rcrev
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 12:37 am
Location: Lancaster PA

Newbie looking for next steps after planting

Hi all,

My wife and I live in a townhome with a small backyard. The last couple of years we've tried tomatoes in containers and this year I decided to go for broke and plant and actual garden.

The plot is roughly 9X5 and I planted 3 rows of 4 plants and 1 plant is the last row for a total of 13 plants. They are tomatoes and a variety of peppers. We are planning on picking up a couple of more plants tomorrow to fill out the last row probably string beans.

I made on huge mistake in that I did not rent a tiller. I did the hole plot by hand and it took me all morning yesterday and today. On advice from the garden center, a good locally owned place, I mixed peat moss into the soil (Clay heavy) to make a 50% peat soil mix. The plants seem to like it. I watered them after planting and they perked right up. The drainage is kind of slow. I watered each row with what would look like heavy rain from the hose for about a 1-1.5 min per row. It took 5-7 minutes to soak in. I repeated this three times about 1 hour apart until the soil felt moistened.

I guess my question is what next? we back up to a preserved farm which is great but we can get extremely heavy winds(take off your window shutters winds) so I plan on caging my plants both tomatoes and peppers.

Do I need to mulch to cover the bed? How often if at all should I fertilize? what should I use?

Thanks for any advice

Ray

rigardengal
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Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:13 pm
Location: Rhode Island

Welcome to beginner gardening!! Your situation sounds EXACTLY like mine. Had much success in container gardening, then bit the bullet and went for the real thing!! We prepared almost exactly as you did, prepped the garden by hand, have clay like soil and added the peat moss. We also added some composted material we had going, but we probably didn't have enough.

See my post titled "Raised Bed a Slow Drainer". There are some very helpful suggestions in that post by others on this board.

I have gone into my garden and stirred up the soil a few times and that seams to help a bit. I also use a mist-like setting on my hose nozzle, which helped with the puddling. I have other areas of the yard/plants to water, so I go to the garden first, then do other areas, then return to the garden, just to let the water drain.

Good Luck!

doccat5
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Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:48 pm
Location: VA

Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening in the ground guys! :) You can mulch between your planting with a 2 inch layer of leaves, or grass clippings. That will help conserve moisture, smother out weeds and be much easier to keep up. Do put your stakes in first before you mulch and be careful not to hit the buried stems of your plants with the stakes. I use compost tea on my growing plants about every 2 weeks. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need the extra boost. You can use any good organic fertilizer or fish emulsion.
doccat5

I'd rather be gardening!

rigardengal
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Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:13 pm
Location: Rhode Island

Hi,
Novice question here.(I'm needing my hand held more and more these days!!) When you talk about mulching between planting......do you mean, dig 2" into the soil, around existing plants and add things like grass clippings and so forth, then cover. Or are you refering to between planting cycles?

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Roger
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

You don't have to dig the mulch into your existing soil. You can just spread the grass clippings, leaves, whatever you are using, to make a 'barrier' layer of materials, about 2 inches deep, on top of the soil, to get the weed barrier/moisture retention benefits of a mulch.

This winter, or whenever your garden is finished for this year, then you can dig the mulch into the soil of the garden, to let it slowly decompose in the soil. Or you can just leave it on top of the soil and let it break down throughout the winter, and then turn it under next spring or rake it all up and toss it into the compost pile.

rigardengal
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Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:13 pm
Location: Rhode Island

Roger,
Can I start mulching with grass clippings now, or should I wait till the weather gets warmer to retain the moisture. Also, is it ok to use grass clippings that have been ontop of my compost bin since the beginning of the season, or clippings from a fresh cut of grass? I realize I have to be careful not to use grass that has been introduced to weed killer.
Thanks

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Roger
Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

You can start mulching right now if you wanted to. The grass clippings you already have will be fine. I usually let my grass clippings dry out four or five days before adding them as a mulch, they can get pretty hot when they first begin decomposing.

rigardengal
Full Member
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:13 pm
Location: Rhode Island

Ray, sorry, I didn't mean to ask questions w/in your post, but, hopefully my beginner questions will help you as well.

Roger, thanks for all the info. It's tough when you're new at something and I find all the reading in the world doesn't take the place of hearing it from a 'real' person!!

rcrev
Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 12:37 am
Location: Lancaster PA

don't worry about it. This helps me as well. Is there any benefit to a bark type mulch for a vegetable garden?

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