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Old March 12, 2018   #1
taboule
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Default New garden 2018

So we moved in this new (to us) house late last spring, and I've been thinking since then about what the new garden will look like. The last season got fragmented with the relocation, and although I still had the old property and garden, it is about 35 miles away, and pretty much all our energy has been spent on settling in. I only managed a relatively small production, as the tomatoes at the old garden fell to diseases and neglect.

Now, given that we're going to get an early spring (see other thread ) I thought it's time to get going. DW and I finally agreed on the location and approximate size, I need to settle on the layout and prep it in time for planting out. Would like to share my notes here and solicit some ideas.

Here's where it will be, about a 30x60 rectangle delineated on two sides by the fence. {Had to shoot through a window screen, hope you don't mind the low quality pic}

new-plot-2018.jpg

Another view, from the far side

20180312_163146.jpg

The snow will melt pretty soon, for sure, after we get the next forecasted snowstorm.
(to be continued...)
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Old March 12, 2018   #2
Nan_PA_6b
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Do you know how many hours of sun you get? What direction is that treeline? (north, south, etc.)

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Old March 12, 2018   #3
bower
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New garden is always exciting. It looks like a lovely area, lots of sheltering trees around but not too close to the actual plot!
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Old March 12, 2018   #4
Gardeneer
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Good luck. Last year I was in a similar situation. Now getting ready to start my second season.I have done a lot of digging, tilling, amending. Now my harden soil looks decent. Learned a lot about the damaging insect, no disease luckily though.
Amazingly I had the best pepper pruction ever. Tomatoes did just average.
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Old March 12, 2018   #5
Worth1
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Ice garden.

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Old March 12, 2018   #6
taboule
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Nan,

Plenty of sunshine was high on our list of requirements when we were looking. We liked many other houses that were in very wooded areas (and beautiful), but too shaded. It would have cost a fortune to cut enough trees for a garden, and still with limited results -why bother?

This property is clear enough. The tree line runs north/south, and is to the East (sun rises behind them). The long leg of the L runs east-west. The entire plot would have full sun after 9am in the spring/summer, until sundown (after 6 pm). So at least 8 hrs plus.

I am thinking of a series of boxes, shallow, with walkways between them. VERY low tech sketch (not to size, dimensions TBD) below
DSC_0589.jpg

The top right point labelled W (water) is the corner of the house. There's a faucet and exposed water pipes there for the in-ground sprinklers. I'll tap into it to run poly lines for drip irrigation.
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Old March 12, 2018   #7
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Looks like a great plan!

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Old March 15, 2018   #8
taboule
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Ice garden.

Worth
Seriously. Then we got another big snowstorm on Tuesday, dumped ~22 inches on the yard. Spent all of yesterday shoveling away the snow so I can continue with the prep.

DSC_0455.jpg



At the far end are some pots and grow bags (10 and 15 gal) we had last year, a few toms and eggplants. They'll be relocated and re-purposed.

Previous owners of the house had big dogs and must have built the fence to keep them separated from the surrounding wildlife. It's not my favorite style for blending with the type of property and neighborhood. But we have deer and other critters in the area, so we decided to keep it and put it to good use.

The first box will be L-shaped, running along that fence. There we'll plant peas, cukes, beans, and other climbers that will use the fence as support and camouflage the chain links.

Next decision points are the dimensions, height and width/depth.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
taboule
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Probably before talking dimensions, best to discuss the current thinking WRT construction technique, and get your thoughts.

These will be shallow beds, only deep enough to fill with a thick layer of compost, and for minimal work. I'm thinking 2x10s, placed on edge, and screwed at the corners. Will simply build them on top of the lawn, and our landscaper brings a couple of truck loads to fill them up. I initially thought to remove the grass, even got a quote to get that peeled off across the entire area.

After some analysis, I am now leaning towards leaving the grass in place and just smother it. From previous experience covering the lawn with various materials, the grass soon dies and turns to dirt, why incur the extra time and expense of removing it. It would be dormant when we bury it and i cant believe it will grow again through 8-9 inches of dirt.

