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After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Toplef10After harvest, leave the roots in or remove 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.

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After harvest, leave the roots in or remove

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Post  Simso 12/22/2021, 7:45 pm

Folks,

First harvest coming out of my sfg, just some lettuces destined for the christmas salad bowl, 

Mels book saids to leave the roots in and just cut the plant of at the base, is this what others are doing.

Then comes the re nutrion of that square, local place only sells specific manure, eg cow manure, chook manure or pig manure, should i make a mix of all three?

Steve
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Post  sanderson 12/22/2021, 9:39 pm

No, you don't mix the manures. All manures count as one source. What varieties of compost did you use to start the Mel's Mix? Or would you rather not say. Razz Mushroom, veggie-based, green waste are some varieties of compost. Go ahead and pick a manure for amending at this time, only, and get started looking for other varieties. Screen the manure if it has wood chips, rocks, bottle caps, etc. Or, start your own compost pile.

Everyone has a different take on cleaning out the beds. Some folks cut off the plant below the surface and leave quite a lot of roots to break down. For me, depending on the plant, I remove the main root or running/anchoring roots, and leave the smaller ones to break down. When adding more compost, I roughly turn it with a hand spade, and that also determines which roots get to stay and which get removed. If you are re-planting a square, the old roots can't interfere with the new planting, so use that as a guide, also.

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Post  Simso 12/23/2021, 1:21 am

Thanks, very good suggestions and they make a lot of sense

I have a tumbler, been using it for many years now. Its a 44 gallon drum size

My original mix was cocopeat, some biochar, vermiculite and best compost that the local nursery had as I needed a fair bit to start initial setup.

Now I am up to the stage of replenishment of nutrients and hence question, I can do a manure blend or just one source, either way I have to buy it.

To clarify, I only need to top up the manure of my square, nothing else, not add more compost etc, i have the book and he only mentions manure top up.

When i do my compost, I typically do it monthly when we mow our lawns, so I do 2 parts lawn clippings, 1 part tree branches and prunings through the mulcher and 1 part chook house bedding (poo and sawdust)

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Post  OhioGardener 12/23/2021, 7:51 am

Simso wrote:Mels book saids to leave the roots in and just cut the plant of at the base, is this what others are doing.

This depends a lot on the weather where the person is.  For example, here in Ohio we have a long winter when the beds are put to rest until the next spring, so the roots of plants have a long season to decompose. I never pull plant roots out unless the plant is diseased. I cut the plant off at soil level and leave the roots to decompose and feed the microbial life throughout the winter. 

But, someone living in a sub-tropical region where plants can be grown year-round, it is probably not practical to leave the roots in the soil where new seeds or plants will be placed.

As in all things gardening, "It depends...."

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Post  Simso 12/23/2021, 8:24 am

Awesome..Yes we can grow crops of some form or another all year round, there are some species of carrots, lettuce, cabbages etc that grown in our winters, Perth is pretty much on the edge of a desert

Just had a read of mels book again, I mis interpreted, i thought he said we add a trowel of manure into the garden square on rotation, had a read again, its a trowel of compost
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Post  sanderson 12/23/2021, 5:46 pm

Simso wrote:Awesome..Yes we can grow crops of some form or another all year round, there are some species of carrots, lettuce, cabbages etc that grown in our winters, Perth is pretty much on the edge of a desert
Same here in California.  Half of my beds never rest.  sawing logs  

Just had a read of mels book again, I mis interpreted, i thought he said we add a trowel of manure into the garden square on rotation, had a read again, its a trowel of compost
Having a copy of the book is important.  Yes, add a trowel of compost for replanting.  Remember, composted manure is one just one type of compost.  Try to keep the manure compost to 20-25% of the total blended compost.

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Post  Simso 12/25/2021, 5:15 am

43.4 deg c today, 44 tommorow, crazy hot start to our summer
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Post  sanderson 12/25/2021, 3:21 pm

When it gets up to 110*F (43-44*C) summer is officially here!

