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Merry or contrary? How does your garden grow?

Spring fever. I have a window full of starts and a yard full of snow. Itchy digits longing for dirt under the nails must settle for keyboard under the fingers. Lets talk "garden."

Do you love to plant but dread the harvest? I got a little sick of canning and freezing and dehydrating like a mad woman all summer and fall. AP lets me harvest year round, as I need it. I will still do some food preservation, but having fresh produce year around makes it a more manageable task. I also live in the desert, so the water conservation aspect is very important to me.

Do you have to water all the time too, but are not ready to try AP? Have you heard of "wicking beds?" I have never tried them, but may give it a go this summer. It looks like a great idea. Essentially, you line a raised bed in plastic, poke an overflow hole in near the bottom. Wind some drainage pipe around the bottom, then bring one end to the top. Put a layer of non-organic drainage material to cover the pipe, then screen cloth or fibrous mulch to make a dividing layer between your gravel / sand and dirt layers. Next add your dirt and plant it. You water through the exposed end of the drain pipe until you see water come out the overflow. Supposedly, the plants will wick water from the bottom for a week or more. It appeals to me as a way to keep voles out of my garden, also. You will need to put a cut off plastic water or pop bottle over the open end of the drain pipe or critters will get into the bed through the pipe.

Do you have nasty soil? I had one garden that was a nutrient depleted weed patch. In one year, I transformed it using deep mulch. Nothing expensive. I got cardboard boxes and covered the ground with them then spread straw over them, about 6 inches deep. I watered it down, and deliberately did the project in the rainy season so it would keep getting watered. Within days, I had worms, beetles, fungi - workhorses of the dirt reporting for duty. By fall, my soil looked and smelled like dirt again.

Do you plant the same thing, year after year? Have you considered looking at some perennial edibles? One of the things we really like about the food forest concept is the use of self-sowing and perennial plants. By using heirloom seed, and depending on your local climate, you may be able to have things like spinach and lettuce that volunteer year after year and naturalize into an edible yard.

Trying anything unusual? We want to grow goji berries, but the voles got to them last year. I have one shrub left that might still be alive, should know in a few weeks. This year I am trying tobacco - little tiny sprouts showed up in my tray yesterday. I am encouraged, but have never been good at the "seedling" phase. I cannot seem to find the happy medium between parched and damped off.

Plagued by pests? In our area, deer are one of the biggest problems. I discovered this utterly disgusting brew recommended by Sepp Holzer that he calls "bone sauce" and the deer did not bother my baby fruit trees at all. It is supposed to work for ten years! Of course, the voles dug down under where I treated and ate the roots off underground... so I lost most of them anyway. I would still recommend the sauce against deer. When we get around to our "food forest" planting, we will use mulch and such to try to change the environment to one the voles do not like, and hope that will reduce the population to a more reasonable number. For now, I will enclose my entire garden area in bird net, including going a foot underground beneath the bed.

One thing I noticed that I found fascinating... My little vole garden from last year is a small patch on a south facing slope. The entire slope is still snow covered, except my garden spot where I had heavily mulched. It is all thawed out and the soil is warming up. Next year, I plan to have a little hoop-house cold frame, I think I could get a 6 week head start by mulching in the fall and planting under protection in the early spring.

So, merry or contrary, how does your garden grow?

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Grow bed media

So far the test cups I planted have done great using the spun glass filter media. Here's a couple pictures of the zucchini, a little leggy from not getting enough light from the window but doing great otherwise, first true leaves started. Definitely going to be testing a couple full size grow beds in the AP system this spring.

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s663/mindurbusiness1/see...

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s663/mindurbusiness1/see...

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

Fun Uplifting Video

(at least I thought so) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKrkaSf8aT4

skippy

Got some planted

Planted in the garden today, dwarf pak choy, arugula, spinach, shellng peas, sugar peas, snow peas and lettuce. Tomorrow going to set out broccoli and cauliflower starts, probably in cold frames.

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

My sweet tater sprouted!

3 of 4 turned to mush, but the one is growing roots and just started making sprouts yesterday. Yay!

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

Nice!

The wife picked some carrots that got missed in the fall, tops were all green again a couple were kinda woody but most were great. Heading back out to till some more to make a plot for the onion sets.

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

SaveThePandas's picture

Sigh Fishy

Sigh, I can’t garden much this year because the next 6 months of my life includes me packing up and moving every few weeks. I love gardening though… It is relaxing.

“We want to grow goji berries” That would be cool, I would love to grow some gooseberries, but I have not looked into it yet, maybe next year.

“I discovered this utterly disgusting brew recommended by Sepp Holzer.” Do you know if it works on raccoons? The raccoons have been my biggest enemy the past 2 seasons.

Nice tip on the nasty soil. I never had that problem in Michigan or Washington, but I will keep that tip in mind if I find myself someplace where the soil is not friendly.

