My new garden has a veg plot at the end, which I'd like to have a crac
at. I've read Joy Larkcoms book cover to cover, which suggest I may hav
to wait two season before I can plant anything.
Being as impatient as I am, does anyone have any suggestions as to wha
I can put in it in the next six weeks or so to get it going, or should
leave it until next spring?
It was quite overgrown with brambles and weeds, but I am now digging i
out and getting it ready for use
How much growing season do you have left this year?
I usually start projects like that in the spring. I spray everything
with Roundup, mow it all down once it's dead, and plant among the
stubble without disturbing the soil any more than I have to.
Plan on mulching heavily with compost etc. and letting the earthworms
turn the soil. If you turn it over, you will awaken thousands of
dormant weed seeds.
I've been mulching with shredded paper this year, and it's amazing how
fast the worms eat the mulch. (paper is very low in nitrogen and will
bind nitrogen away from the soil as it decays, so you might have to add
additional nitrogen or water your plants with something like Miracle
Grow the first season. The nitrogen grabbed by the paper will be
released again eventually; it's a good thing)
dependant how big the plot is, and how much you want to plant, you may want
to put part of it into crops and let the rest aside for a season. What you
don't use you could mulch now to knock out the weeds for when you want to
use it. Layer the plot with cardboard or even better old wool carpet or felt
underlay and leave for some months. Most weeds underneath will dies off in
time & you will have a decent clear bed for sowing.
Soil is for planting. I have not read the book and glad I did not as I
would have missed two years of a very good garden. Have you considered
talking to your local extension office and/or gardeners in your area?
Also try the local greenhouses. You will obtain a lot of good
information, importantly, for your area.
Honestly, if you can get several pickup loads of horse manure on it in the
next few weeks and till it into the soil, you should have a great garden
spot next spring. (The amount would be dependent on the size of your
garden, figure enough to have it a couple inches thick.) You could even
plant a nitro-fixing clover/grass on it this fall to till under in the
Good luck with your garden.
Wouldn't carpet or felt underlay risk releasing toxic substances into the
soil which will be in the harvested food?
Assuming you're in the UK, and not too far north, you have nothing to
lose by sowing a few winter-hardy salads such as chicories and endives,
land cress, claytonia, maybe winter and/or "baby leaf" spinach. Also
there are many quick-growing oriental greens that should produce
worthwhile pickings before winter sets in. Garlic is planted in autumn
and broad beans and round-seeded peas can also be sown then, for
slightly earlier crops next year.
- Max Wright
Not having read the book I'm not sure what the idea is here. But I
doubt you need to wait. Even if there is some kind of soil-building
or weed-killing plan which takes time, you can always save a small
plot as the "immediate (well, short-term) gratification area".
My first thought is some kind of cover crop. Maybe a legume (such as
clover) to fix nitrogen. This will help shade and out-compete weeds,
and you can till it in (or trim and put in the compost, if you are of
the no-till philosophy) in the spring. This also buys you time to
think while you are figuring out what to plant.
You can probably grow a lot of cool weather crops this fall too
(broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, maybe carrots, spinach, probably others
I'm not thinking of just now). If you are indeed in the UK, and I
understand the UK climate right, the winters are mild so these should
grow well into the fall, and kind of gradually slow down rather than
get nailed by a lot of snow, heavy frost, etc. The sooner you start
on these, the more chance of a harvest. Just planted my fall broccoli
here in Washington, DC (a climate with hotter summers and colder
winters, but also northern hemisphere). My first year trying this
plant (and planting timing), so no firsthand knowledge yet about
whether I am doing this right.
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