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Posted: Sep/18/2007 9:37 PM PST
Ok, so I picked up a shovel and loosen up some dirt where my garden will be next year. There were some weeds in that patch, so I've dug em up, cut them up with big blows of the shovel, and mixed them in with the soil. I will probably be adding a bag or two of commercial soil or commercial compost, but I'm not sure if I should do this before or after winter. Also, should I, once in a while, mix in dead plants in the soil (before this winter)?
I saw on Lowes website a 50lb bag of Cow manure for 4$. I guess I can mix that in the soil, yes? (but still, can I do this now, before winter? even tho I will be planting my garden next summer.)
Location: Suburb of Boston, Massachusetts
Posted: Sep/19/2007 10:01 PM PST
Yes, you can do that in the fall. That will be great, especially for the weeds you turned under. By spring they'll have broken down and the soil will be ready and waiting.
Some people might note a concern about the type of weeds you are turning under as some weeds are notorious for surviving and regrowing from very small pieces of root, rhizome or stem. Personally I don't recall running into anything so pernicious. Regardless, I usually throw everything into the compost pile and add the compost to the soil instead.
If you've exposed the dirt already, I recommend either mulching the area (straw, hay, etc.) or planting something, anything to cover the ground, rather than leaving the ground bare for the next several months. Buckwheat, winter rye... heck, scatter radish and lettuce seeds over the ground. This will accomplish several things.
1) it will look better than bare ground, but, more importantly
2) it will help keep weeds down.
3) it will keep much of the nutrients from washing away
4) and assuming you plant something edible, provide sprouts and a cut and come again batch of greens for another month or so
Location: McFarland (Madison), Wisconsin
Posted: Sep/21/2007 12:23 PM PST
Also keep in mind bare ground will get dried out over the winter (even if there's a layer of snow), so that "blanket" of mulch will keep it from getting "freezer burn"...