Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Walking the walk => Topic started by: Neven on January 09, 2014, 09:40:52 PM

Title: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 09, 2014, 09:40:52 PM
I thought it might be interesting/handy to open a central thread where folks can discuss and exchange their gardening experiences, as it is IMO one of the most useful things one can do, also with regards to the many global problems we face. You can't go more local.

I'm copying a discussion from a thread on global warming and food to kick off. Myself, I will be gardening for the first time for real this year, but starting small. I want to try and turn this into a lifetime hobby.

I use drip tape and like Jim says most of it goes to a recycling bin because calcium carbonate plugs up the emitter holes. I can use aluminum pipe hand lines( sprinklers ) but you use a lot more water. Wish I could figure how to keep my drip tape from plugging up.


On your drip tape issue I do not know of a solution.  We tired all kinds of drip tape fro the cheapest with the thinnest walls to the thickest which is supposed to last a few years, and, fo course, different makes with differently designed drip holes.  Our biggest problem was not mineral buildup (softer water I guess at our farm) but that in our climate gunk grows in the tubing and that algae plugged the holes.  We lived in an area which was very warm and humid and we used filtered pond water.  We had to  flush our filter at least every two days.  Maybe it was food for the plants?


For small gardens, instead of using drip irrigation, you may want to consider  a French Drain system. While commonly used to drain water away  from structures to prevent damage, they are, in fact, systems that move water fro one area where it is not desired to another where it is.

[url]http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-systems/french-drains/ezflow-french-drain[/url] ([url]http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-systems/french-drains/ezflow-french-drain[/url])

I have installed these under my raised gardens with amazing results. The water from my downspouts fill the underground system and it migrates out through flow wells to surrounding soils as these soils dry out.

What are the advantages? All irrigation is delivered below ground, minimizing evaporation and encouraging deep root growth.

SH

Nice.  Did you build it yourself?  If so how long did it take to plan out and all that.  I assume you use pvc pipe with holes in it?


I did build it myself. It took my son and I a weekend to install the system for a single bed. I actually purchased everything I needed from the linked company. I have a single flow well in the middle of each 12' square raised bed. The piping from the downspouts are solid as I only want the water to disperse into the garden. It was amazingly easy to install, some planning, a little trenching and digging the hole for the flow well and connecting the various components of the system.

Caution: The system will only work if the soil adjacent to the flow wells have a decent percolation rate so that the water moves through the soil under the garden well. Fortunately, I live in a subdivision in Chicago that was built in the early 1900's, before they developed the neat trick of stripping all of the topsoil off before building and then selling you 1 inch of it back for a ridiculous profit. The dark topsoil is at least 3 feet deep. You will begin to hit some orange clay after that. This is another  reason why you want to construct a raised garden bed as you can insure better percolation. I did not bother measuring the percolation rate because of the quality of the topsoil.

Having clay under the system is not a bad thing either as it encourages the water to move horizontally through the garden bed.


SH, good idea in areas you don't plan on digging up again like raised beds or orchards. It would be nice to have a smaller diameter version available. A very slow rate biodegradable version would be even better IMO.  My goal is to reduce ff use in farm equipment first but ff plastic will also need replacing. Cornstarch greenhouse covers are possible I suppose but for now they are ff,


Bruce...the original French drain systems consisted of drain tiles and trenches filled with gravel. It is even necessary to fill the trench with different size gravel, the outer part should be very fine gravel which discourages soil infiltration and water escaping prior to reaching its desired destination. The core of the gravel is course so it can move the water faster. I toyed with the idea of using this approach but the thought of hauling thousands of pounds of gravel and the labor involved convinced me to use this off the shelf product.


Do you guys have any experience with these special pearl tubes (that's what they're called in German, Perlschlauch):

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.schlauch-profi.de%2Fimages%2Fproduct_images%2Fpopup_images%2F1036_1.jpg&hash=81115b9c49ba299f132e740c5f8f4975)

I'm thinking about using these in our raised, mulched beds, using the rainwater from our cistern. I'm really looking at ways to use as little water as possible, as we're also using the rainwater for our toilet and washing machine, and it can get pretty hot and dry here southeast of the Alps (in fact, a little too close to the Mediterranean Basin for my taste).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on January 09, 2014, 10:21:24 PM
I used what I guess is a North American equivalent (made of porous rubber I think) which dripped with a pattern the photo shows. I wasn't completely satisfied with it for a couple of reasons. One, I didn't feel comfortable leaving water running continuously even though the flow was very low. Two, I didn't feel I could judge how much water was being provided without poking around and digging up the soil to see the moisture spread.

In any case I stopped using this method and essentially stopped watering completely for the "ornamental" portion of the garden. If the wildflowers and perennials  can't cope they'll get replaced but what can. So far the effect is still pleasing to me and the garden is still green and colourful even in hot dry years.

For the food portion of the garden we mostly hand water using collected rain water off the roof of our house and garage. We have a very small patch of land so this really isn't an issue. Our lack of rigor in weeding is a much much bigger issue we'll have to work on.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 09, 2014, 10:26:08 PM
One, I didn't feel comfortable leaving water running continuously even though the flow was very low. Two, I didn't feel I could judge how much water was being provided without poking around and digging up the soil to see the moisture spread.

I see what you mean. I was thinking about combining the hose with a programmable clock so that things run pretty much automatic, after having calculated how much water is needed, and observed how things go.

But that's all theory.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 09, 2014, 10:38:35 PM
Just in case anyone reading this later wants to follow the original posts in the other topic:

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,317.msg18602.html#msg18602 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,317.msg18602.html#msg18602)

The first thing most people think about when gardening in the context of collapse (or in the name of increasing resilience if you prefer) is food.

Has anyone given any thought to pharmaceuticals? For example opium poppies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaver_somniferum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaver_somniferum)) are thought to have been used as a basis for painkillers (acute pain)  for thousands of years. Our socioeconomic overlords and corporate interests may want to try to regulate these options and ideas beyond the reach of the masses - but nonetheless I'm tossing the idea out there.

Another possible example is of course cannabis, which has a reputation for being useful for the management of chronic (albeit milder) pain. The closely related hemp has value as a fibre.

Fibres take one into fabrics and cordage - the usefulness of which perhaps shouldn't need spelled out.

Gardening - or small scale agriculture (more along the lines being discussed by JimD and BruceSteele) - need not be limited to only thinking about food. It actually opens up a lot more than that - potentially reaching into most aspects of less technologically dependent life (the word primitive carries negative connotations).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on January 09, 2014, 11:58:10 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, neven...it's nice to think about green and growing things in the deepest dark of winter. For now, I would just like to know if anyone has any experience with hugelkultur.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur (http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 12, 2014, 08:23:07 PM
Do you guys have any experience with these special pearl tubes (that's what they're called in German, Perlschlauch):

Neven what kind of holes does that stuff have in it?    Is it just totally porous or are there manufactured holes on a specific spacing?  Normal drip tape is designed for farmers and comes in a variety of hole spacings from 6, 8, 12, 18 inches as these are the normal plant spacings used by row cropping.  This allows the farmer to have an emitter right next to the plant and none elsewhere (thus partially starving the weeds from water).  If your hose is porous everywhere it will waste some of your water and also water weeds thus increasing cultivation work.

And big issue if that hose is very expensive (drip tape is very cheap) is that anything with holes in it is going to eventually plug up and not work anymore.  Then it has to be replaced.  So take into account how often you have to buy hose and factor that into your costs.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on January 12, 2014, 09:22:56 PM
I won't go to buy that for the reasons mentioned by jimd, I have bough a drip systeme that I will try this summer, it will be plug on rain water collector. Because it will be plug on the rain water system it should not be so easily be jammed with CACO3 ! (the rain water is acid normally)...would it work with low pressure...let's see !
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JayW on January 12, 2014, 10:33:10 PM
I'm hoping to start my first real vegetable garden this year. I have shared a garden, and have done some container gardening when I was a city boy.  I'm thinkingfof starting small, 2 raised beds, each 4 feet x 8 feet. Zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, band, peas, and might do some herbs in containers.  Looking forward to this thread. 

Where I live, we receive enough rain that supplemental watering is only needed during the occasional dry spell.  Many people around here use hoses like you mentioned Neven. They are usually sold as "soaker" hoses.  Normally people run them through their garden, or shrubs, and only leave then on for a day at a time when necessary.  They work well, and seem to flow very slowly. But I only see then used sporadically, not as the primary water source.  I
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 13, 2014, 01:11:57 AM
And big issue if that hose is very expensive (drip tape is very cheap) is that anything with holes in it is going to eventually plug up and not work anymore.  Then it has to be replaced.  So take into account how often you have to buy hose and factor that into your costs.

I think even something as simple as this question about how to drip irrigate highlights a few things - particularly:


In that context I think it's of particular interest (thinking selfishly at least) what people think are good answers without reliance upon external products and technologies, but that still maximise efficient usage of resources (water and labour).

Even today for many people the simple question of getting enough water to their crops is a major issue (note large regions that today rely upon rain for this and failure of rain alone assures hunger) that is decidedly non trivial following collapse.

It is even more non trivial when one considers many of the obvious options for irrigation can threaten the land in some way - for instance not just non sustainable depletion of ground water but also salinisation of the land.

What then - without using sophisticated pumps and high technology - but still sustainably irrigating crops in the absence of sufficient rain - are the options anyone can think of? Preferably less labour intensive than storing rain and manually carrying the water around?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 13, 2014, 01:15:44 AM
Neven what kind of holes does that stuff have in it?    Is it just totally porous or are there manufactured holes on a specific spacing?

I'm not sure, Jim, as I haven't worked with it yet, but I believe it's totally porous. I don't know that much about it.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 16, 2014, 06:19:21 PM
I'm pulling in this from Bruce Steele into this topic (from https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,714.msg18888.html#msg18888 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,714.msg18888.html#msg18888)).

Field peas are grown commercially at 46 degrees north near Walla-Walla Washington . Both peas and fava beans can withstand some spring freeze. They provide the best nitrogen if plowed under in bloom and even then they won't provide enough for hungry crops like corn without supplements or two years in cover for every year with a crop.
 The advantage beans provide in arid climates is they are spring planted and you can get a good idea of soil moisture content before you plant unlike winter wheat. Around here you can get away with black eyed peas when there isn't enough soil moisture to get a Lima bean crop in. They run a cover crop of favas followed with a planting of safflower in the Calif.central valley but the fact that safflower can handle alkalinity may influence those crop choices.
 I think there are crop rotations that can provide complete protein. Amaranth grown following peas and fava could be part of a corn diet if amaranth was the focus and corn was a complimented rather than the main portion of the diet.Corn is a very hungry crop and very hard on soil health. Adding some more legumes would help keep soil fertility up but since all those crops except fava are new world crops grown for thousands of years I'm not really covering any new ground. 
 What we eat or what we want to eat seems deeply ingrained socially. Unless one chooses to become a vegetarian the amount of beans one consumes is probably similar to your parents diet. Beans take some planning and time for preparation. Soak night before and cook for several hours. That alone may result in relative lack of beans in the western diet?
 This I suppose should go into the gardening page but I have roots in the Lima business, couldn't
resist. There are historical examples we could follow if we choose to. Farming has much to do with repeating successes and learning from mistakes. The mistake of depending upon chemical fertilizers will become very obvious when those inputs begin to fail. Temperature or rain patterns changes can be adapted to much easier than trying to farm without fertilizer.

Firstly because it's got some good and relevant information in it.

Secondly because I wanted to add my note that as far as I understand legumes do not automatically improve soil nitrogen - they work in combination with bacteria - rhizobium. That presumably means you either need naturally present soil microbes to start with or you need to be using innoculated seeds which have artificially had this ensured by coating the seeds.

If anyone knows more about this I'm interested in:
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 16, 2014, 06:32:42 PM
Another one I'm pulling in here from Bruce Steele (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,716.msg18978.html#msg18978 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,716.msg18978.html#msg18978)):

Jack,   Corn, amaranth, peas and beans don't need bees so it is still possible to maintain a plant based and nutrient ( amino acid) balanced protein diet without bees. Some of these same crops are also drought tolerant and can handle heat. They were staples for thousands of years because they can be harvested and stored for winter use. I have only grown one crop of millet but it should also be included on this list as a hardy heat resistant crop. Food for thought.


My understanding is most (all?) grasses and grains are wind pollinated. Peas and beans are (mostly) self pollinated.

If you are growing these - and especially if you are trying to preserve, maintain or improve a heirloom non hybrid strain of a seed - you need to be especially careful with wind pollinated stuff. You need to ask yourself - what is your neighbour growing? What is that massive field of stuff the farmer has a few miles away? Wind pollination can be unhelpfully promiscuous at times.

Even insects raise that to some extent but because they tend to travel from plant to plant in a local area (far more efficient) I don't think the distances of concern will tend to be anywhere near as far.

Also there are plants (brassicas come to mind) where my understanding is that you have to be careful native plants don't interfere with taking seed and breeding as they can also exchange pollen and have at least enough compatibility to ruin your expected harvest in the next generation.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/members/seed_saving/ssg18_brassicas.php (http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/members/seed_saving/ssg18_brassicas.php)

Some stuff on pollination in general:

http://howtosaveseeds.com/isolate.php (http://howtosaveseeds.com/isolate.php)

This just relates to corn, it cannot be assumed to apply to other plants, but highlights a point about GM contamination:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0153.html (http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0153.html)

Other research has indicated that cross-pollination between corn fields could be limited to 1% or less on a whole field basis by a separation distance of 660 ft., and limited to 0.5% or less on a whole field basis by a separation distance of 984 ft. However, cross-pollination could not be limited to 0.1% consistently even with isolation distances of 1640 ft.


And just to highlight how conservative that is:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6421-wind-carries-gm-pollen-record-distances.html#.UtgWp7Ty2eY (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6421-wind-carries-gm-pollen-record-distances.html#.UtgWp7Ty2eY)

Only a handful of studies have ever investigated gene flow from crops - GM or otherwise - at distances greater than a few hundred metres. Studies have found radish and sunflower genes travelling 1 km, marrow (or squash) genes travelling 1.3 km and oil-seed rape (or canola) genes travelling up to 3 km.

But the suspicion is that pollen from many crops could travel hundreds of kilometres on the winds.


I like the bit that we're growing a ton of GM stuff and haven't really even properly investigated the cross contamination big-Ag assures us isn't a f*cking threat!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 16, 2014, 08:15:39 PM
Ccg, I believe different legumes prefer different rhizobium. Although you can buy the correct  one to compliment your legume selections you will find replanting the same legume , in the same place, for a second year usually works without problems even without inoculating. I haven't ever inoculated and sometimes the first year is weak but second year there is always plenty of root nodules, you can easily see them . Legumes without lots of nodules are usually stunted. Legumes like clover or vetch can outcompete plants that don't fix their own nitrogen in soil that is low in nitrogen so there are usually rhizobium around. Sorry for not being scientific with sources etc., JimD probably knows better than I about which innoculant goes with which legume. Legumes don't fix their own phosphorus ,potassium or micronutrients so there are other things that can cause weak crops.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 20, 2014, 05:39:38 PM
JayW

If you have very limited space you might consider locating your squash plant outside your raised bed as they get huge and crowd out your other plants.  One plant can produce more zucchini than most couples can stand to eat also.

ccg

What then - without using sophisticated pumps and high technology - but still sustainably irrigating crops in the absence of sufficient rain - are the options anyone can think of? Preferably less labour intensive than storing rain and manually carrying the water around?

An option just for small scale gardening that is similar to drip tape but will last almost forever is to use small diameter PVC pipe.  Say you had just 100 meters of plant rows.  You could obtain 3/4 inch pvc pipe and a bunch of couplings, end caps, a few tees and elbows (you get the picture).  Drill your emitter holes with a very small bit at specific intervals.  Obtain a few hose clamps and such to be able to attach a garden hose to this arrangement.  Hook it all up to your tank which  catches the rain from your roof and you have a gravity fed irrigation system.  If you are careful with it it should last 20 years.  If a hole gets plugged you poke a piano wire through it.  As required you take it apart and clean the inside out with a long heavy gauge wire with a swab on the end of it.  Don't glue anything together by the way.  If you don't have a lot which works for gravity feed you can rig a tank next to the garden and fill it with your collected water as required (though that might mean hauling the water which you did not want to do).

Secondly because I wanted to add my note that as far as I understand legumes do not automatically improve soil nitrogen - they work in combination with bacteria - rhizobium. That presumably means you either need naturally present soil microbes to start with or you need to be using innoculated seeds which have artificially had this ensured by coating the seeds.

All organic gardening catalogs have the various inoculants needed for sale in little packets you dust onto the seeds.  Costs is just a few dollars.

BTW watch out about using vetch as recommended in many books.  It is perhaps the best plant there is for putting nitrogen in the soil but it is invasive and very hard to get rid of.  I tried it once and hated it and most of the growers I know will not touch the stuff.  Biennial clover, field peas are better choices.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 20, 2014, 08:45:11 PM
If you have very limited space you might consider locating your squash plant outside your raised bed as they get huge and crowd out your other plants.  One plant can produce more zucchini than most couples can stand to eat also.

I've grown courgettes before - one of the types of squash I actually like. We used to typically grow four plants and in a good year it would virtually inundate us with them. Once you start to get fed up of eating courgettes with most/every meal, you can let one or more grow a marrow and that nicely ties them up in a productive fashion. This is an aspect of total self sufficiency I think many people in affluent nations might not appreciate any more - the glut you get for a short period of the year and how so many things suddenly start to come on stream at once - many of them not really capable of being stored (especially if you didn't have a fridge).

An option just for small scale gardening that is similar to drip tape but will last almost forever is to use small diameter PVC pipe.  Say you had just 100 meters of plant rows.  You could obtain 3/4 inch pvc pipe and a bunch of couplings, end caps, a few tees and elbows (you get the picture).
[snip]
If you don't have a lot which works for gravity feed you can rig a tank next to the garden and fill it with your collected water as required (though that might mean hauling the water which you did not want to do).

Carrying water to a central point is still a lot less work than also spending a whole bunch of time walking along with a watering can or similar implement. That way your irrigation setup can do the work of distributing the water once you've made it available at the entry point.

One question remains - suppose you don't have PVC handy (it would problematic to make in a low technology setting) - what could you use in a more primitive setup? Maybe you could bury underground channels of porous material (gravel, sand, etc) surrounded by less porous material to do your irrigation underground? (this would at least combat evaporative losses).

All organic gardening catalogs have the various inoculants needed for sale in little packets you dust onto the seeds.  Costs is just a few dollars.

BTW watch out about using vetch as recommended in many books.  It is perhaps the best plant there is for putting nitrogen in the soil but it is invasive and very hard to get rid of.  I tried it once and hated it and most of the growers I know will not touch the stuff.  Biennial clover, field peas are better choices.

Actually the invasiveness and resilience might be a helpful feature if you were trying to improve the soil in a large area of unknown starting condition where boundary control was relatively unimportant? If it means it would both spread ahead of where you needed it and be less likely to die out from adverse conditions?

Ideally one would have every reasonable option available for use to maximise the chances of having something suitable for the conditions it would ultimately be used in (entirely unknown conditions) but of course one is more limited in practice.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 22, 2014, 05:51:45 AM
One question remains - suppose you don't have PVC handy (it would problematic to make in a low technology setting) - what could you use in a more primitive setup? Maybe you could bury underground channels of porous material (gravel, sand, etc) surrounded by less porous material to do your irrigation underground? (this would at least combat evaporative losses).

Well we could cannibalize some pipe from left over houses of the rich people we get rid of? You could do the French drain idea you describe but it is not water efficient compared to a drip type irrigation. Plus you have to have your soil graded very carefully.  I am not aware of any true subsistence type of substitute for the pipe.  You would probably have to switch to ditch irrigation like of old.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on January 22, 2014, 11:12:23 AM
Bamboo?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: AndrewP on January 23, 2014, 07:56:09 AM
Good for you Neven. Gardening for me has always been about seeing plants grow and eating good food. I get pretty obsessive about it. Hopefully, it will be the same for you.

A few years ago after I graduated college I attempted to grow all the produce my family needed during the summer. It was a lot of work but I had decent success. The tricky part was my parents would get tired of eating the same thing and would buy things to fill in the gap and make the dishes we are accustomed to eating.

Now I only have access to a few raised beds and containers and wasn't able to plant them until June 10th last year which was too late for the climate (high elevation desert). I'm looking forward to getting started 2-3 weeks earlier this year and figuring out a more consistent watering plan.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2014, 05:14:02 PM
Bamboo?

I have used bamboo on my farm for staking (I got it free just down the road from my place). It was very unsatisfactory as it could not reliably stand being pounded into the ground, the twine slipped on it, and it rotted very fast. 

But for using as pipe the kind I had access to was segmented and not completely hollow.  One would have had to drill it out.  Maybe that could be done and it would last for a season, but that would be some serious work.  Or maybe there are other kinds?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on January 23, 2014, 05:35:02 PM
ccgwebmaster:  Reply #14;
"One question remains - suppose you don't have PVC handy (it would problematic to make in a low technology setting) - what could you use in a more primitive setup? Maybe you could bury underground channels of porous material (gravel, sand, etc) surrounded by less porous material to do your irrigation underground? (this would at least combat evaporative losses)."

Sounds as if you are a step ahead of others in your thinking for use of non-technology products for more primitive situations.
Buried clay pipes/pots are perhaps of ancient origin.  Choose a locale with clay, hand form, can use an open flame to fire,,, etc...
Micro-irrigation   [url]http://www.appropedia.org/Micro-irrigation[/url] ([url]http://www.appropedia.org/Micro-irrigation[/url])
Pipe Irrigation  The use of buried clay pitchers is an ancient technique of subsurface irrigation. The use of clay pipes had been initially tried in Russia and Mexico. ITDG Southern Africa along with others in Zimbabwe developed a low cost variation of this irrigation method in which clay pipes were buried beneath vegetable beds of the 450 women members of garden groups.


ITDG and other tropical research groups along with support from a lot of people saying
"be damned if I'm going roll-over and fry without a fight due AGW-CC heat."

There may be some alternatives to a "give-up because we don't stand a chance approach."

Also, through a group I donated to in the past they had a link to the Journal of
http://www.mathematicsinindustry.com/content/1/1/8 (http://www.mathematicsinindustry.com/content/1/1/8)
about designing irrigation pipes.

For me and and my backyard-garden, I prefer distributing 55-gallon barrels of collected rainwater via siphons or a small fountain pump due to convenient elevation drop layout into plastic buckets, with 15/64 drilled holes for a seal around 1/4 pipe,  surface level or some sitting in a hole for subsurface irrigation.
I use a lot of http://www.raindrip.com/products/tubing/feeder-line/1-4/1-4-tubing-black (http://www.raindrip.com/products/tubing/feeder-line/1-4/1-4-tubing-black)
Also, they have "fitting barbs" which will reduce the I.D. of the hole to about one millimeter.

BTW, if you should ever decide to collect rainwater, from for example gutter down-spouts, do NOT choose white - translucent barrels which can have sunlight penetration because you will get a lot of algae and the water will turn rancid if stored for some time.  Though, I do have one relative that uses "barley-straw" to prevent algae.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2014, 06:03:37 PM
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-23/the-trouble-with-permaculture (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-23/the-trouble-with-permaculture)

The Trouble with Permaculture

I’m not surprised that Permaculture hasn’t caught on with mainstream food growers.


...The persistent myth of the uber-productivity of forest gardens, perennial plants and polycultures, amongst other sacred cows, are why I have a lot of sympathy for Peter Harper’s critique on the lack of controlled trials and measured experiments. It’s not that there aren’t any instances of these types of food production being successful (though those that are, are rarely in this country), but how do you know that polycultures provide a higher total yield than comparative mono cropping, if you don’t measure it? How many people who have planted a forest garden have actually been able to feed themselves from it? When I watched the Youtube clip of Mike Feingold’s PC allotment, I was appalled at how little food was being grown on such a lush looking bit of land....


One of my main critiques. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on January 23, 2014, 09:38:41 PM
I guess I was thinking of images that you can see by checking google image for "bamboo irrigation."

But I'm not sure any of those are usable for the kind ground water systems we're discussing. The clay piping sounds interesting.

I have heard critiques of permaculture, too. Like many such things, I think it has promise in certain locations, but nothing like the hype that some of its promoters suggest. I do think that we can't really expect too many forms of ag to compete on productivity with commercial ag practices that put ten or more calories of ff energy into the process for every calorie of food energy that comes out (iirc).

ETA: Here's another critique (thanks to hank at RC):
 
  Recent example: Permaculturists advocate keyline tilling, and recently an extensive study of that technique was performed by a prof from the soil sciences department of a reputable university. The claim by the proponents of the theory is that it markedly increased soil fertility over conventional methods. The site selection and tilling was done by a proponent of the technique, who sells plows in the range of $7,000 to $10,000 each to do this kind of tilling. The study was done over a two and one-half year period, at four separate farms, with thousands of baseline samples, samples taken during the tilling study period, and samples taken after the study period.

    Result: No measurable increase or change in fertility by any criterion was found...

See: http://onpasture.com/2013/06/24/keyline-plowing-gets-you-522720-worms-for-280/ (http://onpasture.com/2013/06/24/keyline-plowing-gets-you-522720-worms-for-280/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 24, 2014, 01:03:11 AM
That critique of permaculture isn't actually a critique of permaculture (it praises the thinking behind it, and much of the techniques), but a critique of urban hippies who think they know it all after reading a book on permaculture. I should know, as I'm one of those as well, except that I don't put permaculture on a pedestal or altar. Or not anymore.

Permaculture is a way of thinking (like Bruce does for instance, with his efforts to increase EROEI) that overlaps with a lot of other gardening stuff. It's not some sort of technique that is an alternative to other techniques. It's a philosophy, and philosophies can't be measured. Modern agriculture can be measured better, because it's not a philosophy, but a war against nature, run by engineers.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 24, 2014, 02:04:37 AM
I guess I was thinking of images that you can see by checking google image for "bamboo irrigation."

But I'm not sure any of those are usable for the kind ground water systems we're discussing. The clay piping sounds interesting.


The clay stuff does sound interesting - I imagine something similar (even just baking wet compacted soil) would help even in the absence of ideal clay. I have bamboo in mind as a potential structural material and can see it might be possible to make other things out of it - but philosophically I don't think one can assume on the availability of any single given plant (due to uncertain future climatic conditions).

I just found what seems to be good information (with some actual numbers) about bamboo drip irrigation (it actually sounds pretty interesting):

http://www.cseindia.org/node/2839 (http://www.cseindia.org/node/2839)

I have heard critiques of permaculture, too. Like many such things, I think it has promise in certain locations, but nothing like the hype that some of its promoters suggest. I do think that we can't really expect too many forms of ag to compete on productivity with commercial ag practices that put ten or more calories of ff energy into the process for every calorie of food energy that comes out (iirc).


I think the term productivity is a dangerous word here. What do we mean by it? Do we just mean instantaneous short term productivity of the sort so valued by a consumption based ideology? Or do we mean genuine ultimate productivity? Clearly if farmland is being depleted or nutrients and top soil allowed to blow or wash away much faster than it is being formed or revitalised - this is not a productive system. Sure - we might produce the short term illusion of productivity but our descendants inheriting the mess will produce little to nothing as a consequence. As you allude too it's also a strange measure of productivity when one is consuming so many calories in finite fossil fuel to produce the output. In the big picture there is nothing productive about that.

Anything that allows the land to continually produce therefore has a much better long term productivity. I think it is unhelpful to fixate too much on calory yields per area beyond the logistics of feeding mouths - in the sense that while some crops yield much more calories per area they will by definition also tend to be depleting the soil (in many cases) in the process (we should of course be returning to the soil what we take from it).

I think it's perhaps better to think of ways of producing food using land that do not treat it as a finite resource to consume - and that (looking forwards post collapse) produce the nutrition people require with a minimum of effort (to maximise time for other activities). Trying to keep productivity high enough to feed the projected population and support western lifestyles is likely to condemn the future to far less useable farmland (whether through direct degradation or additional climate change).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 03:50:26 PM
That critique of permaculture isn't actually a critique of permaculture (it praises the thinking behind it, and much of the techniques), but a critique of urban hippies who think they know it all after reading a book on permaculture. I should know, as I'm one of those as well, except that I don't put permaculture on a pedestal or altar. Or not anymore.

Permaculture is a way of thinking (like Bruce does for instance, with his efforts to increase EROEI) that overlaps with a lot of other gardening stuff. It's not some sort of technique that is an alternative to other techniques. It's a philosophy, and philosophies can't be measured. Modern agriculture can be measured better, because it's not a philosophy, but a war against nature, run by engineers.

You mean philosophy does NOT exist just as a form of intellectual warfare entertainment?   :o

I am pretty sure that the original purpose of engineers was working for the Stoneage military industrial complex so we are just being true to form.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 26, 2014, 05:56:26 PM
Ccg              Productivity or sustainability are words that need definition. Just because composting or growing legumes are organic doesn't mean they necessarily are conserving energy. Without EROEI how are we to agree on a definition? Hauling tons of compost from sites distant from where you grow crops may make for great soils but the trucks and fuel used have to be included in energy calculations. Pumping water and the energy required is an energy cost in areas without sufficient rainfall. Blood meal, bone meal,manure, greensand,fishmeal, or any other fertilizers also have embedded energy costs. Maintaining the animals on your farm necessary to reduce these embedded energy costs requires large landholdings and haymaking equipment, barns etc. Looking long and hard at how you minimize these costs means reducing everything to calories, watts, BTU or some other measure that can be quantified. Organic farming takes no measure of energy costs and although permaculture in theory is concerned with them it doesn't usually take their measure. I don't want to denigrate the value of either organic or permaculture methods but the large drivers of climate change are the consumption of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests.
 Pond culture with duckweed,fish, ducks,and pigs would probably get you closer to perfection than tilling  and fertilizing gardens like most western people are familiar with. There are forms of fishing that have EROEI figures that are far more efficient than any form of farming I am aware of. The more work that can be performed manually( by humans) the better your EROEI will look but just assuming that old methods are the best way forward, or what we may consider ascetically pleasing is probably a mistake. We need to deconstruct our value systems along with everything else and put better goals in place. We have failed , our values have failed us, and we are lost if we aren't willing to try something very different next time. That assumes we humans get a next time.       
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 27, 2014, 05:28:05 PM
Satire, I read your link on BIO-  standards and they do address some of the very issues I was talking about in the gardening post above.

http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf (http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf)

Keeping your production close to all inputs for fertility e.g. intigrated animal / vegetable operations is just one of those obvious things any casual observer would recognize as beneficial. And for me it gets at my food energy calculations by reducing transport of manure and hay as well as reducing chemical ff costs.
What I  didn't see was whether a reduction of energy inputs were specifically considered ? Where they a goal? 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on January 27, 2014, 06:13:06 PM
Maintaining the animals on your farm necessary to reduce these embedded energy costs requires large landholdings and haymaking equipment, barns etc.   
Off Topic I am.  If too personal - kind of ignore me.

What is the primary feed you maintain the "Mangalitsa" with?

About how many have you marketed from your farm?

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 27, 2014, 07:38:37 PM
Jack, Four fattened to about 230lbs last year. If you'd like to see pictures you can find me at
winfieldfarm.us


I bought some pigs initially as garbage disposals. During the summer farming season I feed a lot of overlarge summer squash and in the fall I feed some winter squash , fruitfall,and cleanup from summers efforts. I quickly outgrew what I could grow myself and rolled barley is the protein and bulk of their diet. Barley runs about 45 cents a pound so i am tracking down an alternative . There are a lot of dried beans grown locally with a processing and storage warehouse nearby.I can get bean culls for  ten cents a pound and beans are high in protein but they need cooking to make them palatable and increase their nutritive value. I am working on a very large passive solar heater to do the cooking.
I am going to run small clear plastic hoop houses up a very steep hill with old aluminum irrigation pipe painted black as a heat manifold inside the hoop houses. Within a large chimney hooked up to the pipe manifold I will have a large black cook pot with fresnel lenses concentrating additional heat. I'll let you know if I can get beans to cook.
 As an aside,  I am going to render some mangalitsa fat for some Bio-diesel. I would love to have the equipment to thrash an oilseed crop and press out some vegy oil but for now I am going to try some fat.I have used waste grease and ran everything for a couple years but decided the quality of the grease ( salt content) wasn't so good on my injector pumps. I grew a nice safflower crop but it was a real pain to harvest. Ended up as chicken feed but next time I think I'll just move the chickens to the safflower and let them do all the work. Safflower is very deer resistant and would make a good oil crop but I just don't have the equipment to get oil out of it.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on January 27, 2014, 10:37:40 PM
Jack, Four fattened to about 230lbs last year. If you'd like to see pictures you can find me at
 [url=http://www.winfieldfarm.us]www.winfieldfarm.us[/url] ([url]http://www.winfieldfarm.us[/url])

I bought some pigs initially as garbage disposals.


Found your farm when we were talking in another thread about wells in riparian river zone.
Forgot to mention - looks GREAT - I hope your dream is prosperous.
You mean you feed your pigs 'slop' - LOL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Very interesting to me because as a youngster ca~ 1957 I won a "Blue Ribbon" in county wide 4-H contest for best sow (less than one year old) and next year made me some real spending  money selling five shoat's (Hampshire's), had to give one sow back to the program as I had got mine for free.

In summer of 1992 while going to Barcelona, in the town of Girona we got off the train for a few days,  at an evening meal we were served some very thin sliced (Iberian) ham with a slice of very sweet cantaloupe on top, forget the name of the dish, but fantastic and reminded me of my youth. Truly smoke cured without salt or sugar nor nitrates.  Just like we did it > 55 years ago.

A reminder to the people who are going for survival farming - gardening - without commercial refrigeration preserving farm slaughtered meat (and produce) is possible, but woe is it hard work. Most of ours used salt, easy.

Some special each year, hickory wood for the smokehouse, tend it 24-hrs/day until curing process is complete. Wood had to be cured first (dried). Try that with an ax, crosscut saw, mule to snake logs close enough to be cut - split for the wheelbarrow.

Yep, I grew up in a rural farming community area.  Numerous people in extended family.
I'll spare you from other sunrise-to-sunset back-breaking details. 

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 27, 2014, 11:33:12 PM
Nice website, Bruce!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 28, 2014, 12:23:38 AM
Neven , Thanks. Your first spring with the house up will be a memorable garden season I am sure.
Enjoy

Jack, Charcuterie is popular these days, you may have some skills that most of us are re-discovering
from books and enterprising restauranteurs. I have a dry cured ham hanging for my first attempt at Prosciutto. It takes about ten months 60F degrees and ~ 65% humidity. Charantais melons are, I believe, the melon of choice for the pairing.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 28, 2014, 06:42:22 AM
Mr. Steele writes:

Re:biodiesel

"I would love to have the equipment to thrash an oilseed crop and press out some vegy oil"

i think the equipment will run 10KUS$ or so. Gotto count in  seed cleaner, augers, bins, hoppers, tanks.

but don't make biodiesel with the oil directly. rent the oil to restaurants (sell with collection discount)
collect back and then make biodiesel with the used oil.

if you use animal fats for biodiesel. watch FFA on the feedstock, and cloud,get points on products. I would be careful in cold weather.

if you make biodiesel be very careful with the methanol (or ethanol)
methanol especially is very dangerous, poison and explosive in one.

implement (m)ethanol recovery once you understand your process well enough.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 28, 2014, 07:12:44 AM
Sidd, I did make bio-diesel using fryer grease for a couple years and I had misters for cleaning the fuel. After noticing the frozen French fries were pre-salted I quit producing fuel but I still have the electric water heater with recirculating pumps ready to use again. Do you have any thoughts on salt in used fryer grease?  I also misspelled thresh. I haven't ever seen a small scale threshing machine. I farm on less than ~ 8 acres so buying equipment doesn't usually pencil out unless it's fairly cheap. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on January 28, 2014, 02:00:39 PM
"~~"
Jack, Charcuterie is popular these days, you may have some skills that most of us are re-discovering
from books and enterprising restauranteurs. I have a dry cured ham hanging for my first attempt at Prosciutto. It takes about ten months 60F degrees and ~ 65% humidity. Charantais melons are, I believe, the melon of choice for the pairing.

Skills of getting blistered hands and severe sun-burns is about all that remains of my skills.
Most of the work I did on the farm was under the knowledge & at the direction of an older relative.
I left that life at 18 to join the military.  Think I'll consider starving before going back to that lifestyle, terrible I am.  Nowadays I do some back-yard gardening, moved here in 2008 so not much room, strictly a few "table vegetables".  During the past 50 years never had a garden plot(s) much over an acre.

After not being able to identify by name the Iberian/Catalonia ham like Prosciutto went looking,
it's name was "Jamón ibérico" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam%C3%B3n_ib%C3%A9rico (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam%C3%B3n_ib%C3%A9rico) or was it "Jamón serrano" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam%C3%B3n_serrano (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam%C3%B3n_serrano)

At the bottom of the "Jamón ibérico" Link there is a reference to
"The first jamones ibéricos were released for sale in the United States in December 2007, with the bellota hams due to follow in July 2008. The basic jamón ibérico is priced upwards of $52 a pound, and the bellota is priced upwards of $96 a pound, making these hams some of the most expensive in the world."

WOW - If your Prosciutto becomes high quality - you may be on to something.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 28, 2014, 11:05:01 PM
we hire a local guy with a massey-ferguson combine to harvest, couple hundred for 10 acres. seed is augered from dump truck to holding bin, augered thence to seed cleaner, augered to grain hopper above seed press, meal is augered out, oil is collected in tanks.

salt hasnt been a problem, dissolves out with water

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 28, 2014, 11:50:10 PM
Sidd, If I might ask, does your bio-fuel produced offset most or all of your equipment uses?  I don't know about if you use solar or wind but do you think your farm could potentially run with most of it's energy demands generated on site?  I'd like to think such things possible.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 29, 2014, 04:29:01 AM
typically by the time all is done and dusted i figger i will go thru 10 gallon diesel per acre (hilly country, better in flatland Kansas)

this can be supported with say 1/3 of the oil derived from canola on that acre. Your yields may vary. Also, complications as you know. eg, if i use GMO canola i gotto count on more diesel to spray roundup. non gmo, i got to get in the ground a week or two b4 first frost so it has a few leaves, then it survives and leaps up next year and crowds out the weeds and also no roundup required. Soy is a different calculation, you might get only a third of the oil, by weight, compared to canola, so your yield per acre must be larger to have any oil left over. but you dont need mebbe to add so much fertilizer, soy is N-fixing, so you might save a few gallon of diesel there. whatcha wanna grow ? for oil, its hard to beat canola.

 but i dont do it that way, i move the oil first thru food service, and see a mebbe 15% to 30% loss there by the time it gets back, some walks out in your tummy from the restaurant in the french fries ...

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on January 29, 2014, 04:49:36 PM
Bruce

I know a small farmer who does not have the acreage to work a system like sidd does, but what he does is sell his organically grown vegetables to a few restaurants right next to where his farmers markets are for a very good price.  They advertise that they are using his vegetables and he gets the used oil from them each week at the cost of supplying the containers (very minimal investment).  The restaurants customers come to the market to get his veggies as they eat them at there and want to buy from him.  He also advertises the restaurant at the market.  No extra trips for the oil as he just walks back and forth from his truck.  He has a homebuilt set up to purify the oil next to one of his buildings.  He generates all the fuel his tractors use for the entire year.  And sells the excess to some other small farmers on the side (without telling the govt of course). 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 29, 2014, 06:25:24 PM
JimD, I have window shopped for oil- presses , antique seed cleaners, homemade seed cleaners, etc. I know there are farmers like Sidd with working systems in place. I have heard different yields but
growing and pressing your own fuel supply has to be one of the most practical ways out there for farmers or farm co-ops to reduce their ff uses. In combination with wind and solar in places like Kansas a farm in the 100 acre range should be able to be energy self sufficient and I am sure such farms exist. I have carried around 55 gallon drums of methanol and tracked down 50 lb. bags of sodium hydroxide. So long as I used my bio for farm uses it was legal but collecting restaurant grease was competing with tallow haulers and without permits, inspections of tanks, etc. not legal. There was some legislation to allow small amounts but I really don't know where things currently stand.
 I would think zero fossil fuel farms would be something to promote but if someone has to skirt the law then those working examples will not be advertised. This is one of those places where government could think things through and provide incentive rather than impediments. The rules whatever they may be are not consistent state to state and I am sure European farmers have their own legal hurdles  to jump. There are also stills necessary for methanol reclamation from the glycerine  ,requiring permits I suppose. The glycerine leftovers can be used as a feed supplement .
 It is a pet peeve of mine that very practical off the shelf solutions can't be put together as working examples. Satire is correct about selling solutions , pulling more people on board with seductive promotions , and committing to the hard work involved. Part of that work is politics and a political party with the stated goal of addressing climate change needs it's day. Farming, clean food, and healthy solutions for wildlife are issues that span the political spectrum. Politics that addressed these issues without the rest of the liberal or conservative agendas would be a refreshing change. We need a third party. The Carbon Party.   For gardeners everywhere.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 29, 2014, 08:17:36 PM
re: glycerine

1)can find glycerine burners for process heat
2)soap ... we make soap 55 gallons at a pop, and its popular, all the restaurants love it, they ask our drivers for it all the time.
3)feed additive, as Mr. Steele points out


but get the methanol out first, especially if you intend to feed a burner with it, will go kaboom if you dont watch out. In this game, if you smell methanol _AT ALL_

1) you risk blindness, madness and death in that order
2)you risk vapor explosion
3)you are wasting methanol, throwing money away,

we have procedure that calls for
1) shutdown any processing immediately, evacuate, lockout electric panels (we have electric feed cutoff 200' from processing) and carefully (no sparking motors, breakers, flames) ventilate. in our case, means opening front and back 20'x20' sliding doors so we get big wind thru.
2)come back after all processing has cooled off (handheld IR thermometer for standoff measurement is useful here) drain tankage
3)find and fix leak that allowed you to smell methanol in the first place.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on January 31, 2014, 12:58:51 PM
I first want to congratulate the posters here for the successes they've had with their gardening & cultivation. I've never been successful in any of my attempts.


On one of the threads I'd mentioned agave as something that requires no maintenance and has a number of uses that might be valuable if normal trade were to suffer. Agave Utahensis will grow in any well drained soil as long as it gets sunlight. Almost every part of it is edible and it can be tapped to produce a sugar water that was often fermented. The leaves can even be processed to make a soap like product. It will withstand frosts and can be used to make rope, cloth, pins or needles and the skin can be peeled to make an edible Saran like wrapper.


It's versatility hardiness and low maintenance might make it a handy cultivar as a backup when other crops fail for one reason or another. There are few plants that I'm aware of that offer so much for so little effort. In pre-contact times stones were placed around plants to reduce evaporation & they'd thrive even during drought conditions in the South Western deserts.
http://www.academia.edu/4471620/Agave_Agave_spp._and_its_Traditional_Products_as_a_Source_of_Bioactive_Compounds (http://www.academia.edu/4471620/Agave_Agave_spp._and_its_Traditional_Products_as_a_Source_of_Bioactive_Compounds)

Terry
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ritter on January 31, 2014, 05:22:20 PM
Agave Utahensis

Thanks for this, Terry. Since it's looking like our only source of irrigation water this summer will be from shower/laundry gray water, I'm looking to do some relandscaping of our more water-intensive plants. Agave will certainly be part of the effort!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on January 31, 2014, 10:52:54 PM
Hi Neven and all,
time to join the forum,
and great to see Neven think of gardening!

Irrigation:

I hate having plastics around in the garden. Some place should be kept free of civilisational garbage. (But when I'm getting overworked or start starving I won't hesitate to think of exceptions.) Sooner or later you get plastic chips in your soil. And enough comes in via careless composting. Once I harvested an Angelica root with a little "bio" sticker already attached...

So, I would first focus on increasing water holding capacity of the soil. And this is easy if you have good biochar. Too much of it (ca. >60% vol.) can even "drown" some plants (root rot), but 20% vol. gives excellent flood and drought resistance. (Tested it with mom's tomatoes 2013 here in Bavaria: Last year was first exceptionally wet, then exceptionally dry. The biochar tomatoes grew best by far.)

