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  • Re: Garden Geeks thread

    The philosophy that governs our little garden was spelled out many years ago in a book called Square Foot Gardening.

    The basic premise was pretty simple: it doesn't really matter how much you grow, what matters is how much you harvest.

    So you have smaller patches cultivated more intensely, so that you can reach all parts of the growing space easily.

    You also use the vertical dimension quite a bit: tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. are trained to grow upward on structures. The tomatoes I use 12-foot poles connected at the top into A-frames, and use twine to grow the tomatoes up the poles. You pinch off most of the side branches: at every leaf junction another stem will start growing, you pinch those off real early in their growth so that relatively more of the plants' energy goes into growing the main stem and the fruit, not diverted into lots of leaves on side branches. It also makes harvesting a breeze. We have a tomato plant every foot and in our best, blight-free year, were able to make about 4 gallons of sauce on top of all the salad and sandwich and whatever else.

    Anyway, throughout the whole space, we have paths and stepping stones and what-have-you so that you can reach each plant without stepping on soil. Weeding is done with a mini-hoe that slices plants off at the edge of the soil.

    So we have two 8' x 3' patches, two 2' x 4' patches, and then the raspberry patch and the two strawberry patches and that's it, yet it can be incredibly fruitful for such a relatively small space.
    Last edited by FreshFish; 04-16-2013, 06:41 PM.
    "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

    "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

    "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

    "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

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    • Re: Garden Geeks thread

      Has anybody tried starting corn indoors? This spring has been strange and I want to get a head start on the corn. Can I plant them in peat pots, then stick the peat pots in the ground later?
      Fighting Sioux Forever

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      • Re: Garden Geeks thread

        It's interesting for me to observe the difference in "hardiness zones" first-hand.

        I live in CT and work in Manhattan, which is one hardiness zone lower (I believe Manhattan is zone 7 while where I live in CT is zone 6). A good catalog (e.g. White Flower Farm) should help you figure out which zone you live in. (or go to http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/? and then enter your ZIP code)

        Anyway, I can see the difference; the same plants will flower in Manhattan about ten days to two weeks sooner than they will where I live.

        What brought it to mind is that I saw a magnolia in flower today in Harlem, while magnolias are still weeks away from flowering where I live.
        Last edited by FreshFish; 04-17-2013, 11:29 AM.
        "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

        "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

        "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

        "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

        Comment


        • Re: Garden Geeks thread

          Originally posted by FreshFish View Post
          The philosophy that governs our little garden was spelled out many years ago in a book called Square Foot Gardening.

          .....

          So we have two 8' x 3' patches, two 2' x 4' patches, and then the raspberry patch and the two strawberry patches and that's it, yet it can be incredibly fruitful for such a relatively small space.
          I do something similar. I have a 4' x 8' raised bed garden. I plant the various veggies in closer than what is recommended and I have had no problems. I also plant any traveling vine type plants (cukes, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, etc.) around the outside and "train" the plans to grow out into the yard, leaving space in the center for plants that are easily grown upward (peas, beans, etc.) It works quite well.
          My Four Favorite teams:
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          If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. - James Madison

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          • Re: Garden Geeks thread

            Echoing a GRR! moment from jen earlier: what is wrong with plant suppliers who ship live plants well before it is time to plant them? We just received some grafted hybrid tomatoes, nearly a full month before it is safe to plant them outdoors. They know our hardiness zone and just ignored it.

            Now we have to tend them indoors in some makeshift fashion rather than have the supplier use their professional-grade greenhouse to keep them safe from frost.
            "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

            "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

            "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

            "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

            Comment


            • Re: Garden Geeks thread

              Originally posted by FreshFish View Post
              Echoing a GRR! moment from jen earlier: what is wrong with plant suppliers who ship live plants well before it is time to plant them? We just received some grafted hybrid tomatoes, nearly a full month before it is safe to plant them outdoors. They know our hardiness zone and just ignored it.

              Now we have to tend them indoors in some makeshift fashion rather than have the supplier use their professional-grade greenhouse to keep them safe from frost.
              Call them, tell them they screwed up and ask them if you should send them back until the right time comes.

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              • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                I was tempted also to post this in the 'grinding away' thread.

                it just looks so bizarre when people prune forsythias to look like boxwoods!

                To prune shrubs properly is a combination of an art and a science, you not only want to shape the plant's appearance today, you also give it the overall structure it needs for a long-term healthy growth pattern. One of the first rules of pruning is that you lop branches of different sizes from different places, you don't just clip the ends.

                Forsythias are meant to arch. They are not supposed to look like a domesticated show poodle.
                "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

                "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

                "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

                "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

                Comment


                • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                  Got part of the garden rototilled today, going to be busy week of work which is too bad as this week is supposed to be rain free, might get some stuff planted if I have the time.
                  Not going to plant peas this year, too much work for very little product. The peas are excellent but. My Peppers and Tomatoes look great. Plan on tilling the lower garden and planting squash down there, hope to get enough squash to fill the cold room as I eat that instead of taters or other starches.
                  I swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.

