The Q&A Archives: planting a garden

Question: We have an area that was covered with plastic and rock for several years and needs to be redone so we thought that we want to use the area for a garden such as squash, cucumbers and other vine vegetables. The question is whether we can clean up the rock and plant or do we wait a year before planting after we have cleaned the area up.

Answer: You can remove the rocks and plastic and then rototill or dig the area to aerate it. Being covered with black plastic for a period of time will essentially sterilize the soil so you might also want to incorporate some organic matter such as compost or aged-manure. Dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches then level the area and plant your squash and cukes. After planting you can spread another 2-3" of organic mulch material over the bare soil. At the end of the growing season simply turn the mulch over into the soil. A few years of this practice should produce some wonderful garden loam.

Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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