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
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?
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?
Cloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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.
"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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