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Access to a garden. Need ideas!

 
                                    
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I convinced my father to let me plant in his garden since he hasnt used it for 2 years. Its about 6w x 14L  rough estimate. I originally thought I would dig it up and put in a hugelkultur system, but I think I need to work the soil a bit first. He says its good to go now just till it and put in a little fertilizer. I guess the only way to be sure is to till it up and soil test it, but my father grew up on his familys farm and i'm sure he knows what hes talking about. And then I was watching a video on sepp holzer and was trying to determine what types of seeds I can group together to just throw over the garden like he does. By the way im in Northeast Pennsylvania, Zone 2 I believe. I also would like to put in a worm compost post right in the middle of it. I think short of digging a 6 foot hole by hand due to bulldozer permits I may just figure out a rain barrel irrigation system. Ultimately I don't know this will be the first garden I have ever grown other than the small window herbs and my experimental indoor grow bed. The plants were supposed to be used in an aquaponic raft system I just ran out of money and time to maintain the plants. If anyone has any suggestions on group seed types I would appreciate it.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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I made the experience it is best to prepare the soil in the fall with green manure and compost. So that the soil can settle over winter and you get the microorganisms going. But I wouldn't want to miss the first growing season just because of that.

Don't forget: there are some seeds that need light to germinate but most of them don't and have to be raked in lightly. It would be best to make a seed mix adapted to this. Rake in the dark-germinators first and then sow the seeds that need light on top of it. Only sow lightly otherwise weak seeds won't have a chance.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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IMHO tilling will do more damage to the soil than not tilling, it will destroy the underground life in your soil..I would avoid it..

build your soil from the top down, sure you can bury some decaying wood or organic matter, but you are better off adding a gob of organic matter on top of the soil and keeping any chemical fertilizers out of the entire garden, they will burn your baby microbes..

try to do a little reading before planting..Gaia's Garden, Edible forest Gardens..Permaculture material..etc
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
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kenser321 wrote:
I convinced my father to let me plant in his garden since he hasnt used it for 2 years. Its about 6w x 14L  rough estimate. I originally thought I would dig it up and put in a hugelkultur system, but I think I need to work the soil a bit first. He says its good to go now just till it and put in a little fertilizer. I guess the only way to be sure is to till it up and soil test it, but my father grew up on his familys farm and i'm sure he knows what hes talking about. And then I was watching a video on Sepp Holzer and was trying to determine what types of seeds I can group together to just throw over the garden like he does. By the way im in Northeast Pennsylvania, Zone 2 I believe. I also would like to put in a worm compost post right in the middle of it. I think short of digging a 6 foot hole by hand due to bulldozer permits I may just figure out a rain barrel irrigation system. Ultimately I don't know this will be the first garden I have ever grown other than the small window herbs and my experimental indoor grow bed. The plants were supposed to be used in an aquaponic raft system I just ran out of money and time to maintain the plants. If anyone has any suggestions on group seed types I would appreciate it.


I agree with Brenda. The reason why you might get a temporary boost from tilling is that you're turning soil critters into compost for your plants. You'll expose precious soil organic matter, worms, microbes, etc. and kill and vaporize them. Fertilizer will pickle your earthworms and microbes. That'll work for a few seasons, but as they die, the soil dies and fertility will decline. Therefore, the priority really is to feed the soil. Always feed the soil. Soil will feed your plants, and plants will feed the soil.

If you want to build a hugelkultur system, build on top of the soil and make raised beds. Soil creatures will migrate from the bottom up and bring fertility.
 
Paula Edwards
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Your father grew upon a farm, maybe in times before the big agindustry. He might know an awful lot about gardening and farming.
To please him and to dig this knowledge I would, at least in the first time follow his instructions. At least on a part of the land. (I don't know if you are talking about meters or foot here). Maybe you discuss with him the huegelbeet system and you do half half.
In the first time it is all about learning.
 
                                
Posts: 34
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Don't til, hand cultivate. It's small enough. Also, if it has been fallow for a few years it should be ok, assuming

its had some kind of ground cover on it. It might need some amendment - use compost now, not fert-ilizer later.

also, don't put the worm bin in the middle of it. It's not that big a spot and it the vermiculture is in

the middle you will have to do paths into it to access it.
 
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