I am actually seeing some of the fruit of my labor now, greens, broccoli di rabe, my brocoli is finally heading up etc... I just thought that this was an interesting video and did not realize that tilling would cause so much damage. I mainly grow everything in raise beds since I don't have a lot of space but I still put a lot of amendments in my soil to try to make it better, fish meal, blood meal etc... you name it, so it tends to be expensive. Have you tried any of this method of gardening? No tilling, no amendments, etc... does it really work?
Yes, carminator1 - once you have good "tillth" there is no need to keep turning your soil. Doing so brings weed seeds to the surface (and who needs them!?) - plus it upsets the micro-oragnisms and soil fungi.
Having said that... If your soil surface becomes crusted, you will need to scratch it somewhat so the rain can permeate. Even this should be unneccessary if you keep a layer of mulch on your beds.
If you want your soil amendments to go down to root level - BEFORE you plant - take a regular garden fork, stick it in the ground at several intervals, rock it back and forth a little, and sprinkle in your amendments/fertilizer.
If you have already planted - sprinkle your fertilizer on top of your mulch, and scratch it in with your (gloved) hand. You can add more mulch/compost afterwards if some is needed. This helps stop the rain from washing away your fertilizer.
thank you Honeybee, I did place some mulch around my plants a while back to try to get the weeds to not germinate plus also retain moisture. Thanks for the explanation of how to add you amendments into the soil when there is so much mulch on top, I was wondering of how that could be done.
I do like making compost and I don't think adding compost is a bad idea like the lady in the movie was talking about, but one the compost is done I'll probably just place in on top of the mulch instead of digging it into the soil like I used to.
The way I understand it is: When you mulch, you are actually creating continuous compost as the mulch decomposes and is incorporated into the soil by earthworms and the act of planting things. So, added compost would not be needed. That said, however, what could possibly be the harm in adding even more compost, organic amendments like blood meal, cottonseed meal, greensand, etc. until the soil /plants don't need them anymore (which could be years down the road if you start with poor soil)?
Tilling does create a "hardpan" layer under the tilled up soil. I see that when I dig deep enough to "hit" it. It takes a very sharp spade or even a pickax to break this hardpan layer. That's why I've been converting my garden to raised beds over the past few years. This year should complete the transformation. Yeah!
I do plan to continue to compost by adding all kitchen scraps to the raised beds. I learned this from my aunt who had the best garden ever. Just take out a bucket of your kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy), and dig a hole between plants or on the edge, bury the scraps and cover. Within a few weeks, you will not be able to find a trace of the scraps, but the nearby plants will benefit immensely.
In the fall, after I clean up the raised beds, I spread all of the chopped material on them, and add a light layer of fresh mulch, whatever I have on hand, but usually chopped leaves and old, chopped straw. All in all, very similar to the videos.
Good luck with this year's garden. It must be nice to be enjoying the fruits of your labor while up here in the North, we have 8" of fresh snow on the ground!
You have perfect timing for your question, as we have had two weeks straight with below freezing temps every day. My kitchen scrap 5-gallon bucket is full! Usually, we have a mild period when I can bury the scraps in the garden, but...
What I do is have a couple of extra buckets in the garage. I put the full ones, lid on, in the coldest part of the garage where they usually freeze solid. That takes care of that until spring (even when it warms up for a spell outside, the solid block of frozen scraps don't thaw out in the dark, cold garage). Sometimes I have to bury a half-thawed block, but that's no problem. I suppose it would also work to just throw the scraps on top of the frozen ground in the garden, now that I think about it. Since there are no meat or dairy scraps in it, it sure won't draw any critters, except maybe for some birds. I just might try that with this bucket today.
Ah - extra buckets frozen in the garage and buried in the spring - good thinking. And will you till into the soil those scraps thrown on top before you plant in the spring, or would they be fully composted by then? My neighbor, a huge fan of Ruth Stout, throws kitchen scraps on top of her covered gardens year-round.
I would probably dig them in, depending on the state of decomposition. I'm converting my garden completely to raised beds this spring (most of it already is in raised beds), so I can easily bury any scattered scraps under a newly created raised bed. However, I'll probably dig a longer trench in one of the raised beds next fall to be better prepared to compost over the winter. Then in the spring, I'll just fill the trench in and mulch. I feel so good about composting the kitchen scraps, and it certainly has cut down on our trash to be picked up for the landfill, from two bags to just one, every week.
