The information contained in these web pages has not been
verified for correctness. Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not
be correct. Use the information from these pages only at your own risk!
Regardless of the soil in your garden, it can be improved by adding organic matter.
This is one of the keys to successful vegetable gardening.
If your soil is heavy clay, the addition of organic matter improves both drainage and
aeration and also allows better root development. Liberal amounts of organic matter help
sandy soil hold water and nutrients.
Where do you get organic matter? This magical stuff which improves soil and serves as a
food source for soil fungi and bacteria comes in the form of peat moss, compost, hay,
grass clippings, barnyard fertilizer, shredded bark, leaves or even shredded newspapers.
When adding organic matter to soil, supply enough to physically change the soil
structure. Ideally, at least one-third of the final soil mix should be some type of
organic material. To accomplish this, spread a 2- to 4- inch layer of organic material
over the garden surface and till it to a depth of at least 6 to 10 inches. Apply the
recommended rate of fertilizer over the garden surface at the same time, and till it in
along with the organic material.
Some gardeners prefer a shovel or spading fork to the rototiller for working garden
soil, but many look for an easier way to handle this chore. For gardeners with rototillers
or those who are considering renting or buying one, here are some tips to make the tilling
job much easier.
- Tilling the garden will be easier if you leave an untilled row between passes. Wide
turns are easier to make with a tiller than "about faces." Also, the machine
won't pull itself and you toward the next row, which it tends to do if you come close to
- When tilling heavy clay soils or breaking ground for a new garden, reduce the tiller's
engine speed so that it turns the soil more thoroughly with less bucking and bouncing.
- When tilling ground for the first time, don't try to work it to the maximum depth in the
first pass. The first time around, set the brake stake to half the desired depth. Then set
it for full depth and go over the ground a second time.
- Till only when the soil is slightly dry and friable. Tilling when it's too wet leaves
large clods which become rock-hard when dry. Mud clumps clinging to tiller blades upset
its balance, causing undue wear on you and the tiller.
||If you are interested in any of the titles below, click on the title
and it will take you to Amazon.com for ordering. Click on the icon at the left for more
Seed Starter : A Guide to Growing Flower, Vegetable, and Herb Seeds Indoors and
Outdoors - by Maureen Heffernan - Publication Date: January 1, 1997 - List: $19.95 A
complete, easy-to-use gardening manual covering the basics of starting plants from seed.
Discusses indoor and outdoor cultivation, how to purchase seed, seed viability, gardening
equipment, planting charts and light requirements, planting dates, and other valuable
Processing and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Plants - by Cheryl Young, James A. Young
- Publication Date: October 1, 1986 - List: $24.95
Seeds : Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation - by Gary Paul Nabhan
- Publication Date: April 1, 1991 - List: $14.00
- From Seed
to Plant - by Gail Gibbons - Publication Date: March 1, 1991 - List: $15.95 Explores
the intricate relationship between seeds and the plants which they produce.
Gardening : A Kid's Guide to Messing Around in the Dirt/With Seeds - by Kevin Raftery,
Kim Gilbert Raftery, Jim M'Guinness - Publication Date: May 1, 1989 - List: $13.95
Now young readers will know from whence those carrots came. This full-color
extravaganza contains nearly a hundred pages of wipe-clean cardstock, hundreds of
illustrations, dozens of growing activities, plus 15 varieties of vegetable, flower, and
of Seed Science and Technology - by Larry O. Copeland, Miller B. McDonald, Lawrence O.
Copeland - Publication Date: March 1, 1995 - List: $74.95
Seeds : The Gardener's Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds - by
Marc Rogers, Polly Alexander (Illustrator) - Publication Date: March 1991 - List: $12.95
- Seed to
Seed - by Suzanne Ashworth - Publication Date: January 1, 1995 - List: $20.00
: The Definitive Guide to Growing, History, and Lore - by H. Peter Loewer, Peter Loewer -
Publication Date: April 1, 1996 - List: $25.00
Loewer examines the vast and often surprisingly complex world of seeds in an
unparalleled thoroughness. In addition to the how-to of growing all kinds of plants and
vegetables from seed, the book also considers the role of seeds in history, literature,
and business. 100 line drawings.
