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Old July 5, 2019   #1
Join Date: May 2015
Location: NC
Posts: 97
Default weird question for "resting" my garden

I have a very small vegetable garden (roughly 15' x 15') and each summer I plant tomatoes, cukes, peppers, etc. Over the winter, I have been planting an annual rye grass as a cover crop and then just mow it down in early spring. I do not till. I layer over with leave mulch and straw. My soil is in pretty good shape and I have lots of worms. Yay!

Here's my question. Next year, I will be traveling from about March through August and so I will not be planting my usual summer vegetables. My garden will be unused over the summer and I am wondering what the best way will be to keep it "covered" while not being used. I don't want to deal with weeds, erosion, and losing out on all the work I've put in getting such nice soil to this point. I know the rye grass will die out over the hot summer next year. Should I get my husband to layer some leaf mulch over the top during the heat of the summer? (he will still be home and will do that if I ask). Plant some other kind of cover crop to last over the summer? Leave it alone until I return?

Any advice is much appreciated!
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Old July 5, 2019   #2
ContainerTed's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 6a - NE Tennessee
Posts: 4,538

If you have a means of collecting clipping from mowing the lawn, I would add that as well as leaves (no walnut or hickory). He can add some other veggie matter and pile it on deep. When you return in the fall, till it all in and enjoy the benefits of the new additives in your 2021 season.
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Old July 5, 2019   #3
PaulF's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brownville, Ne
Posts: 3,274

Found this on NC extension pages;
there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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Old July 5, 2019   #4
oakley's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NewYork 5a
Posts: 2,303

I have two small back beds that used to be garlic and the other leeks/onions. (I built two larger beds a couple years ago for those crops)

One of the small beds I covered with cardboard and black plastic. The other I left
alone, took out the raised bed for a much needed seating area but what a mess. The
weeds took over and totally spent the soil. I covered it a couple weeks ago so I can at
least kill it back and rake it smooth in August.

If using organic matter like leaves, keep it thick and have him add more if it breaks down.
Unwanted weed seed is everywhere.

If your climate is kind to a Fall crop, you could have him pock a dozen or two dozen holes and
plant some seeds early-mid August. (or do that when you return). Covered, your soil will be
rich and easy to plant in.
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Old April 18, 2021   #5
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Chicago
Posts: 69
Default "Resting" the soil

I plant about 25 tomato plants in a sunny area in my front yard. I have very limited space. I have planted them there for about five years now, without "resting" the area or planting a cover crop. I will plant a cover crop after this season. I keep forgetting to do that . I have a lot of processed chicken manure I need to use up. Do you think if I add a lot of that into my soil, it will help? I did it last year, and had a pretty good yield. Plus, I use Texas Tomato food during the season.
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Old August 29, 2021   #6
maricybele's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Oregon zone 8
Posts: 99

Chicken manure compost is my favorite. If it hasn't been composted it can be hot and strong, if processed means composted great. I add that to beds in the late fall winter for best results and very little incorporated into the soil if at other times. With chicken compost, I hardly have to use anything else to fertilize the worms do the rest.
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Old November 7, 2021   #7
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida (East Central Coast)
Posts: 78

I don't have the luxury of deciduous tree leaves here; but when I did, they were tops. You can't overdo them, and there's always plenty. Makes the richest, softest soil I've ever seen.
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Old November 9, 2021   #8
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Homestead,Everglades City Fl.
Posts: 2,481

Might want to try,here in S Florida it is done all the time.
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