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I live in Ohio (zone 5) and I'm starting a small vegetable garden in the backyard this year. It is 7'x8'. I figure it is wise to start small the first year and, if all goes well, increase it's size next year. I've never gardened before - ever. The only thing I've done so far is dig up the garden with a shovel. I got rid of all the grass sod and several rocks. The soil is mostly clay, so I'm going to add some sand and good dark soil. I will either rent or buy a tiller. I figure after the garden is tilled all I have to do is plant. I figure the end of May to be good for that. Does anyone know any good vegetable gardening websites? I'm particularly interested in zone 5 gardening. I'm looking forward to participating in this group.
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Hi Hud. I've been gardening for many years in zone 6. A garden only 7' by 8' can be dug by hand, no tiller needed. Our veggie patch is 25' by 25'. Since we already had a tiller from where we lived before, so use it. Before I plant I still do it by hand with the spade as the spade does a better job by going deeper. The tiller loosens the top 6 to 8 ". A tiller can form a hard-pan. Google hardpan. When the tiller goes we're not replacing it. We also have clay soil. We compost everything we get our hands on from kitchen waste to ground leaves. It's mixed in in spring and in the fall. It's really improved the condition of the soil. We also add a general garden fertilizer at the time we turn in the compost in the spring. What veggies do you plan to start with?
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Which raises the question, in my mind (go figure), as to whether a tiller is a good thing or not. I've read that tillers wipeout earthworms and their edifices. Anybody have an opinion on tiller verses no tiller?
- Bill Cloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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wrote:

It depends on how large a plot you have and what your level of fitness is. We are both over 65 and have about 1/2 acre of garden to be prepared. We use a tiller. And we still seem to have earthworms. Shovels can also cut earthworms up too.
--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
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wrote:

If you plan a large garden you may find a tiller helpful but a better bet would be a small tractor with a plow or those disks to turn the soil in the manner farmers do. I would never spend the money to buy another tiller. They don't go deep enough. If your soil is very sandy they may work better, but of it's clay..... well, better to turn the soil by hand.

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I've already bought Burpee Nantes Half Long carrot seed (easy sow seed tape) and Tenderpod green bean seed. Soon I'm going to get some Roma and Better Boy tomato plants and some kind of peppers. That's about it.
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If you're going to grow carrots and beans make sure you are either in a rabbit free area or fence the veggie patch. If there are rabbits they will eat the tops off right down to an inch or two above the ground. They don't touch peppers or tomatoes.
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I do worry about rabbits. I thought a chicken wire fence might be a good idea. But then a friend told me that rabbits just dig right under them. Someone else told me to pour ammonia on the ground all around my garden. He said that would keep them out. Another buddy told me to get some cat fur, stuff it in panty hose and hang it on posts on the corners of the garden to ward off rabbits. I've never heard of any of these ideas before. Anybody have any other good ideas on how to keep rabbits out of the garden? Thoughts?
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I have never had rabbits dig under a fence. I use the cheap 50' rolls of plastic "rabbit fencing" and those cheap metal fence poles from the local Lowe's Store. Make sure you bury the bottom few inches so they don't squeeze under.

No, that will not work. The ammonia dissipates quickly.
Another buddy told me to get some cat fur,

That only works until they realize no real live cats are available. We've tried every trick in the book including the blood meal and nothing worked but the anti-rabbit fencing. Since the new neighbors now have 3 cats, the rabbit population has dropped.
I've never heard of any of these ideas before. Anybody

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Manelli Family wrote:

Yeah, the fencing worked fine for me too. I used regular chicken wire, had the posts only about four feet apart, if that and didn't bury the bottom. I just left a couple inches on the bottom and pulled it tight enough between the posts. The posts were close enough to keep the wire tight and I had no problem with rabbits getting in.
I've since dismantled that and went with a netting approach. I use regular PVC plumbing piping to make hoops over the raised beds and got some great netting from Lee Valley and draped it over. It keeps the cats, birds and rabbits out (no deer or raccoons here).
Here's an awkward picture of one of the raised beds with the hoops and netting:
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2421123250075871767VnMDvL?vhost=good-times
With carrots, turnip and other low growing plants (even celery), I was able to leave the netting on all summer. For the tall growing plants like the few corn I had, the netting was long enough to make a fence around the raised bed. The netting was pulled tight to nails in the sides of the wooden beds. This way, the netting was high enough to dissuade not only rabbits, but the cats too. A neighbour's dog also had no problem jumping the chicken wire and trampling through the beds...he doesn't go near them with the hoops.
..
Zone 5b in Canada's still chilly Far East.
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The site is either password protected or has a problem as no picture is there! Perhaps you gave us the wrong URL or an incomplete URL? I would love to see what it looks like.
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Manelli Family wrote:

Hmmm...okay...try this one...hopefully it's not too long:
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2421123250075871767VnMDvL?vhost=good-times&vhost=good-times
..
Zone 5b in Canada's Far East
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http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2421123250075871767VnMDvL?vhost=good-times&vhost=good-times
This must be a huge monster size picture or the website is having problems. It says 'downloading data' now for over 15 minutes and I still have a blank screen - no picture. Oh well........ thanks for trying.
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Yes, it looks like you definitely solved the rabbit problem.
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I didn't know they made anti-rabbit fencing. Sounds like just the thing I need. Thanks.
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*trim*

At one time we had something eating tomato plants. The solution my mother used when I was young was simply to put a bit of screen around the base of the cages, and that solved the problem.
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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The only thing that ever ate our tomatoe plants was the despised "tomatoe horn worm." That would be useless against them. You may be talking about the cut worm which circles plants at the bottom and they topple and die.

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I think rabbits got blamed. Maybe they were hungry and even less fond of the strawberries (that the birds liked and so they got netting put over them.)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Why don't you make it easy on yourself and build one or several raised garden beds . . . http://www.raised-garden-bed.com
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Spend the first year developing the soil with quick decomposing material, and some that's slower to decompose. Do not use cedar or other such wood chips/slivers. Add a weak coated fertilizer in the process. Keep it turned once a couple of weeks. Keep it damp. Weed it as you go along. No herbicides. No insecticides. Lots of work, worth the payoff.
You can use sandy loam if you know what to look for in the potential. Look for seeds, roots, branches, stalks, weeds. Look for hard black clay and rocks. None of which you want.
Dave
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