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I want to make a small garden next spring about 100' x 40'. I have never done this so I have lots of questions.
1 - When do you plow?
2 - When do you disc?
3 - When do you add compost?
4 - How do you make your rows? Some have mentioned using a corn planter But I woild like to hear some addintional ways and photos would be great.
5 - How far apart should you space the rows? This will be a very mixed garden.
6 - How and when do you cultivate? Photos would be geat.
I'm very excited about he project and using the Cub as much as I can. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
I suggest you try to find some local help with these questions. Find somebody nearby that has a good looking garden. Check with the local extension service office for guidelines. If you can't find someone nearby, you might check the forums on http://www.gardenweb.com/ for California gardeners.
1. In most areas, fall plowing can help as the plowed ground will break down by itself over winter.
2. Generally as early in the spring as soil/moisture conditions will allow. If you have clay soil and try when it is too wet, you may get big chunks that you can't break with a hammer.
3. Usually work it into the soil when tilling/disking before planting.
4. Any of several ways. For hand planting, you can use stakes and string, or use a planter or cultivator (aiming at a stake at the other end) to scratch out a mark on the ground. For drilling seed, you can guide the planter by similar methods.
5 Follow the instructions on seed packets or better yet some local planting guide (extension service again).
My recommendation for a first small garden would be about 1/3 or 1/4 the size you indicated. Vegatable gardens are a lot of work and time consuming. You can also time your crops so that you use the same ground for early and late crops.
Cultivation. Most gardens are cultivated with a hoe (hand operated) - the reason a small garden is recommended. Also with a small garden you will not need a mechanical planter or cultivator - you can get by with a few hand tools - rake, hoe, spade.
If you have a rear tine garden tiller make the rows further apart than the width of the tiller. This way you can run the tiller down the row once a week or so to keep the weeds down in the center of the rows.
There are a number of books on gardening. Check out your local library. Also, contact several seed companies. Their catalogs will contain a large amount of information.
Now would be a good time to visit a local garden store - nursery. Come spring in your area they will have different nursery started vegatables ready for transplanting.
Steve, what tools do you have with your tractor? I think there are as many ways to put up a garden as there are tractors to put them up with. The outcome is the same though. Do you need "rows" where you are? If so, with a set of ridgers you can cut your ground, broadcast your fertilizer, reverse the ridgers and pull up your rows, then plant your garden. When it gets about 4" tall you can use your front tools to cultivate and side dress. When I side dress the first time I use a set of hillers to cut the rows down on each side of the plant to where it is about 3 or 4 inches wide, side dress, then reverse the hillers and pull the row back up around the plants. The second time I side dress the roots are too far out to cut the row down so I use a set of 3 or 4 spring tooth harrow (known around here as a gee whiz) to get the weeds out. We farmed 30 acres for years with a set of ridgers and a set of hillers. I must say though, I cheat now and use two tractors on my 12 rows x 100' long garden. Don't have to change or move tools.
Just my 2 cents....but cutting down the size of the garden to a third or one quarter the size Steve mentioned would just about rule out using the cub to work it, and thus take away 100% of the "fun" factor !! For that size you may as well just use a tiller for the whole thing....YUK !
I have about 5 1/2 acres here and wanted to do the same thing you do......and everyone said my garden would be "too big" at 75'X150'.....baloney! and, it's a blast to get out there and play in the dirt ! I work full time with OT plus a PT job, and still managed quite well with some help from wife and son. Plus, I try to stick with the stuff that kinda grows by itself with not much fuss AND the pick and eat things!! No peas to take out of the pods or beans to snap for me !!! The only thing I had in the garden to mess with was the tomato plant rings for the early girl and big beef tomatoes and the stakes and strings for the cherry tomato plants.
Jim has some great suggestions. Most all the seed catalogs/packets will have the instructions right there. The soil will need some work first for good results. Is there grass there right now??? It has to go bye bye! It's hard to kill but it can be done. I used roundup and then tilled it all over after 3 weeks. (That was the first time) This was my 4th year and still have some pop up here and there!!
Then there's the ph.....get it tested. I am adding lime and gypsum each year till the guy at the feed mill says I'm good...you should see the garden they have there!!! The gypsum helps break up the hard clay. There's tons of stuff to put in for organic matter...just watch though....if there's weed seeds in it ..they'll grow !!
Then there is the option to start your own seeds or buy plants to transplant.....buying means you are limited to what the grower picked for variety. I am starting all my seeds next spring, except of course for the seeds that go directly in the ground.
I try and get the garden plowed in the fall to winter over. This year it's been too soggy when I've had the spare time....I'm still hoping for a chance! But anyway, here's how I do mine. Plow in spring; then disk; then I drag a weighted 6"x6"x6' wide box frame over it to level it out and also break up some of the chunks. Then I make my rows with a home made gizmo for my loboy and start planting !
This years garden:
Detroit Dark Red beets; Nantes Half-long carrots; yellow, red and white onions; 3? varieties of cucumbers- 2 for salads and snacking and the other for canning dill spears; bell peppers; broccoli; 20 sugar snack cherry tomato plants; 20 big beef tomato; 20 early girl tomato; breeders choice sweet corn-lots! and last but not least, jack-be-little mini pumpkins and connecticut field pumpkins. Just the cukes and pumpkins alone took up about 1/3 of the space! 1/3 was in sweet corn and the other veggies the rest. Everything did real good considering the dry conditions we had except for the sweet corn. It had some kind of blight/fungus or something. We still had plenty to eat, just not enough to freeze this year. the tomatoes were a hit with family friends neighbors and coworkers alike! TONS !! I think I'll just do the cherry and early girl next year, the big beef weren't all that big or as tasty as the early girl.
