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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've had a garden before although it's been 7-8 years. We had it for about 5 years and learned some of the things that we could grow and couldn't grow. Sunlight is our biggest problem, but I have taken several trees out of the yard since then. Building good soil was another and while we never got there we did improve it a lot.

Plants and seeds are a lot harder to come by than they used to be, which I knew from following the forum, but we were able to get enough to do about half the space that we used to.

I started tilling up the old patch yesterday and did the first two depths on the tiller, today is rain (that thankfully isn't freezing) so I'll do the next two tomorrow.

Really looking forward to seeing how we do this year. I do have a question though. I'm about 3 weeks from planting and am wondering if I get everything tilled and covered in manure that would be a mix of poultry, goat, cow, and rabbit would the two weeks or so that's left be enough time for it to cook under tarps and then be tilled in? I can get this for free spring and fall from someone down the road both in the spring and fall as long as I bring my own buckets and shovel.

I'm expecting to fight weeds this spring but don't want to make the problem worse. I'm thinking it might be better to wait until the garden is done in September and then get all of that good free fertilizer that I can and tarp it over then. If that is the case do I tarp it over for a month until the ground freezes and then pull the tarps up so it gets all of the snow melt in the spring, or tarp it over and leave it for the winter?
 

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If it is fresh manure "I" would wait until fall, fresh is likely "too hot" and will burn the plants badly if not fatally IME .

ETA:

On the other hand, IF you have the space (and the time) "I" would start getting it now and compost it then till it in this fall into the garden(s) and also add the fresh on top to break down over the fall/winter/spring.
 

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Just echoing what everyone else has said about the poo. Duck and rabbit poo are cold composts -- meaning you can add them directly to your garden and they will not harm your plants.

All the other poos you mentioned are hot composts. They will need to be mixed into the soil and then left to sit with no plantings (it will kill the plants) for at least a season.

I will say this -- I have had rabbit poo (cold) that had a little quail and chicken poo (hot) mixed in with it that I wet down with water from the duck kiddie pool (cold) and spread on the outside edges of my raised beds around established plants. I didn't have any damage to my plants from that but I was really careful to keep it towards the outside edges so there was no direct contact with plant leaves or roots. I wouldn't suggest trying it unless your plants were established perennials. Mine were blackberry bushes and a fig tree.
 

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Tilling some manure in now wont hurt. Its going to grow weeds but that's expected. Gather a nice big pile of manure now for future years. It should be prety well composted at year 1 and ideal at year 2+.

Wood chips make nice garden paths, keep the weeds away and wont need to be weeded.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lots of good advice on here. I'll be chatting with my Amish buddy this weekend and see if I can get a scoop or two of what he tills in every spring. Like I say though it's still pretty early, I went past his house a few days ago and he hadn't started tilling yet.

Really don't have room for a big compost pile. I could clear a few more trees off of the backyard, but prefer not to just for that.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Never to early to start soil ammendment. You could make a compost pile in between trees.
True, but if it would kill plants a big pile of it wouldn't be good for the trees. The beetle killed all of my ash, oak wilt is hitting my oaks, won't be long till I'm down to maple, hemlock, and beech, and there is something killing the hemlock downstate so I'm sure it will get here in the next few years.

I do plan on buying a shredder/chipper in the fall for my leaves though.
 

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Emerald ash bearing Beatle has nothing to do with compost piles. I believe the oak and hemlock is a disease and not a pest though.

You dont need to chip leaves. You can just mulch them with your lawn mower and bagger. Kind of killing two birds with one stone useing this method vs raking them, moving them to the chipper, chipping them then on the garden.

Many people in the suburbs bag there leaf in the fall and leave them by the curb. Its basically free mulch in the bag.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Emerald ash bearing Beatle has nothing to do with compost piles. I believe the oak and hemlock is a disease and not a pest though.

You dont need to chip leaves. You can just mulch them with your lawn mower and bagger. Kind of killing two birds with one stone useing this method vs raking them, moving them to the chipper, chipping them then on the garden.

Many people in the suburbs bag there leaf in the fall and leave them by the curb. Its basically free mulch in the bag.
Sometimes things don't come across the same way in text as they do siting around a fire shooting the ****, drinking a couple beers, and bouncing ideas off of each other. Please don't consider this as me just being arguementitive because I'm thinking we are just in different situations or there has been a misunderstanding.

So the trees, I know what is happening and why, my concern is that if I were to dump a bunch of raw manure that is too hot for plants between two trees it could have a negative effect on the roots of those trees causing them to later come down in a strong wind if it hits from the weak side. Sure that might be a bit paranoid, but I love living in the woods and am tired of seeing my trees die.

As to not needing the shredder/chipper. I used to rake 25-30 (usually 27) pick-up loads of leaves out of my yard every fall and then because oak and beech hold their leaves well into winter it would be another 5-6 in the spring. I tried raking them over the garden plots when we gardened before and it was just a mess, hard to deal with using an 8hp troy built and never really broke down right.

