Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
Western Red Cedar
Posts: 764
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@Gtoo - I spent many days, weeks, and months grubbing blackberries and restoring sites with native plants. Brushcutters with a steel, tri-blade worked the best. We never used electric brush cutters, but I don't know why it wouldn't work. We were often out in the field for 10 hour days so electric tools wouldn't have worked well for our team. As you're probably aware, making sure you dig up as much of the roots as possible, including the major root ball or heart, is critical for making actual progress.

Based on the site photo, you could consider renting a walk behind Dingo to take on the bramble and dig up the roots. I'm not sure how well that would work with the slope, but something to look into. Good luck!

@Jacob - They are prolific on the west coast, so it is pretty easy to to find them everywhere free when in season. They are also highly invasive and detrimental ecologically in Oregon and Washington. Delicious, but destructive.

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Site photo isn't mine, but very representative. Yes, the tri-blade is the cutter I'll use.

***
Luther Burbank introduced this variety of blackberry to the west coast in 1885 in an effort to hybridize a good commercial blackberry. It has very prolific berry production, large seeds, mediocre flavor, and massive thorns that make an old-fashioned rose bush appear tame. Commercial thornless blackberries are derived from it.

Propagation is via seeds, roots, & tipping. No enemies, though you can coerce goats to chew the leaves. Roots run deep, come back from the deep, and break off at the nodes. Typically takes a couple applications of consumer-grade round-up to kill the plant, but using round-up near riparian zones like mine is a no-no. Plus when you do use round-up, anything near the blackberries is also killed. If one is persistent about cutting, eventually you can wear out the rootballs; tends to take years though, which is why grubbing and/or a combination of cutting & round-up is used.

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

8 days later and I put about 25% of the garden space (300 sq ft) back into shape with a shovel. Ground is dry enough now I switched to the tiller and knocked out the remaining 900 sq ft in 1.5 hrs. Ah, the joy of power tools!

Rescued plenty of garlic, possibly more than I need. Planted some peas and carrots... unfortunately, being in a river valley during air stagnation, the cold air sinks down here and we've had frost every morning! Soil temp is reading 40F, so the peas should be slowly germinating. Carrots not so much. Test germination of my old pea seed is hitting 50%, so I shouldn't need new seed this year after all.

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

The cordless electric brushcutter is working as expected!

I ordered the Ryobi ONE+ 18V brushless Expand-It trimmer without battery since I have ONE+ 18V tools(*) & batteries for my autocross activities. With a 30-day return offered by Home Depot, I considered this a low risk way to determine if I really needed the 40V version and to consider what AH-capacity battery I would want in the long term.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-ONE-1 ... /311389451

The other component ordered was the Ryobi Expand-It 8" brush cutter attachment. This can be used with either the 18V or 40V power head.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-Expan ... /100313611

The 4 AH 18V battery lasts me 20 minutes of near continuous cutting and recharges in a tad over an hour. As I suspected, my forearms are pretty much finished after 20 minutes, so for now it is a good match and I'm really glad I didn't go for a gas-powered model that might tempt me to work for an hour at a time.

I'm tempted to get the Expand-It cultivator attachment for weeding between garden rows. Watched a few videos of people using it with both 40V and 18V power heads and it seems adequate for weeding purposes. Some people unwisely (IMHO) used it to break ground, including hard clay, but that's what a powerful gas tiller is for. The joint in the Expand-It tool appears too fragile to me for long-term ground-breaking activities.

With the idea of the cultivator in mind and having some reserve battery capacity, I'll eventually be picking up a 6 AH battery.


(*) Inflator wears the 4 AH battery, radio shares the 2 AH battery with the oscillating multitool. Inflator obviously spends its time pumping up tires and one 3-day autox weekend wiped out the 2AH battery, so I promptly upgraded. The oscillating multitool is used to shave other people's rubber off the tires. The radio is used to listen to what is normally broadcast over PA systems, typically while working the course because the PA speakers are never pointed that direction. Because the Lowe's Kobalt brand made a better/sturdier cordless impact wrench, that's what I have for changing tires.

MeloTheMelon
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:18 am
Location: Germany

Re: Garden Log

Post by MeloTheMelon »

I got a bunch of flower pots and a nice big shelf from a neighbor.
What would be some good starter spices/herbs/vegetables I could grow indoors? Preferably something that's hard to kill :lol:
I don't want to produce a lot of food. It's more of a way to get some useful decoration in my pretty empty apartment.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8019
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Chives, dill, basil, parsley, and arugula. Also, don't fret too much about killing plants. The secret to having a green thumb is quickly disappearing anything that dies on you.

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Peas are up. Not the ones I sowed in the ground on Jan 19, but ones I germinated indoors and planted. 13 out of 15! Time for another planting, aiming for the continuous harvest.

It's been too cold for the carrot seeds. I just might try germinating them indoors, like the peas, but those seeds are sooo small...

guitarplayer
Posts: 644
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Garden Log

Post by guitarplayer »

I love peas when they are young and can be eaten with pods, so sweet and you get the benefit of the extra fiber intake from the pods + less labour!

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Friggin birds! Found two of the young seedlings uprooted. It's gotta be the bluejays doing it because there aren't any crows around lately.

I thought, by not offering the birds a trellis to perch on, that the seedlings would be safer. Grrr.

