A total change in my approach to a garden.


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Let me start out by saying that garden 2018 was a total failure. It was my first full summer on our new property and I was unaware that the area I had planted was prone to flooding.

We have now moved to another portion of our property and built a new house there. Our cleared land used to be a cow pasture and has wonderful soil for a lawn. About 75 feet from the house is a barn that was used to keep the cattle. Behind that is an area that was used for dumping the manure from the cows. After doing some exploratory digging I found the top layer of black soil to be over two feet deep. I started to rototiller it but quit when I discovered it was full of earthworms. I didn’t want to destroy this great resource. Instead I covered the area with horse manure and let it suffocate the weeds. In mid October I planted Daikon Radishes over the entire are. They germinated in a couple of days and are now growing like crazy. I plan to let the radishes loosen up the soil and not till in the spring. Within the next week or two I will bury the entire garden in leaves. The radishes are tall enough to not be buried. In April I plan to plant a few rows of peppers (hot) and sweet corn. I will mulch between the rows with wood chips and leaf mold. There will be no tilling and the worms should remain healthy.

I will update the success or failure of this project as it progresses.
 
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Let me start out by saying that garden 2018 was a total failure. It was my first full summer on our new property and I was unaware that the area I had planted was prone to flooding.

We have now moved to another portion of our property and built a new house there. Our cleared land used to be a cow pasture and has wonderful soil for a lawn. About 75 feet from the house is a barn that was used to keep the cattle. Behind that is an area that was used for dumping the manure from the cows. After doing some exploratory digging I found the top layer of black soil to be over two feet deep. I started to rototiller it but quit when I discovered it was full of earthworms. I didn’t want to destroy this great resource. Instead I covered the area with horse manure and let it suffocate the weeds. In mid October I planted Daikon Radishes over the entire are. They germinated in a couple of days and are now growing like crazy. I plan to let the radishes loosen up the soil and not till in the spring. Within the next week or two I will bury the entire garden in leaves. The radishes are tall enough to not be buried. In April I plan to plant a few rows of peppers (hot) and sweet corn. I will mulch between the rows with wood chips and leaf mold. There will be no tilling and the worms should remain healthy.

I will update the success or failure of this project as it progresses.
Pics please. Before, during and after.
 

alp

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Sound like heavens have given you a nice start! Imagine all the earthworms and manure enriching the soil. Don't even think of turning the soil. It will only damage the health of your soil. Perhaps, you can draw some diagram and aspect and put some icon on a diagrams and people like Chuck and others can give you their takes of your approach. Find the best seeds you can get hold of. Next time could be a year of bliss!
 
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336D20E0-531E-4785-AABF-1329F8B4814B.jpeg


Chuck, there isn’t much to show yet. Here are the first two rows of radishes. Many more are now planted. The gully to the right is planted with leaks thatI will bury as they grow.

A9567A14-B1EE-4C20-9D08-D13526E2594A.jpeg

This is a pile of horse manure that will get spread. As you can see there is almost no ground disturbance.


Pics please. Before, during and after.
 

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Don't think it is needed. Another thing you can add is wood ash which can be spread out thinly to boost the potash level. Very good for flowers. If you can fix a HOT box with lots of horse manure, chicken manure, you could try growing melons.
We use borax in this clay soil around here for broccoli and beets and radish and so forth. That garden soil is very rich so I was curious.
 
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If I was a betting man I would wager that you are going to have a great garden year!
 
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That looks like excellent soil, the same as in parts of Texas which is known as Black Upland Clay. What I would do now is to give the garden area a heavy dose of molasses, about 3 oz per gallon of water and then cover the area with copious amounts of manure and other organic matter such as leaves or compost. You can also plant cover crops which will add greatly to your soil. Then about once a month reapply more molasses until the time you actually make the garden. What this will do is soften the soil and feed and multiply the micro-organisms in the soil. It will also help break down the organic matter you have already applied. Now is the perfect time to do this as the coming winter rains will leach all of this matter deep into the soil.
What you can also do is add minerals by applying such things as greensand and/or liquid seaweed/kelp. By the time you are ready to actually build the garden and plant all you will have to do is add a little organic fertilizer and watch those plants shoot up.
 