Any experience folks can share on this? For extra measure, I could cover the grass with a layer of craft paper (or rosin) to seal its fate. The paper will dissolve in due time, and the tomato roots can go through it anyway.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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I covered my grass with newspaper (5-6 pages thick), then put organic material on top. Be prepared to wet it as you go, or have some stuff ready in a wheelbarrow to cover each set of papers, so it doesn't blow away.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Found this quote in another thread, seems germane:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryHaskins View Post
One thing I would add: Make sure that your beds are level. If your beds are on a slight slope and you simply follow the terrain, rain and irrigation water will pond at the low point inside your bed. And it will wash your soil into the low point and over the edge of your bed.

Ask me how I know . . .
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
Salsacharley
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I don't know what kind of grass you have there, but it looks thick. I had beds 12" deep that grass grew through, even with landscaping fabric lining the bottom. It was a real pain to control. I must admit it was Bermuda grass so some decent type of grass might not be as invasive.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
taboule
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Thanks for your comments.

Nan, did the newspaper trick work keeping the old grass from growing through? I'm ready to use a heavier paper, but a single layer because I'd have to buy it. Not sure where to get old newspaper from, I've gone digital ages ago. Probably from a library, but DW may object at using newsprint -although she tells me of her early time in the UK seeing people eat fish-and-chips wrapped in old newspaper.

Salsacharley, your experience is what I'm fearing, and wish to avoid -glad I asked. I want to keep the height of the beds down, for the few cases when one of us has to step in a bed (a very rare occurrence, to minimize compaction.) I dont know what kind of grass we have, will try to find out. I have some time to research this issue and will check with my landscaper. Worst case, will have it peeled of, at extra cost.

============

So finally earlier this week, I took the plunge and started some seeds. I do a bit every night or two. DW brought some seeds back last time she visited Greece. She declared them at customs and said the officer didn't even bat an eye.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
taboule
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Beautiful glossy packaging, seeds are enclosed in air sealed pouches in the larger envelope.
Seeds-Greece_nov2017.jpg

Main problem is no ID of the variety. My wife raves about them all as she's eaten them at various occasions, at home or in restaurants.

There's two types Armenian cukes -aka wild cucumbers.

A big, round, white and sweet -almost seedless- eggplant.

Two types of sweet peppers. I've eaten those fried with sausage (loukaniko) in EVOO, washed it down with cold beer (Kaiser) -heavenly. They are thick walled, a bit thicker than the Cubanelle (Italian pepper) that we have here.

And lastly but not leastly, a beautifully ribbed tomato.

All said to be OPs, I've asked many times and been assured that hybrid seeds are not to be found -I can't vouch for that claim.

I'm on a quest now to find as many ID names as possible.

All but the cukes are nicely steaming now in small tubs of coco and pearlite starting mix.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taboule View Post
Thanks for your comments.

Nan, did the newspaper trick work keeping the old grass from growing through? I'm ready to use a heavier paper, but a single layer because I'd have to buy it. Not sure where to get old newspaper from, I've gone digital ages ago. Probably from a library, but DW may object at using newsprint -although she tells me of her early time in the UK seeing people eat fish-and-chips wrapped in old newspaper.

Salsacharley, your experience is what I'm fearing, and wish to avoid -glad I asked. I want to keep the height of the beds down, for the few cases when one of us has to step in a bed (a very rare occurrence, to minimize compaction.) I dont know what kind of grass we have, will try to find out. I have some time to research this issue and will check with my landscaper. Worst case, will have it peeled of, at extra cost.
I started an area of my garden on top of the existing vegetation years ago. The first layer was cardboard, 8 layers of newspaper or a couple layers of paper grocery bags; next were alternating layers of leaves, grass clippings, compost, spoiled straw/hay, and whatever soil we could find and was over 20" high. The only thing that ever came through was one type of plant that spread by stolons. It was only in one area and we yanked out whatever showed up for 2 years and haven't seen it since. I planted in it the first year by placing a shovelful of dirt and planting a seedling in it and stuff grew fine. Lasagna Gardening was the inspiration.

Not sure how much relevance this has to your situation but figured I'd share it anyway.

Wishing you the best in your new home and garden~

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