The only way my plants survived was over head shade cloth from June to September (December-March for you). After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Shade_24
After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Shade_25After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Sun_sh21

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Post  Simso 12/25/2021, 10:32 pm

What percentage of shade is the shade cloth rated too, does it affect your vegies growing?, in a way i guess it is what it is, otherwise they bolt and go to seed
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Post  sanderson 12/26/2021, 3:30 pm

The sun shade is 75%, which would seem like a lot of shade.  I live in a unique agriculture valley in California that has a Mediterranean climate that contributes it to being the most productive area of the U. S. with the most varied human and animal food crops. My latitude is N37*.

My plants do get a little leggy but not enough to make a significant difference as they are either staked, caged or overhead supported.  The benefits are higher production and less fruit loss, survival during the intense heat waves for an extra early fall bounty, less radiant and reflective heat.  Not to mention it makes it tolerable for me to run out and harvest or provide extra water.  It doesn't help with ambient heat but nothing would.  The air among the plants is 2-3*F cooler than ambient air because of the close planting, shading and self cooling.  I hope this helps.

August 2021, 2'x7' table top bed bed with 14 bell (Cool and hot peppers (6).
After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Pepper18


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Post  Simso 1/4/2022, 3:10 am

I used 30 percent shade cloth, and it appears to have been enough to stop the burning of the leaves, they still wilt on a 39c plus hot day, but since I am limited to 6hrs of sun I really do not want to block them much more than that, fingers crossed

The one thing I have taken from the sfg setup is the incredible depth of colour in the foliage, its a deep deep green
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Post  OhioGardener 1/4/2022, 7:34 am

Simso wrote:The one thing I have taken from the sfg setup is the incredible depth of colour in the foliage, its a deep deep green

Isn't that nice? Just one of the nice things about Mel's Mix.  Another benefit is the rich taste of the vegetables.

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Post  OhioGardener 3/21/2023, 1:55 pm

Time to revive an old discussion on whether to leave plant roots in the soil after harvest, or pull them out.  I always cut the plants off at soil level and leave the roots in the ground to decompose unless the plant was diseased. This discussion has often turned to how this can be done in some weather zones, but not others.  Here in Ohio where we get freezing weather much of the winter which greatly aids in the breakdown of the plant roots.

Below are pictures on what happened to a bell pepper stem & roots over the winter months.  Last October I cut off the plants at soil level, applied a layer of coffee grounds and compost, and then covered it with about 6" of wheat straw for the winter. Yesterday I removed the straw to allow the soil to start warming. The pepper stems were still visible, but well broken down.  I pulled them out then dug a small hole and buried them where they had originally grown.  The worms and microbes will soon finish digesting the stem.

The arrow points to the remaining stem of a bell pepper after 4 months of winter decomposing, before I pulled it out of the soil. Notice that the stem is hollow. After harvest, leave the roots in or remove Stem_i10

The arrow points to what was left of the roots of the bell pepper plant after it was left in the soil to decompose over the winterAfter harvest, leave the roots in or remove Root_a10

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Post  sanderson 3/21/2023, 9:06 pm

In California, if I cut tomato and peppers off, the big roots are still there come spring planting. Because I have some beds in winter crops, I have to remove the big roots in order to turn in more compost. I do leave in pea and bean roots, making sure they are turned into the MM with their nitrogen nodules.

Each region is different.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 3/21/2023, 10:13 pm

I leave them.  I let them decompose, and try to clean off as well as I can in Spring to preserve all the volume.

Hard time coming to this!  However I can’t afford the MM losses….

Time to add in nutrients.  I don’t do this in Fall/Winter, just because I don’t want to have it leach away.  Time is now!
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Post  Mikesgardn 3/22/2023, 7:53 pm

I've always pulled them out in the fall, and now I'm wondering why I've always done that.  It makes sense to leave them in until Spring, and then pull out whatever remains at that time.  I think I'll try that this year.
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