Looking for some advice on second year vegetable garden

Liberty, KY

Hi there!

Long time follower of Daves Garden and first time poster.

Thanks to all the great information on this website, I had a good first year for 2017. Not perfect. But successful. I really want 2018 to be a GREAT year! So I have a few concerns and questions. And hope that other members will give some advice.

In Fall 2016, I plowed a large area in my yard. Limed and tilled. Then put in a combo crop of Cereal Rye and Vetch. It grew a couple feet through the winter. Likely due to the fact that the ground lacked nutrients. The soil here is kinda sandy. We live in Southern KY near Cumberland. Lots of caves under us. Grounds drains very well. Anyway. When spring came around I mowed and tilled it all in.

I put in 6 beds last year. Each 100 x 8. But only planted in 3 of them. Plastic mulched over all 3. The first bed had a combination of corn, green beans, and tomatoes. The second had ALL sweet potatoes. The third had a combo of pumpkins and watermelons.

Everything grew well. Potatoes were monsters. I do this stuff by hand because I don't own a tractor. I just love working in a garden! lol.

Anyway. That's about as far as I have gotten. We had planned to move this year. But changed our minds. So I did not put in a cover crop late last year. But I am planning on planting in the same spot again. Im curious if the 3 unplanted beds are still abundant from the previously planted cover crop. What YOU would do in this case? I am guessing I could be dealing with some soil depletion in the other beds. . And I am also wondering if the effects of the lime will still be present, as it helps make things grow around here. I plan to do TWO beds of sweet potatoes this time. A full 100 ft row of green beans. Carrots. Tomatoes. Squash. And Corn.

I am not real saavy when it comes to crop rotation. So any help would be VERY much appreciated. And I promise to contribute around here any way I can. I AM STILL LEARNING! Thanks!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

First of all, ALWAYS check ph of your soil - easy enough test with kitchen ingredients can be found on youtube. When you use the rye and vetch ( they only grow a bit in winter then jump come Spring, so that was normal) as a 'green manure' everything they stored as they grew is tilled in for the use of the seeds you plant right then... none retained thru the year. Checking ph is what determines you lime every Spring and how much. I do not lime at all in my sand, tho I do use baking soda ( opposite of lime) on some plants.
Potatoes go in ground before St Pats day (dark or New of the moon) the day after that is the next qtr. (This year for you thats anywhere from March 5th to 17th) only I cant safely plant potatoes and for my area that was before Feb 15, chuckl.
Crop rotation is to keep plants in the solanum (tomatoes, eggplant, etc family ) from acquiring viruses they pass along. Corn too can get problems, and sometimes rotation is to fool the old bugs that laid dormant under the vegies waiting the next year. Sometimes each vegetable takes its own nutrients from the soil, but rotation allows that vege a new source ( say blackeyes dont use the same nutrients as tomatoes). I am NOT good with rotations as I dont have a real garden as I once did. Loss of dirt- are you tending raised beds? If you arent then tilling loses your topsoils anyway and dirt loss isnt a problem. These farmers that plant corn year after year in the same field arent providing the same table garden you are.
You might consider looking into a '3sisters' garden. Corn squash and bean, as each plant supports and nourishes or hides the other. Alternate trellis can be used for beans since old fashioned cornstalks were once 15' tall, chuckl. Luck with the garden!

This message was edited Feb 23, 2018 9:57 AM

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