August Garden Tour: Preparing for Fall Planting

Things I forgot to say in the video –

How I get away without a rototiller – I kill the sod with a heavy ground cover (old carpet, linoleum, tarp). Then I break up the soil to plant garlic, but that’s the last time I’ll mess with it that much. I want to maintain the soil structure, and I don’t want to bring new weed seeds to the surface every year. I never step on my beds -this would compact the soil. When I want to seed a bed, I spread out the seeds and simply sift finished compost over the top to cover them.

I don’t have edges on my beds – What do I do about the weeds and lawn creeping in? I simply edge the beds with a shovel about 3 times a year – not a huge chore, takes about an hour for all my gardens. Looks clean and doesn’t require spending money on materials for making walls as for raised beds.

How come my garden doesn’t have any weeds? I can’t say this enough – MULCH, MULCH, MULCH. My garden requires very little maintenance because whenever I plant, I mulch. After I plant garlic, I spread a thick layer of fall leaves over the bed. In the spring, I add a thick layer of grass clippings. And I do mean thick – they are root crops – it can’t hurt them. As soon as things like lettuce and carrots are big enough, I tuck grass clippings around them. Everything gets a blanket of mulch

  • keeps weed seeds from receiving enough light to germinate,
  • keeps rainfall from compacting my soil,
  • keeps my garden moist even in dry weather. 

How is your garden doing? Do you plant any fall crops? Stay tuned for an upcoming post on growing your own year’s supply of garlic!

5 responses to “August Garden Tour: Preparing for Fall Planting”

  1. Trina Avatar

    Yes, Kateri – it must have been your father – it is so ingrained in me I don't know where it came from, but he was my first teacher in the garden, so he shall get the credit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rachel, not silly at all! This is actually the first time I've done this! I think it takes a bit of experience to feel confident about 'winging' it. Although, I didn't really – here's what I did

    1. Raked my spot smooth
    2. Used the butt end of my rake handle to scrape a furrow to seed in.(Kateri's Dad taught me that, too!)Because the soil was not tilled, this was not very deep, basically just a straight line scraped across the soil.
    3. sprinkled my lettuce seeds in a thin line down the 'furrow'.
    4. sprinkled finished compost by hand over the row till I couldn't see the seeds anymore.
    5. Watered.
    6. Forgot about it.
    7. It rained. (thank the Lord!)
    8. They sprouted! ๐Ÿ™‚

    A rule of thumb for seed planting depth is “Three times the width of the seed”. Lettuce seeds are teeny – they get a dusting of earth. Spinach is bigger – maybe 1/4 inch of soil. Garlic is huge ๐Ÿ™‚ you plant it 3 inches deep!

    for more gardening insights, I highly recommend Kateri's blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kateri Avatar

    Is not stepping on the garden soil something you learned from my dad? It was so ingrained in me not to walk on garden soil, that I was completely horrified when I helped other people in their gardens. Most people seem to stomp all over their gardens with no regard for soil health…When people are helping me in my garden, I am always reminding them to step only on the paths.

    You must not get squash vine borers where you live. I know I never saw them in Chenago County. I have not been able to successfully grow squash or pumpkins here in the past due to them, but hopefully we will get a crop this year, due to the preventive measures I took earlier in the season. They did get infested later in the season, but it looks like it might have been late enough that the pumpkins and squash will ripen before the vines are completely dead.

    I have both spaghetti squash and delicata growing as well,–my two favorite squashes!

  3. wesleysrachel Avatar

    Great post! And now I'm going to ask what is probably the world's stupidest question (hehe), but would you mind describing in more detail your planting process? I've heard so often “scatter seeds and spread compost on top”, but I never know how many seeds to scatter, how much compost, etc. etc! So I end being Miss Neat-Freak and planting everything in tilled beds in nice rows and having GOBS of weeds to deal with. ๐Ÿ˜› Needless to say, this is a cycle that I am looking to change! I've been reading Malcolm Beck's book about the importance of not disturbing the soil, but he doesn't go into much planting detail either. Help??? ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. ~Jess Avatar

    Loved the video Trina!

    We planted only squash this year and, again, it has taken over. I'm thinking of teepee-ing them next year, because they take over the yard as well.

  5. Kristina Avatar

    Oh Trina! I wish you still lived closer to me! I would love for you to come an help me with my garden. I didn't plant a garden this year and won't next year either. We are getting the house ready to sell and Ray would rather I not get my garden going and have to leave it. I did get a volunteer zucchini /summer squash plant this year though. I am not really sure what it it. But I am glad to have it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your garden is looking so nice. I am putting all of these ideas away in my mind for the future!

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