Prepping garden soil for next year

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Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Marion(57 Loboy) » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:32 am

My garden is winding down big time now.
Soon I'll be taking down the fence and turning over the dirt for the winter.
Like I mentioned before, we removed the sod and 2 inches of dirt with it.
What should I put on the plot now?
Gypsum? Lime? Granular fertilizer? Manure?What kind?; ????
Should I put the 'stuff' on top and turn it over?...or turn it over and then put the 'stuff' on?
I will have a LOT of maple and oak leaves I could shred and put in there too...is that good or bad?
When is "to soon" to turn it over?
Turn it and leave it...or turn it and disk it for winter?
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Don McCombs » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:30 am

First thing to do is a soil test on your plot to see what it really needs. Here's one source for the materials and services...

http://www.aasl.psu.edu/

After you have the results, follow their recommendations for applying nutrients. If you have access to well rotted horse manure, that's perfect. Not only will it add nutrients, but it will add organic matter too. Mushroom soil works well, too. It is basically composted hay and manure. If you add leaves to the garden, that's good too. But, you will have to add additional lime as the oak leaves are very acidic. If using manure or leaves, I would apply them to the garden and then plow or till. Then disk in the spring to break up any compaction and smooth the surface for planting. Lime penetrates the soil very slowly, so apply it before you plow or till also.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Eugene » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:13 pm

Your local university extension office will or should have garden soil sample kits. Might just be about the best money you ever spent.

When it drys up I will plow the garden, disk to level out the big lumps, then sow with a winter cover crop. This years soil test says all I need to do is add plant material to the soil. That is part of the purpose for the winter cover crop, green manure.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby DanR » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:51 am

These guys went to the same school I did. One more thing. Don't plow to deep. The disc can only go so far down.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Marion(57 Loboy) » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:16 pm

Thanks for the tips guys!

As always, this place is awesome!

I looked around and didn't really find anything on soil testing.

I did find the OSU Extension website and have contacted them seeking info, so we'll see what kind of reply I get.

I had little success with the 1st year garden spot.

They only plants that seemed to grow like they should were the spagetti squash, and then the vine borers got to them.

Tomatoes were anemic and didn't produce. Out of 6 plants we didn't get but about a dozen. The cherry tomatoes (one plant) all fell of 1/2 ripe and the skins were thick and tough.

Pepper plants were a little better but still not many peppers.

Biggest beets are ALMOST as big as a golfball...but they were tasty!

Lettuce took FOREVER to grow and leaf out, and when it did the leaves were very thin?

All the broccoli did was go to flower/seed. We cut it back several times.

We did get some peas and greenbeans to eat fresh right out of the garden for dinner.

I hope we do better next year, plus if everything goes right I'll be using my loboy to plow n disk the garden next year!
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Eugene » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:26 pm

Check you local phone book for the location of the local university extension office. Since Canton is the county seat of Stark County, Ohio, an extension office will more than likely be located in or near Canton.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:33 pm

All the broccoli did was go to flower/seed. We cut it back several times.

Broccoli is the flower buds, of the plant. If it flowered, you waited too long, to pick it.
Sounds like a soil test is needed, as suggested earlier. Major nutrient deficiencies. Ed
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby SONNY » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Add what you want to plow under,--then deep rip (12 to 18 inches, min. in all directions) then moldboard plow as deep as you can 12 to 16 inches if you have the equipment to do so, leave the ground rough and bare for the winter!this catches water and eliminates erosion!---VOLES will invade ANY cover and thrive during the winter months, (they breed year round!)---thats what I do every year and have nice mellow soil in the spring.---Hit it once in the spring with the big tiller and plant!
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby DanR » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:45 am

Sonny I have to disagree with you on this one. Deep plowing is a waste of time and unless you have perfect soil down deep it is counterproductive. Annual plants have a shallow root system. If you look at a cross section of the soil you can see the different layers and how the root systems have reacted at various depths. A good soil test at different layers will show a marked difference. Once you get threw the loam and organic layers near the surface there is usually rock, sand and clay. Deep plowing will bring these layers to the surface where they will contribute little to the development of a healthy plant. Try this. Deep plow a couple of rows and rototiller a couple next to to the deep ones. Plant a cover crop of legumes in the tilled spot then come spring treat it all the same for planting. As for the voles they are very prolific as you know. However they will not go away just because they have little to eat during the winter. They help fortify the soil with the tunneling so plant a little extra for them. Just a note on soil test kits. They are not accurate for anything much beyond pH. I'll guaranty the second year garden will be better than the first with proper preparation and care. Please don't think I'm picking on Sonny. He is a very experienced grower ( and takes great pictures.) Hang in there and welcome.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby cowboy » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:28 am