Problem is to get and prepare good biochar.  In my garden (now left behind) the first thing I started was the fireplace. Luckily the forest was not far. Also, there were no nonsupervised hominids around, who are a major risk of fire pollution.  Forget about putting BBQ char directly into soil - it has the wrong char-acteristics and any untreated char spoils the soil at first. But BBQ is a good start: When BBQing is finished, throw the glowing embers in a (nonplastic) bucket of water to activate water holding capacity. Then put them in your urine barrel for 1-3 months (depending on temperature) to balance C/N ratio and seed with anaerobic bacteria (which could give an extra twist in nitrogen cycling if you chance anammox bacteria). Then mix in compost. If you don't have the 21st century urine barrel, put the fresh char under your compost first, pee on the pile often, and later mix it all. I would wait 2 full years before putting the char compost into the productive garden: Then it has had a good chance of being biologically stabilized and possible polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons decomposed.

The urine thing throws a finger at Sigmund Freud: I regard it an essential ritual for anybody interested in saving the world. And that turns Freud's funny theory on The Acquisition of Control Over Fire upside down. https://archive.org/stream/Imago-ZeitschriftFrAnwendungDerPsychoanalyseAufDieNatur-Und/Imago_1932_XVIII_Heft_1#page/n3/mode/2up (https://archive.org/stream/Imago-ZeitschriftFrAnwendungDerPsychoanalyseAufDieNatur-Und/Imago_1932_XVIII_Heft_1#page/n3/mode/2up) :-) (ugh, doing decent links seems no possible and is undocumented)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on February 16, 2014, 02:57:53 PM
Spring is in the air and gardening joys are starting early this year.

For now, I would just like to know if anyone has any experience with hugelkultur.

[url]http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur[/url] ([url]http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur[/url])

Yes, two of such things (but in more round configuration) did recover the soil after I killed the rhododendron planted by previous owner - nasty trees those rhododendron...
This "Hügelbeet" things are perfect for cucumber, zucchini and pumpkin.

A even nicer variation is to put big stones in a spiral and fill the center with old wood/stones/sandy soil: http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://www.kraeuterei.de/kraeuterspirale-ov2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.kraeuterei.de/kraeuterspirale.htm&h=277&w=400&sz=25&tbnid=hVbbeyK2HitjsM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=130&zoom=1&usg=__rhLfRWZTsi3goz3zMzAU0u2Zk_A=&docid=C43FB9EovwKhoM&sa=X&ei=tsIAU4TfDcrZtQaRmYGgDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQ9QEwAA&dur=323 (http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://www.kraeuterei.de/kraeuterspirale-ov2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.kraeuterei.de/kraeuterspirale.htm&h=277&w=400&sz=25&tbnid=hVbbeyK2HitjsM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=130&zoom=1&usg=__rhLfRWZTsi3goz3zMzAU0u2Zk_A=&docid=C43FB9EovwKhoM&sa=X&ei=tsIAU4TfDcrZtQaRmYGgDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQ9QEwAA&dur=323)
That is very nice to look at and perfect for spices and herbs. After 1 year it is allready productive and overcrowded so 2 families can benefit from it and to share the herbs-knowledge (we placed it at the boarder for that purpose). 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on February 18, 2014, 02:24:43 PM
Spring is in the air and gardening joys are starting early this year.
Great to hear that from your part of the world.  Wish you good growing luck this year.

It's surprising, after our wettest year on record and coldest temperature ever three weeks ago,  but yesterday afternoon while checking the soil in my backyard garden space it was thawed enough to allow running the tiller across the top one inch of a 10ft x 20ft (edit size) asparagus patch to loosen the soil in preparation of hoeing weeds and applying spring fertilizer.

Now today if dry - deep enough will start to prepare for some spring onion bulbs (scallions/green onions) and beet - radish - spinach seeds.   Cabin Fever "good-bye."

 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lucas Durand on February 20, 2014, 08:30:25 PM
"For now, I would just like to know if anyone has any experience with hugelkultur.
http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur (http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur)"

Not much, but I have an experimental hugelkultur bed that I have been growing herbs in.
This bed seems to be doing well enough that I may eventually build some larger beds.

Hugelkultur is probably of interest to those worried about irrigation - its main advantage being (as far as I can tell) a means of water conservation.
Apparently, if beds are done large enough and correctly, they become something like a "water battery" that needs charging about once annually.
Mileage may very...
http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/ (http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bkpr on March 02, 2014, 11:00:46 PM
For those looking for the chance of significant gain in your garden(s) and orchard trees, add a colony of honeybees or purchase some Blue Orchard Mason bees.

We raise honeybees and keep 2 colonies in close proximity to our garden(s) and orchard trees.  Even with ozone degradation, and all the assaults on the biosphere, we realize a significant increase in fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs by having our pollinators close by.

Watching our bees work the cherry blossoms for example is a wonder to behold.  Observing this super organism, I can spend hours (if I had them) just sitting and watching the coming and going, the interaction between the different type of workers, all fascinating.

Weather and ionizing radiation on the West Coast is making it very tough to make a honey crop, whether there will any to share with us is this summer is a crap shoot.

Surely mentioned elsewhere in this thread, is you can't keep bees, and can't find Blue Orchard Mason bees, then plant some food to attract pollinators.  A suggestion is to look in most heirloom or organic seed catalogs. Most sell bee seed for the growing zone you live in. They are very affordable.  Purchase a pound or two and scatter anywhere moisture might give this mix a chance. Usually there is something for bees that bloom early Spring into late Fall. Give them out to kids at any occasion, they WANT to help.

We beekeepers thank you, and who knows, maybe a tiny difference in leaving something for what comes after us.

bkpr 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 03, 2014, 09:44:12 AM
Thanks, bkpr!

I certainly plan to do some beekeeping next year or the year after that. I have a friend who is a hardcore anthroposophist and makes beehives out of reeds.

Last year we planted a large part of our plot (no house standing on it yet) with phacelia and it was amazing to see how many bees and bumblebees this attracted. We're planning to do the same this year, and combine the phaceila with Egyptian clover.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bkpr on March 05, 2014, 09:11:58 PM
Thanks Admin;

If you or readers plan on keeping bees soon, planting for pollinators is a good bet on making a honey crop. Honey prices are high and will remain so, for true local raw honey. 

If you have a zone or area that your confident the spray nazis or big Ag, is not close, consider yourself lucky, as these safe zones will be held a bit sacred.

The newest advice for those who raise honey and other hive products, is to plant as large of parcel with a early Spring to late Fall sources of pollen and nectar. Let me repeat for emphasis, those of us primarily raising a honey crop are advised to plant acreage to insure pollen and nectar diversity.

The lack of habitat, monoculture, industrial toxins, poor beekeeping is what is at cause.

The days of setting hives on any but organic or alternatives to toxicides are coming to a close, we suspect. We are advised not to move our bees and we don't pursue pollination contracts.

If your trying to attract pollinators while waiting to put up some sort of shelter, these three plants will bring the pollinators calling.

Lavender
Mint
Sanfroen (sp) mine, a new seed for the farmer that wants to raise food for livestock, store nitrogen in their soil, and provide lots of pollen and nectar for the pollinators.

Google the local source for Blue Orchard Mason bees if you don't want the steep learning curve that beekeeping requires for success.

Happy Growing

bkpr
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 05, 2014, 11:41:39 PM
If you have a zone or area that your confident the spray nazis or big Ag, is not close, consider yourself lucky, as these safe zones will be held a bit sacred.
How close is close? My plot is about 2 thirds of an acre, and I have conventional ag fields to the North and South of me (and beyond), so that would probably not be sufficient. My hope is to buy some of those fields adjacent to our plot in the future, to build up a buffer zone.

If your trying to attract pollinators while waiting to put up some sort of shelter, these three plants will bring the pollinators calling.

Lavender
Mint
Sanfroen (sp) mine, a new seed for the farmer that wants to raise food for livestock, store nitrogen in their soil, and provide lots of pollen and nectar for the pollinators.
We'll definitely be planting a lot of lavender, and my wife wants mint on the border of our pond, but what's the last plant you mention. Google doesn't show any results.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on March 06, 2014, 02:19:17 AM
If you surround your plot with wonderful plants for pollinators why would the pollinators bother visiting your crops plants? They are going to spend their effort visiting the most attractive sources. Or not?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 06, 2014, 02:32:26 AM
Not. Haven't you heard of the phrase 'busy as a bumble bee'?

But I have heard of people making nice bouquets from the surrounding flowers right at the time that their vegetables are blooming to encourage the little buggers in the right direction.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 06, 2014, 03:53:44 AM
If you surround your plot with wonderful plants for pollinators why would the pollinators bother visiting your crops plants? They are going to spend their effort visiting the most attractive sources. Or not?

Personally I would expect the bees to keep coming until they've exhausted the whole area. Why would they expend effort to find a new place to go while they can still go to your place and get nectar?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 06, 2014, 04:31:46 AM
Part of the advantage of planting blooming plants like coriander, babies breath, and other plants with small flowers is that they attract beneficial predatory wasps. The wasps feed on the little flowers and then lay their eggs on pesky little bugs you need nature to control. That is one of the reasons spraying is like using napalm ... A lot of collateral damage.  I think little white flowers are best but I would have to look around to remember why.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 06, 2014, 05:23:01 PM
 Bruce Steele,

Hope you got enough rain to avoid irrigation for a few days.

For those interested in the USA "The Pollinator Partnership"  at
http://www.pollinator.org/index.html (http://www.pollinator.org/index.html) 
has some useful information Guides, in PDF format, about planting native flowers - plants for each area 
http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm (http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm)
scroll down and enter your ZIP Code.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 06, 2014, 06:04:00 PM
Neven

The organic certification separation distance is 75 meters.  But that assumes that your neighbor who is spraying refrains from it if the wind is blowing in your direction as spray can drift a long ways.


btw the more things there are for the bees the better.  They are little pigs and will keep coming back until there is nothing left to eat.  And like Bruce said you want to create an environment that provides habitat for all the good insects that like to eat the bad insects.  Bio-warfare!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 06, 2014, 08:33:16 PM
If you surround your plot with wonderful plants for pollinators why would the pollinators bother visiting your crops plants?

If that happens, I will place an ad asking for more pollinators.  ;D
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 07, 2014, 03:40:20 PM
~  "I think little white flowers are best but I would have to look around to remember why" ~

Bruce,

Forgot to mention, it's probably somewhere in all the literature we read, but I use some
"sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) (Brassicaceae)- also called Carpet of Snow"
especially in any broccoli - cabbage,  (Brassicaceae/Cruciferous) - cabbage worms terrible here without wasps.
Google:
sweet alyssum wasps
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 07, 2014, 04:22:54 PM
Jack, I have Alyssum also but it spreads by root cuttings and can take over as it doesn't freeze out around here. Drought tolerant and nice little white flowers so it can be put in borders where it takes care of itself.  We did get +4" of rain so the cover crop is very happy and I don't need to change hand lines any more this season. The soil moisture will make tilling it in easier and also help it to break down quickly once I turn it under. Work load is beginning to ramp up and I am starting large plantings now as most frost risk has passed.  I did some brush clearing as per JimD's advice but now with the threat of an El Nino i will need to add base to the road, work on berms and clean out the drainage routes. Being a bit of a worry wort means I now have both fire and flood as potential threats.
Hope spring gets around to visiting you soon. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 07, 2014, 07:52:20 PM
I did some brush clearing as per JimD's advice but now with the threat of an El Nino i will need to add base to the road, work on berms and clean out the drainage routes. Being a bit of a worry wort means I now have both fire and flood as potential threats.
Hope spring gets around to visiting you soon.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uaXCJcRrE# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uaXCJcRrE#)

Fire And Rain - James Taylor with lyrics - YouTube

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 09, 2014, 03:00:13 PM
Bruce

About your rodent problem I realized that I forgot a big factor that would help you.

Barn owls.  I looked up and they do live in your area.  Put up a couple of barn owl houses on either end of your farm and they will eventually find them and take up residence.  They eat a lot of rodents and that will cut down on your losses a bunch.  We did this and it helped also.

Another thing along the same line is we put out bat houses on the farm buildings and we had lots of bats.  They do eat a lot of bugs.  Not sure how to train them not to eat the good bugs though  ;)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 09, 2014, 03:46:18 PM
JimD, I have a healthy owl population and they like the scattered pine trees I have around the fields. They talk one to another from tree to tree in the summer. I also have a couple three species of hawks but the neighbors poison the squirrels and it kills the raptors. Always sad to see them dead under the trees after somebody goes on a big squirrel campaign . I should try some bat houses, I only get one or two flying around, again during summer. Cliff swallows colonize the eaves of my house and I have learned that they can have trouble with sparrows taking over their  nests. I have learned to knock the old nests down during winter. They return ~ March 15 and I make sure to keep a mud puddle wet in their favorite spot for the nest building season. Swallows from quite a distance frequent the mud hole during dry years. Seems kinda counter intuitive knocking their nests down to help them but it only takes a few days to rebuild and they get nice clean nests that way. I do get a lot of bird shit on my
windows but the swallows are eager to eat my garden bugs so I figure a little window frosting is a fair trade.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 09, 2014, 04:58:48 PM
I said awhile back that I did not think one could make useable drip irrigation systems out of bamboo.

I was wrong.  I just read a blog post by a farmer in Queensland who had pictures of bamboo drip irrigation.  The way he got around the segment in the middle of the poles was by cutting the bamboo lengthwise in half and then using some method to cut out the dividing hard membranes.  So in effect he had a series of u shaped channels in which water flowed.

Not really drip exactly.  Sort of a micro trench system.  But it looked adequate for gardening.  Sort of Swiss Family Robinson like (think the movie had something like that in it).  Pretty interesting.

His farm buildings also have to have metal roofs and fireproof membranes under the metal to resist the wildfires.  His buildings also have metal shutters to keep embers from igniting the buildings.  Lots of solar and water storage tanks was visible as well.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 16, 2014, 07:43:48 AM
Farm tour today, some pictures. Greenhouse tomatoes -just getting going but all electric so far with paper mulch to control weeds and scavenged cardboard paths. Also a demonstration of the electric tiller weeding around some potatoes. There is a bowl of winnowed amaranth in a stainless bowl.
There is one of me jumping the fence after I picked up one of the piggies and momma didn't like it.
Cover crop went under and needs a couple more passes with the tractor. We got together for some dinner and talked climate change and familiar subjects.
 JimD might notice a hay burner. We all have our weaknesses.


http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Food-and-Farm-Adventures/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=20655972 (http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Food-and-Farm-Adventures/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=20655972)



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 16, 2014, 12:03:13 PM
I liked that picture of that picture of a smiling pig!   :D

We're waiting for some rain to be forecast (has been dry and anomalously warm here (up to 20 °C) for the past couple of weeks), after which we will sow different stuff in different parts of our plot: 1) phacelia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phacelia) and crimson clover (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trifolium_incarnatum), 2) a mix of alfalfa, raygrass and different clovers, and 3) white clover around the trees and bushes we planted in October.

We've prepared a couple of beds where we will experiment a bit this first season. My wife is enthusiastic about square foot gardening and wants to try that out first.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on March 16, 2014, 05:13:25 PM
You may want to check that ressources...
https://sites.google.com/site/dorrrose/home
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2014, 07:52:16 PM
There is one of me jumping the fence after I picked up one of the piggies and momma didn't like it.


You call that a pig?  THIS is a pig!

Imagine that in your yard!  A lot of guys where I lived back in Virginia hunt these beasts to help out the farmers.

Nice looking setup by the way.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/14/500-pound-wild-boar_n_4958913.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/14/500-pound-wild-boar_n_4958913.html?utm_hp_ref=weird-news)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 16, 2014, 10:05:51 PM
JimD, I will see your little piggy and raise you one of these.

http://www.typesofsharkshq.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/great-white-shark-smile.jpg (http://www.typesofsharkshq.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/great-white-shark-smile.jpg)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 16, 2014, 11:32:41 PM
You may want to check that ressources...
https://sites.google.com/site/dorrrose/home

Thanks, Laurent. Bookmarked.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 17, 2014, 12:12:14 PM
~~ "Greenhouse tomatoes -just getting going but all electric so far with paper mulch to control weeds and scavenged cardboard paths." ~~

Nice to see.  In worm country here, some people use newspaper wrapped around the stem when transplanting tomato's to reduce "Cut-Worm" damage.

BTW, can that "hay burner" pull a plow?   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 17, 2014, 02:45:54 PM
Nice to see.  In worm country here, some people use newspaper wrapped around the stem when transplanting tomato's to reduce "Cut-Worm" damage.

What's "Cut-Worm" damage, if I may ask?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 17, 2014, 03:50:58 PM
some people use newspaper wrapped around the stem when transplanting tomato's to reduce "Cut-Worm" damage.


What's "Cut-Worm" damage, if I may ask?


The terrible enemy of all tomato growers in my part of the world!  >:(
The tomato vines just wilt up and "die on the vine."

Newspaper strip cut to about the size of a dollar bill wrapped around the stem is a "type of" organic approach to avoid pesticide use. Half of width in soil - half above soil. Small plots - doubt it would be economical on an industrial scale.

[url]http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-worms.html[/url] ([url]http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-worms.html[/url])
Early season problems
Tomato worms, or more specifically cutworms, gobble up stems of tomato seedlings. They work mostly at night to do their damage, cutting off seedlings at the soil line. Gardeners who take no precautions against cutworms – beware! You may check your garden early one morning only to discover plants have disappeared from the surface on up.


https://www.google.com/#q=tomato+cutworm+newspaper (https://www.google.com/#q=tomato+cutworm+newspaper)
Will get a lot of information on the evil little devils.

I don't like "Hornworms" either  http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=772 (http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=772)

Hope you don't have them where you live.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 17, 2014, 04:06:24 PM
Neven,

Is "Neem Oil" considered as organic in Austria?

How about "Chrysanthemum pyrethrum" (pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium flowers)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 17, 2014, 04:28:35 PM
Neven,

Is "Neem Oil" considered as organic in Austria?

How about "Chrysanthemum pyrethrum" (pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium flowers)


This, I wouldn't know. I had a fantasy (like all eco-suckers have before experience bites them in the ass) that we would plant a neem tree, but there's too much clay in our soils and Austria (still) isn't in the tropics.

I had heard about Pyrethrum, but didn't know it comes from a flower (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmatinische_Insektenblume) from the region where my roots lie.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 17, 2014, 04:54:53 PM
  I avoid all pesticides organic or not. Pyrethroids have been all jacked up for commercial applications to make them more resistant to photo degrading and now they are a serious risk to benthic aquatic insects.
Jack, "the hay burner" is buggy trained and I tried hooking her up once to a harrow for my tractor. She was willing but a buggy harness isn't the same a a plow rig. I need a rigid collar for her comfort. Plowing a straight line was no where near as easy as it looks. There are skills I would need to acquire also but around here horses need either a very large pasture or purchased hay. I don't see horses as  an alternative to tractors locally but if you lived where there was adequate rain then they would be. Horses are herd animals ,very sweet and loyal. They have a way of returning love that is very hard to describe , thus my weakness.
 I am a practical sort and I really think my electric tillers will deliver better EROEI than horses at least in space limited conditions. I am trying my damnedest to figure a way out of this mess. I posted on "consequences" today hoping maybe that someone would agree with me that using solar power to produce food calories increases solars EROEI potential. Something hands on I can prove up with , and documentation , hopefully. I talk a blue streak , lobby , attend science conferences, and sit on government advisory boards but without offering practical evidence I am trying to come up with solutions it is easy for people to ear me out. Maybe I should have posted on "policy and solutions"
But could you give it a read and tell me what you think?
 p.s. There is light weight netting that can be used to keep Sphynx moths out of greenhouses to stop hornworm issues. ? Sphynx moths in Europe?
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 17, 2014, 08:12:41 PM
Bruce Steele,

Glad to hear you've mastered "no-pesticides" period!

I only do table veggies on about 1/6 to 1/5 of an acre, < 1/4.

It's like a jungle here in the summer and since I do not sell any veggies I do 'stoop' to some "pesticide" spraying.  Hope I don't kill anyone at my dinner table.  ::)

I make my own pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum flowers - it's claimed some "Pyrethroids" are synthetically derived.

I use Neem Oil for "Pickle Worms" in Cucumbers from late July on - remembering to apply only very late in the evening to avoid blistering leaves by direct high sunlight and reduce killing beneficial insects (bees).

Some "horticulture oil" and/or some "homemade-insecticidal-soap" for a film in/on water buckets/barrels to trap mosquitoes.

The only chemical I purchase is "DACONIL" a chlorine based anti-fungal  for "Powdery Mildew" (cucumbers & squash/zucchini) when it's too heavy for the baking-soda treatment.  As the weather (climate) changes it has been heavily migrating from our southern coastal part of the state, South Carolina - Georgia.

Sphynx moths in Europe? = have no idea.
Don't have a greenhouse - use grow lamps with shelving in back bedroom for starting.

"Plowing a straight line was no where near as easy as it looks."
I can attest to that.  When I was 9 years old my uncle had my 1st cousin (a year older) and me cultivating corn an cotton from daylight to dark, using a horse in the morning, one of us riding and guiding, the other one holding the plow up.  Horse in the morning and switch to a mule in the afternoon.  The mule was very well trained, easy to guide, but no saddle (sore butt for a while).  By the time I was 16, I was running a team of horses to turn ground and had another two mules used for cultivation so well trained the only bad part was walking.

BTW, it took a lot of feed, hay, and fodder to get the mules & horses through the winter.
We even cut and baled "Kudzu" to mix in.

Will give your "consequences" post a read - but remember I've never aspired to be a farmer.
Left that life 6 months after graduating from high school.  Worked a lot on relatives places over the years though - my own is just a small garden, and guilty of loving to talk about it.  On average, about another month until frost free, but onions and taters in the ground.

Hope you have a very profitable season.

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 10:00:41 PM
Cutworms - most of this problem can be avoided by always transplanting your tomato plants.  I never had any issues with cutworms using transplants.

Hornworms - keep a good eye out for damage to the tomato plants and pick off any you find.  If you look everyday you will catch them in time.  Once you find one that has been parasitized by the wasps (looks like tiny grains of white rice on the worms back) do not kill those as they are paralyzed by the wasp venom and are hosts for baby wasps.  Those wasps will hatch and annihilate all the worms you have not found.  And once the wasps show up on your farm they will always be there (unless you kill them with pesticides of course).  We only had worm problems the first year and after that the wasps killed them.  Bio-warfare!

Re horses:  To do large scale farming you need draft horses as the smaller thoroughbreds/quarter horse types are too fragile for heavy or long duration work.  The standard figure for a farming operation using draft horses was 25% of the land was needed to grow the food for the horses.  Think about that when you see posters indicating we will go back to that farming method and then recall that in 1900 there were something like 13 million work horses of varying percentages of draft horse blood in the US.  Considering the number there are in the US today it would take 40 years to regrow sufficient numbers to run all of Americas farm land.  One of my grandfathers was a draft horse breeder before the age of tractors came and my father spent his youth behind them.  He was running teams of 4 horses by the age of 10.   He decided going to college was the best escape! 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on March 18, 2014, 12:43:33 AM
Cut worms used to get our transplants until we started digging around looking for them before transplanting and using collars to keep them out of the cleared area.

Now our problem is squirrels and bunnies. Though they tend to leave the tomatoes alone and get everything else.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 18, 2014, 01:52:57 PM
Cut worms used to get our transplants until we started digging around looking for them before transplanting and using collars to keep them out of the cleared area.

Now our problem is squirrels and bunnies. Though they tend to leave the tomatoes alone and get everything else.


yea ghoti,  you sound like me when first starting a garden on newly acquired property.
Until the "marigolds" had a couple of years to work their magic the cutworms were tough.

I now trap squirrels and go after the others with a pump-air rifle.  You ought to see people turn up their nose when I kid'em about "Dumplings and Squirrel."

I'm one of those who believe organic - sustainable farming will never, never, ever feed the masses.  I truly admire those who do everything in the organic way with no pesticides nor insecticides nor manufactured chemical fertilizers nor heavy machinery.  But, I'm also very particular about not corrupting the data. When I see limited production per worker, I just say it's OK to dream.

Where one farm workers output totally feeds several hundred people for a full year, that takes a lot more than we have time and space to define here.

But, this thread is about Gardening NOT Farming.

If anyone has so much as one square foot of ground - which would not start a war in their neighborhood for unsightly property - backyards are usually/partially  out of sight - then they should grow some type of food plant.  I know one excuse not to, having an extended absence during the growing time.  I thoroughly know the time and expense - acquiring "horticulture skill" (green thumb)  at first is not logical in most folks thoughts of production for being worthwhile.  I realize a lot of people live in apartments - condos.  There so many things that can be grown in a small space, even in just pots and hanging baskets.

With all that said and done, let me put in a plug for a rival of my favorite college/university.
To my belief, virtually all USA 'States' have an Agriculture Component in their colleges.

Home & Garden Information Center
of Clemson University http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/ (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/)
is what I use the most.  Also, Texas A&M has good online information.  Most or all states do.

At the above Clemson web-site there is a link, on the left "Search HGIC"
result is http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/search.html (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/search.html)
you name it and if it's grown or occurred in my area information seems to be there.

BTW, I love "Heirloom Tomatoes" especially "Cherokee Purple" but put out some "Early Girl" for quicker results.  Some of my heirlooms may be kind of ugly - but taste you can't get from a supermarket.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 05:00:47 PM
Jack wrote: "I'm one of those who believe organic - sustainable farming will never, never, ever feed the masses."

As you know, essentially 'organic' farming always, always, always  :) fed the masses up to a few decades ago. In China, it did so in the same area for over four millennia--maybe not quite long enough to be considered ultimately sustainable, but not to bad.

Keep in mind also that a huge portion of modern mono-crop ag goes to feeding animals and cars. There are in fact still 'masses' that are mostly supported by mostly organic farming and gardening.

I do like your idea about growing on whatever you have. Even windows and porches can be sites for a few veggie plants. I believe it was in one of McKibben's books where he said that 40% of the vegetables consumed in Hong Kong are grown within the city limits. So there is a lot that can be done even in "one of the most densely populated areas in the world."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong)

But we do have to bring lots more people into ag, on the one hand, and reduce both mouths to feed and wasteful use of food as well.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 18, 2014, 10:28:11 PM
Jack wrote: "I'm one of those who believe organic - sustainable farming will never, never, ever feed the masses."

As you know, essentially 'organic' farming always, always, always  :) fed the masses up to a few decades ago. In China, it did so in the same area for over four millennia--maybe not quite long enough to be considered ultimately sustainable, but not to bad.

Keep in mind also that a huge portion of modern mono-crop ag goes to feeding animals and cars. There are in fact still 'masses' that are mostly supported by mostly organic farming and gardening.

I do like your idea about growing on whatever you have. Even windows and porches can be sites for a few veggie plants. I believe it was in one of McKibben's books where he said that 40% of the vegetables consumed in Hong Kong are grown within the city limits. So there is a lot that can be done even in "one of the most densely populated areas in the world."

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong[/url])

But we do have to bring lots more people into ag, on the one hand, and reduce both mouths to feed and wasteful use of food as well.


wili,

Agree with you to the extent that perhaps "mined inorganic" fertilizer fed the masses for centuries until synthetic fertilizers caused the so called "Industrial Agriculture Revolution."

But, how many Billions were in the masses prior to say 1750?
approx ~ Ten Percent (~ 10%) of present

Do you think the world could feed Five Billion using organic only?

If industrial society breaks down or collapses - how will we transport what small amounts of mined inorganic's are available to the prime agriculture areas?

There may be a reason(s) why some people say less than 100 Million is the maximum post collapse.
Not even close to the number for the masses of today.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 10:42:47 PM
Yep, how massive the masses are is a very important consideration. I just think it important to keep some historical perspective.

But do look into how much of the main industrial crops in the US--corn, soy and wheat--actually go directly to feeding people as opposed to cows, cars, and other non-human-food products. You might be surprised.

As to 'mined fertilizer': as I understand it, the oldest continually used 'bread baskets' exploited what might be called 'naturally mined' fertilizer and, practiced intensive recycling of minerals.

The flooding Nile brought minerals from the lands from the south, but they were also very aware of the importance of manure--hence the dung beetle being a sacred creature.

China also got 'free fertility' from the flooding of their two great rivers, but also had an intensive culture of using manure, including especially night soil or 'humanure.'

One area I've always wanted to look into is that of the Balkan republics: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia--apparently their tilth steadily increased over the centuries that they practiced agriculture, much more so than other areas of Europe.

I'm not sure what their secrets were, but I know they were one of the last to be Christianized, and even after that, they held trees and streams as sacred and had a much more earth-centered perspective, iirc.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 19, 2014, 11:55:34 AM
wili,

We will be talking in a circle for a long time unless we define certain parameters.

From my point of reference, it's sustaining a world population of near 10,000,000,000 (ten billion).
I truly believe that is the masses.

During the 'heyday' of the ancient Chinese - Egyptian I'm led to believe total world population was somewhat less than one billion.

Repeat:
"Do you think the world could feed Five Billion using organic only?"
It's only half of what I'm talking about.

I am a true believer that Organic Grown Food is the BEST
but,
I don't adhere to strictly eating organic only.

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 19, 2014, 01:02:00 PM
5 billion. I don't know. Certainly in places like much of the Middle East and North Africa the local populations have far outstripped their abilities to live on the productivity of the land, even without there were now impacts of GW crashing around their ears. Probably southern Europe is on the verge of the same.

Besides population distribution, we also have the problem that much of the land that has been industrially farmed is now much less productive, so even turning it back over to totally organic methods, it would take a long time for the biological life of the soils to return.

On the other side of the equation, we wouldn't just be going back to traditional methods--there have been a lot of advances in our understanding of how to make organic work better than it had in the past. So weighing all these things together, I have to say that I don't know, but probably not with current distributions of population, and especially in an energy constrained, AGW beset world.

I do know that if 90% of the industrial corn crop in the US disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn't make much of a difference to world hunger IF a lot more people became mostly vegetarian and we stopped using corn for cars and for other industrial uses.

"About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup)" (Not that HFCS is essentially poison and should be removed from people's diets anyway.)

It looks like about a third of soy goes to cattle, and another goodly portion to industrial uses. So a lot of that could go away as well and not have much of an impact on global food availability (given the same circumstances listed above).

Those are the two largest crops in the US.

http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html (http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 19, 2014, 02:32:14 PM
"Do you think the world could feed Five Billion using organic only?"
5 billion. I don't know.

Exactly what population number do you believe "organic" could feed (totally sustain)?

I realize we covered a lot on levels in the thread:
Population: Public Enemy No. 1  https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,473.0.html (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,473.0.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 19, 2014, 03:30:57 PM
Jack, Home gardening could make a big difference. Just ripping out the lawn, planting fruit trees, and edibles instead of ornamentals would be a nice starter. I traveled in Hungary right after the wall came down and almost every house had a garden, some chickens and many with a pig.
 Experience in seed selection makes a big difference. Some veggies  are just better adapted locally and don't have the same pest issues as others. Grow what works best.
 Mostly it's the scale of equipment that allows such massive production. This will eventually end.
Like many issues we follow on this forum it seems there is just no way out. Gardening is to some degree a salve, physical labor settles the mind. It does connect us to our roots and will expand as
necessity demands. Local is much more important than organic and moderation in chemical solutions
Is healthier than a complete dependance on the supermarket.
 I share my little attempts at getting off fuels as an example of how very difficult it really is and I do know what I am doing around a garden to start with. 
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 19, 2014, 08:22:18 PM
Good point Bruce.

Jack, I don't know how many ways to say, "I don't know."

But my rough calculations show that everyone in the world could be supplied about 2000 calories a day just from the corn that the US alone does not use for direct consumption.

So given equitable distribution and logical end use (very big 'givens' I'll grant) there would appear to be some 'wiggle room' on feeding the global population at this point.

(But do feel free to do the calculations yourself, as I have little confidence in my meager mathematical abilities.)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 19, 2014, 08:34:31 PM
The big kicker with the discussion in the last few posts is what level of fossil fuels is assumed in the discussion.  Unlimited is where we are now.  When there were none in use we ran at about 1 billion population, but the caveat in that number was that we were still destroying large acreages of arable land over time so we were already unsustainable.  We just had enough extra land it did not matter all that much, except to those who starved in specific areas.

If we decide to reach a level of sustainability comparable to 1500 and take into account our more comprehensive knowledge of biology and were willing to use very moderate amounts of carbon emitting energy what number would we get?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 19, 2014, 10:35:15 PM
wili,

You're not the only one that doesn't know.

Also, I've seen figures elsewhere supporting 2K calories/person from USA corn for whole world.
But it's not "organic corn" and there is no way in hell I'll ever believe we could produce that much corn other than by industrial synthetic fertilizer agriculture methods.  Hopefully there will be folks that come along and prove me wrong.

As an old saying goes "everyone has their favorite (pet) peeve"
there are also many everyones who have a favorite theory.
Most time I refuse to ask'em what they're smoking and drinking.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bruce,

I 'm a strong believer, and practice what I preach, in the home or backyard garden.
I know it can help as it did in the past with "Victory Gardens."

A significant event is necessary to wake-up a super majority (catastrophic ?).

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 19, 2014, 11:13:40 PM
The point is: pretty much all that corn could go away tomorrow, and most of the world would be no worse off than it is now (in terms of direct calorie consumption).

In other words, much of industrial ag is involved in something other than feeding the world.

On the other hand:

Food Prices Surge as Drought Exacts a High Toll on Crops


Surging prices for food staples from coffee to meat to vegetables are driving up the cost of groceries in the U.S., pinching consumers and companies that are still grappling with a sluggish economic recovery.


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303287804579445311778530606?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303287804579445311778530606.html (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303287804579445311778530606?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303287804579445311778530606.html)

Thanks to COBob at robbertscribbler for the link. Sorry that it's to WSJ. :(
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 20, 2014, 10:26:32 AM
The point is: pretty much all that corn could go away tomorrow, and most of the world would be no worse off than it is now (in terms of direct calorie consumption).

In other words, much of industrial ag is involved in something other than feeding the world.

wili,

I thought the conversation had drifted to "Organic" and will add without Nitrogen I have absolutely no faith in the USA "dent corn" crop.  I've spread a lot of "chicken manure" for it's Nitrogen content simply based on cost/availability and there's not enough for Illinois not to mention Iowa.  http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3507p24-61767.pdf (http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3507p24-61767.pdf)

BTW, I no longer grow corn in my garden - this one's too small. I Highly recommend to folks in my neck of the woods for their "Silver Queen" to try Osage Farms http://www.dillardgeorgia.com/osage-farms/ (http://www.dillardgeorgia.com/osage-farms/)  buy the big green mesh bag-full.

What do you do for your freezing and canning of corn?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on March 21, 2014, 09:39:03 PM
This,  http://earthfix.opb.org/communities/article/a-plant-fish-and-energy-farm-under-one-greenhouse-/ (http://earthfix.opb.org/communities/article/a-plant-fish-and-energy-farm-under-one-greenhouse-/)  looks like an interesting concept.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 22, 2014, 02:02:32 PM
Hi everybody,

I want to share some thoughts about gardening in harmony with nature, which is quite common in urban fringe and villages here. I am not talking about agriculture. Next to harvesting some high quality food important goals include also education, curiosity, recreation, increasing bio-diversity and such.

There are a lot of different philosophies and concepts out there - I do not want to discuss them here. E.g. there is the old bio-dynamical way described by Steiner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture) - we could discuss for weeks the strange esoteric and pseudo-scientific background. I do not want to discuss that. In my opinion everybody should walk the way suitable for his/her life and circumstances. There is the more modern concept of permaculture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture) and there are a lot of local concepts and association which could fit your interests, your climate and your needs for interaction with other poeple best. 

What does gardening in harmony with nature mean?

1) Do not try to control your garden. Interactions in nature are way more complicated than e.g. a nuclear power plant. You can never understand every detail so you will never be able to control everything.

2) Take your time and watch a year or two before you start actions and brutaly change everything and maybe destroy an old community of synergetic life forms. Look at the cold/wet  places and the sunny areas and who is flying or crawling there and with wich plants and herbs you share the garden. Unlike a nuclear power plant nature can do quite well without you.

3) Make it complicated. The more different places you have the more different life-forms can stay at your place. The more diverse the ecology is, the more stable it is. So make your garden looking and feeling different in different spots: Trees give shadow, some water is very helpful (even a 100l bucket may help the frog and the syrphid fly and dragon fly), a small area with high grass and different flowers, a pile of stones and sand in a sunny place, a pile of old wood from different trees, some acid soil under some firs and some other place with lime/chalky soil, a compost pile, some lawn with clover and a hammock...

4) Do not clean your garden to much. Especially take care for predators (wesps, fire flys, centipedes, frogs, salamanders, birds, hedgehogs ...) - they need places to hide in the winter and material to build a nest.  The pile of wood and a pile of stones are nice homes. Do not remove all dry flowers/herbs in autumn. Make it look different, interesting and worth living for a lot of species.

5) There are no enemies in your garden. Ignore words like weed or vermin. Every life form is valuable. The problem you may face is that in a unstable ecology with limited number of species some life forms spread to much and to fast. In that case remove some of the species claiming to much space - but not all! You do not want to expulse their predators. Maybe you even need some more different "vermins" to make your garden an attractive one for predators. And it may take some time for the predators to come back. Maybe they were killed by insecticides before. The use of any insecticides guarantees the later invasion of some bugs because the predators were killed and they are much more sensitive to a broken ecology.

6) Plant the stuff you want to eat and want to look at. Try to use original plants native to your place or climate. Do not use breeded stuff but the "real" plants - e.g. there is a nice snowball bush with white flowers: They are beautiful but sterile flowers without nectar for insects and without berries for birds. Try different versions and look which kinds of plants like to share the garden with you. Do not force the plants to life with you - some may be just the wrong plant at the wrong place.

7) Enjoy your garden - if you really do not like something remove it. The garden is a fun place for you. The more fun you have the more tolerant you are to other species and the better for all life forms sharing the same place. Try to life in peace with the species - but if some species do not want to life in peace with others you are the advocate of the victims, you are responsible for everything you do or let alone.

just my 2c
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 22, 2014, 06:43:48 PM
[url]http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf[/url] ([url]http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf[/url])
[...]
What I  didn't see was whether a reduction of energy inputs were specifically considered ? Where they a goal?

Hi Bruce - sorry I missed that question before.

I think for bioland energy input is not considered. But demeter considers energy input - just because they try to consider everything and maybe also something you do not want to be considered. I think there is an organic concept for everybody out there ;-)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on March 23, 2014, 02:49:29 PM
 A few ideas on organic and permaculture and - essential where I live - watering.   

Water.  One of the most inspiring things on radio I heard one day was one of those gardening guys who pointed out the most obvious thing.  If you want to store water, the best place is in the soil.  Obviously that doesn't work for your lettuces on a hot summer's day, but by and large it's not a bad principle to live by.    The other thing to think about is changing what you grow.  Some plants are just too thirsty.   And for trees?   Watch out what you do with the overflow from your rainwater tank, don't waste it.   My granny's garden was well watered because the tank overflow was directed into a surface brick drain, which went past at least eight fruit trees before ending up in the bamboo patch - which provided all the tomato and other stakes for summer crops.  None of the rain that fell on the house or the garden left the premises.   It was all used in the garden or the laundry or in cooking. 

Organic versus permaculture.  Organic is more or less the hard way to do conventional gardening.   Permaculture is a way of organising your garden and associated land so that the land, plants and animals are set up to do more work than you do.   For those who are interested in how to organise a chook cleared and fertilised series of beds for successive crops, I recommend Linda Woodrow http://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Permaculture_Home_Garden.html?id=P9VUAAAACAAJ (http://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Permaculture_Home_Garden.html?id=P9VUAAAACAAJ) .  It's written for Australian conditions, so you guys with snow and ice and other detriments to year round veg gardening wouldn't be able to use her scheme of fruit trees for the veg beds - I believe citrus trees don't do very well in such conditions.   

Pest control.  The first principle is to make life as hard as possible for pests.  So don't plant your broccoli or lettuces all in a row.   Mix everything up as much as you can.  Bugs then can't munch their way through your crop as though it's a cafeteria with all the goodies lined up.   That means growing flowers and "weeds" in among the vegetable and fruit plantings.  A good idea is to have extra lavender, rosemary and half a dozen varieties of thyme in medium sized pots - big enough to support reasonably sized plants, small enough to be moved every few weeks or so where they're needed.  They'll both promote bees when/where you want them and support other bugs all or most of the time.    And a frog pond in the middle, or other suitable part, of your garden is a great perpetual bug eating machine.   A good hint is to have a candle or lantern by the edge every few nights so the nighttime bugs get a chance to meet the residents.    And you can grow water chestnuts, watercress and a few other edibles in the pond into the bargain.   

The best bug killers are chooks.  They find every possible bug and slug and turn them into garden fertiliser.   Chooks can't be trusted among growing veggies - but they will seek out and destroy every bug and every egg that remains after a crop is finished.   And you can maintain their green veg diet with any weeds you pull. 

Permaculture.  The most important thing is the "perma" part.   As much of your garden as possible should be trees, shrubs, vines and other perennial plants.   Asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, artichokes, raspberries and other brambles.  You can also handle household veg so that the plants are sort of perennial or at least long-lived - if you cut spring onions and leeks off just above the roots instead of pulling them, they'll just keep growing and give you another veg to pick much, much more quickly and for much less trouble/fertiliser/water than replanting a new batch.   (You'll also get much more broccoli per plant if you start cutting as soon as heads start to form.)    And you use various attributes of shade or ground cover or clear ground beneath or dropped leaves/fruits/seeds from the trees and perennials as nutrients for other plants.   

Don't be so keen to get rid of the whole of your lawn.  Think about it.   You might want to keep some of it, you might want to replace most or all of it with grasses and other plants that grow reasonably fast - and provide. you. with. plant. material. that you don't have to fetch from elsewhere for mulch, compost, animal bedding, chook run.  Lawn clippings are also a useful addition to compost or chook areas.  Especially if you want to use big compost heaps to clear (and fertilise) plots for veg.    It's also a good idea to plant a few extra of those pest control shrubs to be cut down regularly to provide more bulk material for mulch and compost. 

Use your fences.  Espalier trees there as well as growing vines on them.  Also climbing beans and peas can be grown up them, on their own or in and around the trees/vines/shrubs.   Especially the ones you don't want to pick green but let mature and keep as dried pulses for winter soups and the like. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on March 23, 2014, 03:12:10 PM
And let's not forget the quality aspects of growing your own.  One way to minimise watering and protecting plants is to pick them young.  That way you can get the sort of things that are extremely expensive in shops, and save yourself the worry of growing things on through bad weather. 

Baby leeks, baby beets, baby turnips, baby carrots, whole heads of small cabbage or lettuce are gourmet items in many places.  You can have them several times a week.   And save yourself the trouble of keeping up the water to a largish veg as it grows.   

And if you intend to pick them young and small, you can plant a whole heap more in the area that would normally take only a few.   With some varieties of cabbage, they're pickable after a mere six weeks but will also grow to a large size for a further 4 or 6 weeks.  So you can fill up the bed with them much more closely planted - saving on clearing and weeding - start picking alternate ones after a few weeks and leave the remainder to take up the space they've left.  One thing many people recommend is to cut rather than pull.  Leaving in the stub provides an avenue for water to penetrate further more easily and as the plants either side get bigger, that water supply will be just beyond their dripline.  Exactly where you want it.    You can do the same thing with beets.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 23, 2014, 03:23:26 PM
Adelady, Very nice. I loved the movable herb garden idea as keeping perennials around annuals requires much hand weeding that your trick would obviate. Also frog buckets with night lights is a good one. They too might be designed as movable and kept under the potted herbs for a little shade. I have always wondered what to do with the little solar night lights people use along paths ,now I know.My aunt kept a little pond with some pond lilies that the bullfrogs sat upon. With a nightlight you might draw enough protein to keep the frogs in fairly small buckets. Maybe add a goldfish to keep the water clean. I wish I could let my chickens wander but I have always lost them to coyotes, bobcats, owls and the neighborhood dogs. I got pretty mad at the neighbors the second time their dogs took out my 6 month old hen replacements that I had hand rolled in the incubator. Now I only let out the old hens that have stopped laying and I tell them freedom has it's costs. Isn't worth fighting neighbors over anyhow. 
 You should also try a lettuce called " little gem" over here and " sucrine " in France. Mine made it through a 22 degree F cold snap and it can take very hot temperatures and still stay sweet, thus the French name I suppose.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 23, 2014, 04:55:59 PM
Bruce

Just FYI in regards to our earlier discussion.

