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Author Topic: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for this year.  (Read 11898 times)

porcupine kate

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Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for this year.
« on: November 14, 2009, 01:01 PM NHFT »

Here is some info on planning for a garden next year.  Please add more useful tips and info for those who are new to gardening or want to try for the first time.

I know this isn't the time of year most people think of gardening but you should.   Quite a bit of work can be done now in prepping the garden for next year.  Most of them are low cost and very effective organic methods.

I just mulched all of our leaves that fell this fall and dug them into my garden beds for compost.  The worms will feast, the soil will be ready in the spring and I no longer have a yard full of leaves.  I will mulch the beds down with straw for the winter to keep things warmer for the worms to work and for the soil to warm up faster in the spring.   In the spring the straw comes off and goes into the compost pile.  I will need to test the soil and add any nutrients the soil needs.  Then loosen with a pitch fork and I'm ready to plant.   

This winter I will plan the lay out of the plantings and hopefully build some cold frames.  I have a small yard with 3 raised beds that I plan on having crop rotating from March to November next year.  I will also do some container gardening on the deck.   Flowers and herbs will go in the beds in the front of the house.  The beds in front still need a lot of work which will get done in the early spring since I still have flowers blooming.   They will need and inch or two of compost spread over the whole bed.
This gets mixed in to the top couple of inches to improve the soil and feed the plants.  Some of the compost will come from what I made this year and the rest I will purchase.

I plan on starting my plants from seeds to keep costs down.   I used solo plastic cups with hole punched in the bottom to grow the seedlings in.  This was very effective and low cost.  I put them in plastic tubs so I cold move them in and out of the house easily.  I watered them by pouring water in to the bottom of the tub to keep the seedings from getting too wet.  Most seeds if stored properly they are viable for more then one year.  I picked up a bunch on clearance this fall.  I paid as little as $.10 a packet.

Check you transfer station for plastic pots.  I have seen stacks of then for free.  You need to go look now before it snows.  The will need to be washed with water and bleach before you use them.  10 Parts water to 1 part bleach.  There are plant diseases you don't want in your garden so always wash you pots.   For large cheap pots get use plastic tubs that hold kitty litter or cut 2 litter soda bottles in half.  Drill holes in the bottom and you are good to go.

Use sterilized potting soil for your seedling to minimize plant diseases.  I purchased some on clearance from the big box stores and have it sitting in the basement till I need it late winter.  The very large bags are a better deal than the smaller ones.  Shop around for the best price.

The town of Hudson has a Technical high school with a farm and green houses.  Is a self funding school.  They have a plant sale in early may with great deals on seedlings.  The prices run $1 to $1.50 per container of plants.  The selection varies from year to year based on what the students decide to grow.  I purchased cooking herbs a dollar a plant.  They made great mothers day gifts and house warming gifts along with filing my garden.  They also had vegetable 6 for $1.50 which I filled my garden with and  then gave extras away.   

Local people will sell perennial plants in the spring for a buck or two a plant.  This is way cheaper than the nurseries sell them for.  Check Craigslist and look for signs along at People's houses.  For those who don't know perennial plants come back each year.  Quite a few flowers and herbs are perennials.

I suggest reading up on gardening now instead of waiting till spring.
My new favorite gardening book.
The book was given to me by a Free Stater that had an amazing crop of veggies this year.
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by ED Smith.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/160342475X/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1580172121&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=013JH4VQQQERAC9CA860
The author has his garden in north east Vermont.  So what he does is very applicable to NH.
Great information for all levels of gardeners.  He is very easy to understand and it full of really good information.

Another good book for those of us with very little room is All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space  by Mel Bartholomew.
He talks about raised beds, container gardening and maximizing the space you have.


Kate
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 08:21 PM NHFT by porcupine kate »
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 01:30 PM NHFT »

I am a big believer in raised beds. You don't walk on them so,you don't have to till them. You can add supplements aimed at what you plant in each bed. Human nature and ergonomics make actually getting around to planting a raised bed more likely than at ground level.
If you plan on any footings or gravel to support your raised bed, you could get them in before the ground freezes. Keep the snow off of them and you can assemble the walls over the winter.
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 02:10 PM NHFT »

