Starting a new garden

sheryl8185September 17, 2012

Okay, while we are still having nice weather, I am thinking about where my future veggie garden will be. I have a good sunny spot, handy to get to with good drainage that I think will be ideal. It is on a slight slope.

There is one issue, there are 2 large evergreen Western hemlock trees that live there now that will be coming down soon. The ground under those trees is dry and of course covered with needles so nothing grows there now.

We are having the stumps removed too, but I think with raised beds I can deal with any old roots in the ground. What I wonder about is the acidic soil and any other chemical changes that those big trees might cause that prevent even weeds from growing there. I assume it is mostly due to lack of water with the big tree there, just wondering if there is something else?

Would you recommend I rake away all the tree materials and lime the area this fall or ??

I also want to create a berry patch - blueberries, raspberries and strawberries at least in the general area of my small garden. Blue berries like acidic soil, but any other concerns with them?

I am in King county - so thought to do the basic preparations as soon as the trees are gone - before it gets wet.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I had a hemlock cut down this year and the unwanted nearly immediate coverage by giant morning glory, English ivy and trailing blackberry I have gotten over the thickly mulched space that used to be beneath it is amazing.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 5:15PM
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It is a common misconception that our large conifers make our soils acidic - they don't. Our soils are naturally acidic because of the base mineral content of the soil and the amount of rainfall we receive. The conifers just grow here because these are the conditions they prefer.

It is also a bit of myth that the fallen needles make the soil more acidic. That too is incorrect. There is some leaching from fresh needles but not enough to make a significant impact on pH and what impact there is is limited to only the soil surface. Conifer needles lose any acidity they may have with age and as they decompose.

As mentioned above, clear the area of the conifers and it will rapidly regrow with probably something you don't want. If you construct and fill the raised beds this fall, I'd plant with a cover crop for the winter. If leaving until next season, I'd make sure I mulched the area thickly and thoroughly.

Come to think, you could certainly plant the cover crop in the cleared ground as well. But it may not be as effective in keeping down the unwanted growth as would a standard mulch.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:42PM
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check out interbay mulch on the soil forum

no till is easy!

layer compost ingredients right on top of the soil inside your raised boxes if you're going to use them

let rain & worms do the loosening for you!

in spring plant right through it

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:50AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Most tree roots make the soil more acidic. If you cut the tree down, you will need to till the ares, to loosen up the soil, add more organic mater(compost, manure) . When you are done, it would be best to get a good soil test. It will tell you how acid your soil mixture(pH) is, what kinds of minerals and nutrient you need to add. It is likely that your soil will be less than ideal in terms of pH(probably more on the acid side) . Now, fall, is the best time to add lime to raise pH(reduce acidity). Normally it takes several months for the like to work into the soil. This is a perfect timing to get ready for next spring planting.

Raised Beds are valuable in the PNW, with a lot of rainy weather, espescially if your garden area is in low lying area with poor drainage. But if you have sloped area, can make terraces instead.

Good Luck !

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:32AM
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I'm going to remove bamboo that has gone bizarre. Previous owners said it was contained but as fall turned to spring and spring to summer, it's everywhere. A company hired to thin & manage said it was probably the worst they've seen. It's a mix of running & clumping w/the running just out of control. Clumping is contained w/trenches. Planted approximately 15 years ago.

So, I would like opinions of how I perceive the plan of attack. I am going to hire someone w/experience (and heavy equipment), however, even among the "professionals" there are discrepancies and I'd like opinions of what "I've" come up w/while talking w/professionals & research I've done:

1. On the west side (50' long -- running), I plan to dig down 2.5 - 3 feet and just scrape and haul away all the soil. I'll leave a 1.5 foot wide stand to act as a screen. Will install a barrier between screen and drainage ditch.

2. On the north (60 x 4 -- hedge screen) and east side (front yard & gravel area for cars), remove all the bamboo and install barrier. Recycle the gravel -- it's granite.

3. On the south side, w/rock stairs & unfriendly, non-communicative neighbor, removal and barrier; need to redo stairs.

I will haul in dirt to fill.

But what type of barrier?
40mil plastic which most use, but one person said really didn't work or metal (what kind) or pressure treated wood? concrete?

I was going to replace the rocks/gravel in the front rock garden, however, since it could take 3 years to eradicate. I'm thinking about seeding for grass instead (in the hedge row as well) as I could easily watch for regrowth and if present, will be easier to remove.

Please let me know what you think of the above. I will cross-post on the bamboo forum as well.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Saw the pix on your Bamboo Forum link, yikes.

The barrier down the street a neighbor put in ~10 years ago looked like a thick rubberized or neoprene sheeting, not plastic. Still doing its job, but must be bulging at the seams. Metal or certain wood might last another 15 years.

I would recommend the screening row to be 3 feet wide, you will get occasional gaps in a mere 1.5-foot row.

Or for such a massive job, just remove all the running bamboo and replace with better-behaved types as needed.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:49PM
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