The freshly acquired 6AH battery does give me up to 30 minutes of brushcutter operation and takes 2 hrs to recharge.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6753
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

We've decided to give up the entire yard to the garden. We're using metal raised beds because of DH's back problem, spaced pretty tightly together. We want to apply wood chips between all of the beds to eliminate the grass and help the clay soil beneath, but I'm afraid of drawing ants, termites, or other unwanted creatures.

Have any of you put wood chips down in your yard? Did you run into problems? Also, would you use a fire pit if the yard was covered in wood chips? (I cook outdoors a lot during the warmer weather.) The back yard floods during heavy rains so the wood chips would be moist most of the time, if that matters.

Slevin
Posts: 303
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:44 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by Slevin »

@jennypenny yes, but my house is brick and barely has any wood, so I can’t speak to the termites. We also already had an ant hill, so I can’t say if it will draw them or not, but they definitely haven’t left due to the wood chips. We are also in an arid climate, so the wood chips might cause different issues here than for you. Overall for low maintenance needs and the fact you can get it for free I would highly recommend it. Just keep 2-3+ inches deep for less weeds popping through.

Also, I would just keep a 5-10 foot ring barren around the fire pit, that should keep the fire risk much lower, and keep a garden hose or bucket of water around for worst case. But definitely very sketchy to put a fire pit literally over the materials you would use to start a fire. Obviously the wetness will keep it from fully catching as quick as tinder, but it’s still very close.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6753
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

I should have mentioned that the fire pit sits in a 12' x 12' stone patio so the chips wouldn't be underneath the fire. I'm concerned about errant embers flying off into the wood chips.

This is an unexpectedly big conundrum for me. I don't want to use stone/gravel between all of the beds; I'd rather use a natural material like wood chips that would improve the soil underneath. OTOH, I really like cooking outside on the pit to keep my house cool in the summer and use less electricity.

I'm really afraid of fire though. *sigh*

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 573
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by mountainFrugal »

Assuming you do not live in an already fire prone area based on your description of the rain storms... As long as there is a perimeter around the fire pit, you do not leave the fire unattended, and keep water around, it should be fine (as @slevin suggested). It would be much more of an issue if you had pine needles or dry grass. Mulch does combust though. Maybe you could get some mulch samples and put them over a large coal to see how long it takes to start to smolder and/or ignite (worst case scenario). If the chips were moist I would guess they will just smolder. If you are around and tending the fire you will have plenty of time to notice this and put it out.

Some other ideas include further composted mulch: https://extension.arizona.edu/pubs/comp ... -landscape

George the original one
Posts: 5405
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 25, 2022 12:54 pm
Have any of you put wood chips down in your yard? Did you run into problems?
Wood chips I have down do not appear to attract any pests. Termites prefer solid structure, like a tree, to keep out predators. Birds, particularly bluejays, know how to scatter wood chips with a side swipe of their beaks to reveal any tasty insects.

white belt
Posts: 1243
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by white belt »

I got DGF a dwarf peach tree for Christmas and last week it started blooming in the southeast region where DGF lives after multiple days of 70+ degree temperatures. This week there's a cold snap bringing 3 straight nights of below freezing temperatures. One huge advantage of growing dwarf fruit trees in containers that I hadn't previously considered is that they can be transported inside for late season cold snaps. With climate change bringing more extreme weather patterns, I suspect this feature will become even more useful in the years to come. Moving a container indoors is a bit annoying, but the alternative is risking an entire year's fruit harvest. I know there are other alternative methods to protect against late frost, but I'm not sure that you can beat the effectiveness of simply moving a plant indoors.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14314
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob »

If it's tiny you could try throwing a blanket or tarp over it, outside.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8019
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

This is why it's often advisable to plant fruit trees on north side of house to prevent early blooming. That said, I'm lately becoming a fan of container gardening and hydroponics because of ability to greatly extend growing season. It is still quite snowy and cold in my neck of the woods, but I have a 2.5' X 4" section of counter top filled with herbs and seedlings under 20 watts X 15 hrs/day of led, and I am harvesting enough to make a very slight dent in grocery budget and larger improvement to quality of meals. The hydroponic produce grows at least twice as fast as same seeds started in soil. The lights attract insects, so I also have one stink bug, one ladybug, and one yet-to-be-indentified beetle living as pets in my little artificial environment.

sky
Posts: 1515
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by sky »

I planted a small bed of oats and fava beans mixed together. This is one of the recommended "carbon crops" in the Grow Biointensive system. I also planted a few walking stick kale. We will see if the bed can survive my garden neglect.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6753
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

We aren't doing seeds this year because we'll be traveling a week+ in April and a week in May and, with the kids launched, I have no one to tend them while I'm gone. It's making me a little nervous to be honest. I'm hoping I can get what I want once we're done traveling mid-May. I joined the CSA again as a backup.

It's funny ... now that I've done the garden thing long enough (growing food), I find myself mentally weighing any future plans against the needs of the garden. We have to travel during the spring this year, but I made other people move joint plans to September and November to avoid missing garden time. I feel like that's a big step for me -- internalizing the demands of the garden that way. It's amazing how much you can internalize (thereby making life much easier) if you just stick with something long enough.

sky
Posts: 1515
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by sky »

I live in a tough neighborhood. I found that the squirrels ate some or all of the fava beans that I planted yesterday.

Post Reply