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Newbie Gardener....needs guidance

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I have just finished reading Square Foot Gardening and Edible Landscaping, and I am wondering where to go from here. My situation:


1) We had a garden that produced a ton last year - tons of veggies and tons of weeds. The weeds were overwhelming. It was difficult to find the veggies among the weeds. With a baby this summer, my outside hours will be limited.

2) We have fabulous soil out here in farmland. I do not need to do any mulching or fertilizing to have a bountiful harvest.

3) We have five acres of land. Last year we tilled up far more garden area than we need.


So....where do I start this year? I now get why soil shouldn't be tilled, but then how do I get the soil loose enough to get the seeds planted this year? What do I do about the weeds that are lying in wait underneath the snow? I just know they are lying in wait to taunt me. I plan on planting in squares this year rather than rows and putting newspaper or straw on the walking areas.

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Mulch helps keep weeds from growing up. An easy mulch is newspaper. The best is shredded newspaper. Usually you use newspaper with no color pictures. Sometimes you need something on top to hold the newspaper in place (a few stones etc). This also holds in moisture in hot weather. Another good thing about mulch is that it helps make it easier to walk between rows or plants. Straw also can be good.


Even no till gardening you do hoe, rake and prepare the top of the soil for seeds. Tilling is very deep.


Raised beds of course are the best.


Squares are fine, but some things do better in rows - peas, cucumbers etc.

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I second mulching. Preen for veg. gardens helps too. It stops many weed seeds from germinating. (Just don't use it anywhere you plan on planting straight from seeds) Weeds will still grow though. I take my morning mug of coffee and do a 10 minute weeding a day. My kids are also now responsible for some weeding. They know what our three worst weeds. I challenge them to see who can pull the most of one type in 5 minutes. Amazing how much that helps.

You may want to focus your attention on a smaller part of your garden this year. With the other part, you could plant melons or corn or pumpkins - plants that need a lot of space but not a lot of attention. Weeds will still grow there, but they won't really affect those plants.

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