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How to cut a vegetable bed

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posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 08:12 AM
What happens in a pandemic is food becomes of prime importance alongside mitigating the medical side.

How do we know this ?

All pandemic emergency plans include this aspect.
Various countries are in various states of array regarding food. You can a take a precedent on national food policies as being that of masks.
It doesn't matter who has ordered the goods , the shipment will not be leaving the country because "we need that " .
It's hardly a coordinated effort , let's say. That said the existing markets were set for competition , the opposite of cooperating.
You've got to work with circumstances and it shouldn't need reiterating . Every household must have a good policy of its own , best case scenario.
Before anyone's mind moves on to thoughts of looting or home invading looking for sustainance , think again . If gets that far you're asking for an infection for a start . And if you come round here you're going to find out what you didn't want to , soon as.

Anyway , think ahead . Assume that exports from overseas are not going to be arriving , and assume that shop are going to ration supplies as it was in wartime , when ships still arrived , just not all of them .
Assume ports will be ' underused ' let's say for the next 3 years. That commercial fishing vessel from Japan is not sailing a month long tuna run this week , they don't know which crew might be infected , etc etc etc , the world over.

So , cut a vegetable bed . And if you live in a flat , start ringing your local council offering them help with emergency food planning , at the park , for instance. Maybe consider volunteering to pick food as they ask for people to sign up. At least you'll be near something edible , if you did that . They're paying you too , double what the EU migrant workers were being paid in the UK.

Yes it is that important.

Take an average sub/urban garden , what are looking at ? Grass , and under that is soil.
There is the means for life .
How do you turn that , into something productive ?
First of all don't worry too much about light, but don't expect much from densely shaded spots . Observe the adequate sites for vegetable prospects.
Sacrifice the lawn .

Now, turning that in to usable ground involves cutting , not digging so much , it's later on you'll need a fork.

You've got two options . They involve re/moving that turf and exposing usable soil.
Option 1 is cut the turf off . Cut small squares into it , down to below the roots . Cut the squares first , across the whole bed you are creating , working along lines with a spade shovel or turf cutter.
Once your squares are cut , start removing the turf by cutting the squares underneath , using a shovel spade or turf cutter . The smaller the squares , the easier this is. Line the spade up and kick it to force it through , use your knee behind the handle or get down low and keep cutting , leaving most of the soil underneath. As the squares come off, stack them to one side, neatly , or you can use these squares again later if the soil is poor . Build up a small wall of them to provide some shelter if not something to sit on. Stack them upside down .

Option 2 , involves manageable sized squares again.

What you're going to do is like what a plow does , it turns everything upside down including what's on the surface. This is a good method .

First of all you must dig a trench . This trench should be the length of your intended veg plot, on one side.
To do this , cut down deeply with a spade , get the spade down most of the way in. Smash down on roots you encounter to cut them either repeatedly by hand or with a judicious kick , or get some loppers in if they're thick.
Loosen pushing back and forth on the spade to get a deep line cut.
Now, do this again about a spades width away from the first, cut the ends as well to join up. Then , heave everything out to at least half a spade depth , piling along the trench line to the _ outside of the bed.

Now you've done that ( hard work wasn't it ) this is the good part.
Cut another line up the same way you did the first two. One spade with away . This time cut neat squares between the new line and your trench. Remove one or two squares at one end , physically take them out , to give you space to work the good bit.
Let the turf hold the soil together , and extract each square by hand . Use gloves.
Now , physically manhandle your third square along into your trench , literally turn it over on itself , moving it the small distance into your trench from one end. Working on your hands and knees do this one square after the other , making sure the turf is upside down , until you've filled the original trench and you're leaving a new trench , arent you.
Guess what you do next ? Cut another line , square it , turn the squares into the trench. You'll soon get the idea , and you needed that trench dug to start with didn't you. That's how you plough by hand .

After completing option 2 , you can lightly hoe a tilth into the surface to put seeds in . Don't dig it a bring the turf up you don't need to . Make sure it's all tight enough together , you don't want too much loose soil. Water well and you're good to put seed in. If you're doing potatoes use the original trench line and then you have that spare line of soil to cover any that you see growing near the surface , stops going green and poisonous in the sunlight .

