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RunningChristo

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #200 on: June 24, 2014, 10:07:44 AM »
Ah Jostaberries! Yes we have them also in Norway, a rather New Product this is and few People are aware of it's existence really, as it is a crossbreed between blackcurrants and gooseberries.
I planted a couple some years ago and they do grow Fast, even faster than blackcurrants! Most peculiar when you take the parents/ genes in consideration...
Anyway, the taste is OK but I'm not satisfied by the croplevel, which I find to be on the poor side of acceptable, but maybe this will change in the years Ahead?!
If you prune them I wouldn't do so for another year or 2, just to make sure the plants have established well, thus not draining the energylevel of the plant due to a poorly developed rootingsystem!
My suggestion would be to extend Your Crop...the more variation you have the better, and all plants and berries Carries their most unique taste and will keep you strong and healthy, thus preparing you for long Nights With both kids and ASIB/ASIF to take care of ;D.
My fancy for ice & glaciers started in 1995:-).

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #201 on: June 24, 2014, 12:04:16 PM »
Yes, we've already planted some redcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, elderberries etc. Some trees too, but we need to plant lost more in September.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

JayW

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #202 on: June 24, 2014, 12:48:23 PM »
Don't I feel lucky, up here, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries grow wild, amongst other berries.  I bought my house 2 years ago and had to clear out the trees that had encroached on the house, also to create more sun for gardening.  The added benefit being loads of raspberry and blackberry canes that aggressively move into cleared areas.  They certainly don't yield like cultivated varieties, but I prefer the native, wild varieties and no maintenance! (although one must be okay with a bit more seediness  :D ) Blueberries are everywhere also, there are many areas open to the public where you can pick them for free, there is nothing sweeter that a wild blueberry right off the plant.
"To defy the laws of tradition, is a crusade only of the brave" - Les Claypool

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #203 on: June 24, 2014, 02:53:35 PM »
Nice beds, Neven. One thing I've been hearing this year is if you put one plant here and one there, the things that eat them can't just occupy the whole patch overnight.

I've come to the conclusion after speaking with some local fellow veggie growers, that it's huge slugs that have been mowing down rows of tiny seedlings. My turnips, basil, most of the brassicas, radishes, just gone overnight. So, next time cans of beer sunk into the soil at I don't know what intervals will tempt and drown them.

It's a fantastic year for raspberries and black raspberries. Huge number of berries have set and great thick new canes are high already.

The chipmunks have been cleaning off the hascap berries while they're still green. The bushes are growing fast, so I can only hope that when they're five feet high there will be enough berries for us and them.

We had a relatively cool (nearly 'normal' in past times) spring with enough rain, so anything that hasn't been eaten is doing well.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #204 on: June 24, 2014, 03:22:23 PM »
Last year I lost half of my tomato plants and at least 3/4 of the expected tomatoes due to an unseasonably cool and wet early summer. We have had an unseasonably cool and wet growing season so far (it is overcast with some rain today) and if we don't get an extended period of sunny warm days soon, I am going to lose tomato plants again.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #205 on: June 24, 2014, 04:31:48 PM »
Shared, I'm not so far from you and last year was a crap year for tomatoes. But that wet weather is why we have such great berry canes this year. Tomatoes are persnickety.

Jay, a fond childhood memory of mine is picking buckets of wild blueberries in Maine on the way to my grandmother's in Nova Scotia. We have a locally famous blueberry area not far from us. This is my tenth summer here and I think this is the year I'll go and pick.

I'm mortified that I missed the first day of pick-your-own strawberries at the organic farm I go to every year.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

lisa

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #206 on: June 25, 2014, 01:05:14 AM »
Has anyone ever tried growing quinoa?  I'm trying for the first time this year, a variety called Oro de Valle.  They are just coming up (I'm late this year) and I'll thin them next week.  If anyone is interested, I'll post some more about it.

