Newbie...advice wanted

Hi, I'm 68 years old and as a teen ager sold veggies off a 3 acre plot. Kept a large garden for several years but gave up a few years ago and want to get into a raised garden situation. I have laid up loose cement block, two tiers high 17 blocks long and three blocks wide. A heavy layer of paper over the bottom, 8 inches of stone free sandy loam, 3 inches of rotted horse manure, covered with loam, filled to top with horse manure and tomorrow I am going to cover it heaped up with about 4 more inches of loam. I am going to add 50 lbs of pulverized limestone to the top layer of loam. Its late here in the season, upstate NY so am going to plant string beans and set out a few strawberry cuttings. Is there anything else I should do to this now besides water it? Any suggestions on what I can plant this late? I plan on a few inches of leaves this fall. Comments would be appreciated.
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Allan Matthews wrote:

Don't put lime where you're planning to put strawberries - strawberry likes things sour.
--
Henriette Kress, AHG Helsinki, Finland
Henriette's herbal homepage: http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed
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On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 14:04:44 -0400, Allan Matthews

I bet you are going to just LOVE your raised beds! I would never go back now...never.
(We live in northern PA, with a climate most likely fairly similar to yours - we're in the mountains.)
Lettuce and Swiss chard are quite frost-resistant and would be OK to plant now. I've had lettuce survive just fine in the snow and in temperatures down to 16 F. I've had Swiss chard survive fine down to 12 F. Kale can survive all winter, I'm told. I'm planting some in about two weeks.
You would still have time for bush beans - I just planted some, they are supposed to be mature in 47 days. Well - even if it takes 60 days: there's still time here, and I'd think in most of upstate NY there would be time for them too.
I think you could also plant (early) beets too, and various Asian greens (if you eat these), bok choy for one. You'd probably need to order the Asian greens online and in that case, you'd better do it quickly.
If you're interested in any Asian veggies, I recommend:
http://www.evergreenseeds.com
You might want to take a look at a wonderful book called 'The Four Season Harvest' by Eliot Coleman: it's specifically about extending the seasons and having fresh veggies all or most of the year.
Pat
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Where are you in upstate NY? I'm asking because if you're in the far north, you could probably start some cool season crops like leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, arugula, snow peas, etc.
I was born in Plattsburgh, NY and lived in West Chazy in my childhood, moved to Albany/Saratoga area in college and am now living in Raleigh, NC for the past 8 years. Down here we have 3 seasons. Early Spring (Feb-Apr) for cool crops, Summer (Apr-Oct) for warm season crops, and Fall (Sept-Dec) for cool crops again.
To grow the cool season crops, you need warm days and cool nights to do best. It sounds like you've got some good soil combinations in your layering process. I started my garden very late down here this year because I own a residential flower planting service and my customers get first dibs on my time. I'm just getting several flowers on my cucumbers and pole beans. Got lots of yellow pear, grape, better boy, and celebrity tomatoes that are green. They should ripen any day now. I've got some jalapeno and bell peppers that are ready now. In 3 weeks we will be driving up to Plattsburgh for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary party. Not looking forward to the drive - roughly 15 hours.
Good luck on your new garden. Hope it works out well.
Penny Zone 7b - North Carolina

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As Henriette says, don't put strawberries where you put lime (make a separate row and bury them under woodchips - that will make them happy). At this point you can plant any greens which have a short season, in fact you can plant things like arugula all the way to october. I would suggest chard, beets, lettuce, arugula, tatsoi, various chicories, pakchoi, spinach, kale. You can also consider radishes or short season carrots. In october you could also plant hardneck garlic or multiplier onions for next year. No reason you shouldn't have plenty of veggies starting in september and stretching into december ( I cover my beds with tunnels to stretch the season into early january).
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Thanks to all for comments. Especially on the strawberrys and lime. was unaware that strawberrys like acid. Working on project today.
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