Most gardeners do not have to worry about the fall… except if you happen to grow 45+ types of garlic and like to plant in the fall.

So yesterday we spent 2 hours out in veg bed #5 (about 500 ft^2) pulling out the accumulated weeds and grass that we did not have time to keep on top of after we pulled the garlic from the northern half back in July. The southern half was fallow with hot mustard seed and marigolds and was cut down and tilled in back in August.
Since then the grass and weeds did take over, with a vengence.

After the weeds were pulled and some of the grass, we pulled out the lawnmower and went through the area cutting and mulching to allow the tiller to go through and not get jammed up.

The bed was built on top of a few cm of grass and peat over limestone. We had covered it with heavy paper then lots and lots of trucked in dirt. Maybe 10 yards? maybe more. But it still is not deep enough for a lot of crops. Every year we add compost and sheep manure but that does not make up for what is lost.
We usually also add more soil to the pile but did not in 2012. Looks like a few more yards in 2013 will be needed, at least in the non-planted section.
Where was I? right. The garlic will be going into the southern (fallow) section after we add in a bunch of sheep manure and till it all in a couple of weeks before planting. Planting is targeted for mid october but that may go a little later as the real target is about 2 weeks before heavy frost, giving it maybe 4 weeks before it and the ground freezes for the winter.

But the existing grasses and plant residue should be tilled in first. Hmm by my calendar math that makes it any day now 🙁

So: tilling today or thursday, adding sheep manure (more than the bag recommends) and tilling again friday or saturday. Measure and design the planting strategy this year. More dense planting of similar types (45+) with fewer walking rows (as they just promote more weed growth) with a total around 500 cloves/plants in the ground.
Then they get covered up with clean straw to prevent cold ice contact and also to help buffer the daytime heating/ nighttime cooling cycles. Once the plant freezes for the winter it should stay frozen.

Some notes on the sheep manure.
Our only source is Canadian Tire 15kg bags @ $2.50 each
It is marked 0.5, 0.5, 0.5 (nitrogen, phosphoric acid, soluble potash) which is very mild. It is also marked to use 1 bag per 80 ft^2 for vegetables. We found that to be far too weak. In the spring of 2012 we put in approx 1 bag per 30ft^2 and even that has turned out to be probably not enough.
Planting in 1/2 of 500ft^2 at the 1 per 30 rate would require 8 bags. We have maybe 4 on hand… Time to go shopping if all of the garden centres have not closed yet!