Here in mid-Michigan USA, everything is doing great this year -- cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, melons, corn, zucchini, berries and rhubarb.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #207 on: June 25, 2014, 01:59:02 AM »
Lisa, how big a patch of quinoa are you growing? Maybe you could post pictures of your progress. I've heard of people growing field crops like wheat in lawn-size blocks. I planted a row of seeds some years go, but it was a silly experiment. They were totally overwhelmed with weeds. Recently I've read about using clover mixed with a grass such as quinoa so the clover covers the ground to keep out other weeds, while the grass grows up tall in between. We've got some heaped-up patches of clover after seeding bare spots last year (some white, some red). We'll clip it during the flowering stage for the compost, or maybe just let it feed the bees.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #208 on: June 25, 2014, 12:11:55 PM »
DC's swarm squad keeps bees at bay - without killing them
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28004876

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #209 on: June 25, 2014, 06:54:57 PM »
"Turning Fuel Into Food" Eric Garza

http://www.howericlives.com/turning-fuel-into-food/

Eric , who visited us at ASIF, has been writing some nice essays lately.
Small plots report 
During spring planting I had time for some small no tractor/no rototiller plots 150lbs.potatoes and a
thousand head of lettuce picked and sold to date from those plots. No fuel tomatoes just starting
production and it looks like the grafted tomatoes will turn out to be the best no fuel producers. I used organically approved paper mulch to keep hand -weeding to a minimum. Still setting fruit but they look very good.
 I am trying to work on the last line from Eric's essay.  Full summer weed growth makes the repeated passes with the electric tiller very important as the  tiller can't handle established weeds. When weeds get a large  foothold  gas tillers become necessary and for my little experiment that plot is conventional and no longer counted in my zero fuel/ lbs. harvested count. These are my first experiments with trying to keep track and this years work should inform next years effort. The small electric tiller has worked nicely even in my conventional plots. Great for seed bed preparations and early weed control efforts. Can till to within an< inch of newly germinated vegy's no problem.
 Starting a greenmarket in town this year to encourage people to walk or ride their bikes to get their vegy's on Sundays. Farmstand opened last Saturday , an e-mail and postcard went out but otherwise no signage. I knew almost everyones name who came by.  Nice day.     

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #210 on: June 26, 2014, 09:58:41 PM »

lisa

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Re: Gardening quinoa
« Reply #211 on: June 27, 2014, 03:46:32 AM »
Lynn -- it's a 3 meter by 1.5 meter double dug bed.  Tonight (after work) I went out to look at them -- they're supposed to be thinned to about 15 cm (6 in) apart, and since I simply broadcast them, I was looking at how they were coming up.  As you can imagine, some clumps and some bare areas.  So I moved some of the seedlings around.  They're still tiny, maybe the height of my pinky finger. 

I took some pics the day before yesterday so that I could document the whole experiment but I've misplaced/lost the camera card reader.  I'll keep taking pics and buy a new reader next month.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #212 on: June 27, 2014, 03:59:59 AM »
Wow, quinoa is a big, lumpy plant. Not like a grass at all. It looks like something you would want to start inside and transplant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa#mediaviewer/File:Chenopodium_quinoa0.jpg
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

lisa

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #213 on: June 27, 2014, 05:00:08 AM »
It looks like something you would want to start inside and transplant.

Yup, I'm going to try that next year.

TerryM

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #214 on: June 27, 2014, 09:50:05 PM »
Quinoa is found almost wherever the ground has been disturbed in Southern Ontario. I think it's more a question of identifying it and harvesting rather than planting the stuff.
I harvested a few bags full last summer & the only problem was flies hatching. This year I'll either freeze or heat things to kill them off. (Protein source)?
Rubbed between the palms to "thresh" it
Taste of the wild stuff is OK, but bland. More a filler than something to look forward to.


Terry

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #215 on: June 27, 2014, 11:16:20 PM »
Damned seems very interesting...
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229750.800-the-wonder-food-youve-probably-never-heard-of.html?cmpid=RSS|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|environment
Can you tell us if you have a new scientist subscription of what kind of species they are talking about ?

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #216 on: June 28, 2014, 01:24:11 AM »
Terry, you're joking! I thought quinoa was a crop they could really only grow properly in the Andes.

I know what you mean about the bugs. One year I was reading lots about foraging, so I went out to collect cattail pollen. I was parking beside swamps and tapping the green bullrushes over a shallow cardboard box, getting quite a lot. Then I noticed these wiggly tracks in the layer of yellow pollen. EEEEWWW! It was little worms. That was pretty much the end of my foraging career.

The thing about quinoa is it's like rice – it really matters what kind. Some is so fluffy and delicious and some is so small and hard.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

ghoti

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #217 on: June 28, 2014, 04:17:31 PM »
Grown in the Andes because it grows in harsh conditions in marginal soil. This makes it the perfect weed! There are many genera/species in the Amaranth family which probably makes finding and identifying "real" Quinoa growing as a weed a bit tougher.

