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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old December 25, 2018   #16
berryman
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Not to disagree with any views here already, but.
If you garden in a place that has almost no organic matter and no N, P or K in the soil from 4" down then it makes some sense to incorporate some compost into the subsoil through cultivation.
Also, if you live in a place where the annual rainfall is 14" then there really isn't a concern about mudholes or heavy downpours.
Point being that it's a great big country and sometimes the common rules about no till will work sometimes, someplaces but sometimes they won't.
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Old December 25, 2018   #17
Nan_PA_6b
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In the fall, collect your neighbors' leaf bags from their trash. Dump a zillion bags of leaves on your garden in the fall. They'll begin rotting down. If you can get other things during the year, like grass clippings, pulled weeds (without seeds), etc., dump them on. Let any wood chips be on top. Plant in the underlying dirt, though, the first year. Once the additives become dirt, plant in those.

My space is at a premium in my 11' x 39' garden. I do this:
fence | 3' row | 1' path | 3' row | 1' path | 3' row | fence
with a 3' row across the two short ends, with a 1' cross path on each end and one cross path in the middle.

Last edited by Nan_PA_6b; December 25, 2018 at 11:32 PM. Reason: plant in dirt
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Old January 6, 2019   #18
SeanInVa
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Giving sheet mulching a go for the upcoming season - have never done it before. This bed here was layered with:

Cardboard
Rabbit manure
Leaves
Chicken Coop bedding + chicken manure
more chicken manure + rabbit manure
wood mulch

Hope to get a few more of these going, probably with some black plastic down between the beds and around the perimeter. We have a terribly time keeping the creeping grass at bay here.
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Old January 6, 2019   #19
Nan_PA_6b
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Sean, do you plan to plant above or beneath the cardboard?
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Old January 6, 2019   #20
SeanInVa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Sean, do you plan to plant above or beneath the cardboard?
I was hoping to put tomatoes here, so in that case - it would be below. However, having never done this before, I'm not sure how well this is all going to break down by the time I would be putting tomatoes in - around April 15th or a little after.
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Old January 8, 2019   #21
MarkFog
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https://returntonow.net/2018/01/27/n...fAC9YjYfcvpzlI
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Old January 8, 2019   #22
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Check out Charles Dowding for no till ........ wonderful videos


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB1...mhwah7q0O2WJBg
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Old April 16, 2019   #23
Black Krim
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Lol, you beat me to mentioning charles dowding!!

Manure has been piled up in pallet bins.

Just add composted material on top. No till in. No fork in.

Four foot rows that we walk on and it doesnt compact. With 24 or 30 inch walkway that will be filled with bark just because the refuse from a dozen trees needs a job and slick when wet walkways are not fun.

Got the courage to follow this method when ling time grain producer switched to no-till and ten years later his fields are a rich dark brown humus rich soil.

Yes, we really do walk on the beds.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #24
SeanInVa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Sean, do you plan to plant above or beneath the cardboard?
Thought I'd follow up on this now that I have some things in the ground. First off, let me say that on top of what was shown in the original picture was more rabbit poop and another chicken coop cleaning and a dump of the grill ash bucket. I do a lot of BBQ smoking, so it's got some good char in there. Then the chickens found it... little buggers. We're on 2.2 acres with our house right in the middle. This is on the left side of the house and the chickens are on the right. They didn't typically wander this way.

Since they found this spot, they've been wandering all over now lol. Anyhow, look back to the first picture. Nice and thick. Now with plants (squash/Zucchini and two tomatoes) - they've leveled it on out pretty much. All dug down and planted below the cardboard/surface layer. I back filled with rabbit poop and some of the dirt that came out of the planting hole. Squash were put in maybe 2 weeks ago, maters maybe 1 week ago. (I have no idea why the forums rotated the picture... )
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Last edited by SeanInVa; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:42 PM.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #25
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berryman View Post
Not to disagree with any views here already, but.
If you garden in a place that has almost no organic matter and no N, P or K in the soil from 4" down then it makes some sense to incorporate some compost into the subsoil through cultivation.
Also, if you live in a place where the annual rainfall is 14" then there really isn't a concern about mudholes or heavy downpours.
Point being that it's a great big country and sometimes the common rules about no till will work sometimes, someplaces but sometimes they won't.
Going back to original statements and questions.
With my worthless opinion.

1 No till will work just about any place.
Some places it will take longer and isn't cost effective for some people.

2 you dont have to incorporate compost into the soil by tilling worms will do it.

3 not all compost is the same
Some compost from organic material such as leaves and so on wont have any nutrients in it to speak of.
All it is is a soil builder not a fertilizer.
Hot composting this type of stuff uses up nitrogen.
Manures are different so dont compare the two.
Cold composting is better than hot composting plant material.

Plant roots dont push their way through the soil they grow through the soil by way of cell growth.
Soil does not have to be all fluffy and loose for plants to grow in it.
My first very successful no till garden was way back in 1982.

All I did was mow the grass down way short scrape off excess and planted seeds.
No fertilizer lots of earthworms.
This was in a back yard in Austin that had never seen a garden or tiller.
Best cantaloupe crop ever.








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Old 3 Days Ago   #26
BigVanVader
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The key for me is keeping the soil covered at all times. I add amendments, rake in, and recover. My beds are just raised soil.
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