Outdoor Vegetable Garden HELP 🚨

Hi Grow friends. I’m going to start a outdoor vegetable garden journal here.

I live in upstate New York are grow season for vegetables outside starts April 11th through October. Our last Last Frost is generally somewhere at the end of April.

The only thing to this point that I’ve done is secured a 28 ft by 10 ft garden area and fenced it in. That’s it I have nothing else.

My ex-husband was the actual gardener I did nothing in the garden. So my experience is considered greenhorn rookie Jr

My 28x10 space receives morning and afternoon sun with little to no shade whatsoever.

Getting into my ground I have a current layer of Grass about a 5 inch layer of what I would call something like construction dirt and the rest of the soil in my ground is relatively hard Clay

I will potentially be growing tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and some watermelon. I don’t want to get too heavy with all kind of stuff but that just gives you an idea what will be going in the ground.

I’m assuming the very best place to start is the beginning. Preparing the ground

What I need to know at this point is what to do to dig up this ground to soften it up as Clay is rock hard.

1.) What type of tiller do I need
(Show me a picture of what you think I should use as a tiller)

2.) How far down should I till?

3.) Do I need to use a shovel first to remove the layer of grass and dispose of it or will the tiller take care of that?

4.) Once tilled, do I mix the tilled material with soil?


Is a raised bed an option? This is what I will be using

I have 10 of this size (25 gal) that I will try out this summer. I don’t have clay, instead I have rocks from marble to cantaloupe size.


Are you burying the cloth pots? Ot are you just sitting them on the ground?

I’m not opposed to doing anything. I just want to know what the best way to do it is. I’ll buy the bags or I’ll till the ground or I’ll build whatever.

As far as I can tell it’s April 8th and I’m behind

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My intentions were to get a tiller. I was going to till the ground 12 in down just to break everything up then I was going to dig holes about 12 in deep and 12 in wide and mix clay and soil together and simply plan it in that 12 by 12 hole

But this was simply a guesstimated way of doing it. I’m sure it’s totally wrong

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I’m putting them in an old kennel that I am making into my grow area.

It measures about 6 by 12, the bags are ~22" diameter and 16" tall.
You will have to water, but you know this

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Tilling new ground you are going to kick your ass with a rototiller. I would opt the fabric pots IMO. If tilling new ground find a friend with a small tractor to break it up first, plow, disc, then harrow it flat. Been working 1 acre for 2 yrs and its just starting to get good.

But that said till away you will get one hella workout!!!


No, it is not wrong. It is hard work, if you got the back go for it.

What I would do is take a garden fork to it to break it up a bit and spread compost, manure, and gypsum before rototilling. This should help lossen it up and add some organic matter. If you have any old 2x4’s or better 2x6’s, you can build a frame to help keep weeds at bay.

In regards to the turf, yes you should remove it…or you will fight it in the garden until you are grey-haired.

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I don’t mind hard work. I have a Husqvarna lawn mower tractor that I can hook things to the back if that’s what you’re talking about.

Also I could rent a motorized push tiller if that’s going to make the job easier

Also this is the area I’m working with. I can remove that raised bed and get rid of it as well


So basically let the compost gypsum and manure sit on top then till it mixing it all together?

Now were talk’n.

For an area as small as you’re suggesting, possibly consider raised beds. They are much… much easier. No tiller, isolate soil types and conditions, easier on the back… etc.

(1) Consider having a neighbor or anyone with a tractor to come till it the first time then find a 5 to 10 hp rear tine tiller. I don’t have a recommendation as I use my tractor. (if you can find someone with a tractor, have them do it, then a month later do it again, or at least as long as you can wait. They should make several passes each time. The first time should look like it’s ready to plant, but quickly vegetation will start growing. Till it again, add fertilizer (as needed for crop) and cover it with fabric.

(2) Till as deep as the tiller will till. (say that fast) My tiller goes 8"s, I go at least twice to get it deeper.


If you haven’t done so already, you can use any grow led you may have to start them inside. The bigger the starting pot the earlier you can start them before having to move them outside.

Best would have been to keep black plastic over it to kill the vegetation before tilling. But it’s OK, till and use ground cover fabric. Don’t cheap on it, you won’t be disappointed not having to weed. thicker the better.

(3) Till it deep, (twice at least) vegetation and all, then cover with fabric. Melt holes where you want to plant.

(4) The tilled material is soil? I assume you mean soil you bring in. If you can afford it yes, till it in with the second tilling while adding fertilizer.

Google or youtube companion planting, crops which work well together, even to help with pest.

Plan the area your planting to ensure you don’t shade plants with taller plants.

Research the strain to know temps, soil, NPK water…etc. Move poor soil plants away from heavy feeders.

If you have a lot of clay, look on FB for anyone who has rabbits. Their manure can be used immediately, it’s not to hot. Chicken manure needs to age or it will burn your plants. As you can, amend it with compost. If you don’t have a pile, start one today.

youtube links;



MI Gardner

Self Sufficient

Grow garden


Those pics weren’t up when I started typing… lmao

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Oh, heck Use the f’n tractor, I didn’t know you had the tractor. Tear down that fence and raised bed for now. You can put them up again later. With that out of the way, spread the amendments and till away. Don’t forget a cup holder for the beverage of choice.

@JaneQP @Caligurl

I tagged these lovely women as I seem to recall that they both have green thumbs


Yes, I think so.

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In case you are concerned about conflicting techniques, there are many ways to skin a cat, @1LuckyMF 's methods are sound.


I also have a section in the corner of my yard that I’ve always thrown all organic matter into so I have some compost


Okay I’m taking all three of you guys is message and I’m combining it into my brain and this is what I think that I’m understanding that I need to do.

I’m going to tear down the fence. I’m going to remove the flower bed. I’m going to get a tiller and do my first run chopping off the ground as good as I can get it.

I’m going to cover the ground for a week with cloth and come back until it again after I put some compost and manure down.
This is going to mix all together and then I’ll cover it again until I’m ready to start plannting.

Is this correct


Perfect! If you till, till it in.

I still recommend raised beds. I won’t do a ground garden without my tractor. Hard pack clay here is so hard you can squeal tires on it.


After the first till, just use 6mil black plastic sheeting, rolls at big box. After the second till, weed fabric / ground cover fabric.


Ground cover Vid


Grab you favorite smoke and beverage and spend some time with the youtube links I posted. Search for any specific question you may have and see what pops up.

I like the living traditions homestead.

BTW, what your goal with this, having fun, therapy, grocery supplement, eliminate grocery runs… etc?


Fresh veggies are awesome, and the canned ones make winter eats much better than the “fresh” grocer ones