Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Prep Soil and What To Plant for Fall Harvest

Yesterday I showed you how we easily and affordably built our first raised garden bed.  Today I'll show you what we planted, but first, we needed to prep the soil.  Here is the layer-by-layer guide to our garden, and in parentheses, I have listed the product we used and the cost at time of purchase, all of which were purchased at Home Depot.  Quantites listed are for a 4' x 8' garden bed.

1. Level the ground under the garden bed for even water flow and growth.  Till up the dirt while you're at it and dig out any weeds or grass.

2. Sprinkle fire ant killer throughout the bed and around the outer edges.  Allow this to penetrate the soil for 24 hours before moving forward.  (Orthene Fire Ant Killer - $10.48 - qty: 1)
3. After 24 hours, you can begin layering your soil components.  To prevent weeds and grass from growing back up into your bed, begin with a layer of cardboard along the bottom.  Try to cover as completely as possible.

4. The next layer is peat moss.  Peat moss naturally retains water, so when those roots get to this layer, they'll hold onto their water much easier and have a better chance at growing big and strong. (Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss - $11.97 for 3 cu. ft. - qty:1)

{The brown layer is the peat moss and the black layer is the manure.}

5. On top of the layer of peat moss, spread a layer of cow manure or other fertilizer.  The nutrients in the manure help aid vegetable growth, much like compost would.  If you compost, you can use that instead of manure.  (Black Kow cow manure - $4.97 - 50lb. - qty:1)

{That's one way to get the bags of soil down the hill!}

6. Next, add a solid layer of garden soil.  We chose MiracleGro Garden Soil, which is specifically designed for fruit and vegetable gardens.  (MiracleGro Flower & Vegetable Garden Soil - $7.97 for 2 cu. ft. - qty: 3)

7. Finally, fill the remainder of the garden bed with top soil.  Leave only a few inches at the top of the garden bed.  (Timberline Top Soil - $1.49 for 1 cu. ft. - qty: 10)

Now we're ready to plant!

We live in Georgia, which is Zone 7B according to garden maps.  I found a great planting calendar on A Way to Garden, and there are links for most states.

Using the Georgia planting calendar as a guide, we came up with this planting schedule:

Planting Now:
  • Cantaloupe - September harvest
  • Blackeyed peas - August harvest, then replant for October harvest
  • Giant pumpkin - October harvest
  • Zucchini - August harvest, then replant for October harvest
  • Okra - August harvest
Planting July 15th:
  • Cucumber - September harvest
  • Tomato - October harvest
Planting August 1st:
  • Broccoli - October harvest
Marley is very hopeful that the giant pumpkins will produce large pumpkins in time for Halloween. Everything else will be eaten or canned, or a little of both maybe, if there is enough.

After the initial harvest in August, I'd like to plant some carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, and spinach.  We'll just have to see how it goes.  I'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of our little garden!

Have you planted fall veggies?  What did you plant?  Any gardening tips to share?

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