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Prepping my beds for winter's rest.

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Prepping my beds for winter's rest.

Post  quiltbea on Mon 27 Sep 2010 - 18:51

I started getting some of my beds ready for winter. I had planned to bury some old dry leaves from last year in the bottom of each square, but the old back was acting up and that wasn't possible.
Instead I raked out the old, dead plants and weeds, raked the soil smooth, scattered amendments as needed (lime in the brassica beds) and greesand in the others along with alfalfa pellets. I figure the alfalfa can't hurt.

Here's one bed with alfalfa and greensand.

After raking in the amendments into the top 2" of soil, I broadcasted winter rye on top of the soil, then raked that in lightly and tamped down the soil with the back of my rake and watered the beds. This is my green manure crop. It will grow a bit before winter and in the spring I'll rake it under and add composted manures.

This is a view of 3 of my beds all prepped. I'm leaving the marigold in and the tomatoes that are still producing, along with the lemon balm and rosemary plants. I figure I can prep the squares themselves when the plants are removed to the compost heap. The parsnips are in another bed not shown along with determinate Oregon Spring tomatoes that are reproducing for fall.
Next year I will put the brassicas intermingled with the other plants. That way I hope to be able to keep rotating crops without having to think about it.
As I've said before, we learn something new every year.
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Re: Prepping my beds for winter's rest.

Post  Old Hippie on Mon 27 Sep 2010 - 20:32

Looking good! What does the greensand do? Is it better to put lime down now or in the spring? Does the alfalfa just put nitrogen in the soil? Do you just use alfalfa pellets like you get at the pet store or what?

Last week I prepped the potato patch and planted some vetch as a green manure crop. I have never tried that before. Yesterday I prepped some of my beds as well. Got my herb bed all done and two others. I pulled up the sunflowers and chopped them up for compost. Also pulled all the beets which didn't amount to anything at all for some reason. The carrots I am still leaving in as well as the chard. They are still doing well and so are the strawberries. I pulled all the onions and planted some garlic. I had planned on doing more today but it rained non stop. Tomorrow it is back to work. It is supposed to be nice later this week and there is no frost in the forecast for the rest of the week either. Perhaps I can get a couple of hours worth of work in after I get home from work a couple of evenings.

This time of year is sort of bittersweet. I hate to have the growing season come to an end but of course harvesting is cool. And I do enjoy the way everything looks when it all ready for winter.

Hope the back doesn't give you too much trouble.

GK
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Re: Prepping my beds for winter's rest.

Post  quiltbea on Tue 28 Sep 2010 - 8:51

Greensand is a natural organic Potash and is good for stems, roots and fruiting. I'm adding some for the fall prep but it can be added before the spring planting instead. A light feeding is 5 lbs per 100 Sq Feet. This year, I just broadcast a little by hand around the beds in the fall.

I use the alfalfa pellets that I bought from the feed store (yes, they feed it to horses, cows, etc) because I figure if mulching with hay can be so beneficial to soil after it breaks down, then the alfalfa itself can't hurt.

I like to add some limestone to the beds in fall, especially where brassicas have grown to prevent any spread of clubroot from those plants. I also toss the roots of brassicas in the trash and not the compost bin. Clubroot is a disease I don't want in my garden.

Since I had planted my brassicas in separate beds, I thought they needed some extra limestone this fall.

I really wish I could have added the dried leaves to the beds. The dried leaves are great feeding grounds for worms and those castings are so beneficial to any garden. Just putting a couple handsful in the bottom of each square would be great for any garden. When the rains stop I hope my back is better so I can do that for the beds that haven't yet been prepped.

In spring I put a handful of limestone in the bottom of each square when planting a brassica, like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli. It helps prevent clubroot, a disease deadly to current brassicas and future brassicas.

This is just my personal planning and tips taken from other garden books, especially from Bob Thomsen of Victory Garden. Mel , Bob and Eliot Coleman/Barbara Damrosch are my garden gurus. My garden did very well this year considering I didn't have the volume of compost or manure I wanted. Next year more of that is in the planning.

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