gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:04 pm

I was wondering what everyone does with the garden at the end of the season. Do you plow the plants under or let them die and plow them later or pull the stuff up and disacard it somewhere else.

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:15 pm

Once we've picked the last of the the squash and pumpkins, the goats have it to themselves. I have a couple rolls of 60" high concrete mesh wire and a bunch of metal posts to make a quick fence. There won't be much left.

Also 3 compost bins.

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:18 pm

Phil,

Not trying to be smart, but the answer is "Yes." Many different ways to dispose of the vegetative material, and each has advantages and disadvantages. As a general rule, the more organic matter that you can add to the soil the better. As with all 'general rules,' there are exceptions. If the garden were mine, I would chop the residue, plow it under, and seed a cover crop to be used as green manure (plowed under) next spring.

Here is a publication from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension that sheds some light on your question. http://www.caes.uga.edu/applications/publications/files/pdf/B%20577_2.PDF

Hope this helps. As an aside, there are numerous professors at Land Grant Universities that have built 30+ year careers answering various different parts of the question you asked. They might answer your question with, "It depends....."

Bill
Last edited by Bill Hudson on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:24 pm

I thought I had read somewhere that you are not suppose to plow under the tomatoe plants for some reason. Is that true or am I mistaken.

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:34 pm

Phil,

You can plow the tomatoes under, however, do not plant tomatoes on the same soil the following year. Rotate your tomatoes around the garden (divide the garden into quarters and rotate such that you will not be planting tomatoes there again until the fourth year.

Bill

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:09 pm

I just plow it under 18 inches deep and by spring there is nothing but nice clean ground to surface till and plant into!! thanks; sonny

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:31 pm

I haul my old tomatoe vines off to the lower forty away from garden, rye grass was thrown into tomatoes while we were harvesting them, when vines come off rye is already growing, same thing with sweet corn except corn stocks get chopped. Rest of garden gets rye as old plants come off. In late October spray with Round Up, plow under when rye is dead. Been doing this for a long time, sure keeps soil in great shape.
Bill

Re: gardening question

Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:09 pm

I mow my garden down with the flail when each part is finished, then when the last is done I plow it all under, but only about 8 inches deep. If I tried to go 18 inches deep like Sonny, all I would have is hard pan consisting of red clay and rock. I mow my tomatoes down with the rest of it, but like Bill Hudson, my tomatoes go in a different part of the garden each year. It takes 4 or 5 years to get around to the same place again. I have thought about a cover crop, but prefer to leave the ground rough, it dries quicker in the spring, and since our garden is in a normally wet spot that is needed.

edit, forgot to mention, my garden is 50 x 120, so there is lots of room to rotate.

Re: gardening question

Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:44 am

I have a sandy loam. All plants are removed and with the exception of corn stalks are burned. The corn stalks are tossed out back. I use a 4 inch chopped grass mulch which is tilled in somewhat in the fall. As long as soil is mixed in it will rot by spring well enough to till in then. (Pictures of the mulching have been previously posted and are in the photo host under vern 709) It takes about 2 acres to mulch my 50x50 main garden. The vine garden is a permanent mulch. Remember when rotating tomatoes that potatoes are a very close relative and they should not follow each other. When I worked in a green house and a customer asked this type of question I always asked why. If whatever you are doing works why change? If there is a problem the change needs to address that. If I read your question right you are just wondering. Good gardening. Vern

Re: gardening question

Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:31 pm

I have a new garden area with tomatoes and wanted to know what to do with them. I pulled them up last yeat so I will do it again and till undr the rest

Re: gardening question

Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:23 pm

There have been a lot of good answers and ideas given, but in my neck of the woods it boils down to: how much time I have and how wet fall is. Cleaning the garden off falls between silage chopping and bean harvest, and all old farmers know that means plenty of rain. John

Re: gardening question

Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:21 pm

We mulch all year with ours and 4 neighbors grass clippings. Most disappear through the year. All 5 yards leafs are spread on the garden or on a compost pile in the fall and turned over in the spring. Been doing this on a 30 by 50 garden since 1959. Staten island is the red brick clay that we have on the north shore or sand on most of the south shore. The soil is now nice rich black loam.
Tomato vines and squash plants are thrown out. Tomato, Eggplant and pepper are related so we plant them in a different spot on a 3 year rotation because the asparagus is in the same spot since before I retired in 1985 and still producing very well.

Re: gardening question

Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:50 pm

All garden growth is potential fertlizer, so everything except diseased plants are chopped (mowed) and plowed under.

Re: gardening question

Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:31 pm

I am gonna try something different this year. I have some hardpan about 6-8 inches deep. So hard the plow wont take to it. I have ordered some daikon radish seeds, to plant as a fall cover crop. It should bring in the deer (to fill the freezer) and the large tubers grow fast and deep to break up the hard soil. They also mine nutrients from deep within the soil and store it in their root (the edible part) I am going to let it frost kill over the winter, and then turn it all in with the plow next spring (early) By time to plant, most of it should be decayed. I think this will help my soil more than anything. I am also gonna be spreading my tons of fall leaves on the garden this year.

Re: gardening question

Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:12 am

beaconlight wrote:We mulch all year with ours and 4 neighbors grass clippings. Most disappear through the year. All 5 yards leafs are spread on the garden or on a compost pile in the fall and turned over in the spring. Been doing this on a 30 by 50 garden since 1959. Staten island is the red brick clay that we have on the north shore or sand on most of the south shore. The soil is now nice rich black loam.
Tomato vines and squash plants are thrown out. Tomato, Eggplant and pepper are related so we plant them in a different spot on a 3 year rotation because the asparagus is in the same spot since before I retired in 1985 and still producing very well.

I am lucky to have two acres outback for grass clippings and like beaconlight have found it helps soil fertility. It also helps with water rentition. A word of caution to anyone considering this. You might want to have second thoughts about using clippings from any lawn treated with weed-n-feed. My brother-in-law did this for several years and had problems mostly with germination of everything except corn ie: grass. Vern