I read yesterday that many put the EROEI of industrial agriculture at about 0.1

I suspect that does not include the embedded energy in all the equipment but more along the lines of pure energy inputs to calories out.  A pure EROEI number might be an order of magnitude or more worse.  As you know, a big tractor can burn over 300 gal of diesel a day.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 23, 2014, 05:06:49 PM
And let's not forget the quality aspects of growing your own.  One way to minimise watering and protecting plants is to pick them young.  That way you can get the sort of things that are extremely expensive in shops, and save yourself the worry of growing things on through bad weather. 

A point worth emphasising.

If you choose your seeds wisely (increasingly hard to do in the EU at least as heirloom seeds are being heavily attacked), the taste and quality difference between items freshly picked from your own garden and purchased from the shelves of a supermarket is very significant.

Firstly, nothing in a supermarket is "just picked fresh" - most of it is days old.

Secondly, supermarket produce is selected for its ability to transport, handle and store for long periods of time. Taste is a secondary consideration if it is considered at all. I can think of countries where the supermarket strawberries pretty much taste like cardboard...

Unfortunately the ignorant city dwelling masses are so far removed from all this they simply don't understand what has been lost from our diet.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 23, 2014, 07:38:58 PM
JimD, doesn't seem such a high bar at .1 does it? Could you please source that info so I can link it into the EROEI thread ? If I can't best that they will at least bury a healthy corpse as I proceed towards proving up. I would be lost in a modern air-conditioned mammoth John Deere with GPS anyhow. Frikken throwback squirrel poacher.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 23, 2014, 08:32:02 PM
If you choose your seeds wisely (increasingly hard to do in the EU at least as heirloom seeds are being heavily attacked), the taste and quality difference between items freshly picked from your own garden and purchased from the shelves of a supermarket is very significant.

ccgwebmaster - thanks to 100 years tradition and more than 10,000 true organic farmers here there is no such problem to get real seeds. Just try to search for "biodynamisches Saatgut" or something similar in englisch (bio-dynamical seeds?).

I would suggest to go to some nearby organic farmers and try their vegetables and fruits. If you find some tasty then ask for the names of the type. Some old types you may never have heard before. Then google that seeds or small plants and get it. Most farmers grow their seeds so you could also kindly ask the farmer for the seeds/plants.

edit: found one with english website as an example. http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/english-catalogue.html (http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/english-catalogue.html)
Please search for some farmer near you since you want plants that fit to your place.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 23, 2014, 08:51:26 PM
I would suggest to go to some nearby organic farmers and try their vegetables and fruits. If you find some tasty then ask for the names of the type. Some old types you may never have heard before. Then google that seeds or small plants and get it. Most farmers grow their seeds so you could also kindly ask the farmer for the seeds/plants.


Yes, but what about the EU regulations?

http://www.nationofchange.org/all-about-new-eu-seed-law-1368022078 (http://www.nationofchange.org/all-about-new-eu-seed-law-1368022078)

In fact I think I can find something about them on a section of the site you linked (though I am trusting google translate with it):

http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/Aktuelles.html (http://www.bingenheimersaatgut.de/content/de/Aktuelles.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 23, 2014, 09:02:25 PM
You may ignore the EU regulations. If the type is not listed (in that EU list) the network of bioland or demeter farmers take care for the old types - all the seeds are taken care of. Take a look in the catalogue linked above - there is also a list of farmers and breeders. There will be something similar in your neighborhood since that is so mainstream today.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 24, 2014, 01:03:37 AM
ccg

If you buy organic or get some veggies from the neighbors garden you can often save the seeds from them for yourself to use.  Depending on the vegetable.  Some you have to let the plant go to seed to get any and we eat them before then.  Others we eat the seeds or usually throw them away. 

What is your goal and which ones do you want seed for?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on March 24, 2014, 02:35:18 AM
What is your goal with seed selection?  Getting more of what you want.   

So you have to make the reluctant decision to not pick some of the most desirable produce in your garden.  If you've got one lettuce / carrot / whatever to be the first to mature - don't pick it.  Nurture it and do whatever it takes to preserve those seeds.   For favourite foods, you might finish up with two of your own strains - one that matures early and one that withstands all the problems of the season and is still producing long after everything else has given up. 

If you're serious, it's worth joining a local seed savers network or at least following some sites on line.   There are lots of hints around the place about the best way to collect various seeds and ideas about storage and experimentation with plantings.   I know some people like to float tomato seeds and then dry and store them.  I'm much more in favour of squeezing out the seeds onto a piece of paper towel and then, after it's dried, keeping in that form and simply putting the piece of paper onto the seed raising mixture next season.  Or maybe cutting it into segments for successive sowings.  The great advantage is labelling.  You write on the piece of paper before spreading the seeds on so you can never make a mistake. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 24, 2014, 03:00:08 AM
SATire, Thanks for getting back on my query and your response # 94. I am very impressed with
" Biolands Standards" but Demeter USA not so much. Demeter has this focus on GMO that will never address the energy/Co2 issues that drive our interests and problems here on the " forum " I would appreciate any help you might offer on my minimalism and how that might improve EROEI. Please see posts under " policy and solutions " I know you Germans have been thinking about these issues and
" biolands "is proof of both a lot of thought and excellent execution. Bravo . Can you look over the
" improving EROEI page " and comment please?

Ccg, If your have an interest in seedsaving I think adelady's technique is similar to mine. I have great success with heirloom tomatoes and keeping seed strain true but in northern England you are going to have a hell of a time growing heirloom tomatoes. Squash cross-pollinates with other squash or pumpkins very easily so saving seed becomes much more difficult. Onions and beets take two years to get back seed so also fairly difficult. Lettuce works for me and I can get lots of seed in a single season but I don't use multiple lettuce types so cross-pollination isn't an issue. Peppers are also easy to keep but after a few seasons the mild ones start getting hot due to cross pollination but again northern England is tough gardening for peppers also. Bottom line is gardening is very site specific and what seed you want to save or grow is going to depend on growing conditions of the garden they are to be grown in.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 24, 2014, 03:39:19 AM
What is your goal and which ones do you want seed for?

JimD - I know that seems like a nice simple question - but it really isn't - I'll answer it properly in the foreseeable future (hopefully later tonight/tomorrow)...

Bruce Steele/adelady - I have dabbled with seed saving in the past, as it's really rather important for what I have in mind. I can't say I'm by any means an expert at it, but I'm satisfied I can keep some seeds from some things (and learned some useful lessons about different plants and how they perform in the process). Despite the UK not being ideal I managed in successive years to keep seed for Ashworth sweet corn (but little edible yield). My then wife tried tomatoes one year (variety unknown, she got them as started plants) - but an early onset of cool conditions in the fall/autumn meant we got lots of little green things (which were eaten, but nowhere near maturity for seed purposes). Other plants more climatically suited to the UK did better.

Unfortunately, I have no availability of any local networking of any type for this sort of thing, nor a good probability thereof any time soon (nor for that matter availability of land upon which to grow plants, nor again the probability of that in the near future). That's just the start of the "interesting obstacles"...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 24, 2014, 09:08:17 AM
Those are some great tips, Adelady! Thanks! (forwarding your comment to my wife).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 24, 2014, 09:38:58 AM
I am very impressed with " Biolands Standards" but Demeter USA not so much. Demeter has this focus on GMO that will never address the energy/Co2 issues that drive our interests and problems here on the " forum " I would appreciate any help you might offer on my minimalism and how that might improve EROEI. Please see posts under " policy and solutions " I know you Germans have been thinking about these issues and
" biolands "is proof of both a lot of thought and excellent execution. Bravo . Can you look over the
" improving EROEI page " and comment please?

Bruce, please do not judge Demeter to quick: The groups are all very different. Anthroposophy is very broad and poeple life it very different - from christian fundamentalism to holistic scientific ways. So if you do not like poeple in an anthroposophic group in one town try a look at groups at some other towns - they may be very different so you have a chance to find a group matching your way of life.

I am sorry that a have no idea about EROI in that case: In gardening I put in a bit electricity to cut my small lawn and some charcoal for barbecue. Furthermore I do not get any energy from my garden only food - the calories in food are not the same as the energy if you burn it. I also do not see any good reason to make fuel from plants. I have not much knowledge about agriculture so I will not comment about that agriculture "EROI".

A last comment about genetic modification: Nearly all organic groups here refuse that. I never heard about a demeter group using genetic modified plants and I have no idea how that could fit in their concept. Since they do not use chemicals there is no need for plants producing chemicals nor beeing resistant to chemicals. In general here in EU we need to prove, that something does not have bad consequences before using it (vice versa to e.g. USA) and since life forms tend to spread the potential hazard to some other life forms is much more severe than e.g. releasing chemical poisons or nuclear material. How to prove that there is no long term effect? Not possible - so there is no chance for GMO here.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on March 24, 2014, 10:58:03 AM
My ha'pennies:

1. Shallots, if you harvest them very young, make a fine substitute for spring onions; going from bulb to spring onion in a matter of weeks. Leave around 1/6 to mature into bulbs and you have a constant supply.

2. My favourite salad leaf is nasturtium. If you're right posh, you can also eat the flowers.

3. Rocket is best left until it's about a foot high, and then eat the top leaves and the buds/flowers.

4. Radish pods are delicious; until they dessicate, when they're inedible.

5. The most ecological form of gardening is foraging; but it has to come with a significant health warning: DO NOT EAT things which you cannot definitely identify. Poisonous plants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and hazards vary geographically. So I don't really want to pursue this too much on an internationally read forum. But wild garlic, garlic mustard, dandelions, blackberries. You are much better off getting local information.

6. Make your own compost.

7. Grow herbs in, or very near, the kitchen.

8. Harvest rainwater. Tapwater has loads of nasty chemicals in it.

9. Grow your own bamboo.

10. Would you all please now desist from having anything interesting to say on this or any other topic? I've got loads of digging still to do ;(
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 24, 2014, 11:42:32 AM
idunno - I write just to interupt you, since you should leave some places undigged. Do not disturb all life forms at once but let e.g. have the worms a refugium for this year. Next year they are spread again and you may dig the other place.

I forgot one very important (but trivial) point in my starter-list in post #93: Talk to all your neighbors! You need to know what they like/do not like. Explain them what you do and why and how and ask them about their honest opinions. Respect their opinion and ask for some respect and find compromises.

Why is that very important? If they consider your garden as a highway to hell and a source of weeds and slugs they could answer with chemical warfare destroing all your chances - since that would kill the ecology at your place, too. Avoid any plants they do not like near the boarder. Pull the weeds they do not like and tell them about that. Offer them that you pick the slugs for them, too (until e.g. the fireflies are back - their slug-killer nymphs need a wood pile, poison-free slugs and several years to get numerous). Only if you are in peace with your neighbors you can enjoy your garden (a friend of mine made some bad experience some years ago).
The next thing is to discuss what to plant. If your neighbors have apple trees and cherries you could go and plant e.g. plum and pear and share the fruits with the neighbors. Furthermore it is fun to discuss different herbs and share knowledge and swap vegetables - learning together is always better than doing alone.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on March 24, 2014, 12:46:55 PM
idunno: The other thing that it is good to know, but that can be even harder to be sure of, is whether the stuff you are foraging has been sprayed with herbicide.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JimD on March 24, 2014, 04:43:06 PM
As a lot of you live in cool climate areas there is a good chance in your area there is an emphasis on cool season crops.  Brassicas; like cabbage, broccoli, kale and such.  A lot of people do not know that almost the entire plant of many of these is edible.  Broccoli for instance is fully edible; the stem, the leaves and the florets (the heads they sell us in the store).  Make soups and greens from the stems and leaves.  Add all that stuff in and you get a much greater calorie production.  We used to sell the leaves bundled right next to our kale leaves and we cut the stems and sold them by the pound for soup stock.  Sold almost the entire plant.  FYI be careful not to overeat raw brassicas as too much of them can cause thyroid problems (personal experience - I love raw kale and used to eat it all the time when I was out in the field.  Opps!)

If you pick the right variety of beets the leaves are of an excellent flavor ands can be used for lots of stuff.  So you clip some of the leaves (not all) and you get leaves and bulbs to eat.

Parsnips are great for lots of purposes, but WATCH OUT for the leaves as many are allergic to them (like poison ivy) so use gloves and long shirts and cut the tops off in the field.  Some are also allergic to celery.

Garlic will grow anywhere so don't forget that.  As garlic is the fastest plant to evolve if you buy a few kinds to start with and check them for the best flavor for your soil then save the one(s) which taste best for planting.  DO this for about 4 years and you have optimized for your soil and you have your own variety of garlic (Neven's Fire Garlic TM).

A lot of cool season plants will overwinter so you can plant them in the fall and mulch a bit and have lots of early season stuff to eat.  Check what the serious gardeners do in your area.

Stuff like that helps a lot.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 24, 2014, 06:39:41 PM
(Neven's Fire Garlic TM)

Check!  ;D
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on March 25, 2014, 04:08:39 AM
One good piece of advice I've followed religiously all my life. 

Never attempt to grow a crop of the large conventional long-keeping onions until your soil is well under serious control.    Don't even think about it.  We've never tried.  The soil has to be very fertile, but not too much so that you get more top than bulb.   It has to be friable, but also free of uncomposted vegetable matter.  It has to be absolutely weed free and you have to keep it that way from start to finish.   7 months of unremitting - relentless - dedication to hand weeding.  You can't let chooks anywhere near them.    Much better to wait until you've got a decent area well cultivated for a few years so that you know you have cleared and maintained it in suitable condition and that weeding won't be burdensome. 

For home consumption, you're much better off with a variety of onion family stuff.  Garlic, a couple of square metres of spring onions, soft bunching onions, lots and lots of leeks so that you can cut young ones and also let others grow to full size,  a square metre or few of the small pickling onions that you grow really crowded and really quickly,  and a few varieties of those more or less perennial onions.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 25, 2014, 05:59:04 AM
Adelady, I grow onions in my crop rotation. Cover crop winters and plow in about three weeks before planting time. Plant corn one year, tomatoes the next and finally onions the last year before manuring 
and fallowing  a season. Food safety rules say you need to wait nine months after manuring. I grow very big onions and start them all from seed. I had a big red short season onion show up in a large planting of yellows one year so I saved it along with a couple smaller reds I had grown from catalog seed for pollinating the next year.The resulting red is huge , about the size of Walla Walla yellow onions. Onions are good sellers for restaurant sales and keep well for winter sales. Shallots are another specialty that also grow in one season from seed. I have been saving a box of red onions to replant for seed ever since. I will agree on weeding for several months but I let the weeds go once the bulbs are getting up to size to provide a little shade. Amaranth goes weedy around here so I let it go and collect seeds for making brownies to sell in the fruit stand.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 25, 2014, 06:30:07 AM
Food safety rules say you need to wait nine months after manuring.

Why? Is there a good reason? E coli, if you don't wash the vegetables, or something?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 25, 2014, 07:26:41 AM
Ccg, There is a difference between well composted material and manure. Manure is higher in
Nitrogen but it isn't totally free of potential pathogens unless it has been brought up to 165
 degrees F ( measured with a long stemmed thermometer ) turned again brought back to temp. and repeated 5 times. This composting process kills pathogens and weed seeds. Manure hasn't gone through this whole process and can cause problems. I use horse and chicken with some horse urea mixed in with things like spoiled alfalfa and straw from the horse stalls. Cattle manure is higher in nitrogen but definitely more dangerous due to e-coli. Rules used to say 6 months but changed this year. I don't use cattle but I would if I did a complete compost regime.
 These things aren't really monitored and I keep a million dollar insurance policy should something happen but if you don't follow rules and somebody does get sick the insurance probably won't pay. There isn't much money in farming to start with and lawsuits are an expense that can ruin you so 9 months is cheap insurance and probably overkill for horse manure.  Weed seed can be a problem but a couple passes with the harrow helps keep them under control in the fallowed field. Bringing the manure pile up to temperature at least once helps a lot also.
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 25, 2014, 07:52:59 AM
Ccg, There is a difference between well composted material and manure. Manure is higher in
Nitrogen but it isn't totally free of potential pathogens unless it has been brought up to 165
 degrees F ( measured with a long stemmed thermometer ) turned again brought back to temp. and repeated 5 times. This composting process kills pathogens and weed seeds. Manure hasn't gone through this whole process and can cause problems. I use horse and chicken with some horse urea mixed in with things like spoiled alfalfa and straw from the horse stalls. Cattle manure is higher in nitrogen but definitely more dangerous due to e-coli. Rules used to say 6 months but changed this year. I don't use cattle but I would if I did a complete compost regime.
 These things aren't really monitored and I keep a million dollar insurance policy should something happen but if you don't follow rules and somebody does get sick the insurance probably won't pay. There isn't much money in farming to start with and lawsuits are an expense that can ruin you so 9 months is cheap insurance and probably overkill for horse manure.  Weed seed can be a problem but a couple passes with the harrow helps keep them under control in the fallowed field. Bringing the manure pile up to temperature at least once helps a lot also.

Interesting. What you're saying about compost vs manure makes sense (knew the decomposition heat killed some things).

What I'm wondering now though is - where does the manure come from? If your animals are roaming around on pasture - presumably it's just being deposited directly onto the field in question? Does that mean you can't grow crops there for that length of time after removing animals from it?

Or does it only apply to manure collected in more concentrated settings and relocated - barns, stalls, however the animals are being concentrated such that the manure can be collected? Am I right in thinking that animals (like plants) are best rotated around so that parasites specific to one species don't accumulate in a given area too much? (and also due to the different nutritional demands in both cases)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 25, 2014, 01:51:41 PM
Ccg, I suppose trying to recreate a natural system with animals rotating maybe with an additional cover crop planted for them right before the land was in it's fallow would be fine but large animals like horses require a very strong fence. If they get out on the highway and someone hits them it is a big liability . So my horses go out on pasture ( with strong fence)during the day and are brought in to their stall/ paddock at night. Their manure is collected during chores every day and wheelbarrowed over to the pile where I can stack it up to get some heating and decomposition. Pastures manure is also collected when I have some energy, used to be very week but after ten years I am not on it as regular these days.
 Sometimes I try to explain the bacterial decomposition that takes place in the ocean and compare it to composting. Result is organic matter is eaten and oxidized by bacteria ,oxygen consumed and Co2 released.
 A sow delivered 13 little piggies about sundown yesterday so I freshened her farrowing shed with fresh straw and went down a couple times 12:00 and 4 to try and make her life a little easier. Water and some pumpkins that are high in protein as treats in her shed. I am going to have trouble however unless I can find another sow to adopt a few babies as these heritage pigs only have ten tits. One piggy per and they don't share, they own their tit till they are weaned. Pig manure also gets collected but it goes into an area I will put into orchard as piggies are a little too much like humans and we share common parasites if you're not careful. Orchards take several years to grow and by the time they are fruiting the parasites are gone.
 It's spring so seedbed preparations are going on and lots of seed starts are going into the little greenhouse I have for that purpose. Some things can be directly seeded. I lay out drip tape let the weeds germinate run tillie up and down the rows to knock down the weeds then it is planted. I have
over five acres in row crops and cultivating and hand weeding begins soon. Stabbing in little onion plants every 6 inches can take me days of crawling around and tomatoes ,peppers and melons follow in a few weeks but they are planted on two foot centers so not as difficult as the onions.
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on March 26, 2014, 04:24:58 AM
To Mr. Steele:

thanx for the description.

most have no idea of the work it takes.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 26, 2014, 04:53:17 AM
Thank you Sidd, Ten thousand years we have kept night watch on our keep. I love it though.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on March 26, 2014, 12:34:29 PM
Onions.   Can be made easier to handle (if you're not doing this already). 

Get your soil prepared to a reasonably fine tilth.   Run a gooseneck hoe along a straight line, with the blade of the hoe on an angle.  (If you have the same neat freak inclinations as Peter Bennett* had, you'd be using a spirit level and a GPS - we can all be thankful GPS wasn't around when he was coming up with his ideas.)     The important thing is to create a sharply V shaped depression as your planting strip.   The next step is the most important for making the process quick and easy.   Take handfuls of your seedlings, rinse most of the soil off them if you need to and line up the bases.   Use scissors to cut all the roots to the same length and do the same for the tops.    Having done this you can practically run alongside the row putting in the seedlings - you do this on the lower side of the V.   You don't have to pay any attention to placing them because they're all the same, you only have to keep your spacing right. 

The next step might not be appropriate in your region's soil and moisture conditions, so think about it a bit.    Get the hoe and run it along the raised soil on the high side you created when you made the depression so that a good amount of the soil drops into the depression and onto the roots.  His advice is that you then tread, firmly, with your boots along that root line so that the roots are fully in contact with the soil.  There'll still be a bit of a depression directing water to the roots.   He says they'll stand up straight within a day or so and there will be no setback to growth.   I've only ever used a modified version for things other than onions, but making seedlings a uniform size really makes the whole process easier and simpler.   

*If you can find a cheap copy of this book online http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Organic_Gardening.html?id=BMs2AQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y (http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Organic_Gardening.html?id=BMs2AQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y) you might see some of his other ideas.  He died a few years ago, but he was our local organic gardening and farming guru here for a long time.  He got kicked off a radio show he regularly contributed to because of his rants about the ag fertiliser and pesticide companies.    A man after my own heart - apart from the met.i.cul.ous measuring and controlling everything in a domestic garden.  He's very much an organic gardener - his view on the permaculture people who came to his courses was that he was very fond of the knit-your-own-sandals crowd.  (Had a couple of quiet conversations with him after some sessions.) 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 26, 2014, 01:07:44 PM
Adelady, I use drip tape because it allows me to irrigate several acres at once with minimum labor. At planting time I carefully stab in one little onion plant ( with the tops cut ) exactly at each emitter hole.
With dry ground and  tape laid out I turn on water just long enough to make a little wet spot so I know where the emitter holes are then turn off the water and get to planting. This is tedious work but it gets my spacing perfect at 6 inches. Later in the year I cultivate along either side of the tape with a small offset Kaboda tractor. The advantage of exact spacing is the next step in hoeing between plants. I can move  fairly quickly with a methodical swing , not any adjustments due to odd spacings. I will have most of an acre of onions to maintain this year, so anything I can do to minimize the dreaded hand weeding is worth the effort. I usually need to do about three passes hand weeding to keep things cleaned up before bulbs are large enough to relax a bit. Relax being relative in this case.
 
 
Title: Re: Gardening -- food-bearing vines to recommend?
Post by: SteveMDFP on March 27, 2014, 04:29:50 PM
You gardeners on this site have finally made a convert.  For 5 decades, I've had about as much interest in gardening as ditch-digging.  Now, I may be seeing the light.
Here in Maryland, we have a decent growing climate.  Generally adequate rainfall, temperate temps, pretty good soil.
But I live in a townhouse in an area with a homeowner's association.   The available back yard is fenced, and the fence is high and blocks sun from the ground--even weeds barely grow.  But I figure the fence can allow vines to grow on the outer, sunny side, with roots planted legally on the inner, shady side.  But I have NO CLUE what to plant.  Maybe some kind of variety of grape?
I'm almost certainly going to plant some bitter melon, as it is a useful medication for us Type 2 diabetics.  But that's more medicinal than a source of nutrition and calories, so it won't be much.
Any other recommendations?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 27, 2014, 08:33:53 PM
Steve, You might check around to see if your city has any community gardens. Usually lots of interesting people of various ethic backgrounds so can be both fun and educational to see what other people plant. Also gives you the advantage of watching when other people with more experience plant ,harvest etc.
  There is an interesting plant called Yacon that is also good for diabetes. It is supposed to be able to help control blood sugar and because it has a high concentration of polysaccharides it tastes sweet .
It is also a strong probiotic so be careful when you first start eating it. Your body will adjust to it but the first days you may think you ate a very large can of beans. My wife gets kinda angry with me if I use it to cook with. Needs full light. Can be purchased on the Internet as a syrup. I have made syrup but it takes a lot of tubers to reduce out much.Order some and see if you like it. I use it as a sugar substitute but again warn people about flatulence before sharing your baking projects.
 A plant you can grow that will do O.K. in shade and vine up to the light is called Chayote. It is used by Mexicans as a squash substitute. It is extremely productive. You can attach some trellis to your fence and it will crawl right up it.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 27, 2014, 09:05:03 PM
Steve, I do not know anything about diabetics. But I can tell some stuff that grows in the shadow part of the garden (needs only a few hours sun per day): The fruits which grow in the forrest: blueberry, raspberry, lingon. Also some vegetables grow in the shadow: various salads, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and also pea, beans, radish. Some other stuff may also survive but grow smaller.
Some herbs: chive, bear's garlic, peppermint, woodruff or rhubarb life beneath the trees in the south-west part of my garden which is the darkest region.

You can also plant more different plants if you elevate a part of the garden a bit like this: https://www.mein-schoener-garten.de/de/gartenpraxis/nutzgarten/gemueseanbau-im-hochbeet-22492 (https://www.mein-schoener-garten.de/de/gartenpraxis/nutzgarten/gemueseanbau-im-hochbeet-22492)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on March 27, 2014, 09:40:20 PM
Hi Steve,

Some kind of grape sounds good. Or you could maybe try a kiwi fruit; in that case you need to buy two plants, a male and a female, if you want to get any fruit.

In either case, be aware that vines can grow like triffids. You should probably train some wires or cords on the sunny side of the fence for the vines to cling to.  And you will certainly want to get some secateurs (gardeners' scissors) to keep a bit of order.

But do give it a go. Even if you kill'em, you'll get away with murder. And vines do grow like triffids - you may delight yourself.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bkpr on March 29, 2014, 02:20:31 PM
Keeping bees means no toxins in the garden or orchard trees. The only exception we have ever made is a mild copper dust based spray for a nasty case of leaf curl in the peach and plum trees. I applied it at late dusk when I was fairly certain all the foragers had returned to the hives, and one application turned the tide.

The use of IPM just makes sense, let the good bugs eat the bad bugs and the parasitic wasps work great in the garden and in the greenhouse. I am in a test phase to determine if a parasitic wasp, so small, it lays in the abdomen of our worst bee pest, varroa destructor is effective rather than rotational miticides.  If this research shows promise, it will help us ween our bees of essential oil based miticides.

Great tips and techniques here, queen bee and i have been raising food since we were kids and it morphed into something like our grandparents practiced. They didn't keep bees but raised almost 80% of the flesh, vegetables, herbs, and fruit they ate.

We will attempt to better that by a bit, by expanding our operation some.  We are in growing zone 5 and we use a greenhouse to force our starts, beginning late last month.  We also hurry the AM soil temperature by just covering the raised bed or rows with 6 mil clear poly. We use greenhouse poly because it can be reused for a long time if minimally cared for after the danger of plunging overnight temps is over.

Scrounge for an old SS sink, single bowl is fine, scrounge or look for used garbage disposal and attach to sink. Use a pallet to make a counter for sink. Carefully wire a switch to your new compost tool. Before just throwing your kitchen scraps in the compost pile, run them through the grinder with a sip of water, let the goods eject into a 5 gallon pail, then toss onto compost pile or worm bin, being careful what you feed your worms of course.

Source your seeds from a reputable organic and/or heirloom catalog in your growing zone, they will be acclimated to your zone already. Better is the suggestion to join a seed savers club. Saving seed is just as important as growing our own food.  Practice, ask for help, get good at this, for when seeds might get hard to get. Once dry, many varieties can be stored in dark colored medicine or supplement bottles with a bit of rice or powdered milk to keep them dry. We use a sharpie to date/identify and keep them in a cool dark spot.

If you're using raised beds made of cedar we hope, scrounge, barter, for a 1" roll of exterior abrasive tape used in tools to shape/smooth steel. Staple it on top of the cedar edge, using a heavy stapler, and you have a barrier that slugs and snails hate to crawl over.

We use small row covers to give the cukes room to get big enough to fight off predators on their own.  Same with others vulnerable to pests. And it took a 8' barrier to keep out the venison, that is the only thing we found that worked.

For outstanding results find in your area those folks that raise rabbits, alpacas, or llamas.  Offer to muck out the stalls if you have too, don't be surprised to hear your poo person say they want a small fee to offset the cost of feed.  Gardeners know these critters really chew their feed so good, that seeds are almost impossible to germinate. Also these animals are fed real good chow and what goes in comes out.  Many are aware of the value of one application of poo tea and one of compost tea and then stand back.  While spot watering one afternoon, we had a large nursery pot of alpaca poo sitting in the garden. I started to add a bit of water to keep it from getting dry, when i noticed brown tea oozing out the holes in the bottom.  In one hour I had sprinkled 1 gallon pots, two thirds full of poo, all around the plantings.  Folks accused us of buying Miracle Grow by the drum, Nope, just poo.  When you have tilth, a trowel full of soil will have worms and smell fertile. :)

For aphids in the greenhouse again parasitic wasps, lady bugs, or a mild solution of water, oil soap, and a bit of mineral oil will play havoc with aphids and works good to keep the earwigs out of the swiss chard too.

Rain water is the ideal for irrigation, followed by good well water if you can get it.  We use 55 gallon food grade barrels to harvest rain and it gets used in the greenhouse.  This water is allowed to come up to greenhouse temps before use so as to prevent cold shock.  In this barrel a net bag is hung to brew tea.  24 hrs steeping seems to do the trick, whether poo or compost.

All orchard pruning are rendered into bio char and eventually returned to the soil.  We are making a slow switch from annuals mostly to perennials, just because their easier to care for and seem more resilient. 

Having a large garden, coming into it and picking that days meals, eating them literally minutes after harvest is rewarding and we feel a bit more food secure I'd admit.  The price however is we zero out the plain hard work it takes to live like this. Same with the canning and the cooking.  OK, we did kill the TV years ago, that might have played a part for sure, cause it freed up a lot of time for us.

Sorry for the long post, couldn't sleep so good, diarrhea of the keyboard I plea.

Happy Growing

bkpr 





 
Title: Re: Gardening -- food-bearing vines to recommend?
Post by: JackTaylor on March 30, 2014, 03:17:23 PM
You gardeners on this site have finally made a convert.  For 5 decades, I've had about as much interest in gardening as ditch-digging.  Now, I may be seeing the light.
Here in Maryland, we have a decent growing climate.  Generally adequate rainfall, temperate temps, pretty good soil.
But I live in a townhouse in an area with a homeowner's association.   The available back yard is fenced, and the fence is high and blocks sun from the ground--even weeds barely grow.  But I figure the fence can allow vines to grow on the outer, sunny side, with roots planted legally on the inner, shady side.  But I have NO CLUE what to plant.  Maybe some kind of variety of grape?
I'm almost certainly going to plant some bitter melon, as it is a useful medication for us Type 2 diabetics.  But that's more medicinal than a source of nutrition and calories, so it won't be much.
Any other recommendations?

Steve,

Welcome to the FORM world of Type 2 Diabetics with high lipids (cholesterol) - my backyard garden work may have saved my life - helped with 75 lb weight loss - wore out a shovel turning soil in limited spaces before getting a couple of powered tillers.  It (gardening) is one form of exercise I don't get bored with, tired yes - bored no.  BTW, it is alleged (not advise) properties of cooked  green chili's help with pancreas Langerhans islets (hint = insulin).
FORM = Fat Old Retired Men

Been down the road with condo living and HOA regs/rules. 
But as Bruce Steel mentioned there are ways to get the Therapy.
http://ahta.org/ (http://ahta.org/)  American Horticultural Therapy Association
www.google.com/#q=gardening+therapy (http://www.google.com/#q=gardening+therapy)

I like trellis/fencing - to some vertical gardening www.google.com/#q=vertical+gardening (http://www.google.com/#q=vertical+gardening)

To an old fashioned Slide Show with this picture/image  http://www.polk-nc.com/garden (http://www.polk-nc.com/garden)
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.polk-nc.com%2Fgarden%2FImages%2FaCuc481-11.JPG&hash=cdfa334339188898c581f87d33c24e6d)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 30, 2014, 11:41:07 PM
Scrounge for an old SS sink, single bowl is fine, scrounge or look for used garbage disposal and attach to sink. Use a pallet to make a counter for sink. Carefully wire a switch to your new compost tool. Before just throwing your kitchen scraps in the compost pile, run them through the grinder with a sip of water, let the goods eject into a 5 gallon pail, then toss onto compost pile or worm bin, being careful what you feed your worms of course.

Coincidentally we built a worm farm a couple of weeks ago, and put compost worms in it. The worms are still a bit uneasy (not eating that much as of yet), but at least they're not dead.

My wife then also said how easy it would be to have an American style garbage disposal unit that shreds and grinds food, which makes it easier to digest for the worms. Little did we know as Europeans that the grinded stuff gets flushed down the drain as well (we thought liquids and solids would be separated). Because garbage disposal units aren't a regular feature here in Europe, I won't be able to find one on the scrap heap, I fear.

---

I need a short tip. My wife has planted seeds a couple of weeks ago, but all of a sudden the small seedlings weren't doing so well. My wife thought it was because of small fruit flies flying around the little pots and getting into the potting soil. She feared that little fruit fly worms were eating the roots, and so she stuck matches upside down in the soil (I guess for the sulphur). Some seedlings have recovered, but others are getting worse.  I'm not too sure about the matches.

I should be googling this, but then I thought: Arctic Sea Ice Forum!  8)

Any tips?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 31, 2014, 02:05:04 AM
Neven, you may have something I call wilting off. To plant seeds and avoid this problem you need sterile soil mix and clean planting trays. So if you reuse planting trays or plug trays you need to dip them in a weak chlorine water bath and then rinse them well before using. Soil mix is very important to avoid wilting off and I use 50% peat moss mixed with 50% perlite (or vermiculite) these are both fairly sterile. I fill the planting trays part way add a slow release fertilizer fill trays up to level with more 50/50 planting mix then press down into trays. This leaves a little depression at the top to drop seeds into. After each little plug or cup get it's seed you add 50/50 mix pack the last time add lightly water. Sometimes the peat is slow to absorb water and you need to lightly water again the next day. Once it is thoroughly wet  it will be easy to keep watered but if you get carried away the first day you can wash the seeds out. I know they sell organic planting mix at the store but I never trust it. I have tried side by side plantings with expensive store bought planting mix and the 50/50 peat/ perlite and I always do better with my homemade stuff. I put in tens of thousand of seeds this way every year.
You don't want to see your seeds start up then bend over and wilt off. For me it gets expensive and messes with my planting calendar. I have never had the peat mix fail me.  Also called "damping off"
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 31, 2014, 03:51:57 AM
Coincidentally we built a worm farm a couple of weeks ago, and put compost worms in it. The worms are still a bit uneasy (not eating that much as of yet), but at least they're not dead.
---
I need a short tip. My wife has planted seeds a couple of weeks ago, but all of a sudden the small seedlings weren't doing so well. My wife thought it was because of small fruit flies flying around the little pots and getting into the potting soil. She feared that little fruit fly worms were eating the roots,

and so she stuck matches upside down in the soil (I guess for the sulphur). Some seedlings have recovered, but others are getting worse.  I'm not too sure about the matches.

I should be googling this, but then I thought: Arctic Sea Ice Forum!  8)

Any tips?

Neven,

Congrats on choosing to start a "worm farm" - nothing like "worm castings" IMHO.

Also, small seedlings falling over - shriveling after growing straight up rapidly, long stems
Number One - probably most important -
It could be a lack of "Photosynthesis" -
unless the sunlight is good & bright in your greenhouse it may be necessary to use some "grow lamps" and temperature needs to be high enough.

Suggest to NOT use "potting soil" to start seeds - do as Bruce Steele says "peat moss" w/perlite/vermiculite - price is also better here.

Sulphur reduces the PH of soil - though doubt enough is breaking off the matches to work as it is a time process.  Great to apply (powder/granule) to an area for "Irish Potatoes" a few months before setting eye-seeds, depending on "soil tests."
Has a use as a pesticide, note plants it could be toxic to:
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/make-sulfur-spray-pesticide-26954.html (http://homeguides.sfgate.com/make-sulfur-spray-pesticide-26954.html)

BTW, without an in-sink-garbage-disposal, my wife would probably leave home.
Remember no meat - no grease through the disposal or to the worms.
They do like carbohydrates like cracked wheat/corn and uneaten veggies.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on March 31, 2014, 06:38:58 AM
Er, guys, peat is the most important carbon sink in the world.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/peat-bogs-help-to-mitigate-climate-change.aspx#axzz2xVXhon3r (http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/peat-bogs-help-to-mitigate-climate-change.aspx#axzz2xVXhon3r)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat)

http://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/Environmental/Media_Nutrition/COIR%20potential.htm (http://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/Environmental/Media_Nutrition/COIR%20potential.htm)

Sorry, Bruce, but I disagree with most of your post, until the last two words; damping off. I think it highly likely that you're killing them with kindness, Neven, by overwatering.

There are 3 other methods of plant propagation which you might like to  try, which can save you years of time, or hundreds of Euros. They are very much not pushed by the horticultural industry, as this is where they make their money (from you)...

1. Cuttings. Take a dormant (quick!) twig, and push it gently into a pot of compost; so that there is at least 1 bud above and at least 1 below the soilline. You could try blackcurrants, grape or rosemary. If you're fond of mysterious white powders, use rooting compound. By about middle of May they may just have grown roots.

2. Layering. Some plants will only root if the growing living plant touches the soil. Some, such as strawberry, do so spontaneously. Others, eg thyme and gooseberry need encouraging. Take a sideshoot and pin or weigh it down. If it roots, cut it clear from its parent and replant in suficient space.

3. Grafting. Ignore this one for now.

I strongly suspect that Prof Google has more, better info than me; including tutorial video.

For this year, you might do best to buy some parent plants for grafting over the next winter. Eg buy one Blackcurrant now. In Autumn it will need pruning. Take pruned twigs and plant as cuttings. Buy one; get half a dozen free.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on March 31, 2014, 08:27:35 AM
Neven & Mrs Neven,

I found it works best if I let the container of worm food scraps sit a few days before adding it to the worm farm. & Especially when I am starting a new box/layer I don't add the worms for a week or 2. (Mine is a v simple type with stacked bins.) That way some breakdown by moulds, bacteria etc is already under way making it easier for the worms to digest.
I have 2 containers on our kitchen sill, one for the regular compost bin & one for the worms which I often chop up a bit.
PS Obviously the scraps breakdown faster when its hot, maybe your worms are a bit cold if spring is just beginning with you?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 31, 2014, 08:33:03 AM
idunno, You might want to read the "Archer et al" link below before you try to convince me that peat is " the most important carbon sink in the world ".

http://www.atm.damtp.cam.ac.uk/mcintyre/archer-carbon-tail08.pdf (http://www.atm.damtp.cam.ac.uk/mcintyre/archer-carbon-tail08.pdf)

The ocean holds 38,000 gt carbon and that is one hell of a pile of peat moss.
  But I suppose I should defer to  " Mother Earth News "

Even if you were to exclude the 70 % of " the world " that is ocean I have serious doubt that peat is the largest terrestrial carbon sink.
 Damping off or wilting off can be caused by a lot more than excess water. Fungus and bacteria can be serious threats to young seedlings. The perlite is to help lighten the planting mixture and keep you from water logging your plants.
 O.K. The couple of bales of peat I use per year is taken from a moderate long term carbon sink and mixed into my garden soil where it oxidizes faster than it would have if it were left where it was but the plants I grow absorb Co2 and store some of it in their roots  and is also stored awhile so it's not a totally one sided equation. You failed to offer an alternative planting mix option. I suppose an organic mix that was actually sterilized would do the trick but the energy it took to accomplish that would be worse than some peat. I said I have tried other options and not been satisfied with the results. You can disagree with that if you'd like.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 31, 2014, 11:06:32 AM
Neven, I would agree to most above: For seeding the soil is critical. Peat is not a good solution due to environment. Those tiny plants are very sensitive and need right humidity (not to much and never dry), some sun, but not to warm - the right thing for a wife to take care the hole day...

Our solution for the soil-paradoxon is a professional compost company (using only the cut trees and other green material of the town and not the stuff from ugly "Biotonne". Maybe you have something similar in your neighborhood like this: http://www.gabco.de/produkte.html (http://www.gabco.de/produkte.html)

They also sell soil suitable for seeds made from recycled material. It is more expensive than other type of soils but you need not much and it is worth the effort to keep your wife happy.

edit: Why you should not use peat here in Europe? Because they kill the last moors to get that stuff. Next to releasing CO2 that harms wildlife significantly. The latter point may be different in e.g. Siberia ;-)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on March 31, 2014, 02:17:55 PM
use 50% peat moss mixed with 50% perlite (or vermiculite) these are both fairly sterile. I fill the planting trays part way add a slow release fertilizer fill trays up to level with more 50/50 planting mix then press down into trays. This leaves a little depression at the top to drop seeds into. After each little plug or cup get it's seed you add 50/50 mix pack the last time add lightly water. Sometimes the peat is slow to absorb water and you need to lightly water again the next day.

Bruce Steele,
Emphasis (bold) is mine.

Are you willing to share information about the exact slow release fertilizer you use?
Brand if purchased.
Amount per cup/seedling.
etc ..................
I use 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water 1/week soluble 15/30/15, similar to MiracleGro.
(Brand = Expert Gardener from WalMart believe it or not - I am NOT 100% Organic)
The extra phosphate to get roots better established before re-potting and/or transplanting.
All with about a dozen "grow lamps" in back bedroom.

Compost type for re-potting mix - soil amendment, we have packed red-clay (mud) soil.

I switched to exclusively using a Peat Moss w/Perlite or vermiculite for seed starting years ago.
Germination Rate Very High IMO.  And I've experimented off-n-on for more than 20 years.
Do it for me - relatives - friends, hundreds of plants but not thousands.
The major nurseries in my area use it for seed starting also.
If there is a better "starter mix" at a practical cost - my eyes-ears are open.

Edit/Modified for my educational link, sorry forgot at first.
Starting Seeds Indoors
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1259.html (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1259.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 31, 2014, 04:41:10 PM
We all take our own road. I try to think through my operation from seed to table and how to minimize ENERGY inputs. Fossil fuel use in tractors is the largest input for most " organic" farms and organic certification takes no measure of either fuel or plastic consumption. Fuel use is what is killing this planet and putting a strong focus on that ,for me anyhow, is the top of my list.
 The very best standards I have seen that starts to get at this issue is the " biolands " standards that Satire was kind enough to link( see below). Compost made on site, farm animal standards and feed produced on site, and many other well thought out rules that put some teeth into what organic certification should entail besides a marketing scam.
 I use no pesticides, copper, fumigants or herbicides in my operation( organically approved or not) I try to do what's best for the wildlife I share my farm with. I use fences for rabbits or deer and I guess squirrels are the exception but poison is how most people deal with them and killing hawks and owls means I use alternatives.
 If you read the " biolands" standards they do allow a 50/50 peat mix for planting soil. Maybe peat isn't perfect but without any alternatives that work it is a compromise I suppose to perfection.
Perfection isn't possible for humans and most such claims are delusional. We pick our compromises or more often bury our heads as we muddle through.
 Jack, I use Osmokote sprinked into 128 plug trays for most seed starts. They are about 3/4 inch square and I try to get about 8-10 grains per plug hole. Osmokote is time release so there isn't much risk of burning your starts if you happen to sprinkle to many in. I plant out early and put out about double the seedlings I need and thin later to desired spacing.

 http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf (http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf)

p.s. I sell produce at prices that compete with prices at the supermarket up the road. My clientele is not rich and they get a good product for their hard earned money.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: SATire on March 31, 2014, 06:50:56 PM
Bruce, you are totally right. That small amount of peat for seeding is very well invested, if you are able to get your own organic plants and a happy life in your own garden. Better stay 80% perfect and happy than trying in vain to life at 100%. Step by step we go.

Edit: I am sorry that I talked some bullshit above: I just learned from my wife that the special soil for seeds from above mentioned supplier also contains a fair amount of peat (more than 50% probably). That is important for the plants and, therefore they mix it that way. Sorry if I induced some bad feelings and sorry for talking bullshit to loud.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 31, 2014, 07:46:15 PM
SATire, Thank you. We do follow different paths and not everyone can be or wants to be a farmer.
I think every one needs to aspire to do a better job protecting this planet and taking care of each other( that includes me ) I happen to be lucky enough to take some risk on ,but if I can make headway I also need to help educate others in my progress. I am happy we can share information across such vast distances and that Neven has helped to create this opportunity for us to share. Sometimes we are dealing with
cultural divides and misunderstandings but good intent is important. It is my honor to be associated with all of you.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on March 31, 2014, 09:13:07 PM
Hi Bruce,

Yes, agreed with much of that, and your operation sounds quite awesome. I didn't mean above to criticise what you're doing, as what you're suggesting Neven do.

Peat is the largest terrestrial carbon sink, after the oceans, as you remind me. I believe that it stored more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforest, which surprises most people, but may be old hat on a blog so concerned with permafrost on tundra.

