Lacey's Garden

Lacey is Charley’s daughet and she lives in Claremore, OK.  She will be a guest blogger and sharing with us her how-to’s, tips, problems and solutions about growing a garden full of tasty Charley’s Vegetables.

Here is her first installment:

This past summer I learned of a technique called No-Till Gardening.  It is pretty self explanatory.  It is a method that utilizes the soils own ability to renew itself (think the forest floor).  If given the right materials and time, the flora and fauna in the soil will till it for you.  I needed a way to work the soil in my raised beds that was user friendly.  So I began searching the web.  I ran across this method and had a eureka moment.  The method uses mulch, mulch, and more mulch.  Any and every kind of mulch.  I had some old corn husk hay bales that were decomposing into a lovely black soil, so I broke those apart and spread over both raised beds.  I tried to find every worm that was in them and keep them in the mulch.  This provided many useful things to my raised beds.  Before, the crust of the soil was very hard and dried out quickly; almost immediately after applying the mulch, the soil began to loosen and retained more moisture due to the mulch covering.  I also added table scraps and grass clippings over the course of the summer.  This treatment also ended the takeover attempt by Bermuda grass.  It did not completely control it, but made it much easier to pull up.  And it did lessen the amount of Bermuda that showed up.

Several problems I have since learned about … the first, when things decompose it locks up most of the nitrogen in the soil.  Adding green grass clippings and table scraps caused some nitrogen deficiency problems.  This can be rectified by putting the grass in a compost bin for a few weeks with the table scraps then applying it.  One of the other problems will be this spring when I want to sow seeds directly into the garden.  I will have to brush aside the mulch covering to get to the soil providing a place for the seeds as well as for weeds.  I do not know what will happen.