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Closing beds for winter Toplef10Closing beds for winter 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Closing beds for winter I22gcj10Closing beds for winter 14dhcg10

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Closing beds for winter

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OhioGardener
ezela
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Closing beds for winter Empty Closing beds for winter

Post  ezela 11/14/2021, 2:22 pm

Should I cover my 4’x4’ beds with a hard cover?
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Closing beds for winter Empty Re: Closing beds for winter

Post  OhioGardener 11/14/2021, 6:42 pm

Welcome to the forums from SW Ohio, Ezela!  I either cover my beds with straw, or plant a cover crop of Winter Rye. I never leave bare soil exposed.

Be sure to visit the Introduce Yourself and tell us a little about yourself, your gardening experience, and your gardening plans.

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Closing beds for winter Empty Re: Closing beds for winter

Post  sanderson 11/14/2021, 8:38 pm

Ezela, welcome to the Forum. Solid covers are not recommended by the SFG Foundation. After cleaning out the summer crops, amend the beds with more compost to return the height back up to where the Mel's Mix started. Then, cover with something permeable that will allow in rain water and snow melt, such as bedding straw, dead leaves (though they may contain weed seeds depending on where they were gathered), weed fabric, old sheets, curtain sheers, etc. Some people use pieces of cardboard or newspaper (although I don't know where one can find newspapers anymore).

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Post  Scorpio Rising 11/17/2021, 5:51 pm

Welcome!  I amend and I buy the small bale of straw from TSC.  It is certified noxious weed free! I don’t have a lot of square feet…
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Post  sanderson 11/18/2021, 2:30 am

Tractor Supply sells smaller bales ? That's great.

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Post  OhioGardener 9/11/2023, 6:14 pm

Cleaned one bed today, and prepared it for the winter. After cutting off all of the plants and putting them in the compost bin, applied a new layer of compost, and then covered the bed with wheat straw to protect the soil throughout the long winter months.

Two different compost bins were emptied to provide enough compost to cover the bed, which can be seen by the color differences.Closing beds for winter Compos17

After the compost was applied, it was covered with straw for the winter.Closing beds for winter Straw_10

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Closing beds for winter Empty Winter Prep

Post  sanderson 9/12/2023, 2:45 am

Good example of preparing a bed for winter.

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Closing beds for winter Empty Re: Closing beds for winter

Post  OhioGardener 9/12/2023, 9:30 am

sanderson wrote:Good example of preparing a bed for winter.

Thanks! 

In reply to a PM I received regarding the appearance of recognizable material still in the compost that could have been screened out. In this case the majority of the recognizable material is white or brown egg shells that I do not pulverize. I do not want to screen out those egg shells as they continue to add calcium to the beds as well as providing grit for the earthworms. Overall the majority of the compost would have easily gone through a quarter-inch screen. The straw covering will not only protect the soil from the winter storms and winds, but it will assist the microbial life in integrating the new compost into the soil.

Here in the northern tier states it is important to prepare the beds for winter to minimize erosion of the soil, and prevent leaching of the nutrients from the soil.

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Closing beds for winter Empty Thinking Ahead About Winter Prep

Post  tappingmom 9/17/2023, 10:30 am

My first garden using SFG was a wonderful success!  It's still producing and looks absolutely beautiful.  I'm getting ready to harvest 42 delicata squash...my motivating reason for learning to garden.  I thank the forum members and moderators for all of their sage advice.

I would like to prepare for winter properly...and have a few questions:

1.  I am using 3' tall beds.  The bottom filler and top MM has settled and I probably will need to add 4" to bring it back up.  I read that, normally, just 5-source-blended compost is added.  But since I need to add 4", should I use MM instead?  I don't want to throw off the 1/3+1/3+1/3 proportions...or maybe that doesn't matter too much?

2.  Since I live in the Pacific Northwest (very rainy), would it be better to add the MM or compost (depending on answer above) right before spring so the nutrients aren't leached away?  Or, should I add a couple inches of only 5-source-blended compost before winter to encourage microbial activity and then add the rest (MM or more compost) right before spring?

