What to do with raised beds in the winter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-02-2010, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know that cover crops are a good idea to keep weeds out and nourish the soil, but are those removed or tilled under when you get ready to plant? I have it in my head that they're tilled under (which may be completely wrong ), which means that it wouldn't really work in a raised bed.

What else can I do to keep the weeds (and squirrels) out of my beds for the next few months?

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#2 of 9 Old 11-02-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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I pile leaves on my beds for the winter. In the spring, I rake off or shovel in the leaves (depending on how many there are) when I am ready to plant.
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#3 of 9 Old 11-02-2010, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

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#4 of 9 Old 11-08-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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to replace nitrogen you can throw handfuls of dried beans in. they'll have weird growth and be unlikely to produce but it's sort of fun seeing what neglected plants in the off season do.

or, if it's warm enough try growing carrots and parsnips. they are dreadfully slow but if you aren't using the space right now that could work.

kohlrabi loves cold, too.
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#5 of 9 Old 11-08-2010, 04:31 AM
 
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oh yes, about tilling the cover crop...i've never tilled anything. i just sort of chop stuff up with pruners and push them to the bottom. then pile all the fluffy dirt on top. this is against the official rules but by the time your seeds get roots all the way there everything should be worked out anyway.

if there seems to be too much green i throw some in the compost bin.
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#6 of 9 Old 11-08-2010, 04:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by carrotsprout View Post
oh yes, about tilling the cover crop...i've never tilled anything. i just sort of chop stuff up with pruners and push them to the bottom. then pile all the fluffy dirt on top. this is against the official rules but by the time your seeds get roots all the way there everything should be worked out anyway.

if there seems to be too much green i throw some in the compost bin.
That's great to know- thanks! Maybe next year I'll try a cover crop.

I did actually have carrots in one bed.... but DD's been pulling them all out "for the bunnies." (We have wild rabbits in our neighborhood... I guess she wants to leave them some food. She usually ends up eating them herself though.)

I went out to dig through my leaf pile from last year that I had buried a bunch of food scraps in, and lo and behold I have some awesome compost in addition to the partially rotted leaves!! I had enough to put it a few inches thick on all my beds, so hopefully that will keep the weeds out, and I will have fantastic soil to plant in next spring!!

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#7 of 9 Old 11-08-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Check out no-till gardening. Cover crops and other layers of stuff just continually piled on, no tilling in. Sounds awesome.
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#8 of 9 Old 11-09-2010, 04:16 AM
 
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T
I went out to dig through my leaf pile from last year that I had buried a bunch of food scraps in, and lo and behold I have some awesome compost in addition to the partially rotted leaves!! I had enough to put it a few inches thick on all my beds, so hopefully that will keep the weeds out, and I will have fantastic soil to plant in next spring!!
weeds compost, too ya know . i just dig a decent size hole and throw weeds on the bottom, then go shred junk mail, then clean out the fridge, prune the lemon tree, empty the dyson, more junkmail, and pile some dirt on top at the end.

however, i have really really poor soil so tricks like this are required.

anyway, don't you just love the disappearing food scraps, magically appearing compost routine? i live in arizona with over 115 summer days for several weeks. composting is really fun when it's that hot. you can bury food scraps under a couple of inches of dirt and if you check after a few days it's almost gone. after a week, you've definitely got compost.
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#9 of 9 Old 11-10-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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I cut/ mow my cover crops down (waiting to mow until the plant flowers, but hasn't set seed will keep the cover crop from coming back and becoming a pest in your garden) and either pile them in the compost, plant directly into the "mulch" I just created by laying them down in the bed, or cover with something (like oats here in VA) that will get some good growth on it and then winterkill.  The dead oats create a natural mulch that can also be directly planted or seeded into.


~Amy~ Wife to my best friend Brandon. Mama to my sweet girl Eden (11/6/06) and my little man Theo (6/25/09)
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