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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 9:31 pm
Location: North Carolina

New garden for 2014

Well I am glad to be back in garden mode! I have a few questions and any advise and guidance is welcome!

I moved into my New home late spring and it was too late to start a garden. So I wanted to wait untill 2014. Well now I'm ready to prepare the area and what not so when spring rolls around I have a good start.

My garden will be close to 35' by 12'

Right now it's nothing but grass. I would prefer to go ahead and till the ground, mulch some leaves in there maybe plant some winter rye in there. Is that a waste of time or will it help prepare the ground for spring planting?

I Plan to have my soil tested and all in the spring but would love some advise in reference to how I should prepare the soil, kill the grass, what all do I need to do to really prepare this area for a good start this spring?

I know that's a lot but any help is much appreciated.


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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: New garden for 2014

Preparing the ground now is a really good thing to do. Till the grass and whatever other organic amendments you have in, and then mulch well with leaves. I don't have experience with cover crops and don't know if it is too late for you to plant the winter rye or not. But yes, the more good stuff you can add to your soil now, the better garden you will have next year.
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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: New garden for 2014

I think I would till the grass, wait a week or ten days and till it again. Grass can be a little tough to kill. Then it would be good to add some other organic matter. I don't think I would plant rye this fall.

BTW, maybe you could add a siggy line and let us know where you are. Gardening techniques vary dramatically across the country depending on your climate etc.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: New garden for 2014

Grass of any sort is often difficult to kill. If it is sod, you may be able to remove it for composting, Brandon. I've made some of my nicest compost with lawn grass sod.

Simply because it is covered with soil will not mean that the grass is dead or dying. However, you can bury Kentucky Bluegrass under about 8" of soil and it will die. Don't count on that with something like quackgrass. That stuff will require multiple tilling or, better yet, removal.

Winter rye can be almost as difficult to kill in the spring as any lawn or weed grass. The key for me was to allow it to grow enough that it could be pulled by hand. Once again, this grass can make good compost. But, I am very inclined to dig out beds in the garden and bury compostables - like that winter rye.

Most of us like to have soil that is easily penetrated by garden plant roots to a good depth. If your topsoil is, at least, 8" deep, it really helps if that top 8" is nicely prepared for the crops to grow in. Burying organic matter may work better in my gardens than elsewhere. The soil there is really beyond "sandy" and all the way to "gravelly." Yes, water drains well and there isn't much of a chance of just anaerobic composting going on under that soil. If I've put something like lawn grass or winter rye in the bottom of what amounts to a trench in the spring, it is almost impossible to find anything identifiable the following year. Permanent paths give me some place to pile the soil and moving it on and off helps keep the paths free of weeds. I can till the paths now and then but tramping up and down on them with my big feet probably does more to keep them weed-free than anything else.

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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