Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
jacob
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob »

We had 6.4lbs of turnips this year. They did not impress me that much. In general, root vegetables don't do well in our garden. Carrots are downright pathetic for example. We only get a few fingerlings out of that each year. I suspect the soil still contains too much clay. Working on it though.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

jacob wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:28 pm
Carrots are downright pathetic for example. We only get a few fingerlings out of that each year. I suspect the soil still contains too much clay. Working on it though.
With clay soil, select the thick carrot varieties rather than the long slender nantes variety found in stores. Beyond that, I'd think it is probably a question of germination and feeding. Don't mix fertilizer into the soil if you expect the carrot to grow straight; always apply fertilizer to the surface.

davtheram12
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Re: Garden Log

Post by davtheram12 »

I live in a rather small apartment but have still managed to save plenty of plants people throw out. They are all doing wonderfully after some transplanting, fertilizing and watering. I honestly don't know what many of them are but my DW loves the extra color and vibrancy it brings to our apartment.

I've also been growing an avocado tree since July 2017. Started off as a pit and is now 8 feet tall with lots of foliage. It's still in a large pot but some day I'll likely transplant it at the in-laws. Likely within the next calendar year I'll graft branches using my friends fruit bearing avocado tree. Im a little too impatient for the tree to bear it owns fruit naturally.

I also saved a thai chile plant this past season. The plant was rather tiny (<6 inches tall with an ~4 inch branch diameter) but I still managed to harvest over 100 peppers. Tiny as the peppers were they were very spicy! Approximately 50-100k scoville heats units. Plenty hot for most purposes. I do have a few Carolina Reapers stored in my freezer for next growing season. Those will be much too dangerous to eat (1.5 million average scoville heat units) but its a very unique looking pepper I'd like to attempt growing.

white belt
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Re: Garden Log

Post by white belt »

Does anyone have any experience growing dwarf fruit trees or berry perennials in containers? I’ve done some research and can pick up some fruiting age/size plants for $20-30 each, so I’m considering getting a dwarf cavendish banana, some kind of dwarf peach or plum, and a blackberry plant. I’m going with containers because I’m supposed to move this summer and they are easier to deal with on rental properties. Supposedly the bananas can grow in Zone 8, but I’m expecting to have to bring it inside for the coldest 4-5 months if I want it to produce fruit. The others should be able to stay outside through the winter.

white belt
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Re: Garden Log

Post by white belt »

I started a dozen lettuce seeds indoors today. I picked up seed potatoes a week ago and they've been sitting on my windowsill sprouting. The chits are still small, so I think I have another week until I plant them in my prototype potato bucket tower. I'm in Zone 8.

This is my first time attempting an outdoor garden although I think I got a good introduction to things with indoor microgreens. Right now I'm planning potatoes, lettuce, radish, carrots, and maybe beets. I'm moving at the start of summer so I'm only doing cool weather stuff I can harvest by May.

Anyone else start seeds yet?

sky
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Re: Garden Log

Post by sky »

Last week, I started the slower growing seed for my plant sale: rosemary, parsley, lavender and sage. I am starting to see some green popping up. Next week: oregano, thyme, basil, lemon balm, chives, brassicas.

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jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

I need to replace some beds. How hard is it to do something like this (for someone who doesn't know what they're doing)? Also, is it as sturdy as it looks?

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I'm tempted to do cinderblock beds since I think we'll be redesigning our yard next year and those would be easier to move. Does anyone use those? Any thoughts on which type of bed is better environmentally?

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Alphaville
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Alphaville »

jennypenny wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:26 pm
Also, is it as sturdy as it looks?[...]
I'm tempted to do cinderblock beds [...]Any thoughts on which type of bed is better environmentally?

☝️those beds are clever, no nails or screws, but only as sturdy as the pegs. one could ofc replace the pegs as they wear out.

environmentally the wood is fine as long as it's untreated. i wouldn't grow food in treated wood.

cinderblocks are nice and live forever but are energy intensive (concrete has high embodied energy). an alternative could be "urbanite" i.e. demolished concrete from sidewalks etc. sometimes people post free bricks for pickup on craigslist.

eta: hippies wary of cinderblock: https://www.offthegridnews.com/alternat ... ould-know/

eta: my lazy brain says no pegs or holes required for wood! that's just complication.

instead cut a notch halfway down the boards and interlock them. the notch goes 1/2 down the width of the board and it's as wide as it allows another board to fit. holds by sheer gravity/geometry

eta like this:

Image

ps cedar naturally resists rot. but for the price maybe just pine? i haven't bought lumber in a while...

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

jennypenny wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:26 pm
How hard is it to do something like this (for someone who doesn't know what they're doing)?
Are you safe with a saw?

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

George the original one wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:30 pm
Are you safe with a saw?
Either of the versions posted look like they could be done with a hand saw (not powered), chisel, and drill. I'm a hack carpenter so someone else can weigh in.

These blocks are a cheap alternative if you want to avoid carpentry: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oldcastle-7 ... /206501693. Same concerns as with cinderblocks.

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jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

@GdP -- I like those, and could take them with us if we ever moved. I could also change the garden around as needed. Thanks!

white belt
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Re: Garden Log

Post by white belt »

I started my container garden today. I have a large bed with lettuce, carrots, and radish. I also have 6 potato buckets.

