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#173304 - 05/14/09 05:09 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: benjammin]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
Mulch - I actually need to do that - I have TOO MUCH nitrogen!

#173308 - 05/14/09 06:14 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: benjammin]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"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."

Yes, organic matter freshly incorporated (mixed) into the soil will use all the available nitrogen that it can find for the process of breaking down into humus. For instance, green matter (cover crop) tilled into the soil will take about three weeks to deteriorate into a usable form for new plants.

However, organic matter just laid on top of the soil will only bind with available nitrogen where they meet, usually at the surface of the soil. The mulch is not able to 'draw' nitrogen from lower in the soil, so all available nitrogen below that level will still be available to roots.

Just remember that nitrogen is not stable in the soil -- it can be washed out by rain and melting snow, and escape into the air with plowing and tilling.

All this gardening stuff is more complicated than just putting some seeds in the soil and standing back, I'm learning....


#173321 - 05/14/09 08:51 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: Susan]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Yep, I agree. Back in the PNW, any well cultivated soil that we mulched typically got the mulch worked into it due to the soggy conditions and constant foot traffic. Up next to the plants it wasn't so bad, but we had one field of strawberries go yellow one season from too much mulch getting worked into the soil too many consecutive years. Rain and people moving through the field pushed the mulch down from the surface and not only spirged the nitrogen, but also created an impermeable layer that the bushes choked on. We ended up having to deep till the field and fallow it for a year.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#173344 - 05/15/09 02:12 AM Re: Victory garden [Re: benjammin]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
The Nitrogen Challenge I face is that this property is heavily wooded and the area I cleared was mostly clay infused earth with a LOT of rotting leaves on top and a LOT of rotted wood chips too. Then I have a hen yard with several years of wood shavings that have been mucked out of the henhouse and tossed into the hen yard, that gets raked into piles and then I've got 5 yards of horse poop...well, suffice it to say that my composting process is more like a chemistry lab - not to mention the Ph levels, which tend to the strongly acidic and I have to move the levels with some wood ash as needed.

So far this year, the peas and lettuce are moving well, the broccolli is going to be late, the tomatoes and peppers are going to have a hard time (I should have dropped those last 10 trees, the sun isn't really coming around to the clearing early enough) but we did OK with them last year in a worse place. The lettuce, kale and spinach are just fantastic, already harvesting that.

Green beans will be another tricky crop. I don't think it's possible to NOT grow zuchinni.

We will try - for the 3rd year - strawberries - but it seems that each year we have critters eat them.

This year's wild raspberry crop looks like it will be MASSIVE so we'll make that into jams in late July.

In all honesty, this year's garden is really a prototype, if I get 50% of what I hope to get harvested, I'll call it a success. But next year's garden is already in planning.

We need a LOT of land work to get a good garden and as much as I hate to do it, at the end of this season I think I'm going to really need to knuckle under and spend a whole winter dropping a bunch of trees and then coming in with the backhoe to really tear things up, pull out the stumps and make a nice clear area and then drop 25 or 30 yards of decent top soil into it. Since I have free use of a backhoe and a neighbor who is a tree guy who will drop certain trees for free if he can keep the wood to sell as firewood, and he also has a massive chipper, I think it will work out. I do like having the garden where it is - out front of the house - but it needs much more work.

#173430 - 05/17/09 11:02 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: MartinFocazio]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2480
First lost plants - My tomatoes did not adapt to being moved outside. I was supposed to bring them out during the day and in overnight to get them used to the weather....

#173433 - 05/18/09 12:21 AM Re: Victory garden [Re: TeacherRO]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
You need to try my patented "transplant into the garden just before a thunder storm hardening-off method" At least that's what I did this weekend.
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#175280 - 06/25/09 04:12 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: thseng]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2480
Update - peppers going strong, tomatoes all but dead. moving seedlings up to full size pots. Should be harvesting in Sept.

#175813 - 07/08/09 03:27 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: TeacherRO]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2480
Watering everyday as the plants grow; will go to every day watering soon (and adding a rain barrel.)

#176098 - 07/12/09 04:23 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: TeacherRO]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Wild Blackberries are coming in now! Finally.
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#181685 - 09/08/09 07:37 PM Re: Victory garden [Re: Todd W]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2480
First peppers of the season! Tomatoes soon...

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