September 16, 2015 at 11:51 pm #43853
I thought I would transfer the garden discussion over to this thread instead of high jacking Visions and Revelations
Good move. Thanks.
Just on the off chance that you haven’t seen this one, there’s a method for growing potatoes vertically that claims up to 100# in just four square feet. We’ve tried it (see attached photo), but unfortunately we’ve never been able to have good luck with baking potatoes down here – just VERY good luck with sweet potatoes. There’s a web page that describes this in detail. Since we use grow boxes, we just used the first 10″ of soil as layer #1, and then added 5″ cedar fencing boards for each subsequent layer. The cedar is lasting very well, of course, year after year – and the rough-cut fencing boards are rather inexpensive. The so-called 6″ boards (just barely over 5″) actually work quite nicely (double stacked for the garden bed underneath).
The photo below was taken as I was building it early last year. I used long bolts through the vertical supports and the boards, marked them with N/S/E/W and the layer number (thus the E1 and E2 in the photo below – they faced east) so I could easily take it all down and then rebuild it the following season. That was very helpful this year – everything lined up very nicely, no nailing, no hassle. Hopefully even if you’ve seen this, it might be helpful to someone else with limited space, or wanting to use other space for additional crops.
By the way – I can relate to hill climbing with seemingly endless wheelbarrows full of dirt from where it was dumped in my driveway, and then taken up a small hill to the upper garden area. I was a few years younger when I first constructed that one. The newer ones are on the same level as the driveway now. <g> We have not continued to “build” our soil as outlined in the Square Foot Gardening method, but opted for a special mixture available from a local business (reportedly suitable for organic gardening).
[attachment file=”PotatoBin.jpg”]September 17, 2015 at 12:43 am #43856
Those methods require to much building and soil moving for me. I know they can work great but it’s not for me. I just want to ride my little garden tractor and let it do the work. I bought a disc over the weekend to help me break up the soil after plowing, I have a cultivator for weeds and 2 different size potato plows to make furrows. I just need better soil.September 17, 2015 at 2:34 am #43857
No argument from me. You’re causing me to sit here and sin – I’m coveting my neighbor’s garden tractor and disc. <g> Seriously though, I’m stuck with a lot of huge trees (mostly pine, a massive oak, and a couple of others), which presents benefits as well as having completely wiped out an area of our property over the years that used to be a great garden for the previous owners. Sun doesn’t go there any more. And they’re beyond my ability to take down myself. Wanting someone with liability insurance and a proven track record is out of our reach financially. But if I had my “druthers,” I think most of the trees would be gone. Then I’d LOVE to have that tractor and I’d surely need the disc and more to clear out the pine root systems that have completely destroyed what was once a great garden when the trees were much thinner and smaller (one of the hazards of living in the South – old pine tree root systems). We were only able to use that area back there for the first few years. Now we do with what we’ve reasonably got. No criticism from my end whatsoever (just covetousness – hah hah). And yes, with the gardens closer to the house, and not up too far, and too far back, I suspect I’ve got it much easier than what it sounds like you’ve got, and my labor intensity is much shorter lived (and distanced) than yours would be. At my age, I’m thankful for that, too. Good for you for doing what so many aren’t willing to do!
I mostly hoped that perhaps the potato stacking might be a viable option, not knowing what you’ve really got to work with, and work against. But then if you’ve got the area, why not put ‘em in rows? I don’t anymore.September 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm #43865
I too have land enough to just do things in rows,and my next door neighbor has bought a disc and other good stuff. I have a good rear tine rototiller but that’s for maintenance, not the initial breaking up of the sod.