In looking it up on the web to try to help me get an idea of what to look for I discovered that even spinach is related.

Funny how food trends come and go and return. In the early 1980s, in graduate school,  we were growing and studying photosynthesis and transpiration in Amaranth because it grows so well in the southwest desert (and was trendy?).

TerryM

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #218 on: June 30, 2014, 03:59:37 AM »
Lynn


Apparently before corn made its way north aboriginal groups ate lots of amaranth/quinoa. Eastern Cultural Tradition if I recall properly. It grows all over the place and really doesn't taste bad at all. The wife won't allow it in the house since the fly incident, but I'm still tempted to cook some up while camping.
I'd harvested mine just back from a soft shoulder just outside Brantford but once you get used to the look you find it everywhere. It's certainly possible that some strains are preferable but the difference between really good and not so good probably isn't great.
My hand threshing then flotation method left plenty of crunchy's and I think that was the biggest difference between what I picked and what I purchased. I imagine one could supplement your diet with minimal labor harvesting weeds.


Terry

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #219 on: June 30, 2014, 04:04:12 AM »
That's the conclusion I came to after my foraging spring. It's good to know what's edible, but wild parsnips are pretty skinny and pulling them is not really a great idea without gloves. Etcetera.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #220 on: July 03, 2014, 08:53:52 PM »
Interesting garden in NYC

adelady

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #221 on: July 05, 2014, 06:38:19 AM »
Just came across this item buried in my bookmarks.   It's about allotments in Britain but it could apply equally to other urban food production. 

"Compared with local arable fields, the allotment soil was significantly healthier: allotment soil had 32% more organic carbon, 36% higher carbon to nitrogen ratios, 25% higher nitrogen and was significantly less compacted."

"Allotment holders are able to produce good food yields without sacrificing soil quality because they use sustainable management techniques. For example, 95% of allotment holders compost their allotment waste, so they recycle nutrients and carbon back to their soil more effectively."

And, most importantly ...
"... the heyday for allotments was during World War Two, when 10% of the UK's food came from less than 1% of its cultivated land ..." 

Though I suppose it's worth bearing in mind that food was rationed during that time so the total amount consumed per person was less than it is now.   

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140425075027.htm

Something to cheer you up when it all looks to be a bit much and you wonder whether it's worth it.   

silkman

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #222 on: July 05, 2014, 09:50:37 AM »
Adelady

It's nice to see a reference to British allotments which are making a big come back right now, with waiting lists for a plot on these local authority provided communal gardens currently standing at over 100,000.

And I can speak from the heart when I say that, just like any other piece of land, you get out of them what you put in in terms of hard graft.

Anyway, I'm just off to mine to dig up a few new potatoes for the weekend. There's no better treat than first early spuds with a sprig of mint!

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #223 on: July 06, 2014, 02:08:31 AM »
Very nice, silkman! Hope to have some of that too next year.

As far as our garden is concerned, the army of darkness has arrived: slugs. My wife and daughter had already told me (I'm in the house all day trying to get things done), but two days ago I walked around our plot at dusk, and there were these huge brown b***ards all over the place! It was an awesome sight.

Of course, the good news is that sooner or later we'll have all kinds of critters coming over who like to eat slugs, increasing the biodiversity on our reconvalescing plot. We'll also be taking ducks next Spring, and they will probably be the happiest ducks in Europe when they see all those millions of slugs.  :D

In the meantime we have trays full of little plants that we are apprehensive of putting out in our square foot gardens. The bigger plants are doing fine, but everything that is vulnerable , has been destroyed. That's not really a problem, as this year we're still focused on getting the house done, and the garden is just a bit of an experiment. Every small success is a bonus and a first step on the learning curve.

But still, should I go for some last-minute measures and buy some metal netting or whatever, or just let things go as they go, and then make more of an effort next year (like getting ducks, etc)?
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #224 on: July 06, 2014, 02:53:49 AM »
I suspect if I had gone to look at the right time I would have caught slugs red-handed mowing down row after row of tiny sprouts. (It also could have been mice.) Apparently farmers are quite used to planting some things a second time. We who buy our seeds in tiny precious packets can't imagine that. Instead we're indignant.