If you've gone for option 1 , you've more work to do.
That bare soil is too tight to plant in . Cut down near a spade depth , again in squares . If you find lots of hard stones maybe use a fork or a pickaxe.
Pick out roots , litter , rubble , throw it away or dry the cut up roots to burn.
If there's a large tree or bushes nearby , go the extra mile and cut down deeper , severing everything off rootwise.
You might find just cutting squares down is loosened enough, if you're going for large this is when decisions count on what's adequate. Cut horizontally now with a hoe. Consecutive lines again , work neatly.

With both methods Get things loosened but finish off getting the surface level , and crucially , firm .
Not too firm , don't go stamping on it , but foot firm , that's a requirement . Too many people assume looser is better : it's not . Roots go through concrete , eventually , plants take support from them and they need it originally both firm and moist enough. Too loose loses water too fast as well.

When you put seeds in ( foot firm after too remember), use lines like farmers do , and then you can hoe weeds off easily when your plants grow up, you can access your crops and you can see exactly where they are when they're young.

Get it right. Try and get the depth right according to the packet. To make a furrow for seeds you need something long . The best way is lay is lay down a plank you can walk on, and draw the edge of a hoe , or a small weeding knife , or a pointing trowel , up along one edge of the plank. Adjust the depth as necessary and work of the plank. That stops compaction happening as you keep shifting around to get seeds in. Don't be surprised this is hard work too , but time and care at this point is necessary.

Lastly , water in. If there's no hose you'll have to either carry or wait for rain. Don't be alarmed it comes eventually . These days , well , yes a well is handy . Spray over the the top of the soil to start seeds away , without disturbing the position of the seeds. If it's very dry , leave a hose running/limi

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 08:21 AM
a reply to: DoctorBluechip

Great thread!

Kind of sad that you actually have to tell people how to prepare the dirt to grow plants all the same.

Great idea and will keep people busy, I've got corn, peppers, chili, plus a few other things just about ready to be transferred outside to the garden.

edit on 11-4-2020 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 08:54 AM
a reply to: andy06shake
Thanks , I thought I'd try and be useful . It's not common knowledge how to efficiently turn some lawn into useful ground anymore , but I've had plenty of practise .
Good for you being on the case . If those ships stop coming it's good to know there's plenty more space for home food projects . It's hard to get chickens at the moment but the good thing is they easily breed and quickly

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 08:59 AM
Not quite as organic as the usual, but I have always liked those vertical gardens such as this one, just some pipes and nutrient rich water.

You could probably grow a LOT of food in quite a small space this way.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:03 AM
a reply to: DoctorBluechip

I would go with option 2. Like that you use all the organic matter in your garden, which ultimately is fertiliser. Just make shure you dig deep enough and that the grass is cut before you start digging. When you turn the squares upside down and cover them make sure no grass is coming out on top. This way you will have less of the undesired grass regrowing.

Also if you are concerned about food. Grow potatoes. Lots of them. It's a very thankful crop.

Also corn and beans go very well together. Plant first the corn when it reaches about 30cm hight plant the beans. The beans will use the corn to climb and at the same time fertilise the soil with nitrogen, corn loves nitrogen.

Corn polinates trough wind so make sure to plant them in rows, at least 3 for maximum harvest.

If you go from baren grassland it will take 3 years to give any decent harvest. Fertiliser will give you a good harvest from the get go...

Buy the book called a complete guide to self-sufficiency from john Seymour, it is a beautifully drawn book with very down to earth advice.

Sincerely NC

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:04 AM
a reply to: DoctorBluechip

I suppose it's not any longer.

A different story just a few generations back all the same down to the last world war, rationing and the like.

Chickens would be a bit of a stretch for me all the same, not that i would not entertain the prospect of keeping the animals, but i dont think my landlord nor neighbors would be too chuffed.

I will just be happy if the Corn takes and manage a few Chilli peppers, considering i reside in Glasgow.

If we get a summer like the last one all the same, ile be cooking with gas.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:05 AM
a reply to: andy06shake

Hehe I remeber that garden. Quite some improvement since last year.

what about all the lawn?


posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:12 AM
a reply to: NoConspiracy

Funny story there, i was out and about and my Mrs decided to do the job, managed to top a lawnmower (bent blade/broke strut) and 2 strimmers trying to get through some of the crabgrass at the top of the garden.

