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#171331 - 04/14/09 09:04 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: TeacherRO]
ZechariahStover Offline

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Connecticut
It's still too cold here to plant anything out yet. The other night it got down to 25 degrees and most mornings there is ice in the water buckets. We do have spinach, radishes and lettuce in a little green house along the side of the house and there is enough heat coming off of the foundation for them to grow. Here in the house we also have a shelf along the south facing patio doors and we have started tomatoes, peppers and several different types of brassicas. They are about 3 inches tall and looking pretty healthy at this point. Hopefully it will warm up soon so we can get them planted out.
It is time to start pruning in the orchard so we will probably spend most of this Saturday doing that. Once it dries a little we will also need to get in the garden to till.

#171335 - 04/14/09 09:23 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: ZechariahStover]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
It is still snowing here. frown
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#172580 - 05/02/09 05:12 AM Re: Victory garden [Re: scafool]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
I`m still taking the mobile garden in and out of the house each day... we got snow last week, and rain now. Freezing temps sometimes still. Broccoli is in the ground and covered at night.

Giving away our corn... about 8" right now but no room in our garden this year.
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#172714 - 05/04/09 08:29 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: TeacherRO]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
Late to this thread, but our garden was a massive chore to get going. Last year, I knew I wanted a garden, problem was we're on a HEAVILY wooded lot, with mostly clay and VERY rocky soil. So first my son and I had to fell about 20 trees and clear some land. We started last July and, because he was only 9, and I'm getting a little creaky at 44, it took us most of the summer to clear out all the wood (I don't own a tractor so all the wood needs to be cut up and ax split and hauled in a wheelbarrow to the woodpile). In early fall, I had a buddy come over with a backhoe and I borrowed another backhoe and we pulled up the stumps and tore into the ground to pull out the largest of the rocks (many about the size of a large watermelon, a few the size of a full grown pig)as well as the larger roots. Into that space I pushed a bunch of topsoil that had rotted down from woodchips over the course of 5 years as well as a lot of composted henhouse wood shavings. The PH was all wrong, so all winter I'd put some wood ash in there and mix in whatever compost I could. On warmer days, we let the chickens free-range in the garden area. By spring I had a fair bed of soil to start, still too rocky, so I raked and raked and finally got a few rows of workable soil. Then I built a nice deer fence to keep those annoying critters out.

Now we've got peppers, tomatoes, peas, lettuce, kale and greenbeans in, as well as a lot of herbs and spices. At 60x100, the garden is way too small, so after this season, I'm going to do it the easy way - I'm going to burn off some more of the yard where I want the garden, drop another 10 trees, build a nice surround of stone walls and order two dump trucks of ready-to-go soil. I want to garden next year, not excavate.

We also participate in Community Supported Agriculture - and hopefully next year, we can order our grain locally.

#172725 - 05/04/09 10:02 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: MartinFocazio]
Lon Offline

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 115
Loc: middle Tennessee
martin, sounds like you've put some serious effort into turning some of your "woods" into garden space. Looks like you had a good plan... and I'm glad to hear that your efforts are starting to pay off with some useable land for gardening.

I was curious about your statement that the 60x100 [feet?] plot was "way too small"? That seems (to me) like a fairly large plot for a home garden.
Of course, if you're going to be selling your produce through the CSA program, that's another story.

But, if it's a "home" garden only, you might explore various techniques like wide-row, trellis, and raised-bed gardening to maximize the use of the space that you've already made.
That might save you a lot of time and effort (and money) in working to make the space bigger.
By incorporating some space-saving techniques; you might find that you don't need as much garden area as you think.

You may be hip to all that already; so my apologies if I'm re-hashing stuff that you're already into.

#172770 - 05/05/09 03:37 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: Lon]
DaveT Offline

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 208
Loc: NE Ohio
This is year two of my garden. Last year was breaking ground/rototilling, surrounding it with deer fence (28x19 feet for the plot). Just after breaking ground, I also took on a trencher project, and ended up with about 6 or so wheelbarrows of extra dirt from the yard that became a mound in the garden space. I was late for creating the garden and planting (mid June) so it was all plants from nurseries, except for the corn. I added two feet of chicken wire to keep out the squirrels/small rabbits, which were making their way in through the wire gaps.

