Mountain Girls
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:11 pm

How to prepare garden space - Zone 6-7

We have just started gardening in a space that has been used for one year. We approached last year naively ... Tilled/ used newspapers/ had weeds everywhere. We went to a biological conference and discovered cover crops, composting, the incredible value of soil. And now don't know where to begin to fix it... Make a responsive garden space for this year. Please offer guidance on steps to take to prepare the garden space. Thank you for any help you can provide. Our location is is right between hardiness zones 6 and 7; Riner,Va; Floyd County.

Green Thumb
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 am
Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

Re: How to prepare garden space - Zone 6-7

I'm not sure you need to fix it. Tilling isn't a big deal. If you want to go no-till, just stop tilling and make sure you don't compact your garden bed soil by walking on it.

First, what kind of soil do you have (is it predominately clay, loam or sand?) If you're not sure, do an internet search for those terms. Here is a place to start: ... soil-type/
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Greener Thumb
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: How to prepare garden space - Zone 6-7

Tilling brings buried weed seeds to the surface where they sprout. You have to cover the soil where there are no crops growing with mulch. Mulch has to consist of more than a couple layers of newspaper, 3 or 4 layers are okay but then cover with wood chips, wood shavings, or seed free mowed grass, or straw. Some people use black or red plastic, others use landscape fabric, and some people use landscape weed blocking paper. Oh, cardboard and old carpet work too. Cardboard can be tilled under at the end of the season but carpet has to be removed.

And no matter how much you mulch you still have to pull or hoe weeds. And no mulch will keep perennial weeds from coming up, especially Canadian thistle. It will come up through round bales of hay.

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: How to prepare garden space - Zone 6-7

Ohhh the possibilities! How big is your garden space, @Mountain Girls?
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