This is an occasionally interesting blog...

http://bogology.org/ (http://bogology.org/)

In Western Europe, peat is a real problem, as it is the basis of several severely rare habitats, which have severely damaged by peat extraction. I hope the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew trumps Mother Nature etc, above...

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/compost-heap.htm (http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/compost-heap.htm)


Peat-free compost at Kew

Peat bogs are important habitats and valuable stores of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. However the use of peat, primarily as a potting compost, has damaged or destroyed 94% of the the UK’s peat bogs. Kew took the decision to stop using peat in 1989, except for carnivorous plants that cannot be grown in any other medium. It now uses peat substitute for potting composts and makes home-grown mulches at Kew and Wakehurst Place, using waste plant matter from the Gardens.

And I'll raise you the Royal Horticultural Society...

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Peat-and-the-environment/Peat-and-the-gardener (http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Peat-and-the-environment/Peat-and-the-gardener)

The problem that now arises in Western Europe is what to use instead. Supermarket compost is now the final destination of the 'green garden waste' delivered to the council dump; this is primarily hedge-clippings of species such as leylandii, (with which  I am currently experimenting to see if I can use them as organic herbicide). Half-rotted black sticks.

The last season I spent raising seedlings en masse (about 4,000 pots), I ended up using varying quantities of this supermaket rubbish, about a tonne of well rotted moo poo, about 5 years of accumulated grass clippings from about 1 1/2 acres of lawn, some garden topsoil and about 200 kilos of wormcast. Can't really recommend this.

This year, I just need to do about 5 seed trays, for personal consumption from a small garden, and so all I'll use is one bag of supermarket compost/mulch/herbicide. And I did see this girl ride through on a horse the other day... and, sadly, in Spring, an old man's thoughts turn to stables;)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on March 31, 2014, 10:12:33 PM
Why lawn mowing?

Nothing I hate more than the roar of the early morning lawn mower motor in summer. What is it good for? (OK, short grass is sometimes practical for playing football, but why not just swing the scythe then?) I've seen a non-mowed meadow grow all sorts of beautiful things, and enjoyed strolling thru the high grass and flowers. But then they borrowed an XXL mowing machine, just so. Since then methinks lawn mowing is mostly a male mental disease of civilization.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on March 31, 2014, 10:41:18 PM
Martin,

Agreed. Not my lawn.

Highly commend the scythe as the most beautiful, efficient and satisfying garden tool ever invented - the product of 10,000 years of countless millions of people, as clever as you or I, spending every waking hour, for a full month every year, constantly posing themselves the question 'Surely there must be an easier way to do this?'

The scythe was their final conclusion.

By the year 12,014CE, I very much doubt that the world's mower or strimmer manufacturers will have spent enough on R + D manhours to have developed a competitive product.

Half an hour with a scythe, and you will never voluntarily touch a strimmer ever again. Hard to find though; and 50 year old wooden handles are prone to break easily.

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on April 01, 2014, 12:23:30 AM
Idunno, Sorry if I am a bit harsh as I am not getting all the sleep I need. Trying to keep some newborn pigs healthy and their mommas happy. I was thinking coconuts provide a product used in hydroponics that would probably make a good replacement for peat , in many places around the world it is much more available and also renewable. I really didn't understand your situation over in Europe re. peat habitat and to tell the truth much of what sells around here says Alaska or Canada on it. I should try something new just because you are correct and habitat destruction needs to go into any calculations along with carbon considerations. Around here it's a long way to coconuts but they would come by ship as opposed to peat moving over a thousand miles by truck. Will make a mental note and  have an eye out for coconut byproduct. Plenty of people use it around here I suppose but they run in different circles.   
Just found these two article/self- promotions on vermiculite 90% energy savings in a new processing method. Another on perlite that makes mining it sound good.  :D So a 50/50 vermiculite/perlite mix would do just fine as a replacement for the mix I currently use. I can get both products and they would as a mix both hold water and not get too soggy. The real issues for me are the fungi  and bacteria I am trying to avoid. I will let you know in a month what I think.
  http://www.e2v.com/news/e2v-launches-prowave-pioneering-vermiculite-exfoliation-system-/ (http://www.e2v.com/news/e2v-launches-prowave-pioneering-vermiculite-exfoliation-system-/)

http://www.perlite.org/support/sustainability.html (http://www.perlite.org/support/sustainability.html)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on April 01, 2014, 07:00:53 AM
Re: Scythes

I am standing in a 140 yr old farmhouse right now (circa USA civil war). A hundred yards away is a barn, with two beautiful scythes hanging on the wall, blades all rusted of course. I am afraid to have the local Amish fix em new blades and try, coz i think i will break em, the wood is too old. I have taken em down and swung em a few times, nice.

Probly just have the locals make me a one for my build and height.

But they are pretty.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on April 01, 2014, 08:43:12 AM
Watering seedlings?  Haven't done any for the last two years (husband's heart attack - brain injury - months of therapy got in the way and is still a bit of a problem), but we always use a half-strength dilution of liquid seaweed/kelp stuff.   You could do the same with a home brew of compost tea or weed tea but working out the dilution would be a bit of a trick that could cost you some seeds if you use a too hefty concentration.   Half strength twice as often is a good way to do things.  (Once you've worked out what "half-strength" is for your concoction.) 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on April 01, 2014, 03:02:49 PM
Sid, I went in search of seeing the old methods in use and found them in Southern Poland. It may be gone now but around 1991 there were still people using scythes on wheat, hand shocking it, then they had a bicycle driven thrasher they hauled out into the field and would individually shove in the dried shocked bundles. I would be interested to know if anyone has seen similar methods any where recently?
 I too have two old scythes laying around and one has a serviceable handle. It may need the handles moved and adjusted for me but I will give it a try. I used one a couple times ~45 years ago and just enough to figure how to swing one. I would imagine if your neighbors saw you out swinging one you might have a couple more offered as gifts. There might be some small talk at the local coffee shops early in the mornings to go with. I was out running my battery hand tiller yesterday and a neighbor next door thought I was actually doing the 1/2 acre completely by hand.( zero noise )Kinda in a head shaking way he called over the fence to comment. I finished 24 rows 18 inches wide 200 feet long using the tiller for final seedbed preparations and got most of it seeded before a little rain event came  through.
 Do you drive a team or have neighbors that still do?  I just talked to a farmer in Kansas and he said there is an influx of Amish in the area he lives. He was quoting some prices they were selling vegetable at the farmers for, very inexpensive. I wouldn't be able to compete. 
 What's Neven's Avatar doing?   
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: icefest on April 01, 2014, 03:25:40 PM
My grandmothers new boyfriend studied agronomy in East Germany just after WW2.
He mentioned that he had to learn to scythe by hand as part of his course.

He taught me how to use an old one they had lying around in their shed, I doubt I could make a passable one by myself without a model, though I have a friend who has recently taken up smithing as a hobby - I wonder if he could make me one...

I really don't get the fascination with a lawn. The closest I would want is some land to have some geese and chickens.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on April 01, 2014, 04:25:36 PM
Lawn?  Well so long as you're not interested in reproducing a lawn bowls or lawn tennis surface they do have their uses - in limited sizes.   First and foremost, comfort

For sitting out in the sun on a nice day with a cool drink or cup of tea.  Maybe playing bocce or just chatting with family or friends and neighbours around the BBQ/ pizza oven.   If you have kids - in the house or as expected visitors - a lawn area for vigorous or loud play is good, even if it's not much more than the space required for a clothes line.    Better if there's enough room for one of those tennis poles or a badminton net or a basketball ring.   

Back to comfort.  The other thing a lawn can do if you get it right is to use at as the absorber for your laundry grey water which then gets turned into green stuff for your compost heap or chook run.    The comfort angle?  Positioned where evening breezes will cross it before getting to the house, it's a self air conditioning aid, particularly if you've done a couple of loads of washing in the mid afternoon.  Won't alleviate 35C, but will enhance cooling down from a moderately warm day.   

Most importantly, get away from conventional "lawn grasses".  You might want a reasonably level surface for ease of walking or standing while tending the BBQ, but you don't need billiard table level.   Some people like to use meadow grasses or herbs like thyme - I'm not keen.  If your garden is attractive to bees, then flowering plants underfoot will be the place where weary bees go to die - and that's when they're most likely to sting someone who disturbs them by walking on them.  And Murphy's Law tells us the person who gets stung is the only one in the group who's sensitive or even allergic to the stings. 

Most importantly there should never be any, none at all, bare soil in a garden.  I rather dislike hard surfaces and I heartily detest most of the weeds we get here, so perennial grasses or other groundcover plants are the easiest way to cover a largish area.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bkpr on April 01, 2014, 10:07:47 PM
Sorry, left out part of cleaning the used garbage disposal before use. I gave it a slug of chlorine and left it in the sun for a good while before attaching it to the used SS sink on pallet pedestal. Use care on how the switch is wired. :)Separate what is good for the worms, run it first, all excess and other items get shredded for the compost piles.

We stopped using peat sometime ago after a story in Mother Earth News. Sorry no link. We switched to coir, the shredded husk of the coconut. It comes in compressed bricks. When watered for the first time, the expansion is amazing. Coir, perlite and a mix we make here using some organic matter, fully formed compost (black gold) and we then test for mineral deficiencies and adjust. Robust starts, low mortality, and we think that the vast compression of the coir results in a smaller carbon footprint than peat in a bale or bag.

We use a one gallon net bag with drawstring per 40 to 50 gallons of water to make poo tea or compost tea. So as not to clog the drip tips or spray tip, we use a fine mesh that keep most particulates out, and lets the nutrients steep. Again about 24 hrs seems to work.

We use to be fond of fish emulsion and seaweed for soil amending, but now with Fuke, we will have to adjust how we replenish certain minerals. :(

We have acquired two scythes, we took them to a real good sand blaster, who used beads in lieu of sand, (less abrasive) and he bead blasted all steel parts so as to let us get them apart.
Then my 78 yr old friend, who has one I'm coveting has the stone designed to keep a sharp edge on. I want that too, now that I know how to use it. We eventually bought the middle and two hand size scythes. kept sharp, I can get in where the whacker tears out too much good most times.  How to resurrect life in a old hickory or oak handle. This takes a bit. Using a scrubby and a bit of water. clean the old surface dirt off.  Using hand paper, smooth the surfaces a bit for comfort of use. Tack off the wood dust or use a jet blast of air. Using great care to prevent flash over, heat a cup or two of linseed oil warm enough to work it's way into the grain but not so hot a rubber gloved hand can't handle it. Let it soak in all over for 4 hrs and repeat.  Let dry for eight and see if the wood doesn't "feel" a bit more elastic.  Depending on age, this may take several applications to achieve penetration of linseed oil into the dry old grain. This works on all oak and hickory handles, and can be performed each winter to keep these old, well made, wooden handled tools. When you think the handle can't absorb another drop or coating, wipe excess with shop towel. CAUTION, a linseed soaked rag can and will spontaneously combust. Use a proper designed storage container for oily rags. In a pinch it can be saturated with water and left in a large zip lock bag, sealed against air, until proper disposal can be made.

Great tips for and about pollinators. Check and see if Xerces.org has a branch close to you. World wide organization for all types of pollinators.

Happy Growing
bkpr
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: idunno on April 01, 2014, 11:13:26 PM
addendum to bkpr's excellent advice...

add turpentine

Start with 2 parts terps to 1 linseed

then with 1 to 1 mix

then 2 linseed to 1te rps.

Aids penetration and absorbsion.

There are two vulnerable parts on a scythe; the heel and the middle handle.

Above, I suggest that using a scythe involves less effort than using  a lawnmower or a strimmer...

Let's rephrase that a bit...

Definitely less effort involved than strimming;and you get to keep your fillings. Saves on dentistry.  I guess a lawnmower is easier, per acre, where appropriate. But in my back garden, my 'lawn' has daffodils, primroses, a jonquil, wild chives, daffodils and a bunch of other stuff. That's a lot of swerving with a mower.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on April 02, 2014, 02:21:51 AM
As for feeding worms.  I've never kept a worm farm, but the usual advice here is to keep a worm- feed-only blender on the kitchen bench.  Maybe buy a second hand one for the purpose.  As you put aside all your veg parings and peelings and other food waste, the stuff for compost goes into its designated container and the stuff suitable for worms goes into its blender.   When it's time to feed the worms, hit the button then take it outside. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on April 02, 2014, 06:04:33 AM
Re: Amish and horse drawn ag

heeheehee

it all depends on the bishop ...

we got all kindsa amish, mennonite, you name it
some use cellfones. some wear mirrored sunglasses and run auctions. some use electric in the barn. some dont have curtains. some use bicycles. some use horse teams and ground drive equipment. some (i didnt believe till i saw) use a horse drawn flatbed with a engine on it that driving the rest of the equipment. some make icecream by hand. some make it with a gas engine. my amish welder makes electric with a big block v8 hooked to an ancient alternator, but drives a horse and buggy to work, and grows tobacco for the "english" (all non amish, including me who comes from climes very far from perfidious albion ...)

it all depends on the particular community, especially the bishop and the elders.

but they are almost all good to do business with, handshake deals are good enuf. Infact good enuf for the US IRS to allow exemption from tax withholding since they almost _never_ collect benefits.

i like all the ones i know, but i also have friends that lived by the infamous amish guy in ohio who was convicted for runnin round and beatin up people and shaving their beards and lots else.

they are movin to mexico. good land is too expensive in USA

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on April 02, 2014, 06:08:27 AM
ooo, i forgot to say, one of the amish guys who grows some canola for me has a field fulla solar panels. his family (him, 2 brothers and dad are the principals) are typically sitting on 10-15 million US$ of commodity (soy, corn, ...) in any given year, if you have driven ion PA turnpike you have seen their trucks.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on April 02, 2014, 11:24:04 PM
Peat is the largest terrestrial carbon sink, after the oceans, as you remind me. I believe that it stored more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforest, which surprises most people, but may be old hat on a blog so concerned with permafrost on tundra.
Thanks for the information in that post.

Did some more minor seeking information and believe you've convinced to try some "Coconut Coir."

If one claims to be interested in protecting the environment -
a change to ignorant ways is in order.

`
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on April 03, 2014, 09:20:00 AM
For whose who live in USA, you can test your soil with this king of thing.
http://www.gemplers.com/search/kit+soil (http://www.gemplers.com/search/kit+soil)
Measuring carbon content could prove useful in the futur (ok you can see it most of the time). Having a scientific approach may be interesting (may be not for a garden...)

I am looking for the same thing in Europe. There is that but it is not a sell's site apparently.
http://www.lamotte-europe.com/agriculture-and-horticulture.php (http://www.lamotte-europe.com/agriculture-and-horticulture.php)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on April 13, 2014, 06:10:45 AM
This is the best example I have found so far for a fully integrated urban solution.  This is an active project using a combination of fish ponds, compost-heat (for winter greenhouse-they are in northern border of Midwest U.S.)  and vertically integrated growing space to produce

1 million pounds of food
10,000 fish
500 yards of compost

on 3 acres (1.22 hectares)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9CCxdkOng (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9CCxdkOng)

The only thing that I can see that is missing from this system is chicken and cattle for the processing of greenwaste.   If they combined a methane capture system to the composting then they could run most of the water heater from that source.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady on April 14, 2014, 05:25:25 PM
The only thing that I can see that is missing from this system is chicken and cattle for the processing of greenwaste.   If they combined a methane capture system to the composting then they could run most of the water heater from that source.

You couldn't run cattle on 3 acres, but you should run chooks.    In some areas with less extreme winters, people use the henhouse at one end of a greenhouse (smaller than the one in the video) as a source of warmth during the colder months.   

If you manage your compost correctly, there shouldn't be any methane worth collecting.  Methane's a problem - in landfills -  because of the anaerobic conditions.  Properly made compost shouldn't have anaerobic conditions at all - if you do get a slimy, smelly mess you take the heap apart and rebuild it with better aeration and extra, more suitable materials.   

I realise that they're running that set-up for commercial/ community operations, but I see no reason why you couldn't fit a good number of nut and fruit trees on 3 acres, even if most of it is taken up with greenhouses.   Not much point in growing good food if you have to buy lots of  other stuff for the workers/ owners to eat.   And if you combine it with chooks to run underneath and control weeds and get rid of any missed windfalls and the associated insect pests and their eggs, your fruit/nuts and egg production are mutually beneficial systems. 

One thing I noted about the vertical operation, this would make using those sprawling tomato plants easy.  Plant them in containers which you hang high in the greenhouse and pick the fruit from the trailing foliage.   No posts, no strings, no fuss, just prune out the inconvenient/ tangling stems. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on May 05, 2014, 06:45:08 AM
I'm sure like me all you gardeners here will enjoy looking at someone else's plot:
 
http://permaculturenews.org/2013/04/21/letters-from-new-zealand-a-permaculture-food-forest-in-the-far-south/ (http://permaculturenews.org/2013/04/21/letters-from-new-zealand-a-permaculture-food-forest-in-the-far-south/)

The 2nd video linked here is quite amusing where the neighbours comment on this couple's gardening methods!
Oh and to translate kiwi-speak 'the Bush' refers to native forest. And gorse & broom are pest species here, brought by early settlers homesick for the plants of their homeland but the species 'liked' NZ's climate tooooo well.

Neven's field may look like this in 20 years time meaning their beautiful sturdy house might be hard to see for the 'forest'!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on May 05, 2014, 10:21:01 PM
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Foi61.tinypic.com%2Fqzrfns.jpg&hash=b456d23c983c26e980541ad0ad3d3ebc)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: RunningChristo on May 05, 2014, 11:00:31 PM
Ha ha, that's a Good one Jai Mitchell, war "propaganda" I figure?! I admit it strike my mind now and then how important might get to be in a world going of the hinges, With rising foodprices and also a kind of closed borders due to risk of importing Dangerous pests and "biological diversity" that doesn't fit in all over the globe! Nobody know the future, so keep Gardening, and not just for fun! We sure put a huge burden upon Your Gardening shoulders, Neven, ha ha!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on May 06, 2014, 04:10:48 AM
In the WWII era the federal government put regional supply stores to allow people access to seeds, equipment, soil and even low-cost canning and storage equipment (taking steel from the war industry to do  it)

it was that important.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F1.bp.blogspot.com%2F-nQ_G3ZAwBwo%2FTymyAnWz4TI%2FAAAAAAAAAMU%2FP-0ritUr7jc%2Fs1600%2Fcanning.bmp&hash=46cbf18a0457a397ec3011b34a4c5a30)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache-ak0.pinimg.com%2F236x%2F84%2Fe6%2F75%2F84e675fe9b559b4bfcacf3435bebd9fc.jpg&hash=a933d921e8af3b37c165f0d1a7acf749)

in 1943 41% of all produce eaten in the United States was grown at home.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/victory-gardens-zbcz1310.aspx#axzz30tgwablT (http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/victory-gardens-zbcz1310.aspx#axzz30tgwablT)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on May 09, 2014, 10:30:03 PM
A site you may want to check
http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/what-to-do-in-may/ (http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/what-to-do-in-may/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: yan on May 10, 2014, 02:57:31 PM
Hi Everybody,

A glimpse of our community garden, based on in Permaculture, south France

more infos here (sorry french language)
www.jardiniersdepeyrolles.over-blog.com (http://www.jardiniersdepeyrolles.over-blog.com)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 14, 2014, 04:34:42 AM
I've been away from the forum all winter, but this gardening thread is great! I've just speed-read all four pages so I don't reinvent the wheel. One thing I didn't see a lot of detail on, and the thing that will ultimately help our soil hold water, is a good composting system for building more organic matter in our soil.

Granted, we have some advantages here:
1. many trees for 'brown' leaves in spring (stockpiled in paper bags or in a low spot where they can't blow away)
2. lots of 'green': many weeds and small saplings in wild areas (we have 4 acres, at least 2//3 in woods)
3. 'microbes': plenty of organic matter – a swamp for black goo

Here's a link to the composting page on my old site (I built it when I believed I could make a difference by encouraging vegetarianism) http://www.10in10diet.com/three-bin-composting.php (http://www.10in10diet.com/three-bin-composting.php)

Also, I'm enjoying and nodding at most of what Adelady writes. Except I don't know what a chook is. I'm planting more and more deep-rooted things: berries, asparagus, rhubarb, trees and diverting as much rainwater as possible to those roots. I do a LOT of hand watering from seven rain barrels. It wastes the least water and it's good upper body exercise.

I disagree (or don't understand) what Adelady said about onions. I plant sets in sandy soil and get plenty of nice, small onions. (Correct about the hand weeding. They also need plenty of water.) The key is to cure them properly so they keep in a coolish room. There are many good websites and videos on curing onions. Small onions make fabulous stock without peeling or cutting them.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 14, 2014, 05:19:34 AM
Lynn, Good to see you back. It's been a little quiet on the gardening thread lately , maybe because the gardening takes a lot of devotion as things heat up. 95F here tomorrow . I have good luck with onions and shallots in sandy soil but they demand moisture especially while getting established. I think a chook is a chicken.
Could you elaborate on black goo from the swamp? Sounds anoxic ? Using a pond to supplement garden fertility sounds like a good idea but I am interested in how you source it, and use it in your compost. Carbon heavy or nitrogen ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 14, 2014, 09:08:54 AM
Lynn, thanks a lot for that link to your website. I want to set up a serious composting system as soon as I'm done with building the house. That's to say, as soon as it's livable and we can move in.

I built a quick compost structure with wooden planks (measuring 1 x 1 x 1 m, ie 1 m3), and we're filling it up - veeeery slowly - with kitchen scraps. I'm thinking about asking the neighbours for their grass clippings (we don't have any as of yet, and I want it to rot in place to build up the soil) and mix those with wood shavings. It would be nice to have some compost next year, so we don't have to buy it.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: yan on May 14, 2014, 01:18:28 PM
Neven
Below you have a photo of what I began 1 year later on a poor soil just around my house:  spread straw in 30 cm thickness and...wait. During winter the rain work with the straw and worms to make natural compost. I put 30 cm more straw after 6 month (in march this year). In 1 year my old poor soil is well compost, I planted potatoes and srawberries in april this year.  When potatoes wil grow up I will put more straw. After the harvest of potatoes (end of summer) I will plant winter vegetables like beans and/or just put more straw to make more compost for next year etc...I paid my bundles of straw 1 euros and I need 1 bundles for 10 m2.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on May 14, 2014, 02:16:06 PM
1€ That's pretty cheap, is that bio...?
There is that for potatoes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1OShZZUt0k# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1OShZZUt0k#)
Here one piece of straw is between 1 and 3€ (15kg).
If I had plenty of grass I would put my potatoes on the soil and the grass above, not a lot just enough to block the light and a little bit more. Then add some more later on, just to make sure only the potatoes grow.

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 14, 2014, 03:02:03 PM
Neven, don't be shy about asking your neighbours for grass clippings! But use them fresh and thinly as 'fire' (nitrogen) to light your 'carbon' stuff (brown leaves). I think what my friend Mike said (quoted extensively on my page) is a few inches of dry brown stuff and a thin coating of fresh green. (Kitchen scraps are 'green'.) The other thing you can do for green is have a weed patch or a patch of red clover and harvest it before it seeds (never compost weeds that have gone to seed). Red clover flowers dried in the oven make lovely tea all winter and clover fixes nitrogen like crazy. My husband goes around the lawn and uses a Lee Valley dandelion digger to harvest plantains, dandelions and other weeds for the compost.

Bruce, the swamp goo is really black humus made of decomposed grasses. It hasn't been full of water for years. The spot we dig is at the edge of a treed area, so it's hard to say whether it's more forest floor or wetland edge. We only use it sparingly, like a condiment to get things cooking. My husband inserts one or two white PVC pipes into the middle and pours in urine.

Yan, I see what you've done with straw, some things like potatoes and squash will grow well in a pile of anything fluffy. But for speed-composting, never use straw. We made a huge mistake last fall and put dry lowland hay in as a carbon layer. That stuff is NEVER going to decompose. We bought a truckload of bales from a farmer to make a snapping turtle barrier around the garden and they climbed right over it. So I thought it would compost. Think of all the old barns you've seen with antique straw in the loft. Straw is not fast enough for the three bin system. If you have space to spare you can have long term compost piles (I think I quoted Tom Waller on my page, describing windrows). My husband worked his butt off sifting all that straw-thatched compost to get rid of the straw. Anyway, this spring we have seven wheelbarrows, maybe two cubic metres, of lovely dark compost.

Gradually, slowly, our no-till beds are getting higher. I just aerate them with a garden fork and rake the top inch or two and plant.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 14, 2014, 10:13:33 PM
I bought straw back in September, and we made a lasagna (layers of cow dung, grass clippings, compost and lots of straw) for this spring's garden beds. I assumed the straw was well-thrashed, turned out it wasn't. We had wheat growing in our garden beds!

Looks like I will have to find a better source of straw.  ;D

I'm hoping our pond will provide lots of mulching material, but couldn't find a lot of info on what plant species to plant. Of course, we're planting stuff like cattail (Typha minima) and reeds (Phragmites). We ordered some seeds of plants that pollinators like, and that look nice to boot, but it takes a long time for them to germinate! So I'm going to buy some potted Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) as well. And some under water plants that generate oxygen.

My wife planted a clover mix today.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 14, 2014, 11:04:31 PM
I forgot about lasagna gardens. They hold lots of moisture.

I learned a hard lesson about mulching this spring. I had used lots of that straw to deeply mulch the raspberry canes. They did very well and I didn't have to weed them all summer. Then after our very deep snow cover melted I saw the damage mice had done to the bottom foot of bark on the canes. Apparently that mulch is a wonderful place for mouse nests! They say not to put that mulch on until there have been several hard frosts. The mice find other places to make their winter nests and are less likely to even find the canes. So I guess that means remove the mulch when it's time to cut down the spent canes.

I'm in north-eastern Ontario, Canada. Purple loosestrife is invasive here. Not as bad as alarmists predicted fifteen years ago. But the idea of paying money for it in a pot is pretty weird here.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 14, 2014, 11:09:41 PM
Well, people are willing to pay for some good weed too.  ;)

I read about the plant being considered invasive in the US (which made me doubt if I would buy it), but there was no mention whatsoever on the German Wikipedia. And then I thought: if it's so invasive, it will probably spread easily by itself, and I only need to buy one plant!  :P
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on May 15, 2014, 11:22:01 AM
OT slightly :
I thought you might enjoy seeing this photo of old straw (for the horses) in Scott's Hut at Cape Evans in Antarctica! No sign of decomposition here!
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=35d7d5d7526c9897dfb55501e320295a)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on May 17, 2014, 04:08:20 AM
I have it on good authority that laying newspaper down under and then over the mulch layer each season is a wonderful weed suppressor and also works very well to keep moisture in the ground.  Such a simple thing to do but a very effective tool for soil management.

here is a good reference:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/newspaper-mulch-zmaz80mjzraw.aspx (http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/newspaper-mulch-zmaz80mjzraw.aspx)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on May 17, 2014, 11:44:46 AM
I,m pretty sure that almost all coloured inks used in newspapers are seriously toxic. When I've put them in with my tiger worms they slow down the whole show, black inks not so bad -- usually.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 17, 2014, 11:52:48 AM
I've read that the inks aren't a problem (except for glossy stuff), but somehow I don't trust it either.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on May 17, 2014, 04:25:45 PM
Our local paper claims to use vegetable based ink. I don't know whether this is the industry standard now or not. I've been using newspaper for many years. I hope I haven't been poisoning myself through garden vegetables.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 17, 2014, 07:37:45 PM
Here's a very knowledgeable Aussie writing on the subject. Myself, I'd lean toward using corrugated cardboard for that bottom layer of a lasagne garden. Not that I've grown one.
http://cityfoodgrowers.com.au/blog-latestposts.php?catid=104 (http://cityfoodgrowers.com.au/blog-latestposts.php?catid=104)

"Heavy metals from petro-chemical ink – Its quite likely that the newspapers you use for your garden have a mixture of petro-chemical and soy based ink.  When released into the atmosphere, petro-chemicals can contaminate soil and groundwater.
Support of GM products in soy ink – Usage of GM products is very contentious with the proponents believing it’s the saviour of our ailing food system and it has no adverse affects on the environment. If you don't support GM products and prefer to be more cautious with the avoiding the potential impacts of GM products residues in your soil, then avoid newspaper produced with GM soy ink"
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 17, 2014, 08:22:41 PM
I would agree with Lynn that cardboard might be a better option. It makes a better weed barrier and usually has less ink. I live in an agriculture area and there are box fabricating businesses where you can get reject boxes all flattened out and in one ton bales, really cheap. You can lay the cardboard right on top of weeds under trees then just bury it with lawn clippings and leaves. Repeat when weeds reappear. I think it's also called sheet mulching, no pun intended.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on May 17, 2014, 11:00:50 PM
Since I heat with a wood stove I was concerned with toxic metals in ink, then I found out that the soy-based inks were much cheaper due to production costs and environmental hazard/cleanup risks.  So they use soy-based inks now.

If newsprint was toxic I would be much more concerned with exposure to my skin while I am reading it than by putting it into the garden.

I am not sure if cardboard would be better due to the differences in manufacturing processes.  it certainly takes less weight of newsprint to do the job than cardboard.

This is only a small part of the overall restoration of garden soil to an active humus intense growing process:

This is how it is done on an industrial scale, using biodynamic techniques.  There are tons of references at the bottom of the page.

http://www.ibiblio.org/steved/Luebke/Luebke-compost2.html (http://www.ibiblio.org/steved/Luebke/Luebke-compost2.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on May 21, 2014, 08:35:02 PM
Imho: Cardboard/paper "mulching" == disgusting. Not "perma" "culture": Gardening with industrial garbage. But who can resist? We just need to pollute wherever we can, so let's begin in our garden!  Anyhow, even German engineers are usually unable to distinguish paper from plastic. And then they proudly burn it in their stupid stove (fossil optimized stove == stupid stove) and then happily contaminate their soil with what they call ashes. Some even like to burn old wood with lead paint! Then paper makes no difference.

There are many sorts of paper, some more contaminated, some not. (E.g. recycling accumulates heavy metals.) Who knows? So, why think hard and look close and find excuses for some particular paper being "clean"...

Just forget about it, don't waste your neurons, and don't use it! I'm pretty sure, tree leaves are way better material.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on May 21, 2014, 09:05:32 PM
I should add that the soy oil is certainly made out of GMO, that mean it may contain round up or something similar...
In anycase if you are against GMO try to avoid soy oil.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 21, 2014, 09:39:57 PM
Thanks, Martin, for saying what I sort of think but didn't want to say. I think a lot of these new-fangled garden ways are just something to write about, something you can teach in a one-day workshop. It appeals to new food producers because it promises to save digging, watering and weeding. In other words, as Maynard G. Krebbs would say – WORK!
• I dig a shovel deep and then never step on that bed again. I just aerate with a fork in spring.
• Weeding is to gardening as petting is to pet ownership. At least it is for me. I care how the garden looks every day. For me half the pleasure of growing things is watching them. I'm an artist, so it matters.
• My watering comes down to soaker hoses on the deep-rooted perennials (they don't spread the water evenly enough on annual vegetable beds) and hand watering from rain barrels (or the tap if it gets really dry). Straw mulching cuts down on the drying-out of raspberry canes, but I paid a price for leaving it on, in mouse-gnawing.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 21, 2014, 09:47:29 PM
Martin, O.K. Newspaper and cardboard probably are not a perfect solution and even though I use an "organically" approved paper mulch product who really knows how "clean" it really is. However I do think sometimes we can be dragged down by the perfect being the enemy of the good. A vast majority of food consumed isn't organically approved and surely not permaculture. In a more perfect world everyone would seek to produce their own food or at least some large portion of it but for all the years I have been crawling around pulling weeds I have watched as fewer and fewer people actually do the hard dirty work that is required for self sustenance let alone producing enough to feed other people.
Take someone who isn't used to the workload ,have them crawl a half mile a day on their hands and knees in heat and full sun. Try as hard as you might to control the gophers,birds, squirrels, deer, bugs,raccoons, skunks,and badgers organically. It takes fences , traps, and tricks acquired from years of experience and those solutions won't be equally effective at different locations. Do your best to keep your soil health in good shape with homemade mulches , locally sourced manures( from  your own farm animals ideally) and use cover crops. Do all these things to the best of your abilities but don't expect new gardeners to achieve perfection from their first efforts. IMHO newspaper and cardboard mulches are far less damaging to the environment than the fossil fuels we consume in otherwise "organically or bio-dynamically" approved methods. It takes many years to perfect your own gardening technics but please don't expect perfection out of new or novice gardeners. I have never met the perfect gardener or seen the perfect garden. Please don't let perfection be the enemy of the good. Strive for getting better with each season and  encourage new gardeners with helpful advice as opposed to unobtainable ideals. Like Lynn says it is the work load that kills most newbie
 efforts so be easy on the beginners, we need every gardener we can muster.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on May 22, 2014, 05:46:42 AM
Re: GMO soy oil

cannot detect difference in GMO soy oil and nonGMO soy oil from chemical or gas chromatograph analysis 

need PCR on bean fragments in the oil, may not work if finely filtered

works for biodiesel just fine, either way

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on May 22, 2014, 04:05:17 PM
Bruce is right. Let's not get carried away (or bogged down) worrying ourselves sick over every molecule that may ultimately enter our bodies from our gardens. We already grew up in a poisoned world.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on June 09, 2014, 03:09:08 AM
How is everyone's 2014 gardening season going? 

I'm in central Michigan, USA, and I'm just getting started.  I'm working two jobs so I'm not able to put in the time I want to, but I've got 3 double-dug beds, each one about 6 meters long and about 1.5 meters across.  I've got leaf lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, peas, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, melons, winter squash and zucchini.  I've also got rhubarb,  raspberries, concord grapes, and asparagus.   

Everything is still very small, so we'll see how they come along.  I've been able to harvest some rhubarb though, and as soon as my mulberry ripens, I'll make some rhubarb and mulberry jam.  I anyone else into canning?  I just got a great book and am excited about some of the recipes.  Also, I'm going to try my hand at home brew -- anyone into that, or mead?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on June 09, 2014, 04:27:41 AM
Hi Lisa, that's not a small garden! I canned a lot in my twenties and again for a few years recently (I'm in my sixties), but now less. Mostly stuff to put in the yogurt I make from a local small-scale organic dairy's milk. Jam and lots of jars of rhubarb sauce. I picked over eleven pounds of rhubarb the other day.

I'm concentrating on deep-rooted perennials like asparagus, berries, grapes, fruit trees. I'm less disappointed when annuals don't come up or get chewed off than I was a few years ago, or there's a really dry summer or a too-wet summer (we've had one of each the last two years). I love our local farmer's market, so I can support local producers where my garden fails or just when I'm lazy.

Here's the little video that some fans made or our market. I live in a very sparsely populated area where the population doubles in the summer, just a village, so this market has taken a handful of people a lot of work and boosting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swvcsnVVBZ8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swvcsnVVBZ8)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on June 09, 2014, 06:09:58 AM
Lynn, what a great video!  Love the fiddle girl.

I live in a blue collar neighborhood of Lansing, Michigan but originally from the Upper Peninsula, a little town called Negaunee -- so I know rural. 

I live in an older "Arts and Crafts" bungalow with a tiny yard; we've only been here for a couple of years.  But there's an empty lot across the street where a house burned down some ten years ago and I'm guerrilla gardening there.   

I've been canning standard jams for years -- put up a really fine batch of wild fox grape jam last fall -- but this book has a lot of interesting savory and herb jellies and sauces that I'm very interested in, to be used as a glaze for meats or a savory sandwich spread.

I'm 53, with grown children and grandchildren.  Today, a couple of my grandkids where out in the garden with me and it brought back memories of my own grandmother.  Very cool.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JayW on June 09, 2014, 12:41:22 PM
Well, people are willing to pay for some good weed too.  ;)

I read about the plant being considered invasive in the US (which made me doubt if I would buy it), but there was no mention whatsoever on the German Wikipedia. And then I thought: if it's so invasive, it will probably spread easily by itself, and I only need to buy one plant!  :P

10 years ago it looked like purple loostrife was going to displace the cattails (cat o' nine tails is the local vernacular where I live  :) ) I rarely seen them now.  I did hear anecdotally that bee hives near it would produce purple honey though, but didn't see, it so I'm not sure, but sounded cool.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on June 12, 2014, 09:54:58 PM
Thanks, Martin, for saying what I sort of think but didn't want to say.
Haha. I've always been quite ruthless, and in this ridicu-lousy century I lost patience and mercy. Still I often regret what I said later. Here I mostly regret the bad/sloppy texting.

However I do think sometimes we can be dragged down by the perfect being the enemy of the good.
(...)
Strive for getting better with each season and  encourage new gardeners with helpful advice as opposed to unobtainable ideals. Like Lynn says it is the work load that kills most newbie efforts so be easy on the beginners, we need every gardener we can muster.
Yeah, right.

It seems I'm a bit like Lynn. My gardening is mostly art (Florifulgurator's horizontal climbing park) and experimentation with plants and soil (Terra Preta). My harvests are only some handful of garlic, herbs, strawberries, beans, and a few half empty sweet corn cobs. The rest is flowers.

So, I'm actually not in a position to criticize the bigger and more serious gardeners.

• Weeding is to gardening as petting is to pet ownership. At least it is for me. I care how the garden looks every day. For me half the pleasure of growing things is watching them. I'm an artist, so it matters.
Exactly. Weeding focuses attention. I even introduce weeds e.g. by mulching with stinging-nettle. Also I like to let the seeds decide where to grow best, and so some of the "good plants" end up as "weeds" to be pulled out.  Instead of hoeing I just pull weeds and leave them as mulch. I'm doing it standing, often straddling and stretching over the intricate microtopography of my Hügelbeet-in-stinging-nettle-belt. This is my only sports/yoga.

-------------------

Apropos experimentation: I sowed woad (Isatis tinctoria) in late in April. None sprouting.
Why? Has the evil mouse eaten all? Anybody here with experience in woad? Woad seems an excellent pioneer (yet also the ruin of good fields if done wrong). I want to try dyeing with woad (indigo blue) for some very crazy project.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on June 21, 2014, 03:44:43 AM
Thought I'd check in to see how everyone's spring has shaped up in the gardens. I've had so many rows of veggies either fail to germinate or be nibbled off at the sprout stage that I'm pretty much planning on concentrating on fruits and a couple of perennial veggies – asparagus and rhubarb. It's a very good year for berry bushes, plenty of rain, not too hot. Next year's canes are thick and there are lots of raspberries and black raspberries coming along. I'm most optimistic about the three large fruit elderberries I put in this spring. The grape vines are in their third summer, so I'm nipping the fruits and growing wood. The plum tree could bear any year now. This is year six. I LOVE growing cantaloupe. It's doing well from direct seeding.

I'll buy green veggies at the farmers Market. If it push came to shove I think we'd be pretty well nourished on our own produce.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on June 21, 2014, 11:26:03 AM
Earth's vitality and the power of happiness
http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2444245/earths_vitality_and_the_power_of_happiness.html (http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2444245/earths_vitality_and_the_power_of_happiness.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on June 21, 2014, 01:46:28 PM
Wow, Laurent, well said by Jigmi Y. Thinley is Chairman, Gross National Happiness Centre, Bhutan, and former prime minister of Bhutan.

"Our commitment to organic farming must not be compromised by the volatilities of the market. It must stay true to the long-term interest of the farmers and of society.

"And it must remain mindful of the reality that the ultimate well-being, happiness and the very survival of the human race together with all other sentient beings will depend on organic agriculture.

"The Royal Government of Bhutan on its part, will relentlessly promote and continue with its endeavour to realize the dreams we share - of bringing about a global movement to transit to organic agriculture so that crops and the earth on which they grow will become genuinely sustainable.

And so that agriculture will contribute not to the degradation but rather to the resuscitation and revitalization of nature."

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 24, 2014, 09:02:39 AM
Thought I'd check in to see how everyone's spring has shaped up in the gardens. I've had so many rows of veggies either fail to germinate or be nibbled off at the sprout stage

Hi Lynn!

Yes, we've also had some start-up problems, but a couple of things are growing now. Unfortunately we're still so busy building (and will remain so for the next 3 months at least) that the garden has less of a priority, but as we've said we're going to try to improve from year on year, it's best not to set the bar too high in the first year, right?  ;)

Anyway, my wife was intrigued by the square foot gardening technique, and as coincidentally a couple of people here on the Forum also were positive about it, she decided we should try it out. So she built a couple of raised beds, and divided them in square feet with ropes. Here's how things are looking so far:

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-RJOI4hxgKtQ/U6kWDDvk9lI/AAAAAAAABwE/nDiIZLaokz0/s750/tn_DSC05724.JPG)

A couple of cabbages, some salad, hopefully cucumbers and tomatoes soon, but weather conditions are very fickle, so we'll have to see how things work out. Our berry bushes still need time to adapt, and we have to cut them back properly come Fall. Still, they produced a handful of berries.

Our poor soil is hard as a brick, but the phacelia has come up very nicely, some sown this year, and huge ones from last year in soil that has been moved to all parts of the plot by a backhoe during construction work. We're amazed at the bushes springing up everywhere.

Just when the phacelia is about to stop flowering, the crimson clover (trifolium incarnatum) is springing up:

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-VshiH6X7FXM/U6kWDZJzWFI/AAAAAAAABwI/oPMXedwMTUw/s750/tn_DSC05725.JPG)

Unfortunately the alfalfa has been a catastrophic failure. We spread a whole sack of seeds, but only 5 or so have germinated.

Either way, the soil will improve, albeit slowly.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: RunningChristo on June 24, 2014, 09:33:41 AM
Looking pomising Neven! Cabbages are the most healthy veggies the rumour goes!  In Norway and other "cooler" parts of Europe the Iberia is a kind of plague, so such raised beds are much preferred. I would raise the walls another 15-20 cm though, to make it deeper and thus allowing the plants to do better, a mix of soil in bags, some composted cowshit, all mixed With some of the available soil at Your site will suffice. Also ergonomically raised beds are to prefer ;).

What kind of berry bushes have you planted Neven? As a Professional gardner I Wonder why you are thinking of pruning them hard, this is mostly NOT my advice, unless Your bushes are biannual (raspberries) or just very old (not even then I would cut ALL branches back!)?! Prune only the branches, always at ground Level!, growing wrong direction, the weakest, and look for keeping 3-6 New strong branches every year. When the plants are 3-5 year of age it's time for developing a classic Russian 5 year plan, meaning ALL branches are to be cut away in that time frame, allowing the bush to rejuvenate itself With New branches and not allowing branches to age more than 4-6 years. This way you will make sure the plants stay fresh and healthy and also prevent them from occupying Your entire garden ;D.

The spring and summer in Scandinavia have been very favorable for most crops, good for the amateur and the farmer 8).

Keep it up man!  Your "excuse" for neglecting Your garden until the house is finished is SO common and much understandable!!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 24, 2014, 09:52:36 AM
What kind of berry bushes have you planted Neven? As a Professional gardner I Wonder why you are thinking of pruning them hard, this is mostly NOT my advice, unless Your bushes are biannual (raspberries) or just very old (not even then I would cut ALL branches back!)?!


Mostly jostaberries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jostaberry) that we received from a friend last year. The reason I think we need to prune a lot, is that he never pruned them, and branches look very long with not a lot of leaves on them (bushes are adapting, I think).

I will gather more information before sawing everything off, of course.  ;D
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: RunningChristo 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JayW 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Shared Humanity 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent 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 (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28004876)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on June 25, 2014, 06:54:57 PM
"Turning Fuel Into Food" Eric Garza

http://www.howericlives.com/turning-fuel-into-food/ (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.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on June 26, 2014, 09:58:41 PM
Vertical Veg man: six of the best edible flowers
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/20/vertical-veg-man-six-of-the-best-edible-flowers (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/20/vertical-veg-man-six-of-the-best-edible-flowers)
Title: Re: Gardening quinoa
Post by: lisa 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa#mediaviewer/File:Chenopodium_quinoa0.jpg)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent 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 (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 ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti 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?).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on July 03, 2014, 08:53:52 PM
Interesting garden in NYC
NYC: Local Way - The Lotus Garden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoPY3HKKCPU#ws)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: adelady 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 (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.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman 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!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven 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)?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JayW 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven 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).

