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Should I till once? Or fork?  RSS feed

 
Scott Forney
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Hi,

Newbie here. I have a new community garden plot. I asked them not to till it, because I didn't want to disturb the micro organisms. I live in Ohio 6b and want to have a veggie garden. Sheet mulching this amount of space is too big for me, so I was thinking about planting some veggies and cover crops and doing chop and drop and slowly improving the soil.

Would you recommend me doing one initial till to get started? Or are all the dandelions and grass okay for long term veggie garden?

would love some advice!!
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Thomas Partridge
Posts: 130
Location: Zone 7a
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What are you growing and how are you growing it (rows, intercropping, ect)? How much time before you have to have a garden growing there?

If it were me I would mow that down as close to the ground as I could and fill that area with a foot or so of leaves and NEXT year be good to go. You say that you can't sheet mulch it, but if you leave bare earth mother nature will do her best (and almost certainly succeed) in filling that bare earth up.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Dandelions mean compaction. Clover means low fertility. Neighboring plot looks like high clay content.

What tools do you have to work with?

I had a similar situation on my own garden, what I did was to use a subsoiler first as deep as I could get it to decompact the soil. Then top dress with manure, and compost, about an inch over the whole garden. Then till it all. Then make permanent raised beds by shoveling all the soil from the path to the bed. Paths got cardboard or newspaper and then sawdust or wood chips or straw as deep as I could afford. Beds get covered with tarps if you have time, or left bare for a week then flame weeded if you don't.

Major disruption like tilling is OK ONCE, especially since you are changing the biome so much it will be disruptive anyway.
 
Scott Forney
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Thanks for the replies. I am growing beans, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, daikon, herbs, and whatever else I can. I would like to do inter planting of beds and keep it curvy and more natural looking.

Thanks for the advice on tilling and manure. I was hoping it is okay to till once this year. At the end of the year when i have more leaves I can add those as mulch. My issue with sheet mulching is the amount of material it would take to fill the area, since it is not at my house I would have to make many many trips too and from the location to haul in all of the compost, leaves, straw.

Maybe I will try to sheet mulch a small area each year. I plan on keeping the plot for many years so I don't mind having a more long term plan/goal in mind. I also would like to try to get some crops this summer. In my area I can plant in about 2-3 weeks (or now for sugar snap peas and colder crops)

I also bought some cover crops that I was going to plant just to increase biomass and use as mulch in the sheet mulching process at the end of the year. My thought was to grow things on site instead of haul them in

Scott
 
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