No matter how good the soil look and how much fertilizer you put on. The plants won't grow if the PH is wrong for what you are growing. Because if the PH is off the plants can't adsorb the nutrients from the soil. Last year I put in a feed plot for my dad and it barley grew. This year I plowed the whole field when I plowed it it looked like it was all red clay without any topsoil. I put 350 lbs of lime on the 1/2 acre and 100lbs of fertilizer when it was up two inched and its growing like gang busters! A quater mile away from that I plowed up 2 1/2 acres at my cousins. The soil looked great topsoil as deep as I plowed same seed and planting method and fertilizer but no lime and its barely growing.

A lot of farmers have their own soil test stuff so if you have any farmer friends you can ask if they can test the soil for you.

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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Marion(57 Loboy) » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:49 am

Ed, those broccoli florets never got bigger around than a half-dollar then they opened right up.
Shoulda got ones at least 4-6" the first go around no?

Here's the reply I got from the extension office:

"Ohio State University quit doing soil testing several years ago. You can stop in the office any time Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4 pm as we
have soil test kits from Penn State and the cost is $9.54 - this would be for a basic soil test. Also at the local stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot
etc sell soil test kits which you would do the test on your own."

By 'basic' I assume that means PH only?
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Eugene » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:13 am

http://www.aasl.psu.edu/SSFT.HTM

Description of the basic Penn State soil test kit, above.

The Missouri extension office soil test kit cost right at $15.00. The results included a good portion of tests the Penn State kit charges extra fees.

Several years ago I purchased a soil tester from Lowes. Basically it only tested the PH factor. Wasn't worth the money.
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:45 pm

Marion(57 Loboy) wrote:Ed, those broccoli florets never got bigger around than a half-dollar then they opened right up.
Shoulda got ones at least 4-6" the first go around no?

Here's the reply I got from the extension office:

"Ohio State University quit doing soil testing several years ago. You can stop in the office any time Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4 pm as we
have soil test kits from Penn State and the cost is $9.54 - this would be for a basic soil test. Also at the local stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot
etc sell soil test kits which you would do the test on your own."

By 'basic' I assume that means PH only?


The broccoli grew tiny florets, because of a nutrient issue. Could be ph, or lack of nutrients. You didn't mulch with wood chips, by any chance, did you? Bacteria, that break down wood fiber, tie up a lot of nitrogen, causing the plants to starve. Ed
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby Marion(57 Loboy) » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:09 pm

I didn't use any type of mulch at all.
I heard back from the extension office again.
I send in the soil sample and they will tell me what the PH is, among a few other things and also what I need to add to the soil.
Sounds like a good deal for $10 bucks to me.
If I follow the advise I should recover WAAAY more than the cost in more veggies next year.
I guess I'll be looking for some old poop pretty soon too.... :lol:
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Re: Prepping garden soil for next year

Postby SONNY » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:55 pm

My tester shows the ph at between 6.0 to 7.0 and the fert. level on the high side(needle peged) of the meter.(soil testing by fert. company for gardens here is VERY costly, they only want to do it for the MEGA FARMERS, and not us little pee ons with a 5 acre garden)-----I have been down 6 feet with the backhoe diggin out trees and never did hit yellow or red clay!---black all the way down!---thats why I deep rip and plow deep here!---granted not everyone is blessed with such deep soil AND would have to adjust their tillage methods accordingly!---if you have 2 inches of topsoil then bedrock from there down, then no deep rip wont work for you.
I only stated what I do here and have the massive production of produce each year to prove it works!
I cant afford fert./lime at todays prices and dont need any on ground that is already over rated to begin with.------What I need is some way to kill all these damn VOLES that destroy most of my production!-----I have noticed that deep rip and plow does tend to make some of them go some where else for the winter . I plow up voles, toads, and snakes out here all the time in the fall!---Hate to disturb the toads, but gotta plow!
The rain/snow/freezing out goes down deep to help mellow out the ground and catch and store water that would otherwise go to waste! in the spring I have good moisture for a long time into summer before it runs out and I have pulled plant roots up from below where I rip and plow so I know the roots do go deep. thanks; sonny
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