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 (http://www.ebay.de/itm/Schneckenband-Schneckenzaun-Kupfer-Schnecken-Schutz-Schneckenabwehr-Beetschutz-/371070673230?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item566589214e), 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.
Title: 50 ways to kill a slug
Post by: silkman on July 06, 2014, 11:55:32 PM
My wife says its a good read!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_11/279-9585906-0990162?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=50+ways+to+kill+a+slug&sprefix=50+ways+to+%2Caps%2C284 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_11/279-9585906-0990162?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=50+ways+to+kill+a+slug&sprefix=50+ways+to+%2Caps%2C284)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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 (http://lescomestibles.blogspot.ca/2013/10/shizo.html)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on July 08, 2014, 10:53:25 AM
 Second years effort still a work in progress
 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2Fa1Rwy%2F4cc740350c.jpg&hash=a0c59ad8d30f6d8fa408ef0335b7a5bd)
 
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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.  
  

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven 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%?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.     


   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on August 20, 2014, 08:44:02 PM
Free the seeds to feed the world!
http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2523547/free_the_seeds_to_feed_the_world.html (http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2523547/free_the_seeds_to_feed_the_world.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa 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. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti 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).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent 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 ?

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti 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.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on August 26, 2014, 04:07:25 AM
I come from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, along the southern shore of Lake Superior.  We call it the UP, or the "Yoop" and the people who live there are Yoopers.

It's a very rural, woodsy area where a lot of people still don't lock their doors at night, let alone their car doors.  So there's a joke:

"Why do Yoopers lock their cars in August?"

"Zucchini!"

Um, it's not a *good* joke, but always makes me laugh.  Mostly because I've actually had this happen to me -- got in my car from a day at word and was welcomed by about 5 pounds of zucchini sitting there all fresh and pretty in the passenger seat.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on August 26, 2014, 12:17:25 PM
Thank you to you all for sharing your successes & struggles here. Some great pics of your plots & produce and great advice too. Here in NZ it is late winter but I can grow things all year round, not too many frosts & I use cold frames etc for the tender crops. So we have a good selection of things to eat.
This time of year I'm always full of anticipation for the new season with ordering seeds, with at least one new thing to try (soya beans/edame this time) and happily last season's failures have now faded from my mind. The bees are busy & my broad beans (tuinbonen/fava) are just up.
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=35d7d5d7526c9897dfb55501e320295a)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on August 29, 2014, 03:13:16 PM
Asparagus bugs were a scourge I didn't even know I had this year till a friend identified the problem last week. But I refuse to be out there with a tub of soapy water knocking them off for hours. I did that with rode chafers one summer. Turned out the blackberry canes I was fussing over were a crap species anyway.

My garden will shrink next year. Moving berries into two of the five main beds. I'm growing only what's pretty much guaranteed based on experience here. Or fun (but a gamble) like canteloupe.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on September 09, 2014, 03:36:14 PM
Yep, it's time to dissect the season.  I was working two jobs last spring when I put my garden in, so it feels all thrown together.  I concentrated on tomatoes, thinking that I'd do a significant amount of canning.  I also put in cabbage pumpkin, corn, peas, melon, zucchini, pumpkin, and quinoa. 

Late blight took my tomatoes (all of mid-Michigan was hard hit) and I was working so much that I never did harvest the half row of peas I put in (I saved the brown pods for seed for next year.)  I didn't have enough corn plants to ensure good pollination (only four of the six plants I put in grew past knee height) so the four cobs I had, though good tasting, were only half full of kernals.  Or perhaps they were poorly pollinated for some other reason -- it wasn't heat but maybe too much rain, I dunno.  None of my melons produced, again, it might have been too cool and wet, but my zucchinin, cabbage and pumpkins did well (we're having pork, pumpkin and black been stew tonight, and there's zucchini bread baking as I write this.)  The quinoa isn't ready to harvest yet.

The raspberries did well, and we ate them as they ripened.  So good!  The grandkids (toddlers) got into the rhubarb and broke up most of the stalks.  It will recover, but there wasn't much left over for rhubarb crisp.

Next year, I'm going to put in more time to fencing and keeping a good path between beds.

I was planning on putting in potatoes next year, but due to all the late blight around, I think I'll skip a year.  And I'll be putting next year's tomatoes in a bed across the street from the bed they were in this year. 

I'm going to grow sweet corn again, up the the number of plants to twenty or so, and experiment with saving the seed.  I'll also put in cabbage, zucchini, pumpkin -- and add rutabaga (swedes), onion and butternut squash.  I'll try melons again, and give them a little more attention to see what's going on with them.

And we'll go with the quinoa again, seeing if I can grow it from saved seed, and starting it in pots instead of broadcasting the seed. 

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 10, 2014, 09:33:06 PM
   It is acorn season and although the drought has knocked the live oak 
( red oak ) harvest down to nothing there are some huge valley oaks( white oaks ) 
that must have their roots into the water table near the town of Los Olivos.
For human consumption acorns require leaching with several water changes over a week or so in the fridge.
As it turns out valley oak acorns  are a lot less tannic than the live oak acorns.
I collected about sixty pounds with a rake and a couple dust pans in about an hour.
With a leaf blower and some screens I could probably collect a couple hundred pounds or more in a days work. 
   I have been feeding the acorns to the pigs without leaching them. There aren't books on how you go about feeding acorns to pigs so I am kinda winging it. I know in Spain they have a practice of dehesa, putting the pigs out to pasture to feed on acorns but they also have different oak trees in Spain( maybe less tannic). I am feeding small amounts to pigs going off to market in a couple months. I am not feeding the more tannic red oak this year. The Mangalitza pigs I raise are a very fat pig and can reach 50% body fat . I have rendered the fat and I plan on running some diesel equipment on it. It is of course lard ,and high quality lard at that, but an animal that can be fed on barley(a dry land crop), pumpkins, and acorns is an animal willing to eat what most people won't . If you can run some equipment on the fat and still afford to raise pork at a profit well maybe you can make a profit farming . That's the plan anyhow. Not giving up on veggies or fruit but growing more than 15,000lbs. of veggies on small acreage has been very difficult single handed. i.e. no profit. Ten years of experience and really no prospects 
for $ improvement without diversifying. 65 baby pigs since last November.
   
        
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 10, 2014, 09:40:30 PM
From Tree to Table: gathering and processing acorns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QitkIGNwUgs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QitkIGNwUgs)
May help ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 12, 2014, 12:09:16 AM
Laurent, Do you know anyone who still collects and processes acorns for food?  After looking around I found an on line book about California Oaks. There is a reference to the Valley White Oak as having been" highly sought after as animal food ". So I am not breaking any new ground feeding the 200 lbs. of valley oak acorns I have collected the last couple days. I am also leaching some for muffins. I have processed Live Oak acorns like the video you sent but this is first time with the White Oak acorns.

  http://www.californiaoaks.org/ExtAssets/acorns_and_eatem.pdf (http://www.californiaoaks.org/ExtAssets/acorns_and_eatem.pdf)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 12, 2014, 12:19:17 AM
Don't know yet, what are you looking for exactly ? A seller of processed acorn in california ? something else ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 12, 2014, 02:14:57 AM
Laurent, Just curious, do people eat acorns in France? Although it was a staple around here for thousands of years I haven't ever seen anyone collecting them. Nobody seems to mind me raking them up.  Same deal with amaranth, knowledge mostly lost and nobody cares. These crops were once revered , there were ceremonies to help insure good harvests.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 12, 2014, 08:13:28 AM
It is the same here, I haven't even tried myself. That is definetely something I have to do this automn...
It is mentioned in some books that we use to eat acorn in the ancient times.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on September 14, 2014, 08:19:36 AM
you can also pickle acorns and substitute them for olives or you can use leeched acorns as substitutes for recipes calling for chickpeas, peanuts or macadamia.  I think it would do well for a curry as long as they are leeched well.

obviously if a native culture used them as a staple food they are worth harvesting.

http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/NAIFood/acorns.htm (http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/NAIFood/acorns.htm)

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Acorns-for-Food (http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Acorns-for-Food)

http://honest-food.net/2010/01/14/acorn-pasta-and-the-mechanics-of-eating-acorns/ (http://honest-food.net/2010/01/14/acorn-pasta-and-the-mechanics-of-eating-acorns/)

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/12/recipes-for-the-mighty-acorn-a-forager-experiments/67228/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/12/recipes-for-the-mighty-acorn-a-forager-experiments/67228/)

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 16, 2014, 09:11:53 AM
Abstract

The acorns from oaks (Quercus) and tan oaks (Lithocarpus) have been used as food for many thousands of years. They occur in the archaeological record of the early town sites in the Zagros Mountains, at Catal Hüyük (6000 BC), and oak trees were carefully inventoried by the Assyrians during the reign of Sargon II. In Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Mid-East, and North America, acorns were once a staple food. They are still a commercial food crop in several countries. Acorns are still harvested and used in several areas of the United States, most notably Southern Arizona and California. There is still some harvesting in Mexico. For many of the native Californians, acorns made up half of the diet and the annual harvest probably exceeded the current sweet corn harvest in the state.


http://works.bepress.com/david_a_bainbridge/17/ (http://works.bepress.com/david_a_bainbridge/17/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JackTaylor on September 17, 2014, 12:15:40 PM
   ~ ~ --
   I have been feeding the acorns to the pigs without leaching them. There aren't books on how you go about feeding acorns to pigs so I am kinda winging it. I know in Spain they have a practice of dehesa, putting the pigs out to pasture to feed on acorns but they also have different oak trees in Spain( maybe less tannic). I am feeding small amounts to pigs going off to market in a couple months. I am not feeding the more tannic red oak this year. The Mangalitza pigs I raise are a very fat pig and can reach 50% body fat .
~ ~ --

WOW Bruce,

You do know how to evoke some memories I had not considered for over 50 years.
A good high-fat and free food.  That ought to increase the price/lb for prosciutto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosciutto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosciutto)

Back then, in the foothills of Western North Carolina, gathering acorns for the pigs was a big deal if they could not be "free ranged" to root for themselves.

Horse (mule) drawn wagons full from the hills and hollars http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hollar (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hollar) .
But, can't compare to the 'tales' of chestnuts (tons) collected according to some of my dearly departed much older relatives - community friends.

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 18, 2014, 07:45:23 PM
Jack, Fall season has me boxing up the shallots , onions and curing the crop of kabocha. Pumpkins are getting orange and will need some shade to get them through to the 31st. With more than enough work I should be doing, the fall mast has me getting some time off foraging. Walnuts and acorns are a good excuse to root around under the canopy, nice because it's still in hot around here. Your comment about the chestnut blight got me thinking about what a huge loss it must have been to rural pig (   and wild turkey,deer,raccoon etc.)production.
 I found a quote in the NPR piece about the chestnut blight. " It was the single greatest ecological disaster this country has ever seen, and nobody remembers it."
There is much missing knowledge, the chestnut mast, acorns ,amaranth.
  http://nhpr.org/post/harvesting-chestnuts-granite-state (http://nhpr.org/post/harvesting-chestnuts-granite-state)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 23, 2014, 09:31:04 PM
UN: only small farmers and agroecology can feed the world
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2566719/un_only_small_farmers_and_agroecology_can_feed_the_world.html (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2566719/un_only_small_farmers_and_agroecology_can_feed_the_world.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 25, 2014, 11:34:28 PM
Acorns in short supply, say Forestry Commission and naturalists
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/25/acorns-in-short-supply-say-forestry-commission-and-naturalists (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/25/acorns-in-short-supply-say-forestry-commission-and-naturalists)

It was also a low year for apple trees...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on September 26, 2014, 09:53:59 AM
I can confirm that's the case up here in Cheshire - few acorns but the beech has been prolific. I have a stand of mature beech beyond the end of my garden and my lawn is covered in mast. Shame I don't have a couple of pigs.

I can't really complain though as last year's winter gales provided a large quantity of fallen branches -now cut and seasoning nicely for the stove!

And what a great autumn for blackberries! I can't understand why so few people take advantage of this gift of nature. Wonderful pies and crumbles in return for a few scratched fingers.

I love this time of year!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on September 26, 2014, 10:18:55 PM
Back To Eden OFFICIAL FILM
Back To Eden OFFICIAL FILM on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/28055108)
http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/ (http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/)

It is tempting, isn't it ? well, well, if there was no climate change, that would be perfect. Except there is, so every carbon we put in the atmosphere is too much...and in order to make that wood chips and transport it, you need a lot of energy then a lot of carbon is released. I am not saying you should not use the technic, if you have the material then go for it. Oh and no need to speak about god...you should put your wood chips in Automn so that the fungy can start to eat them, if you put them in spring they may absorb to much nitrogen, that would be needed by your plants.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 04, 2014, 01:47:00 AM
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/climatechangeengland (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/climatechangeengland)

Laurent, This report linked in the Guardian piece you posted Sept.25 has recommendations for planning on adapting to climate change. I don't believe the same advise is happening in the U.S. and locally we are encouraged to source seed for native tree propagation to the immediate area , the same watershed preferably. Going and sourcing seed a hundred miles south as is the 
"Forestry Commission" advice in England would be considered more like  gorilla gardens. Not organized and not encouraged.  Just another form of denial, this one perpetuated by environmental mythos.
Pretending we can maintain the same habitates we currently have with the wild swings in temperature we can expect over the next hundred+ years is just more denial, it is just perpetuated by a different faction of the American public. Trees can have lifetimes measured in centuries and planning on the health of future trees or forests demands we plan on what's good for them in scales of time relevant to  future tree survival .  In the lifespan of some trees planted today the icecaps will continue to melt and sea level may advance up to 250ft. Now imagine where we should plant those trees. Maybe a bit over the top but for sure the future world won't be the one we currently reside in, the future giants may depend on very odd placement today.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on October 04, 2014, 04:13:28 AM
Agreed. Consider carefully what is coming, before you put a spade in the ground. I agonize over this all the time, but one does what once can, and cares and hopes. But "It is not necessary to hope in order to persevere."

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 04, 2014, 05:15:34 AM
Agreed. Consider carefully what is coming, before you put a spade in the ground. I agonize over this all the time, but one does what once can, and cares and hopes. But "It is not necessary to hope in order to persevere."

Call me cynical, but maybe the more important thing to focus on would be to ensure an organised enough civilisation still exists that would be able to plant trees en masse, sourcing them from other parts of the world in reaction to changes playing out on the ground?

By and large, I expect the biosphere will take care of itself (notwithstanding a lot of extinctions). It's our capabilities and ourselves that are really threatened.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 04, 2014, 05:40:37 AM
Sidd, Thank you "one does what one can, and cares and hopes. But it is not necessary to hope in order to persevere ."
 I was thinking of trying to plant some specimen trees in the greenhouse, 14ft. tall hoop. If I could get them up to ceiling height after a couple times pruning, say twenty years out, their age and climate warming may result in this area being more similar to the sub-tropical zones currently 50 miles south.
The current seed sources for the sub-tropicals i have in mind are in Santa Barbara and may be under water within hundred years. Some of those trees are already 150 years old...like the famous Mortonbay Fig. Where we are in another 150 years? Plant for that , get through the hard freezes for twenty years and leave some nice trees and some good ground behind. Turned sixty recently, sold boat and raised a 6 ton silo with a rented hoist today.
Here is to farming future ground.   

Ccg, Funny thing but you just don't plant things without purpose. Fruit trees everybody plants but planting the beechnuts, walnuts , pecans, oaks, figs, Perry pears,persimmons, chestnuts, carob and masting forest trees demands space and large inputs of time. Pigs have me off on a tangent but what those pigs eat we can eat too. We are much more picky than to put a lot of effort into processing our meals these days but if you would like to hand down a legacy plant for foragers two legged and four.
If you do a very good job the forest will perpetuate itself. So from my recent experience most masting trees aren't valued for their crop. If you could change that and get a little competition for the harvest you might get more interest in planting trees for future generations.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 04, 2014, 06:51:24 AM
If you do a very good job the forest will perpetuate itself. So from my recent experience most masting trees aren't valued for their crop. If you could change that and get a little competition for the harvest you might get more interest in planting trees for future generations.   

In theory, it's struck me before that large enough forests planted in key areas could provide protective habitat for people and other species as things change - because forests are quite capable of generating their own climate to some extent (the Amazon is an excellent example).

However, as I think you're hinting at - today commercial requirements, land ownership, etc all would render this of more probable use as a hopeful technique post collapse to hold onto or theoretically reclaim habitat - because it's hard to see something like that working on the sorts of scale needed today. Certainly trees are much underrated, and anything that gets us more of them later is surely a good idea.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on October 04, 2014, 11:48:35 AM
Bruce, yes it is very hard to know what to plant. Winters would certainly be cold (frost) for the next 5 to ten years at 45° of latitude. the idea to grow lower latitude trees in a green house is a good idea but need a lot of work and space, if you can do it yourself, go for it but that should be handled also at a wider scale because it does require a lot space, like a community, a county or(and) above. We should have some links, make some networks of seeds and plants exchanges. That is definitely something we have to do all of us.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on October 05, 2014, 02:43:44 AM
Re: planting trees from warmer climes

Guy i know has been doing this. initially plants em in half whisky barrels on a dolly, wheels em out in spring, back in in winter, fora couple years, progressively going to longer winter exposure (got to be careful  here, rootball in half barrel will freeze faster than the ground) then drops em in a hole by a southfacing stone wall. He does this staggered so every year he is planting another. Gives him time to build out the stone wall ... he has other plans for that wall ...

Also when he wheels em out, he puts them in the spot they are going to go in in the ground. Then he digs the hole, knocks the barrel staves apart, roughens up the rootball, sprays with root stimulator, plops in the hole which he lined with appropriate soil, and waters profusely.

Like he says, you win some, you lose some, some get rained out, but you dress for all of them.  As you guessed, he was a relief pitcher.

Re: "Call me cynical, but maybe the more important thing to focus on would be to ensure an organised enough civilisation still exists that would be able to plant trees en masse, sourcing them from other parts of the world in reaction to changes playing out on the ground?"

I have been called cynical myself. In fact, i am cynical enough to wonder what an effort by an "organised enough civilisation that would be able to plant trees en masse, sourcing them from other parts of the world," might look like. Especially a civilization that had allowed matters to deteriorate to that point to begin with, or its successor after ecocidal collapse. I do seem to recall that China is now thus attempting to halt encroaching desert, and there are similar, but smaller scale efforts in Africa. And I see the efforts of the CCC (USA, depression years) and the vast monocultures they planted over strip mined land, and i see the same type of efforts by "reclamation" after strip mining today and the words of Aldo Leopold about living in a "world of wounds" echo in my head. I suppose this "reclamation," is better than the tailing piles by forsaken places like Shamokin. (PA, you can look at satpics, not nearly as bad as some others, but an old, beaten, coal town. "Rode long, whipped hard, and put away wet.")

Re: "By and large, I expect the biosphere will take care of itself (notwithstanding a lot of extinctions). It's our capabilities and ourselves that are really threatened."

I will quote Kingsnorth here: "And what really keeps me awake at night is the possibility that this civilisation could survive having destroyed 90% of the rest of life on Earth."

In these contexts, see Ellul on technology traps. But that is a discussion for another day and another thread.

I dress some wounds as best I can. But I have to pass so, so, many by.

See, i don't plant trees to save the world. I gave up hope of doing that long ago. I plant them to save my soul. One might insert an "l" in the word "save" if one were cynical enough.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 05, 2014, 03:28:41 AM
I have been called cynical myself. In fact, i am cynical enough to wonder what an effort by an "organised enough civilisation that would be able to plant trees en masse, sourcing them from other parts of the world," might look like. Especially a civilization that had allowed matters to deteriorate to that point to begin with, or its successor after ecocidal collapse.

Part of my logic is that large quantities of trees could act to moderate the climate for people. Whatever ecosystem should take over in the end, who knows - moving species around is liable to add its own level of interference (aka invasive species). On the other hand, many species will go extinct that in theory might have a chance if moved artificially (as a compensator to the rate of change preventing natural migrations) and if one moved them thus and then just let nature take over - perhaps we would have a more biodiverse result (above and beyond the benefits of trees moderating local climate for livability). In the end after all, it will be too hot for most species in most places - surely giving some of the hotter climate ones a chance further north is worth a try? In the long run evolution will sort it all out.

Trees moderate rain and water run off, they moderate temperature (especially in the summer), they moderate the wind, often bring up nutrients from deep underground, and supply us with fuel, building materials, some chemical feedstocks, charcoal, etc potentially (if managed sustainably).

Of course in terms of how I view it, you're looking at a multi-generational effort post collapse. In fact, you're potentially looking at trees being venerated almost to the extent of a religion. While in theory it could make some things worse and still represents interference in the system, I have trouble believing it would register on the same scale of harm already being done and likely to be done. Besides, for as long as our species exists - we and our actions are an integral part of the ecosystem. We just need to stop consuming it...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on October 05, 2014, 01:07:12 PM
You may want to protect your plants like explained here :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NLPl2Bs26E (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NLPl2Bs26E)
There is also the trick of planting your trees in front of a wall exposed south, the heat is stored in the wall and it heats the plant at night. If you have enough stone you may build a heat collector around your young tree and in half a circle 30 cm from the tree, facing south and 1 meter in height, in summer that may be too much heat...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on October 05, 2014, 10:44:18 PM
Plants are smart...yes really... (The video is in english, subtitled in French)
http://www.ted.com/talks/stefano_mancuso_the_roots_of_plant_intelligence?language=fr#t-7256 (http://www.ted.com/talks/stefano_mancuso_the_roots_of_plant_intelligence?language=fr#t-7256)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeX6ST7rexs#t=7%C3%A9 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeX6ST7rexs#t=7%C3%A9)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on October 06, 2014, 06:14:57 AM
Besides, for as long as our species exists - we and our actions are an integral part of the ecosystem.

Michael Pollan writes in his book "Second Nature" :
“If nature is the one necessary source of instruction for a garden ethic,culture is the other. Civilization may be part of our problem with respect to nature, but there will be no solution without it. As Wendell Berry has pointed out, it is culture, and certainly not nature, that teaches us to observe and remember, to learn from our mistakes, to share our experiences, and perhaps most important of all, to restrain ourselves. Nature does not teach its creatures to control their appetites except by the harshest of lessons–epidemics, mass death, extinctions. Nothing would be more natural than for humankind to burden the environment to the extent that it was rendered unfit for human life. Nature in that event would not be the loser, nor would it disturb her laws in the least–operating as it has always done, natural selection would unceremoniously do us in. Should this fate be averted, it will only be because our culture–our laws and metaphors, our science and technology, our ongoing conversation about nature and man’s place in it–pointed us in the direction of a different future. Nature will not do this for us.”

But i fear that Kingsnorth's darkest vision is all too possible.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: viddaloo on October 06, 2014, 10:33:34 AM
It's quite gross to claim that man shows ecological restraint, while other species don't. So typical for human hybris to think that way.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 06, 2014, 02:55:07 PM
It's quite gross to claim that man shows ecological restraint, while other species don't. So typical for human hybris to think that way.

Other species don't though. I mean, some of them were inconsiderate enough to pollute the whole atmosphere in a much bigger way with poison, er, I mean oxygen.

Personally I think Gaia hypothesis acts as an important corollorary to evolution - not all beneficial changes for an organism are valid and successful changes, because all species essentially must co-evolve in ways that work together. Hence if black daisies grew twice as fast in daisyworld, you'd think that must be a beneficial mutation by Darwinian rules - but if it alters the heat balance of the planet, it can't swing things much as they damage their own environment.

As to other species showing restraint, nonsense. If I toss a handful of rabbits into a lush green field, do you think they will behave sustainably? Or do you think they will multiply rampantly until all the grass is consumed and the corpses of starving rabbits litter the landscape?

People are no difference from rabbits - our large brains appear to let us bring a lot more efficiency and ingenuity to these basic processes (consumption and reproduction) - but they do not allow us to fundamentally change the paradigm to date, largely because they appear to be wired to make us put blind faith in our ability to indefinitely solve the ever larger and more complex problems we are creating. Misplaced faith as our responses probably aren't so different to the rabbits when it comes down to it - evolution follows the same general ruleset, and we share plenty of traits and genetics even with them.

For an organism capable of acting as a super predator to succeed long term, it must simultaneously evolve the ability to temper itself where nature no longer can short term. Yet to do so is to conflict with almost everything else evolved where short term gains are king.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on October 07, 2014, 12:22:05 AM
"If nature is the one necessary source of instruction for a garden ethic,culture is the other. Civilization may be part of our problem with respect to nature, but there will be no solution without it. "

That subtly conflates 'culture' and 'civilization.' My understanding is that the two have distinct meanings. Civilization may be a particular kind of culture, but surely not all human cultures can be categorized as 'civilizations.'

Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on October 07, 2014, 01:38:26 AM
Agreed, "civilization" was unfortunate word use by Pollan. Berry used "culture" in the quote, and is repeated everywhere else in the quote i posted.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on October 07, 2014, 03:35:27 AM
Yes.

Clever as Pollan can be, I must say, I generally prefer Berry.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on October 13, 2014, 06:10:48 AM
So, I'm looking at a piece of property next week.  There's a fair chance that I and my family, working class for the most part, may be able to bag it through a land contract deal.

The land is located in the UP of Michigan, about 15 miles inland of Lake Superior.  This is an area I grew up in -- I know it well.  It's mostly a zone 4, edging up into zone 5 some years, except last year when it was more like a zone 3.

The soil is poor -- either too sandy or too peat-bog acidic.  Berries do well up in the UP -- there's tons of blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, saskatoon, chokecherry and wild grape.  I'd love to plant chestnut, oak and beech, as well as apple, pear and cherry -- and I've been reading the posts here about greenhouse tree planting and stone walls with interest.

I guess I'm just saying -- if you had 40 acres like this, what would you do?  Is anyone interested in coming along for the ride, virtually, if you will.   

What the heck is step one?  Well, I guess that'd be a kind of inventory of what the area looks like.  I'll be getting some GPS coordinates next week.  I'm thinking that we'd put up a small cabin next summer, with a well and septic tank and start right away on improving the soil.  Everyone will be working to support their families and putting a little aside for equipment and time to put into the place.

Overall, I'm not hopeful.  Not that I don't think we can form a decent homestead from this chunk of land, but I wonder how much difference it'll make in the long run.  But what was that quote about  hope?  "One need not hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere."  Yeah, that's where I'm at right now.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 13, 2014, 06:28:00 AM
Overall, I'm not hopeful.  Not that I don't think we can form a decent homestead from this chunk of land, but I wonder how much difference it'll make in the long run.  But what was that quote about  hope?  "One need not hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere."  Yeah, that's where I'm at right now.

Every person who learns skills that are not dependent upon the industrial dependencies of modern civilisation is arguably a potential little island of resilience that did not exist before.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 13, 2014, 07:29:24 AM
Lisa, I have run a small farm about ten years. I put up a 30 by 72 unheated greenhouse to extend my farm season. Ripe tomatoes a couple months earlier in the season and extended also in the fall.  This was long after I had dealt with water and septic. Sometimes buying property with water and septic already developed can save you money. So put together costs. Advice from my grandfather, water first. All wells and many septics as well as roads need maintenance so about every ten years you will be hit with substantial bills.  Even if you just want to move a trailer onto your property you will need water. There are off grid options for power but well drillers and septic systems come first.
 Trees are something that improve property so if you can put some energy into getting them started early you will be rewarded later. Finding were you intend on putting your garden might impact your tree planting , don't block your southern exposures.
 This is all very general advice but if you can maintain at least one steady income it will help. Farms that can show income are also a good tax write off so you should look into keeping some livestock to sell. A few cattle may allow you to write off wells, fences, road work etc.   You have a few years leeway before you need to show a profit.
 I tried growing vegetables and although I have fairly good markets fairly close I couldn't produce enough volume to make much money. I am currently raising pigs in conditions far more humane than most commercial farms, outdoors in little herds. Even if you are distant from markets livestock can reduce transport costs that vegetables constantly require.
 There is a certain pleasure in  persevering. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on October 13, 2014, 03:49:28 PM
Thanks for the replies, guys.  What you both say jibes with my instincts, too.  I'd like to post often as I move along on this project.  When/if we're able to get the parcel, I'll start a new thread on this "walking the walk" subject line.  I want to see a lot of armchair generals!  I'll need all the advice I can get.

I've worked at a small organic CSA farm -- it was a place that provided work therapy for my clients (I'm a CNA).  So besides being a home gardener, I'm familiar with hoop houses and small fields.

I've never kept animals other than pets, but I'm ready to keep livestock; I've been thinking and educating myself about it for years.  My husband and sons are hunters.  They can do the slaughtering!

So, beyond the first cabin and trees, I have plans for a small barn, a root cellar and smoke house, and hoop houses for fresh vegetables.   Placement for all of this will take some real planning, and once I'm on the ground, I'll post topo maps here.  Then all I need is a bucket to gather up everyone's collective wisdom. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jbatteen on October 14, 2014, 05:22:58 PM
Lisa, sounds like you've got a great start there.  I dream of one day owning property in the Northern MN <---> UP area somewhere.  I'm from Southern MN originally.  With lots of compost and probably buying things with the nutrients you're missing (via guanos or fish meal etc) you can build up some very fertile soil over the course of a few years, ideally underneath where you plan to build a high tunnel.  Until then you will do best growing things that are well-adapted to your soils, like berries and trees.  Otherwise I don't have much to add.  I'll be watching with great interest.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mark on October 21, 2014, 11:48:37 PM
Lisa, likewise it sounds great. Part of my job in the UK is advising on natural ways of keeping sports turf in playing condition that requires a knowledge of the soil and what it can do. If you want help on the project then there would be a need for a bit more info than 'too sandy or peat bog acidic' - theres a world of difference between the 2. I assume that you will put aside some of the land to grow crops/trees/fruit/berries that grow in the immediate area as that ensures success. Then I would assume you would want to 'adapt' some soil to produce vegetables and other crops that the local soils may not support. The soil is your friend so getting a basic understanding of the potential of your patch should be your first move.

Best of luck
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on October 27, 2014, 10:00:40 AM
He Started With Some Boxes, 60 Days Later, The Neighbors Could Not Believe What He Built
http://themetapicture.com/he-started-with-some-boxes-60-days/ (http://themetapicture.com/he-started-with-some-boxes-60-days/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on October 31, 2014, 10:37:59 AM
If you want to exchange some plants that site may help :
http://plantcatching.com/en (http://plantcatching.com/en)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on November 09, 2014, 04:43:59 PM
Thanks for the link, Laurent!  Also, I got your seeds, so multiply those thanks.  Very cool seeds.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 09, 2014, 06:13:57 PM
Here is a new book on Permaculture/sustainable ecovillages with examples of ongoing worldwide efforts. Hat tip to Robert Wilson over at Tverberg... Finite World blog.

http://thebluepaper.com/article/book-review-sustainable-revolution-north-atlantic-books/ (http://thebluepaper.com/article/book-review-sustainable-revolution-north-atlantic-books/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on November 21, 2014, 09:24:19 AM
Scientists: Be Lazy, Don't Rake Leaves
http://www.newser.com/story/198924/scientists-be-lazy-dont-rake-leaves.html?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange (http://www.newser.com/story/198924/scientists-be-lazy-dont-rake-leaves.html?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Michael Hauber on November 25, 2014, 10:00:38 AM
Roots (http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010137veg.roots/010137toc.html) are amazing things.  Many of our common vegetables can grow a root systems extending a foot deep by the time the seedling is a few centimeters high.  And even something like a carrot can grow roots that go over a meter deep by the time it is mature.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on November 25, 2014, 10:08:07 PM
According to the book Grass (no, not that kind), a rye sprout four months old has a root system so extensive that if you cut off all the ramifications and laid them end to end they would extend 137 miles.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on December 15, 2014, 10:40:53 AM
Teens create automated aeroponics garden kit with NASA tech
http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/teens-create-automated-aeroponics-garden-kit-with-nasa-tech/ (http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/teens-create-automated-aeroponics-garden-kit-with-nasa-tech/)

Just wondering if I can use urine to feed theses plantes or a mix with something more natural to have an ideal ph of 6-6,5 ?

You may also want to see this one to complete :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjWLyA-w4Bo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjWLyA-w4Bo)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on January 13, 2015, 05:05:41 AM
Chestnuts!  Does anyone have any hands-on experience?  It looks really good for us to get that parcel up north, and after doing a survey of the place, we're thinking that we'll plant fruit and nut trees this coming planting season. 

I'm leaning at planting them at 20'-30 centers so I won't have to prune and thin, even if that means we won't have much (due to under-pollination) for the first 5-8 years.  I'm also leaning at planting them in a quincunx pattern, with a good pollinator in the middle, just 10 trees to start with.

Of course, I'm looking at cultivars that will grow north of the 45th parallel, zone 3-5 (which will change, I know, will be greatly fluctuating between sub-zero polar air and some years when it'll barely freeze at all.) 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 05, 2015, 03:44:20 AM
A NZ Urban Garden project:
I thought this Koanga Institute
http://www.koanga.org.nz/knowledgebase/design-knowledge/200-sq-m-urban-design/ (http://www.koanga.org.nz/knowledgebase/design-knowledge/200-sq-m-urban-design/)
site might interest other gardeners, yes I realise a number of you are pros, or that a sustainable closed self sufficient system is not everyone's goal. And maybe like me you couldn't cope with breeding rabbits & guinea pigs to kill for your dinner?  :(
But they are trying some interesting things & 'cos they are a couple of hours drive north of me I have booked myself & DH for their next garden tour! This group have been saving heritage seeds & fruit trees for 30 years & have recently expanded their goals to include this.

The 1930's Weston Price book mentioned is available as a free download here.
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html)

And I'll try adding a Dropbox link here
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b7bsqfc2ymtzirh/AADvx27fXuB_wMVmLx44R8Vua?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b7bsqfc2ymtzirh/AADvx27fXuB_wMVmLx44R8Vua?dl=0)
 to an article about this garden project that featured in a recent NZ Gardener magazine, or just email me if it doesn't & you would like to read it.

Clare
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on April 08, 2015, 10:25:06 AM
The use of Jean Pain method and more.
https://player.vimeo.com/video/63357390 (https://player.vimeo.com/video/63357390)

Jean Pain - English - Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHRvwNJRNag (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHRvwNJRNag)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 08, 2015, 07:21:43 PM
A NZ Urban Garden project:
I thought this Koanga Institute
[url]http://www.koanga.org.nz/knowledgebase/design-knowledge/200-sq-m-urban-design/[/url] ([url]http://www.koanga.org.nz/knowledgebase/design-knowledge/200-sq-m-urban-design/[/url])
site might interest other gardeners, yes I realise a number of you are pros, or that a sustainable closed self sufficient system is not everyone's goal. And maybe like me you couldn't cope with breeding rabbits & guinea pigs to kill for your dinner?  :(
But they are trying some interesting things & 'cos they are a couple of hours drive north of me I have booked myself & DH for their next garden tour! This group have been saving heritage seeds & fruit trees for 30 years & have recently expanded their goals to include this.

The 1930's Weston Price book mentioned is available as a free download here.
[url]http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html[/url] ([url]http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html[/url])

And I'll try adding a Dropbox link here
[url]https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b7bsqfc2ymtzirh/AADvx27fXuB_wMVmLx44R8Vua?dl=0[/url] ([url]https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b7bsqfc2ymtzirh/AADvx27fXuB_wMVmLx44R8Vua?dl=0[/url])
 to an article about this garden project that featured in a recent NZ Gardener magazine, or just email me if it doesn't & you would like to read it.

Clare


Wow, that's awesome. I really like that they are trying to meet nutritional needs based on the Weston Price nutritional model. I have a copy of the WA Price book myself and hope to grow part of this diet myself too. I think I'll be looking into this project a lot, so thanks for the link, Clare.

We've planted some more berries our neighbour gave us, and are now fencing in our 45 square metre vegetable garden.  We'll have to start thinking about windbreaks as well, because for the past year we've been having huge winds over here (making life difficult for our plants last year). The Austrians who have lived here for a long time say it's very unusual. Lots of wind, little rain so far this year.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on April 08, 2015, 09:42:09 PM
If you haven't read it this is a very good look at a new form of no-till agriculture

http://craftsmanship.net/drought-fighters/ (http://craftsmanship.net/drought-fighters/)

Apparently he over composts with lots of woody pulp mulch (and maybe bio char now?) and uses trees and multiple crops to preserve soil.  No till agriculture he simply covers portions for part of the year to allow mulch decompostion and weed suppression. 

Some say that overmulching is bad for the water quality (N2O runoff) but some recent studies show that higher amounts of wood pulp and biochar significantly reduce this runoff.  Certainly more than modern monocrop and petroleum based nitrogen fixing does!

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jbatteen on April 09, 2015, 10:34:08 PM
That's really cool Clare, thanks for sharing!

I'm putting that article on my read-later list jai, it also looks very promising. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 10, 2015, 01:06:46 AM
Thanks for this link, Jai,

Doubly interesting to me as I am familiar with the Sebastopol CA area, have family nearby in Santa Rosa.
(One of the highlights of my many visits there to my (now late) aunt were always to the Saturday morning Farmers market held nearby. Sooooo much beautiful fresh produce & a carnival atmosphere, we didn't have anything like that sort of thing here then.)

The climate he has would actually be very similar to the site of the Koanga Gardens I posted about above, though I dont know about the comparison of soil types.
Clare
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: jai mitchell on April 11, 2015, 08:37:40 AM
Thanks for this link, Jai,

Doubly interesting to me as I am familiar with the Sebastopol CA area, have family nearby in Santa Rosa.
(One of the highlights of my many visits there to my (now late) aunt were always to the Saturday morning Farmers market held nearby. Sooooo much beautiful fresh produce & a carnival atmosphere, we didn't have anything like that sort of thing here then.)

The climate he has would actually be very similar to the site of the Koanga Gardens I posted about above, though I dont know about the comparison of soil types.
Clare

in many ways, backyard gardening and municipal scale compost and farmer's markets are JUST as important as distributed solar/wind energy generation and public transportation for the new low-carbon emission paradigm.  I am pretty close to the Santa Rosa farmer's market, I should head down and check it out.  What a wonderful way to meet the neighbors eh?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Mz0p0kgc4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Mz0p0kgc4)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 13, 2015, 06:58:48 AM
in many ways, backyard gardening and municipal scale compost and farmer's markets are JUST as important as distributed solar/wind energy generation and public transportation for the new low-carbon emission paradigm.  I am pretty close to the Santa Rosa farmer's market, I should head down and check it out.  What a wonderful way to meet the neighbors eh?


Yes I agree. & Lynn S mentioned a while back about how important developing relationships within your community by supporting other growers like at Farmers Markets etc.
We manage to grow most of what we need here all year round & so don't often go to the local Farmers market
http://www.hawkesbayfarmersmarket.co.nz (http://www.hawkesbayfarmersmarket.co.nz)
it's quite a drive & also things there seem to be selling at gourmet prices! I dont grudge the growers getting good prices for their efforts but we cant afford those. We try to use "what's in the cupboard" as much as possible. That did mean rather a lot of zucchini based meals for a while there, now it's beans & feijoas every which way. I'm collecting 10+kg a day of the latter, luckily everyone I know loves them.
Something that has started up recently in NZ is a site called Neighbourly,
https://www.neighbourly.co.nzwhere (https://www.neighbourly.co.nzwhere) you are linked to others in your neighbourhood, so people can share or trade or swap stuff. A digi age version of a neighbourhood?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on May 14, 2015, 03:35:23 AM
Here is my April gardening report -- quite a bit late.  I want to do these every month and I'd love to hear how others are doing.

-- I'm trying to get into nursing school, and so had to take some prerequisite science classes that had expired.  But even with that, I was able to prep my three double dug beds.  Each is about 6m long and 3m wide.  Because of school and work, I didn't do my own seedlings this year, but got some from the Lansing garden project -- http://greaterlansingfoodbank.org/programs/the-garden-project/resources/. (http://greaterlansingfoodbank.org/programs/the-garden-project/resources/.) 

I'm also starting something new this year - I'm planting a couple of apple trees.  I don't have the room for them on my own small postage-stamp plot, but the local YMCA is more than happy to host my trees. 

Also, I've got my vertical garden half up.  I'm hoping that, now that school is out, I'll have the other half up next week.  I'll post pics; it's pretty cool.

This year I hope to grow: peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, quinoa, runner beans, cucumber, carrots, beats, onion, rutabaga, zucchini, pumpkin and butternut squash.  We also just planted three high-bush blueberry, and we've got raspberry and rhubarb.  I'm planning to plant the very top of the vertical garden pylons with strawberry at the end of May.

My plan with this garden is mostly to learn how to grow these things; like, last year I learned what late blight looked like.  Now I know what to look for.

How about you?  How does your garden grow?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 14, 2015, 08:17:54 AM
Trying to limit my water and energy inputs has really challenged my gardening / farming plans for this year. I have new solar panels powering my pumps this year but in the interests of conserving water I am planning on reducing water ( metered use) by 33% from two years ago. That Is two years into a four year drought.
 Metering and 33% down  5 months in so far. I have lost some fruit trees and truthfully the trees are heavily stressed. Horse pasture is dust so feed for most stock is trucked in . 
 I have a very small vegetable effort this year. ( one acre ) I am trying to pasture former vegetable ground this year and let pigs help me control some nasty weeds in the hope that I might capitalize on starving some weeds in a nasty drought.
 I put out 100 grafted tomatoes ( heirloom plant/ disease hearty rootstock) 
Horse manure and weed barrier . 200 ft. Row   
 Early spring beets doing well      200+ ft. Row.   Red, Yellow and Chioga
Dug in cover only 
 Early carrots still growing          100ft. Row. Cover crops tilled for fertility
Lakota Red and Yukon yellow potatoes   200ft. Row. Horse manure
200 ft . of emmer wheat, summer squash, and lettuce going in soon.
 100 ft. of shishito peppers ( weed barrier ) horse manure 
Melons need some greenhouse efforts still in planning

I am fairly sure I will have flood issues coming this fall and preparing for that possibility is going to take some serious efforts this summer. The possibility of water is making me think starting some trees and getting their roots established enough to take advantage of a wet year next year will be worth extra effort also.

Winter squash, flint corn and pumpkins will finish my efforts but not yet ready.  

   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 18, 2015, 09:37:33 AM
How about you?  How does your garden grow?

In the past month we've been building a wooden fence around our vegetable plot. A friend was over last week and together we built a mini electric fence to keep out the slugs as they were happily munching away at our little seedlings (literally dozens of big brown slugs, and hundreds (thousands?) small white ones). I've got 9v running on the fence (see images below) and it works pretty well, although I need to improve a couple of things like build in a small LED lamp that shows me if there's a short circuit.

We had started out planting out early, but it went horribly wrong. Seedlings sprouted and everything and then suddenly their development stalled. We suspect it's because our house has triple glazing, and so they didn't receive enough sunlight in the right bandwidth for photosynthesis. So we had to start all over again once air temperature was high enough.

My wife has planted plenty of cabbages, salad, beans and flowers, but they're all struggling a bit because of the slugs and mostly inclement weather. We're going on a 10-day holiday soon, and hopefully we can at least wipe out the slugs within the vegetable plot perimeter.

Oh well, live and learn. We didn't get things going smoothly, so now we hope to end the growing season strong.  :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on May 18, 2015, 09:40:39 AM
Here are some images showing the electric fence. I was hoping it would just scare the slugs away, but it actually kills some of them (I might go and try 4.8V or 7.2V instead of 9.6V with 8 rechargeable batteries):

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on May 18, 2015, 11:38:06 AM
Last year I used pellets for slugs with little success, this year i'm leaving lengths of untreated scrap timber on the ground, by newly planted seedlings, and asking for volunteers to help feed the chickens, happily there's been an enthusiastic response  from the slugs, even more so from the chooks. :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on May 19, 2015, 04:31:24 PM
Amazing: My 2nd year woad (isatis tinctoria) attracts most of the slugs. It is growing very fast, so they can't eat it completely. 1st year woad they leave mostly alone.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on May 19, 2015, 09:15:05 PM
Neven

The humble slug almost deserves its own thread.

I salute your impressive efforts to defend your precious seedlings but I fear your valiant attempt is doomed to failure. I hope I'm wrong but I think the smaller version of the gardener's nemesis - we don't get too many of the big brown ones over here - are not encroaching on your plot from the outside but are lurking furtively under the surface of your soil as eggs or immature adults, ready to emerge in search of food as soon as your back is turned.

My fingers are firmly crossed for your crop. If effort and ingenuity count for anything you should come out on top!

Enjoy your holiday and let us know the outcome when you return.