So, don't be shy about the size! GO FOR IT AND HAVE A BLAST!! You'd be surprized at how much space the plants take up sometimes. Like broccoli-those are 3 feet around when grown!
There's no cultivator attachments for loboy's......so
I use a 14" wide rear tine tiller between the rows for cutting the weeds down. You don't have to till between the rows 8" deep either to keep the weeds down. Just an inch or so to under cut the weed roots and you're done! Just zip up and down the rows. Then there's just between the plants you'll have to pull them or use one of those 'weasel' type things and you can stand up like I do! I don't do stoop down too good !!! You'll need help picking maybe more than weeding perhaps !!
All my stuff went in by hand so far....but there is a real nice planter with many seed plates at the feed mill that is on the gift list this year. Next spring I hope to get an aparagus patch started and a strawberry patch!
Good luck Steve and HAVE FUN !!
Mulch between rows and around the big plants (tomatos, squash, cucumbers) with straw to conserve moisture and control weeds. Helps keep gardening fun instead of a chore. Besides keeping down the work, mulch adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes and reduces 'muddy boot' syndrome.
"Chance favors the prepared mind."
- Louis Pasteur
"In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I am no pro at this, in fact I have only planted 2 out of 3 seasons with Ellie-Mae, although Em and I have been growing gardens for about 20 years now. Her father has been planting large plots for almost 60 years, so some of the things that work well for small farms have been well learned.
Starting a Garden:
1. Decide where the ideal spot on your acreage is for the garden taking into consideration drainage, slope, soil, and the crops that you wish to harvest.
2. Lay out the garden and then plow with your Cub-193. There are some pics in a PowerPoint of how we have done our main beds Ellie's First Plowing, as well as our Potato Patch, Rudi's Hiller on the server.
3. Discing. After plowing and you have let the garden lay for about a week, this provides time for the soil to dry a bit and for the weeds and grasses to start dying, it is time for discing. Discing allows the turned over sod to be broken/cut up into much smaller pieces which will break down more readily.
For those of us who love seat time, this is an ideal way to get it. The more discing you do, the finer your soil will become. I would let it sit a day then do the second discing on the second day, let it lay for another day and then do it again. You can do this until it reaches the desired feel that you want.
4. Soil prep. In the days before soil analysis, most small truck farmers in our area did a couple of things. They used manure if available and spread it on the field. They then disced it in, or plowed and then disced again. Seaweed has also been used as weill as fish offal and other types of compost. This will provide a lot of vital nutrients to your soil. In our area, Gypsum deposits are quite plentiful and even thought the mining has now ceased, gypsum is readily available in bulk, and for free. Many use gypsum as an additive to help break down the clay that we have in layers here. Our soils are similar to PEI -- the reddish loam, but we have layers of clay as well, so the preps are a great thing to do. This is done on a yearly basis as well.
5. Let this set over the winter or at least a month. Here we have winter for at least 3 to 5 months or so, so there is a lot of time for the soil additives to become entrenched.
6. Use a spring harrow to level the ground prior to your spring prep.
7. Next make your rows. In a small truck garden most veggies like being in rows/hills. Normally what we do is to drive the Cub starting at the side of the garden down the row to be. The next pass you align the right hand tire (as viewed from the seat) with the track already made. Each succeeding row is done the same. After you garden has been laid out, we then manually fertilize each track. This is where our hills go. We then hill up the rows. After this, we make a small trench in each hill and this is where we plant. We then re-hill. As you can see by the Hiller presentation, hilling is good for potatoes and other root crops. It also benefits beans, peas, tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, oh just about everything. The best part about hilling is that it makes it much easier to side dress as well as fertilize in the row for bringing up on the hills as you cultivate.
8. Cultivation is important. It does a number of things. It controls weed and grass growth in the valleys as well as the sides of the hills. It also loosens the soil and provides areation. Also, it adds volume to the hill to ensure that the every expanding root systems are constantly covered.
For me, this is one of the most enjoyable parts -- the seat time I get is entirely determined by how long I want to spend or how many times a week I wish to spend in the seat cultivating. It is over-kill, as it is for much of what I do expecially if I like it, but I usually cultivate 2 or 3 times per week. It certainly keeps the weeds and grasses under control, and I like to think it has contributed to some of the really awesome harvests we get from our rather small gardens.
9. Oh, plant shields and guards as found in the Cub-144 Cultivator Manual, are extremely useful and actually do protect the young plants. Don't ask how I know this okay Been there with my Better Half, don't wanna go there again. k
10. Have fun, get seat time, play. One thing I have learned over the last few years is no matter how old we are, playing is good for the head, the heart and the soul. In a Cubbers case, it is usually good for the cold room, the freezer and the larder as well! Fresh veggies and fruits are always a treat and much better for you that what is available at the supermarket. Cheaper too in the long run.
Enjoy your harvest... waay
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