I just got the test results of the 6 soil samples I sent to the Univ. of Vermont Extension Service. I haven’t studied them in detail yet but across the board I am low on Phosphous, low to medium on Potassium, and range from Optimum to Excessive for Magnesium. I’ve got some soil remediation to do! I’m feeling kind of dumb for not having had the soil tested a couple years ago but better late than never. At least I’m still in a position to do something about it. I had been lulled by how rich it looks (even if full of stones)September 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm #43970
I finally got around to placing my seed order last night. Some things are backordered which is fine given it’s for next year. Though I have a lot of seeds packed away in the basement, last night’s order is in larger quantities than I really need. Just a little insurance policy in case things go south in the next year. If they did I’d of course save seeds, but having professionally prepared seeds from a supplier in Northern VT is a good thing. Older seeds from the past few years that I have tucked away may not have as good a germination rate and that’s OK too as it doesn’t need to be 100% to get things going. I am now much more carefully choosing varieties that have better storage characteristics and/or yields. I’m also making better choices in erring on the side of veggies that can readily be preserved vs more truly seasonal items. I also picked up a couple bales of straw for wintering over my strawberry patches and cranberries, plus a bunch of bagged cow manure for use where needed. I’ll be buying other supplies this autumn as I get around to places. Only one of the three blueberry bushes I bought last autumn made it so I’ll pick up a couple more.September 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm #43973
“making better choices in erring on the side of veggies that can readily be preserved” MB
How are you going about this? Are you canning your veggies or drying, processing them into soups and other dishes and canning? I don’t remember you mentioning whether you have a spring house or not?
I don’t think we have a thread just on food preservation. Maybe someone with canning and smoking experience could start a new thread.September 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm #43983
As with all of my preps I assume no electricity and thus I do not include freezing as a food preservation option. My choices are thus canning or drying, or cool temp storage. I don’t have a spring house but my basement is pretty cold all winter. Beans can be left to dry or canned while still in the green bean stage. Drying is the easier of the two and doesn’t use up canning supplies. The same can be done with corn, though I haven’t preserved corn yet. I make sweet pickles with cucumbers and can them for longer term storage, though you can do pickles in other forms. Tomatoes can be canned or made into sauce. I prefer to make sauce but it is a lot of work to cook it down. I am switching to just growing plum tomatoes going forward as they are good for making sauce. Pumpkins can be canned but watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew don’t lend themselves to that so I’ll only try to grow a little bit of them for summer eating. Acorn, hubbard, and butternut squash can be preserved for a long time as is but zucchini and summer squash won’t keep so zucchini and summer squash will be relegated to just a few for summer eating. Potatoes, onions, and carrots can be preserved for a long time as is in a cool place, but peppers don’t lend themselves to being preserved very well so I am limiting them to just small quantities for summer use. Cabbage can be preserved as is for a long time in a cool place, or you can make sauerkraut and can it. Most berries can be made into jams. Apples can be made into applesauce, apple cider, or vinegar or hard cider. Most fruits can be canned, made into a sauce, or made into jams. Sunflower seeds can be stored dry. The various salad greens don’t lend themselves to any kind of long term storage and going forward I’m not going to plant many, or perhaps any at all. Note that I have canned peppers and summer squash using a pickling recipe but the result is kind of soggy and not especially tasty. You can mix a little in salads but that’s about it. I have also made relish, but a little goes a long way as that is not the kind of food that lends itself to diverse uses. It is also a lot of work relative to the benefit. I am far from being expert in food preservation but dabbling a little here and there as I have done has been very educational. In a post-grid environment, water bath canning will be labor intensive if you have to do it over a fire.March 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm #47986
I’m hoping to do a much better job managing my garden this year. Last year I was rushed, planted late and put everything in within a few days. This year I have time to stage my planting. I put the first part of the potato crop yesterday. In another 2 weeks I’ll put in another group. My seed potatoes are from my last years crop.March 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm #47988
Another 3″ of snow in the yard yesterday.
I’m waiting for summer, it’s the greatest day of the year.March 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm #47989
Ya I know, I feel for you and the other northerners. But then there’s a whole lot of land south of me way ahead of everyone. It’s kinda like dancing with what ya brot with ya.March 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm #47990
While we can’t garden for beans, there are advantages like the deer that are worse than one can believe.
So many of the deer that is.
Then there’s the weather.
The place we left, where we had a garden, just got socked with 18″ of snow from the same storm that rolled through here. I ain’t complaining.
We just have to live with a 60 day growing season, which is honestly the hardest part, even with greenhouses.
We get a weekly shipment of fruits and vegetables, what we can’t eat immediately, ends up in the freezer or in my dehydrator.
Little by little, we get more in the pantry.
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