Last spring I had enough and got a good leaf blower and blew all of the leaves then and last fall and this spring into a low corner of the yard. My youngest started throwing veggie scraps into it and was getting potato, squash, and pepper plants growing over the summer. I really could turn that into a compost area especially since I cleaned out all of the saplings but he calls it his garden. I'm letting him keep it especially since I can get manure for free every fall and spring and just have to spread and till it. Plus I think it's good for him to work on that seeing what will grow while also seeing the work that goes into an actual garden.

With the shredder/chipper I could shred some of the leaves over the garden plot which at this time is about 20-30" and next year will be expanded to 40-30 and also chip up the prunings from my fruit trees for use in my propane smoker, and my father's since the only fruit trees he has are apple. Any extra leaves would just be blown into my son's area.

The original post was really a bit more about what I can do this spring and not as much about long term although I may have questions about that in the future. See when we had the garden before I was working 12-14 hours a day and my wife was not in good health. It wasn't something that I took serious it was just something that she wanted so I put it in and took care of it off and on when I had time.

Now I have more time and her health is better so we are starting it back up. We know some things from before about our area but still have plenty to learn and I do understand that it takes years to get good at gardening.
 

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It sounds like you two have put a lot of thought and learning into your garden! And ultimately, it is about the individual space. No two gardens are alike, even on the same city street. And sometimes we all do things that don't work out as we planned, or work out better than we planned. Garden and learn! And with all that's going on right now, I'm probably preaching to the choir when I say that now is a good time to get going.

Hopefully you'll post some pictures but at least keep us posted! There's no such thing as too many gardening threads.
 

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I use leaves as the mulch in my garden. Ya can't beat FREE! LOL! They get hoovered up with the bagger on the back of the riding mower and aren't shredded up much at all. We usually collect as much as we can and usually end up with two big piles because they'll not only be used for the spring garden but also for the fall garden before the leaves start falling again.

Here's one of them and how they look in a bed. Notice they're mostly whole and mostly water oak leaves which are small and there's some pine straw mixed in there too:




Wetting them down helps keep them in place. so they don't blow away. Oh, a few always will but the vast majority stay in place. They slowly bust themselves up over the winter and by spring are easily tilled in. However I do understand there are different leaves in different locales and they all have different textures so what works for one person might not for another. Sweet gum and maple leaves are very crackly and about crumble to dust where as some oaks are a tad leathery and take forever to compost. Sycamore leaves are huge! We all use what we have as best as we can.

And yes, please post some photos as you develop your garden! And take lots of photos for your own reference too. You'll be surprised at how handy they are later when you try to remember how or where you planted something several years ago, how you made that trellis or how good or bad something turned out. Your garden is history in the making! :)
 

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I can get all the horse manure and spoiled hay I like, pays to have friends with horses and goats. I'll go in the late fall and pick up 10 or so pails of whatever is around. I spread it around on my 2 plots and let the rain leach it into the soil all winter and into the spring. I skipped it last year, so went with bags of dry composted manure this year. Which can be done right up to planting time. Peat moss is always safe, I just till that right in with everything.

The downside is weeds which can be spectacular. I would cover my plots with black plastic sheet starting in March. I figure this would further break down anything and kill most of the weed seeds. I have used town supplied mulch in the past, another source for insane weeds. I stopped using that when I started my new plots in 1996 since it may contain pesticides and other unknowns.

Gardening is trial and error. I helped a new gardener down the block get hers going 10 years ago, now she does very well with it and has gone to raised beds this year.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Time for an update.

The garden is tilled and looks good. I don't like this tiller that I bought I think its underpowered and doesn't get as deep as it should, but I wasn't willing to drive 100 miles to get a Troy Built so it's my own fault. I do like being able to change the rotation on the tines for smoothing though.

The plants my wife bought are doing well in the house and the seeds she planted have almost all sprouted and look good. The new trees are in buckets and I'm getting tired of carrying them in and out every day. Looks like only a couple more nights of frost so I'll watch the weather close and hopefully plant them next week.

Although I hate to spend the money I've decided my best bet is to go to the nearest Amish feed store and have them dump a scoop of dairy doo in my truck this weekend. I'll get that spread on and then till it in. I'll do the free manure in the fall like everyone suggests.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Is there anything that should or shouldn't be planted by rhubarb? That is a must have to plant for canning. I have two plants to transplant that are actually leftover from the family member that I bought the house from and are in a poor spot and want to get more.

Getting tired of driving around Amish country looking for "rhubarb for sale" signs every spring.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wife went to the greenhouse and got a couple flats of merigolds and another of veggie plants. Then she bought strawberry plants so I have to put in a bed for them, besides she has been pointing out other places in the yard for me to till.

Oh well she doesn't complain about my stock of Spam! or the boy's stock of potted meat so I guess I can't complain either.

Oh and she did hit one of those signs and bought 15lbs, so we'll have to get that canned up over the next couple days. She did arrange to buy a couple plants from them though, so that helps. Has to go back later to pick them up though because it was sleeting hard enough that the Amish girl didn't want to dig them up right then.
 
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