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Old 08-30-2019, 10:40 PM
citizendino citizendino is offline
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Default Putting my new Garden down for Winter



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I live in Central Wisconsin, and I had a new garden this year. Smallish. I loved it.

But, it is starting to get cooler at night.

I have spent a lot of time googling this, but thought maybe you would know.

How should I put my garden to bed for the winter? What do you do?

My instinct would be to pile up manure and cover it with a tarp, and somehow that would magically do something all winter.

I bet this is absolutely dumb, but so many of my ideas regarding scientific stuff as just terrible.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:27 PM
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When I lived in Michigan I used to put a foot or two of leaves over the garden in late fall. Then just turn them under in the spring. Garden always grew well.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:00 AM
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if it was me depending on garden type I would till/work the ground more add the manure after on the top to let it overwinter or given time work it in ,, it should be composted to help rid it of seeds ,,but I have spread fresh before in fall and it breaks down reasonable enough over winter just don't over do it
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:03 AM
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You might look into planting a winter cover crop of rye grass or something similar. But you're much further north than me, so I'm not sure what would work for you, or if it's even possible.

Worth doing a little research on, just to see.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:51 AM
citizendino citizendino is offline
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Brett, No, that worn't work. We had over 30 inches of snow since January 1, and probably 8 to 10 days with windchill of 70 below.
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Old 08-31-2019, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by citizendino View Post
Brett, No, that worn't work. We had over 30 inches of snow since January 1, and probably 8 to 10 days with windchill of 70 below.
Yeah, I didn't really think so... but it's something that's been on my mind recently. I myself haven't done a cover crop for a long time now, but I'm planning on doing it with my vegetable garden beds this coming winter.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wilderness bushman View Post
if it was me depending on garden type I would till/work the ground more add the manure after on the top to let it overwinter or given time work it in ,, it should be composted to help rid it of seeds ,,but I have spread fresh before in fall and it breaks down reasonable enough over winter just don't over do it
I'll be turning my soil under, add a blanket of horse manure and spoiled hay. In March or so I put a black tarp over it and that bakes out most of the seeds. I like to keep the manure on top for that reason. Once I'm close to planting I'll turn it over.
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Old 08-31-2019, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettTheOkie View Post
You might look into planting a winter cover crop of rye grass or something similar. But you're much further north than me, so I'm not sure what would work for you, or if it's even possible.

Worth doing a little research on, just to see.
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Brett, No, that worn't work. We had over 30 inches of snow since January 1, and probably 8 to 10 days with windchill of 70 below.
Cover crops are a valid option in Wisconsin. I'd get in touch with your local University of Wisconsin Extension Office (University of Wisconsin Extension Locations) - they are a wealth of specialised regional knowledge and resources and can advise you on successfullly incorporating cover crops and putting your garden to bed in general.

And though not specifically for Wisconsin, Cover crops and green manures in home gardens is worth a look.
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:20 PM
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Cover crops are a valid option in Wisconsin.
Interesting... I was prepared to accept the premise that it's too cold there, but I'm glad to see it is possible. I'd never really thought about it for such a northern climate, since I personally live so much further south.
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Old 08-31-2019, 04:26 PM
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Sheesh, mine is just recalling getting going.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:31 PM
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Yes that's an option, a cover crop of winter rye is viable in Wisconsin.
I try to add all my manures, compost, and shredded leaves in the fall before the fall rains. Incorporated, (tilled under) and then let set idle. Maybe some turnips?
Come spring, I can run the push cultivator through the soil and plant if I want.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:09 PM
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I grew up in Wisconsin, we used Leaves, lots of leaves.

Makes the tilling easy come spring
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:49 PM
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I grew up in Wisconsin, we used Leaves, lots of leaves.

Makes the tilling easy come spring

One year I raked the leaves onto a tarp and spread them on the garden. A section about 10' wide the length of it. I usually mulch the leaves with a bagger, spread evenly over garden and then till. Well, I felt lazy that year!

Come spring, when I tilled the garden, this section was still wet. No tilling there. The leaves held the water like a wet rug. It was weeks latter before I could till that spot. I managed to move the leaves around till the soil was bare in spots so it could dry out.
I just made a lots more work for myself. So, trial and error is a hard way to learn anything.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:23 AM
citizendino citizendino is offline
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Thank you all.
This is great, and truly concrete stuff.
The evenings here are in the 40s, but thee days are still in the 70s, so I figure I have some time.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:35 AM
plumberroy plumberroy is offline
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I mowed down the rest of my summer garden about 2 weeks ago. In the last week I retilled about a quarter of it . Using my hiller I made 2 wide raised rows . I planted cabbage, collards, kale and Brussels sprouts. . It takes 4 hours at 20 or below to kill these plants snow actually insulates them to stand colder temps. I have had greens into January when we have mild weather. I will go get some horse manure and till into the rest of the garden soon
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:33 AM
bilmac bilmac is offline
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I use my mower to cut grass clippings and gather the gobs of fallen leaves. I pile this mix on my garden and till it in. We have cold winters here, but by next spring most of the leaves and grass clippings have melted down.

There is still quite a bit of debris in the soil come planting time, but I just ignore the untidiness of my planting rows and do the best I can getting seeds to the right depth and spacing. Instructions on seed packets be dammed. It works because I have highly productive gardens year after year, no store bought fertilizer is ever necessary.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:50 AM
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We have access to as much FREE unadulterated horse manure as we can haul.

We get a few loads, dump & spread it out, let rain leach it out, let the sun dry it, then run it through our big wood chipper to shred it, then spread it all over the garden area in the fall, then till it in come spring.

Which adds a tremendous amount of fine organic humus that acts as a natural slow release fertilizer.

Our garden is really productive year after year.





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Old 09-16-2019, 12:58 AM
citizendino citizendino is offline
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Holy cow that is amazing. I feel like I should move to where ever you are.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:11 PM
citizendino citizendino is offline
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Okay, so it seems like there are a few schools of thought.

1. Ground cover. I think it is too late in the year to put anything in and get it going. I might be wrong.
2. Warmth. Manure, compost, cover it, that sort of thing. I am sort of afraid of that because anything warm feels like a chain reaction waiting to happen.
3. Do nothing, and start caring for the soil earlier in the year careful not to shock it.

Am I missing anything?
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:46 PM
mtnairkin mtnairkin is offline
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Either winter rye or winter wheat should still work. If you are getting 70* F day time temperature it will sprout.

Once it has sprouted, it will withstand snow and freezing. Grown much further north than you (well into Canada). What I don't know for sure is how much longer you will have 70*.
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