Hoosier yes I have done exactly as you say except I made a slushie with my compost ( put scraps in a blender and add a little water and then puree it) I am trying to get a worm population in my raise beds and was told this would work. yesterday I found a huge worm in my compost bin I was really happy about it and surprised too, I had never seen a worm that big in my life. I really think it helps to bury it as well for odors or pests t you don't want to attract them. By the way how many raise beds are you putting in your yard?
If I do 4' wide raised beds with 20" or so permanent paths, I should be able to get 10 raised beds (about 20 feet long), unless I enlarge the garden, which is a possibility. I'm really excited about do this complete conversion. I might keep a photo log of it to post here on DG.
The slushie compost would be great, and breakdown ever more quickly. My wife is in the market for a new blender, so I might have one available soon anyway!
Wow that is great I think that would give you plenty of growing space, I right now just have 3 raise beds they are 4X8 but I will put more I think about 6-8 will suffice, with the size of my lot. If it was up to me I would have my whole back yard with raise beds.
With price and quality of supermarket produce, it sure saves a lot of $$$ AND is better for our health. Example: We harvested almost two bushels of sweet potatoes this last fall when the price for ONE sweet potato in the store was about $1. Our initial cost for a bunch of slips last spring was only a few dollars.
HoosierGreen, I had the same thing happen to me with lettuce mixes and arugula, we eat a lot of letttuces and expecially the mesclum mixes that are sold at the stores can be very pricey so i decided to plant as much lettuce and mixes as I could, and for about 4-5 months I did not have to go to the stores to buy lettuces at all, it really saved me a lot of $ and it definetely was a lot more tasty than the store bought ones for sure.
With the arugula I was able to use it fresh and also make some arugula pesto and freeze it, I still have a couple of frozzen pack. it is great on pasta or toasts.
This year, I'm switching my green bean plantings to pole beans, on the advice of others on a different thread. I'm planting 'Fortex' pole bean. The advantages are a much longer, extended harvest period (months instead of weeks), less space to take up using poles or trellises, easier on the back when harvesting, and reputedly even better texture and flavor.
I enjoy planting romaine and butter crunch lettuces. They are so expensive in the stores, and we can get almost a four month supply until the weather gets too hot. Then, if I let some of them bolt, we have late summer seedlings that we harvest in the fall.
Wow that really looks like a cool bean, this is my first year that I am going to be growing beans, I have some bush ones and some lima ones so I am planning to let the limas climb the corn stalk and see how that does and then the other ones are all bush varieties. Bush are provider and dragon tongue.
I got my Fortex pole beans from Burpee (online), but they are also available from Johnny's Select Seeds. I really am looking forward to the extended picking season, as we can can a little at a time instead of all at once mid-summer. Here's the description: "Tender, green and mildly sweet pods can be picked young, 6'7" long, like filet beans, or up to 11' and will remain stringless. Vigorous vines grow to 12' and require sturdy staking."
Sounds like a winner, and according to lots of DGers, it s!
I've been growing Fortex for several years now, and it's our favorite bean. The taste is great and the beans remain stringless. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with it, but even when the beans get quite large they're still flavorful; they just don't work as well lightly sautéed. We freeze a lot of them and enjoy them all winter.
greenhouse_gal: I read that they freeze well. Do you follow regular freezing procedures of blanching, etc. or is there something different regarding these beans? Can they be frozen at all stages of size? We usually can because Blue Lake bush beans seem to taste better. Freezing is so much easier, I hope Fortex's flavor holds up!
Hoosier, I freeze everything. Green beans are one crop that you don't really need to blanch beforehand. I've done it both ways and last year I blanched just because I thought it would be easier to use them from the freezer if they were already partially cooked. We tend to like our beans cooked fairly well with onions or bacon fat, and slightly carmelized. Fortex can be frozen at all stages, and around here, as the season wears on, they're usually frozen at a rather large size just because I can't keep up with them. They still taste great.
First I've heard of this type of growing. Sounds amazing. But, I'm going to be digging out grass to make beds so I'm thinking I'll have to start off as I've done in the past. Dig out the grass with gardening fork, shaking off as much soil as possible from grass & weed roots, then adding compost and organic fertilizers and hand tilling it all in. Does this make sense?
