Monday, November 17, 2008

Pre Tilling Garden Preparation

What kind of preparation should you do before you till? If the ground is seriously unlevel you probably want to level it out as your plants will have difficulty getting enough moisture and other problems. However, if your ground is only somewhat unlevel you should be fine. A good rule of thumb is that if you have difficulty driving a tiller over your garden you probably want to either level it, or in more minor cases plant something with a spreading growth habit such as pumpkins. Pumpkins would also be a good choice as they don’t require as much water.
Another thing to consider is what the weed status on your garden is. If there are a lot of weeds it would probably be worthwhile to remove them. Pull them, rake them out, (when it is safe and you know what you are doing) burn them; just get them out some way! Although you can till the weeds in when you till, their seeds will soon sprout to reek havoc on your garden. You might save yourself considerable time pulling weeds out now, rather than waiting for their seeds to sprout during the whole growing season. Removing weeds helps to reduce the amount of weed seed in your soil. It usually takes time to work weed seed out of the soil. If you are diligent it will become easier every year to keep weeds out of your garden.
If you don’t want to grow organically then you could use chemical weed killers. Read the label carefully on any weed killer you look at to make sure:

1. What will it kill?
2. How long will it last before it is safe to plant?
3. How should you apply it so that there will not be any unintended overspray.
4. Health precautions.

With weed killer it takes time. You have to spray an area several times before you can plant, although you can till the area in between sprayings. If time allows, when applying weed killer it is a good idea to spray then:

1. Wait for more weed seeds to germinate (sprout.)
2. Then spray again.
3. Repeat.

If it will be safe to plant within 2 weeks after spraying it would be a good idea to spray 3-4 times before Mothers Day. Ask at your local garden center for assistance in choosing a good weed killer. Also, find out if they carry a weed killer that won’t hurt your plants. If they do and it would be safe to do so you could consider spraying during the growing season. Note: some weed killers are made to turn the area to bare dirt for an entire year!
However, we do not recommend using chemicals, as it is not nearly as healthy as growing organically.


Vendor Hippo said...

The area for our proposed community garden is level enough however it is covered in weeds. The weeds are not massive, just ground covering.

The area is approximately 120' x 60'. Is that a good size for a garden? It may actually have to be a bit smaller to allow for paths and such. And how many individual plots will that allow?

Also, the community organizers are very concerned about appearance. They want it to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. What kinds of things can we do to make it look nice?

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