For the bin, I tried to make a hugelkulture bed by putting some logs and decomposed leaves at the bottom. I only needed to use one bag of potting soil to fill the rest up. We’ll see if this helps with water retention and overall growth.

Image
Image

For the self-wicking buckets, I followed the rough idea of this video: https://youtu.be/oSl8s4hyVZY

I had the spinach plastic containers and tubing on hand already. I mulched the top with some pet bedding pine shavings that I had left over from a mushroom project. I saw mixed information about using pine for wood chips, but since this is kiln dried I feel like it should be fine. I’m experimenting with a potato tower design to see if I can grow these buckets on top of each other in a compact space.

Image
Image


I’m a newbie and don’t know what I’m doing, so copy at your own risk.

Smashter
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Smashter »

jennypenny wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:37 am
@GdP -- I like those, and could take them with us if we ever moved. I could also change the garden around as needed. Thanks!
I am also interested in using those now, they seem great. I am starting a backyard garden for the first time this year (Wisconsin) and have been scouring this thread for tips. I have serious garden envy now, y'all are amazing.

I can waste a whole lot of time watching youtube videos and reading blogs about what to grow and raised bed vs in-ground. I think I need to embody more of what C40 said way back on page 1 of this thread.
C40 wrote:
Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:17 pm
The most important thing is just to get started. Get some containers, dirt, and seeds and try it out. It doesn't take a big investment of money or time to get started and you can learn as you go.

I'll be sure to post updates here, thanks to everyone for sharing so far.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Six months ago in this thread I posted that I built a cold frame from scavenged parts. I set it over some spinach, lettuce, and carrots I had planted a couple of weeks earlier. This post is a report on how it worked out.

The good:
- All of the plants inside the cold frame are still alive! It's amazing to see green plants alive in a foot of snow at 0 degrees F (-18C). Some volunteers like little weeds also came up.
- I only had to water it a few times in fall. Other than that I never took the top off it.
- The cold frame kept out the wind and, when it was sunny, greatly increased in temperature as compared to the outside air. A temperature data logger would be interesting to chart box temp vs. outside temp. Right now when the thermometer says 30F the box will go to 75 if it is sunny. One day it was 45 and it went to 90. Even when it was below 0F it would get warm inside. It doesn't hold the heat though as there is no real insulating value to the materials.
- Since the plants are already alive I'm hoping that they will start to grow again now that it is warming so I may get an early harvest. Then again, they are 7 months old and battled through winter so they may not have anything left.

The bad:

- The plants never grew any larger. This was expected based on what I had read but the experiment confirmed it. I was able to cut one salad of spinach leaves but that's all I got.
- Whenever it snowed I had extra work because I had to shovel and sweep the snow from the cold frame so that the snow wouldn't break the plexiglass, so the plants would get light, and so the box would heat up.
- The box takes up very limited garden space by shading the area behind it. It doesn't amount to much but it is another barrier. It also is also a minor hassle to work around it. It would be better located by itself out of the rest of the garden.

In the Four Season Harvest book I think the author said that their plants didn't grow in winter but just stayed alive for harvest. I experienced the same thing. I'm not sure how valuable this output is to me. I think I got more out of my amazement that the plants stayed alive through winter and going out to check on them. Having one more thing to shovel off has a minor hassle though I got some good feelings out of taking care of living things. Those feelings might not persist once the novelty has worn off. If the plants start to grow again that would help me to think it was worth it.

If I do this again I would consider a few changes:
- Build a serious cold frame that is larger and insulated. I would probably base it on a glass patio door so maybe 4' x 8'. I could still make it with scrap for no cost. Multiple pane glass seems like it would add insulating value and maybe avoid frosting over as the plexi was opaque except when the sun had been on it awhile.
- Relocate it about 20' to avoid shadows from buildings and trees to get more sun. I wonder if there is a website that shows yard locations with max sun given all the satellite photo data now? it's easy to guess but modern tech is fun too.
- Learn more about thermal mass and find out if building part of the cold frame from brick or locating some object like a brick wall or barrel nearby would help stabilize the temp. I'm 99% sure this is overkill for me but I'm interested. If I had a different situation it would be more interesting.
- Plant only spinach or maybe spinach and a mix of spinach and some of the more unusual leafy greens discussed in the Four Season Harvest book. The lettuce did the least well of the plants I tested and I'm not that excited about it anyway. The carrots seemed to survive but didn't grow much. Even in the summer the carrots I grew took forever and didn't get very large so they are also maybe not the best use of space. Having spinach that was home grown instead of brought in from the desert would be interesting.

Summary:
Does the cold frame make a lot of sense for me? Probably not. That said, I invested very little in it and got some enjoyment out of the experiment and watching the plants stay alive through winter. If I lived further south, say zone 6 or 7, or in a place with more sun, I think it might be a game changer if it got plants to actually keep growing through winter.

theanimal
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Re: Garden Log

Post by theanimal »

Started some seeds inside today
-3 trays of onions
- Lots of tomatoes

More planter trays on the way.

-37F outside this morning :shock:...almost hard to believe these little seeds will be in the ground in 2 months.

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