                  Maine Hockey Love it or Leave it

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                  • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                    I got the last of the 3 veg gardens rototilled today. Potatoes are planted in Garden #1. The first batch of corn is in the little peat pots, and almost all of them are up. I'll put them into garden #3 in a couple of weeks. 70 here today in the Madison area and finally starting to turn into spring.
                    Fighting Sioux Forever

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                    • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                      Finished putting together my composter yesterday. Bought it at Costco. It's the Lifetime brand one with two 50 gallon containers that you can rotate. Now is the fun of figuring out exactly what to mix in it. Hoping to use some shredded newspaper and grass cuttings and probably a few other lesser inputs from around the property. Anyone do much composting?
                      Originally posted by Priceless
                      Good to see you're so reasonable.
                      Originally posted by ScoobyDoo
                      Very well, said.
                      Originally posted by Rover
                      A fair assessment Bob.

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                      • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                        Originally posted by Bob Gray View Post
                        Finished putting together my composter yesterday. Bought it at Costco. It's the Lifetime brand one with two 50 gallon containers that you can rotate. Now is the fun of figuring out exactly what to mix in it. Hoping to use some shredded newspaper and grass cuttings and probably a few other lesser inputs from around the property. Anyone do much composting?
                        have mixed leaves with grass clippings. takes longer than I'd expect to get usable dirt, even using a composter powder mix that's supposed to aid the process. also it's ugly and ungainly. hard to find a location that's convenient to use it that doesn't also result in an eyesore somewhere.
                        "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

                        "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

                        "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

                        "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

                        Comment


                        • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                          Originally posted by Bob Gray View Post
                          Finished putting together my composter yesterday. Bought it at Costco. It's the Lifetime brand one with two 50 gallon containers that you can rotate. Now is the fun of figuring out exactly what to mix in it. Hoping to use some shredded newspaper and grass cuttings and probably a few other lesser inputs from around the property. Anyone do much composting?
                          Opposite experience from Mr Fish- never use newspaper or starter. Use shredded leaves from the yard, all of our peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, grass clippings, weeds (yea I know people say don't do it but I do anyway) and dirt from pots in the fall. I use a bin on the ground. Get great dirt once a season. dig off the top layer into a bin next to the first one, sift and viola. Dump the chunks that aren't siftable in with the rest of the stuff and start again.

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                          • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                            Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                            Opposite experience from Mr Fish- never use newspaper or starter. Use shredded leaves from the yard, all of our peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, grass clippings, weeds (yea I know people say don't do it but I do anyway) and dirt from pots in the fall. I use a bin on the ground. Get great dirt once a season. dig off the top layer into a bin next to the first one, sift and viola. Dump the chunks that aren't siftable in with the rest of the stuff and start again.
                            That's how I do it, except the weeds.

                            I built two 4'x4'x4' compost bins of wood and they sit on the ground, side by side. The walls are 1x4 pine with horizontal 1" spacing between each board for air flow. The front is the same, but the boards are not nailed in so I can easily remove them to get at my compost. I attached a spacer to each board to keep the 1" gapping and they slide on top of each other in a channel. I have a hinged roof over each bin so I can control the amount of water going in. They are framed with 4x4 corners for sturdiness. They look like bee hives and are still going strong after 20 years. Wish I could post a picture but I don't know how.

                            One bin has fresh grass/leave clippings and as it breaks down, I transfer it to the next bin to finish composting. Bin #1 then gets fresh grass/leaves. If I work at it, I can get two batches of compost per year, one in spring, one in fall. It takes a good balance of carbon/nitrogen/moisture to get it to compost quicker. Here's a great site from OSU on composting. It gives you the carbon/nitrogen ratios of different materials and is a very useful site. My bins are similar to the 5th diagram down (turning bins) at this site. Have fun!
                            'Eavesdropped the BC forum in USCHO. A range of intellects over there. Mostly gentlemen, but a couple of coarse imbeciles' - academic_index, a Brown fan

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                            • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                              My chickens compost everything for me, scraps from the kitchen comes out composted within a day

                              My dad was the king of composting, he taught classes all over about it.

                              Put the water to it while building it if you want to get it going. Weeds should be ok if you get the pile hot enough.
                              Last edited by walrus; 04-29-2013, 07:23 PM.
                              I swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.

                              Maine Hockey Love it or Leave it

                              Comment


                              • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                                Originally posted by walrus View Post
                                My chickens compost everything for me, scraps from the kitchen comes out composted within a day

                                My dad was the king of composting, he taught classes all over about it.

                                Put the water to it while building it if you want to get it going. Weeds should be ok if you get the pile hot enough.
                                This made me chuckle.

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