Could not make it up. LoL

So a trip to BnQ is in order methinks for new strimmer and lawnmower blade after the lockdown is over.

edit on 11-4-2020 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:14 AM
a reply to: andy06shake

Dig it, and plant potatoes


posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:19 AM
a reply to: NoConspiracy

Thinking about expanding it myself, none of us are really big potato fans all the same, that's why im hoping the corn takes.

Need to keep space for the washing line all the same or I'm apt to be hanging from it.

Got some Tomatoes on the go as well but probably going to keep them inside.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:27 AM

originally posted by: andy06shake
a reply to: NoConspiracy

Thinking about expanding it myself, none of us are really big potato fans all the same, that's why im hoping the corn takes.

Need to keep space for the washing line all the same or I'm apt to be hanging from it.

Got some Tomatoes on the go as well but probably going to keep them inside.

Just an FYI. Corn does not transplant well - it will stunt it for a while after the move. It is always best to direct seed -- same with beans. Tomatoes, squash, peppers and melons are great for early-indoor planting and handle the move well. Broccoli and cauliflower as well. Any of the root veggies like carrots, beets, radishes should be direct seed.

Also, corn is a gravity/wind pollinator. If you plant, you have to plant in bulk. A single row will have very poor pollination. As an example, if you wanted about 15 - 20 plants, you would want to do 4 x 4, 4 x 5, 3 x 5, 3 x 8 or something like that rather than a couple of rows. If you only had a small area, 3 x 3 might do ok.

Another good thing for small areas is to run a panel of hog fence (large guage wire fence) vertically through the middle of the bed so any vines like cucumbers and melons can them climb. You just need a piece of cloth like a bandana to sling up the melons.
edit on 11-4-2020 by Halfswede because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:30 AM
a reply to: andy06shake

I learned to hate tomatoes they are a very delicate crop. Especially in regions with high humidity.
Corn is ok and fills the belly but from all the crop i grew potatoes always worked with minimal effort.

French fries are made of potatoes never known no one who doesn't like fries....


posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:33 AM
a reply to: Halfswede

3x3 is what i will be aiming for this season, and see how it goes.

Hopefully, the other plants and flowers i also plant will help with pollination and pest control.

Hows Corn with Slugs?

The reason i ask is it was a deadly battle with the little blighters last year, regarding quite a few plants i had on the go.

Had pellets and crushed eggshells down all over the place with mixed results.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:34 AM
a reply to: NoConspiracy

I've never been a big chip person.

Strange considering where i hail from. LoL

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:36 AM
a reply to: andy06shake

Corn should be ok with slugs once it gets past the few-inches stage. 'Slug-line' works well to keep them under control and out of the area to some degree.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:38 AM
a reply to: Halfswede


posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 09:43 AM
FYI if you have a new house in a new development check to see what was there before. Some areas are old toxic factory lands and you might not to grow stuff there.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 11:31 AM

I'm using a similar method.
First mow down the lawn patch as short as possible.
Use a spade to cut squares min. 20x20cm and 10cm deep. turn the squares on itself so the roots part is facing up.
Do this for the whole patch.
Next, you can choose, let it sit like this and let any roots dry out in the sun before proceeding to the next step, or skip this and start the next step which is covering the whole patch in cardboard, newspaper or similar.
On top of this you add the grass clippings from the first step and/or if you have compost use that between the layers.
These layers will cover and kill most of the weeds and grass that try to get out and provide a good fertilizer especially if you prepare this in the Fall so all the nutrients get soaked into the soil during winter.
When Spring comes most of the cardboard and grass clippings are gone and you'll have a rich soil to start planting.

I'll see if I can find some pics form a patch I prepared a few years back.

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 12:35 PM
You mean I can't just dig a hole, put a seed in it, water it and have food?

posted on Apr, 11 2020 @ 02:17 PM
a reply to: HalWesten

You can if you like individual lettuce.

Point being though if you cultivate, oxygenate, and enrich the soil, you can then plant multiple seeds thus reap a greater bounty.

It's actually fun watching the things that you plant grow and change, plus it's nice to get your hands dirty.

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