Take a Sec... Share with your Friends!!

Starting a garden in the Fall gives the soil amendments added time to break down and become more available to your vegetables next year.  Soil amendments are materials you can add to your garden soil to regulate the Ph level, add nutrients, change soil texture, add organic content, etc...   Before you know what soil amendments you need, you need to know what soil type you have.  The best old school way of testing your soil type is to take a handful and make a fist.  If the soil stays firm in a ball and you can poke your finger in it without crumbling, it is mostly clay based.  If it stays in a ball but crumbles when you poke your finger, you have good soil that will sustain enough water and nutrients.  If it falls apart when you let go of your fist it is sandy and will require some treatment for water retention and nutrients.  More on soil types, testing methods and followup treatments in follow up articles.

Starting a new garden plot will take some work, but you will reap the rewards.  First stake out your new plot with wood pegs and string.  I know not everyone has the space but I used 10x20 feet which I'll explain why later.  Once you have your plot staked out, you can use a spade shovel to cut out the sod that needs to be removed.  I found the best method was to cut one foot strips along the width one strip at a time and then cut those strips into 2 foot lengths.  A bit hard to explain, but basically take a spade shovel and cut your sod into 1x3 foot strips and then cut under about 2-3 inches to make sure you get under the roots.  This method allows you to reuse these sod patches to patch your lawn or stack them upside down to start a compost.

Once the sod is removed you will need to turn the soil that was underneath.  Depending on the soil type, you can use your spade or pitch fork or a mix of the two.  The main goal is to break up soil compaction and allow the soil the breath.  Break up the soil enough that you can rake it level.  Depending on what you will grow next year you can also churn in compost or manure at this time.  Another thing I do is to top the newly worked soil with straw.  This helps with erosion and keeps moister, but most of all I like the way it looks and keeps the garden and back yard neat.

At this point your pretty much ready for spring time turning and preparation.  I wanted to explain a bit as to why I chose 10x20 feet for my plot.  I have an active dog and young son that use the back yard so I'll be putting up a 3ft fence around the garden plot.  Nothing fancy, a wood frame with chicken wire or similar walls.  Using these dimensions, coupled with the fence, will let me peg a tarp or clear plastic over the garden thus extending my growing season by early thaw and frost protection.

No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Garden Living

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!

Possibly related posts