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What to do with veg bed over the winter?


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onemanorthree
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject: What to do with veg bed over the winter? Reply with quote

HI,

I've grown in beds this summer, with a decent amount of success.
Now I've harvested most produce and am ready to close up shop for winter.

I have a good bit of compost (home made) knocking around, do I put this in the bed now? Or do I just cover over for winter as is?

Also, which compost containers are best? I like the tumbler ones but not 100% sure how they work.

Thanks in advance.


Last edited by onemanorthree on Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you are digging over the beds dig it in.
As for the bin why do you need a bin just make a heap contained by wooden stakes.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grow in raised beds. I don't actually dig the beds, rather continually mulch. They get enough soil disturbance from normal cultivation: pulling plants out and hoeing. I'd just put your compost on top, hoe it into the very top layer, and let winter and the worms do their work. If you can get your hands on some dung, or have compost from containers, or leftovers in bags, do the same. I keep hoeing through the winter to break up clods, remove stones, and expose pests, to get a good tilth for spring sowings.

If you plant garlic next month, you'll get a good crop next year. You could also sow half a packet of broad beans for an early crop, using the rest of the packet in March. I've also just sowed giant winter spinach (F1 I think), Greensleeves spring cabbage in modules for spring greens, radishes, Japanese "High Keeper" onions, again in modules, and mixed winter salads and radishes. No reason to stop trying to grow if you want to!
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onemanorthree
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When is digging in normally done?

So you think it's ok to leave roots from some of the stuff I've grown in containers in that bad to rot and replenish the soil?
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Eamon
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heve two raised beds here in Sligo. One I've cleared of spuds now and emptied a bucket of chicken poo into today, digging it right in. I'll cover it over for the winter. I've still courgettes and carrots in my other bed, but I'll dig in my own compost mix when they're done, though I'm not sure if I'll cover it over or plant for winter.
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energise
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive started digging a few of the beds in the garden. I would have used compost but im a little short on it at the moment. I left the roots of the pea plants in the earth so that they'd rot in. Tumbler bins are straightforward to use, fill them about three qaurters full and turn them every few days.
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The Garden Shop
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi eamon.

Rather than covering the beds over for the winter months why not sow green manure

Green manure cover crops reduces the impact of weeds, adds nuttients to the soil and keeps soil alive and active over the winter months.
Dig into soil prior to sowing in spring.
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Eamon
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Garden Shop wrote:
Hi eamon.

Rather than covering the beds over for the winter months why not sow green manure

Green manure cover crops reduces the impact of weeds, adds nuttients to the soil and keeps soil alive and active over the winter months.
Dig into soil prior to sowing in spring.


Sounds like an idea. I must check it out, see what options are available to me. Thanks for the suggestions. Wink
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onemanorthree
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I can just empty my compost heap into my bed now and leave it over the winter too?

What are the options for all my potted plants that have dies off not? Can I dump them on too? Are the rotted roots any good or will the just stay there in a lump?
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it would be ok to add summer bedding to the soil it will break down, I wouldnt bother with a green manure yes all the books say its good for the soil, but when you dig it over in the spring its just more work can you tell perennial buttercup roots from clover roots, add the manure or compost to the soil and leave it over the winter Microbs, worms, beetles birds wil break it down and the soil will be glad of the rest so will you gives you time to think and plan for the next season.
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Eamon
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, we've decided to put a couple of layers of thick cardboard down for the winter. I'm wondering though, and I know it's a way down the road yet, but do I dig it through before planting in spring, or just plant straight into it?
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tippben
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, the cardboard will be great to stop most of the weeds, but as it is mostly carbon, it'll rob nitrogen. I wouldn't dig it in (you'd unearth many weed seeds, defeating the purpose), but mulch over the top, with manure, compost, or even late grass clippings (a good mixture, if you can), to keep the balance right. Put about 5"/10cm of mulch on. Come spring, it'll have reduced to about 2", and the cardboard will have decomposed fairly well. If I'm using cardboard, I'll usually soak it with urine (high nitrogen, and compost activator) before adding mulch. An old watering can makes this job much more hygienic, plus the neighbours are none the wiser!

If you sow in modules, you can plant your young plants straight through next year, using a sharp knife to cut a hole just big enough. If you are going to sow directly in the soil, again cut away just as much as you need to sow the row/block. I think that you'll find that most plant roots will have no problem coping with old rotted cardboard buried several inches under the surface though, so for salads, radish, spinach, peas etc I wouldn't even do that, just sow. .

After one year, you should end up with good growing soil, with only wind blown weeds, and minimal traces of cardboard remaining. Depending on your amount of perennial weeds, you can either then just go for hand weeding and mulching (as I have), or repeat the cardboard process if necessary. Keep mulching, feeding and building the soil as much as you can.
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Eamon
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've given me much to chew on here. I like the idea of planting through the cardboard. And the urine process - most interesting. Thanks a million! Smile
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mcgrueser
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good topic here... I will be looking to do the same to my beds now soon. I have some comfrey growing so if I were pick and mix some with the manure and grass clippings on top of the cardboard would that help much with the leaching of nitrogen, or would I need an awful lot of comfrey to counteract it? Would it be worth it or should i just keep the comfrey for liquid fertiliser?
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The Garden Shop
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi eamon.

Rather than covering the beds over for the winter months why not sow green manure

Green manure cover crops reduces the impact of weeds, adds nuttients to the soil and keeps soil alive and active over the winter months.
Dig into soil prior to sowing in spring.
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