I may need to till my no-till garden

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Let's put it this way. Last year I grew 8 cherry tomatoes. Granted they weren't black cherry but cherrys all the same. I grew them where they received about 4 hours of direct sunlight as an experiment and they made maybe, at most, a handful of tomatoes each. I had thought that perhaps I could extend the growing season on them by placing them in a shaded area. They were grown in super rich garden soil that I put into fabric containers. This year I put them into all day sun and before the hail storm destroyed them they had at least a pint of tomatoes on each plant and if had survived would have produced at minimum a half gallon of fruit each. This shows how important sunlight is. You will probably get a few tomatoes but not enough to be worth the costs you have incurred. Is there anywhere else on your property to install a raised bed. If not a raised bed is there room for 5-10 gallon fabric containers?
So… I have a couple options. Right now I JUST built this nice plant rack for a bunch of 5gal fabric pots. And the wife (currently away for the summer) saw a picture and said “ditch it! There’s no room to sit!” :ROFLMAO: Which of course she’s right… soooooo I have this ugly front yard….. and our HOA is in massive debt and has no power over us (nor should they for the state of this neighborhood, but that’s another story). I could just set this rack up there. OR… I could dig up all these ugly bushes and turn it into an in-ground/raised bed same height as the one in the back… that way I could at least use a decent amount of the compost and maybe try to sell some. Pictures!

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The black mounds are just potatoes covered in compost because I have 1.5 yards of it (y)

So this yard faces north-northeast. It gets the full morning sun then is shaded after noon-ish (I’ll nail down the exact time before I do anything drastic).
 
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Has about as much chance as a snowball on I45 July 4th.

So… I have a couple options. Right now I JUST built this nice plant rack for a bunch of 5gal fabric pots. And the wife (currently away for the summer) saw a picture and said “ditch it! There’s no room to sit!” :ROFLMAO: Which of course she’s right… soooooo I have this ugly front yard….. and our HOA is in massive debt and has no power over us (nor should they for the state of this neighborhood, but that’s another story). I could just set this rack up there. OR… I could dig up all these ugly bushes and turn it into an in-ground/raised bed same height as the one in the back… that way I could at least use a decent amount of the compost and maybe try to sell some. Pictures!

View attachment 90864

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The black mounds are just potatoes covered in compost because I have 1.5 yards of it (y)

So this yard faces north-northeast. It gets the full morning sun then is shaded after noon-ish (I’ll nail down the exact time before I do anything drastic).
The first picture is interesting. It appears that there might be enough sunlight there to grow things. You don't have to have that rack taking up sitting space. Grow bags do just fine sitting on the ground,
 
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The first picture is interesting. It appears that there might be enough sunlight there to grow things. You don't have to have that rack taking up sitting space. Grow bags do just fine sitting on the ground,
Yea… after sleeping on it I think I’ll just take a step back and throw these pots on the ground in the front yard. I have two packs (5 & 10gal) of fabric pots I was going to use come fall. Actually I was going to return the 10gals because I couldn’t comfortably fit them on the rack. Buuuut if they’re in the yard they’d probably be a much healthier growing space for something big like an indeterminant tomato ya?

Do you have any suggestions in terms of soil structure? Is it basically the same as described above (Generic raised bed bagged soil, organic fert, 30% compost)?
 
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Yea… after sleeping on it I think I’ll just take a step back and throw these pots on the ground in the front yard. I have two packs (5 & 10gal) of fabric pots I was going to use come fall. Actually I was going to return the 10gals because I couldn’t comfortably fit them on the rack. Buuuut if they’re in the yard they’d probably be a much healthier growing space for something big like an indeterminant tomato ya?

Do you have any suggestions in terms of soil structure? Is it basically the same as described above (Generic raised bed bagged soil, organic fert, 30% compost)?
The soil structure I would build for a 10 gallon pot is 7 gallons of bagged soil and 3 gallons of compost. I would add about 2 quarts of perlite, 1 quart of granulated organic fertilizer and 1 quart of azomite or greensand.. I know this adds up to more than 10 gallons but it simplifies things. Do not fill up the containers completely full. Leave about 2-3 inches. Leaving this much space will eliminate any soil washing away and it will allow for you to add mulch. Adding mulch is important as it helps regulate moisture and it stops soil splashing up onto your plants. If I were to return any of the fabric pots it would be the 5 gallon size. I have found 7 gallon containers minimal for tomatoes and about perfect for peppers and that the 10 gallon containers about perfect for each. If we could grow indeterminate varieties of tomatoes for the entire summer I would recommend 15 gallon containers for them, but we can't so I won't. The only problem I see for you and fabric containers is also what is the bane of all container gardeners in suburban areas and this is those pesky varmints, the two legged kind who sneak in and make off with your fresh tomatoes and sometimes the entire container, pot, plant and all.
 