So, ducks don't eat young vegetables the way chickens do? My friends who keep a couple of dozen chickens and three ducks have built an elaborate fence around a huge expanse of lilac bushes because the chickens were eating their spring veggies. The lilacs keep them from getting a run at the fence, so they can't fly over it.

The organic strawberry farm where I get my berries every year has a flock of geese whose job it is to eat the weeds. Apparently they don't like strawberry plants. One year a rodent chewed through a connection on the electrified poultry fence and coyotes killed the entire flock of geese.

So, the upshot is, why are you so sure the ducks will take care of the slugs? We've always heard that beer will attract and drown slugs. You embed a can in the earth and fill it with beer. I have not tried this myself. I don't grow lettuce, which I suspect encourages slugs.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

ghoti

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #225 on: July 06, 2014, 03:23:53 AM »
We've been growing a ton of lettuce and chinese flowering greens in our small intense garden. Slugs love them both but over the years it is clear the weather is the biggest factor in how bad a problem they can be. Our planting method has meant we always have lots of lettuce and green regardless of the slug load. We allow some of the plants to go to seed and let the seed plant itself.

The result is that the plants germinate and grow as soon as the winter snow melts and the ground thaws. It also means the garden plots are infested with lettuce and greens - more than the slugs can manage to decimate. We gradually thin the plants as we make our first spring salads.  We also find many lettuce plants coming up outside our defined garden beds. These we either transplant into gaps in the plots or into small pots to give to friends or people at plant swaps who prefer to wait to the "official" safe planting date  for our region.

Slug do drown themselves in saucers of beer but you still need to look for slugs on plants and garden edge when it is cool and damp to manually squish. I didn't have much success in the past surrounding individual plants with diatomaceous earth despite the concept sounding effective.

We've always had trouble with slugs, cut worms, bunnies and squirrels when we have widely spaced individual plants. When we have carpets of plants some may be lost but we end up with lots for us to eat ourselves.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #226 on: July 06, 2014, 03:39:47 AM »
Cutworms toughened me up early in my present incarnation as a gardener. I save cream cartons all year for collars for anything that's individual and likely to be felled like a tree by beavers. Not just transplants like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers; but also broccoli and kale seeds, squashes, and melons. Even brown paper taped into a sleeve works.

I think your lettuce method is brilliant, ghoti!
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

ghoti

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #227 on: July 06, 2014, 03:43:18 AM »
Yes we use the collar method too. Collar goes on after we've dug around looking for lurking cut worms.

silkman

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #228 on: July 06, 2014, 09:22:23 AM »
Neven

Slugs and snails are the bane of a gardener's life especially up here in damp NW England. Keeping weeds under control helps, as do collars and mulches but I've never had much success with beer traps.

But it's worth the effort. Somehow, something you've grown yourself just tastes so much better!

Meanwhile, one last pic - red currants yesterday, now in the process of being turned into jelly in the kitchen.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #229 on: July 06, 2014, 02:43:26 PM »
We're having our second wet summer running, so it's a slug year. Ghoti's in Ontario, too, I think. The tomatoes are already splitting. 2012 was a drought year.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

JayW

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #230 on: July 06, 2014, 10:42:14 PM »
Slugs haven't been too bad this year in my area, I have only just got around to building a couple beds this year, nothing even planted, too many other duties.  My plan for slugs is a piece of copper wire nailed around the perimeter of each bed.  I know that some folks put a copper ring around the base of each plant, but it depends on what you are growing I suppose.  I will also leave a partially full beer can on it's side nearby.
"To defy the laws of tradition, is a crusade only of the brave" - Les Claypool

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #231 on: July 06, 2014, 11:04:20 PM »
I am for a little pond with some toads or frogs...take care poor little slugs...
When I say pond, it may just be a little basket on earth level and with a bit of shade, like the end of the overflow of your rain water collector.

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #232 on: July 06, 2014, 11:17:52 PM »
It's been wet here too. Last year was extremely warm over here in Austria (multiple temp records broken), and the slugs stayed near the small (mostly dry) creek that runs along the border of our small plot. There's a small concrete tunnel running below the train rails behind our house, and it was filled to the brim with slugs.

This year is much wetter, and our plot is slowly starting to get resuscitated. But as there is no balance as of yet, the army of darkness is performing a successful blitzkrieg. I say this with great interest, and not frustration or anything. Predators will eventually show up, I expect.

