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Jamie Calloway

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Ok, so this year's garden was an absolute disaster. I tried to start my garden in what was basically a national forest and I failed misaribly. I have been keeping the weeds cut down out there but I just can't pro up with it, every time I go there, there is a new tree growing.
So...... I have picked out a new spot that is 1. Closer to the house
2. Is grass and has been for a long time.
3. Has irrigation
4. Gets at least 8 hours of sun without having to cut any trees down.

I am posting some pictures here of the plot in hopes I can get a little info on how you guys would start this. The main thing I need to know is how far away do I need to be from the two tree lines in order to get away from as many roots as I can. I basically have about 2 acres to work with. One of the tree lines is all big mature pine, although there is also a very big Magnolia in there as well. The other tree line has some that I am not sure what they are, but I assume they are full grown and probably are as big as they are going to get.
Thanks for the help

1. First tree line mostly pine trees upwards of 60 to 70 feet tall. In this picture the tree line to the left is what I am dealing with.
20170821_183231.jpg


2. Picture, these are some trees that look very bushy and are probably 20 to 30 feet tall.
20170821_183306.jpg


3. Picture is the ground with both tree lines. Soil is pretty good basically clay, with some good top soil. This picture was taken about 6:30 pm so it is shadowed now but gets full sun all day. Is shadowed a word?

20170821_183150.jpg
 
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You need at least at a minimum 6 hours of DIRECT FULL SUNLIGHT for a good garden. 8-10 is much better. What time of day was the picture taken? Take a picture showing what is east southeast to west southwest. Tall trees in that direction and there will be too much shade if what is shown in these pictures are any indication but from the shadows I would guess afternoon.
 

Jamie Calloway

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Yea that picture was taken at 6:30 pm. I walked out there every hour from 8am until 7pm it gets at least 8 to 10 hours of full sun. I took some pictures using my sun tracker but the files were to big to upload them here.
 
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You could key in dappled shade + plants on google to find out what plants suit your garden. I know that helleborus will be very happy there, even under the trees, cyclamens. if you make the soil moist and free draining, astilbes, hydrangeas, acer palmatum. You could do a lot with that amount of sunshine.. I'm excited even though it's not my garden.
 
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Yea that picture was taken at 6:30 pm. I walked out there every hour from 8am until 7pm it gets at least 8 to 10 hours of full sun. I took some pictures using my sun tracker but the files were to big to upload them here.
Well, you have plenty of sunshine then. Now about clearing the garden spot of that grass. What kind of grass is it?
 
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Is shadowed a word?
It works for me Jamie:) traditionally the word would be shade, but we don't worry too much about these things. Yes, try again and again and you will be rewarded. It is not easy having mother nature as a partner, but we do have a tendency to learn a lot.
smiley seed.gif
 
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Jamie Calloway

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To be honest with ya @Chuck I don't know what kind of grass it is, but I can tell you over 8 acres there is at least 3 or 4 different kinds out there. I have looked at renting a sod cutter but there are none in my area, I guess I'll get busy with a spade and flat shovel. I would like to make the task as easy and efficient as I can. I bought a Mantis Tiller that I have used a couple of times just messing around a little and although it chews up the dirt in a hurry grass gets caught up in the tines pretty easily. I would like to get a good distance away from the major source of roots if I can, but not sure how far out the extend from the tree line.
 

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I think you have to remove all the grass and weed before using a Mantis tiller or you spread more weed or grass in among the soil. I could be wrong!
 
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In a hot area, dappled shade can be useful, as many leafy plants, lettuce & spinach, for example, very quickly run to seed, cauliflower curds spoil and broccoli goes tough in no time.
So use those parts for plants which suit.
After you've double dug in the grass, I'd plant seedlings through a 2" layer of woodchip mulch for the first few years at least, rather than direct sow, if possible.
 
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Getting rid of native grass is a big chore. You will never rid yourself of it all no matter what you do as animals and the wind just keep on bringing in more seed. If it were me I would start in the middle of that big cleared area. I would stake out where the garden will be and then I would solarize it for a few months. It will take some time now that winter is just about upon us but by solarizing it you will save yourself untold amounts of labor later on.
 
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Jamie Calloway

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I actually have a smaller area I am going to do my leafy and herbs. It gets partial shade and about 3 to 4 hours of sun. It will be fairly small I am thinking a 20 by 10 foot area.
I know the bushlike trees on the one side are evergreens but the other tree line is just huge pine trees. I like the soleraization method I did research that. What is the best material to put down for that. I can get a lot of hay, or buy a tarp or painting plastic drop cloth. I was thinking of going to the recycling center to see if they would let me take some cardboard.
So after a few months of having it covered do I just begin tilling in the dead grass or will I still need to use a spade or shovel to skim the top of it? I want to make sure I give this area every chance to be productive.
 
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I actually have a smaller area I am going to do my leafy and herbs. It gets partial shade and about 3 to 4 hours of sun. It will be fairly small I am thinking a 20 by 10 foot area.
I know the bushlike trees on the one side are evergreens but the other tree line is just huge pine trees. I like the soleraization method I did research that. What is the best material to put down for that. I can get a lot of hay, or buy a tarp or painting plastic drop cloth. I was thinking of going to the recycling center to see if they would let me take some cardboard.
So after a few months of having it covered do I just begin tilling in the dead grass or will I still need to use a spade or shovel to skim the top of it? I want to make sure I give this area every chance to be productive.
Nothing will work like either clear or black plastic. The same plastic that home foundations are poured over. It comes in big rolls. Forget about cardboard or anything organic. A total waste of time and effort. One thing to remember before covering with the plastic. Water the entire area thoroughly and don't forget to put something on the plastic to keep it from blowing away.
 
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I have problems on my plot with onion white rot, and my solution has had to be, for growing onions, to fashion deep raised beds, isolated from the ground by tarpaulin, and filled with growing medium which cannot be infected.
You have a bit of an advantage, at least in terms of cost, if you follow my method, because you can just fill your raised beds with soil taken from below root level of the grass.
It will also make weeding an easier job, although you will have to introduce worms etc. by hand.
Some people use thick layers of cardboard/newspaper which would probably be sufficient in terms of rotting down after the grass has died off, but, because I want permanent onion beds, and because white rot sclerotia can lay dormant in soil for 15-20 years, I went for a membrane which was porous, but which wouldn't bio-degrade.
 
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@Chuck, what does Jamie do after the solarization? :unsure:
After sufficient solarising the grass and all weeds will be brown and dead. I like to use clear plastic because sunshine will help with weed and grass germinition and plant. growth.. After the plastic is removed till it all under and replace the plastic for about a month. This will germinate most of the remaining underground seeds that did not germinate the first time. Till it under again and plant your garden. There will probably be a few weeds pop up but with a hula-hoe it will be easy to maintain. I did my garden of 1/4 acre like this. It is work and it works.
 
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Jamie Calloway

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Thank you @Chuck, I am going to be on the look out for the vapor barrier plastic, hope to get it started next week. It really doesn't start to get cool here in Georgia until about Novemeber so I hope to at least get the first cycle of grass and weeds taken care of. Thank you @MaryMary.
 

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