Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
Members: 181
Latest Activity: 4 hours ago

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Comment by Annie Thomas on October 4, 2012 at 6:34pm

So glad you are enjoying the topic!  There is a wonderful book titled, "Terroir: The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wine" bu James E. Wilson.  It's a large and rather expensive book, but I wonder if your local library would have it?  It is written by a geologist and the biggest complaint about the book is that it is so heavy in geology (which is one of the things I enjoy about it).

I remember watching the movie "French Kiss" many years ago.  I love the scene where the main character brings out a box he made as a school project that is filled with little vials of different scents.  One has lavender, another truffles, etc.  This was my first introduction to the concept, but also made me wonder what other plants retain something from the soil they are grown in.  Now, some believe there is really no such thing as "terroir", but I beg to differ.

Comment by Annie Thomas on October 4, 2012 at 6:07pm

Sentient- The "weird thing" you think about is not weird at all, but actually a whole study of agriculture.  "Terroir" is a term used to describe a specific area of soil and all of the characteristics of it.  It includes the climate, the topography, the native vegetation, minerals in the soil, and many other things that are escaping me at the moment. ;-)  I always interpret it as the flavor of the land.  It is most commonly used when discussing wine, the terroir of an area also affects coffee, tomatoes, and a growing list of plants (some are even using it to describe and differentiate cheeses).  It is a French word, but the concept of terroir is now believed to date back as far as 3000 BC Egypt, as they understood the importance of the interaction between the environment and the grape vine.  If you google "terroir" you will get plenty of information, in case you are interested in further reading.

I wholeheartedly agree that the local soil gives a certain flavor to some harvests.

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 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 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 Plinius on September 28, 2012 at 2:26am

Thanks Sentient, I needed info on slugs.

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 28, 2012 at 12:17am

Sentient, your figs looks so delicious; I like seeing both the whole fruit and cut.

I like your Mother Earth article. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 28, 2012 at 12:13am

I don't have grasshoppers so looked in my trusted and trustworthy catalogs and found these two. 

organic grasshopper control


I use and like Gardens Alive slug and snail bait and have good success, especially on hostas.

Sluggo Slug Bait

Escar-Go!® Slug & Snail Control

Let me know what works for you. Sentient Biped has talked about his chickens and I would love to have some hens ... maybe when I get younger. 


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