I'm off to check the garden for signs of slug damage!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on May 20, 2015, 03:42:40 AM
Re:slugs

any chance of hiring a duck or two ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on May 21, 2015, 02:55:21 AM
Neven, your electric slug fence is beautiful!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on May 21, 2015, 09:55:04 AM
La Belgique victime d'une invasion de limaces
http://www.dhnet.be/actu/societe/la-belgique-victime-d-une-invasion-de-limaces-555cb90d3570fde9b35424b6 (http://www.dhnet.be/actu/societe/la-belgique-victime-d-une-invasion-de-limaces-555cb90d3570fde9b35424b6)

Sorry for the french, but sometimes it is good to know that you are not alone !
The article says Belgium is invided by slugs around 5 times more than usual. That is due to pesticides, herbicides...and also slugcides...because they kill also the predators.

I do have also a lot of slugs, I try to bring back predator by installing in different part of the garden some piles of wood and some of stones. May be I should make sure while installing them that there is some place for a hedgehog family, snakes and big lizards are good predators too. Some time I go out at night to collect slugs. The garden is not very tidy so the slugs eat also wild plants and flowers. Plant not just for you but for nature too, 30% should be all right.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: P-maker on May 21, 2015, 11:07:57 AM
Silkman:

The humble slug almost deserves its own thread.

No way!

Slugs are an integral part of antropogenic climate change. Warmer winters mean higher survival rates for eggs an juveniles, more moisture in the warmer atmosphere means more dewfall and longer nights for them to roam, eat and mate & higher CO2 concentrations means stronger green growth and more fodder.

The trick is to convert this pest into something useful, and I suggest using dead slugs in biogas plants - the questions is just how we persuade them to creep in that direction...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on May 21, 2015, 04:39:36 PM
I always heard that bottle lids filled with beer is the best way to kill slugs. But I've never had much of a slug problem so I haven't tried it first hand. Seems like a terrible waste of beer to me, frankly.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on May 21, 2015, 07:27:50 PM
The beer trap is ususally nonsense, since the smell attracts slugs from far. But with Neven's electric fence a beer trap inside the garden would make sense to catch those who are already in.

There's a nice but rarely found predator slug: Limax maximus (German: Tigerschnegel, english: leopard slug, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus) ) It eats other slug/snail eggs and even life slugs, but also rotten plants and only rarely green plants. It seems they are quite competitive, as I never managed to get a large population. They are active at night and return to the same sleeping place. Their mating is quite spectacular. This year I got one just an hour after putting a pot with a leftover rice-vegetable dish outside the tent. :) Last year one got killed in the mouse trap :(

I also used to carry escargot snails into my garden. But it seems it's a myth that they eat other snail/slug eggs. At least they are harmless and it's nice seeing two while kissing.

-------------
The only serious "problem" I have with slugs is that they eat the hemp seedlings I plug here and there for fun. I've never ever seen one grow up. A friend who is a serious outdoor guerilla hemp grower puts a special plastic collar (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B003YCE8YA/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=556245207&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00AF1A6NU&pf_rd_m=A3JWKAKR8XB7XF&pf_rd_r=1RRC9XGXV6A2A8RERSAA) around each plant. More expensive but less reliable is a simple ring made of copper (http://www.manufactum.de/schneckenring-kupfer-p1442881/).

--------------------
From this years experience with 2nd year woad (Isatis tinctoria) I will continue tending this plant in my garden: The snails love it, it grows and blooms early (in 2nd year) and so fast and big that they can't kill it. And the long roots will be good food for the deep earth worms.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on June 02, 2015, 01:07:28 PM
A casual gardener here is using crushed egg shells around plants that previously had served as sustenance to her snail hoard with good results. She simply saves breakfast egg shells, grinds them in her hand and sprinkles them around cabbages & other snail delicacies.
Not a solution for a large garden, but she is happy with the results.

Terry
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 03, 2015, 01:44:56 PM
There's a nice but rarely found predator slug: Limax maximus (German: Tigerschnegel, english: leopard slug, [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus[/url]) )


Amazing! I read this yesterday afternoon, and then yesterday evening I was checking for slugs, and I ran into one of these leopard slugs! Luckily I already knew these slugs are beneficial and so didn't kill it. It did seem, though, as though it had received a shock from the electric fence, as it was sitting below it without moving.

My wife wanted me to put it in our fenced garden, but I was afraid it would try to get out as it doesn't have that much space to hide in there, but wouldn't be able because of the 9V fence. So I put it in my daughter's strawberry garden, where there's loads of big and small slugs.

Anyway, the fence seems to have done the job well enough while we were away. There was only one semi-big brown slug I could find, but still loads of small, white ones (two of them mating, so that explains it) drilling holes in the large cabbage leaves. We'll keep picking those by hand, and maybe sprinkle a few of those slug pellets under the planks. Everything is well under control now.

I now have to add a small LED lamp to the set-up that functions as a resistance (which is better for the batteries) and shows me when there is a short-circuit (right now I check if the wet-up is still working by putting my tongue to the two wires, much to my wife's amusement). It rained a lot while we were away and the burn marks behind the metal wires are a sign that there was quite a bit of short-circuiting due to water drops. Maybe I'll have to add a small cover to protect the wires from rain drops.

I'm also contemplating moving to 7.2V or even 4.8V (6 or 4 batteries respectively), as the 9V is frying the (smaller) slugs and of course, small is beautiful.

Some of the plants are coming along nicely, now that we finally have some really good weather, but other problems are popping up (lice, etc), and so we're learning a lot. One discouraging thing is that our berry plants are doing really well, but are hardly carrying any berries! I don't think it was a frost, but winds were blowing quite hard when they were flowering. Or maybe we just didn't add enough compost back in March...

So no berries this year...  :'(
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on June 08, 2015, 02:24:00 PM
maybe sprinkle a few of those slug pellets under the planks.
Did you leave the planks on the ground while you were away? They are the central breeding station and hiding place of most snails..

The planks are a much better trap than the beer trap: Lots of eggs and snails to be "harvested" and/or trampled. Or just put the planks up against the fence, downside facing the sun, and let the summer sun  kill the eggs.

The planks need to be examined regularly. That's why I don't use them anymore. :) I had a little scratcher to harvest eggs and snails from the boards and from the ground, then do something evil and ugly with them and then make the compost happy.

------------------
This year I got quite a population of Limax Maximus. I start hating them :)  because I mostly step on these when out at night barefoot. They "run" around everywhere and are the most sticky-slimy when stepped on.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Latent on August 02, 2015, 04:30:51 PM
Suggestions on slug/snail trapping.

1.  Put out flowerpots or dark plastic containers before heavy rain is forecast.  In the morning after the rain inspect your pots. The slugs and snails often crawl up into them to take shelter.

2.  Mulch with lawn grass cuttings - about 2 - 4 inches (4 - 10cm) deep.  It will dry out and the beasties just can't be bothered to slime their way over it to your precious plants.  It also helps to keep the soil moist by preventing evaporation in hot weather.

3.  Salt.  I use dishwasher salt.  In small quantities around the edges of your wooden fencing. It does seem to deter the slugs though of course you do need to take into consideration the crops you are going to grow afterwards.  It works fine with brassicas.

Best of luck!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: P-maker on September 14, 2015, 09:47:50 PM
Neven,

wellcome back!

Glad to see that you have created a global trend:

http://www.eater.com/2015/9/14/9324311/rene-redzepi-closes-noma-urban-garden (http://www.eater.com/2015/9/14/9324311/rene-redzepi-closes-noma-urban-garden)

See you above sea level

Cheers P
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on September 17, 2015, 12:44:34 AM
Cool stuff. I translated a documentary last year about some old anthrosophic Danish farmer that sold a lot of produce to exclusive restaurants in Copenhagen, so I'm not surprised that the Noma owner is taking this direction.

We had a mixed gardening season, with some stuff working well, other stuff not so well. Biggest problems: getting seedlings going before planting into the garden, slugs (especially the small white ones), and then a big downturn was a flea beetle plague that my wife couldn't get under control, and I didn't help her enough being too busy working, blogging and building. Those flea beetles, hundreds of them, rain or shine, really did a lot of damage.

But very instructive. When we got the slugs under control, we were able to mulch (a bit à la Ruth Stout (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Stout)), using the stuff our lawnmower churned out, grass, but also lots of the clover we planted last year, and herbs, etc. My wife bought a few perennial plants, that have cabbage- and spinach-like leaves, which are looking very promising. The trees have their first summer behind them, so hopefully they will continue growing. Increasing amount and variety of berries too (added aronia and goji, etc).

We're going to do another round of improvised experimentation next year, and then maybe try to become more professional in 2017. Or at least do some planning beforehand.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 17, 2015, 03:57:46 PM
I bombed out gardening this year but the pig project is going well , 120 mangalitsa pigs right now.
Drought made me feel guilty watering a garden then the pigs got out and vaporized $400 of
grafted tomato plants in about fifteen minutes. You can't herd pigs so they weren't tempted by my offerings of fresh squash back in their pen until they had finished off all the tomatoes first.
 It is harvest season again and I have collected about ten tons of large crook necked squash from a farmers field that is overripe and soon to be tilled under. My bag-a-nut acorn collector works well on acorn falls along the sides of the road. About 300 lbs. of white oak acorns so far. The drought has really hurt the white oak crop this year but the red oaks are loaded but not falling yet .Somehow I think they know a big rain year is brewing.I will need to leach the red oak acorns before feeding but they keep well and I can deal with leaching them when winter arrives. I also stopped and picked some olives and plan on curing them with some leftover sodium hydroxide from my biodiesel project now discontinued.
 I have the beater blades from my wife's electric mixer fixed to a battery powered hand drill and I am going to use it to deseed winter squash in another farm field ready for tilling. I feed barley to my pigs and the squash/pumpkin seed is high in protein and lysine and can be dried and stored for winter feed supplements. Normally farmers feed corn or soybeans to get a higher protein feed for their pigs but both are GMO these days so I am loath to feed the stuff. I have naturally occurring diatomaceous earth in my soil around here and noticed the pigs where searching it out and eating it so I went to an outcrop and collected 100 lbs. and I have been throwing them chunks to eat when they choose to.
My next experiment is leaching out the toxins from mountain cherry pits that where a staple for local Native Americans.( Islay in the local dialect ) They require multiple leaching cycles with boiling water and the smell of almonds gets quite strong. Deadly unless done properly so don't try this unless you know what you're doing.
 So the pigs are worth a lot more than my vegetable efforts over the last decade and they give me a great excuse to forage that I really enjoy. Walnuts are just about ready . It is truly amazing the wealth of food that simply falls on the sides of the road around here. There are hundreds of acres of walnuts and olives in unirrigated orchards that never get picked anymore. Kinda sad but primetime for the swineherd.     
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on September 17, 2015, 06:40:23 PM
Bruce
You are living an exciting life & I am jealous!

I googled your mangalitsa pigs & never came across a breed that seems better suited to our time. The very lean pork that's been marketed lately has somehow left all the flavor behind, and there has to be some use for that hair. Boar bristle shaving brushes? Pig skin winter jackets, with hair?

I buy pork from a local Mennonite farmer and the meat is much more flavorful than that available from supermarkets. Next time I see him I'll ask what breed his are, although he's likely to tell me that it's the same herd that his great-great-grandfather brought from Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

Many years ago friends hunted boar in oak forests south of Santa Barbara, the pigs had apparently been let lose during the depression & bow hunting, (so as to not alarm the neighbors), produced the most wonderful nut flavored pork chops imaginable. Their wild lifestyle gave lots of marbling, but very little fat.

Hope you survive the cherry pit experiment. I'd once tried to replicate ancient Paiute methods of cooking agave in lime stone pits, but the results were not tasty at all. The locals had forgotten their ancestor's recipes, except for making mescal.  ;>)

Terry
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ivica on September 17, 2015, 08:36:42 PM
Bruce
You are living an exciting life & I am jealous!

Ditto!

BTW: Life here is good these days, my figs are ripe :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on September 17, 2015, 09:47:15 PM
Bruce
You are living an exciting life & I am jealous!


Ditto!

Ditto, too!
Swineherd is my dream job!
Better to cast pearls before swine than before homo sapiens: The pigs rejoice, while sapiens don't care.
I plan to drop computer bs programming next year and buy a little land. All I need is the right woman. Oh, and the right neighbors. And the right land...
A friend here in Bavaria has helped save the Angeln Saddleback (Angler Sattelschwein) which seems even better than Mangalitza. http://www.angler-sattelschweine.de/galerie_heute.html (http://www.angler-sattelschweine.de/galerie_heute.html) He's the only small farmer who is not teetering at the verge of bankruptcy. He even bought the neighbor farm. And that while doing Demeter organic. Pig farming seems very profitable.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 18, 2015, 01:29:49 AM
Terry, I have gone through the leaching cherry pits before and ate some myself but it is risky . Tasted better than leached acorns and it is just an experiment anyhow. I'll be careful but the plan is for feeding it to pigs and I will only work with one pig until I am sure all well. The pigs are mighty perceptive but I don't want to hurt a single one.
 Ivica, You live in a part of the world that remembers the value of their gardens,chickens and maybe even how to prepare a hog for winter stores . We are having to relearn those lessons or we will learn the price of forgetting .
 Martin , I ran a vegy stand for over ten years and you are very correct about pigs appreciation of a good meal. I like to say they are " happy customers ". I don't think I ever found anyone who raved over the acorn/ amaranth brownies I used to sell at my farm stand . Maybe one or two people let me know they appreciated my efforts but honestly I think it was the chocolate and sugar more than the forage crops . The mangalitsa pigs are very hardy and thrive on 10 % protein while most modern pigs need something closer to 16%.  Tough times may favor hardy pigs and much different staples for the two legged critters that currently ply supermarket aisles. Profit does seem always elusive but maybe other things are more important anyhow? Just enough to not go backward would probably be a good target but on second thought a large enough pile of dry beans to get through a two winters would be better. A fifty pound sack of bean culls will only run you five bucks around here and you'd gladly suffer through sorting out the rocks if your stomach was empty. Two winters store of beans seems cheap insurance.         
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ivica on September 18, 2015, 01:49:31 AM
Ivica, You live in a part of the world that remembers the value of their gardens,chickens and maybe even how to prepare a hog for winter stores . We are having to relearn those lessons or we will learn the price of forgetting .

Fortunately, you did not mention how to make a delicious ham, "pac", ...
Why "fortunately" ? My uncle was the last one (in my family, & wider, much wider) who knew how to do that stuff properly. No one listened him. I'm not exception. Now, everything we buy (or get it from someone) tastes like soap ...

BTW: Do you have Gypsies (real ones) there, if so - talk with them ... (https://youtu.be/Dwp5-mzNQ3I)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 18, 2015, 05:34:26 AM
Ivica, The quality of the pig and the diet of the pig you cure ( salt and age ) will largely determine the quality of the final product. You have some of the best quality genetics available anywhere in the world , Serbia , Croatia ,Hungary, Romania . You have the traditions still there but they are maybe hard to find. I wish I knew your Grandfather. If it is any encouragement I am just finishing eating a prosciutto from my first pig. It was spectacular and Hungarians representing the Mangalitsa Breeders association and some Italian salumi producers agree with me. Trick is to remember exactly what I did in the 18 month cure. Maybe beginners luck.
 We have Native Americans who remember how to forage for available foods but pigs were never part of that diet. There aren't Gypsies that I know of here but I might need to look / seek  them out. They may be here and blend in somehow. I traveled Hungary and frankly the Gypsies were treated rather badly. Here the Native Americans are also treated badly. Won't matter when crunch time arrives as retained knowledge will provide advantage. Will they treat us better than we have treated them?
Some of this gets into the religion discussion Ccg and Wili were promoting. I value the somewhat blended Mexican / Indian knowledge base that is available here locally and if you pay attention to our local politics( please don't ) popular politics would prefer to rub that knowledge base out for good. Somehow the condition of man. We call progress. Snark.       
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on September 18, 2015, 06:36:21 PM
Apropos Gypsies/Roma. Ugo Bardi has some very interesting observations from Italy. This one struck me. After he gave a talk on Peak Oil (no less!) to Roma without much formal education (but a greater attention span than many university students), he was told:
Many of the old folks could do things. Like singing or playing instruments, buying and selling horses. But we can't do that any more. We didn't want to learn. We saw all this wealth, here, and we thought that there was no need of working so hard. If there was so much wealth; why couldn't we share a little of it? We didn't want to be rich; we just wanted a little - enough to live in peace. And we thought it would last forever. But, you are right, professor, it is not going to last forever. And now we are in trouble.
http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.it/2013/04/gypsies-at-peak.html (http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.it/2013/04/gypsies-at-peak.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 19, 2015, 08:05:45 PM
High standards for swineherds

1. No GMO feed
   a.  Corn , rice, soybeans and alfalfa are GMO so almost all commercial feeds contain GMO in the U.S.
   b.  Barley and wheat are not GMO ,they can be fed as a base for a feed mix.

   c. Most veggies aren't GMO except zucchini squash.

2. To obtain a good nutritional and mineral  complete diet Barley and Wheat need extra lysine as a supplement . Squash and squash seed are a good source. Amaranth seed also contains a good compete amino acid balance.

3. Kelp or canned fish ( sterilized ) provide minerals and trace minerals hard to get otherwise.

4. Diatomaceous earth from deposits of freshwater origin contain silica , phosphorus and calcium.
   a. Diatomaceous earth from oceanic origins may help control parasites but are also a lung irritant. Pigs seek it out however so maybe they know something I don't.

5. Calcium , Oyster shell and urchin tests both contain calcium but urchin has a high iodine content so should be used sparingly.

6. Natural oil /fat are contained in acorns, walnuts , almond and nuts in general.
Fish also has oil but it needs to be canned first because it also potentially contains pathogens that can passed from pig to pig once contracted from contaminated fish.
( Called San Miguel Sea Lion Disease )

7. Sterilized fish bones ( 90 + minutes in a pressure cooker at 15lbs ) contains a good phosphorus /calcium content and whole sardines and herring bone will be rendered soft.

8. Generous pasture , the veld  

http://www.livestrong.com/article/201787-what-grains-are-not-gmo/ (http://www.livestrong.com/article/201787-what-grains-are-not-gmo/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: OrganicSu on September 20, 2015, 10:56:49 AM
Weeds? Best food I ate from the garden this year was Common Purslane (delicious and very healthy). 2nd best was Amaranth leaves. For past 6 years I weeded these "weeds".
By not weeding at all everything else did way better. My hypothesis after research is that this was because I didn't need to water as often as there was much less evaporation. By watering less often the root system was more stable (root ends die back when flooded and too dry).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ivica on September 20, 2015, 01:39:29 PM
OrganicSu, thank you!
Your share encouraged me to open the thread dedicated for such experiances (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1403.0.html).

BTW: Perhaps we could use one more, dedicated to the herbs and medicinal trees. Anyone?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on September 21, 2015, 08:40:51 AM
Thanks for this thread Ivica.
My DH gagged at the mention of purslane = 'postelein' in Holland. Said they had it too often as a kid & it was slimy. Maybe his mum overcooked it? I haven't seen it in our garden so he is safe for a bit!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on September 22, 2015, 01:50:24 AM
Thanks Bruce, I always enjoy your thoughtful posts. And have joined your mailing list, sorry but just to be nosey, no shopping from downunder.

on food foraging in general:
Maybe if folk who have limited space at home you might like to do a bit of guerilla gardening or gather edible wild plants from around the neighbourhood?
Or seed bombing in good sheltered spots away from car fumes & pooing dogs?
(As a uni student in the 70's some of my flatmates were big on guerilla gardening, raised copious marijuana seedlings at our flat they then planted all around the local river bed! They grew well, 2m++!! but this was long before the days of police helicopter search teams looking for telltale signs of plantations!)

We have ~100 vacant sections around our suburb currently as the government housing provider has demolished a lot of their rental homes (what are they thinking??) leaving extensive grassed vacant sections but fortuneately also many trees were left as well.
I gathered bags of beautiful walnuts from one huge tree this autumn & see several trees are now loaded with mandarins & lemons (I have ample in my garden). People around here don't seem that interested but in Christchurch they are & ORGANISED!

After the earthquakes lots of properties have been abandoned &/or demolished and 'red zoned' which is now unsuitable for rebuilding on. Have a look at this with trees all logged on google maps!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/food-news/67690529/Fruit-foraging-in-Christchurchs-red-zone (http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/food-news/67690529/Fruit-foraging-in-Christchurchs-red-zone)

Clare
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 22, 2015, 09:26:43 AM
Clare, Funny thing the net. I am usually embarrassed to be posting about things I learned from my mother, aunt and Grandmother while talking to scholars far outside of my league. Strange also that some of the best gardeners I know spent a good part of their youth practicing Johnny Appleseed  techniques growing herb many miles into the wilderness. And yes infrared and goons in helicopters put an end to it, but those are stories not shared with mom. The mayor of a town I lived in ( Pt. Arena ) was Raven Earlygrow. Not very subtle that.
 I think some of the lessons learned are applicable to how to operate under a surveillance state but I guess the only way to learn those lessons are with a bit of risk and sharing them is really self-defeating .
 If I was in Christchurch I would be buying and planting Truffle inoculated oak trees. Maybe a long term return on the investment but the lack of native fungi that will outcompete truffles almost anywhere else on earth makes the south island a very attractive guerilla gardening mecca. Sterile culture techniques are a real challenge but edible fungi are an amazing return on ones education. Makes curing meat seem rather straight forward. We inoculate meat with penicillin so should things ever get really scary maybe some knowledge about sterile culture , and lessons learned from mushroom culture will have some utility in making medicine/ antibiotics.     
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on September 22, 2015, 02:17:33 PM
Hahaha, the hemp. It's an amazing plant. Even if you don't want to inhale, it's worth being grown: For the seed, for the soil improvement (good pioneer plant, good mulch) or just for the beauty...

In my later youth I've once grown it indoor (250W lamp in a big box with filtered air), just to see what all the fuss is about. It turned out to be not good for my daytime work as a maths teaching assistant, even when smoked only at night. So I stopped and threw it away. :-( But something remained: It turned me into a gardener...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 22, 2015, 05:18:32 PM
Clare, My mother was an avid gleaner so roadside blackberries( yum the best ), walnuts, almonds,huckleberries, sascatoon berries, blueberries, and the occasional morel mushroom finds were all part of every roadtrip I can remember from my youth and sometimes the entire trip was formatted with harvest in mind.
 I was intrigued with your " red zone " story. We have similar GPS fruit tree catalogs for some cities but somehow they miss critical data like fruit harvest windows or yield estimates.
 If a program was invented to provide a GPS guide to fruit and nut gleaning ( public property ) sites with the intention to promote a gleaners subculture I would be much interested. I have put some thoughts into such a concept . I am no programer however.
 So a site could be invented that was open access with a caveat. You had to download two equally valuable trees not already listed for every tree you could access from a list. Some trees are a lot more valuable than others so some list of value would also need to be incorporated , a point system rather than a straight two trees for one. So the site would for example say an almond tree that produced 50lbs. was equal to a walnut that delivered similar volumes but  you had two deliver two walnut tree locations to "see" the almond tree location. You might , again as an example ,need four apple trees to get the walnut or almond location. There would be a monitor for these downloaded tree locations and some expulsion from the list for scammers. There would be areas of interest so maybe someone planning a road trip could research fruit tree sites , harvest dates and volume in planning their trip.
Eventually if enough people participated a"already picked " column would also be part of the program. I suppose the site overlord ( monitor ) would deserve extra points for their efforts. If such a site gained momentum a whole class of professional gleaners might arise and group harvest events planned to meet up at the pinions, acorn, huckleberry ,or blackberry patches that went on beyond anyones immediate needs. Some crops only are plentiful on certain years so again some networking and trading of points might lead to a large social organization, meet the monitors or change the points via some democratic method.
 The Gleaners 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on September 23, 2015, 12:10:50 AM
Have you run across Gareth Renowden, Bruce?

He runs this NZ climate site:
http://hot-topic.co.nz/ (http://hot-topic.co.nz/)
but is also a truffle grower farming just north of Christchurch
http://limestonehills.co.nz/ (http://limestonehills.co.nz/)
with nice pics here
http://www.podgardening.co.nz/gareth-renownden.html (http://www.podgardening.co.nz/gareth-renownden.html)

I think there are a few other growers in NZ but not sure how big the market is - small population base & it's a VERY low wage economy here which must limit demand. But perhaps people export them? Same story for other specialty farms with eg. wasabi, green tea, saffron....


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 24, 2015, 02:07:34 PM
Clare, What a beautiful farm. It's green, I miss that.  :)
I read thru Gareth's blog and noticed some familiar names from Skeptical Science in the comments.
We don't have truffles around here and I am no expert but that monster Gareth is holding is worth several hundred dollars. Export for sure .
 For a lark I am planning on training a sow to hunt truffles. I can buy truffle oil and hide prizes for her to discover. She seems to love me for some reason, confused maybe, but I don't have a dog right now so pig training will have to do. Not that I don't have plenty of work to do but a truffle pig seems to fit somehow even though there aren't any to hunt around here. I drive a right hand drive Australian 62' VW beetle  and when I had my Great Dane sitting in the drivers seat ( left side ) it drove people either crazy or into fits of laughter . A pig sitting there would probably cause car crashes. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: OrganicSu on October 03, 2015, 04:20:35 PM
If you have olive trees be wary of growing tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potato, cotton and some others underneath them. They cause an incurable disease, potentially fatal - Verticillium Wilt. http://www.oliveoilsource.com/page/disease-control#verticillium (http://www.oliveoilsource.com/page/disease-control#verticillium) I just found out after several years of doing this...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: P-maker on October 10, 2015, 05:22:43 PM
Gents (and flood stricken ladies in CA & drought-stricken chicks in AUS)

All your kind words are more than  welcome. A  new opportunity has arisen, which you may all help to explore/exploit.

Destiny has come our way. The new liberal government (supported by opportunistic nationalists  “Dansk Folkeparti”) have  decided in their wisdom, that not only will our (otherwise sensible) programme be cut by 85 % next year, they have also decided to relocate our group westwards some 300 km.

This leaves me with a golden opportunity, since my wife is still able and willing to travel some 100 km every day to a well-paid job in the pharmaceutical industry.

The question now is – considering the imminent loss of Arctic sea ice – and many other calamities, what are the best options overall?

1)   Should I go for a small farm located close to one of the main railway lines in order to attract customers from nearby cities?
2)   Should I go for a greenhouse farm close to a smaller town with a stable consumption pattern?
3)   Should I go for a mixed bag of products in order to retain flexibility?
4)   Should I go for a specific product – such as well-tasting pigs bred on local produce?
5)   Should I aim for a family business, which can accommodate  sons and daughters in law (cheap and willing work force, when it’s about surviving total eclipse of the global markets)?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 10, 2015, 07:43:58 PM
P-maker, Marketing should drive your decision making process. Look first at local high end restaurants
that  support local farmers. Go in and look carefully at the menu, think about what you might be able to produce that is on the menu and what seasons you can produce those products. I have only minor experience with your part of the world but I remember Guinea Fowl on a menu for example. That is the sort of niche product that might go along with squab , Quail, or small game birds in a small farm operation. Bird flu might make that choice either a bad one or an opportunity but finding a niche
product or product line is an important first step in getting into good restaurants and once you have a working relationship with some good chefs you can ask them for tips on new food trends that you can expand into as time progresses. You will need to be nimble because your first crop choices may not work out or be profitable or maybe they will just go out of style. What is important is the relationship you develop with the market which is largely a personal relationship with the purchasing chef. That relationship is based upon your ability to be very dependable( never tell a chef you will deliver tomorrow and not show up ). Your product is built into the menu and the chef will have to go out of his way to track down an alternative source, they will Never forgive you. First thoughts. 
 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: P-maker on October 10, 2015, 09:30:58 PM
Bruce, thanks for your initial thoughts.

You seem, to be inclined towards solution 4 - specializing in a high quality product for a top local restauarant. I tend to agree with you, and I am working on building up these important relationships.

I was also thinking about the difference between open air farming/gardening versus greenhouse/intensive gardening. The latter way of production both requires less land and less resources for irrigation/light. I'm in particular watching risks and opportunities  related to a future more volatile climate and more or less mobile customers.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 11, 2015, 04:32:51 AM
P-maker, Hothouse culture does give you a jump on the production season and allows for an extended season also. The first year or two you can focus on high end crops like heirloom tomatoes but soil fungus and plant disease will build up and force you to rotate crops in the greenhouse and typically you will be forced into less profitable crops as you wait out the three or four years necessary before you can return to tomatoes. Some people do well with flowers but it was never my thing. There is another thing that kinda bothers me about wall to wall greenhouses and that is you will totally eliminate any natural biodiversity like birds or other native critters . This is both a blessing and a curse because sometimes those critters will take a lot of production but also sometimes they can control insects for you. I try to not overdue pest eradication because somehow it feels like you in the process mimic the standard mono crop , pest control methods of most farmers these days. I think GMO favors the same mentality although that isn't an issue for European farmers. Very little seed diversity ( no heirlooms ) plastic, no biodiversity and a kinda sterile environment. It is difficult to be a beginner farmer however and the dependability of greenhouse culture does have it's allure.
 Ultimately profit is a necessary thing or you will lose your farm and I can't tell you from half a world away wether plants or animals should be your specialty but much depends on your local competitors , your skill at marketing, and no small amount of luck picking crops or animals that happen to be trendy before everyone else jumps in and drives the market price into the tank. Again I think the chefs you work with can help but having what they want before they even know they want it is better. :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on October 12, 2015, 06:23:01 PM
Apropos producing for restaurants. One of my many super business ideas is to combine farm/garden and restaurant. Eating delicious stuff right where it grows. (Plus feeding back the waste etc.)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 13, 2015, 01:26:00 AM
About the extent of my gardening this year - the continuation of my jerusalem artichoke population - boats aren't good gardening sites. Last year I lost my special potato population to neglect/heat (I subsequently learned that the planting cycle down here is quite different seasonally, which explains the difficulties I had with them).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on October 26, 2015, 09:45:14 AM
Had to smile at your photo ccg, today I have been digging out the remains of my patch of jerusalem artichokes so they dont  take over my whole garden. I will just replant enough for us for next winter & the rest have gone into the compost pile.

Have a look at these wonderful photos of plant roots from National Geographic:
http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/15/digging-deep-reveals-the-intricate-world-of-roots/?utm_source=NatGeocom&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=pom_20151025&utm_campaign=Content&utm_rd=605715815 (http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/15/digging-deep-reveals-the-intricate-world-of-roots/?utm_source=NatGeocom&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=pom_20151025&utm_campaign=Content&utm_rd=605715815)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on November 25, 2015, 02:51:44 PM
I grew potatoes in tires this year and got about 20 lbs of potatoes.  I put down one tire, added about 6"/15cm of good soil in the bottom, and set in my spouted seed potatoes.  When the plants broke the soil and were about a hand high, I added another tire and filled it with cut straw.  Another hand high, and another tire and cut straw -- so, three tires high.  There were three plants per tire and I planted half reds and half yukon golds.

Next year, I'll fill the tires with a mix of cut straw and soil because this year, the straw all packed down to the bottom tire and though I added more straw, it was a pain and I didn't add enough.  I had about 20 plants, so I only got about a pound of spuds per plant, and tons of teeny, tiny potatoes, about the size of the top half of my thumb and a bit too small to use as seed (according to the MSU guy I talked to, who said if they're too small, the plants might not be vigorous.)  I'll cut the little guys in half and roast them, and save enough of the larger potatoes for seed for next year. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on November 26, 2015, 04:00:45 AM
We use a similar method. We make an enclosure about 1 metre in diameter by wrapping snow fencing around a few wooden stakes ( from tree pruning). We gradually fill with leaves we collect the previous fall that we chop up by running over them with our electric lawn mower. Works great and the effort to harvest is trivial.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: JD on November 29, 2015, 12:16:47 PM
I have been developing Permaculture in my small garden for about 8 years, and have been reasonably succesful. Recently, however,  I have started getting into the work of Dr Elaine Ingham.  It turns out that most  of the hard work I thought I needed to do is not needed (or wrong), and if I get my soil biology right, great things will happen.  Thought this might be interesting for this part of the forum.

She sets out the basics in this talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2H60ritjag (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2H60ritjag)

Key points for me:

Amazing things happen if we get the soil biology right
1. No need for any fertilisers ever - nutrients will be made available in the right quantities at the right time
2. No need for herbicides - weeds simply don't grow
3. Food has higher nutrition - nitrogen is provided in the form that makes protein (Ammonium NH4+) rather than the form that makes food bitter and unpalatable (Nitrate - NO3-)
4. Great soil structure is built - bacteria and fungi glue soil together with the right gaps, plowing destroys soil structure and leads to compaction
5. Water is retained in the soil where it is needed - because of the structure drought and floods become much less of an issue
6. Huge carbon storeage - soil can be built at a rate of an inch a month not an inch every 100 years

Why does it work?
1. 50-80% of plant sugars are fed by the roots to the soil.  The sugars feed the soil life, which in turn feed the plants. Fungi create acids that break down minerals to extract nutrients, the soil web eat the nutrients so keep them locked up in their bodies, and the plants choose which sugars to secrete to get the release of exactly the nutrients that the plant wants at that time.  There is more than enough minerals in the soil to feed the plants, but it needs fungi to convert it into a plant available form.
2. The ratio of bacteria to fungi determines the types of plants that grow.  Early succession weeds like bacteria and nitrate dominated soil.  Old growth forrests like fungi and amonium dominated soil.  Vegetables and cereals like an approximately even balance.  Ploughing / digging cuts fungal hyphae, so kills the fungi. Adding artificial fertiliser typically adds nitrates which also kills the good fungi and quite a lot of the good bacteria.  Remaining soil life is all bacteria, so is perfect for early succession weeds.
3. Plants with too much nitrate will store the excess in their leaves to keep them away from the flowers and seeds.  This makes the leaves bitter and eventually the leaves wither.  Poor biology (see 2) also means that the plants do not get enough essential nutrients so cannot form the proteins easily.
4, 5, 6,   Bacteria bind the tiny soil particles together and fungi bind the bacteria groups together, so you get the fine soil tilth that grows great plants.  There are pore spaces for water to seep through, but enough surface for the water to be held, so soils can take huge rain water events without losing structure.  The fungi are also capable of breaking through hard pans and removing compaction layers, so the roots can go deeper, and with deep roots you get deep biology.

How do you create the right biology?
1. Aerobic compost - applied at a rate of 1 tonne per acre - very small amounts.  Aerobic compost is not difficult to make, but it needs to be done carefully - the biology has to be assessed with a microscope and you need to pay attention to ingredients, temperature and moisture.
2. Compost Extract - strain out the biology from aerobic compost and you can cover more area, or get to difficult places (e.g. compaction layers).
3. Aerated Compost Tea - similar to compost extract, but with air bubbled through it for 24 to 48 hours - creates a glue so that you can spray it on the above ground parts of plants and trees and it will stick to the plants.

No need for Monsanto or the fertiliser companies!

There is a much longer set of videos too here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5Lbag-4Dew&list=PLEF3AC2CFE07692A4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5Lbag-4Dew&list=PLEF3AC2CFE07692A4)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on November 29, 2015, 10:00:56 PM
Thanks for this, JD. Soil is everything, I believe. If our soil is healthy, our gut is healthy, we are healthy.

I'm still too busy getting everything in and around the house done, but after the coming growing season where my wife will experiment some more (me being the assistant), we want to get increasingly serious, especially when it comes to soil.

A couple of months ago Clare posted (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,715.msg49460.html#msg49460) links to a project (http://www.koanga.org.nz/knowledgebase/design-knowledge/200-sq-m-urban-design/) in New Zealand, and if we can manage, my wife and I are hoping to do something similar over here in Europe, to prove how far you can get with gardening (collecting as much data as possible), how much you can save and how much healthier it is than what you can buy in shops (even organic).

Clare also sent me this E-booklet as a gift: Growing nutrient dense food (https://cp249.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=9288). I already knew soil health was paramount when it comes to gardening, but this drove the point home even more.

Contents of the book:

Growing Nutrient Dense Food

Nourishment Home Grown


          Principles

          Patterns

‘Laws of Nature’ or Patterns a la Beddoe

          Carbon - The Moisture Regulator

          Nature Follows the Line of Least Resistance

          Phosphate Controls Sugar Content

          Getting the Ratios Right

          The Importance of Calcium

          Nitrogen is the Major Electrolyte

          Cultivating Too Deep

          Energy Release

          Magnesium Is the Enemy of Nitrogen

          And Another Pattern

Where To Begin

          1. Refractometer

          2. Aeration

          3. Moisture

          4. Humus

          5. Minerals

                    A) Buying Already Mixed Minerals

                    B) Through the Compost Heap

                              a) Calcium

                              b) Phosphate

                              d) Minor Minerals

                              e) Humanure

          6. Microbes

          7. Seeds
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on February 29, 2016, 03:04:35 PM
I'd like to hear how everyone's garden plans are shaping up.  This year, I'm attending nursing school through the summer, so I'm not sure how successful my garden will be with the limited time I'll have to give it.  I'm worried about drought this summer (I'm in mid-Michigan.) 

I've got three beds that measure about 7m by 1.5m or so, as well as two vertical-cylinder planters that are about 1.25m high and 1m in diameter, a "tire patch" where I'm growing potatoes in tires, and two rows of berries (high bush blueberries and raspberries), as well as perennial asparagus and rhubarb. 

The lot where I garden is an empty neighborhood lot across from my house.  It's owned by the city, and I'm renting it through a county garden program at the cost of $25/yr.  There's no water outlet on the property, so if I need to supplement the garden with water, I have to drag buckets or run hoses across the street -- I've done both. 

Last year, I dug a swale between the first and second long garden bed.  It's filled with rocks on the bottom and wood chips on top.  I need to do the same thing between the second and third bed.  I've been thinking of digging out a small cistern to catch rain -- I don't know if I'll have time for all that this summer.  The digging is good therapy for stress, though.

This year I'm planning to try quinoa again, and this year I'll start it in little pots and then transfer it.  And I'm going to try sweet corn again and hopefully the neighborhood kids will let it be -- gotta put a fence up.  Also rutabaga, onions, peas, broccoli, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and both summer and winter squash.  I'm going to put strawberries in the top of the vertical planter, and maybe some grape tomatoes or cucumber vines in the bottom. 

So, ah, that's a bit ambitious.  We'll see how it all works out.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 01, 2016, 04:49:13 AM
Lisa, Spring came early this year. All the stone fruit started blooming Valentine's Day. It has been very dry and there was a + 12 degree temp anomaly for February  here in the drought zone. I was loath to post anything but it looks like we are going to get some rain in about ten days so things aren't totally screwed.
 My cover crop in my best garden area is about knee high, it should grow a few more weeks with the rain but digging it in will begin in a few weeks. My lesson from last year is to keep two fences between the pigs and the garden. I am planning on some quick growing crops that can utilize rain supplied  soil moisture with an expectation for a dry ,hot fall. Squash,Cole crops,lettuce. Corn, winter squash and tomatoes demand a lot of fall watering and I just don't think our water situation will support those crops this year.
 Sorry if it sounds like I'm sniveling. Everything is green and beautiful and nobody else seems worried around here. Our reservoir is at 14% and serves as the major water source for 5 or 6 cities and about 150 farms in the riparian zone downstream from the dam. There aren't any notices or recommendations for farmers to conserve. Makes me wonder why I worry. The cities are on some voluntary conservation plans and and the farmers are in denial.
 I have about 100 oak tree starts that I am planning on planting into mushroom hunting areas. I figure those are the wettest areas I know and that may give them some chance at survival,long term.
Several years since the last good chanterelle season. Last year I planted out 40 white oaks and they are doing well with some supplementary watering. I am trying to put something in the ground to outlive me. As an experiment I am also sprouting  some acorns in the dirt under some proven chanterelle producing trees. I will be transplanting those newly inoculated trees  to other areas.
       
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 03, 2016, 06:57:26 PM
I'd like to hear how everyone's garden plans are shaping up.

Hi, Lisa!

Well, our goal is to do a bit better every year. Last year my wife tried to start seedlings indoors early in the season, but it didn't work because they were behind our triple glazed windows and it was very cloudy for weeks on end. The seedlings were spindly and eventually toppled over and shrivelled.

This year we've put the seedlings under the double glazed roof windows upstairs, and I've added an LED lamp for extra light (it's very cloudy again). It seems to work a little bit better now, but still not perfect. I wanted to make a proper growing lamp set-up, using LED strips - two at 6500K (cold white) which is good for seedlings, and one at 3000K (warm white), to try to get as much of the needed spectrum in there. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time for this project because of a flooding in our house in January that took me a couple of weeks to fix.

Hopefully things will get a bit sunnier soon, as my wife will keeps planting new trays every few days, especially now that our new seeds arrived today (a large part of our collection got destroyed during the flooding).

As for the garden itself, we've decided to do a lot less mowing this year, and let plants just grow as they please on around 50% of the area of our plot. We'll only mow twice and then use the biomass as mulch for our vegetable garden. Of course, with all that mulch it will be crucial to keep the slugs out, and so I'll tinker some more with the electric slug fence I built last year (which worked reasonably well). I'll put some second-hand paving stones around the perimeter to keep the grass away.

Back in September we planted four big ribes bushes that an old lady wanted to get rid of, so we now have quite a bit of berry potential and variation. I hope this will also go better than last year. I'm also hoping our apple, cherry and nut trees will continue to grow well.

And then next year we'll try to do a bit better again (maybe get some chicken). Live and learn.  :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on March 03, 2016, 08:25:32 PM
I didn't know what a "ribes bush" was, so I looked it up:  "Ribes is the name given to the group of fruits including currants and gooseberries." (yum!)

Rather than putting energy into vegetable gardening in my rather shady yard, I'm spending 5 or 6 hours per week pulling invasive species from my and my neighbors' yards, mostly coral ardisia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardisia_crenata), but also nandina (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandina) and liriope (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liriope_(genus)).  We have some wonderful wild flowers in our woods:  bloodroot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanguinaria), green dragon  (http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ARDR3) and Solomon's seal  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygonatum)(and others).  But the ardisia can create a monoculture within a decade, wiping out all the good stuff.  Some neighbors have joined the fight; some have given up.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 03, 2016, 09:32:22 PM
I didn't know what a "ribes bush" was, so I looked it up:  "Ribes is the name given to the group of fruits including currants and gooseberries." (yum!)

One minute later I saw that it's redcurrant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redcurrant) bushes, to be precise, but I was too lazy to change my post.

The old lady said she used to get 10 kg out of those four bushes, so hopefully they've adapted well. We also planted a fig from my grandfather's village in Croatia, and the winter was mild enough for it to survive, it seems. But whether it will ever bear fruit, si something we'll have to wait and see.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on March 25, 2016, 10:49:52 PM
Masanobu Fukuoka, one straw revolution
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsRSsvfu5fM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsRSsvfu5fM)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 26, 2016, 12:10:56 AM
10kg from four redcurrant bushes, Neven?

No problem!

See reply #228 on page 5 above for our 2014 crop
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Martin Gisser on March 31, 2016, 01:45:09 AM
One of my favorite flowers is Agrostemma Githago (en: corncockle, de: Kornrade).
It seems it keeps voles at bay if seeded densely. Anybody else here sharing this theory?

(https://scontent.ftxl1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/fr/cp0/e15/q65/10644990_1091889210839070_3942495876049946632_n.jpg?efg=eyJpIjoibCJ9&oh=0a73afaee4f959bd6f41c3ca46a78d1d&oe=578BCA0C)
(Agrostemma Githago meeting wild Viola Tricolor in Florifulgurator's last lost garden)

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/12/Kornrade2.jpg/770px-Kornrade2.jpg)
(Source: https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kornrade )

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on April 01, 2016, 10:49:02 AM
I am seeing that garden set being quite practical. (I have been doing elevated garden (1 m) for 3 years, with weaved branches. The wood start to rote, and the earth may escape some days). It may last longer because of the geometry and the thickness of the wood.

from : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=900113243438515&set=a.310858319030680.73702.100003195441524&type=3&theater (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=900113243438515&set=a.310858319030680.73702.100003195441524&type=3&theater)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 01, 2016, 06:52:51 PM
i have 5 hascap (Haskaap, Hasukappu) bushes on the go.  last year (first crop) i got one cup of berries, am anxious to see how they do this spring :)

http://haskap.ca/ (http://haskap.ca/)

a grower near me has 50 acres of bushes planted, will talk with him this spring to see how things are progressing.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on April 04, 2016, 06:35:03 AM
Mati -- I'd never heard of haskap, and am very interested in how they do for you this year.  Please keep us posted, hey?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: baileyrorys on April 15, 2016, 11:10:13 PM
I read that Ortho will stop using neonicotinoids in their pest control products. Supposed to be good news for the bee population. Fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on May 02, 2016, 06:32:52 AM
While many here will be starting or at least planning their spring planting here on NZ's north east coast autumn is well underway. The remnants of my summer garden are an untidy muddle & need work before I can get planting the rest of my winter crops. I'm running a bit late but the weather is still mild & the ground warm for early May tho' we usually have our first frost later this month.
Our predicted el nino summer drought didn't really eventuate here with some regular rainfall & while it wasn't a hot hot summer, night temps were high. All made for some bumper crops. All our spare time at present is in trying to hold onto all the produce - drying, freezing, bottling/canning, wine & cider making + sharing with friends & colleagues & the 'free box' at my work. My wrists are sore today  from dealing with peeling the buckets of apples. And next to go gather up yet more feijoas.
But I have to share a pic of some of our choko (it is known by many other names in asia & the americas) crop, the single vine went mad engulfing all in its way. So far we have picked 136 & while it is useful & keeps well we need to eat one a day for the next 4 months! It's fritters tonight = meatless Monday. But I need help!  ::)
PS Over 230 choko/chayote now & the vine is still growing. Lucky they keep well cos friends aren't helping any more!
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=35d7d5d7526c9897dfb55501e320295a)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on June 28, 2016, 12:36:19 PM
choko/chayote -- another plant I've never heard of before!  I wonder if I could grow it as a perennial here in Michigan, and just plant a new one every year?   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Eric Blair on July 04, 2016, 04:09:58 PM
choko/chayote -- another plant I've never heard of before!  I wonder if I could grow it as a perennial here in Michigan, and just plant a new one every year?


