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Old 02-08-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
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Spring Garden Time

The spring garden is shaping up nicely. I have a couple of my commercial projects guys preparing the garden to accept a shit-load of seedlings because we have a four day window between jobs, and there is nothing else for them to do anyway. We're augmenting the soil with aged mushroom compost and fish emulsion, then using geotextile to hold back the weeds. I like this stuff because it will last four or five seasons before degrading in to uselessness.

I'm hoping the berry canes we planted last fall come to fruit this spring so we can make some preserves. I really enjoy berry preserves on homemade bread!

The last of the eggplants came out of the garden yesterday and we're giving most of them away, since we're all sick and tired of them [we over-planted them by around 100%]. The homeless shelter is getting about a bushel of them, along with five quarts of our tomato sauce and a pound of elephant garlic. Those guys really like us because we donate hundreds of pounds of fresh produce each year, and because our produce is organic, it actually tastes like something. Our celery is five shades darker green than store-bought, and has a rich, powerful flavor. Our radishes are hot as fire and our herbs are awesome as well.

We're getting better and better at this food growing thing, with each harvest more bountiful than the last. I set aside a little corner of the plot this year [around 1,200 s.f.] to try my hand at French intensive planting again. We'll till down extra deep to open up the soil, then plant four times as much as we should in a very small area. The idea is that if you till deep and maintain aeration through the season, then fertilize liberally with fish emulsion through the growing season, the roots grow straight down, instead of clumping near the surface, which allows more dense planting.

We tried this with raised beds and it didn't work out so well, because we didn't maintain deep aeration, therefore we choked our plants out and had a crappy harvest. Well, that was three years ago and we've since learned quite a lot, so we are more hopeful this time.

For those of you who live down south like me, the mild winter has allowed our soil to stay warmer than usual so it's probably safe to go ahead and get plants in the ground. this will give us the advantage of being able to harvest and can food well ahead of the dog days. Late July, August and September are brutal here, so we don't plant or try to raise veggies during the worst of the summer.

This season we will do a lot more drying than last, with tomatoes high up the list. I want to try sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil with various combinations of herbs, as well as dried celery and dried herbs.

I'll update this post as the season plays out.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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Yeah, I got the Spring time gardening bug myself. Hope to get out there this weekend and play in the dirt.

I need to do more research, but I had heard there was a species of olive tree that did well in my climate (or maybe just north/central Texas - that's what I need to confirm).
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:03 PM   #3
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Im seeing snowdrops and what will be daffodils in my secret garden on mine waste land.
I transferred a shed load of bulbs and wildflowers from the verdant and abundant stream banks last year, so anything that shows is a bonus.

And of course, you cant eat em, so they are obviously only for traditional reasons
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rblong2us View Post:
And of course, you cant eat em, so they are obviously only for traditional reasons
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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I am getting my fingers dipped in the gardening this year as well (itchy to start!). Research done as good as I possibly could before getting my hands dirty, and it will be AQUAPONICS for me (yeah!!! Cant wait to start the project!). Polytunnel comes in this week (unless I am getting geodesic dome - depending on the quote I am awaiting for, from the company that makes them here in Ireland).

Ancona, with the benefit of being an absolute gardening noob, I was doing my research far and wide, and you might also want to check "hugelkultur", with combination of your mentioned "deep-tiling, deep-root development" system. Numerous wood clippings, hedge trimmings should do - it seems to help aerating the roots, among other ben.s. HAve you considered this one yet:
http://www.pmbug.com/forum/f6/keyhol...369/#post12745

rblong2us - if you can't eat them, then why on earth bother at all
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bushi View Post:
I am getting my fingers dipped in the gardening this year as well (itchy to start!). Research done as good as I possibly could before getting my hands dirty, and it will be AQUAPONICS for me (yeah!!! Cant wait to start the project!). Polytunnel comes in this week (unless I am getting geodesic dome - depending on the quote I am awaiting for, from the company that makes them here in Ireland).

Ancona, with the benefit of being an absolute gardening noob, I was doing my research far and wide, and you might also want to check "hugelkultur", with combination of your mentioned "deep-tiling, deep-root development" system. Numerous wood clippings, hedge trimmings should do - it seems to help aerating the roots, among other ben.s. HAve you considered this one yet:
http://www.pmbug.com/forum/f6/keyhol...369/#post12745

rblong2us - if you can't eat them, then why on earth bother at all
hugelculture works awesomely here in central Texas sweltering heat.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Man, nice plan.

