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Winter months

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Winter months

Post  Bart on 3/2/2017, 12:23 pm

Hi Folks,

Because of the climate change induced very warm winter, by SFG beds are rife with weeds. Rather than simply pulling them up when it's time to plant again, would it hurt to cover the beds in light proof black plastic to kill the weeds? Is this a good idea?

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Bart
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Re: Winter months

Post  countrynaturals on 3/2/2017, 12:53 pm

I pull mine and lay them on top to expose the roots and wash the mix back into the bed. (In my case it's soil cuz I'm old school.) Later I can decide what to do with the dead weeds -- compost, mulch, or turn under, depending on their constitution.
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Re: Winter months

Post  Bart on 3/3/2017, 8:49 am

Good idea, but I'm lazier than that. I want to put the black tarp on the beds now to kill the weeds so all I have to do in the spring is turn the mix over and start planting.

Will the black tarp with the heat that it will generate hurt the mix?
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Re: Winter months

Post  sanderson on 3/3/2017, 10:00 pm

Clear plastic heats up the soil more than black plastic but black plastic can help make them leggy and easy to turn under. Caution: there are some weeds that propagate through roots, so pull those out!

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Re: Winter months

Post  Bart on 3/4/2017, 7:50 am

How do folks prepare the SFG beds for winter? Let them go fallow? Cover them up? Etc? Right now my beds have a very health crop of weeds.

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Re: Winter months

Post  trolleydriver on 3/4/2017, 8:55 am

@Bart wrote:How do folks prepare the SFG beds for winter? Let them go fallow? Cover them up? Etc? Right now my beds have a very health crop of weeds.

Thanks
Bart
Last Fall I removed old plants that will not overwinter. Then I trowelled in home made compost. Finally I added a good layer if straw. I used a cardboard barrier around the inside edge of the beds to hold in the straw. In the past I have had very few weeds in the SFG beds during the summer and those that did come up were easily plucked out of the Mel's Mix.

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Re: Winter months

Post  Ginger Blue on 3/4/2017, 1:21 pm

I've seen several posts about folks winterizing their SFG beds with mulch or plastic, but has anyone ever tried using a "green manure" cover crop (vetch, rye, peas, clover, etc.), instead? Once the cover crop sprouts in the spring, you just dig it all in prior to planting to the main crop for a quick boost of nitrogen and organic material.

If you've tried this, what was the outcome; did you find it beneficial to the health or productivity of your main crops?
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Re: Winter months

Post  trolleydriver on 3/4/2017, 3:10 pm

@Ginger Blue wrote:I've seen several posts about folks winterizing their SFG beds with mulch or plastic, but has anyone ever tried using a "green manure" cover crop (vetch, rye, peas, clover, etc.), instead? Once the cover crop sprouts in the spring, you just dig it all in prior to planting to the main crop for a quick boost of nitrogen and organic material.

If you've tried this, what was the outcome; did you find it beneficial to the health or productivity of your main crops?
GB ... here is an existing thread on cover crops.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t4328-cover-crops?highlight=cover+crop

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Re: Winter months

Post  sanderson on 3/5/2017, 4:38 pm

Here in California, half of my beds are in winter crops. The other half are topped off with compost and left fallow. Now that they are all elevated off the ground (table tops) and surrounded with wood chips, weeds are really rare. To keep seeds out, you can cover with an old sheet, bridal tulle, etc.

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Re: Winter months

Post  yolos on 3/5/2017, 6:50 pm

I use a lot of cover crops especially in the early fall.  In the warm weather months I use Buckwheat.  In the fall months I plant Austrian Winter Peas, Annual Rye Grass, Daikon Radish, or Mustard.  My reason for using most of these is to supplement my compost.  I have a fairly large garden and never seem to be able to make enough compost.  It is just easier for me to grow something and then turn it under to help the soil.  Some of these (such as buckwheat) do not really add any nutrients to the soil but they will break down and help with the soil structure and can be used as mulch over the winter.  I use the Daikon Radish to help penetrate the clay underneath my MM.  This year I used Mustard to help eliminate my Southern Blight which has found its way into some of my beds.  I don't know if it will help, but why not try.
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Re: Winter months

Post  Ginger Blue on 3/5/2017, 7:53 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:
@Ginger Blue wrote:I've seen several posts about folks winterizing their SFG beds with mulch or plastic, but has anyone ever tried using a "green manure" cover crop (vetch, rye, peas, clover, etc.), instead? Once the cover crop sprouts in the spring, you just dig it all in prior to planting to the main crop for a quick boost of nitrogen and organic material.

If you've tried this, what was the outcome; did you find it beneficial to the health or productivity of your main crops?
GB ... here is an existing thread on cover crops.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t4328-cover-crops?highlight=cover+crop

Thank you TD! I missed the thread when Camp bumped it in January - and didn't think to search before I posted my question. I've just read it through and found lots of great info.

I'm in the boat with yolos - never having quite enough compost to go around. To help keep the expense of MM down, I may incorporate "green manure" as a boost to my garden until my compost system is robust.
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