new Vegetable Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Fort Worth, Te
Question by danitagonde
August 23, 2009
want to start new garden right away. back yard and front yard rabbit activity (and a dog)- also back has two big trees - concerned over too much shade- Tomatoes in containers did well in Front- grew Huge- over 5 ft (about 40 - 60 small tomatoes for about 8 plants- in Large containers)
Please advise. Soil is not so good- need raise garden. put newspaper under garden to keep out weeds? THANks

Answer from NGA
August 23, 2009


You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter (or place folded newspapers or cardboard over the bare soil to suppress weeds. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch or 4-5 inches of newspaper will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. Rabbits can be a problem when growing veggies and the best protection for your plants would be a chicken wire or hardware cloth fence, attached to the base of the raised bed and at least 2' tall. If the site is shady you may need to continue growing sun loving tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc. in containers and grow veggies with less need for sun in your garden. Leaf lettuces, radishes, beans and peas will all be fine with about 4 hours of direct sunshine. Best wishes with your garden!

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