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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old February 21, 2017   #16
BigVanVader
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Every situation is different and the landscaper in me wishes I could look at your yard but in most cases I recommend the no-till approach, as in layer all your amendments on top starting with newspaper/cardboard if you dont have noxious weeds. The cardboard will attract the worms and as long as food is there and it stays moist they wont leave. I did it this way and now in my third year it is black earth down to around 9 inches. I just add more leaves/manure/compost/etc once a year. Covering it with plastic will help retain water and improve tilth. Good luck!
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Old February 21, 2017   #17
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Every situation is different and the landscaper in me wishes I could look at your yard but in most cases I recommend the no-till approach, as in layer all your amendments on top starting with newspaper/cardboard if you dont have noxious weeds. The cardboard will attract the worms and as long as food is there and it stays moist they wont leave. I did it this way and now in my third year it is black earth down to around 9 inches. I just add more leaves/manure/compost/etc once a year. Covering it with plastic will help retain water and improve tilth. Good luck!
Thanks guys, a lot of great ideas! Still pouring rain here.. I like Worths idea of paper cover and heirloom suggestions on plastic mulch.. Really like BVV soil building technique. I didn't plant out til may last year and did ok in containers. Instead of rushing plant out I think I'll germinate the maters in solos cups and concentrate on getting my planters done right. Thinking of going with combo of peat and perlite hand mixed into my soil after shoveling and removing grass. My two planters will be three feet by one foot approximately 25 feet long. Going to leave five feet between them. My backyard is southfacing so sun all day. Going to put plastic down between rows for grass and weed control. It's wet overnight here alot and I noticed the cedar doesn't mold even with all the rain.. Now if it would stop raining! . One problem we do have is snails. Last year after losing some seedlings I greased the buckets with petroleum jelly. . Jimbo
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Old February 21, 2017   #18
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If you go slow with the tiller, the worms will have time to move. I have watched them pop out of the ground and slide away.
Cole, got a short break in rain.. I have been digging with 5 inch wide trenching shovel. For funsies tried a regular square shovel and in went right in!.. Made a 24 foot pass in about 15 minutes but it's a lot of work for old dude.. I think two more passes and I'll be at three feet wide by 24 feet long. Savin worms!. Jimbo .
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Old February 22, 2017   #19
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That is because it is so wet they come to the top.
I have seen the streets and gutters full of them after a hard rain.
They like food and moisture but not too much.
As long as you keep feeding them they will stay and multiply.
The board idea is good too they like to hang out under boards.
As for plastic dont even think about it for the most part it is a big hassle.
The have roles of thick brown paper at Home Depot at the paint section I use as a mulch or cover.
It is biodegradable and will last one season.

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Finished the 24 by 3 ft row. Before dark my granddaughter, who is 2, and I were removing grass and saving worms. . Slow going because it was wet and the clayish dirt was sticking. I have a large mud box for mixing cement that I could use to mix the perlite, vermiculite, peat or whatever. Then I could hand mix with existing soil. Wonder if I should install raised bed boards first. Should I cover the beds with paper to encourage and or protect the worms?. . How thick should I layer the mix over the existing soil before hand mixing it in . The grass removal is the real work.. Thanks again, jimbo
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Old February 22, 2017   #20
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If your going to make it a raised bed do the boards first. I never mix my stuff into the native soil because it is hard-pan clay and to much work, plus if you work it while wet it can ruin your soil structure. I'd add the boards, lay down paper/cardboard then put all the good stuff on top. Here are my beds. I dont use boards but I cover with plastic. these have never been tilled and I just re-edge yearly (with a nifty machine called a bed edger) then add manure etc and cover. If you look close you can see the evil Bermuda roots along the bed edges.
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Old February 22, 2017   #21
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BVV , after beds are constructed and it drys out , do I remove grass ? Then do I layer the soil with paper or cardboard and then put a mix to fill up the rest of the raised bed and cover that with plastic or something? Thanks,
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Old February 22, 2017   #22
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Thats what I'd do. Grass can stay if you cover with plastic or cardboard or something. I only use plastic because I have to. I am going to remove my plastic this year mid summer then mulch and see if that works. Plants seem to taste better when mulched to me.
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Old February 22, 2017   #23
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Thats what I'd do. Grass can stay if you cover with plastic or cardboard or something. I only use plastic because I have to. I am going to remove my plastic this year mid summer then mulch and see if that works. Plants seem to taste better when mulched to me.
I only removed grass for first 2 feet and that took one hr or so . Right now sod is in big lumps. I'll cover with cardboard after raised bed installed. Then fill remaining box with new mix and put mulch on top 3 inches. On my next row I'll not disturb the soil structure but go over existing ground with same procedure. . Hope that's right.. Thanks BVV.
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Old February 22, 2017   #24
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I know you said it rained but make sure to wet the cardboard/newspaper when you put it down. Here are some pics of when I first made the rows. there is cardboard under the rows as well. I had a fantastic garden that year so trust me tilling is not needed in most cases.
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Old February 22, 2017   #25
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I know you said it rained but make sure to wet the cardboard/newspaper when you put it down. Here are some pics of when I first made the rows. there is cardboard under the rows as well. I had a fantastic garden that year so trust me tilling is not needed in most cases.
Got it! . I'm rather doltish at times.. My favorite thread was Cole Robbie's "Think I'm going no till".. I guess my concern was the grass but the cardboard should help suppress it. Now I'll concentrate on building beds and germination of seeds. Thanks a heap.jimbo
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Old February 22, 2017   #26
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Yeah his thread is what I went off of. The cardboard killed all my grass except the Bermuda.
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Old February 23, 2017   #27
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Yeah his thread is what I went off of. The cardboard killed all my grass except the Bermuda.
BVV, going to Home Depot to pickup stakes . I'm going to use the cedar fence boards I have. Do you think the heavy paper Worth mentioned would be good instead of cardboard? Also getting perlite. People are reporting bug issues with chips and things. Any ideas on safe compost and peat. Don't wanna bring pests into the garden. I gotta get this show on the road!. Also picking up Light Warrior for solo cup germination. Thanks man!jimbo.
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Old February 23, 2017   #28
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I wouldn't worry to much about what paper products you use. I used all kinds of stuff. The rolls of paper will make it go faster. Refrigerator boxes work great as well. I get all my amendments from a commercial supplier where it is all stored indoors, so I don't know what would be a good product at typical big box stores.
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Old February 23, 2017   #29
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Jimbo I am here.
The brown paper is unbleached brown raw wood pulp paper like you would make a paper sack out of.
It is used for drop cloth or what ever in the paint section.
It is 3 feet wide and comes in big rolls.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Easy-Mask...2108/204363635

I dont know if it is the exact stuff I have or not.
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Old February 23, 2017   #30
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I had a huge place coverd in grass.
I didnt have time to screw around so I bought the stuff rolled it out and weighted it down the best I could.
Then I cut X's where I wanted the plants and planted them.
Then I covered the whole area with about a foot of fluffed hay.
This all packed down and did a fare job of stopping grass and weeds.
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