Lessons Learned From a Backyard Garden

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posted on Jul, 25 2008 @ 07:43 PM
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Looks really good Katt.

I never did get aroud to planting my sunflowers . . . give em a try next year.

I have the same composter you do . . . lucked out and paid $5. at a garage sale, brand new, never used.

Looks like it's working ok and Sweetie threw in a bit too much shredded newspaper, but it stirs in ok and looks like it's decomposing ok.

They have great garage sales here, way better than Sunny Central California where it was mostly old clothes and not worth going.


I did an update with photos on my garden.
Go here: www.abovetopsecret.com...'

In the same post I have a couple of pics of Great Northern cooking beans growing just fine.

We've been picking our tomatoes at bit early - before they split - and letting them ripen in the kitchen.
It looks like the problem is that they need shade.

I did drive by a big home garden last weekend - a very successful one - and noted they had green nursery type shade cloth over what I'm guessing is the tomato area.

Tomorrow morning there's a Farmers Market, I plan to hit that and the gardener mentioned above should be there so I'll ask a few questions.

The watermelons have really taken off and in fact escaped the confines of the garden and are growing along the outside of the fence.
This afternoon we found three watermelons about the size of a soda can.
Looks like we're gonna have a bunch of those.

I've also added a 12'-15' extension toward where the trailer was parked in the earlier pics.
Gonna try to get it bricked and fenced tomorrow.
Corn and beans - the cooking beans - go in there....

Anyhoo, enjoyed the photos of your garden . . . thanks for posting.

[edit on 25-7-2008 by Desert Dawg]

[edit on 25-7-2008 by Desert Dawg]




posted on Jul, 26 2008 @ 06:57 PM
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I've been doing some online research as I prepare to xeriscape my back yard and came across this pretty cool idea for an herb garden.

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The building instructions are on this page.

www.gardeningtipsnideas.com...

I also love the rock pile idea, maybe a scaled down version. Something to do with all those rocks you dig up when you're tilling your garden. I've seen them with all types of rocks, in many different configurations, like animal shapes, spirals, wherever your imagination takes you, and you can plant herbs or edible flowers in the gaps.

[img=512x384]
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posted on Jul, 26 2008 @ 07:13 PM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


Desert Dawg, your garden looks great-- lots of space too. I still love the idea of those cinder blocks around the garden and planting in them. As I xeriscape my back yard, I'm going to add a raised garden in a section of the yard that gets a bit of afternoon shade and I plan to use the cinder blocks. I might try to stain them some earth tone with some natural stain, just so they'll blend in more. I need more space to plant everything I want to try.

I had a shade cloth up, just tied to either end of the fence and with a stick in the middle to tent it up some. I took it down a few days ago because it hasn't been that hot here... for July. I can always put it back up in five minutes, if I have to. I got it at Home Depot-- a huge piece you can cut to fit your needs. If you get too much sun, no amount of watering will help.

The only tomatoes I'm harvesting so far are the yellow pear and the Roma grape. We're looking forward to those huge beefsteaks next month. I'm also getting purple beans-- those bushes aren't six inches tall and producing beans. And we're using the shallots and onions. If you've never tried shallots, I highly recommend them; their flavor is much more interesting and complex than onions. I just bought some at the store and planted them. We've harvested and eaten or given away all the butter lettuce and spinach and will put in more, as we eat tons of salads.

I have to say, this garden pretty much grew itself. Maybe it was the composted horse manure, but it didn't take much work at all. I'm really looking forward to the brussels sprouts and potatoes-- never grew them before but they seem to be doing well.



posted on Jul, 26 2008 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by kattraxx
 



I might try to stain them some earth tone with some natural stain, just so they'll blend in more. I need more space to plant everything I want to try.


You might be better off trying to find a local masonry company or block manufacturer. They often have odd lots and or leftover materials... just the same as what you're looking for. For that matter, there's probably a couple hundred just outside our warehouse here in PA... earthy-red, split rock-faced block right now. Leftovers from a job the building owner had done. [a masonry outfit]

Look there first.. I'm near certain you'll find what you're looking for...cheap...if not Free.

