We have been having heavy rains here in VA and I was wondering if it was still safe for me to direct seed in the soil? I was going to put in okra, corn, and beans.
I have been planting into new beds I've made with the cardboard and mulch method to tame weeds. One has very black silty earth underneath from a previous garden. For this plot I have cut through the cardboard and planted into the ground and then covered again with a small layer of mulch. (will this work?)
The other garden spot was previously grass so the seeds i've planted there are in soil i've mounded on the top of the cardboard. (will this work?)
I am also curious, for zone 7 what else can I put in the ground or start up for this season or the upcoming fall. I am a newbie in the grandest sense.
Hi! And welcome! Sounds like a good start and that black garden soil sounds good. The cardboard is harder for rain to penetrate, so if you get a dry spell, you will probably have to water. The seeds you are thinking of get planted fairly deep and are usually direct seeded. So, I don't think they will wash away. I'd also recommend keeping an eye on their fertilizer needs since your breaking new ground. Good luck!
As for what to plant, is it just starting to be spring there? Here in Ohio, zone 5/6, we are in the warm growing season, but before this we were in the early spring shoulder season where lettuce and snap peas and such do well. Now we're on to dry beans, tomatoes, okra, sorghum, quinoa, sunflowers, heat-tolerant lettuce, squash, pumpkins, gourds, basil, ground cherries, peppers, pearl millet, watermelon, other melons, malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, and I'm sure something else I've forgotten.
I started by just trying a bunch of things so I could figure out what I can grow easy and what I need to put effort in. So, for example, I can usually count on snap peas, some squash, and lettuce, but I'm still trying to unlock the secret to radishes and melons.
I'm just going to add to the watering recommendation for cardboard. When dry, it will act as a roof to keep your soil dry. It actually repels water. Sprinkle water in a few light passes to thoroughly wet the cardboard at the beginning before giving a more sustained soaking. Here in Texas, it helps to keep a more traditional mulch on top of the cardboard so it doesn't dry out as fast.
I love using cardboard, just takes a little working around its quirks. It's my best ally against aggressive grass and perennial weeds. When covered with a secondary mulch it also is a favorite breeding ground for my earthworms.
Thanks so much for the advice! Im going to implement these things. And I have cut large holes in the cardboard around the plants im growing so the soil there can get plenty of water. It has been raining so much my cardboard hasnt dried out yet. The mulch on top is also keeping it moist. Just planted the okra yesterday and will probably go on to the beans now. :)
Welcome to permies. This is about as good as you will get for direct seeding! The ground is very saturated and with the high clay content (would help if you gave some more info on the location in your profile) in most of the state, the soil will stay saturated. I haven't watered at all, even for new seedlings. Most years I will give them an initial watering. I am doing more like Back to Eden, but if you have cardboard mulch it should be fine. A word of caution, and why I quit cardboard mulching- the slugs can get really numerous. I started doing wood chips and coffee grounds and it has been much better!
As the chinese proverb says, the best time to plant was three weeks ago, but today is the next best. I direct seeded basil and summer herbs two weeks ago just after the monsoon and they have tertiary leaves, will be harvesting a week or more early. Corn has been direct seeded for almost four weeks- it really depends on the soil temperature. Corn is a C4 grass, so it needs temps in the 70s. We have had that for a while.
I literally planted the second run of cilantro today. I would plant away as soon as possible!
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants with dirt under their nails