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How would you start a new garden in an overgrown field?

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#1 Mustard Tiger ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 12:29 AM

It seems like everyone has a different idea of the best way to do this.  I've seen debates over tilling vs plowing vs not breaking the soil at all.  And I've seen debates over compost being on the surface or buried or mixed all through the soil.  Since I have the space for it and the curiosity, I am going to try a bunch of ways, plant the same thing in each plot and see which works best or if it even matters at all.  I'd like to try as many ways as possible, so tell me how you would do it and I'll give them all a shot.

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#2 Alc ONLINE  



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Posted October 11, 2017 - 05:29 AM

This will be interesting on what members do . I've just tilled lawn areas but it took a lot of work , beat the tractor up and mixed all the grass without killing all of it .It would have been better it I would have killed off the grasses and weeds first , either chemical or maybe start a fire and  burn it ( fall leaves  maybe ). If you started earlier you might have been able to lay plastic down to kill off too .   Plowed then tilled ( I have both) My topsoil isn't that deep so adding compost whenever I can helps me . Do you know how good your topsoil is ? 

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#3 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted October 11, 2017 - 05:43 AM

brush cut,   plow,   disk

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#4 CanadianHobbyFarmer OFFLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 05:45 AM

The last new ground I broke (about 2 years ago) I fenced in and turned two pigs out on it. They ate almost all the grass and weeds, fertilized as they went and did a good job of breaking up some very compacted ground. There was on hard patch they left, I plan to cover it in molasses or beat pulp this weekend and let this years pigs have a go at it.


Without pigs, I would mow it first, then plow (in the fall) and leave it till spring. This should let the grass and weeds die and start to rot. In the spring either disc or rototill to prepare a seedbed to plant. I have just rototilled in the past, before I got a GT and a plow. I found that a lot of grass and weeds came back. The grass was usually in clumps and fairly easy to remove though.



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#5 poncho62 ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 06:02 AM

^^^^^^^^^  This

#6 KennyP ONLINE  



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Posted October 11, 2017 - 06:04 AM

The above posts are what I would do. Cut the grass/weeds as short as you can. If possible, burn to kill new seeds. Plow and maybe throw some compost to lay for the winter. Disk or till in the Spring.

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#7 daytime dave ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 06:29 AM

I did a small garden in my suburban back yard lawn.


The first year the tillers were barely up to the job.




The next year, it had been tilled the past year and the machine was larger.  I bought it new from the original owner who hadn't used it ever.  Six months out of warranty.  The first pass and the weld holding the toothed sprocket to the tine axle broke.  Sears wasn't helpful, so I learned how to change out the par myself.




Once repaired, this machine performed wonderfully every year I was there.  The back lawn produced.


IMG_2830.JPG IMG_2832.JPG



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#8 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 07:01 AM

Most above will work, burn/chemical weed killer a must.  Plow it under in the fall to get some legume in the soil.  Disc up in spring to level better.  When the weeds start to come spray it again.  Till and plant as needed.  First year may be a little fight to keep the weeds down, depending on weather conditions.

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#9 oldedeeres OFFLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 10:13 AM

It depends on what is growing there now.  If it is "quack grass", I recommend spraying it out first after having mowed it short.  Quack will grow from a chopped runner only 1/2"long and is almost impossible to cultivate out.   Any time we developed a new area we disced all the existing greenery in  several times until the area was relatively smooth, then cultivated it deeply  and harrowed to bring up any trash left the fall before planting. Early he next spring before seeding the garden I'd cultivate lightly to start the weeds and then have at it.  After the garden is seeded but not up yet  I'll take the hand sprayer with "Round-up" and go around the edges to make a grass free edging just to keep things from creeping in.

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#10 secondtry ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 11:39 AM

 May not be to late in the year to plow, disc, and plant a cover crop. Tillage radishes come to mind.  The faster you want to bring it into production the harder you have to work and the more you have to spend on undesirable chemicals. Heavy planting of cover crops can be very effective. Every area is different so you need to talk to local people to find out what works best. Don 

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#11 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 11:48 AM

Most above will work, burn/chemical weed killer a must.  Plow it under in the fall to get some legume in the soil.  Disc up in spring to level better.  When the weeds start to come spray it again.  Till and plant as needed.  First year may be a little fight to keep the weeds down, depending on weather conditions.


Do you mean spray with Roundup?

Edited by Jazz, October 12, 2017 - 02:13 PM.

#12 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 02:15 PM

First I have to harvest the Connecticut Potatoes(rocks from 3" to 4' in diameter). I run it through a 3" x 3" grizzley. That loses 1/2 the volume of the soil. I then have to screen it through a 1" screen and add alot of organics(leaves, horse manure, saw dust, wood chips, and whatever other manures are available for free. To do this I have to use my AC HD6G Shovel  Dozer. It hasn't run in several years so I have to resurrect it soon. 


Because of all the "bones" in my soil, I usually have to strip off atleast 2'.  It ends up taking days just to do a  50 foot by 50 foot area. That's my soil. Be glad that yours is easier. Use what you have and make it work. Good Luck, Rick

Edited by boyscout862, October 11, 2017 - 02:16 PM.

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#13 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2017 - 02:58 PM

Cut grass short, plow cut grass and sod under. Do this in the fall. In the spring, disk, cultivate or harrow, then plant. If you know ahead of the fall that your going to do this, cut, plow, disk, plant buckwheat, plow and disk buckwheat in fall. In spring, disk, cultivate or harrow, then plant. I use both these methods for my plots that I plant potatoes.

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#14 FrozenInTime OFFLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2017 - 06:03 PM

When I created my garden, I hit the area with round-up, let everything die then tilled it deep as I could go.  Hit it with roundup again come next spring, tilled it again then planted.  I use chicken poop, grass clippings and fall leaves for fertilizer, apply/til in come fall before the freeze-up.


Spring and the rest of the year, I bag my grass clippings and spread out between the rows and around the plants as they emerge.  Helps keep the relentless weeds under control.


If you can, after you til,test your soil to see what you need to do to fertilize.

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#15 Cvans ONLINE  



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Posted October 12, 2017 - 08:44 PM

Roundup, 10 days later burn it. After that I would come up with some way to turn the dirt over, tiller, digger, disc, or plow it. If you could work some horse manure into it yet this fall that would be a plus.