My front garden is done for the season and instead of leaving it bear I was thinking of putting a compost or straw on top until September planting. Is this a good idea?
Why not grow a cover crop instead? I just tossed out 3#'s of cow peas (black eyed peas) to my beds this morning. Legumes are a nitrogen fixer. When they begin to flower, chop down and dig in the plants. If you search this site there are several discussions about growing a summer crop. But to truly answer your question, sure add a layer of compost, top that with straw. Just make sure it's straw not hay, which has seeds. And if your front garden gets any wind, straw will blow all over. I tossed down compost, then the cow peas, then old leaves. Watered in well.
mary has done you one better: soil improvement + some summer cropping too ... ;)
the main thing is to keep the soil life alive ... no point in destroying what you have worked so long and hard during the season to create ...
we also use sweet potato for this function ... if planted now will yield on thanksgiving morning ...
sweet potato is a good idea, I didn't realize I could do it this late. I just hadn't thought of anything that would really grow and be maintenance free (except water) This bed is full sun will the beans do well in it?
Cow Peas, Armenian Cucumber, and Sweet Potatoe are things that I've found really thrive in the heat.
My neighbor has a huge stalk of armenian cucumber growing off her front porch, and it's thriving. Yard-long beans (aka asparagus beans) also do really well this season.
I usually grow them morning sun and afternoon shade but I will try it!
I know Catherine has a list of what can do 100's but do they grow from seed in full sun or only transplants?