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Experiments in Food Production

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posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 01:30 PM
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I started an experiment in the spring. I planted a garden with non GM seed. I had intended to see if I could produce a significant amount of the produce my family consumes over the winter from my plot at my BO location. I also plant some plants inside and hydroponically.


Inside my big experiment was a rubbermade tote filled with dirt from my garden and above it I placed a standard grow light and a timer system to keep the light on for 16 hours a day (about as much as we get outside in july). In the tote I planted carrots. I also planted the same kind of carrots outside. The bed I planted the outdoor carrots was sandier than my main garden. It took the indoor carrots longer to sprout and as of today they are only 1/2" long to 2" long, most looked like little balls rather than carrots. The outdoor ones are 4-8" long. I would say that my plan to use totes of dirt to grow additional vegetables over winter has to be reconsidered as something is missing that makes the carrots grow longer. Anyone have any ideas what I'm miussing?

The biggest failure of the outside garden was weather. It was going well until a once in 100 year wind and hail storm hit last weekend. The potatoes where smashed at ground level as where half the tomato plants and the peas. I dug up the potatoes, picked green tomatoes and shelled peas. Since this happened over a month before when I planned on harvesting all of these things my potatoes where small and while there where hundreds of them, many looked like large grapes or small cherries. The peas where large in quatity and small in size.

The bonus of the outside garden was the fruit trees. So far we have put down 5 gallons of juice (cherry and rhubarb mostly) and the apple and plum trees are not yet ripe. We have three batches so far of rasberry jam, cherry jelly, blueberry jelly etc.

Inside my hydroponic beans produced a good crop as did my herbs and cherry tomatoes. I've had more cherry tomatoes from the single hydroponic plant than from the 2 dozen beefsteak tomatoes that the hail trashed.

I'd like to encourage everyone to think about your food plan and make allowances for freak weather. I'm glad I kept half of all my seeds in reserve for next year as most everything will not be to full ripe and therefore ready for saving seeds.




posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 02:36 PM
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I couldn't agree more!! For the past few years it seems that once every august or so here, we get a MASSIVE hail storm, or several heavy hail-like rainstorms. As I have a massive garden plan, and the majority of the plants do not take well to being pelted.... I have come up with a soluiton: Temporary green-housing! When a rainstorm or hail comes, cover up the garden beds by rolling a sheet of plastic or something over top of a frame.

Where I live, this green-house effect has a dual purpose: Our growing season is about mid may to mid september, last frost to first frost: 4 months. Including "cool crops", ie frost-tolerant, have a growing season of about March to November.

Thus, by covering up my crops, I can have a EIGHT months WARM crop growing season!! (OR at the very least, six). Plus a month (or more) on either side for cool crops, keeping out only the coldest of weather. Or dividing my beds up to have warm crops in 2/3, and cold crops in the other!

Great idea planting carrots inside!



posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by Cariaddi
 


I just wish I new why they were so much shorter.



posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 09:35 PM
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reply to post by exile1981
 


I assume that you planted the same seeds in and out. How did you water the indoor carrots? Did you lightly water very regularly, or did you soak the planter thoroughly once or twice a week? My first thought is that if you lightly watered very regularly, the root system of the carrot had no need to grow deeply to find moisture.



posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 12:39 PM
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Same seeds in and out, the indoor ones got watered once (sometimes twice) a week heavily. My wife thinks I needed to add sand or soemthing to make the indoor soil less dense. My outside soil has a lot more peat moss in it and compost.



posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 05:21 PM
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reply to post by exile1981
 


Well, there goes the water theory. It may be soil density/compaction. My next thought would be to consult with your local Ag Extension Agent if in the States, or the local Ministry of Ag rep if Canada or the UK.



posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 11:00 PM
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I decided that if there soil is too hard then I should try a vegetable that is not a root vegitable. So I've planted Zuccini and in the last week they have sprouted and grown 6", they seem to love the grow light. Which is great since we are down to less than 12 hours of daylight.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 03:49 PM
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After only two weeks my rubbermade tote indoor garden has 3 zuccini plants that are doing very well and a single lemon tree. I figure by the time the lemon tree is big enough that it needs the whole bin that the zuccini will have reached there end of life.

Since my hydroponic green beans had reach the end of there cycle I have started tomatoes in them. I figure they will be at the picking stage when my large summer outdoor crop has been just about used up.



posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 09:54 PM
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Well it's certainly weird in my gardens.

I have asian plums - small about the size of a large cherry. They are good for juice, jelly or pies. I have a japanese friend who always picks some for a japanese dish that involves pickling them.

My plum trees have never in 10 years I've been picking from them turned ripe prior to first frost and they are never very sweet. About half the fruit went ripe last night; from green to purple in 24 hours. They are the sweetest ones ever so I'm picking them. Of course they had to come early given the other things I've got to can down this weekend. I've picked half of the ripe ones so far (it's too dark to continue now) and I've filled a 5 gallon bucket.



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