Garden Log

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

Post by jacob »

November harvest update (lbs): (I totally forgot)
2021: 5.89
2020: 5.77
2019: 5.03

The season is effectively over. The frost resistant plants are ... not frost proof. Everything has been covered with straw.

Total annual production (lbs):
2021: 629.96
2020: 339.18
2019: 81.93

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 2:59 pm
Total annual production (lbs):
2021: 629.96
What do you do with 600lbs of vegetables/fruit? Eat while fresh, can, dry? How long will it take to eat all of it? We had maybe 50lbs summer 2020 and it was a lot of work to store it (mostly by canning). Some of the more unusual items are still on the shelves!

jacob
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob »

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 3:54 pm
What do you do with 600lbs of vegetables/fruit?
Consider that it comes down to less than a pound/person/day on average for us. During the growing season we eat it and most of the rest gets frozen. There's a little bit of canning (5%?) but yes that's a huge hassle compared to freezing. I kinda wish we'd can more (have been perusing those huge pressure canning setups that can do a dozen jars at a time) but as it is we can only do 2-4 at a time. Instead we bought an extra freezer, so we have two (in case one dies), 5.5 cft chest freezer.

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Lemur
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur »

Considering double digging my beds now just they will be ready for Spring. Also will give me something to do as a form of exercise on the weekends.

Regarding the double dig method...the part where you add compost at the bottom of the trench. Does it have to be compost necessarily? Can it be just green/brown material? For instance, I've a 50 gallon drum filled with composting material - sticks, grass, food scraps, some dirt, etc. Could I just add this and over the winter, early spring that material would break down anyway?

I'm thinking possibly not a good idea because composting material needs oxygen to breakdown so I might accomplish nothing doing this...but surely worms would eat up that material.

theanimal
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Re: Garden Log

Post by theanimal »

Yes, you can compost in place. Ruth Stout has a series of books more or less related to subject. She wondered why you would have your compost separate then move it over. It will compost either way, why create the extra work?

One thing to consider are any potential pests that want things from your compost and might want to dig it up. Dogs, racoons, moles, etc.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Western Red Cedar »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 5:46 pm
I kinda wish we'd can more (have been perusing those huge pressure canning setups that can do a dozen jars at a time) but as it is we can only do 2-4 at a time. Instead we bought an extra freezer, so we have two (in case one dies), 5.5 cft chest freezer.
Have you experimented much with fermentation? It is a nice alternative to canning and doesn't necessarily require too much work. Loads of health benefits as well.

sky
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Re: Garden Log

Post by sky »

I have not heard of a double dig method where you put compost in the bottom of the trench. My understanding is you do the double dig, and before planting you add a thin layer of composted material on top.

I have had difficulties using the Eden method, which is adding a thick layer of wood chips over the soil. None of my plants would grow, and I later heard that the decomposing wood chips use up nitrogen in the soil, leaving none for the plants. Because of this I don't like the idea of composting in place anymore, although I do recognize the benefits of mulch.

My preference now is to vermicompost kitchen scraps and spread a thin layer of vermicompost over a bed. My vermicomposter is a square box with no top or bottom, made out of 2 foot sections of 2x10's, screwed together. The boxes are stacked 2 or 3 high and I have a square pvc sheet cover that fits inside the box and sets on top of the kitchen scraps. I throw the kitchen scraps under the pvc cover every day and the worms do a good job of eating them over the summer. In winter the boxes will fill up, so I have about 5 boxes to leave me enough room. I had some problems with raccoons pushing the boxes over to get at the scraps, but a few wood screws hold the boxes together temporarily and this has stopped the raiding. To harvest the compost, I lift the boxes off the ground and the pile, and then break up the compost with a shovel and spread it, worms and all, over the garden bed. The worms just arrived in the beds naturally, I did not add any.

jacob
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 8:25 pm
Have you experimented much with fermentation? It is a nice alternative to canning and doesn't necessarily require too much work. Loads of health benefits as well.
Not beyond making wine, yogurt, and a sourdough starter. Have thought about sauerkraut. I don't know if there's that much of our major bulk items that lends itself to fermentation. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers.

shaz
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Re: Garden Log

Post by shaz »

@lemur my experience with digging under fresh uncomposted organic material in the fall so that it breaks down over the winter has been that results vary. Sometimes everything breaks down well enough and sometimes it does not. There seem to be a number of variables (exact composition of organic matter, composition of dirt, presence of worms, whether the soil freezes, amount of water, etc.). If you want consistent results, it is best to compost first.