- Seeds and
Propagation (Smith & Hawken--The Hands-On Gardener) - by Susan McClure, Jim
Anderson (Illustrator) - Publication Date: June 1, 1997 - List: $10.95
- The New
Seed Starter's Handbook - by Nancy Bubel - Publication Date: April 1, 1988 - List:
- Gardening In Deer Country - by Vincent
Drzewucki - Publication Date: January, 1998 - List: $9.95
- 200 Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Northeast - by
Miranda Smith - Publication Date: February 1996 - List: $7.95
- 200 Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Pacific Northwest -
by Maggie Stuckey - Publication Date: February 1996 - List: $7.95
- Building Your
Own Greenhouse (Greenhouse Basics) - by Mark
Freeman, Heather Bellanca (Illustrator) - Publication Date: April 1997 - List: $18.95
- Burpee : The
Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener : A Guide to Growing Your Garden
Organically - by Karan Davis Cutler, Cavagnarok David
(Photographer), Barbara W. Ellis - Publication Date: November 1997 - List: $29.95
A companion to Burpee Complete Gardener, this book focuses on all aspects of growing
organic vegetables and edible herbs in the home garden. Planting techniques and tools,
garden design, and more than 90 individual plant portraits are included. 300 full-color
Gardens : From Garden to Palate - by Susan McClure
- Publication Date: September 1997 - List: $37.95
Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management - by Maurice Grenville
Kains, Maurice G. Kain - Publication Date: March 1978 - List: $7.95
Harvest : How to Harvest Fresh Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long
- by Eliot Coleman, Kathy Bary (Illustrator) - Publication Date: October
1992 - List: $19.95
Booknews, Inc. , 01/01/93:
Everyone who grows vegetables must know Coleman. He's the organic methods expert--the one
who knows how to maximize both garden yield and gardening pleasure, year round. Annotation
copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Under Cover : A Northwest Guide to Solar Greenhouses, Cold Frames, and Cloches
- by William Head - Publication Date: November 1989 - List: $10.95
This is a complete guide to gardening with protective shelters that encourages both
beginning and experienced gardeners to add months of gardening pleasure at small expense.
With a little under-cover gardening know-how, Pacific Northwest gardeners can take
advantage of our mild climate to produce flowers, herbs, and vegetables throughout the
- Grow It :
The Beginner's Complete In-Harmony-With-Nature Small Farm Guide-From Vegetable and Grain
Growing to Livestock Care - by Richard W. Langer, Susan
McNeill (Illustrator) - Publication Date: January 1994 - List: $12.00
An indispensable guide to small-scale organic farming that features advice on everything
from building and stocking a pond to planting an orchard or making cheese. This extremely
practical and easy-to-use guide, first published in 1972, is for full-time or part-time
- Growing Great
Garlic : The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers -
by Ron L. Engeland - Publication Date: July 1995 - List: $14.95
Vegetable Gardening : A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Growing, Seed Saving, and
Cultural History - by William Woys Weaver - Publication
Date: June 1997 - List: $45.00
Weaver focuses on 280 varieties of 37 vegetables in this encyclopedic guide to the history
and cultivation of some of America's most treasured heirloom vegetables. 100+ color
photos. 240 line drawings.
- A Dyer's
Garden : From Plant to Pot Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers - by
Rita Buchanan - Publication Date: August 1995 - List: $9.95
- A Produce
Reference Guide to Fruits and Vegetables from Around the World : Nature's Harvest
- by Donald D. Heaton - Publication Date: April 1997 - List: $29.95
- Growing Plants
from Seed : A Comprehensive Beginners Handbook for Vegetables, Flowers, Herbs and More
- by George Abraham, Katy Abraham, Doc Abraham - Publication Date: January
1992 - List: $13.95
A guide for first-time seed growers addresses soil mixtures, lighting, types of seed,
seed-starting kits, and more to help any gardener experience the rewarding feeling of
growing flowers and vegetables from seed. Original.
- Peppers : The Domesticated Capsicums - by
Jean Andrews - Publication Date: October 1995 - List: $65.00
Booknews, Inc. , 04/01/96:
An updated edition (first, 1984) of an elegantly produced, scholarly reference on
peppers--their history and dispersion, biology, taxonomy, cultivation, and medicinal,
economic, and gastronomic uses. Illustrated with the author's botanically accurate,
aesthetically pleasing paintings that show the blossoms, buds, young peppers, and mature
specimens of 34 cultivars. A review of the literature, a photo glossary, and an extensive
bibliography add to the volume's reference value. 9x12" Annotation c. by Book News,
Inc., Portland, Or.
- Peppers of the
World : An Identification Guide - by Dave Dewitt,
Paul W. Bosland - Publication Date: January 1997 - List: $19.95
Propagation : Principles and Practices - by Hudson
Thomas Hartmann (Editor), Dale E. Kester, Fred T., Jr. Davies - Publication Date: January
1997 - List: $86.00
The publisher, Prentice-Hall Career & Technology :
Hallmarked as the most successful text of its kind, this remarkably thorough text covers
all aspects of the propagation of plants - both sexual and asexual - with considerable
attention given to human (vs natural) efforts to increase plant numbers.
Gardening : Cultivating an Edible Landscape - by
Robert A. De J. Hart - Publication Date: September 1996 - List: $17.95
- Handbook of Organic Food Processing and Production -
by Simon Wright (Editor) - Publication Date: October 1994 - List: $119.00
- Introduction to Permaculture - by Bill
Mollison, Reny Mia Slay - Publication Date: November 1997 - List: $16.95
- Profitable Organic Farming - by Jon Newton - Publication
Date: June 1995 - List: $36.95
- The New
Organic Grower : A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market
Gardener - by Eliot Coleman, Sheri Amsel (Illustrator), Molly Cook Field
(Illustrator) - Publication Date: October 1995 - List: $24.95
Booknews, Inc. , 05/01/96:
This expansion of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended for the
serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes practical and sustainable ways
of growing superb organic vegetables, with detailed coverage of scale and capital,
marketing, livestock, the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.
Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
- The Art of the Kitchen Garden - by Jan Gertley,
Michael Gertley - Publication Date: January 1999 - List
This page was last updated on November 16, 2002