U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 01-16-2014, 08:31 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,981 times
Reputation: 13

Advertisements

We are in a new house and I want to put in a small vegetable garden to plant this spring. I meant to get the grass turned under this past fall, but didn't get to it. The ground has been frozen, but I can get a shovel in at least 6 inches right now. We are in Zone 6. I was thinking I should still try to get this done as soon as possible, so I called Home Depot today to ask about renting a rototiller. The guy I spoke to said I should wait until spring to turn the grass; otherwise it will just be a big, muddy mess. I thought it would be best to go ahead and start the project, get the soil test done, add some topsoil and other needed amendments, but I don't want to risk making a mud pit during the spring thaw. I'm worried it will result in highly compacted soil that will need to be tilled again before it's planted. Any advice on how to time this would be welcome.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-16-2014, 09:07 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,971 posts, read 17,131,123 times
Reputation: 30081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamamama View Post
We are in a new house and I want to put in a small vegetable garden to plant this spring. I meant to get the grass turned under this past fall, but didn't get to it. The ground has been frozen, but I can get a shovel in at least 6 inches right now. We are in Zone 6. I was thinking I should still try to get this done as soon as possible, so I called Home Depot today to ask about renting a rototiller. The guy I spoke to said I should wait until spring to turn the grass; otherwise it will just be a big, muddy mess. I thought it would be best to go ahead and start the project, get the soil test done, add some topsoil and other needed amendments, but I don't want to risk making a mud pit during the spring thaw. I'm worried it will result in highly compacted soil that will need to be tilled again before it's planted. Any advice on how to time this would be welcome.
Be patient. You shouldn't do anything with the soil now. Something about ruining the structure of the soil. After the mud season, pick up a handful of soil and see if it's ready, not hard and yet not muddy. There are various ways of telling but I just pick up some soil and go by how it feels. It will feel like......soil.

I'd say probably sometime in April in your zone. You won't gain anything by starting too soon; you will ruin your soil. The guy at Home Depot is absolutely correct.
__________________
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
7,243 posts, read 9,588,980 times
Reputation: 6902
The freeze thaw cycles will kill any benefit you might think you will pick up by doing it now.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 07:25 AM
 
7,015 posts, read 10,319,686 times
Reputation: 13781
If you are in New England, maybe you should wait.

In mid-state Delaware, some Amish communities have started tilling their gardens. They use horse drawn plows, then disc, then use a harrow.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:04 AM
 
3,442 posts, read 4,469,478 times
Reputation: 5387
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
The freeze thaw cycles will kill any benefit you might think you will pick up by doing it now.

Farmers who have heavy soil need the freeze/thaw cycle to prevent clumping in spring.

The freeze/thaw cycle is beneficial to soil as it makes the ground easy to till in spring w/o hard clumps.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:10 AM
 
3,442 posts, read 4,469,478 times
Reputation: 5387
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Be patient. You shouldn't do anything with the soil now. Something about ruining the structure of the soil. After the mud season, pick up a handful of soil and see if it's ready, not hard and yet not muddy. There are various ways of telling but I just pick up some soil and go by how it feels. It will feel like......soil.,

I'd say probably sometime in April in your zone. You won't gain anything by starting too soon; you will ruin your soil. The guy at Home Depot is absolutely correct.



--------"pick up a handful of soil "----

She stated her future garden is grass.

As a farmer, if I didn't get grass plowed under in fall, I did it as early as possible.


I have never heard of..............."damaging the soil".........., but, what would I know ?
I've only lived on a farm for 66 years.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:34 AM
 
7,015 posts, read 10,319,686 times
Reputation: 13781
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Be patient. You shouldn't do anything with the soil now. Something about ruining the structure of the soil. After the mud season, pick up a handful of soil and see if it's ready, not hard and yet not muddy. There are various ways of telling but I just pick up some soil and go by how it feels. It will feel like......soil.

I'd say probably sometime in April in your zone. You won't gain anything by starting too soon; you will ruin your soil. The guy at Home Depot is absolutely correct.
Just my opinion, but I'd trust a farmer before I'd trust a Home Depot guy.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:38 AM
 
3,442 posts, read 4,469,478 times
Reputation: 5387
To clarify.............I would not start working the soil seed bed this early, but definitely get the original plowing/tilling done whenever I can.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:39 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,971 posts, read 17,131,123 times
Reputation: 30081
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdlr View Post
Just my opinion, but I'd trust a farmer before I'd trust a Home Depot guy.
Ask any long term gardener and they will know when the soil is ready, you don't have to be a farmer to know.

http://extension.psu.edu/business/st...work-that-soil

http://blog.smartgardener.com/in-the...n-for-planting
"but digging very wet soil can damage its structure and cause long-term harm (not to mention being harder to dig."

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/publications/pm820.pdf

"Tillage affects soil structure and plant growth
The soil should never be worked when too wet. If
worked under wet conditions, the soil will become hard
and restrict root growth, causing unproductive plants.
If a handful of soil formed into a ball retains its shape,
delay soil tillage until the water content diminishes. If a
handful of soil formed into a ball crumbles when pressed
with the thumb, it is ready for plowing or spading"
__________________
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.

Last edited by in_newengland; 01-17-2014 at 09:59 AM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2014, 09:47 AM
 
63 posts, read 69,037 times
Reputation: 178
I would wait till early spring. Will be much easier. But you can go ahead with the soil test, and then stock your soil amendments accordingly to prepare for tilling in spring. Good luck!
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top