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How Does Everyone Else Do It? — The Grow Network Community
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

How Does Everyone Else Do It?

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 555 ✭✭✭✭

I'm a pretty new gardener. This was only my fourth season of giving it a try.

My first year was only 2 pcs. of a 4X4 raised bed. I've added more beds each year so now I'm over 1000 sq ft of beds. But my first year I knew nothing so I eventually took an online gardening course just so I could learn a few basics.

One of the things I've seen is many people do not do Fall maintenance on their beds. Myself, I always remove my final harvest and then prep my entire bed as if I was going to replant it. Some of the beds this year I am adding a cover crop for the second time just to give it a try and find out if the crop is useful. The other beds where there will be no cover crop, I will add a layer of organic straw just for soil protection during the winter months.

Then in Spring I can easily start planting much earlier because the soil is looser and in reality it is already been prepped for a new crop. If it needs topped off a little because of settling I top it off with some more of my soil blend I prepare.

So I guess my question is how does everyone else do it?

Is Fall bed prep a time saver for Spring or is a waste of time because I might be losing the soil fertility with the 6 month off while I'm waiting for another growing season.

Comments

  • Karyn PenningtonKaryn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    Paul Gautshi (Back to Eden gardening method) says that when you put your compost, etc. down in the fall, the rain and snow make compost tea all winter long and all that goodness just flows down into the soil.

    That's pretty much what I do, I layer compost and I pick up bags of leaves (especially if they're already shredded) and cover things like my strawberries, garlic and perennial onions. Then the other beds sometimes I'll bury raw compost and then cover with leaves or wood chips, sometimes just additional wood chips. But mostly I fertilize (as in compost) in the fall and let it be all winter. I've thought about doing cover crops, but I'm not convinced I need to.

    This year I've been studying biochar (David the Good) and thinking I may bury some activated biochar in one of my newer beds. I know it's supposed to take 2 years to become healthy, but that it's so worth it after that . . . forever.

    Curious to hear what others do.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 1,301 admin
    edited September 2019

    Usually, I'd try to mulch and plant a nitrogen fixing cover crop about this time of year... maybe a little earlier - early enough for the plants to get established before the first frost. I get all the leaves off my property and others, if I can, run over them with a mower a few times and rake them into a pile. Then, I'll usually just get several pounds of cheap field peas from the grocery store - but clover or vetch would probably be better in a cooler climate.... just broadcast them over the beds, cover with chopped up leaves and water them in. In the spring, I'll knock them down and cover with compost about a month before I plant.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,410 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This, what Karyn said " Paul Gautshi (Back to Eden gardening method) says that when you put your compost, etc. down in the fall, the rain and snow make compost tea all winter long and all that goodness just flows down into the soil. That's pretty much what I do, I layer compost and I pick up bags of leaves (especially if they're already shredded) " Ditto.

    Also, with the exception of my continuing Rainbows, I don't make "beds". Way too busy with the rest of life's resp0nsibilities...

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 555 ✭✭✭✭

    I like everyone's responses here.

    Obviously it is close to what I have been doing, I just never knew I was doing it right but it just seemed logical to me.

    So thanks a lot for the vote of confidence that you all have given me. And happy gardening to all of you too!

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