Preparing Healthy Garden Soils
There are many aspects that factor into getting healthy garden soils in your desired planting area. When starting out the best way to see what type of pH level you have in your soil is by testing to see what nutrients need to be added and what does not. Another factor in achieving healthy garden soils is by adding organic matter to help improve the structure or tilth of the soil in the ground. Also, by incorporating a good quality compost we can increase the water, air, and nutrients that the plants need in the vegetable garden. In addition, adding cover crops after you harvest a crop can help bring nutrients back into the soil before planting a new crop for the next growing season. By preparing the soils to best of our ability we are able to improve our nutrients, production, and overall ability to grow healthy plants.
Getting the Garden Ready for Fall Planting
Since planting pole beans and cucumbers for the fall garden they have started to come up and get really good germination. Now it’s time to get some other plots ready for some cool weather crops in the next few weeks. We’ll be starting transplants in the greenhouse, therefore the plots need to be ready once the transplants are ready to be planted. There are a couple of plots in the garden that have cover crops that need to be extinguished so we get those areas ready for fall planting. Currently, we have a dense crop of Sorghum Sudangrass that is starting to go to seed so we need to take care of it before it goes any further in the garden. Travis is going to try something new like crimping the sudangrass which means he is going to lay it down using the riding lawnmower with the deck laid down as low as it will go in order to run over the cover crop and fold it over in the area. Once it is folded over or laid down he will take the silage tarp to help kill all the vegetation in the garden plot. When the tarp is laid down the plan is to let the sorghum die down which should take around two weeks and then remove the tarp in order to add compost and lightly till it in the soil. During the tilling process, a few weed seeds will probably pop up so we will put the tarp back on the area for another couple of weeks to kill any of the weed seeds that are in the garden soil. Then, when you pull the tarp off for the second time around four to five weeks when it’s time to transplant the healthy garden soils should be ideal for fall planting. Now in the Brown Top Millet plot, the cover crop is going to seed and needs to be taken care of before it continues seeding. Travis is going to add the silage tarp on this plot but there is a different plan before tarping the area. Since this cover crop only got around knee-high we are able to just mow it down with the push mower that has a mulching deck that won’t blow it around and will leave it right in the area. Once the millet is mowed down now it’s time to tarp the area to allow the green manure to decompose nicely into the soil and ready for fall planting. When dealing with cover crops they don’t require a lot of equipment to maintain and build up the soils. Therefore, cover crops are ideal for preparing garden soils with little to no hassle.