   Chayote are damaged badly by the light frosts that rarely happen around here.

   BTW, the seeds are edible too. I'm not fond of them… but they are very easy to grow.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on July 04, 2016, 04:51:17 PM
: Neven
Il faut cultiver notre jardin
I never thought to look up your 'signature', but discovered that beyond it translating "We must cultivate our garden" (Google translate confirmed this years ago) but that it comes from Voltaire's Candide (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide) and is, according to Yahoo (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071002062610AAnmoZm), 'a calling for us to take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. We should take care of the things we love as well, and help them grow. ... it means to take responsibility for your life.'  Wow!

All that aside, Neven, (and given this is the "Gardening" thread) how is your garden?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on July 04, 2016, 05:44:57 PM
Mati -- I'd never heard of haskap, and am very interested in how they do for you this year.  Please keep us posted, hey?

It was a funny spring here in Ontario Canada, we are now in a drought condition, after a cold May.  Lost one small Haskap due to rodents, the others survived no problems and growing well, but only one bush had a few berries.  Planting 3 more this year (different varieties) Two new varieties will be available next year.  These seem to have longer and different berry bearing periods:  http://www.fruit.usask.ca/haskap.html (http://www.fruit.usask.ca/haskap.html)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on July 04, 2016, 06:56:02 PM
: Neven
Il faut cultiver notre jardin
I never thought to look up your 'signature', but discovered that beyond it translating "We must cultivate our garden" (Google translate confirmed this years ago) but that it comes from Voltaire's Candide (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide) and is, according to Yahoo (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071002062610AAnmoZm), 'a calling for us to take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. We should take care of the things we love as well, and help them grow. ... it means to take responsibility for your life.'  Wow!

All that aside, Neven, (and given this is the "Gardening" thread) how is your garden?

I can recommend Candide, it's a funny little book, with a deeper meaning that appeals to me. Cultivating, literally and figuratively, is the best thing one can do with one's life, I believe. Marcus Tullius Cicero said that all you need in life is a garden and a library.  :)

As for our garden: It grows. No matter what you do, it wants to become a forest.  ;D

Just like last year, we had a bad start. Seed starting in the house was a mixed success. Last year our the triple glazing seemed to induce stunted growth, so we moved things upstairs where we have 'just' some double glazing in the slanted roof windows. This seemed to work better, but things were very gloomy outside and the windows are small. I investigated how to build my own LED growing light set-up, but time had ran out.

Things were extremely warm and sunny here in April and May, so the seeds that did survive indoors, caught on well in the vegetable garden. Our berry bushes, cherry tree et al. were also full of leaves and buds. The fig tree (very small, only 20 cm high) that we had taken with us from my grandparent's village in Croatia had survived winter and sported its first leaves.

And then the cold came (from the Arctic, of course). Three nights in a row of sub-zero temperatures, snow and rain, basically killed everything in the vegetable plot, and most of the buds. Only the larger berry bushes have produced berries, the rest has dropped off, including the many cherries that were coming our way. More importantly all the leaves on the walnut and fig tree turned black and fell off, leaving bare branches. The same goes for the four big red currant bushes we had bought a year earlier. The cold caused tens/hundreds of millions of euros in damages in this corner of Europe, it was quite extreme really and the magnitude took even the farmers by surprise.

And so we waited to see how resilient nature would be. Well, it's resilient. Here's the walnut tree, with bare red currant bushes to the right behind it (and the small stick, barely visible, is where the fig tree is):

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--9uRKyjCZhE/V3qP9yGbn-I/AAAAAAAADBQ/4nCjS7HcvhU0j-BAIseLK7FfUBtxfQQCgCCo/s576/tn_DSCN0971.JPG)

Here, BTW, is how things looked 3 years ago from this position, so things have definitely improved, cold snap or no cold snap:  :)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bnXBEtkyhkc/UYjdC-9WQnI/AAAAAAAAAf4/aLyxwElOQt4nAE9gjdZ6yoHijgIx3ziygCCo/s750/tn_DSC02971.JPG)

The fig looked completely dead, but then new shoots sprouted up at the base of the plant! I was so thrilled.

My wife is in charge of the vegetable garden, and has tried to get things going again since May. All in all things are going well, but it's the soil we need to focus on more, as it is still relatively weak. We're already planning what we're going to do come winter (throw in compost, rock minerals, mulch, etc). For now we try to mulch a lot to get a thicker layer of top soil.

As for pests, we have the slug epidemic reasonably under control, mostly thanks to our electric mini-fence which keeps most of them out (except when the batteries ran out one rainy night three weeks ago!). But of course, there's eggs inside and an occasional lucky b*stard that gets in anyway, so we keep checking and setting beer traps, etc. But there really are very few, not enough to seriously damage plants. No flea beetle infestation this year so far either. We do see some, but because it has been relatively wet here, they're not spreading on the massive scale they did last year.

I'm also trying to do things differently with regards to mowing. Instead of mowing the full half acre every two weeks (which I did in three 4-hour stages), I leave large patches untouched and just mow around them (taking me two 3-hour stages). With the mulch I make these big rings around bushes, trees and plants to keep weeds back, and keeping the surrounding ground moist and more fertile. Seems to work well, and makes it easier to mow next time.

The idea is to only mow those patches twice, so that we have some hay we can use for mulching. I haven't decided how to do that yet, either by hand, or with hedge shears, or perhaps ask a farmer to do it with a gear mower (or borrow it). At the end of the season I will build a second plot where we can dump all the biomass and then grow potatoes in them.

So, all in all things are going well, better than last year (which is our goal, to do better each year), but to our regret both my wife and I don't have the time yet to give the garden the full cultivating attention it deserves. There's simply still too much to do in and around the house, working and blogging, homeschooling our daughter, etc.

Mind you, I'm not complaining. We really are blessed, especially compared to where we were before this. But it's hard work, of course. It's not a rose garden, beg yer pardon.  ;D
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on July 04, 2016, 07:27:40 PM
Some little French guys... you know voltaire bla,bla ;).

http://www.risebox.co/ (http://www.risebox.co/)
https://www.facebook.com/getrisebox/?fref=nf (https://www.facebook.com/getrisebox/?fref=nf)

Hascap https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonicera_caerulea (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonicera_caerulea)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on July 04, 2016, 07:44:50 PM
Some little French guys... you know voltaire bla,bla.

[url]http://www.risebox.co/[/url] ([url]http://www.risebox.co/[/url])
[url]https://www.facebook.com/getrisebox/?fref=nf[/url] ([url]https://www.facebook.com/getrisebox/?fref=nf[/url])


Don't know how useful this (and it's incredibly expensive), but it looks cool. I'd always build such a thing myself, though.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on July 04, 2016, 09:09:50 PM
Incredibly expensive... It is indeed ! Someone know cheaper elsewhere ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Laurent on July 04, 2016, 11:25:33 PM
I was seeing some aeroponic video may be there is something to dig :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2EzPN3rIn4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2EzPN3rIn4)
https://faircompanies.com/videos/teens-create-automated-aeroponics-garden-kit-with-nasa-tech/ (https://faircompanies.com/videos/teens-create-automated-aeroponics-garden-kit-with-nasa-tech/)

May be it will inspire someone ?

I wonder if I can use my urine for feeding or a compost tea... ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR-A96zH6oU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR-A96zH6oU) May be a bit too technological ? There is huge quantity of chemicals in the plastic that you don't want in your body. I could use some bamboo instead...?

This ultrasonic foggers are inexpensive : http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Mist-Maker-24v-Atomizer-Head-Air-Humidifier-Fogger-Ultrasonic-Humidifier-Nebulizer-Water-Mist-Humidistat/32659233954.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_0,searchweb201602_1_10037_10017_406_10032,searchweb201603_1&btsid=9a1b27e8-a036-495c-9d5d-abd2fb399376 (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Mist-Maker-24v-Atomizer-Head-Air-Humidifier-Fogger-Ultrasonic-Humidifier-Nebulizer-Water-Mist-Humidistat/32659233954.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_0,searchweb201602_1_10037_10017_406_10032,searchweb201603_1&btsid=9a1b27e8-a036-495c-9d5d-abd2fb399376)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on July 05, 2016, 03:36:21 AM
Thanks, Neven, for recommending Candide (http://literature.org/authors/voltaire/candide/).  I've gotten to the part:
"Excellently observed," answered Candide; "but let us cultivate our garden."

 ;D
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: lisa on August 20, 2016, 12:44:51 AM
Mati wrote: >It was a funny spring here in Ontario Canada, we are now in a drought condition, after a cold May. 

The same here in mid-Michigan.  Our raspberries did ok, but the later blueberries were a bust.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on August 20, 2016, 01:35:47 AM
Is this thread just for food gardening, or may we discuss ornamentals also ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on August 20, 2016, 10:11:00 AM
Go ahead, sidd!

Ornamentals can be useful too for attracting pollinators, etc, right?

We bought two old syringas a couple of months ago, whcih are blooming now. At first we noticed that few bees were sitting on the flowers, despite the sweet smell, and thought: hmmm, this plant is pretty useless, although it looks nice.  ;)

But now this week they're completely full of butterflies (monarch?)!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on August 20, 2016, 08:06:59 PM
With the addition of another clematis to keep the first company i have noticed that the number of petals (sepals actually) on the new one's flowers is not constant. I was wondering if this is common in clematis ?

This year, i have seen some japanese beetles and bagworms (Midwest USA) but not too many. The beetles seem to be attacking a river birch and a pussy willow, but have left the rest alone. The bagworms this year are on a blue spruce and an arbor vitae, but have not spread very much.

I control the japanese beetle with milky spore and bagworms with Bacillus thuringiensis. Starlings eat both, but i have no desire to attract them. What other birds eat them ?

I have some red finches this year (rather than the yellow ones from years past.) Attempts to teach them bars from classical pieces proceed apace, but with little success.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on August 20, 2016, 10:12:37 PM
i have a clematis wall on the northeast garage wall, and it is doing well 8 different varieties, as is the PILU clematis from estonia by the pool... they are one hearty plant... i lost one haskap bush due to the ongoing drought, but my hot peppers are doing well.  The maple trees however are under a lot of stress and they expect this to be a bad year for fall colours.

My milk weeds are doing well, but again no monarch caterpillers... it's now been over 5 years... i blame the neonicotinoids that the corn farmers use in southern ontario
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Aporia_filia on August 22, 2016, 12:24:22 PM
A first hint for those gardeners interested in pollinators insects  :):

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/property/gardens/article4658063.ece?shareToken=954ccf73dacf7f27df47cbb9a277285a (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/property/gardens/article4658063.ece?shareToken=954ccf73dacf7f27df47cbb9a277285a)


and a second hint:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u2LeTPGo9w (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u2LeTPGo9w)

Published on 14 Oct 2013
This video describes the research project "Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects" carried out by Mihail Garbuzov and Francis Ratnieks at the Laboratory of Apiculture & Social Insects in the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, UK in 2011 and 2012, and published in the scientific journal Functional Ecology in 2013. The project, which is part of the Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health & Well Being, aimed at helping bees and other pollinating insects by putting the process of recommending "bee friendly" flowers onto a firmer scientific footing. The project counted and identified insects visiting 32 varieties of summer-flowering garden plants in an experimental garden at the University of Sussex. The results show that the best plants attracted 100 times as many insects. This shows that, by selecting plants carefully, gardeners and park managers can be much more helpful to bees, which were 87% of the insects seen. Flowers that attract bees and other insects such as butterflies and hover flies are just as pretty to look at, and no more expensive or difficult to grow.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on September 09, 2016, 07:05:57 AM
As I mentioned, I have been killing the bagworms with Bt spores spray. They know they are dying and attempt to emerge in the days following, and crawl away. But it is too late, they will die as the Bt makes holes in their gut. I feel sorry for them, but needs must, i'd rather have healthier trees.  I must live with the karmic consequence.

I planted a white  pine many years ago, and in the first year discovered a worm infestation, which proceeds from eggs laid on the tip highest candle, and they burrow down the trunk from there. I dealt with it by pruning down until i found the worms, quite deep in the tree. This year i see it again, as the top candle died. But I cannot get up there witout a cherry picker or hi-reach basket, for it has grown much. Should I leave it alone or resort to sprays or go rent a cherrypicker ? I cannot save all the trees I plant, perhaps best to leave it be and see if it can survive ...

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Aporia_filia on September 10, 2016, 12:43:56 PM
I'm not an expert but I have large experience with an old man who lived from the land with no electricity, no water but the rain, no engines whatsoever and no help other than his wife's and mine after he became older than 70. Some good friends are agronomist engineers.
What I have learn is that is very rare for a tree to fall under any bugs attack if the tree is healthy and happy with its surroundings. Good soil, enough water and optimum range of temperatures is all they need to cope with those attacks.
This is less true for:
-trees or plants force to grow with our help and not in its right environment
-years with drought or too high temperatures
-hybrids made for a bigger production
-industrial farming
-...

All my efforts always go to improve soil quality, I never treat any tree or plant. There are a few people now looking for traditional plant varieties. We produce less amount, no so nice looking products, but much more resistant to plages, droughts and needing less attention. We also assume that part of our production goes to local birds and other small animals.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Stephen on January 01, 2017, 12:07:04 AM
I'm in Melbourne Australia, about 37 degrees south.  Summer is here and the zuchinis and cucumbers are going mad.  They are really the only vegetables that will grow without any care past the seedling stage.  Indeed it takes an effort to stop the zuchinis once they get going.  If you don't watch them grow you end up with gigantic 2 foot long (60cm) zuchini in no time.  So I pick one a day and add it to my stir fry.  The cucumber is for lunch time sald and sandwiches.

Other than that, I am keeping a close eye on the tomatoes.  My tomtatoes always, always get a mould disease.  i do get a crop first, but not as good as it should be.  I think that melbourne summers are becoming wetter and more humid with climate change.  Tomatoes like mulch and water at their roots, but they do get mouldy diseases easily.

I have also put in eggplant (aubergines), capsicum and strawberries. 
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on January 01, 2017, 12:54:55 AM
For Americans, capsicum are bell peppers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum) (or green, red, yellow or orange peppers).  (The knowledge I gained from once living in N.Z. has finally paid off!)

For me in Florida, 'tis the season to pull invasive exotics: mostly Coral Ardisia (http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2791/).  (2 hours with my wife this afternoon, and many afternoons after work - we're clearing our neighbor's yards (about 3 acres of 'wild' woods - 1 ha) and some common land (1 acre = .4 ha) where it has become a mono-culture.  The berries and foliage are pretty!  In other seasons, poison ivy (an invasive domestic!  It likes increased CO2. (https://weather.com/science/nature/news/poison-ivy-oak-stronger-climate-change)) mostly keeps me out of the woods.

I successfully grow edible ginger.  I have neighbors with terrific gardens, but I'm in the woods (lots of shade and no morning sun) and haven't spent much time figuring out hot weather gardening.  I have grown a moringa 'tree' (http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/) in a pot and enjoy eating the leaves (as a fresh outdoor snack, but seed pods have never grown).  I grow it in a pot so it doesn't grow so much (but yes, 2 meters in one summer) (and we usually (used to) get freezes during the winter.  (I once read the roots will find your water pipes (and septic system) and break into it.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on January 01, 2017, 01:41:20 AM
Here in NW England its chilly, currently 8C, but the vegetable plot keeps on giving. Today we harvested sprouts, leeks, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and a swede. Downhill now to the early rhubarb. Fresh air and exercise to boot - what's not to like?

Happy New Year!




Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: meljay14 on January 01, 2017, 07:39:58 AM
What a great basket of produce, Silkman. I am impressed and inspired.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 01, 2017, 08:00:15 AM
mashed parsnips in sherry is a good recipe
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on January 03, 2017, 10:14:04 PM
What a great basket of produce, Silkman. I am impressed and inspired.

My wife and I are positively jealous. This is what our goal for the future looks like. Well done, silkman!  :) 8)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on January 03, 2017, 11:41:36 PM
Neven

The secret is keeping those darned slugs under control :)

Enjoy your well-earned sabbatical!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on January 04, 2017, 10:42:11 AM
Hello,

Stupid question, how do you get leeks without worms ? My aunt told me to plant them in June and get them out in August and to store them in the deepfreezer, but this is a very short time compared to what I'd like to have. I search the forum with "worm" and "leeks" as key words and didn't find anything.

I live in Luxembourg, don't know if this has an impact on worms.

Thanks,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: in4apenny on January 04, 2017, 11:05:53 AM
Etienne

sounds like  leek moth  / onion maggot

https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/profile?pid=652 (https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/profile?pid=652)

Reading the link correlates with your June to August time frame.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on January 04, 2017, 01:46:02 PM
Hello in4apenny,

That's exactly the problem I have. Thanks a lot.

The second problem that I have is that some animal, I believe mouses, eat plants when they come out. I'd be happy to have a non chemical solution for that. I don't believe that a mouse trap could be a solution because I am too close from the cow fields. I heard that mint and hyacinth could keep them away. Does anybody has experience ?

The third problem are slugs, but there solutions seems easier. Last year was very wet so it didn't help. I already tried a few with some success. Unfortunately, I found out that one of the solutions attracted mouse (special organic slug pellets). I might buy some specially folded metal sheet to protect the side near the cow field.

The fourth problem is a soccer ball, but it's almost solved.

Thank you, best regards,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on January 04, 2017, 05:20:59 PM
Etienne

We find leeks are pretty easy to grow and they're very hardy when standing over winter. Slugs are a challenge when they're young but we've never suffered from leek moth. Maybe we're too far North for that. Rust is a bigger challenge for the onions and shallots too. There's not a lot you can do about it.

The secret is to grow lots of different things. Every year some do well and some struggle.

Our objective is to be able to eat at least something home grown 52 weeks a year. This is the most challenging time - there's a limit to how many Jerusalem artichokes you can eat!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on January 04, 2017, 08:31:24 PM
Re: mice

My solution is barn cats.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 18, 2017, 11:57:27 AM
Hello,

My plants are eaten each year the same way, I though it was by mice, but I talked about it with somebody who tolb me that mice eat mainly roots.

Does any body has an idea what animal eats plants that way ?
(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/none/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/i40ab6d6ffbfb9cc5/version/1489834312/image.jpg)

The plant is sorrel, so I should have big leaves.

Later in the year, the same animal prefers other plants, so the problem moves on the other vegetables.

Thanks,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on March 18, 2017, 03:06:15 PM
Waskally Wabbit?

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/holes-in-plant-leaves.htm (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/holes-in-plant-leaves.htm)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 18, 2017, 03:52:06 PM
Well, it's not really a hole in the plant. Here is a scan of 2 leaves :
(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/dimension=670x10000:format=jpg/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/ibfbfe953ffe1831e/version/1489848353/image.jpg)

Furthermore, it's a little bit too early for bugs problems. I live in Luxembourg.

Looking at the scanned leaves, maybe it looks like a bird would have bitten it.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: magnamentis on March 18, 2017, 04:33:23 PM
Hello,

My plants are eaten each year the same way, I though it was by mice, but I talked about it with somebody who tolb me that mice eat mainly roots.

Does any body has an idea what animal eats plants that way ?
(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/none/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/i40ab6d6ffbfb9cc5/version/1489834312/image.jpg)

The plant is sorrel, so I should have big leaves.

Later in the year, the same animal prefers other plants, so the problem moves on the other vegetables.

Thanks,

Etienne

Escargots ?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 18, 2017, 09:52:12 PM
Escargots ?

I don't believe so, I think that it is too early. I haven't seen any this year and they wouldn't leave so much food behind. Sorrel is really the first eatable (kids won't agree with the eatable concept) thing to come out in the spring. Crocus are still blooming in the garden, rhubarb leaves are not visible yet. My problem is not to save the sorrel, but to save what comes after. Once other vegetables are available, it's not eaten anymore.

thanks,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 19, 2017, 03:56:57 AM
Etienne, It looks like bird damage to me also. Getting early peas up often results in similar damage .
If you keep an eye out you should be able to spot the culprits. Wire cages will probably fix the problem and if you leave some plants out without protection and see reoccurring damage you will get some confirmation.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on March 19, 2017, 05:52:39 AM
Yes I'd agree with Bruce, here I see/get similar damage particularly by sparrows. Also in the garden section at a local store I see flocks who feed the tops of the lettuce plants off there all the time.
You would all laugh to see it - my vege garden always looks a lot like a battle zone, not anything like those gorgeous pics in the garden mags. I have plants netted, caged with all sorts of 'found' (= untidy looking )wire baskets, rows of seedlings under pegged strips of plastic gutter guard, ... I love having birds around so wont have a cat but then have to do this.
 :)
Clare
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 19, 2017, 07:18:31 AM
Thanks for the information. Does anybody has any experience with bird scarer ? On Wikipedia, they have a picture of a stationary modelled owl used as a bird scarer. Would that work ? It would be easier and look better than wire mesh and plastic foils.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on March 19, 2017, 08:25:16 PM
they work for a while,
but birds are smart and will realize it is not alive
try a motion activated sprinkler :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Avalonian on March 19, 2017, 10:32:55 PM
The ones they call 'dogs' seem to work exceedingly well, based on experience with our community orchard... but of course they're a bit more maintainance than a plastic peregrine.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 19, 2017, 10:46:06 PM
How about some old CDs on a string? I never tried it, but I'm still in the process of attracting birds to my 2/3 acre.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 20, 2017, 09:56:18 AM
I asked in the village, and people seem to use gardening textile to protect vegetables. I just wonder if this doesn't protect slugs from predators. Right now, slugs are not awake, so in the early spring, this could be a solution. Rhubarb leaves are just coming out right now.

Maybe I need to have some patience. A magpie just buit a nest near the garden, maybe wildlife has to adapt itself to the new situation. I moved in only 2 years ago, and the former owner seems to have used chemicals when gardening.

The old CD method would be very good to protect cherries, but I don't know about salads. I never tried myself, I don't know if it would scare the magpie which would be a bad news in this context.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 20, 2017, 09:44:49 PM
Netting😊
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on March 21, 2017, 03:16:34 AM
Beautiful Silkman


Terry
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Red on March 27, 2017, 07:54:30 PM
I asked in the village, and people seem to use gardening textile to protect vegetables. I just wonder if this doesn't protect slugs from predators. Right now, slugs are not awake, so in the early spring, this could be a solution. Rhubarb leaves are just coming out right now.

Maybe I need to have some patience. A magpie just buit a nest near the garden, maybe wildlife has to adapt itself to the new situation. I moved in only 2 years ago, and the former owner seems to have used chemicals when gardening.

The old CD method would be very good to protect cherries, but I don't know about salads. I never tried myself, I don't know if it would scare the magpie which would be a bad news in this context.
Crushed egg shells in a line around your garden works well to stop slugs. Takes a lot of shells to go anywhere though. Beer in saucers works pretty well to and easier to find a lot. The slugs like beer just make it deep enough and they will drown.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on March 27, 2017, 09:07:22 PM
are slugs edible?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 27, 2017, 09:23:11 PM
You have to remove the intestines, as they apparently give the slugs a horrible, bitter taste.  If you could eat them just like that, I'd never have to go to a supermarket again. But then again, ducks eat them, and you can eat the ducks.

As for slug solutions, it depends on how many are plaguing your premises. There is no way I could keep out the local Army of Darkness (as I call them) with egg shells, never mind the fact that my vegetable garden is 500 square feet. And beer traps just lure them in.

So, what I did, was build an electric fence with two stainless steel wires attached to 6 rechargeable batteries and a red LED as a resistor. The 6-7 Volts keep most of the slugs out, killing the small ones (sorry, little buddies!).

This month I have built a couple of cold frames. Last night it was -4 °C, but with a blanket over it, the temperature in the cold frame remained stable at 1.2 °C. Unfortunately, my wife forgot to open them yesterday, and half the plants died from the greenhouse effect (38 °C).

But all in all, it should help us plant things earlier.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sesyf on March 27, 2017, 09:29:51 PM
Silkman, and others: you need to be careful with those nets as birds can get caught in them. I've seen such things in neighbours garden long time ago... especially when bushes started to have the berries...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Red on March 27, 2017, 09:33:10 PM
are slugs edible?
I'm not sure I would eat them. The ones found in my area have a parasite in the slime trail they leave behind. It causes liver flukes in cattle and goats. The cattle form a cyst around the fluke and that is the end of it. However this doesn't happen with goats, as a result during very wet springs and summers I had some serious infections in my dairy goats that required antibiotics. Needless to say this was always a pain for someone trying to stay away from these things.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 27, 2017, 09:55:45 PM
Sesyf

I can honestly say that in many years of vegetable gardening I've never knowingly killed a bird with a net. The only species interested in getting at my brassicas are Wood Pigeons and they are big enough to look after themselves. I use cheap plastic nets to keep them at bay. The truth is that, without the nets, there are no sprouts for Sunday lunch.

As you rightly say, soft fruit bushes are more of a challenge as they do attract lots of interest from a range of smaller birds. So to protect our precious currants and berries I use much more expensive soft woven nets that don't seem to cause any problems. I do on occasion have to rescue the odd well fed finch that has found its way in but can't get out again though!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 30, 2017, 02:23:15 PM
Question for Silkman, how wide are the areas where you plant vegetables, and what about the pathways ? In my gardening book, they talk about 1m50 (a little bit less than 5 feets), but I feel that it is too wide in order to be able to work without walking on the gardening area.

Beautiful pictures.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on March 30, 2017, 02:27:24 PM
Question for Silkman, how wide are the areas where you plant vegetables, and what about the pathways ? In my gardening book, they talk about 1m50 (a little bit less than 5 feets), but I feel that it is too wide in order to be able to work without walking on the gardening area.

Beautiful pictures.

Etienne
Beautiful indeed.

I guess it should be as wide as a wheelbarrow + 50% so around 3-4 ft??
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 30, 2017, 10:18:55 PM
Thanks for the kind comments guys!

I have to admit to the fact that it's Mrs Silkman who is the brains behind the allotment* - I'm the unpaid labour!

There's not too much science to the design but the individual raised beds are roughly 2 meters by 1 but flexed a little to fit the space. These obviously can be  tended easily from the paths which as Dr T says should be sufficiently wide for a wheel barrow - most of them are. We also have two bigger beds that are several meters in each direction. The key to success is plenty of organic manure in the right places and rotation plus the battle to keep the pests at bay, organically mostly but not religiously. Our aim is never to leave the garden without at least something fresh for the table.

*Allotments are publicly owned land, divided into parcels and rented very cheaply to local residents. Our Allotment Society is very active and provides cooperative support with facilities, materials in bulk (farm manure, wood chippings, etc). We have an annual show - veg, flowers, jam, chutney - all very British. The boss at work-
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 30, 2017, 11:22:35 PM
This is what I hope my wife will order me to create together with her.  :)

Thanks, Silkman.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on March 31, 2017, 12:57:30 AM
I've only managed to put together two 8x4 ft raised bed garden for my tomatoes and oregano a couple of houses ago... now starting all over again... might post a couple of pics when I find them.

Looks nice...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 31, 2017, 12:20:29 PM
Hello,

Two more technical questions to Silkman.

For the raised beds, are the side board in or on the ground ? How much do they go above and maybe into the ground ?

For the pathways, did you do any specific work (removing grass...) before putting the wood chips ?

Thank you very much for your help. If this year is better than the last one, maybe I'll have some picts during the summer.

Bye,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 31, 2017, 01:30:11 PM
Etienne

I built the raised beds from standard decking boards that are 12cm/5in wide. It's a cheap way to do it but using wider wood to raise the beds a bit higher wouldn't hurt. The bases are at the original ground level. I put a 5/5cm square post into the prepared ground at each corner, making sure they were squared up to the direction of the sides and screwed the boards to them. Once it's all joined up it's very stable. You can lift the surface of the bed by adding compost, manure or additional top soil but it tends to grow as you cultivate over 2 or 3 years.

The jury is out on whether they should be dug annually. The current view says not to disturb the structure of the bed but I'm old fashioned. I dig.

As for the paths, we do weed in Spring but suppress further growth with wood chip from a local tree surgeon, trying to avoid too much conifer which is a bit acidic.

Paths and beds I think improve yields and I like the more structured look of the plot.

Good luck. We're 150 meters above sea level on the edge of the Peak District, just south of Manchester. I suspect your growing season will be much longer than ours.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on March 31, 2017, 05:02:18 PM
Thank you very much for all the informations.

Regarding digging, in the older part of the garden, I only did it the first year (spring 2015). I didn't do it in the spring 2016 and results weren't too good, but 2016 was a terrible year for gardening in Luxembourg, too much rain, slugs and mildew. This year, I didn't dig either, and everything seems to grow well, but we had so many sunny days. Spinach and green peas are now about 1cm tall. Self growing calendula is about 2 cm tall.

I am now increasing the size of the garden and was looking for more natural ways to do it. The former owner placed concrete blocs in a concrete fundation around the beds, and it's not the way I want to work. In the garden, I define sustainable as using things that decompose themselve if I don't use them anymore, that are easy to remove, or that are good enough to be used by somebody else if I don't want it anymore.

I'll probably put only potatoes in the new part of the garden. If I remember well, it's what my grand-father always did.

Regards,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on March 31, 2017, 05:17:05 PM
Etienne

Potatoes are a great idea when opening up a new piece of garden - partly because you have to dig to plant them😊

Good luck with it all.

Silkman
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on March 31, 2017, 11:52:06 PM
Last autumn we covered a plot 5 x 5 metres with a thick layer of hay, killing off all the grass below it (well, most of it). This weekend we're going to remove the mulch layer, lay potatoes on the ground and put the mulch back again.

It should work, even though I must admit I'm sceptical.

It should rain again next week, after five weeks of incredibly dry, sunny days.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: wili on April 01, 2017, 01:55:23 AM
As Neven points out, you don't in fact have to dig to plant potatoes. I generally just toss them on the leaf pile that is killing the grass and pile more leave on top. Makes them very easy to harvest!

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/potato/grow-potatoes-in-leaves.htm (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/potato/grow-potatoes-in-leaves.htm)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on April 01, 2017, 10:22:26 AM
..... but I need the exercise  :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 01, 2017, 10:25:01 AM
You can dig at your heart's content, except when you're in a hole.  ;)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 01, 2017, 07:03:30 PM
last year i built a wooden wheeled device upon which i put my container for growing my hot peppers.  I'll build a second one this year.  I cant bend over to garden anymore, and based on the season i need to move the container around on the deck to get more sunshine :).  Also need to get all my containers wheelable :)...   it's finally warming up here again, and i cant wait :O

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: charles_oil on April 03, 2017, 01:34:21 AM

Neven - saw your comment #415 re hot cold frame -


May be worth considering an automatic, heat operated, opener such as :
http://www.window-openers.com/greenhouse-auto-openers/ (http://www.window-openers.com/greenhouse-auto-openers/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on April 03, 2017, 01:56:38 AM
last year i built a wooden wheeled device upon which i put my container for growing my hot peppers.  I'll build a second one this year.  I cant bend over to garden anymore, and based on the season i need to move the container around on the deck to get more sunshine :) .  Also need to get all my containers wheelable :) ...   it's finally warming up here again, and i cant wait :O


For someone who can't bend over you do some beautiful, and creative carpentry work. :)


Terry
PS - That is some view!!


edit: Would it be possible to eliminate some slugs and pests by placing the legs of these elevated planters in cans filled with oil?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 03, 2017, 02:25:32 AM
For someone who can't bend over you do some beautiful, and creative carpentry work. :)
Terry
PS - That is some view!!
edit: Would it be possible to eliminate some slugs and pests by placing the legs of these elevated planters in cans filled with oil?

I used a workmate, great tool, and novel uses of chairs :O, yes the view is magnificent :) o and the oil would just bring the bears around for a feast
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on April 03, 2017, 03:08:21 AM
For someone who can't bend over you do some beautiful, and creative carpentry work. :)
Terry
PS - That is some view!!
edit: Would it be possible to eliminate some slugs and pests by placing the legs of these elevated planters in cans filled with oil?

I used a workmate, great tool, and novel uses of chairs :O, yes the view is magnificent :) o and the oil would just bring the bears around for a feast


My workmate was never so productive. I was thinking of a good use for used motor oil, didn't think bears would be interested.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 04, 2017, 12:16:44 AM
Impressed with seeing your garden Silkman, and Mati's beautiful woodwork projects. Autumn is on its way down under and our garden is in its usual untidy end of summer stage, still productive but I need to start sacrificing the last of some crops so to get the cool loving winter things started. When the rain stops that is, currently we are getting the remnants of ex- tropical cyclone Debbie here in NZ. My only tidy picture to share is some of our LARGE selection of chilli plants, these growing by the house. Oh & my composting bins! :D
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=35d7d5d7526c9897dfb55501e320295a)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 04, 2017, 12:24:53 AM
Ooops the chillis are on their side, cant work out how to fix that, you'll just have to lean over to view ;D. Or click on image to get the upright view.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 04, 2017, 04:36:57 PM
Hello,

Thank you all for the pictures, it gives ideas of things that works.

Here is a picture of the old part of my gardening area and of the extension according to Silkman's comments. There is some lost space between the new beds and the compost because it is where I have the wires to dry clothes.

(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/none/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/i0da543413100a8f0/version/1491315260/image.jpg)

I'm very happy with the extension. Looks like it will be of easy maintenance. I don't know how long the wood will last, but it won't be too much work to replace it when needed. Next time I need to do something similar, I'll make the frame in the fall, will fill it with straw like on Neven's picture, and I believe that it would be even less work than what I did this year. I would say that it took me about 8 hours to go from grass to a bed with potatoes. This also includes the time to buy the wood...

Clare, I am surprized by your composting bins. I always heard that there had to be a lot of air available for the compost. My wire mesh system (you see it in the back of the picture) has the problem that the compost is too dry, so if your system works well (which I believe otherwise there wouldn't be so many bins on the picture), maybe I could put a sheet (metal, cardboard ? ... to be tested) on the wire mesh to keep humidity.

Thanks to all,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on April 04, 2017, 06:08:36 PM
Looking good Etienne!

I'll look forward to seeing the fruits of your labours later in the season.

Best wishes

Silkman


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 04, 2017, 06:16:03 PM
A long time ago i read an article about the slum dwellers in Mexico city growing potatoes in rubber tires towers... a) small footprint b) tires warm soil
so i found an article:
http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2009/04/how-to-grow-potatoes-in-tire-towers/ (http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2009/04/how-to-grow-potatoes-in-tire-towers/)

My sister is grew potatoes on her patio last year in a very large dark container following a similar idea.  She lives in northern Alberta canada :)

My mother also used an old rubber tire to grow squash.  Fill the tire with compost, plant squash seeds, again the tire keeps the soild warm and moist.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 05, 2017, 12:04:49 AM
In principle, I love the idea of using tires as a garden construction material, but I'm afraid some of the many toxic chemicals in them may leach out.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 05, 2017, 12:44:08 AM
In principle, I love the idea of using tires as a garden construction material, but I'm afraid some of the many toxic chemicals in them may leach out.

a valid point, you could line the tires to prevent any leaching, or use any of of the other interesting ideas:  burlap bags, vertical wooden pens etc.

although i would be much much more worried about commercial manure :O
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 05, 2017, 12:53:09 AM
In principle, I love the idea of using tires as a garden construction material, but I'm afraid some of the many toxic chemicals in them may leach out.

Leaching of organics is more of a problem for shredded tires. If the metal wires are exposed some metal leaching might occur. In general the biggest problem with tires is that they are not biodegradable and rather inert. I would not be willing to use them for vegetables and edible plants.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on April 05, 2017, 05:05:48 AM
We grow potatoes in an arrangement very similar to Etienne's composter. We partially fill with last year's tree leaves we've mowed over. As the plants grow we keep adding more leaves and they sort of compost in place.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 05, 2017, 07:03:52 AM
Raised bed gardening is very trendy right now in Luxembourg. Beds are so high that you don't have to lean yourself to do the work. I believe that the main adventage is that the ground heats much faster, which is probably the same with the tire gardening.

I didn't chose that solution for different reasons. Cost is very high compared to the surface you get, you have to use moisture treated wood, I wonder how easy it is to bring nutriments to the earth after a few years of use, and I feel that I don't have the needed experience to really enjoy such an infrastructure. I use containers for cherry tomatoes and it works fine, and didn't try the normal tomatoes yet.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 05, 2017, 10:48:20 AM
Another problem with the Hochbeet (as they're called here in Austria, and very popular as well), is that you need a lot of material to fill them up, and then you need to keep filling them up because all the stuff settles.

You can also make them using concrete rings they use to make cisterns.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on April 05, 2017, 01:01:17 PM

Hi Etienne,
re. my compost bins, yes they seem to work well though it took me a little to get 'used to them'. Mainly because they retain more moisture, need little added. But I haven't had any issues with ventilation & anaerobic problems, smells etc. I think maybe they are not completely airtight or just cos they are loosely filled & one of mine does have some holes like this one:
http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/p/round-compost-bin-with-lid-240l/R614518.html#q=compost+bin&start=1 (http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/p/round-compost-bin-with-lid-240l/R614518.html#q=compost+bin&start=1)
I guess you could drill some if you needed. Sometimes I push a stick down the centre to make a vent hole down & I do have a worm farm so a fair % of soggy household scraps go in there. I like these because vermin cant get in (rats are a problem in our v low socioeconomic neighbourhood I find, too many folk have rubbish sitting around toooooo long!)
I did find once I made sure there was ample brown material layered in they work well & produce dry crumbly compost. Technically how good it is I dont know as have never had it tested. But we have gardened here 35= years & stuff grows vigorously so lots of trimmings,WEEDS etc to compost!

I alternate with filling bins# 1&2, when one slows down I start on the other leaving the first to settle & when I need it again turn it into bin#3. I usually get 2 turned into there before it is full & needs turning into bin#4 which is the one I take some out each time I clear or plant a new place in our beds (we have 11 - 2x1m beds & some other areas for growing veges & soft fruit, rhubarb etc as well. Plus fruit trees that are not in the beds).

My recent reading has encouraged me to up the proportion of brown stuff in the mix & I find that is better, my compost making booklet from Koanga Gardens advises a C:N ration of 60:1! I doubt I get near that but anyway my stuff definitely has improved.
I'd agree some cover even over the top of your piles will help, if you turn your piles then maybe the dry outer edges will get turned into the centre in due course. But I dont have to do that with my bins.
One thing I should mention is, and I think it has been mentioned elsewhere in Walking the Walk is I had a very serious health problem with an acute pulmonary infection which damaged my lungs & took 3 years of terrible meds to stop the autoimmune reaction. It wasn't Legionnaires ie. bacterial, but possibly fungal & I strongly suspect my playing in the compost in an enclosed space. Now I am completely fine but v careful & often wear a mask when moving it & dont put my head in the bins now.  :)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 05, 2017, 01:05:32 PM
Now I am completely fine but v careful & often wear a mask when moving it & dont put my head in the bins now.  :)

I am glad. Fungal infections can be hard to get rid of.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on April 05, 2017, 09:15:13 PM
Re: Vermin in compost piles

Doesn't anyone have cats? I do composting in open piles, three at a time. Start a new one every year, use after three. Occasional turnover, with a shovel if i feel energetic, with a backhoe or frontend loader if not. Get field mice and moles and voles and such, the cats take care of it. I was turning over one of them once and one of the cats came up an protested vociferously. I found the reason soon enough, a little hole dug into the corner of the pile, with six (?!) bodies of assorted mice and voles hidden under some leaves. Clearly she had been storing them. I covered them up again and stayed away from that  corner.

I consult the cats nowadays (put out some cat food by the piles, wait till they show up, and then start turning over the piles while watching them for signs of dissent.)

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 06, 2017, 12:06:53 AM
the problem i have had in the past with open compost pits is that when the bears are hungry, they come by and clean them out.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 06, 2017, 12:41:30 AM
the problem i have had in the past with open compost pits is that when the bears are hungry, they come by and clean them out.

Ha..talking about recycling...
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on April 06, 2017, 01:01:18 AM
ooo, bears will kill cats. Need a loud dog for those. So far  black bears havent come around the compost heaps, tho they are around. Last year one killed a turkey but usually they stick to berries and such. But the trash is securely locked up and i think the trashpickers like the raccoons and bears (and these days coyotes) know it.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 06, 2017, 08:39:47 AM
Hello,

I also have a question regarding watering. My watering can has a capacity of around 10 liters.

When I feel that I'm generous (like a once a week watering for vegetables that already have enough roots), I have water for a line of about 3 meters of vegetables.

When I feel greedy (like a daily watering of seeds and shoots), I go about 6 meters.

If there is a bush that needs water, I put about a half watering can on it.

Of course, I adapt the watering to the meteorological conditions.

Do you see this as more or less ok ?

Thanks a lot.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on April 06, 2017, 04:47:20 PM
Etienne

That sounds pretty good to me. One simple trick we use for thirsty crops like pumpkins squashes and courgettes (zucchini) is to cut the bottom off a 2 liter plastic water bottle, embed the neck in the soil near the roots and use it as a reservoir to water the plants. Examples here for courgettes:

Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on April 06, 2017, 05:12:08 PM
Call me old-fashioned but I planted first early potatoes today in a trench accompanied by some well rotted farmyard manure  - exactly the way my Dad taught me to in the late 50's.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 06, 2017, 08:34:51 PM
Well, you're lucky that somebody taught you how to do it. In my family, there is a generation gap. My parents only did the easy gardening (things like buying tomatoes plant and putting them in the garden). When I see all the problems I have, like that the birds just ate half of the spinach during the last two days, I protected them today with wire mesh, but the holes are too big, I have to buy something with smaler holes quite fast otherwise I'll have to start it all over. At least I know now who is guilty. If one day there is a war, it will be over before people know how to grow their food.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 07, 2017, 08:50:35 AM
Call me old-fashioned but I planted first early potatoes today in a trench accompanied by some well rotted farmyard mature  - exactly the way my Dad taught me to in the late 50's.

Our soil is still too hard, and so we're trying the mulch routine, just laying the potatoes on the ground and cover them with hay. Luckily it rained that very same evening. We'll see what happens.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 07, 2017, 12:26:04 PM
Call me old-fashioned but I planted first early potatoes today in a trench accompanied by some well rotted farmyard mature  - exactly the way my Dad taught me to in the late 50's.

Our soil is still too hard, and so we're trying the mulch routine, just laying the potatoes on the ground and cover them with hay. Luckily it rained that very same evening. We'll see what happens.
Is your soil clay content too high?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 07, 2017, 12:32:06 PM
Is your soil clay content too high?

Yes, very high. And it used to be agricultural land (Schnitzelcorn as I call it), so it's going to take a while to restore that layer of humus. But mulching really helps. That layer has been on since October, and the soil beneath was a lot softer, with big earthworms crawling around.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 07, 2017, 12:47:24 PM
Is your soil clay content too high?

Yes, very high. And it used to be agricultural land (Schnitzelcorn as I call it), so it's going to take a while to restore that layer of humus. But mulching really helps. That layer has been on since October, and the soil beneath was a lot softer, with big earthworms crawling around.

Increasing the sand content will help tremendously.  Aggressive mixing is too much work but if you have patience you can spread sand gradually with mulch. This will separate the clay particles and make the soil more permeable.

