Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Welcome to gardeners, growers of veggies, fruits, flowers, and trees, backyard hen enthusiasts, worm farmers, & composters!

Location: Planet Earth
Members: 180
Latest Activity: 17 minutes ago

Welcome to Eden!

If you like to dig in the dirt, grow flowers, putter around the yard, dig in the kitchen garden, raise backyard hens, or just like daydreaming about the garden, this is the place.

Many topics have been discussed in the archive.  Revive a topic by adding your 2¢ or start a new topic.

Everyone likes photos of the garden, so if you like to share photos of your prize dahlia, your favorite hen, or your first tomato, go right ahead!

Comment Wall


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Comment by Joan Denoo on October 4, 2012 at 1:44pm

No, I probably have just been at it longer. Maybe. Also, like you, I look to research to verify "old farmers' tales". Does clover feed grass? yes! Does soil need to be treated in healthy ways? Absolutely! Other than that, I just experiment, observe, record, ask questions, read research and then do what seems to make the most sense.
Raised beds make excellent sense if you don't use power cultivators, although there are small ones available. I like to get my hands and shovel into the dirt.
Your strategy to plant clover or beans in new raised beds is a good one. Crown vetch works too, but is pesky because it sticks to everything. Turning it in the spring is a big chore and I don't do it any more. I used to. Now, I plant peas or beans and just trowel them in or compost them in the spring. Not at all physically demanding like turning earth. I am doing more no-till gardening and get excellent results. Companion planting is a given. 
I love your comments, suggestions and shared pleasures of a garden. We had heavy frost in my garden but the Spokane weather reports stated overnight lows of 34. My garden definitely got below 32 degrees. My water pipes are scheduled to be blown out tomorrow ... hopefully before they freeze and break. I usually have at least one pipe explode when we turn water back on. It is a pretty sight, but requires immediate repair. 

Comment by Daniel W on October 4, 2012 at 11:58am

Joan, I think you are a more sophisticated gardener than I am.  You have a lot to share.

I have been thinking about planting clover or beans in my new raised beds, to turn over in the spring before planting.  That would give a good dose of "green manure".  Not sure if I will do that this year.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 4, 2012 at 11:35am

On rethinking my first year of growing in boxes using corn, if I were to build them now, I would use legumes because they pull nitrogen out of the air into the soil. 
Discovery in Legumes Could Reduce Fertilizer Use, Aid Environment

Legumes Give Nitrogen-Supplying Bacteria Special Access Pass

plants themselves allow bacteria in. Once inside the right cells, bacteria take nitrogen from the air and supply it to legumes in a form they can use, ammonia.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 4, 2012 at 11:18am

Yes, you correctly point out the flaws in this method; I don't use vermiculite and I have to add some gardening sand easily available along river and creek beds or purchased. When I start a new bed, I layer it much as described in the article. I start with a 2" layer of newspaper and that is freely acquired, then a layer of garden soil, which for me is almost pure peat, then a layer of well composted manure, and topped with compost from my compost bins and pile which contains earth worms. That complete, I have fertile soil in which to place seeds or seedlings, and with the proper amount of water, the roots grow down into the layers turning it into composted worm castings.  The first season I usually plant summer and winter squashes,  melons, legumes  and potatoes which thrive on these ingredients. After the first season, I have tillable soil; after two or three seasons, the entire pile is converted.
I had boxes built to make my raised beds, but as the photo shows, straw, pine needles, grassing clippings work to create a box into which "lasagna gardening" begins.

Thanks for the alert for those who are not familiar with building soils. I don't grow plants, I grow soils. I adjust pH for acid or alkaline preferences of plants and use a cheap pH meter, not the fancy, expensive types. I also use a cheap water meter. 
P.S. the first year I grew corn in the boxes, much to the dismay of my gardening friends, but I wanted to give the stack time to decompose and mature. It worked. 

Comment by Daniel W on October 4, 2012 at 10:28am

Joan, I'm skeptical about the practicality of that method. Maybe it will work, I don't know.  I was reading about Square Foot Gardening, which involved using a growth medium of peat moss (not environmentally friendly), Vermiculite (not easy to find in bulk) and compost (good stuff, gardener's black gold).  So basically it was potting soil.   The "no dig" looks like a raised bed with other materials in the place of the peat moss and vermiculite.  Well, it it works, great!  I'm still using top soil+compost for my raised beds, and adding some kitchen compost or composted manure to the top layer.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 3, 2012 at 11:52pm

No Dig Gardens Clean, Green and Chemical Free,

raised bed gardens

Raised beds made out of timber, crates, straw bales, pine needles, cinder blocks, just about anything that will make a raised bed; put in newspapers, grass clippings, garden clippings, composted manure; plant seeds or plants and watch them grow. This site has ideas galore. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 30, 2012 at 1:11am

Sentient Biped, thank you for this information. I have never used a revolving drum yet have thought it made good sense. Now You tell me it works! Great! And I like your worm farm method as well. I started with the worm farm and found it too complicated so my worms went into the 2 compost bins and huge compost pile and they work overtime for me and I don't have to mess with the trays. 
Good information! Thanks. 

Comment by Daniel W on September 29, 2012 at 10:34pm

On composting with earthworms - a coworker gave me a start of worms 10 years ago.  For a few years, I labored with a specially set up worm bin.  Then I started composting in a revolving drum system, and just dumped the worm farm into that.  It's been composting and making oodles of worms ever since.  Whenever I empty it out, I put in a handful of the old compost, which gets it's started.

Comment by Daniel W on September 29, 2012 at 10:30am

Some tips for frugal gardeners.


That article reminded me, I'm going to bring in my potted geraniums and let them spend the winter, dry, in the sheltered garage.  In the spring they start later than purchased ones, but they are bigger and Free.  


I might also take some geranium cuttings for the windowsill.  


I need to go around to the neighbors and ask if they mind my collecting their leaves for compost.  Also Starbucks for their coffee grounds.


The local big box places and discount stores have perennials on deep-discount to get rid of them.  Some are in good enough shape, they will be a head start for next year.


I also have some perennials to divide, and hardwood cuttings to take.  But the cuttings will be in winter - not here yet.


I have some "volunteer" trees to move.  A big-leaf maple, a birch, and a sumac.  These will be good at my new place.  I'm waiting for dormancy to move them.  Also a couple of hazel nut trees.  Can't beat "free" as long as I don't have big expectations.  Also saved seeds from a Laburnum, and there is a ginkgo on my drive home from work, whose seeds are almost mature.  Can't help it, I keep growing stuff.


Any suggestions?

Comment by Daniel W on September 28, 2012 at 11:01pm

Mike, I eat the figs fresh.  When I have a big surplus I do sometimes slice them in half, and dry them on a food dehydrator.  That concentrates the sugars and makes them chewy.  Before growing them, I never tasted a fresh fig.  It's like eating a spoon of jelly - so sweet, juicy, slippery, a few crunchy seeds - like poppy seeds - encased in a delicate wrapping.  They don't ripen off the tree, so you have to pick them "dead ripe", which is why they are rarely n the grocery store and when they are, they are usually awful.  Fig lovers go to great lengths, including growing them in barrels and putting them in the garage for the winter, or wrapping them in blankets.  I'm fortunate, these varieties love the maritime NW but would grow well in Zone 8 anywhere, and some in Zone 7 or maybe 6.


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