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Author Topic: Winter cover for garden  (Read 426 times)

Offline jvalentour

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Winter cover for garden
« on: November 22, 2016, 12:06:13 AM »
I have raised beds started in 2016.
Was wondering how gardeners in my area cover for winter and prep for spring.
I have heard to cover with cardboard or leaves.
My soil is poor and I'd like to do something to enrich it for spring planting.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 03:35:47 AM »
if can find leaves. cover with 2-3 feet of leaves and tillnit in then cover again 2-3 three feetand let it stay. the tilled leaves will breake down and inrich the soil.  plus no weed seed in spring. then till the  leaves in in spring that wull help with moisture retension. if you have pine groves rake leaves off and take top two inches of soil then spead the leaves back over. add this two garden.

john

Offline Rurification

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 01:37:21 PM »
I have raised beds, too.  Lots of clay here.   If the beds are getting low of soil, I put some sand in, then a bunch of chicken dirt from the coop - or horse manure from the neighbor.    I mulch heavily with straw during the growing season and I leave that on and then after I pull the plants outs in the fall, I cover it all with leaves for the winter.    As we clean the coop over the winter, we just toss the chicken litter on top of everything - especially where I want to plant squash next year. 

2 years ago I made the mistake of putting on a layer of year old wood chips from some trees we took down the year before that.   They weren't aged enough.    I won't do that again.  No wood chips, no bark mulch.   Not for veg beds.
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Offline GSF

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 06:38:50 AM »
I've always heard that decaying wood will pull the nitrogen out of the soil.
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Offline gww

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 02:31:27 PM »
gsf
Quote
I've always heard that decaying wood will pull the nitrogen out of the soil.

I have always heard this also.  I also heard that when the wood finaly decays enough that it slowly releases the nitrogen back.  I usually try to fill my boxes with pure cow manuer and if I can't get enough of that I use horse, rabbit, goat, chicken poo.  I never can get enough crap and average about 3 pickup loads a year and that is nothing.  Last year I built three boxes and filled them half full of sawdust and then put a couple of inches of cow poo on top.  Time will tell. 
Cheers
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Online Dallasbeek

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 03:06:08 PM »
Where it's available, expanded shale is great addition to soil, whether it's clay or sandy.  Expanded shale is shale that has been heated to 1700 degrees.  It looks like pea gravel, but when it's heated, it pops like popcorn and is full of tiny pockets that will hold air and water.  About 60% of the volume of a pebble of expanded shale is made up of these pockets.

What we do in Texas is put down about 4 inches of finished compost and till it into the soil, then add about 4 inches of expanded shale and till that in.  Mix it in real deep.

Finished compost is any carbonaceous material that has been allowed to break down and, yes, it takes nitrogen to break it down.  Leaves, wood chips, manure or whatever.  When it has fully composted, it smells very good.

I have beds that I built up using expanded shale and compost and things grow like crazy in them.  For example, I have lemon grass that's seven feet tall right now (until we have a hard freeze). I need to dig it up and put it in pots to overwinter.

Expanded shale isn't available everywhere.  I inquired about it for family members in Minnesota and Wisconsin several years ago and nobody there had ever heard of it, but if you can get it, it's great stuff.
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 10:26:17 PM »
No expanded shale in my area, I did google it though.

Picking leaves from neighborhood curbs, my farm is not near my suburban home.  That's kinda fun, hope I don't get arrested.  I can see the headlines now... Beek leaf thief arrested for gathering leaf waste, news at 11.

No access to chicken or cow waste, any ideas?
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Offline herbhome

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2016, 10:36:53 PM »
Any vegetative matter, such as sawdust, wood chips, leaves etc. will add organic matter to the soil and help hold moisture for the plants, but while it is composting it will tie up the nitrogen in the soil. That's why it is a good idea to layer it over the bed in the fall with nitrogenous waste like manure, food scraps  and the like. After it is composted down it no longer ties up nutrients and will release some to the plants.
Our soil is heavy clay and along with sand we have to add a lot of compost to keep the soil workable.

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 10:08:37 AM »
I have not done raised beds just yet but hope to be building some soon. I usually in my big garden plot put out old chicken litter and let it sit for 3-6 months before harvest. I also mulch  my entire garden or close to it when planted with wheat straw and let the leaves fall in as they will from the trees surrounding my garden.

Online Dallasbeek

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Re: Winter cover for garden
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2016, 07:51:07 PM »
Any vegetative matter, such as sawdust, wood chips, leaves etc. will add organic matter to the soil and help hold moisture for the plants, but while it is composting it will tie up the nitrogen in the soil. That's why it is a good idea to layer it over the bed in the fall with nitrogenous waste like manure, food scraps  and the like. After it is composted down it no longer ties up nutrients and will release some to the plants.
Our soil is heavy clay and along with sand we have to add a lot of compost to keep the soil workable.

Talk to your county agent about adding sand to clay.  I think you'll find it is counterproductive and will eventually layer up.  Only compost will break up clay, and that may take years.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

 

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