Vegetables and Fruit forum: Questions preparing a bed using cardboard

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Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 23, 2015 9:02 AM CST
I have an area I'd like to try growing carrots. I'd like to remove the brush, etc. & lay cardboard down now. Maybe add leaves & compost. What would I do then? Around March or April sprinkle the carrot seed on top of that?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 23, 2015 11:52 AM CST
I've never grown carrots, but I know they need loose soil so they can push roots down into it.

Is the soil under your brush pretty soft already? If it's hard clay or rocky, killing the brush and adding compost might be only the first step. You might need to remove rocks so they can grow straight, or amend hard clay so they can grow longer than an inch or two.

I've planted long radishes (Daikon radishes) in hard clay, and they do manage to push down a ways, but they also stick up out of the ground as if the clay was pushing back. I don;lt thnik carrots are that aggressive.

If the soil does need to be amended for carrots, but you aren't eager to get out a pick, shovel and garden fork, you might plant some clay-tolerant cover crop the first year to do some of the initial "tilling" and breaking up of hard clay. "Tillage radishes" or anything with aggressive roots might help.
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Dec 23, 2015 2:58 PM CST
I do grow carrots so I can emphasize Ricks advice. It is important to determine the nature of your soil. It is important for all types to be loosened. You can grow carrots in clay soil, you just need to grow short varieties like Oxheart or round varieties like Thumbelina or Parisienne. Imperator or Nantes types you need sandy loam soils about 12 inches deep. I would at least scratch through the cardboard to sow the seeds. With imperator or Nantes types any rocks will give you at best some very miss shaped carrots.


Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 23, 2015 3:54 PM CST
Thanks!!!! This will be my first time growing carrots so any tips are appreciated.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Dec 23, 2015 10:13 PM CST
I totally agree with the above advice, and... thin your carrots! Sow the seed fairly thinly, and once the plants get going, thin them so there's at least an inch in between plants. I've tried "broadcast" sowing carrots (a long time ago), but much prefer to grow them in rows, lots easier to keep them weeded.

I'm not sure the area you're looking at will be the best for carrots in the beginning, though (you mentioned there was brush to be removed); I really think you might have better luck growing something for a couple of years or so that will be able to compete a bit better with the roots down below, or is more shallow rooted and doesn't need to fight with the obstacles. That doesn't mean you can't grow any carrots at all, though -- it's entirely possible to grow them in containers Smiling
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Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 24, 2015 9:51 AM CST
The area I'm thinking of has 2 or 3 large pine trees near enough that there's some shade. I keep getting sassafras saplings there so apparently I'm not getting all the root system. This area was where a butane tank was located. We had a leak & had the tank removed but the gas company left a hose sticking up out of the ground (maybe in case we ever went back to butane). I'm paranoid & don't do too much in that area. It looks like I would do better with containers & use that spot for something else.
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Dec 24, 2015 10:58 AM CST
I tend to agree. At least I would forego root vegetables for awhile. Fruiting vegetables would be a good choice as they are are not as subject to contamination
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Dec 24, 2015 12:30 PM CST
With the additional information about the shade and the previous butane leak, I would be leaning toward ornamentals in that spot.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 24, 2015 12:49 PM CST
I didn't know there was anything in butane to worry about. The butane itself would evaporate 100%, and the stinky hydrogen sulfide they add to ID leaks would also evaporate very quickly.

I guess it isn't reagent-pure, and some contaminants in the butane might be toxic and non-volatile. However, if they are water-soluble and don't bind strongly to soil, they would wash out over time.

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33...

One approach might be to improve the soil gradually with compost and cover crops, and/or grow ornamentals for a while, then declare the area safe for food crops. Or get a soil sample analyzed, after asking the lab if they test for any contaminants that might have been in butane.

My yard is so small that every sunny square foot I can use is not to be wasted. But if you have as many beds as you need, using even a shady patch might not be necessary.

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Dec 24, 2015 12:59 PM CST
You're right, Rick -- as far as I know there might be no hazard at all associated with the butane; it just doesn't sound like the place I'd want to plant food crops. I think I'll amend my answer to "check with someone that actually knows if the soil would be contaminated." I think the shade could be an issue for most veggies, though, at any rate.
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 24, 2015 1:01 PM CST
>> I think the shade could be an issue for most veggies,

Now that you mention, it, yeah. Shade and pine tree roots.
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 24, 2015 7:00 PM CST
The area would actually be right behind where the tank was. We were told the leak was probably close to the house, maybe inside the house. The gas company said we'd have to replace the hot water heater & the central heat/air if they were deemed too old & didn't pass inspection. We would also have to replace all the gas line plus pay for the labor. We just switched to all electric which was stupid since we lose power if it gets too windy. Our regular garden spot is one square acre in size & is about a 100 yards from the house. We haven't had a big garden in several years but I'm hoping to have one this coming year. I can plant the carrots out there but wanted to do something with this area. I may just throw some wildflower seed out there.

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