3.  What is the best "cover" on top of the MM?  I would like it to look somewhat attractive.  I live in the Columbia River Gorge and it is extremely windy here, so I don't think hay would be a good option.  Landscape fabric?  Cardboard...or would moisture-laden cardboard limit oxygen to the soil aerobes?  I'm probably over-thinking this...

Thank you for any and all answers and/or comments!
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Closing beds for winter Empty Re: Closing beds for winter

Post  OhioGardener 9/17/2023, 12:24 pm

tappingmom wrote:3.  What is the best "cover" on top of the MM?  I would like it to look somewhat attractive.  I live in the Columbia River Gorge and it is extremely windy here, so I don't think hay would be a good option.  Landscape fabric?  Cardboard...or would moisture-laden cardboard limit oxygen to the soil aerobes?  I'm probably over-thinking this...

Landscape fabric is not a good cover - it blocks weed growth, but doesn't do much else.  A good winter cover is a good mulch, such as shredded straw - I don't recommend using hay since it is usually loaded with weed seeds.  Since you are in the rainy NW, cardboard will also be a good option as it will cause the heavy rain to run off rather than leach through the soil, but it important to remove it in early spring to allow the garden to come to life before planting. The microbial life will not suffer from lack of oxygen, but they typically go somewhat dormant during the cooler winter months.  If you experience frequent high winds, you will probably need to put a netting such as chicken wire over straw to hold it in place. If you use cardboard you will need to weigh it down with rocks to keep the wind from picking it up and sending it to the neighbors.

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Post  sanderson 9/18/2023, 2:46 pm

I merged 2 similar topics. General housekeeping.

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Post  OhioGardener 9/23/2023, 7:03 pm

I closed most of another bed for the winter today. The end of the bed still has the pepper plants in it, and they will be left alone until frost kills them. The rest of the bed had Zucchini Squash in it, and I cut them off and put the plants in the compost bin. 

I picked up two big bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks yesterday, and had them available to help close this bed.  I put down a layer of Biochar on top of the soil, spread the coffee grounds on top of it, spread 2" of compost on top those, and then covered it with several inches of wheat straw. When the peppers are finished, I will cut them off at the soil level and add some more compost and wheat straw to cover that end of the bed.

I only have two beds left that are not winterized. One is growing the fall carrots and beets, and the other one still has pole beans growing on the arbor.
Closing beds for winter Raised20

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Post  plantoid 9/25/2023, 4:25 pm

Last week I cut off all the tubbed tomatoes that were set in tubs of " quality graded topsoil Dave "n

No wonder they underperformed , the root ball on the biggest of the 15 plants was smaller than my fist .

 At the bottom of the tubs was a stinking black gunge akin to the cleanings of a restaurants fat separator drain Blek .  Where should i deposit the gunce ,, at the bottom of the garden to kill any weeds coming in from up the hill ?

 Otherwise we've had quite a successful year despite the Ukrainian Refugee gal living with us,,,, thinking that UK gardening is th same as the hot weather stuff in the Ukraine .
 Tomorrow I am supposed to take delivery of 1500 kg of class one Irish peat moss ( sphagnum ) It's the first time in 15 years I've felt the need to top up the growth medium of Mel's Mix as due to the torrential rains this year  the bed levels have decayed down by 10 inches from where they were last year . 
 When that's done the beds can sleep in peace till I sow the broad beans in early November & repot all the strawberry runners  in clean fresh MM.
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Post  OhioGardener 10/13/2023, 6:09 pm

Today I blew out the water lines for the drip irrigation system. Everything is now closed for the winter.

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Post  sanderson 10/16/2023, 10:31 pm

I never thought about draining the watering system. It makes sense in regions with really cold winters.

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Post  OhioGardener 10/17/2023, 8:13 am

sanderson wrote:I never thought about draining the watering system.  It makes sense in regions with really cold winters.  

Yes, when it gets down to -10ºF, it is not a good idea to have the pipes full of water.

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