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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:27 pm 
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Location: Arlington,TEXAS
I'm about to try my first go around with organic gardening on a vegetable/fruit garden of about 1800 sq. ft.

Currently the plot has bermuda/weeds on it, and would like some advice with my course of action to amend the plot, and then start growing. I know it might be a tad bit late, but nonetheless...

Should I :

1) first get a sod cutter to remove the grass;
2) put on prescribed amount of corn gluten meal/dry molasses for a few weeks on the bare exposed dirt; (how long is corn gluten meal's pre-emergent effect in place?)
3) add prescribed green sand and compost and till in, wait a few weeks,
4) then start planting?

I know there's other questions too, as to what I'm growing, etc. But is this a reasonable approach?

Any input would be grateful. I'm excited and very coachable.

Soup


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:32 am 
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I am not saying this is the best way, but this is what I do:

First, I till the area to pull up the sod. This takes awhile, lots of raking and tilling until you feel you have removed all the grass. We then till into the native soil about 6 in.

We like a more "above ground" garden so it is border by 2x4s bracketed together.

I then fill the entire area w/ organic compost. I then follow Howard's rules in his Organic Vegetable Gardening book;
* Organice fertilizer at 20lbs per 1,000 sq ft
* Lava sand @ 40-80 lbs per 1k sq ft
* Tx greensand (same rate as lava sand)
* Dry molasses 5-10 lbs per 1,000
*Soft Rock Phosphates 20-40 lbs per 1k
* sulfur @ 5lbs per 1k

As we pour these ingredients in, we till lightly every so often to try to also incorporate some of the native soil in w/ the compost and organics.

Now, I swear by the following. Over the last 6 years, we have had massive tomato and herb productions, that I know is related to what occurs at the time of planting. Since we buy seedlings, we first soak the seedlings in Fish/seaweed emsulsion until saturated. Then, in each hole we put the following:
* 1cup wormcastings
*1/3 cup DE
*1/4c soft rock phosphate
1 tbsp Epsom salt

Then water well with the fish/seaweed solution.

I got that concoction from the guy that owns Rabbit Hill Farms. I usually make up a big batch of this in the spring and keep it in a sealable container so it's ready what I need it.

Good Luck and have fun!

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 Post subject: Good starting point
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:06 am 
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Thanks a bunch for that, Sandi. That will save me the cost, time and hassle of renting a sod cutter. I have Howard's Texas Gardening book, so between that and your helpful comments, I should be in good shape.

Question, though...corn gluten meal isn't necessary if I do it this way? Also, how long does the effect of corn gluten meal last as a pre-emergant?

Soup


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:47 pm 
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You use CGM as a pre-emeregent, so if you get rid of the sod then you don't need it. I would not put it in a bed where you might want to plant seeds as the pupose behing CGM in the early spring is to prevent the seeds of weeds from germinating.

Click on the big Dirt Doctor logo and go to the Library tab, then look up CGM for more info

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:48 pm 
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BTW - since had a series of smaller gardens, so it may be a big help to you to get a sod cutter to remove all the grass...up to you...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:52 pm 
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If you follow your plan you will have a garden of bermuda by June. If you follow sandi/Howard's plan, you have a shot at smothering out the bermuda; but it is kind of an expensive way to do it.

I killed an area of bermuda about that size last year. I brought in sand to cover the area 2-6 inches deep (it was not level). Then I brought in mulch to cover the sand another 2 inches deep. If you don't use the sand first, I'm convinced there is enough light filtering through regular mulch that the bermuda will return in force. By using sand first, the light has to filter through the mulch and the sand. Sand doesn't allow much light through. I think that was key to my success. After the sand, then follow sandi's suggestions to the letter. That seems to work. I think it can be done with less hassle, but for your peace of mind, you will find a lot of support in people who agree with that approach.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Seeings how I am only going to be on this property for less than a year, I wonder if it's worth all that effort... I'm going to be buying some property this fall, so maybe I should just wait until I buy it and then begin working that. I have to think about this and weigh the options...thanks for all your input. Maybe I'll do something a little smaller scale in the meantime...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:28 am 
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Well all the organics I mentioned are worth the output of veggies that you will see, but that of course is your choice...it isn't cheap initially.

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