This year, I added a foot of chicken wire below the ground along the perimeter. I made two raised beds with landscaping timbers - four tiers high, 12 feet by 4 feet, so about 10-11 inches depth of soil. I was able to fill the beds with the mound of dirt that was left over, and that opened up level space for more planting. I added about 2/3 a wheelbarrow of aged manure to about 2/3 of the remaining bed space that I got from my cousin, who has a small working farm. I put about 15 asparagus roots into the raised beds, and in one corner of the fence I added five rhubarb root starts, and outside the garden I added 6 blueberries. So, all of those should be producing in another year or two. About half the asparagus have broken through the surface, and the rhubarb has started spreading out some green leaves.

I started a lot from seed this year in Jiffy peat pellet starters...about 6 or 7 varieties of heirloom tomato, zucchini and summer squash, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, red peppers and jalapenos. I'm also trying green beans and some hard beans like Jacob's Cattle and Soldier bean, carrots, a couple kinds of beets. However, I started the seeds in early April/late March, and we didn't get into good, warm weather until about a week ago. Lots of the starts became overtall and wispy - unable to support themselves. Also, as I was doing a couple days worth of tempering outside during daylight hours, a windy day wind-whipped a lot of them - so I have some very healthy things in the ground and some that haven't made it, and I've had to restart a bunch of things because they won't make it.

So, hopefully this second batch of starts will be able to take off in a lot better shape.

I used black fabric "mulch" cover a bit last year, and this year I reused it over each row, two layers thick, cutting X's for each plant. THAT was a huge drag, and after I'd done it, I think I came up with a better idea - next year, I'll cover each row (the fabric's 3 feet wide) with a layer of fabric, then cut parallel lines at one feet and two feet, then cut a shorter perpendicular line at the end of each row to make it a tall, skinny capital I. Then, I can fold under the fabric as it goes along the row, and plant within that folded-back space as closely or as widely spaced as needed, with little worry about weed growth.

Anyway, should be interesting.


Edited by DaveT (05/05/09 03:40 PM)

#172855 - 05/06/09 09:52 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: DaveT]
Lon Offline

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 115
Loc: middle Tennessee
My favorite things for weed control are mulch (mostly wood chips and/or grass clippings), and cardboard.
The mulch is nice because you can turn that into the soil after it has rotted down, and that adds good organic matter to your dirt.
And I find that cardboard makes a great "expedient mulch". It's super quick to place that where you need it, and a rock is usually all that's needed to keep it in place.

I gave up on using any of the plastic or fabric materials... those always seemed to put up too much of a fight with me!

#172865 - 05/07/09 12:46 AM Re: Victory garden [Re: MartinFocazio]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2921
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Martin, have you looked into biochar? Especially suited to acidic soils, enhances fertility and sequesters carbon to boot. Just came across it, and the possibilities are huge; the top of my head just about blew off. You can even generate syngas as a useful byproduct. Seriously, give it a Google.

#173285 - 05/14/09 03:41 AM Re: Victory garden [Re: dougwalkabout]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Charcoal Agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth - Terra Preta

Here's a long thread with lots of sites and info at the Aussie Permie site: http://forums.permaculture.org.au/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1775

There's so much info that I haven't been able to keep up with it.

DaveT: Use organic mulch. Mulch retains soil moisture, prevents weed seeds from sprouting, breaks down into soil nutrients, prevents soil from splashing onto leaves and fruit.

Buy several bales of straw. If you have any chickens, give it to them first, and they'll clean out most of the seeds. Put it down kind of thin around small plants, and build it up as they grow, to about 8" or so. It's easier to handle if you run it through a chipper/shredder first, but you don't have to. Putting it on top of cardboard works well to kill weeds without digging them up. When putting your garden to bed in fall, cover the beds with a thick straw mulch for the winter. In spring, just rake back the mulch and plant -- usually no need to dig, weed, till, plow, etc, as the earthworms have been doing it for you all winter and it looks like chocolate cake.


#173293 - 05/14/09 02:21 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: Susan]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
One small caution about using mulch. We found that it can deteriorate the amount of nitrogen in the soil. A little amendment now and then will help.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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