We moved our chickens into a new pen, and we’ll use the old pen for a small garden. Every fall, we put down a layer of leaves in the old pen and they’ve turned into a thick layer of crumbly, brown, composted chicken-manure. Over the years, the chickens have picked their yard clean of grass and weeds until the ground is completely bare.
Anything goes, Compost, Garden Problems
Combine 3 1/2 acres of partially wooded property and a fenced in sunny vegetable garden with an eco-minded creative free spirit with ADD, and what do you get? Half-finished paradise.
It seems there is never enough time to keep up with the weeds, and I dont dare use a chemical that might get into the food supply. Today my husband and I spent 2 hours in the sun trying to locate 2 apple trees and 2 peach trees I planted this spring. There is some sweet-smelling TALL “weed” that grows in the back of our property that has totally camouflaged my orchard-in-progress.
We purchased our own little section of paradise 2 years ago this August. The property was built for a preacher and his family in 1969, and he was a purveyor of gardening and homemade fruit wines. We had planted the apple and peach near 4 very established pear trees that are loaded with fruit until the deer have a pear-party (I still want to see how they reach the ones at the top!)
In any case, I find myself reluctant to cut down anything for fear it was out there purposely and has some value. Id really like to find out what this “weed” is. There is asparagus and Rhubarb growing nearby as well (I never knew asparagus grew into “trees” if it isnt picked as spears)
Below is a pic - it is growing to the right of my daughter (she is playing piano at my wedding!) - Im not sure you can see it clearly, Ill try to take more pictures - if there are any herb experts out there, let me know if you can identify it!!
Anything goes, Beans, Compost, Corn, Garden Problems, Gardening Tips and Tricks, Garlic, Herbs, Melons, My vegetable garden, Peas, Plangarden News, Potatoes, Recipies, Tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zucchini
Just new to the site. I garden every year, but laST 2 YEARS HVE BEEN AWFUL. I’m getting ready to start my cold weather plants…yaaa. means spring not to far away!! . I live in northern michigan just below Mac Bridge. I think i might try some container gardening this year.
Anything goes, Compost
Ordered a new compost tumbler . Have been using pallets. Takes too long to get compost. I hope it works !
Compost, My vegetable garden
(Crossposted from my grin_bear LiveJournal)
Today was a very nice day, first sunny and non-rainy one in a long time, so I did a lot of gardening stuff both indoors and out.
One thing I have had on my “urgent to do before Spring” list since last Fall is to properly prune the blueberry bushes. These cannot produce a large crop unless the number of limbs is reduced to a small manageable number. We bought them as mature, unpruned bushes last spring and I didn’t want to mess with them their first season in the ground, so they needed it pretty bad. The picture above shows younger red-skinned branches that I believe are good candidates for possibly bearing fruit this year.
This picture taken from the same angle but a different focus distance shows older branches beyond: they are gray as they have grown an additional layer of more mature bark. These gray ones are definitely too old to leave on. There are also tiny branches only 5″ high that I believe will be next year’s fruiting branches so I left those alone.
“Barbara” Bush before pruning. There are a lot of old branches, which will consume energy generating foliage without fruiting, all mixed up with the young fruit bearing ones. Chopchop!
Here are the Bush family all freshly pruned. It is a dramatic difference — click the image to see closer. I hope we get lots of berries this year! They have been in the ground 1 year so should be pretty well established by now, at least I hope so.
The only one I am concerned about is “Jeb” Bush which had all older branches. There were only two tiny red ones left standing up. But it’s also the only one still with snow cover, so hopefully there are still a few greenies flattened underneath there that will pop up when the snow melts. These were sold to me as 10 year old bushes which should theoretically mean they have 5-10 years left in them at least. But there’s always this niggling paranoia that they were in fact tired out 15-20 year old bushes instead. You never know. Poor “Jeb”!
As always, the Jacob’s Ladder I planted alongside of the deck 3 years ago is the first thing to sprout. However this time there are clear signs of it finally starting to spread. Alas the wooden outside wall of the bed was destroyed by the firewood guys dumping a load on it last year. Replacing it will be a project for me this summer. Oh yay!
Speaking of firewood, the pallets and tarps from the 2nd load of firewood remains outside. There was too much snow to remove it when we moved the firewood in, as it was all frozen in. Today I was able to remove the higher quality silver tarp at top, but the crummier brown/silver one at center is still frozen in one spot. It will be nice to one day have a building or shed for storing firewood instead.
In indoor gardening news, my instruction binder I made up last year informed me that I should be starting cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choi, parsley, leeks, and onions indoors now. I had gotten two of these neato Jiffy Professional Greenhouses which are very cheap and include everything needed to start seeds in a friendly environment, aside from light. I wanted to use one for starting stuff to plant outside, and one to experiment with growing our own lettuce etc. for salads all year around. For that one I laid out some leaf lettuces, spinach, arugula, and mustard.
The first step is to pour 1/8 cup of water upon each little circle of peat moss. Yeah I know there are arguments against using peat moss, mainly that some feel it may have been harvested using unsustainable methods. This is from Canada where it seems they are doing a good job of planning it out for sustainability, but in any case I hope to make my own starting cylinders using paper and my own composted dirt when I run out of peats.
