runbikegrrl
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:09 pm
Location: VT

New House New Garden

I just purchased a wonderful 150 year old farm house with very nice well established (ok, horribly overgrown) perenial gardens. No established plot for vegetable gardens however. There are flowers all around the house and I have just put in about 300 bulbs so I'll not be lacking in flowers if I do the following. My thought is to take half of the very large perenial garden in the back pull up the flowers ( transplant what I like and can) and use that for veggies next year. I could split the garden with a stone path. flowers on one side kitchen garden on the other. I do not have a tiller and can not afford to rent one. Also to make yet another gardne plot would be difficult as this perenial gardne has the idea spot in the yard good sun and not too wet ( much of my yard gets swampy when it rains). any help in how to approach this or other ideas would be appreciated. i was thinking about pulling up and transplanting as much as I can now before the ground freezes and then putting down newspaper and straw. In the spring I can hand till with a shovel and add compost to the soil before planting. I will be planting mesculin mix, chard, spinnach, tomato, onion and peppers.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Runbikegrrl,

Congratulations on your new home! Vermont has hardiness zones 3, 4 and 5. It's kind of late in the season to be transplanting herbaceous perennials. Consider making raised beds for the veggies. They will stay dryer that way too. Then you could put in 60% screened topsoil and 40% compost. Your veggies will love you for it. You can make them as long as you want and about 4' wide. That way you will be able to reach the middle from either side.

Newt

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Hi Run,

You don't need to till so, don't worry about that. Tilling is actually really bad for the soil and in the long run the plants.

Pulling the flowers is a good idea. After pulling the flowers, what I would do (and do every year) is lay down a layer of mulched up leaves (no Oak leaves if you want to grow corn) followed by a layer of manure. (Steer, horse, pig, sheep, chicken...). Finally, plant Rye atop the manure and some clover in the early spring. Mow the Rye/clover regularly and turn it in three weeks before planting.

Break the clumps up with a shovel. (No need to till). Your soil will be ripe for the planting and your vegetables will be just amazing!

(Add some Rock Phosphate as well, this will aid in the formation of soil aggregates and also; soil is 90% mineral based and 10% organic matter so, adding the rock phosphate will increase the vitality of your soil.)

Don't use commercial salt based fertilizers, these kill the beneficial organisms that live in the soil such as worms, springtails, mites, fungi and bacteria. They also feed the plants in an uncontrolled manner.

And when salt based fertilizers are used to feed plants, nothing is put into the soil to replace any nutrients that are used by the plants. Therefore, the soil basically dies and all the beneficial aspects of the soil die with it (it's a lot more complicated than I am describing here). The result is that the plants are that much more susceptible to disease and also to nutrient deficiencies.

Anyway, use the sheet composting system that I have outlined above and your plants will love it! And if you have either clay or sandy soil, this system will ammend that as well.

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