On the other hand just wood chips according to the attached information works great
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: mati on April 07, 2017, 11:50:20 PM
sorry but i could not another place to let you know that life is fine ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ4Mm8alM6I (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ4Mm8alM6I)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 08, 2017, 08:33:54 AM

On the other hand just wood chips according to the attached information works great

The other pages she wrote are also very interesting :
https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/ (https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on April 08, 2017, 01:55:34 PM
Hello,

Here are my spinach with the bird protection I built around them.
(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/dimension=670x10000:format=jpg/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/icc9fc999fae0a61c/version/1491652287/image.jpg)

I had some wire mesh for fence left. Don't know if the birds still eat as much when the leaves are taller.

Bye,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DrTskoul on April 08, 2017, 02:55:52 PM
Hello,

Here are my spinach with the bird protection I built around them.
(https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/dimension=670x10000:format=jpg/path/sd1cb7867a4db87c5/image/icc9fc999fae0a61c/version/1491652287/image.jpg)

I had some wire mesh for fence left. Don't know if the birds still eat as much when the leaves are taller.

Bye,

Etienne

Ha.. I had such arrangement for my tomatoes years ago, but the squirrel chewed through. :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on April 08, 2017, 04:02:50 PM

On the other hand just wood chips according to the attached information works great

The other pages she wrote are also very interesting :
https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/ (https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/)

Very interesting website, indeed.

I'm fine with how things are going, just letting things grow and then mowing it and leaving it in place. But I might throw some woodchips and sand around (if I can find sand I can trust).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on April 08, 2017, 04:34:45 PM
I think wood chips are great for mulching trees , like the WSU site said , but I would be careful about digging in chips before they have been well composted if you are going to use them to build garden soil for vegetables. Bacteria will begin to compost your chips if dug in and they will borrow nitrogen in the process . This can leave your soil lacking in nutrients for a couple years until the composting is complete, dependent upon warmth and soil moisture. For vegetable gardens you should compost first then add them in.
 If you have extra land that you don't plan on putting into garden for several years spreading chips will control weeds and built soil organics, but it takes time. Wood shavings are used for horse stalls and they are plentiful and free . They come with manure and urea but usually even after composting they require some added nitrogen for a balanced soil additive. So adding some other manure , like chicken, before composting will speed up the process and result in a better final product.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on May 13, 2017, 10:14:16 AM
Hello,

To start with the beginning, I had a summer compost and a winter compost. The summercompost (spring material) was very fine at the end of the winter and the side of the garden where I strewed it grows very well. The winter compost (fall material) wasn't so well finished when I strewed it in March, but I thought it could keep composting on site.

Composting on site doesn't seem to work so well, and I have for example the oinons that get yellow (see picture). Does anybody has a clue of what I should do ? Or would there be another reason for yellow onions ? Salad and spinach seems to grow very well on that not finished compost, but radish and cabbadge not so well. I have the feeling that it dries out quite fast.

Thanks for your ideas.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on May 13, 2017, 03:10:39 PM
Hi Etienne

Good compost needs self-generated heat and if you spread it it won't work so well.

Onions are hungry little beasts. Yours look perfectly healthy to me - no sign of rust which is a real problem here - but if the compost isn't providing the nutrients they'll need a feed. The easy way is to give them a dose of a general purpose fertiliser but if you want to be totally green, liquid manure made from something like comfrey (http://www.allotment-garden.org/comfrey/comfrey-compost-feed-tea/ (http://www.allotment-garden.org/comfrey/comfrey-compost-feed-tea/)) would do the trick.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on May 14, 2017, 09:12:19 AM
Hello Silkmann,

Thank you for the information. Since you believe that they look healty, I'll wait a little bit more to see how it evolves. When roots get longer, nutrients should become available.
Regarding the use of comfrey to accelerate the composting process, I believe that mine is just too dry. I just filled yesterday a compost tank and always mix it completely before leaving it for composting, and I found totally dry areas in it.

Bye

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: H2O world on May 14, 2017, 11:13:05 PM
hi Etienne,

No offense but I think your onions look a bit nitrogen deprived. I would give them a dose of compost tea loaded with mycorrhizae and beneficial fungus. I brew my own and would be happy to give you the recipe if interested. I have been an organic gardener for many years. Pay attention to the roots and you will always get healthier plants. I feed them with mycorrhizae and supportive fungus, the microbes live in and on the roots breaking down soil allowing the plant more access to the nutrients.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on May 15, 2017, 01:36:30 PM
H2O world" I brew my own and would be happy to give you the recipe if interested."
I'm interested too, as a novice I need all the help I can get.
john
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on May 15, 2017, 10:13:08 PM
Hi H2O world,

Nitrogen deprived would be normal since they grow on unfinished compost, and if I understood well, nitrogen is only given back when composting is finished. Yes, the reciepe interesses me.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: H2O world on May 16, 2017, 11:47:55 PM
Sorry it took me a while to get back! Here is my recipe

pH 6.5 water @ 70 degrees. 

In a 5 Gal bucket:

5 Gal pH'd water
1/2 tsp Hi Brix unsulphured molasses
1 cup worm castings (make sure its high quality)
1 cup high quality compost (the best compost is leaf compost)
1/2 cup Alfalfa meal (very high in N, omit for fruiting or flowering plants)
2 Tbs Alaskan Humus or 60 ml liquid Humic acid
2 Tbs Bounty Fungal activator
3 Tbs low N bat guano
60 ml fish emulsion

Add liquid ingredients to the pH'd water, stir. Fill the dry ingredients into a painters bag. Aerate for 24-48 hours using a air stone. Use it right away, don't take a chance on bad bacteria using old tea.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: H2O world on May 16, 2017, 11:50:10 PM
Also.... to use dilute tea 1 gal of tea to 10 gallons of water
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on June 08, 2017, 10:28:13 PM
Hello,

Does anybody knows why onions would grow like on the picture below ? Slugs could be the reason because I have many, even this year (beans are eaten faster than they can grow).

Thanks,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on June 08, 2017, 11:58:27 PM
I have neighbors that swear by putting crushed eggshells in their garden to rid themselves of snails and slugs. No idea of how effective this really is. I do know that Neven up thread spoke of a tiny electrical fence to keep them away from his and their favorite treats.
Best of luck
Terry
Edit} Perhaps escargot ranching might be an alternative?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on June 09, 2017, 12:07:11 AM
I just saw the rabbit that was eating all my delicotta squash.  It was so cute.  I haven't eaten rabbit since about 1975 (and no meat since '78).  My cherry tomatoes (in a pot) have done quite well (for us).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on June 09, 2017, 11:01:37 AM
I put strips of wood around my beans, then herd the chucks down there and turn them over in the morning, that helps keep the numbers of slugs down. With snails I plant out bait plants, marigolds for instance, then go out an hour after dark and collect all the volunteers, jar them and feed them to the chucks the following afternoon, there's an endless supply of volunteers! In the polytunnel I keep an led light on which inhibits them both.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 09, 2017, 12:23:50 PM
I do know that Neven up thread spoke of a tiny electrical fence to keep them away from his and their favorite treats.
The fence works quite well and keeps the big, brown slugs out. Maybe a small white/grey one slips through occasionally, and once they're in, that's when all the fun starts. My wife is adamant about mulching with hay in the vegetable garden, and it has many advantages. But one downside is that it's impossible to completely exterminate the small white slugs, who hide and feed under the hay, only to come out when things are wet. By themselves they can't do much, but several of them can kill off small seedlings in one night.

Every evening we'd go out and kill 100-200 slugs, but they just kept coming. So, last week, we threw out all the mulch for a couple of days and then put new mulch in. That seems to have helped somewhat, although nights are cool and dry right now. However, the plants are getting big enough to withstand them.

My wife said: Just two small slugs need to slip past the fence, and then they just procreate until kingdom comes.
And I said: They're probably hermaphrodites, so just one will do the trick.  ;)

I really dislike slugs, but I also respect them as a species.  8)

I'm thinking about making raised beds with planks like Etienne has this winter, but will have to convince my wife first.

BTW, our goal of improving year on year seems to be reachable this year, as many things are going better than last year again. Everything is growing bigger, we have more berries, the vegetables are coming along nicely (despite the slugs and other vermin like psylliodes and white flies on our cabbages), and although I'm not sure if we'll have a high yield from our potatoes under mulch, the plants are growing well. Still no apples (despite five blossoms), the cherries and potential walnuts were killed off by frost, but we'll have a handful of hazelnuts for the first time.

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but we bought an extra plot of land adjacent to what we already have, 1000 m2, or a quarter acre. We now have almost one whole acre. On this new plot - which also used to be zombie corn field/moon landscape - we've planted out phacelia, buckwheat and a clover mixture. Some of it has started to bloom.

I'll try and post some pictures soon.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Aporia_filia on June 09, 2017, 01:11:59 PM
"I really dislike slugs, but I also respect them as a species."

That's the point! Anyway I understand those who are trying in places where is really difficult to avoid plages. So I'll share this option with you in order  to keep your vegetables free of slugs and snails. It works, but it means killing them.
The only thing you have to do is set up a rave for them!
You have to place a few small plates around your veggies in the evening and fill them with a small amount of beer. You will have wild parties every night, the slugs smell the beer and go crazy for it till they die.

As Terry mentioned other green options, barriers, are useful. The one that works better is surrounding every plant with ashes (from your fireplace, for example). This is much more efficient than the crushed eggshells, but is very difficult to sustain because of the wind and rain (were it does).
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on June 09, 2017, 06:52:39 PM
For some unknown reason, I don't have too many slugs in my raised bed. It contains potatoes, Brussels sprouts and grass clipping. Don't know if the raw wood on the side might make a difference. I'll put the beans in it next year to see if it changes anything.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Aporia_filia on June 10, 2017, 09:57:34 AM
Another natural way of getting rid of pests, this time for insects.
This won't kill anybody but it's a very good repellent for most insects.
You have to smash a head of garlic, thoroughly, and then let it macerate in water (1/2 l) for at least 15 days.  Then you filter the water. That water can be used mixing it with more water up to a 15%-20% concentration to be spry over your plants.
Extremely easy to make, cheap, no harm and works pretty well. The inconvenience is that the smell of this macerated is definitely disgusting.  But doesn't last long and you would not notice it after 3-4 days.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Sebastian Jones on June 11, 2017, 12:46:17 AM
One advantage we have up here in north central Yukon is the almost complete lack of garden pests. But we have other challenges.... It has reached 30 degree here for 4 days running the corn is a metre high, the tomatoes are budding and the squash are flowering. BUT it is forecast to be zero on Monday night and minus three on Tuesday night....
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 11, 2017, 01:00:32 AM
Wow...  :(

Good luck with that, Sebastian. I'm sure you know what to do, but the frost took us by surprise last year. This year we went and got old cardboard boxes from the municipal waste facility to cover what wasn't big enough to be covered (we had some cold frames for the vegetables). It helped somewhat.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on June 12, 2017, 08:35:06 AM
Thoughts on mulching:

The last few years I have been experimenting with using 'living mulch', particularly in the spring/early summer ie. interplanting my crops with either catch crops (like lettuces, chinese greens, radishes, leafy annual herbs etc) that will be harvested prior to my main one or just as green cover crops like mustard & blue lupin. I have been reading/learning about biological activity in soil lately(never mentioned much in my day of ecology studies at uni) and like this method for increasing the activity around the root systems of my main crop.
So my living mulch helps shelter new seedlings, maybe ups N in the soil, reduces evaporation/transpiration & gets harvested or trimmed off at ground level to be used as mulch and the root systems just die off underground. I dont need a lot of radishes but cut them off at ground level too & they rot away & help open up the soil too.
When we first started our vege patch here from lawn on v heavy soil here 35 years ago we did have trouble with slugs but they are much less of a problem now. Also I surround individual new seedlings inside large catering cans without bottoms & if it is v wet can put some slug bait just inside there. And I can mulch right up against the can when I plant.

I do use lots of regular mulching materials too, but usually later in the summer when it gets hotter & a lot drier here. Then I use the green crop trimmings, also fine dry shredded garden stuff mixed with coffee grounds from a local cafe, grass clippings, shredded dry seaweed, maybe over some sieved compost, whatever I can get that I don't have to pay for! (Straw bales you can buy here seem to bring weed seeds, tho' some people swear by pea straw.)
Pics are of lupin around shallots & chervil around cabbages-
Clare
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on June 12, 2017, 08:36:43 AM
missed:
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Hyperion on June 12, 2017, 12:31:52 PM
Getting the ecology diverse enough to sustain predator populations is a good idea. Don't know whats local their. Particularly for slugs. Lizards frogs some larger hunting spiders. Perhaps. Certainly birds but they can turn on your produce of course. Often a few free range hens are effective. Putting them in a chicken tractor and prepping beds with them is effective if done intelligently. Their are also lots of parasite wasps that lay their eggs in slugs in bugs and they feed on nectar from flowers with shallow bells. They are great pollinators too. Two mistakes are not enough species in the plot and fully exterminating the pests. The predators need some to be present. If you avoid monocultural plots you don't get nature rushing in to stop the dangerously overprolific selfish species. Good way to attract local predators if you got a pest explosion is grind some up in a triggerspraywith water and spray them all over the garden. Their mates think it aint so safe and the preds smell a banquet.
Using char? You'd be astonished how much better everything grows. And healthy plants in good diversity seem very rarely touched. Preds seem more drawn to the struggling. If you really have a slug plague then a moat with some frogponds would be ultimate.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on June 16, 2017, 02:41:05 PM
I thought it might be time for an update on the Silkman plot. Things are going pretty well courtesy of a mild Spring and we're now harvesting lettuce, radish, rhubarb and spinach and I've just dug our first root of first early potatoes.

The battle is now to keep nature at bay - weeds, slugs, pigeons etc. We have a visiting badger (as yet unseen as it's nocturnal) which we are happy to tolerate as it likes slugs but last week it managed to make a real mess of a raised bed. Clearly it's partial to a strawberry or two as well!

We're also trying trombocino for the first time. Has anyone grown them?

Our onions look very like Etienne's this year. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on June 24, 2017, 03:17:02 PM
First real summer harvest.

Family lunch tomorrow  :)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on June 26, 2017, 07:57:13 AM
Thanks for sharing these wonderful pics, Silkman. And congratulations to Mrs S. too! Your garden looks so tidy & productive.
Mid winter here but at least I can grow some stuff all year round, just v slowly at present and not much variety to harvest. Nor impressive, today's cauli (the last for a few months) is only ~ 2 1/2" in diameter!  :(
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on June 26, 2017, 06:21:45 PM
Clare

Thanks for your kind words. The boss (Mrs S) is delighted too. We pride ourselves on never leaving the plot without something to put on the table. A small cauliflower would fit the bill admirably in winter. I hope you enjoyed the modest morsel!
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on June 26, 2017, 08:35:15 PM
I have an acre of garden in, all plow work done with a one bottom plow pulled behind  my piggie biodiesel  powered tractor. I am using my battery powered wheel hoe for cultivating and my water is overhead sprinklers , the pump is run on solar grid tied three phase.  I have twenty rows of flint corn , each row two hundred feet. Forty hulless seed squash plants, enough for two or three gallons of dried pepidas. I have in one row of Costata Romanesco Sqaush that I let get about two feet long then slice and sun dry. I have black eyed peas, black beans and limas for dry beans. All these crops are crops that can be dried and stored for winter.
 I can harvest summer squash , tomatoes, melons and several forage crops for greens as the winter crops mature. I have a big crop of sweet corn in but there is a big murder of crows pulling up the starts and eatting the seed . I don't use any herbicides or pesticides. I plant enough to suffer a certain amount of losses to the crows and cucumber beetles without much for worries.
 I have been allowing tomatillos, red root pigweed ( amaranthus ), and lambs quarter to grow around the edge of the garden where they get watered from the sprinklers. They don't get fertilizer or hand weeding and are what I consider forage crops. I don't plant them but they are all edibles.
 The apricots, Santa Rosa plums and mirabelles are all currently ripe and need to be canned. I have had a bad season with fire blight and my pears look bad but there will be bushels of pears in spite of the damn blight. I have been checking the oaks trees I forage in the fall and there appears to be a nice set of acorns this year. I am down to my last ten or fifteen pounds of acorns stored from last year. Still processing and making flour. I am going to get something north of a thousand pounds of acorns picked and dried this year, that's my target anyhow.
 This years acorn challenge will be much easier to get through with the garden providing dry goods and variety.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 26, 2017, 10:15:43 PM
Thanks a lot for the updates and pictures, everyone!

Over here in Austria it looks like we'll reach our goal of doing better than last year (mostly thanks to my wife who does most of the work in the vegetable garden, while I take care of the mowing on the rest of the plot, watering the shrubs, etc). Everything has grown, plants that struggled are doing better. First hazelnuts are coming (45, I counted them). Despite the frost in May, we have a lot more berries than last year. Every day a full bowl which we juice and mix with water, for the past two weeks, and probably two more weeks to go:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/aYOloc6RJZu5B-r_nxPaUdu6PTU24KK6AY3MY9VKeYbLxnnrwEpIm7yBqVkXP5KN4W9dzN0vWusgFLE7_liLkWIp2ZE5e7HkHVhR12yraOIdzv3kyzGMSNu7AqCGECFcZZu9hDO2hZww3pKPKflgnikdDlcOGZsnFe0L2SXRSZchA7MdXkJbs0A_H0UyrlcsjyMOUBMb8rKxdW6yomUOrYI4oZeh9sLonEWM3gyNc4GaIGxmc8Jsu_iHj9_ppZq33vQFoMFDoKGMpNgky1LsAhaqc9NmmBlQIJf3WIvVrODkriFz5u4bjaZFEJV135othsYQxzlOVkjUMbbns_VDNIWJuUEzXyzeQAHYbeTaGZ9TC-rQWwLFCoAAU_1ugT5iFn4UIxJ-ihTgpwwFMmvU6HtpddvrMF49U-67xWmKWRi5TtoVIQLugws5GtFhhz8WePb7ESh3v3C0fbf1m8zDcoYSCbFgVR8O2Bw67lY2AW2BkHC8PBH7LNW7HTs0gqhKZK_YXTLix2U6LX7q9I2s5S27QvrOqeUgVKbgn5TBhbyvemQeOLtErzmC3BrySzDNO1rslEAXOpJVGLv3k7b-JC6AlTTYsPhksjzRjFdn-6H_aGFae_-j=w750-h562-no)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ocjOz0hryi8tZgxUup4FHZqi5e8gz2SG1_kzzM_K-9Qg0KHTygnMva6_ynRvznWNm8sJt4T1UrnXN4X6Zt1WUehi4RfGWqM2cO6x640f9BVUxdIQk8TNgxs_tF82U4X_4WbqEW8zlux948t8quOkjVlPReduv92_p-rHmViWxGroUAcroAu8tVYKiq2hY90E6PasbOvMoteFtnp2TPv8lfjKZBiY8b__Gmkx5_UaU1QpWlo3rTvPZUVKAKLEGYrY2X_T38-H8xQXmcMjCad0U9VWFy_SOMqXNG4g7b6n82GjYnfeIghu4LDPwTrjQ03wE2vfz7sANbJ2MaQPUJoTGcVa8cIvqA9dN0KcVpWxz__niaX-8dNEON3VDJcBHCne05pNVpxYjRAJkXJqwbmeRFmMcOpR2uFiVs3Jxbj-YmUxCZ1oWgHS9Yp43rKewUyJ4rY7E0YQROTiVHYDCZ94zwS5rA4z8-ko5mvT7qVGumb2YjYFOTCg_HRn8CLKSrGR9o3N8hzhCMI3J6hZHd9UUm9QcmyPEC4xqZ3BxC7AGa_M8GAC1Iu0J_QM-yxbGSGS6M31JtV8PGpSMcvPWmptKnHMOPoJgZ_7G5f2pgLGtKycNdo38cDP=w750-h562-no)

And when these run out, we have aronia, blueberries and goji berries ripening. All in all, very motivating to keep going. I really enjoy getting up in the early, go out with the dog and pick all the berries. That was the plan from the very beginning, so it's great to get a whiff of the end result for the first time.

This year has been extremely dry so far (no snow), and when the temps started hitting above 30 °C, we had some more watering to do than usual. The water level in our poor non-lined pond was at an all-time low, but still enough for the frogs, water snakes and this year, for the first time, salamanders.

So, when a couple of days ago there finally was a summer storm, we received it with open arms, although the wind was extremely freaky (lots of crazy, short-lived gusts this year) and then hail started to fall. We got off lucky, as just 10-20 km from us the hail caused major agricultural damage:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Z61OMVQcEBE7AXOFSLCPf7Au7r4PQI8cG1Obh1d2Ujyu08EBRCGaSwHVZLp5u_Lky__TKhWX5-kroOTMGKFqW0FJx-tYTcmEkVpt9Mw_MJS2gD2F7k_hy49Qk8m0AE5vu4PgZGSpas-DidFyBRgE4MiZR9EFjaivlagkhWiQ80BVPsbwGO4pNS_2d-AmWDLW3KQ1_swzvfvbjxTlFLN9Xep5ckPxCx6jmCb174W4IRwlbaGanabvK1wSWuXI4I6H4LB-sq_xm4YN2H-lZRLGnE-R4QILC4w_XB6hrcgfMQ-ke2pLfLKb7NX0GScYA8Kp7tSTR2FmQIJQhrolY9Bj5i1b4dkXSBcr8nEwBnp4OzqFCPfmEb_MyJ8tjVrSIPf0sVjQlanfsarNgBMDQ4rViGnyYNYlA7rRxOu_TQo17AD9Q_853fsFu9tjhUbIMFvoqMh6TBzEUyZWGU-u80lxFYNAVi1Po2QitAztyN-tvuoSH6M9Ihw4BQfv4Pemyl7DwcpQLsbfgQldT49VrDRVu4x32qJjyED-G4SaQfhbk8vV9w9jkSxpKuPX8saCHvZ4iECOXHm9Q-l4F-C8hAIsVqzJK8-iN95YS4edfBZy1VbhMJ3plppp=w750-h562-no)

There's been lots of rain yesterday, which was a great relief.

We've been eating salad from the vegetable garden every day for many weeks now, thanks to the cold frames. Other stuff has been coming online as well, like red beets, chard, courgette, cucumbers, and Elisabeth is fighting a battle with various pests to pull the cabbages to the other side (she might win this year). Here she is with today's bounty:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/xeYShgW5yy-iT0sXdSvwyo6--3Sllyf9VsfaGpPQpche3JTFyQmwBG7q00pLs_Aa0yeC1sNoZDU7AnAsKlt0obwt7f97Npeot0RDeWc59zugHLqge2qxRfZ3-5s0njzRb-mIlDtzlAo1USuZ9Fsod_Wyd3L-Utk4KEx8EFSfKHuKRi422KOr3QkUGXSiwz5cRdLbtBlXpIo8u_Rzc0zC3MBcdbeEQYSQEqg3zikcZWYwMuaAn9Vjn94-EBK-ZS4WKNOCaT17vk0tNh6AWeeX6291rLCtIJsjvlrtR5JW_pae4lluYRvEI37fpRyOB_2TYalAN9dA3cTi6BP3Ro3wqiCP18Z0SmfTGVdek4QjK6BjDdCNMLOLuLuOufw4p5mmoAGSM_lo91aB083ngEXIIFyM0KXrCvmp7ZxzA-8FehB9UJxPKF2oCnPRNkSNSpxVQDOXRt2p6zAOfyIw5_5khZ04COgAJ-2xysFtD8nOsPKNT6dOUSGfvhi8_iBM71c5chh2qRyZl7tXwF0Bl-UNCnNQintEBn_Dz4GcmPgTdeZ2sWrfsJRsjDuM-rvt2GI9jvAwgCja8NmTiVqxsqvMhUo6eP8f4BpLI54drtL9g6PfmJYpwYy3=w750-h562-no)

I'll take a couple of pictures of the vegetable garden tomorrow, as it's really starting to look nice now.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here, but we had to buy another quarter acre next to our plot, or else someone might have built a house on it. We divided it up in three parts, planting crimson clover and sainfoins (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onobrychis) in the first part, phacelia in the second, and buckwheat in the third part. Maybe one day we'll try and do something like you do, Bruce, but we first need to revive the soil on this new plot.

Phacelia really is a wonderful plant with beautiful purple flowers, attracting thousand of pollinators. Next year we'll probably sow them again, but then I'll make a two foot wide path to the middle of the field to a grass circle where we can lie down for some sweet aroma and humming therapy. ;-)

Here's how the field looks from the top of our carport:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/f62Uqmid8ZUPD2C9amknkhnIBP0mVywV5RaqATi_ZsXgrN48vLfmucboRdAOp5L4UpgMkXJ8-vagGiHUo0FgSgOSKf7bQn0D5VfVVHorcp4Un3bMGohHAJ2Qi251xXInNl5b6twlALlCfBcEMLhEJUuiQ6gmw_cfLrdlG5fM98B-GDYHcLhNGxTDm90-2Z320W18VzKOYLrQp56jo4OUKLgzy13rn8W1sF_trD6jiPyql45RuAN6miL_TF1nzzdBgiX8NbnAo5klm5GjCTrtMjjr9VFJJbWi99gGgRYaBNyuukP73gsE0MyqAwtEkLdxSMKUwjbYTDgg6o_IVdiOTVhbNasrzoR0oE7Fo0_qUK2Nih8PWb2Hoo9GnE9ham5Q0RgVcSGe_Xx4p3UnWIl6a5m8kNnopj5pf_quFEodmuPlVFpbd5XKTVtR51MdRXxf_CyfuksVebfkDWy_AT10f0dQwSFGU_lNYdi9UiDMsdohw8ud3KwJJZLfhon4c8NaKTjkf-pmNbDD2lerkJqkOrYVp0Kck29tbIFxWAW0M4L8LUCJxndGiiheaAPoi0oN5qYQlK0LOZdqVP9J7q5tOEax03U5ceeF8QEqbhw7-qI4zkkKw3I6=w750-h562-no)

And here from the other side, with our house in the background:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/LAn8r3sqsuGkZQRhQT_QdLtK9m3gRPq86VUXiz0GC0Gy6mkrTItlOjS5WfH8S9W6GUBkkaK_c3JFbFAOaUl-19x645fpuU884kaUQ_GAJfXVMA4tdOmwXD7w5I1Phk7LDaGfmYXx1Wvho3bwqybpRbvuvaFTXfVz3zo54DW_1HVntQ8tclyJQ3NblegQLgcGubcamGClb1M7TxZG5fP6A0aG5jffetRF-1BlsCu41WCE2k9SNjIIkmZiErP_LKBwCQr7Frt5RGxMeyHF_xt4JKngwJSrejSZ4_9vxfydSQpd7NicY_TYp-DqRsZXydqxou8GeixToMI86JqP8X91Ua8ZTyPFU3fjKHWmAq0ipRoi6otjw8Tb4eejGDte0Y08KTGD-fY1lQkPQoT3MGMc9j6zjIPwN0LnSoe-Y7C1bxhBMgsa1KjzB03iK5A91kukdwBz33UJq-AQVOO7BP5UrliLGz1--8vv41PTA9aqKy_PnIZaa14rxgt4P1F20UEEfMpOvRBoLWvjKQGkzH4cXL4RLccrPeLmCQTmHn9id3EiM1gkTDKozN7VzQgJaZDiMf77DCmJIgdCkgzMDmlesbNX97JbDeyh_3WR56Nol51vKECb-Wyn=w750-h562-no)

It looks like the potatoes won't bring us much, mostly thanks to the army of darkness (slugs) and probably not enough mulch. I might post pictures once we harvest in a couple of weeks, but I had a look under the mulch and it didn't look very promising. Another aspect that will hopefully improve next year. And so we learn.

Speaking of learning, I hope to implement some of the soil stuff from that booklet you sent me, Clare, starting this winter. :-)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Archimid on June 29, 2017, 11:42:14 PM
Not a garden yet, but these are the first two mangoes from my tree. I'm proud of them and wanted to share them with you.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: magnamentis on June 30, 2017, 01:54:30 AM
Not a garden yet, but these are the first two mangoes from my tree. I'm proud of them and wanted to share them with you.

they look like cut from a spanish bull LOL ( hope you forgive the little joke ) but yes that's something great to have, i still at times get exited about anything that grows and can feed people, i heavily try on avocados and mere tomatos LOL, also very recommended if the climate allows is
aloe vera, very useful and healthy stuff to be added to smoothies of all kinds.

good reason t be proud of those mangos, my favourite fruit BTW
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Archimid on June 30, 2017, 02:30:36 AM
I have aloe vera, which I use on every cut and scrape, sun burn and to heal my dogs when they get cut. It is quite a miracle plant. I also have a couple of avocado trees (different varieties) but they are on their first year of life.   

Back to the mangoes last year there was a pretty heavy drought and that mango tree had a lot of trouble with pests. A few horses even broke into my house and ate a significant amount of the young tree. But this year was much better. It rained quite a lot and I've learned to manage the pests that were troubling the tree. I can't wait until they ripen. They'll make excellent breakfast.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on June 30, 2017, 07:42:02 PM
Hello,
I'm also doing much better than last year. Thank's for all the help. I still have the problem that many things  I sow after mid April is eaten. Nets are a great help until that date, but after, I feel that birds eat more slugs than salads.
I sow salads in a pot on the table with the idea to put them in the ground when they would be taller, but placed the pot on the ground because of a storm, and most little salads where eaten.
Watering is the other issue, I found out that dry gardenning doesn't work and the balance between too much and too little is not always easy to find.
I even have mushrooms between the salads and the onions. Don't know if that means anything. Slugs like them, it might be a good way to catch them.
Best regards,
Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on June 30, 2017, 10:04:21 PM
Not a garden yet, but these are the first two mangoes from my tree. I'm proud of them and wanted to share them with you.

Wow, that looks wonderful. I'm really jealous. I don't think we'll ever be able to grow that kind of stuff here in the Southeast of Austria, even with climate change.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Archimid on June 30, 2017, 10:58:21 PM
Neven, I feel the same way about leafy greens and other colder weather produce. It is simply too hot and they end up tasting bitter. I can never have some of the wonderful produce that you guys post all the time.  I learned that the hard way.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on July 01, 2017, 10:17:18 AM
But you have mangoes! I can only dream. I'd swap you for a cabbage any day!

That said, I've just stripped Virginia Creeper off a south-facing wall and planted two vines. Cheshire Chardonnay? Probably not, but given the direction of travel we might we might as well go with the flow.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on July 13, 2017, 03:02:47 AM
Winter has arrrived & it's cold here, too cold to work outside. So time to look at gardening online:
Here's a pic & link to the Inuvik Community Greenhouse 200 mile inside the Arctic Circle:
https://www.inuvikgreenhouse.com/ (https://www.inuvikgreenhouse.com/)
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=35d7d5d7526c9897dfb55501e320295a)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Clare on July 13, 2017, 03:09:53 AM
This doco about Singapore shows some pretty amazing ideas, the future of gardening?
"From vertical farms to living buildings, Singapore is on the cutting edge of environmentally sustainable urban solutions that have the best interest of the country's future at heart."
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/earthrise/2017/05/singapore-asia-greenest-city-170531102946823.html (http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/earthrise/2017/05/singapore-asia-greenest-city-170531102946823.html)

(I confess to like getting my hands in the soil)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on July 13, 2017, 09:26:04 AM
Winter has arrrived & it's cold here, too cold to work outside. So time to look at gardening online:
Here's a pic & link to the Inuvik Community Greenhouse 200 mile inside the Arctic Circle:
https://www.inuvikgreenhouse.com/ (https://www.inuvikgreenhouse.com/)

For a second I thought that was your greenhouse, Clare!  :o
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on August 03, 2017, 02:00:24 PM
Hello,
I have some kind of white "foam" on the ground and on some salads in one part of my garden. It is in the part I opened this spring in order to plant potatoes. I have placed a lot of grass clipping on the potatoes.
Now that we ate the first potatoes, I planted salads instead and there is some kind of white foam develops itself on the ground and on the salads. when I crush it, it is dark inside. I first though it was birds excrements. If anybody knows what this could be ?
Thanks, best regards,
Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: ghoti on August 03, 2017, 08:45:43 PM
Spittlebugs or Froghopper perhaps?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on August 04, 2017, 08:29:09 AM
Well, I believe that it goes more in the fungus direction. Wonder if it is not related to rotted grass clipping.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on August 04, 2017, 09:02:54 AM
Etienne

The photo isn't too clear but it definitely looks fungal to me. I'd be interested to hear how well your potatoes did before you planted the latest crop.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on August 04, 2017, 03:11:57 PM
Hi,
Here is a much better picture. My mobile only has a VGA quality. The white stuff is still growing and I don't think I will eat the concerned salads.

Potatoes where ok. There weren't too many because of the lack of rain during the spring. A few had small holes that where like rotten, but nothing spectacular. I used mildew resistant potatoes this hear but even so, I believe that some plants had some mildew, it just didn't go everywhere like last year.

This white stuff is only in the areas where grass clipping doesn't cover the ground anymore, which is the case mainly were potatoes have been removed.

If anybody knows what to do about it...

Thank you, best regards,

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: johnm33 on August 05, 2017, 12:03:23 PM
It does look fungal, have you had a lot of high humidity days or misty mornings? Where I've used bark/woodchips for mulch around blackcurrent bushes the wooden bits develop a similar white mould.
I've had a mouse/shrew family making themselves at home in one of my raised beds, slugs and snails almost gone.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on August 05, 2017, 01:32:20 PM
Yes, we had a lot of warm wet weather. I also have mushrooms between the tomatoes. I guess fungus will be always more an issue for gardening.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: logicmanPatrick on August 05, 2017, 06:07:05 PM
Since moving house back in February I have a garden.  The soil was thin over chalk.  (We have loads in Kent, wanna buy some?)  In some places I removed the soil down to the chalk, dug out some chalk and then put back sifted soil mixed with shop-bought compost and coconut fibre.

Only one small patch had previously been used to grow stuff.  I could tell by the fact that the soil was reasonably deep and the things I sowed there grew very nicely into a small salad plot.

I was surprised that my coriander thrives on an as yet untreated stony area.

Although my father grew stuff regularly for the table, I am no gardener.  I just read the instructions on the packet.  Apart from potatoes, which just need earthing up.  I had some small earlies - delicious with mayonnaise.

I've also had a few radishes, carrots and a very few beans,  Slugs ate the lettuce and attacked the beans.  The ants ate the slugs' leftovers!   :'(

Two questions:
1 - what kind of shotgun is best to kill slugs?

2 - what is the unidentified shrub below?

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.science20.com%2Fsites%2Fall%2Fmodules%2Fauthor_gallery%2Fuploads%2F1232296495-salad_plot.jpg&hash=070aa4026437817825d1cc55b7e6a23e)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.science20.com%2Fsites%2Fall%2Fmodules%2Fauthor_gallery%2Fuploads%2F1075641922-coriander.jpg&hash=96f9f13127808e6c0e578da25a2ed5b5)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.science20.com%2Fsites%2Fall%2Fmodules%2Fauthor_gallery%2Fuploads%2F1641124842-what_is_it.jpg&hash=4b9226f912380eb9bca0bea4cd70f17a)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on August 06, 2017, 12:14:39 AM
Slugs hunt is a complicated story. I tried many things (planted sage and mint on the main path, beer...) and I spread widely anti slugs pellets (don't know  the english name) that are only harmful for slugs. Widely means at least 1 meter around the plant I wand to protect. The problem of the anti slugs pellets is that it attracks other animals (just like the beer catches many flies and wasps).

When possible like for salads, I don't plant them directly in the garden, but let them grow first in a protected area.

I plant the carrots and spinach as soon as possible, before slugs really are awake in the spring.

Some people say that the garden shoult be watered in the morning, because slugs would be more active at night. Well, when it's raining, they are active all day.

You can buy slugs wall, but a friend of mine told me that is also doesn't work 100% and it is quite expensive.

If people have other technics, please share.

Etienne
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: logicmanPatrick on August 06, 2017, 01:21:25 AM
"You can buy slugs wall"

Nah!  Let the slugs buy their own Bl**dy wall!  ;D

Thanks for the tips, etienne.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TerryM on August 06, 2017, 01:45:38 AM
"You can buy slugs wall"

Nah!  Let the slugs buy their own Bl**dy wall!  ;D

Thanks for the tips, etienne.


We'll build the wall, but we'll make them pay for it !!
Terry  8)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 06, 2017, 05:50:49 AM
Neven,
Have the slugs paid for the electric fence you built to keep the buggers out?
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on August 06, 2017, 08:57:40 AM
In our experience the battle with the humble slug is never ending. Building barriers just doesn't work, probably because the slimy invaders' eggs are waiting to hatch in the soil. You can see clear evidence of this if you look carefully at the base of even sound cabbages. There's always a baby slug or two tucked away. Lessons for certain politicians here in both the US and the UK.....?

Rule one is to keep your garden neat and tidy and the ground cover, other than what you intend to eat, at a minimum.

Rule two is to grow plants in pots or modules and transplant to the garden when they're more mature - works really well with brassicas and lettuce.

Rule three is not to be squeamish about eating stuff with slug damage........

Both of these are fun:

http://www.slugoff.co.uk/information/list (http://www.slugoff.co.uk/information/list)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/50-Ways-Kill-Slug-Gardening/dp/0600608581/ref=pd_sim_14_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=KMY8QRY9P0W43W0VV8A2 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/50-Ways-Kill-Slug-Gardening/dp/0600608581/ref=pd_sim_14_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=KMY8QRY9P0W43W0VV8A2)



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: sidd on August 06, 2017, 09:09:13 AM
Chickens eat slugs. But i have had neurotic chickens tear up beds.

Most of them wander about calmly though, pecking all the while.

sidd
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on August 06, 2017, 10:08:39 AM
Logicman

I think the shrub in your last pic is Hypericum:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypericum_androsaemum

We have it in our garden too. It's related to St John's Wort.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Neven on August 06, 2017, 11:13:34 AM
Neven,
Have the slugs paid for the electric fence you built to keep the buggers out?

I sometimes find euro coins in the garden, but they may have dropped out of my own pockets.  ;)

The fence keeps out most slugs (especially the big ones), but like silkman says, just one small slug on the inside in autumn, and you'll have dozens in spring again. Also, the fence needs to be maintained, which means weed removal and checking the wires don't touch anywhere. At some point I will build an improved version. Of course, the slugs will have to pay for that one too.

One mistake we made, was keeping a couple of fixed plants like oregano - and we left some coriander standing - within the vegetable garden perimeter. Even though I had dug the garden when it started freezing at night (not happy about that, as I like the no-till philosophy for optimal soil fauna), the little buggers returned in early spring. The small white ones, not the big brown ones. Especially the coriander offered refuge, it seems.

They are mostly a problem during April, May and part of June, when seedlings are small and vulnerable. The slugs also seem more hungry and active then, and so we went out every evening with a flash light to kill as many as we could find (dozens of small ones). Then, at some point, we removed all the hay mulch, did some more hunting for three evenings, and then put new mulch in. That really helped a lot.

Now that most of the plants are big, we don't check as much. There doesn't seem to be any major damage. Flea beetles and caterpillars are more of a threat now, so we focus more on keeping them in check. We've learned a lot from last year, especially my wife, and so we recognize pests earlier, which really makes a difference. Damage seems a lot less this year.

For next year we'll remove all the fixed plants, probably do some tilling to further improve the soil, and then do the same with replacing the mulch at some point.

Speaking of hay mulch, the potatoes we planted in them were more of a success than expected. I wasn't sure if the layer of mulch was thick enough at some point, and as there's no electric fence around the potato plot, there was an orgy of huge brown slugs every evening, to the point that the plants didn't even have flowers. I checked once under the hay and there was only a hull of a potato, so I figured the harvest would basically be zero.

But turns out I was wrong. We planted 5 kg and got 40 kg out! One third of the potatoes had holes in them, some of them still containing burrowing slugs, but the rest looked pretty sound. Too bad we don't have a good way to store them. Looks like we'll have to build a small root cellar at some point.

Next year we'll use even more hay mulch, and maybe get some ducks. I'm quite pleased this works, as digging potatoes is quite a lot of work.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on August 06, 2017, 12:07:08 PM
Excellent job, Neven!

Just remember the old joke - What's worse than finding a slug in your salad?.......... finding half a slug!😉
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: FishOutofWater on August 08, 2017, 02:36:03 AM
Not a garden yet, but these are the first two mangoes from my tree. I'm proud of them and wanted to share them with you.

they look like cut from a spanish bull LOL ...SNIP

They sure weren't cut from The Donald.

My Haden mango tree didn't produce fruit until it was about 10 feet tall when I lived on Kauai. It's bizarre having such large mangoes on such a small tree.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Archimid on August 09, 2017, 01:27:53 AM
Yeah I was surprised too. The tree is only 2 years old, but it is a grafted tree. Maybe that's why it fruited so young.  But I'm not complaining, they were delicious.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 31, 2017, 08:15:32 AM
It seems kinda trivial to talk about gardening with all the misery going around but it has been harvest season around here and there have been several days of good drying conditions with 97 to 102 F continuing for at least another week. The early corn gets smoked and sun dried , it's called chicos. Added to a batch of beans and soaked overnight it returns to sweet yellow corn in a batch of bean soup. Corn has passed milk stage ( and chicos corn ) and I have been picking and drying a bushel  a day. Watermelons are ripening but they are summer garden fare and don't keep.
 I have a very nice stand of black-eyed peas and they are so very good picked green and cooked up into Hopping John. I planted the black-eyed peas for dried beans and I have plenty extra to pick for a couple southern born chefs I know. Strange how simple things are so cherished.
 The pepitas, hulless squash seeds, are a pile of work to scoop out and dry but they offer up a huge calorie source for later in the winter. The piggies are enjoying the leftover pumpkin meat.
 As it turns out drying all this produce is way more work than growing and weeding the garden. I still have many bushels of corn, another hundred+ pumpkins for pepidas , black beans, black-eyed peas , and Limas to thresh and dry.
 So no fossil fuel for plowing and cultivating, solar electrics for water pumps and hot sunny days for drying results in lots of food for winter and plenty of food for summer fare. When it's all done and dried I'll make some attempt to weigh it and get some calorie calculations . Acorns will be starting soon and I will be using piggy bio-diesel in the truck I use to go collect them. The tractor is still happy running on the piggy bio. I will be using it to plow and prepare pastures for the rain season. About three months of work to go.   
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: etienne on September 02, 2017, 12:30:57 PM
A funny thing about slugs is that they seem to hide under the bigger salads and go out at night to eat the new ones that just came out of the ground. As long as you have new salads, the "older" ones can grow without being eaten.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: logicmanPatrick on September 04, 2017, 02:46:40 AM
A funny thing about slugs is that they seem to hide under the bigger salads and go out at night to eat the new ones that just came out of the ground. As long as you have new salads, the "older" ones can grow without being eaten.

That explains why I got about 3 lettuces from a whole packet of seeds.

I also got 3 cauliflowers - still growing.  There were caterpillars on the caulis but as there has been a decline in butterflies around here I left them to their free lunch.  First signs now of three cauliflower heads and caterpillars have presumably pupated.

A small patch of dwarf tomatoes looks promising.  Some trusses have 10 or more small toms on them.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: morganism on September 11, 2017, 10:18:25 PM
neighbors having bees removed just now, and reminded me that elephants hate drones, because they think they are a bee swarm. Has anyone heard if deer are the same?
Can we use drones to keep the deer out without fencing?

edit: and youtube delivers a no!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBz6fMXKKI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBz6fMXKKI)
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: logicmanPatrick on September 13, 2017, 01:30:42 PM
neighbors having bees removed just now, and reminded me that elephants hate drones, because they think they are a bee swarm. Has anyone heard if deer are the same?
Can we use drones to keep the deer out without fencing?

edit: and youtube delivers a no!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBz6fMXKKI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBz6fMXKKI)
:)
My niece is a licenced bee remover.  You wouldn't catch me anywhere near that stuff.  I was stung by a swarm aged about 4 yo.  Last year I was stung on the tongue while cycling fast when my mouth flew onto a bee.
Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: silkman on October 15, 2017, 08:11:43 PM
Here in NW England, ex-hurricane Ophelia apart, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us. It's time to harvest the gourds and squashes ahead of Halloween and winter soup.

It's been a mixed season for us this year. Our staple squashes, Crown Prince and Barbara, cropped poorly due to lack of sun over the latter part of summer but we had some fun trying out some American "heritage varieties" including Hubbard and Long Island.

Here's the haul. It's the highlight of our harvest. They store well, eat well and are very pleasing to the eye. At least I think so.

It's on to the parsnips, swede and sprouts now.