Prepare garden for vegetables

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Prepare garden for vegetables

Postby donut » Fri May 13, 2005 2:37 am

hello,

i want to create a vegetable garden in the back, i only have a small patch to play with ... i cant remember the exact details .. but it is something like 3.5m x 1.5m rectangle. At the moment the ground if full of grass, which i am going to pull out and clear it, but i am afraid of regrowth.

so, where do i start ?

i know i am a bit too keen, but i would like grow some tomatos, cucumber, which i think i shall grow near the back wall, with carrot, tomato, potato, beans, onions, infront.

what suggestions do people have?

thank you

-david (donut)
donut
 

Postby Sam » Fri May 13, 2005 10:17 am

Check with people in your local area as to what grows best for them to start with.

Pull out all your grass and then solarise by placing newspaper or plastic over the ground and let it sit to kill off any regrowth.

Then start to build up your soil with compost and the like before planting. If you have really compacted soil, it can be a good idea to plant something like alfalfa lucerne initially to break up the soil - the roots go a long way down and bring up nutrients that you wouldn't ordinarily get.

Finally, when you are getting ready to start planting, testing the Ph of the soil can be helpful as some veggies like acidic, some neutral and some alkiline soil.

We're currently growing peas (snow and sugar), beetroot, carrots, leeks, corn, beans, squash, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, alfalfa lucerne, asparagus, bok choy, lettuce and silverbeet in two beds that are each about 1 x 2 metres.

As corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder, we have actually planted the beans beside each plant and they are growing up the corn stalks (beans and peas put nitrogen back into the soil). It is the healthiest corn we have ever grown!

Look forward to hearing how you go! Best of luck!!
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Postby donut » Fri May 13, 2005 10:29 am

thanks sam for the quick reply, greatly appreciated...

this is my first gardening venture, and i hope all things go fine, and will keep people posted on the progress.

One small question, as winter is approaching, and not much sunlight is coming around, is there an alternative way to kill any regrowth?

thanks once again
donut
 

Postby Guest » Fri May 13, 2005 10:40 am

Hi Donut - I'm not really sure about that - we live just north of Brisbane so that isn't really an issue for us. Heavy black plastic might be the way to go because it will heat more quickly that newspaper.
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Postby Sam » Fri May 13, 2005 10:43 am

Oops - forgot to log in, so I couldn't edit the spelling mistake.

Also, is the grass really That Bad - you could maybe skip the solarising this time to get started more quickly if you think you can get all the roots out. Try digging quite deep and then building up (starting with thick newspaper) as you would for a 'no-dig' garden - this could be easier all round.
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Postby Kerrie » Fri May 13, 2005 3:58 pm

Hi David,
The best way to find out what grows is grab a gardening magazine and experiment! Trial and error teaches more than any amount of advice.

The one tip I would give you is that the most essential part of planting a garden is preparing the soil, it's like building - if you don't lay the foundations properly, the building will fall over. With gardening, if you don't prepare your soil properly then your crops won't thrive.

Build up your soil with compost and manure, and allow several weeks 'settling' time. If you are using raw manure, six weeks is recommended but if you can't wait that long then just make sure you're not planting direct into the manure and you should be fine. The high levels of nitrogen released by the manure can burn sensitive roots, which is the theory behind resting the bed before planting.
Lay a mulch of straw a few inches thick over the top to discourage weeds, or plant your seeds/seedlings and mulch around them.

Snails and slugs love new plantings, so experiment with snail traps - I don't like to use snailbait as the poison in it isn't great for worms, so I make snailtraps with a little vegemite mixed into water in a bowl recessed into the soil and the snails crawl in and drown. You can use a bit of diluted stale beer, too, but I'm not a beerdrinker.

Most of all, HAVE FUN!!

Kerrie
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