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The soil structure I would build for a 10 gallon pot is 7 gallons of bagged soil and 3 gallons of compost. I would add about 2 quarts of perlite, 1 quart of granulated organic fertilizer and 1 quart of azomite or greensand.. I know this adds up to more than 10 gallons but it simplifies things. Do not fill up the containers completely full. Leave about 2-3 inches. Leaving this much space will eliminate any soil washing away and it will allow for you to add mulch. Adding mulch is important as it helps regulate moisture and it stops soil splashing up onto your plants. If I were to return any of the fabric pots it would be the 5 gallon size. I have found 7 gallon containers minimal for tomatoes and about perfect for peppers and that the 10 gallon containers about perfect for each. If we could grow indeterminate varieties of tomatoes for the entire summer I would recommend 15 gallon containers for them, but we can't so I won't. The only problem I see for you and fabric containers is also what is the bane of all container gardeners in suburban areas and this is those pesky varmints, the two legged kind who sneak in and make off with your fresh tomatoes and sometimes the entire container, pot, plant and all.
….the whole plant?! You know Ive kind of been thinking about that… but it’s such a small community and I’ve always been too trusting. I’d probably put a camera out there to hopefully deter people. And if not, like I said it’s a small community, everyone will know who the culprit is once I release the footage!

I’ve already had a baby tomato plant stepped on, multiple potato plants weedwacked, but I think it’s mostly from the lawn people (provided by the HOA). I’ll probably just fence of the whole thing with a 2ft green mesh and see if anyone complains lol. I just did this last night when I saw someone walking right through the yard with their dog :rolleyes:

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The soil structure I would build for a 10 gallon pot is 7 gallons of bagged soil and 3 gallons of compost. I would add about 2 quarts of perlite, 1 quart of granulated organic fertilizer and 1 quart of azomite or greensand.
Awesome, I have all this actually lol. I did want to ask about the azomite though. The only thing I could find not online was the little time release granules… I’d really prefer the immediately available powdered form, but their website says it’s the same thing just rolled up into balls that will decay in a few weeks. Is this what you use?
 
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Awesome, I have all this actually lol. I did want to ask about the azomite though. The only thing I could find not online was the little time release granules… I’d really prefer the immediately available powdered form, but their website says it’s the same thing just rolled up into balls that will decay in a few weeks. Is this what you use?
I use the powdered form. It is almost like baking flour and it suspends in water so I can spray it if I want to or mix with liquid fertilizer and water with it. I don't know about the balls.

 
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You will not need 44lbs. 5 pounds should be sufficient for a year or two in your situation.
 
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Man this mix looks good. I’m feeling really good about this one. Got them all mixed up in a ten gallon and planted some purple whole peas (@Meadowlark ;)). Let’s see if I can get myself something to eat in this heat!
 
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You will still have to turn over the existing soil. Just add the bagged soil to the compost and turn both back into the existing soil. And as time goes by just keep adding bagged soil, compost and turning it into the soil. What I worry about most is sunlight.
Do you till your soil every season? There’s seems to be such a big movement in avoiding tilling once your garden is nice and aged… I’m curious as to what the gardening veterans do.
 
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Do you till your soil every season? There’s seems to be such a big movement in avoiding tilling once your garden is nice and aged… I’m curious as to what the gardening veterans do.
I never till. I just turn the soil over with a shovel and break up the clods if any.
 
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I till. Imo for the small garden tilling, planting, and then mulching is a pretty good way to go. In a no till you are still digging but the roots dont have as much disturbed earth up high to spread out in and the oxidation zone is pretty important. I know how it is supposed to work but none of the weeds and stuff have the internet so they do not understand.
 
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I never till. I just turn the soil over with a shovel and break up the clods if any.
This is probably me being lazy… but how smallish are you breaking up the clods? These things are kicking my butt… I’ll probably have to just get down and to it by hand. It’s not that big of a space.

Picture below with a 2x4 for size comparison:

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This is probably me being lazy… but how smallish are you breaking up the clods? These things are kicking my butt… I’ll probably have to just get down and to it by hand. It’s not that big of a space.

Picture below with a 2x4 for size comparison:

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Your soil is totally different from mine. You have what is called Blackland Prarie Clay while mine is more loamy with a much higher Ph than yours. If you will shovel in 2 or 3 bags of good compost each year to that area you will find that those clods will be gone. What I see from this picture are clods no bigger than about 3 inches. If it were me I would just rake them up, put into a wheelbarrow and chop them up a little with a shovel. However, they will disappear on their own when you water a few times. But adding compost is the most important. Turning 2 or 3 bags into the soil plus putting copious amounts on the soils surfaced will make a world of difference.
 
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Your soil is totally different from mine. You have what is called Blackland Prarie Clay while mine is more loamy with a much higher Ph than yours. If you will shovel in 2 or 3 bags of good compost each year to that area you will find that those clods will be gone. What I see from this picture are clods no bigger than about 3 inches. If it were me I would just rake them up, put into a wheelbarrow and chop them up a little with a shovel. However, they will disappear on their own when you water a few times. But adding compost is the most important. Turning 2 or 3 bags into the soil plus putting copious amounts on the soils surfaced will make a world of difference
Well as you know I have no shortage of compost lol. Yeah after the first round of compost mixing I’m realizing I’m gonna need to do this more than a couple of times… already looks a bit better though.
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Fun fact, new homes have tons of leftover trash in the front yards
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