What you build a raised bed of depends on how it has to look, how permanent you want it to be, money and available of cheap material.
At a height of, say, 3 ft. a bed 12 feet long by 5 feet wide is almost a 100 square feet of wall.
Ideally you would have walls made of mortared up stone or brick(cordwood!). If you had a lot of that material and the skill, that would look great.  You couldn't do it in the winter, though.
 Real, not landscape, railroad ties even with rot where the spikes went through makes a nice raised bed.  I have seen some along the Rail Trail that are harvetstable. I took the train from W.R Junction to CT and saw what looked to be near perfect used ties along the route. Your RR tracks may vary.
A raised bed can be just a box, each a different depth for what you want to grow in it sitting on top of something.  Two feet would be a really deep box. Twenty inches should be the deepest box that you would need.
You would have to  make what would have to be a strong support of some kind to hold the weight. Soil weighs between 70 and 100 lbs per cubic foot.
You could make it hollow and store stuff under the bed or grow mushrooms.
Here is a chart covering the root depths of garden vegetables. The numbers following apart (9" to 12") are the depths:

 Beets 3” apart 9” to 12” Broccoli 12” apart 12” to 14” Beans 5” apart 16” to 18”
Leaf Lettuce 6” apart 9” to 12” Cabbage 12” apart 12” to 14” Cucumbers 12” apart 16” to 18”
Onions 3” apart 9” to 12” Cauliflower 12” apart 12” to 14” Potatoes 6” apart 16” to 18”
Radishes 1” to 2” apart 9” to 12” Cherry tomatoes 12” apart 14” to 16” Summer Squash 18” apart 16” to 18”
Spinach 5” apart 9” to 12” Eggplant 12” apart 14” to 16” Tomatoes (cherry) 18” apart 16” to 18”
Swiss Chard 6” apart 9” to 12” Peas 3” apart 14” to 16”
Peppers 12” apart 14” to 16”
Carrots 2” apart 9” to 18” (depends on the length of the carrot)
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 06:58 PM NHFT »

i started thinking about gardening for next year .... last spring
right now I am thinking about Kat pulling weeds 2 years from now
aint i thoughtful? ;D
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Kat Kanning

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2009, 08:04 AM NHFT »

I like this book:  The Four Season Harvest.  The guy is in Maine, so it's good advice for our climate too :)  I have two cold frames out there.  One, I enclosed around the kale I've had going all summer.  The other is a fall planting on the hillside.
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Scott Roth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 12:02 AM NHFT »

Eliot Coleman, the man that wrote "The Four Season Harvest" was a neighbor to lengendary Back-to-the-landers Scott & Helen nearing, who got his greenhouse plan from their book "The Sun-Heated Greenhouse".  Their stuff is great reading, especially for all of you anarchists. ;D
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2009, 06:58 AM NHFT »

The Nearings were my favorite Commies! ;D
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PattyLee loves dogs

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 05:48 PM NHFT »

Thanks a lot for all this info, will be doing this at my new place. YEA!!! PL
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Kat Kanning

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2009, 03:18 PM NHFT »

Here's my kale, despite snow on the ground for the last month.  :D

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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2009, 03:32 PM NHFT »

Rather than run them thru the compost heap, Rich is broadcasting the coffee grounds where the garden will be. The garden is going to be, pretty much, coffee grounds.
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porcupine kate

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2009, 10:49 PM NHFT »

Kat I love the cold frames.  I am hoping to build some this spring.

Lloyd I have a friend near DC that gets coffee grounds from local coffee shops and has a beautiful garden to show for it.  He used to bring in blooming Azaleas to work in October and early November.  Coffee grounds are good stuff.
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2009, 09:15 AM NHFT »

Sometimes you see bags of  spent grounds available near the counter at Starbucks.
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cathleeninnh

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2009, 03:19 PM NHFT »

Aren't they acidic? I didn't know extra acid was needed in NH. We have oak trees.
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2009, 04:24 PM NHFT »

I guess we will have to balance it out. I doubt the garden will be entirely grounds.
There is a chart in 'The Complete Book Of Composting' by Rodale. Here is what they have for coffee grounds, all in percent:
                            MOISTURE      ASH       N           P2O5      K2O

Fresh:                          62.5             0.5       1.84         0.03          0.12
Composted:                  58                -         1.65          0.22          3.0

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Pat McCotter

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Re: Now is the time to start thinking about gardening for next year.
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2009, 05:48 PM NHFT »

I just got the All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! and will start with one 4x4 vegetable garden this spring. Next year will be more.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
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