So, ducks don't eat young vegetables the way chickens do? My friends who keep a couple of dozen chickens and three ducks have built an elaborate fence around a huge expanse of lilac bushes because the chickens were eating their spring veggies. The lilacs keep them from getting a run at the fence, so they can't fly over it.

That's our plan for next year. The ducks will form a barrier between the creek (where I believe most of the slugs come from) and our garden zone, which is slightly elevated compared to duck domain. Behind the house is where the chicken will have around 600 square metres of room. We're going to try and take meat-producing breed, as these get bigger and have a tougher time flying over fences (and still produce plenty of eggs for our needs).

Quote
So, the upshot is, why are you so sure the ducks will take care of the slugs? We've always heard that beer will attract and drown slugs. You embed a can in the earth and fill it with beer. I have not tried this myself. I don't grow lettuce, which I suspect encourages slugs.

I'm not sure the ducks will completely take care of the slugs, but they should decimate their numbers significantly. 2 years ago when I was fooling around with my first garden behind the place we rented, we had a slug problem as well. I would get up early every morning and collect them in a small bucket. After 2-3 days I would take the bucket over to my neighbour who had around 10 ducks.

The ducks ran away from me at first, until they understood what was in the bucket. They then came running to me.  :D

We tried the beer trap yesterday and the day before. It works. But you have to combine it with other stuff, or else you'll just attract more slugs to your seedlings. We're thinking about buying this thing, a tiny copper fence, but I'd rather do without.

Like Ghoti says, planting a lot of extra stuff, so it doesn't matter if the slugs get some of it. That's what we'll also do next year. Or let the seedlings get really big before transplanting.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

silkman

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Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #234 on: July 07, 2014, 12:28:42 AM »
I have used old gutters to create a perimeter around a strawberry patch with a snail problem. With a little sprinkle of hydrated lime in the gutters you create a barrier slugs and snails cannot cross. I have been resisting posting this as it sounds heavy-handed but hydrated lime is a soil amendment used to increase soil pH and I have used it to help compost pine needles and balance their acidity. It is too dry around here for snail and slug problems but every environment hosts it's own garden challenges.
Today it's the thermometer.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #235 on: July 07, 2014, 01:13:47 AM »
Here's a slug-proof partial solution to salad decimation. Shiso. I bought two seedlings at our farmer's market. Three big leaves chopped into a two serving lettuce salad adds sort of a spicy flavour. It's already bigger than we can use. (Not my photo)

http://lescomestibles.blogspot.ca/2013/10/shizo.html

Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

johnm33

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #236 on: July 08, 2014, 10:53:25 AM »
 Second years effort still a work in progress
 
 
Cropping broad beans, kale, carrots, beetroot, lettuce and corjets. The leeks bolted the potatoes got blight and the slugs are still assaulting the runner beans. The Rasberrys have begun to form as have the sqashes which are going triffid and the peas are filling out. Various brassicas doing well and some sunflowers for the hens [not yet aquired]. The raised beds are turf, started laying them flat but then decided to cut them [turves] about 10cm wide and a spade depth and lay them at 90deg so with grass walls. If I did this again I'd seed the area to be cut with clover first.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #237 on: July 21, 2014, 06:56:10 PM »
I planted five, two hundred foot  , rows of runner beans as a summer cover crop this year. They are doing very well in some very poor soil so as a cover they have succeeded. The beans are setting and with several bushels available to pick I was picking and occasionally eating the raw beans. ERROR. So although I probably should have known they would make me sick I had to learn the hard way.
 I have been missing our friend JimD so I dredged this note out of an old file. I don't think I sent it before but I may be  repeating myself...

JimD, working myself up for a few hours of weeding. We have had the ability to change how we live for awhile now. Reaching clear back to the " back to the land " movement of the sixties we have struggled with some sort of agrarian ideal verses the reality of our lives. We love to coddle our idealism and bury the reality of our individual impact. 
 Living off the land is tough duty. Beautiful yes sometimes but it requires enormous physical effort to actually pull off. I don't think it's the sort of thing people can imagine accurately without picking up a shovel and saying " I can feed myself ".
I can't say I have figured out how to totally go off grid and feed myself and my family but I damn sure have an inkling about the work involved. The store is so handy and I can jump in the car an go get what I want so easily and that is the problem. The ease of modern life is so alluring. So we then individually and collectively proceed on our path to ruin because what is easy today takes precedence. Repeat x 7,000,000,000
 Collapse at an individual level is instructive for how collapse might feel at a larger level of society. Challenging, depressing, tiring. You have to keep reminding yourself there is some larger good served. Doing that as an individual is one thing but we need to do this thing collectively. And there is where I fail, not that I am so successful even as an individual but I sure know where I go wrong when I do.
We certainly as a society do not suffer guilt. I am not so lucky. I don't have people reminding me about my excesses, those limits are self imposed.  
  


Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #238 on: July 21, 2014, 11:37:29 PM »
Living off the land is tough duty. Beautiful yes sometimes but it requires enormous physical effort to actually pull off. I don't think it's the sort of thing people can imagine accurately without picking up a shovel and saying " I can feed myself ".
I can't say I have figured out how to totally go off grid and feed myself and my family but I damn sure have an inkling about the work involved.
Thanks for a touching post, Bruce.

Is "totally off grid and feed your family" not too high to aim for? And counter-productive on a societal level? Wouldn't it be better if everyone produced a part of their food, and if so, how much?

I don't aim to produce everything myself, but just enough to save maybe 100-300 euros a month (a couple of years from now), and that way free up time to do more interesting work that doesn't necessarily bring money, like blogging or community work, or offer the flexibility of trying some new money-making venture that also makes sense morally.

If everyone would do some amount of gardening to provide some food, they could work less, consume less, be healthier (better, more nutritious food, physical exercise), be more independent, which would be good for democracy and society. The question is: how much self-sufficiency is enough? 10%? 25%? 50%?
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Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #239 on: July 21, 2014, 11:44:21 PM »
Well said, Neven. Resilient communities are a more realistic goal than self-sufficient families. The sooner we start buying local producers' goods, the more likely we'll be ready for extremely expensive fuel. Gardening is good for the soul and keeps us close to the ground and out of trouble.

This year the rain has the weeds going nuts. You can tell by looking at gardens who's been away for three days.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #240 on: July 22, 2014, 03:17:58 AM »
I don't know about how either as individuals or as small communities we can get carbon emissions down to the IPCC goals  for 2100. I don't think reinventing agriculture is necessary and  putting millions of people back to pre-1800 agricultural methods and Co2 emissions is more of a social challenge than a technological one. To be sure many millions will resist 80% Co2 emissions from 2005 levels so it seems to me a large number will have to do even better. That is near zero or even net negative carbon. Even if we can maintain some level of transportation expectations ( like 60 mph ) or  efficient low impact housing we still have to include food production and feeding billions of people locally.
These are structural problems with a very short ( 90 years ) timelines for solutions . I get frustrated because ten years ago we were emitting ~ 27 Gt Co2 annually and now we are around 35 Gt. There aren't even organized efforts to attempt zero carbon goals for individuals or communities although in third world settings they still exist. We don't even look for good examples. If I had a good instruction book in how to execute zero carbon goals I could save myself a lot of work trying to figure it out Solo.
 Neven, I don't think what I am doing as and individual is counter-productive for society. Farming and producing food is very traditional and tied to proven methods. Yet every sector of society has it's heretic fringe. People either like the food I produce or they find it elsewhere, nobody really cares if it was sweat or a tractor that produced it. Costs them the same either way. I wish more people would at least dream of something closer to perfect , no net carbon ,knowing full well the weight of that goal and the cost of failure. I am wondering if I misinterpreted your question but maybe I might find ways for other people to improve in the future by making it a little extra tough on myself in the present.
 I will have enough solar( grid tied not off grid) to run all my farms electric needs this year, water pumps, refrigeration etc. Tillage is still an ongoing issue and transport to market also. Not insurmountable issues. A little plug-in with 10 mile range could fix my delivery issues . Tillage remains a challenge. Bio still an option with presses and refining.
 It's hot outside today and the melon crop is coming into season. Had amaranth gravy on my potato and carrot stew last night. Still planting winter squash and fall crops. Spring crops like carrots,potatoes and beets are about finished as well as my stone fruit season. Wishing for an El Nino and a rain season. Fixing my energy issues will never compensate for extended drought but they are issues tied together for future generations, maybe all of them.     


   

Neven

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #241 on: July 22, 2014, 10:49:18 AM »
Neven, I don't think what I am doing as and individual is counter-productive for society.

