Author Topic: Redoing the whole garden next year...  (Read 166 times)

Offline Greg

  • Grasshopper
  • *
  • Posts: 343
  • Zone 5b - Pierce Colorado
    • View Profile
Redoing the whole garden next year...
« on: August 09, 2019, 03:54:56 PM »
Sorry for the links to youtube but a picture is worth a thousand words right? Just fast forward till you get the gist of what's going on.

This has been on my mind for a year now and I think I got it all figured out... I wanted to run it by others to check for flaws in my reasoning.
I have REAL ugly problems trying to garden in Colorado. The fun is gone from gardening for me and I've got to try to get it back.

Some of the problems are:
1. Brick hard clay for soil
2. Hot dry strong winds in the summer that stress every plant in the garden.
3. Hot dry strong winds that blow in weed seeds from 100's of thousands of acres of commercial fields that surround me.
4. The weeds are like a blanket that grows continuously even in my grow boxes.
5. No measurable rain between July and Sept.
6. Insects are ravenous. Wasps and Yellow Jackets will strip cabbage to the bone. Mexican bean beetles, slugs, cut worms, ants, aphids, and leaf hoppers.
7. Rabbits and stray dogs. Neighbors dog got loose and lifted his leg on my newly planted raspberry bush... nearly killed it. And killed all my garlic.

8. Tomato and potato blight and curly top virus.

I'm not giving up, but I can't go on like this... on my size garden it's not possible to maintain.  So after researching for a year, I've come up with a solution. It's going to cost me, but it will be worth it. Because I feed my family all year on what I grow and not growing is simply not an option.

First, I'm cutting down the growing area and eliminating the wasted space.
Second I'm concentrating the growing into 4ft x 20+ft blocks spaced 4ft apart. Using this method here:
I'm covering the whole garden in heavy duty, long lasting, UV resistant landscape plastic. And I'm doing just what he's doing.

Here's the same idea, but this product is way too expensive... I wouldn't say ripoff, but that's the feeling I get...

Under the plastic I'm starting with a 4" layer of aged cow manure from a local dairy farm and couple inches of leaves from this fall. One pass with the rototiller. After that, rototilling will be limited to once or twice a year, mainly in the fall to mix in the leaves and once in the spring to loosen up the soil.

I'm also going to rotate in a couple blocks of red clover:

Hopefully this will turn around or drastically reduce a lot of the problems I'm having with weeds and hard soil. Also, limiting the rototilling will encourage earthworms. Which I have a lot of... until I till them all up. *cough  :o

Next is irrigation. I have been using drip tap. A lot of it. But that has problems too. First, if an emitter gives way or whatever, you get a mini-fountain and a lot of wasted water. Until I roll out another 120 ft strip of tubing to replace it.

So, I'm replacing everything with:
Except most of mine will be in flex pipe with PVC main lines leading from the water source. In other words, up next to the plants will be flex pipe arranged in a square, which then connects to PVC.

So think of this, with flex pipe under landscape plastic... you get the idea.

This is the idea I'm going for, except I need the walkways covered too.

Hopefully, this will lower the daily maintenance of my garden and improve the quality of my plants.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  :)


LS XJ2025 25hp Tractor - FEL, middle buster, row hippers and a rototiller - 1.1 acres, Pierce, Colorado

Click for weather forecast

Offline 2010 National Champs

  • Grasshopper
  • *
  • Posts: 517
    • View Profile
Re: Redoing the whole garden next year...
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2019, 05:23:53 PM »
i use plastic, but i am in the south so i don't really know about the conditions that you face....manure and water and lots of both of them works wonders!....on tomatoes and pepper, i use old carpet squares that i cut to go over the holes that i cut out of the plastic....just cut a hole in the carpet for the plant to grow and you have no grass and the moisture will stay for a long time
vocal supporter for Seeds and Such Seed Co

Online Rabbitproof

  • Dirt Dabber
  • ***
  • Posts: 2532
  • Foothills of the Smokey Mtns-heaven on earth
    • View Profile
Re: Redoing the whole garden next year...
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2019, 06:58:53 PM »
Most everyone here with this awful clay soil just dumps loads of manure, compost of some type, leaves,etc. on their garden every yr....some til, some do not. Tilling a lot just seems to dry out the soil...and as you said kill your worms. Most with larger gardens use the black plastic for weed control....smaller gardens like mine some use unprinted paper first and straw on top as I do. Load it up for fertility, cover with something(black plastic,etc.) to battle the drying winds and weed seeds. Saves a ton on watering for sure. Good luck....don't give up the ship!!. Sounds like you are going to get it all figured out.