Just sayin'...

 



posted on Jul, 26 2008 @ 10:42 PM
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Great pics Katt star for you on the garden. Its looking good@@@



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 09:28 AM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


Desert Dawg, since we've discussed manure that you might be able to get from a local farm, this might be of interest to you......I found it alarming even tho I use manure from my own animals.....I buy winter hay that ends up in my garden and could carry 'unknowns'.....

Thread by Pellevoisin about dangers of herbicides that can get into your compost via manure or even your lawn clippings......

www.abovetopsecret.com...

A weed controll chemical that is sometimes used on grazing pasture or even on lawn areas can remain in the manure of the grazing animals or in the lawn clippings......and KILL your veggies!

Be careful, know your source, ask the folks at the location where you get your manure or lawn clippings.....do they use a weed control chemical?

If they can't tell you what may have gone into their grazing land, or hay source you might want to test any manure that you get on a small area before using it on all the garden!


Do not transfer grazing animals (including horses) from areas treated with Milestone™ herbicide to areas where sensitive broadleaf crops grow without first allowing 3 days of grazing on an untreated pasture. Otherwise, urine and manure may contain enough active ingredient to cause injury to sensitive broadleaf plants.

source
www.dowagro.com...



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by 12m8keall2c
 


Thanks, 12m8keall2c... that's a pretty good suggestion. I'll do that. Since I plan to sell and move north in a year or two, where it rains and you don't have to buy soil and shade, I have to consider everything from a resale point of view. I want the back yard to be attractive and if I can do it without breaking the bank, all the better. Looking down the road a year or two, I'm betting a xeriscaped yard with fruit trees and berries, etc., and an established vegetable garden will be a good selling point.



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by kattraxx
 



Great rock terrace herb garden.
Sweetie loved it and we might make one in the fall.
Just cuz it's too hot to work in the sunshine.

I need a bigger variety of spices than I have planted in the containers.

Had to go get Rosemary and Savory for a meat loaf I made yesterday.

Then, while at the grocery store, got the bright idea to make Beer Bread.
Simple, good and always a hit.

3 cups of self-rising flour.
2 tablespoons of sugar.
1 can (11-12oz) of beer, any kind, cheap beer works great.
Some lard to rub on the inside of the cooking pot, a Dutch Oven - I use a #12 size oven, but a #8 may work.
Mix the components in a mixing bowl.
Flour and sugar mixed dry then pour in the beer.
Original instructions say to stir it only 17 times with a wooden spoon, but I find it needs more to get the beer distributed evenly.
350 degree F oven for one hour and 15 minutes at 3300' alttude.


Anyhoo, I get off track sometimes, but out near the dry lake is a whole bunch of pure white milk colored rocks, probably quartz of some sort.
That would make an interesting terraced herb garden.

Not sure how well it would last, but I note that mud stains on common cinder blocks as seen in my garden don't seem to wash off in the rain.

A couple of my tomato plants that looked to be doing well have withered and died.
The beefsteaks are doing well and may start putting fruit on before long.
One of those died, but the other eight are doing ok and are almost as tall as the 4'6" tall fence.
Once the end fence gets cut open and swung out to encompass the garden extension and some more bricks & fencing added the beefsteaks will end up being a "tomato hedge."

Part of todays plans were to hit Home Depot and buy some genuine shade cloth.
Doesn't seem to be any other way around it.

I did get some shallot seed and planted it in a big container.
It looks like it's doing ok and I'm guessing when the above ground stalks (?) get fatter I can pick a few and see how they're doing.
The regular onions - like the long green with small white bulbs you buy in the produce section are in the garden and seem to be doing ok although right now they look more like long lawn grass than onions.
The shallots looked similar early on.

