elissabee
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:17 am
Location: New Jersey 6a

Preparing a new vegetable garden

Hello! In the fall my husband staked out an area to be our first vegetable garden. The plot we've chosen is a rocky area that hasn't been used for cultivating plants before. So, on the advice of another gardener, we dumped the fall leaves in the area to be used, along with the last of the season's grass clippings. This friend told us that by the time planting season came around, we'd have beautiful soil ready for planting. So the leaf/grass pile sat there all winter and has compacted down to about 8 inches.

Today I turned over the pile for the first time to see how things are progressing. I became concerned because the pile hasn't broken down as much as I thought it would. I do have a separate compost bin that has a good amount of organic compost which I plan to add into the leaves. And, I am waiting on a shipment of encapsulated earthworm eggs, which I will plant in this plot as well. What else should I add? Composted manure? Top soil? My concern is that this "leaf pile" won't be soil by the time I'm ready to plant my seedlings.

I am also beginning to think this garden plot would be best suited for a raised bed since the earth beneath it is hard and rocky. Any advice to this end would also be appreciated.

2cents
Green Thumb
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:04 pm
Location: Ohio

A friend had 6 feet of leaves set on top of a concrete pad last fall. They are down to about 2 feet, a thick mat. He says he is planting directly into it this summer.
You have to be better off than Rick, since you are on topf of dirt even if it is rocky.
You can always add your compost pile to the top, the worm eggs, both will help.
Even add an inch of dirt to the top of it to give your plants a good starting soil.
I would steer clear of deep root plants like corn, at least this year.

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applestar
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According to lasagna garden theory, basically all you have to do now is water it down well, then put a layer of something nitrogen (grass clippings, alfalfa pellets/meal, or well composted manure is what I use), sprinkle with potassium (ditto wood ash, green sand, or granite dust) and phosphate (ditto rock phosphate). Add a layer of soil mix or potting mix -- bagged or I usually like to use what I call "Good Under the Woodpile Dirt -- nice loose soil enriched with composted leaves and woody matter" mixed with compost and sand when I have them. Then simply sow seeds on top or plant transplants in pockets of the good soil mix. :D

This year, shallower rooted crops will probably do better. Planting deep rooted crops -- Potatoes are supposed to be good pioneers -- will reach fibrous roots as far as they can and will be left there to open up the soil more. Having a brain fog at the moment an can't remember other recommended crops :roll: but I've mentioned them before elsewhere.... :wink:

elissabee
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:17 am
Location: New Jersey 6a

applestar wrote:According to lasagna garden theory, basically all you have to do now is water it down well, then put a layer of something nitrogen (grass clippings, alfalfa pellets/meal, or well composted manure is what I use), sprinkle with potassium (ditto wood ash, green sand, or granite dust) and phosphate (ditto rock phosphate). Add a layer of soil mix or potting mix -- bagged or I usually like to use what I call "Good Under the Woodpile Dirt -- nice loose soil enriched with composted leaves and woody matter" mixed with compost and sand when I have them. Then simply sow seeds on top or plant transplants in pockets of the good soil mix. :D

This year, shallower rooted crops will probably do better. Planting deep rooted crops -- Potatoes are supposed to be good pioneers -- will reach fibrous roots as far as they can and will be left there to open up the soil more. Having a brain fog at the moment an can't remember other recommended crops :roll: but I've mentioned them before elsewhere.... :wink:
This is great advice, thanks. As for potassium and phosphate--I have those fertilizers in dry form. I use them in my planted aquarium. If I sprinkle that on my vegetable garden is it still considered organic? I'm guessing not but since I have a pound of this stuff I thought I'd ask.

chefshelle
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:34 pm
Location: Jefferson City, Missouri

The best part about a lasagna garden is virtually no weeds! Just start your layers. Cardboard, grass clippings, compost, topsoil...etc. My son started his this spring, planted seeds last week and he has tons of stuff popping up!

Whenever you break the ground, it just encourages weeds to grow. By not disturbing the soil, you eliminate most of your weeds. The LG does not have to be very thick. His is only maybe 6 inches total?
Michele

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