The peats swell up to about an inch and a half high. I was going nuts trying to keep the ones I didn’t want to use yet dry, until I figured out duh, I could just remove those ones and put them in later. Oh yeah, huh.
Each peat consists of a disk of dried compressed moss and then a mesh covering. The next instruction is to pull open the mesh at the top of the swelled up cylinders, and “fluff up” the peat moss which I did with a fork. This turned out to be a very labor intensive process!
Here they are all fluffed and looking remarkably like small sacks o dirt. Yeah I can probably make these. Originally I was going to say it’d be so much easier to just buy refills of the peats. Now I am like OK… it’s work either way. Might as well make my own.
I am using 2009 seeds which is a bit dubious but 1 year later is usually OK. I put 2-3 in each pot. The arugula seeds were definitely viable however; they had in fact sprouted right in the package. How funny! (There were still some dry ones down in the bottom luckily.)
After the seeds are planted the clear top goes on, to stay until everything has sprouted. I took the extra, unauthorized step of using an eyedropper to add a small amount of extra water on top of each set of seeds.
The two Jiffy starter greenhouses went on the top shelf of my new light tabl… er… shelf. Now to wait!
While in the basement I noticed there was a mystery shroom growing in one of the celery pots. Yuck! The all natural potting soil company wasn’t kidding when they said it was full of organic matter! Note to self, buy different brand next time. Better yet, encourage compost heap to start producing soil faster.
Speaking of compost, I got this fabulous shot of many happy redworms of every imaginable age range from little white babies to big lethargic red adults probably full of more of same. Please do click on the image above to see EVERY Detail
Those plants that were too big to fit on the new light table and went upstairs to join the houseplants are doing really well. The rosemary (left edge) is growing like crazy, though alas not any longer in a nice little conical shape. It’ll probably have to be pruned once it goes outside. Oh what shall I do with extra rosemary? Hmmm let me think. (drool) At foreground are the fingerling potatoes which continue to have very small leaves very widely spaced on the stems. I am starting to wonder if that is just how this kind of potatoes looks? Well, I will find out for sure when I plant some outside in the spring.
Compost, My vegetable garden
(Crossposted from my grin_bear LiveJournal)
I pulled the bottom tray of my worm farm today and harvested about 3/4 gallon of beautiful black composted dirt! I used most of it to back-fill house plants, and put a small amount back into the upper trays of the worm colony.
This photo was taken after the small amount was taken out, but before the rest was distributed to the plants. I found clayey handful-sized knots of tiny squirming translucent worm babies in there while adding dirt to plants and I returned those to the top tray as well. The worms seem to go through cycles where there will be more adults, or more babies. Right now it was definitely fewer adults and more young so I didn’t want to waste any of the next generation.
Anything goes, Compost, Gardening Tips and Tricks, My vegetable garden
I am very excited because I finally planted my veggies and herbs in my square foot gardens. The process took all week because I had to wait for my husband to build 2 2′x4′ boxes and then make stands for them. I have them on my very sunny deck, so they are sure to thrive in this hot Texas summer.
Because I started so late, I went with plants rather than seeds, so I am already on my way! Soon we will have tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatillos, yellow squash, serrano peppers, sage, parsley, cilantro, mint, lavender and oregano.
Everything is organic and I used the recommended mixture of vermiculite, peat moss and composts for square foot gardening. For more specific details, please see my daily log.
Approximate area needed to grow ONE person’s diet using conventional mechnized chemical or Organic techniquesMarch 22nd, 2009 by abbott2 in Anything goes, Compost, Garden Problems, Gardening Tips and Tricks
stats for Average US Diet needs 15,000-30,000 sq ft
assuming average amounts of Vegetables,fruits,grains,beans,eggs,milk,cheese And meat are eaten.
using Biointensive Method including crops that produce a high level of caloriesper unit of area needs 4,000 Sq Ft. source ,John Jeavons how to grow more vegetables, and fruits,nuts,berries,grains and other crops. plus soil fertility sustained.
” Jeavons approach hasdone more to solve poverty and misery than anything elsewe’ve done” Bob Bergland U.S. Secerary of Agiculture.
Anything goes, Compost, Garden Problems, Gardening Tips and Tricks
The” Grow Biointensive ” term was tradmarked in 1999 by “Ecology Action”
The Grow Biointensive method is a whole ,interrelated farming system, and its components must be used together for the optium effect. If you do not use all of ifs elements together,the method’s high yields can rapidly deplete the soil.
More latter got to run
Status update on the hot compost pile.
It rained last night, so it is damp and cold outside, but not in the compost bin. There it is cooking away. Yesterday I threw a few figs in the center of the pile that had gone bad in there and today they were cooked. It didn’t seem to smoke as much today, but it was definately hotter. There was a little more smell of ammonia, but it was not over-powering.
I am thinking it might cool down tomorrow or the next day, but the bacteria are in charge now, so they will decided when they have had enough.
Remember there is not water added to this pile (but we have high humidity). I only turn it once per day when it is this hot and spend only 5 minutes or less on the pile. Once it cools down I may only turn it twice a week.