I like salads as well.
This fall will be the larger extension to the east - where the car trailer is parked in the last couple of photos in the Jack and the Beanstalk thread - and we're going to try some butter lettuce and spinach there.

I did overdo it a touch in the original small plot and it's a little too high density for my liking, but everything is reachable.

Since you have a hill of sorts in your backyard, perhaps do as one othe other posters did and use bricks or stones for a terrace edge and level the soil.



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 10:50 AM
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reply to post by frayed1
 



Some good points on potential problems with the free manure and thanks.

The price of gas nowadays - even at 20-24 mpg in the Ranger pickup - makes it just about as reasonable to buy the big bags of steer manure at 94 cents per bag than to grab the free stuff.
The dry lake is 25 miles away.

We still go out there to shoot and fire my pal's bowling ball cannon - shoots a bowling ball a measured 1/2 mile - take in the model rocket gangs shoot-em-ups once in a while and taking turns with driving duties for the three of us, it's a do-able deal.

The cannon.


Fire.


The spectator area . . . lots of room....



posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


Whoa!! Nice 'pea shooter' there! I need one of those to keep the deer out of the garden, 'fraid the the neighbors might object, though! ( half mile range?? Yep, they'd complain about that, no matter how many tomatoes I give them!!)


I hear you about getting the commercial manure.....hopefully the company that packages it does checks on their source manure. If they have an 800 number, at least you could call and ask.

I will now look fondly on the weeds that I see in Neighbob's hay......at least they will suggest that the hay field has not been treated!



posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 09:31 AM
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I need some advice if anybody is willing. My habanero plans is growing pretty good, it's about a foot tall and has buds all over it. So far about 10 have opened up into flowers. A half dozen or so have went from flowers to a very tiny BB sized pepper before wilting and falling off. Does ths indicate any kind of mineral deficiency?



posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 01:17 PM
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reply to post by BlueTriangle
 


Peppers can be tempermental......they won't set fruit if the daytime temp is too high, or night temp too low.

Too much fertilizer (nitrogen) will cause them to grow lots of foliage, but have no blooms or fruit.....so I generally don't give mine any fertilizer at all.

Some of mine are refusing to bloom, some are blooming but have no peppers and some are loaded.....all in the same row!! I'm have the best luck with jalapeno, sweet banana, and some of the bell peppers.

Here's a pepper web site, general info......
www.fiery-foods.com...



posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 08:03 PM
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I was just looking through craigslist.com and noticed quite a few ads in the Free section (under For Sale) for seasoned horse manure-- just come and get it. If anyone's interested, it's a good place to check for that sort of thing.



posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by BlueTriangle
I need some advice if anybody is willing. My habanero plans is growing pretty good, it's about a foot tall and has buds all over it. So far about 10 have opened up into flowers. A half dozen or so have went from flowers to a very tiny BB sized pepper before wilting and falling off. Does ths indicate any kind of mineral deficiency?



My pepper plants - Red Hot Cherry and Santa Fe - are doing well in large containers filled with straight Miracle-Gro.
They do get watered once or twice a day as temperatures indicate.
I'm at 3300' altitude in N/W Arizona, but it has reached 107 and temps or over 110 (F) are common.

The hot peppers in the garden have been slow, but they're starting to come on pretty good.
Bells are starting to come on ok.

The garden - typical alkaline desert soil - was amended with Gypsum and steer manure prior to planting and I've done one (recommended every three months) fertilization.

Probably not a lot of help, but give some peppers a try in a large container with Miracle-Gro and see how they do.


[edit on 4-8-2008 by Desert Dawg]



posted on Aug, 11 2008 @ 08:04 PM
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Speaking of peppers . . . the red hot cherry peppers have a few green ones, a couple of maroonish colors and maybe half a dozen bright red ones.
The bright red ones indicating to me those are ready to pick.

I'm at a bit of a loss though, the Santa Fe peppers, all a dull waxy yellow color from the day they come on as small peppers to where physical growth is about where it's gonna be have me wondering when I should pick them.

