Speed_419
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Preparing for Winter

Hi all,
I recently discovered that I would have a garden for next year that is 50'x50' and I am pretty excited about it. A friend of mine purchased a piece of property and it had this existing garden. I have been put in charge of it because he told me he knows nothing about gardening and since I have done a little I get the responsibility. I have all the equipment necessary and it is obviously the end of the growing season in West Central Ohio. I was wondering if I needed to till the ground now or if I should wait until spring?

milifestyle
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You couldn't go wrong planting a green manure cover crop. That will help hold the soil structure in heavy rain (especially if its on a slope) and will provide a starter nutrient source when spring comes around.

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rainbowgardener
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Agree, although it is getting a bit late, you are probably getting frosts already or will very soon, so anything planted right now won't get much growth.

The alternative is to cover the plot with some kind of mulch: hay, straw, fall leaves (conveniently available right now), etc. What you don't want to do is till your ground and then leave it bare all winter to let the soil wash away. If you need to till it to break sod or whatever, you can till it and then put the mulch down, or you can just put the mulch down.

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soil
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amend lots of compost, and other organic materials. then mulch thick and let it rest until spring.

Speed_419
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Sweet. I wasn't sure about tilling the ground and was wondering what to do. The garden area has the beginnings of some growth already because of the neglect that it had between the change of ownership. I will let it go and look into getting ready for the spring. Thanks for the help..
Speed...

DoubleDogFarm
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Speedy,

Welcome to Helpful Gardener. How is Trixie?

Here is one technique.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30536

Eric

The Helpful Gardener
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Clover grows cold and wet; buckwheat is another great nitrogen fixer that will take some cold... winter wheat would be a good annual...

And tilling? Perhaps it isn't necessary? We have ways... :wink:

HG

Speed_419
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Speedy,

Welcome to Helpful Gardener. How is Trixie?

Here is one technique.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30536

Eric
Eric,
That is an awesome idea with the craft paper. I will have to look into that. Don't know if it is cost effective to do it prior to planting since my garden will be 250 square feet, but then again it could seriously save on weeding time later in the year. If I used black paper it would probably even help with warming the soil in the Spring time.. This is my first attempt at a large garden. I have done some growing on the side of my home before, but this is a completely different adventure!

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Hydroponics
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250 Square ft is a big garden to manage. Do you know what you are going to plant yet? I can't wait to see the management style. I think planning out large garden management is one of my strong suits. I think the bigger the garden, the better the design can be.

Please post a grow log when its time! Good luck!

DoubleDogFarm
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I think planning out large garden management is one of my strong suits. I think the bigger the garden, the better the design can be.
Hydro, that's good to hear. When can you start. My fenced in garden is about 3800 sq ft. 54ft x 72ft

Eric

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Hydroponics
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What kind of garden is it? Do you know all the varieties you plan to grow and what conditions they favor?

Do you have drip system equipment? Approx. width of each plant? :D
DoubleDogFarm wrote:
I think planning out large garden management is one of my strong suits. I think the bigger the garden, the better the design can be.
Hydro, that's good to hear. When can you start. My fenced in garden is about 3800 sq ft. 54ft x 72ft

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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250 sq ft would not be very much garden space (about 16x15 or 5x50) but 2500 sq ft (50x50) is a good sized garden!

DoubleDogFarm
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Hydro,
What kind of garden is it?
It's becoming more and more a Farmers Market farm garden all the time. :D Truck farmer
[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Potatoes%202010/DSC02343.jpg[/img]

25 raised beds roughly 3ft wide and 20ft long. Mostly organic, not certified and never will be, and less tilling every year.
Do you know all the varieties you plan to grow
I like to think so, but there are some pretty persuasive members here on Helpful Gardener. Makes one go Hmm, what about that one. I have about a $450.00 wish list. I probably have to whittle it down some. :( or repair a few more customers tools. :)
what conditions they favor?
I have about 20 years of gardening experience, may not mean anything but I do alright. I buy Territorial Seed, somewhat local and maybe a little acclimatized to my growing conditions. I'm try to build a well balanced soil that will favor any variety of vegetable. Fertilize with fish and kelp, both as a foliar spray and soil drench.
Do you have drip system equipment?
No, not at this time. I did install a 9 zone irrigation system last year. 2 zones are in my vegetable garden and 7 in the orchard. One zone in the garden, is hooked up to overhead sprinklers. Even though I am using water conserving Hunter MP Rotator, IMO a bad idea. They are a good way to spread diseases. Soon the two garden zone will be T-Tape or in-line pressure compensating emitter tubing.
Approx. width of each plant?
Lots of variables here. Monoculture vs Polyculture. Soil fertility etc.
If you are asking about emitter spacing, we like to cover the whole raised bed. A 3ft wide bed could have 3 or 4 lines the length of it. The emitters maybe 12" apart in all directions. Soil structure has a big part in emitter spacing. Water penetrates the soil in a cone shape.
Look at this https://www.smart-fertilizer.com/articles/drip-irrigation

Some of this maybe helpful or blah blah blah.

Eric

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farmerlon
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:... buckwheat is another great nitrogen fixer that will take some cold...
I think it should be noted that Buckwheat is killed by frost. It is primarily grown as a Summer crop; it's been my experience that it dies and turns black at the first sign of frost.

Also, I would imagine that the green plant residues will add a lot of nitrogen to the soil when turned under. But, I don't think Buckwheat will "fix" nitrogen at the roots in the way that a legume (beans, peas) will.

The Helpful Gardener
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Yup, I was incorrect there; buckwheat doesn't "fix" atmospheric nitrogen...

But it does make soluble P and Ca, so when you use it as green manure along with a clover or pea, it helps to complete the food source. I had the wrong nutrient, but the right idea; it moves nutrients locked in the CEC to humic, solubilized forms...

HG



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