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When to uncover soil

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When to uncover soil

Post  mikki777 on 2/10/2017, 4:44 pm

I've had my soil from last year under a tarp all winter (it's in a 4 by 4 wooden box). When is a good time to let it start getting some rain water and refresh it with some top soil ?
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  trolleydriver on 2/10/2017, 4:48 pm

Is it Mel's Mix (MM) or regular soil? If MM definitely don't add top soil. Compost is what you want to add to the MM and even to regular soil. I expect that given your area the tarp should be off but wait for advice from the GA people on the forum.

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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  mikki777 on 2/10/2017, 8:28 pm

yes it's MM. I used the wrong term. Smile I was a newbie last year. So yes, I meant compost. I may try to actually make more 'mix' b/c I lost quite a bit of soil when pulling up some crops that had a lot of roots. Thanks for the advice. I just remember last year reading the soil gets minerals from rain. But we got almost no rain all summer, but have some now and wondered if it's good for the soil to get some rain in advance of starting to plant.
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/10/2017, 9:00 pm

I would say go ahead!  I don't cover my MM SFG beds, I do tarp my compost pile.  

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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  yolos on 2/10/2017, 10:02 pm

All depends.  For beds that I am not using over the winter, I usually use a cover crop and turn it under about 3 weeks before I plan to plant. I also use season extension methods so many of my beds are in use now.  For the ones I plan to plant in early in the spring and if I have nothing growing in them, I cover with wheat straw and pull it back about 1 week before I plant.  This year I am going to start spring crops about two weeks earlier than normal, so I may lay plastic over them to warm the soil.  I am planting onion transplants this weekend; potatoes, Broccoli transplants (and other cole crops) about 3/1; and tomato transplants about 3/15.  I will probably have to use season extension methods to keep some of these things from freezing, but I want to get a jump on the hot weather.  I haven't decided on the corn yet.  I may start a few seeds inside and transplant about 12 squares around 3/15 realizing that I will have to cover if freezes occur.  Maybe it will just be too cold that early, but what the heck, its only a few seeds.

But to your direct question about when to remove the tarp, it all depends on when and what you want to plant.  Also, if you are trying to get it wet again, it all depends on whether it will rain much before planting time.  But I would guess at least two weeks before you intend to plant if it will be rainy enough during that period.  So sorry, that is not much help.
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  mikki777 on 2/11/2017, 7:28 am

Cool thank you and yes that's very helpful. I want to plant around March 1st. I mainly do salad veggies and herbs (from seeds). We will get some rain, other than this weekend, in about a week. So maybe I'll uncover my box then to get it going 2 weeks ahead.
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  yolos on 2/11/2017, 1:15 pm

Good, but beware your last frost date is probably somewhere around 4/1.  Some salad veggies can't handle a freeze so you may have to be ready to cover them.  It all depends on the variety.
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  camprn on 2/11/2017, 2:34 pm

@mikki777 wrote:I've had my soil from last year under a tarp all winter (it's in a 4 by 4 wooden box). When is a good time to let it start getting some rain water and refresh it with some top soil ?
Hi there. Please do not add soil. Just topped off the box with quality compost. Mix it in and plant. 
In regard to the question when? you can do this as soon as the mix can be worked. 
 Early sowing of garden peas, spinach, beets, chard, or bok choy can happen before your last frost of the season, as all of those prefer cooler weather.

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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  sanderson on 2/12/2017, 3:27 am

This was the first winter I didn't cover the resting beds against rain. Until I read "Teaming with Microbes" I thought the nutrients washed out the bottom. Embarassed I would let let your beds get some rain so the Mel's Mix is uniformly moist before planting.

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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/12/2017, 1:38 pm

Sanderson, does this mean we needn't bother covering the compost piles also? I've never covered it but often wondered if I should.
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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  sanderson on 2/13/2017, 1:01 pm

I'm not the expert on that. I cover the compost so it doesn't get soggy over winter. The 3'x3'x2' cube would take a while to drain or else I would have to fluff it. (??) I should have covered the resting beds after a day or two of rain. A lot of worms jumped ship or climbed up the plants, support poles or bridal tulle. I think the MM got too wet (no air spaces left).

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Re: When to uncover soil

Post  camprn on 2/13/2017, 2:33 pm

I don't cover my compost piles.

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