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Old 11-24-2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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Since we're going into fall here, not much except for some root crops.

Right now we're doing some measurements and laying out some plans to move the main beds to the other side of the yard. The area we used this year is not getting enough full sun it appears. Didn't factor in the neighbor's trees which have grown quite large and are providing shade in some areas. I'll start growing more shade lovers and veggies that need that type of environment in those areas.

Hubby is haggling with a buddy with a small tractor. We'll probably have him disc up the area for us. Normally I'd not be real thrilled with that idea, but it will be easier on both DH and me to do the lay out and finish the beds if someone else does the major stuff. We have both discovered we are no longer 25 except mentally.

I'm wanting to add pathways anyway to begin to eliminate areas that need mowing so that will be a start.

I'd love to hear how others are dealing with these kinds of things, so please feel free to post.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:22 AM   #2
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I don't have much out there right now except some red clover (The Lorax may be surprized to see I relented and planted it as a cover crop) and some garden residues I still haven't cleared :0 My fall crops didn't come up. I think it was too dry. I'm really only unhappy about the collard greens; I drive by other people's dark green gardens and have real collard envy!

This last year we put in beds in an old garden spot that hadn't been turned in probably well over a decade. We double-dug (read: my husband double dug; I tried, but discovered it was simply beyond me). He started with a pickaxe and shovel on the first beds, then later we switched to a "modified" method where I could help more. He broke up the topsoil layer with a tiller, we shovelled it aside, then he broke up the subsoil (read "clay and a good supply of rocks, plus broken pottery, etc" -- I know, as I picked them out) with a tiller. I amended the subsoil with aged manure, then we replaced the top layer, amending it with aged manure, mixing, then I planted. Whew.

Then I discovered our beds are too wide for me to be able to weed them effectively from the paths (4 feet). So we'll be laying out new beds next year (he volunteered, promise), when we'd hoped to just be able to loosen the existing beds. I'm doing French intensive beds which we don't walk on at all so the soil doesn't get compacted. I really noticed the difference this fall when I dug my sweet potatoes! I'll rotate my crops as best I can, considering the beds will be in different places.

We do own a tractor, but no disk or plow attachment. I don't want to buy one because then the tempation would be to use it every year and plant in rows, and we'd have subsoil compaction (from the weight of the tractor) and more surface erosion from the long rows than we have now. If we could rent or borrow an attachment that would work for the "tiller" portion of the process of setting up the beds for the first time, I think that would be worthwile and would ease the hard labor a lot. If we can just get through these first years, we'll have established beds that don't require such labor every year.

I hear you on the "no longer 25" problem, Doccat!
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:26 AM   #3
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Isn't it amazing what NOT walking on the soil will do for your production? Go 3 ft wide on the beds, it's much easier to reach.

You might check your local paper for plp who do "tilling" services, you might be able to find someone who would be willing to "rent" you what you need. Or there are rental services here where you can rent just that type of thing for the day.
Haven't done the intensive method for many years, just didn't have time, but think I'm going to do a modified version this year, provided I get good results from winter sowing to start.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:36 PM   #4
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Right now, I'm growing about 4 inches of snow. It should grow another 4 inches between Sunday night/Monday.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:00 PM   #5
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We're growing about 6" of snow here with more on the way!
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:20 PM   #6
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I'm proudly growing mud right now. We've had rain.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:15 AM   #7
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I have mud too but also Red Russian Kale. It always tastes sweeter after a frost.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:21 PM   #8
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Oh yes! Also any of the brassica's are great this time of year. I'm in zone 7b so we can stretch is a bit more that some of the colder zones. Actually I prefer to grow them in the fall, fewer insect pests and as you said they are sweeter with a nip of frost.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:28 PM   #9
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I have some evergreens out there, does that count?
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:53 PM   #10
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Well they're certainly more attractive than mud or snow
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There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

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