook the soil. Usually works down several inches. Clear plastic will continue to have weeds growing under it.
     
  7. sage

    sage On a City lot for now

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    Hi neighbor,
    I live in Athol also!

    Just moved here a month ago don't have the garden area cleared yet though so your way ahead of me there, also don't have any livestock yet--- but next year I will have atleast chickens and if I get the fence in I'll work on gettin' a steer.

    sage
     
  8. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Hmmm, I thought your were one and the same, just changed your name a bit. Gettin' kinda spicy down Athol way.
     
  9. sagecreek

    sagecreek Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone,thanks for all the great info! Sorry I've not had a chance to respond.I think the 4 foot raised bed suggestion with walk ways will be the plan.I have plenty of room,I just measured the garden last night and it comes in at a little over a 1000sq'. I also think I'll put plastic over the beds last thing before winter gets here so they will warm up early for spring.Thanks again for all the help! Hey sage great name!! Let me know about chickens, maybe we could split an order this spring! We moved here this June and love it! Let me know if you need anything. thanks Scott
     
  10. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    You may want to hold off on the plastic through the winter unless you plan on supporting it majorly. I just put mine on pvc hoops, so it doesn't hold much of a snow load. Once the plastic goes up in the spring, the raised beds warm up in a matter of days.

    With the price of plastic sheeting these days, I'm pretty protective of it.
     
  11. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    you might think of adding winter rye to your beds, for a gren manure crop, and turn it under first things next spring....... still not to late to seed that and get it to sprout..... even if you use some hoops and plastic for a couple weeks now. get it growing! a pound of seed will cover quite a large area.....and keeps things in place over winter.

    Central Idaho is the "cultural hub of the universe"

    William
     
  12. sage

    sage On a City lot for now

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    Hey, goin' halves on the chicks sounds like a good idea!

    Hope to get the area cleared today for the garden or at least get the stuff cut down--weeds and such. But also have a lot of other things to do today--build shelves in the shed so the tools can be moved out of the sewing room and get that room set up!

    sage
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Forget the black plastic. Lay down newspaper and/or cardboard and/or paper bags and then hose it down. Dump all of your compost on top of it and hose that down. This is your garden. The newspaper will keep grass and weeds from coming up, and gradually break down.

    If you put black plastic down you will have to pull it up when you are ready to work the garden. Ick! If you leave it there and put holes in it for your plants, they will never get enough water,and your compost won't have a chance to seep into the soil.

    The lasagne method, as mentioned above, is basicly what I've described. You don't even have to till, just lay the newspaper over the grass. It's not only a lot easier on the gardener, but much better for the soil. I'll never use another method.