By the way, this area of my yard has patchy grass, at best. Too much ballplaying with my pootch so the soil is compacted and weedy and a real mess.
Annie I would do the same thing as you are suggesting. You can actually make a little raise bed with the dirt as well like the lady in the video. One thing I have done with my dirt as well is to mix in some alfalfa hay, worms really love this stuff and also it areates the soil so it does not compact as much. As far as your pootch I am wondering, are you going to place a fence around your garden area?
Carminator, alas no fence. I'm a very low-budget gardener. I do have some bamboo stakes and assorted odds and ends that I may be able to construct some kind of barrier with. Mainly, I need to train my dog a little better and/or keep her on a long leash when we're in the yard. We now go to the park to play ball so that will help.
Oh, I will be doing the raised furrows as in the videos. That's what I've done in the past but I'm thinking I'll dig out the walking paths several inches down to make higher beds.
Thanks for the tip on alfafa hay. I'll have to check around on that when I get further along in this process. First, the dreaded grass removal. Oh, to be young and strong again. :)
You can still construct a fence on a budget. Wire mess is cheap and almost anything tall and straight (tree branches, old non-treated posts, metal poles) can be used as posts. Pine and cedar boards and posts are less expensive than you may think. Even a chainlink fence will do. Its not attractive but sturdy and inexpenisve. Constructing a fence is also easier than most people think. Construct it yourself and save the cost of labor. If you compare cost and scrouge around, a good fence for a small garden can be constructed in the $50-100 range.
As one pet owner to another, I highly recommend making a barrier between your garden and your pooch. I've tried to go without fencing before with disastrous. Learned the hard way that all the training and precautions fail. The are a few times that I have lost my garden in a single afternoon to determined animals.
We are going to have to retrain our dog because I don't enforce the rules in the winter time when the garden is asleep, but she has been taught to stay on the brick path and out of the garden. Our previous dog, a Great Dane, was taught that, too. This one's a Labradoodle. She is much smarter than the Dane was, but the Dane learned it just as easily. Of course, both dogs would get really indignant when they saw the cat in the garden, but I've never tried to get the no-trespassing idea across to her, and besides, she treads lightly and doesn't damage anything. Even though they obviously thought it was unfair, they understood that she could go where they could not.
AnnieBelle: Yeah! Another standard poodle owner. Aren't they just amazing dogs? We've had two black standard poodles and really enjoy them. Not at all the "sissy" dogs they are often considered to be, for sure. Our Marley scares the bejebees out of the FedEx man. The poor guy usually tries to toss or drop the delivery and run before Marley can jump up on the door to let him know he's on to him. (And actually, Marley wouldn't hurt a fly if we assure him that all's OK.)
Gorgeous dog! When we lost our first standard poodle after 14 years, we almost got a Labradoodle. They are wonderful dogs, too. We also leaned towards a Snoodle (poodle and schnauzer), but ended up with another great standard poodle. Dogs add so much to life!
I saw an article about "designer dogs" in the NY Times Sunday magazine shortly before our Great Dane died, and I decided that a labradoodle was going to be my next dog. They sounded so wonderful - they seemed to include the best of both labs and poodles, and be responsive, intelligent animals with a great personality. Our breeder looked for temperament and both my pup's parents were very mellow. She's great with kids and has such a merry approach to life that she does add a great deal to our lives! I've never heard of a Snoodle; I would expect that they'd be a bit more reserved, no?
My dad always had standard poodles but they seemed a tad aloof to me. No one could ever accuse Chouette of being aloof!
Both our standard poodles were anything but aloof, for sure! They were both friendly and people-lovers. They do tend to be a little "regal" when they lie down as they always cross their paws and hold their head high. Such a sight.
Snoodles are handsome dogs. Our problem was that we wanted a snoodle that was a cross between a standard poodle and a giant Schnauzer. We could find only three breeders in the whole country, and the nearest was in Minnesota. We happened to find out about a great standard poodle breeder in Indiana, so went with her. No regrets, for sure.
I've just been reading the above posts about Fortex beans. I purchased these same beans from Burpee at the beginning of January because the description sounded so good. I've tried other runner beans, but the flavor is lacking in them.
Pick them small just at first, or rather, slender. They're very long. That way you'll get the full benefit of their flavor. I always get behind later in the season and end up freezing some big fat ones, but they're still good.