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Vegetable No-Till Garden


Pine straw and newspaper are used to control weeds in this no-till garden. The garden rests over winter, covered with newspaper and pine straw until planting. The newspaper decomposes over the winter. In the spring the pine straw is pushed away along the berms to reveal soil ready for plants and seeds. Between the rows, the pine straw is raked back to allow for the placement of new newspapers for the growing season. Several sheets of paper are overlapped and then covered with the pine straw. Wetting the paper helps to keep it in place. The newspaper and pine straw help to control weeds and they regulate temperature and moisture in the garden. The mulch also makes a nice walking surface between the vegetable rows.

The garden was developed fifteen years ago on family farmland. For a number of years, the soil was enriched with compost and tilled. Three years ago the no-till method was tried with good results. The no-till technique really made a difference in the quality of the beds, increased production, and many happy earthworms have found a new home. 

 Some plants, like tomatoes, are started indoors in a sunroom for earlier fruiting. The planting time is staggered for a long season of harvest.

The red “troughs” around the tomatoes allow for deep watering. Once large enough, the tomatoes are tied to the stakes with old pantyhose strips that hold the plants without cutting into the stems.

This Cleveland Country garden, in an open sunny location, promises to be very productive.

Three large Vitex bushes at the end of the garden attract bees, this helps to increase pollination in the vegetable garden.

Early summer update. Some of the early summer crops, like peas, radishes, lettuce, and blueberries, are being harvested at the beginning of June. The cilantro has gone to seed. It will reseed in other areas.

Late June sees crops like cucumbers, squash, green tomatoes, peppers, and blueberries.

In late July, the tomatoes have produced more than 10 bushels with much more on the vines.  Boron applied at planting has brought the rate of blossom end rot in the tomatoes to zero. The Jerusalem artichokes are at least 10 feet high, and the okra must be picked every day.