My gardens have evolved from tomatoes and raspberries to include asparagus, squash, carrots, rhubarb, zucchini, and last year I added in blueberries, but they did not do so well for reasons I have yet to understand. I shall try again next time I am in a position to have a cool garden.

I also want to start a rose garden someday. Good luck with the tobacco, and enjoy your gardening this season, I am jealous.

Blueberries need acidic soil

Blueberries need acidic soil and lots of sun. You can put pine needles around them and that will help. I have heard coffee grounds will work too but have not tried that. I had a couple bushes that struggled for a couple years and so I moved them to a sunnier spot and put pine needles around them and they did much better. They are not easy to grow.

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Here's the bone sauce recipe

http://www.permies.com/t/1805//Sepp-Holzer-recipe-animals-trees

I think it would work on raccoons. I suspect the smell of burnt bone is what does it, and animals just have an instinct to warn them away from a spot where another animal got burnt... just my guess. My problem was voles would dig an inch or two under the ground, then chew the roots off the trunk. I think it would work on non-burrowing mammals, though. I did have some trouble with grasshoppers, they would land above where I treated the saplings. A couple blueberries were among the voles' victims. :( Gooseberries grow wild on the place, though. I found one just loaded with fruit last year, and went to pick them and once I started picking them my COW started to eat them! (Bad Bessie!) I thought that was fascinating - she had not touched them until she saw me gather them. I also have wild roses, I am going to try to harvest hips and make rose oil this fall. I love wild roses, I don't EVER want a cultivar again. Yes, they are lovely. Yes, some of them smell heavenly. Yes, they try to eat me alive every time I try to be nice to them... As least the wild ones don't need pruned! This is the kind of "rose" I am into:
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/natbltn/200-299/nb277.htm
(I just learned that recently, fascinating!)
I'm sorry you can't garden this year. If your travels take you near Idaho, stop by for a salad - lol!

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

I would suspect your gooseberries are wild currants?

Are they a little purplish in color? They make the best jam! I also had the bush cherries on my yard that were good for jam and syrup.
My sis makes wonderful jam and syrup from elderberries!
Another tip to repel mice and deer, etc. (not sure what all it works for) is Irish Spring soap! Hang the bars in netting among the plants. Probably won't work for voles.

I had to dig a posthole

and I beheaded one of the little varmints. That kind of thing would normally have me heave, maybe even puke. I was so proud of me, I considered putting its little head on a pike... Maybe the Irish spring can wash the blood off my hands... lol!
The berries are sort of orange, with little darker stripes. They are what I call "gooseberries" but I confess, I don't know what they call themselves. We have chokecherries, too. And plums, and elderberries growing wild nearby. I did not do any canning last year, but I plan to put up a small pharmacy of herbals this year, and some yummy jams!

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

Gooseberries are larger

and green and have less stickery branches--but both are good!
I have had quite a few battles with packrats in the last two years, killed one with an axe, drowned one, shot one, etc. And, yes, I do feel sorry for the little critters, but they are stinky and cause a lot of damage!

Who is going

to try and capture a bee swarm this season? I'm going to build a few of the bait traps like the guy has in the video. Not sure how I'm going to react to bee keeping, might bring back some unpleasant memories. I was attacked by hundreds of ground hornets about 20 years ago while bird hunting. Ended up with over 200 stings, for years after my heart would race when I heard the buzz of wings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRfEhAXaeyQ

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

We always set ourselves to capture,

and do so, but we lose as many to swarming. They go where they want, unlike cows that you can keep fenced in.

You'll love it. Honey Bees

You'll love it. Honey Bees are not usually aggressive unless you really threaten them big time. Unless they are africanized bees. Where are you located? If you are in the south then there is a possibility of them so you have to be careful when going for a swarm. In the north where you have 4 seasons no worries they cannot survive the winters.

I got my first swarm last year you can check out my story here:

http://www.meetup.com/Idaho-Aquaponics/messages/boards/threa...

http://www.meetup.com/Idaho-Aquaponics/messages/boards/threa...

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Would you sell a beehive you build?

I have a neighbor who may be interested.

Yes I would email me at

Yes I would email me at hawkiye at cableone dot net. fishy has one I built so she is my reference LOL.

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

awesome!

I live in northern Kansas close to Nebraska so I don't think I have to worry about africanized bees. We had a colony of wild bees in a large hollow oak for years, then about 3 years ago it came crashing down on the house. I should have tried to move the bees to a hive then but I didn't know anything about it and thought they would move to another one of the trees in the yard. I left the main part of tree they were occupying alone on the ground and cut up the rest. They stayed for a few days but eventually left. Now for the last few years I have nearly zero bees in the garden, I rarely see one. I think the melons and plants that need mechanical pollination are being pollinated by beetles and moths and not doing such a good job of it. So I've been reading all I can and watching a lot of videos. Think I'm going to give it a shot. Good to know there is someone with experience on the DP I can ask advise from if I get into trouble :) Cool story and pictures of your bees! Did you harvest any honey or are you letting them get established?

