How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: leowis1 On: Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:35 pm

Hello--I have a decent size vegitable garden, 10x16. This will be my 3rd season with it. The tomatos come up great, but the cucumbers are yellowish and the green peppers are small. Does anyboby prepare the soil before planting? e.g. tilling in compost, throwing down soil additives? Please share you knowledge. Thank you.

Leo
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:59 pm

Have you ever done a test to determine the PH of the soil? That could be affecting your produce; tomatoes love acid so I’d suspect you have acid soil since they do well and the other things do not so well. Check with your county extension office - they may provide free PH testing through the university. If so the results will tell you want you need to do to raise or lower the PH. If they don't offer that service you can get a test kit from Home Depot or the local garden shop. That's where I'd start to figure out what I needed to do to the soil for better results. Lisa
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: jeromemsn On: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:15 pm

Never grow the same type of veggie in the same area, move them to other spots every year.
Here is a great place with a wealth of info.
http://www.mytractorforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=86
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:00 pm

I mulch heavily with hay, so I don't have to weed and almost never have to water. It's sort of composting in place, because each year much of the hay breaks down and enriches the soil. Many leaves are good for adding nutrients to the soil -- maple is one of the best -- if you collect them in the Fall and chop them up with the lawn mower or a chipper/shredder. You can compost them or till them in or just put them on like the hay. I use granulated 5-10-5 fertilizer around each plant or row at planting time, and that's all the fertilizer for the summer. Roto-tilling is traditional, but some people say it breaks up the soil too much, and a spading fork is better. I gave away my roto-tiller once I started with the hay mulch. I never do any more tilling or spading, I just pile on more hay.
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: samhill On: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:14 am

Are you using hay or straw, I heard that wheat straw was the best. You got me confused now(not hard to do) I was all set to try the wheat straw now I don`t know.
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:06 pm

Since you don't have a huge area to feed, consider staying with natural fertilizers and the mulch program from above. The three main nutrients are Nitorgen, Pphosphorous, & K (Potassium) . If you use traditional fertilizers, they are most often all water soluble. After a few big rain falls, most of it washes away from the roots and can't be used buy the plant. The salt, not "table salt" but usually a sulphur salt, will remain in the root zone which is not good for helping the transfer of nutrients into the roots. High orgaic matter in the soil from compost or mulch helps prevent most of this. It's very important to keep the pH right for your plant's requirement. pH effects how well the roots absorb needed nutrients. Tomatoes love Phosphorous. If your leaves look purpulish it needs more P.

  • Test your soil and know what your plant needs..
  • Adjust the pH down with lime only as needed, acidic oak leaf mulch or compost to raise it.
  • Add neutral pH compost anytime by side dressing. A good mulch program will help accomplish this too, just watch how what you mulch with effects the soil pH.
  • Nitrogen: try dry blood, cotton seed meal ...
  • Phosphorous: steamed bone meal ...
  • K is Potassium, a little wood ash will do but watch-it lowers pH. Cotton seed meal has some too i think.

This is basic organic gardening and you'll see your garden get better year by year. The NPK additives above will bild in the soil because only a small part of each is imediately water soluble and available to the plant. The muclh and compost will be the main source of plant food. When the soil pH is correct, the remaining insolubale neutrients in the root zone will convert to usable forms (becuse it didn't wash away) and be taken up by the plant. You'll be amazed at how many earthworms you'll have too.
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: rberq On: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:58 pm

samhill wrote:Are you using hay or straw, I heard that wheat straw was the best. You got me confused now(not hard to do) I was all set to try the wheat straw now I don`t know.

I'm sure wheat straw would be fine, if that is readily available where you live. I use mulch hay -- the leftover bales from last year that are starting to go bad and aren't really good for feed any longer. It is relatively cheap to buy and I want it to rot anyway (on the garden). Some people (who haven't tried it) say you must use straw because it has no seeds. I have had no problem at all with the hay causing weed growth, because it is put on so heavily.
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: samhill On: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:04 pm

OK thanks that explains alot. In my neck of the woods there isn`t much of any type of hay left unused thats probably why they say hay.
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:56 pm

I just started gardening again two years ago after a 30 year hiatus. I picked up a used TROYBUILT cheap and recommend a tiller (rear tine only!). It not only stirs the soil amendments up evenly, it aerates the soil and fluffs it nicely leaving the soil loose so the roots can breathe. I had decent luck using composted leaves but I think I will try something else that is decaying organic matter. Like previous posts, it is best to talk to the state agricultural office or ag school to see what the soil needs for what you intend to plant. If the plants are not happy, you won't be. ;)
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Re: How do you prepare the ground for a vegitable garden?

PostBy: leowis1 On: Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:43 pm

I'm so anxious for spring that I went to Lowe's and bought a soil testing kit. With a pick axe, I got a soil sample from my garden. It was 20 degrees outside! :D Anyway, my Ph=7, Nitrogen=low, Phophorus=med, Potassioum=high. I want to grow lots of cucumbers, peas, tomatos, spinach, and peppers. Any recommendations?
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