I haven't even thought about starting seedlings indoors yet up here in NY! Plus, there's no tilling through two feet of snow. Lol.

I did set out some maple syrup taps yesterday in the snow. We should have some good temps this week to make a run.

I also just received a few packs of tobacco seeds... just something that I wanted to try out this year in addition to the regular garden. It's good to learn a new plant...

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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ADK,
Do NOT plant nicotiniana anywhere near your food plants.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:33 PM   #9
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Really? I had read that it was a good pest repellant and that people planted it around their gardens?

I have heard that it is a nutrient hog, though.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ADK View Post:
Really? I had read that it was a good pest repellant and that people planted it around their gardens?

I have heard that it is a nutrient hog, though.
a friend tried to grow tobacco here in Central Texas. I don't know what happened, but he said it was a miserable failure.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:28 AM   #11
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Well, the cold temps last night didn't harm our little seedlings so far. It went down to 37 degrees for a couple of hours early this morning, but since we banked everything with hay and tossed sheet poly over our little plants, they rode it out fairly well. We'll leave the poly on until around 1:00 so the soil beneath them warms back up, but I think this will be the last deep cold spell of the winter for us. Usually, if we get to the middle of February, the plants are safe from the threat of frost. The worst that will happen is a slow start to growth because the soil cools below 55 degrees for too long.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
then fertilize liberally with fish emulsion through the growing season
Originally Posted by ADK View Post:
Really? I had read that it was a good pest repellant and that people planted it around their gardens?
Good luck with your garden and kudos for donating some of your harvest.

Buy I will say that fish emulsion would be a pretty good repellant for me on a hot July afternoon.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
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I hear you on the fish emulsion. It only stinks for a couple of days, and it is like veggie magicfor production.
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:55 PM   #14
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My firm is domiciled on several acres of land, of which buildings and equipment only occupy about 30,000 square feet. The rest is fallow land, a 6k s.f. organic garden, a bird coop for both chickens and turkeys, a garden tool/chicken supply shed, a duck house for.....well......the ducks and a small pond. We intend to put in two 28' X 80' hoop houses which can be used as greenhouses in winter, and we can run 65% shade-cloth in summer. We'll use a couple of methods to containerize and grow stuff, but will also use raised beds. We want to experiment with growing fresh herbs, then package and sell them to local restaurants. My staff and myself are pretty well known to local restaurants since we frequent them at lunch time whenever we're not cooking up something at the office. We intend to offer the herbs free at first as a marketing ploy, then see what sort of prices the market will bear. I saw a small package of cinnamon basil at Whole Foods for 3.99 and it was less than three ounces. When I did the math my head nearly exploded, because fresh herbs grow like weeds and are easy to tend. In addition I find that the oils and other volatiles in herbs seem to help keep bugs at bay.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
My firm is domiciled on several acres of land, of which buildings and equipment only occupy about 30,000 square feet. The rest is fallow land, a 6k s.f. organic garden, a bird coop for both chickens and turkeys, a garden tool/chicken supply shed, a duck house for.....well......the ducks and a small pond. We intend to put in two 28' X 80' hoop houses which can be used as greenhouses in winter, and we can run 65% shade-cloth in summer. We'll use a couple of methods to containerize and grow stuff, but will also use raised beds. We want to experiment with growing fresh herbs, then package and sell them to local restaurants. My staff and myself are pretty well known to local restaurants since we frequent them at lunch time whenever we're not cooking up something at the office. We intend to offer the herbs free at first as a marketing ploy, then see what sort of prices the market will bear. I saw a small package of cinnamon basil at Whole Foods for 3.99 and it was less than three ounces. When I did the math my head nearly exploded, because fresh herbs grow like weeds and are easy to tend. In addition I find that the oils and other volatiles in herbs seem to help keep bugs at bay.
I, of course, work produce for a major grocery chain. We charge 2.99 for a tiny spring of herb. Its crazy. Rosemary grows in huge bushes all over town, but people come in and freak out when we are out of rosemary. The local Thai restaurant has a half acre of basil growing in pots behind the restaurant we do their produce deliveries). I guess they use a lot of basil....
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