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

No Honey yet since I got them

No Honey yet since I got them late in the year they needed it for the winter. Plus I supplemented them a bit in the fall too. They are very therapeutic. Sometimes I just sit and watch them work its relaxing and there is almost like a spiritual connection it seems. The girls work hard and are good at it. I cannot find a bloom or blossom anywhere but they are finding pollen somewhere. Not a lot but they amazingly can find some.

It's easier then you think. I recommend the natural method as opposed to the conventional (commercial) method. Less work and better for the bees IMO. Feel free to ask me any questions. I did as you are doing I read a lot of stuff and watched a lot of you tubes and then dived in. Natural bee keepers are not losing half their colonies like commercial bee keepers are. here is a good site on it:

http://www.biobees.com/forum/index.php

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Thought I

would give you guys a link to a supplier of uniseals I found the other day. For those who may not what they are. They are an inexpensive bulkhead fitting for joining tanks together via a pipe. They can be used on round or flat surfaces as in the curved surface of a barrel or even the side of another pipe. None of the hardware stores around me carry them so online is my only option. This is the best price I've seen them online. I noticed they are also on Amazon if you happen to be ordering something else there. The shipping was inexpensive and fast as well.

http://www.afishybusiness.com/

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

May karma return this favor.

Seriously, on my list of things to do today or tomorrow, find a source for those. We expect to cob up the RMheater next week, and then will start building the fish tank and I needed some of those for our filtration system.
The DP is awesome.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

We seem to have some

of the same kooky ideas bouncing around our heads. The rocket mass heater is pretty cool! I built a foundry about 10 years ago that ran on waste oil capable of melting 15 lbs. of copper/bronze at a time. I think it could have gotten hot enough to do iron but I wasn't willing to spend the money on the expensive graphite crucible I would have needed to find out.

The bold effort the present bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it-Andrew Jackson

:)

We've been toying with making a rocket-forge.... I love this stuff, but it makes me a little sad sometimes. If I had this information when I was 17, we would have spent our life in a little cabin in the woods. But at least I learned while I could still use it.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

How Does My Garden Grow?

With Water + Fish
http://urban-farming.ca/cms/project

If anybody is interested in a unit like this let me know

I can have some ready in a couple of months

Fishy, can you share your

Fishy, can you share your experiences with the rocket mass heater you briefly mentioned on the bottom of this thread? I have done a lot of reading on them. Since I live in a township and have a mortgage, the Insurance company would have a cow unless I don't say anything... I'm sure the city would crap in their pants as well. Did you have to deal with any bureaucratic crapola or do you own your home free and clear?

There is no Left or Right -- there is only freedom or tyranny. Everything else is an illusion, an obfuscation to keep you confused and silent as the world burns around you." - Philip Brennan

"Invest only in things that you can stand in front of and pr

We are putting it in a greenhouse.

Under 200 square feet and not a residence, there is no crapola in my county. Ours is still a work in progress, we will do the cob work next. I can't really comment on the performance yet, but I am eager to get it fired up!
I am sure you would have issues with the mortgage company. The "chimney" runs horizontally for 30 to 40 feet, and by their understanding of "wood burning stove" that is a serious hazard. If I were in your shoes, I might do something like build the stove part outside, run the mass into the house and the chimney back outside, and try to make it look like it is there to heat the porch or garage or something. Not that I would ever recommend doing anything that you do not have the banksters blessing to do... that would be wrong.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

Sepp books says to control

Sepp books says to control voles you need enough diversity of plants so they have enough to eat. However I realize in the meantime you may need to do something with them at first till you get to that point. Zamzows makes an organic vole repellent I have used with great success.

Sepp also says voles can actually be helpful as the save bits of roots in their tunnels and rains collapse the tunnels etc and things like sun choke carrots etc get spread that way as the tunnels aerate the soil etc.

Hard to fathom but he has the results to prove it.

Oh I almost forgot and I am going to completely redo my raised beds in hugelkultur raised mounds.

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Yeah, we tried to appreciate the aeration.

The ground is hard packed, so I did try to tell myself they were doing good work... still.... little buggars. But we were going to take a permaculture approach, when we got ready to develop the land. The predators are there, we have a neighborhood fox and dozens of raptors, but they are out of balance. And for this summer, they will likely stay that way, although I will give the Zamzow's stuff a try. Is it their Mole Max stuff, or something else?

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

I'm not sure if this link will work---Pallets

for your row garden.
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/c73.0.403.403/p4...

I am going to try using pallets for my strawberry plants. Maybe 2 of them teepeed together? Then I won't have to get down on my knees to pick strawberries!

I'd be a little careful with pallets

We had this discussion about using them for greenhouses - they can have some nasties on them:
http://www.ehow.com/facts_7632551_wood-pallets-toxic-firewoo...

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

I read an article on the toxic pallets

And I checked my pallets, they checked out "safe"----so it depends on if you believe what you read on the internet! LOL