Any thoughts?



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 12:20 PM
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We recently dug up our sweet potato row.....18 plants we transplanted from two of the plastic bedding plant containers that cost less than $3 each....

They weighed in at a total of 105 pounds! ( Ow my back hurts!)
At the grocery store's price for sweet potatoes we're about $170 to the good! ( even minus the $6 for the plants and $4 for a jar of liniment! )




It was some comfort to have a substitute for pumpkin in our pies for Thanksgiving, as our pumpkins didn't do nearly so well this year......thelibra, you will have to share some of your pumpkin growing tips!

[edit on 14-11-2008 by frayed1]



posted on May, 16 2009 @ 03:25 PM
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I'm just starting my first garden. It's only 10ft by 10ft. I've got ants and other crawlers lurking around. What's the best way to rid of them before I start to till up the soil? Should I use a pesticide to clear the area first or take measures after the soil is tilled?

I've seen some ideas about egg shells and coffee grounds and wouldn't mind staying away from chemicals. I just don't want ants to take over once I've planted or is that just part of the fun of gardening?



posted on May, 19 2009 @ 11:32 AM
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reply to post by Quazi176
 


It's been our experience that the ants do like to move into lovely, soft, freshly tilled soil, ( especially the mound builders, like fireants ).....but if you keep disturbing them, they will eventually take the hint and move on.

We try to avoid using the pesticides unless they are particularly determined....then we will use amdro ( it's a bait type poison, they eat some and take the rest into the mound to feed to the queen).....I try to turn an old dishpan or something over the area where we put out this bait, we don't want the birds or chickens to eat it.....

Be wary of the type of pesticide that is absorbed by the plants, making their foliage poisonous for the insects that eat the leaves.......even though I've read that only the leaves become toxic, I am concerned that the pollen and nectar and eventually the fruit of treated plants will also carry the toxins. And that can't be good for the bees or for those of us eating the fruit......

[edit on 19-5-2009 by frayed1]



posted on May, 19 2009 @ 05:48 PM
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Originally posted by Quazi176
I'm just starting my first garden. It's only 10ft by 10ft. I've got ants and other crawlers lurking around. What's the best way to rid of them before I start to till up the soil? Should I use a pesticide to clear the area first or take measures after the soil is tilled?

I've seen some ideas about egg shells and coffee grounds and wouldn't mind staying away from chemicals. I just don't want ants to take over once I've planted or is that just part of the fun of gardening?


Congratulations on starting a garden!

Regarding ants and other insect pests, I would advise against using chemicals on your soil. Not only will chemicals find their way onto your plate, but they will impair the microculture that is essential to well nourished and productive soil.

Ants will generally do no harm to your garden, but if they must go, then there are organic solutions: Anything that will produce gas when metabolised will do the job. Yeast, baking soda, coffee grounds etc. Mix your weapon of choice with sugar, and lay it around the nest. The worker ants will take the bait to the queen, who will eat it and die. The nest should then disperse.

Like you say, insects and bugs are all part of the fun. They're also part of the food chain and decomposition process, and without that we wouldnt have fertile soil to garden on in the first place!

Good luck with the garden!



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 02:53 PM
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Thanks Freyed1 and Paul.

I've taken pictures since I broke ground and will be posting up pics like someone else did on here. Of course, mine isn't anywhere near as nice as a fellow posters garden, but I want to show the progress.

I'm having troubles growing onions since those darn caterpillars munch away at those two straight leaves sticking out of the ground. It's just like one big green sandwich for them. I started those inside like suggested, but are only up to about 2 inches in over a month and a half. Do onions always grow that slowly?

The carrots and egg plant also seem to be growing slowly. Our cantaloupe, tomato and snap beans are leaving the carrots, egg plant, and onions in the dust.

Weeding isn't a problem since I weed it just about every day, seems easier that way. I imagine I'll send up a thread with my timeline and pics once they all start to grow more.

Thanks for the advice.





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