When I was young my family relied on produce from our garden, berry beds, and fruit trees as a primary food source. We couldn't afford to take any unnecessary risks with the harvest so composted thoroughly for the food garden. We were a lot less careful with flower beds and did sometimes mix in uncomposted material for those. I never mix in uncomposted horse manure because it is far too likely to kill plants. Luckily horse manure composts quickly.

abdulbasit
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Re: Garden Log

Post by abdulbasit »

I've been doing herb gardening for years now and I love doing it.

I do it by spending the minimum amount of money just on the seeds.

If you do the proper hoeing and watering, your herb garden will never fail. To make the soil more fertile, you can use any good fertilizer. If you don't want to spend money on fertilizers, you can use chicken or cow manure because it's very rich and it really helps in better herb production.

mooretrees
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Re: Garden Log

Post by mooretrees »

jacob wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 5:46 pm
I kinda wish we'd can more (have been perusing those huge pressure canning setups that can do a dozen jars at a time) but as it is we can only do 2-4 at a time. Instead we bought an extra freezer, so we have two (in case one dies), 5.5 cft chest freezer.
Borrowing a pressure canner for canning would be a good option. Tomatoes especially need the pressure canner. I'd check your public library as more and more libraries are offering different items beyond books for rent. And most people who have a pressure canner have it sitting unused most of the time. It's always a lot of work to can, but it's very satisfying and really frees up the freezer space.

Fermenting cucumbers is a a classic way to preserve them.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Dry days! No rain, no wind, no snow. The perfect opportunity to resurrect as much as possible of the garden after last year's neglect and horrid drought. So armed with a shovel, I've been turning over lumps of grass (man that colonizes the garden quickly). The time I spent removing rocks from the soil so many years ago was worthwhile as the shovel rarely finds any stones these days.

Central US weather has changed availability of onion plants. Johnny's says onion plants are on backorder until Apr 15 and prices seem higher than I would expect, so I ordered them from Territorial this time.

Today's bonus was a visit by the bald eagles that nest slightly upstream from here; third or fourth year of the 2nd generation now. I was a little worried that they weren't coming back because I haven't seen them since October, but the fish haven't been coming to the upper reaches much this year.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

The standard 6" lawn edging did not contain the raspberries, so I'm getting serious with 20" roof flashing https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gibraltar-B ... /202092849.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Invasive himalayan blackberries had major growth spurts throughout NW Oregon during the 2019 & 2020 seasons. My property was no exception and I didn't have the oomph to cope, so this year I'm breaking out the weapons.

First up is an electric hedge trimmer because that's what I have from when I had hedges that needed trimming at the previous homes. I've never deployed it against blackberries before and was doubtful that it would be effective. Well, I was right to be doubtful as it won't cut the 1/2"-thick elite canes which are so far best left to the loppers. However, it is proving an acceptable tool to keep 3/8"-thick younger & softer canes and sideshoots under control.

Advantages
- cheap
- relatively quiet compared to gas trimmers
- easy/quick to deploy
- minimal maintenance (no fuel, no sparkplugs, no oil change, no batteries to recharge)
- makes more progress than using loppers alone

Drawbacks
- doesn't mulch the debris
- limited to thinner canes
- 100' of power cord only reaches about 1/3 of the property

theanimal
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Re: Garden Log

Post by theanimal »

Why not just eat the blackberries?

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

theanimal wrote:
Mon Jan 24, 2022 1:58 pm
Why not just eat the blackberries?
We do, but the canes just spread everywhere, growing into massive thorny piles if you let them. They're like kudzu or english ivy, choking out whatever they can, only one notch less invasive.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Could you mow it?

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Mowing would be desireable, but the canes pile up on each other and are often over 6' tall, sometimes as much as 10' tall. The riding mower will usually push them over if they're under 4' tall, so the established patches cannot be mowed down. The riding mower also won't push over a thick clump of 4' tall established canes, when 5 or more canes all come out of the same root ball.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Short of owning a tractor with bucket or backhoe, a real brushcutter, with a steel blade, is the answer.

I'm leaning towards a cordless electric model rather than a gas powered buzzbomb. Battery life of the cordless models is around 30-40 minutes, which is as much work as I likely want to do in one session. The professional buzzbombs are far too expensive ($1,000) to justify for consumer use. The consumer buzzbombs are only slightly more expensive and a bit more powerful than the cordless electric models, but the power is less of an issue than it is for something like a chainsaw, so the lower maintenance & convenience of an electric model swings the decision in that direction.

jacob
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob »

@GTOO - Dumb question: Could this problem be turned into a solution? "What to do with blackberries?" They're kinda expensive elsewhere. Join it instead of fighting it? Blackberry jam? Jelly? Hotsauce? Hipster etsy?

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