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Did you use any boric acid on the radish?
No. I didn’t put anything but manure and leaves on the garden. I don’t want anything to skew the results. One of my first observations is that the ground absorbs water immediately. After my last garden disaster I think this is a very good thing.
 
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No. I didn’t put anything but manure and leaves on the garden. I don’t want anything to skew the results. One of my first observations is that the ground absorbs water immediately. After my last garden disaster I think this is a very good thing.
Perk is something I would not know about. Welive in fear of the 3 inch per hour rain.

Here are my radishes.
IMG_20181203_102741.jpg
 
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Perk is something I would not know about. Welive in fear of the 3 inch per hour rain.

Here are my radishes. View attachment 47472
Looking good. I planted two more rows of Daikons and found some turnip seeds I had purchased so I planted two rows of them. Now I will set back and see how hardy these plants are. I am starting to get excited about gardening again. After this summer I was ready to quit gardening all together.
 
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Looking good. I planted two more rows of Daikons and found some turnip seeds I had purchased so I planted two rows of them. Now I will set back and see how hardy these plants are. I am starting to get excited about gardening again. After this summer I was ready to quit gardening all together.
I've been gardening for over 60 years and not once has everything in my garden all grown as expected. Something always happens to something and once in awhile it happens to everything. Gardening is gambling and the house/Mother Nature usually wins.
 
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In my fourth years involvement in Horticulture I have never heard anyone say that their soil is so good that they don't need to dig it. This statement quite bluntly is complete and utter nonsense and goes against good Horticultural practice. Sorry to sound so scaving, I must explain my reasons herein. Firstly, we need to get air into the soil to allow winter conditions to break down harmful bacteria and control annual weed growth. Secondly by turning the soil in Autumn we are improving the structure regardless of how fine or fertile it is. We are also mixing any ameliorants in whatever form they take. You will not upset destroy or offend the worms, as winter progressses and the soil gets colder the worms will Bury deeper, thus working the soil.Undug soil will eventually pan and cause disease problems. I have even seen panning on sandy soil which on the face of it is very strange. Hand digging with a spade is best on light soils, it is good to be able to turn the soil not least to get rid of pernicious weed roots, those long white almost tuberous roots.
 
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In my fourth years involvement in Horticulture I have never heard anyone say that their soil is so good that they don't need to dig it. This statement quite bluntly is complete and utter nonsense and goes against good Horticultural practice. Sorry to sound so scaving, I must explain my reasons herein. Firstly, we need to get air into the soil to allow winter conditions to break down harmful bacteria and control annual weed growth. Secondly by turning the soil in Autumn we are improving the structure regardless of how fine or fertile it is. We are also mixing any ameliorants in whatever form they take. You will not upset destroy or offend the worms, as winter progressses and the soil gets colder the worms will Bury deeper, thus working the soil.Undug soil will eventually pan and cause disease problems. I have even seen panning on sandy soil which on the face of it is very strange. Hand digging with a spade is best on light soils, it is good to be able to turn the soil not least to get rid of pernicious weed roots, those long white almost tuberous roots.

Robert, thank you for your input. I know from reading some of your previous posts you are a very knowledgeable gardener. My decision to try no till gardening isn’t based on the fact that I think the soil is perfect. I hope that this type of gardening will prove more productive with less effort.

Please go to https://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/no-till-gardening.html and see if their information doesn’t give you some new ideas.
 
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As a prairie horticulturalist and growing up learning to and farming with my father and older brothers and after leaving the farm and seeing the results from our renters switching to no till crop farming, I have to throw my support behind no till. But I will add it depends on the climate and lay of the land.
There are pros and cons to no till in a big operation, in a vegetable garden if your soil isn't in a wet area and you can keep up with the weeding, I see no cons. The worms will do their job keeping the soil from being compacted and one can always top dress building up the soil.
Up here I would still till my garden to get that soil warmed up as soon as possible, and on the farm there was about a 5 acre patch in one field that stayed boggy due to spring melt and the creek ran through it as well. That kind of area we always used the disc and then the cultivator to dry it out to be seeded.
 

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