Of course not, I was referring to non-farmers like myself. What you are doing is extremely helpful for all of us. Unfortunately, I'm not at that stage yet where I can benefit from your experiences, but maybe in 2-3 years.

My ultimate goal is to find a balance between energy, labour, nutritional value/diet, sustainability, economic/societal participation, etc. Our house is a part of that, but unfortunately it will take some more months to finish (I should post an update in the building projects thread). After that the focus will shift more and more to gardening.

My theory right now is that agriculture is a very big part of the (origins of our) problem. Horticulture is the way to go. Gradually, of course.

But there's no use in me talking about this, if I can't back it up with more arguments and practical experience.
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Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #242 on: August 20, 2014, 08:44:02 PM »

lisa

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #243 on: August 22, 2014, 06:29:48 AM »
My tomatoes have been hit with Late Blight.  It's just a terrible shame - I'm so bummed.  I've lost about 30 plants, what I was planning on canning and feeding my family for the next several months.  Something killed my melons, too. 

In happier news, the cabbages, zucchini, pumpkins, corn, broccoli and quinoa are doing great.

It's a learning process.  I thought that the tomatoes were just wilting because I'd planted them too near the black walnuts -- maybe if I'd pulled the first couple of bad plants, the rest could have been saved.    :(

But really, what I've been thinking is -- what if I had counted on this crop?  What if this crop was all there was?  Late Blight is what caused the great Irish potato famine, I've read.  It scares me; I feel that I'm not learning this fast enough, especially when insane weather is thrown in to the mix. 

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #244 on: August 22, 2014, 10:15:53 AM »
I planted lots of tomatoes (more than you) and expected a good harvest but just like you there would be little or no crop...
Those who planted outdoor (France limousin) aren't doing well but those with green house are doing much better.
Yes it is scary, a changing climate is not good for anything especially for plants because they cannot protect themselves of the extreme (mild in this case).
The lesson I learned is not to sow all your tomatoes seeds the same year, if you plants rare tomatoes it is easy to end up with no rare tomatoes for ever...and yes polyculture.
The second thing is to replant next year what you gain this year, you may have nothing to eat but it may be more important that the genes adapt themselves to the changing climate.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 10:21:47 AM by Laurent »

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #245 on: August 22, 2014, 03:03:03 PM »
Yes, I've figured out in the last couple of years, both too rainy, this one too cool – gardening is not a triumph over climate disruptions. It will be what it will be. My tomatoes didn't ripen and the chipmunks ate them anyway. Great year for kale. Kale could be the Answer. Crepes stuffed with cooked kale and feta cheese with fried onions over top. Deeee-lish.

My onion and garlic crops were fabulous. The berries were a bust.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

ghoti

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #246 on: August 22, 2014, 03:42:42 PM »
We never know what's going to do well and what's going to be a failure. Slugs had a great time on our kale and other greens but the lettuce was wonderful this year. The Roma tomatoes are producing really well this year but the beefsteaks are almost a washout.

The surprise for me is how well the zucchini have been doing considering how cool and rainy the summer has been here. I just love having lots of zukes to eat and share with neighbours. I also can't believe how long the edible pod peas have continued to produce - still picking some in mid-August. Garlic turned out well and the pole beans are starting to pick up steam.

Not a bad summer (despite the weather).

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #247 on: August 23, 2014, 02:20:58 AM »
Yes, the snap peas kept producing till last week, very unusual. Zucchini is great.

Yesterday I happened to meet the raspberry farmer from whom my friend got the canes whose daughters fizzled in this, their third, season. He think they were a planned-obsolescence hybrid, good for heavy production for one or two years. He suggested getting new canes next spring from Strawberry Time in Simcoe Ontario. Apparently they supply farms all over the world. And I'm not to plant them in the same place as the old canes. Roger that.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

Laurent

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #248 on: August 24, 2014, 05:04:02 PM »
Oh yes Zucchini (thought it was something exotic), we call that "courgette" here. What are you doing with all that stuff ?


ghoti

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #249 on: August 24, 2014, 09:59:01 PM »
Haha! I find ways to include it in everything. Saute with black pepper, nutmeg, and yogurt (or sour cream). Grated with scrambled eggs baked to be a souffle, grated again to replace some of the oil and liquid in chocolate cake, zucchini bread, in stir fry, in spaghetti sauce, stuffed zucchini...

You get the idea. Plus of course sharing with friends and family and with the local food bank.