May 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm #51864
Got some starts at the local store. Hybrids, but I’m not in need of Heirloom seeds right now. Got 5 plants, which is going to produce much more than the wife and I can eat. They are all in big pots so maintenance should be pretty simple. Eating ripe cherry tomatoes right off the vine is one of those life moments for us. We eat them until the roof of our mouth is raw.May 18, 2017 at 10:20 am #51871
I’m not putting in a garden this year but I suspect I’ll have at least tomatoes growing anyway. Our son is building a house and I’m spending a lot of time there helping as I can. No time to do a big garden too.
Last year I planted beans where tomatoes had been the prior year. I was weeding one day and in doing so realized some of the weeds I was pulling were volunteer tomato plants from the year prior. There was a variety of stuff that got rototilled in last fall so we’ll see what pops up.May 19, 2017 at 2:51 am #51874
Garden, that’s funny.
We had snow again this morning.May 20, 2017 at 10:16 am #51883
WB, your in need of a hot house.May 20, 2017 at 10:27 am #51884
I put my garden in again. The only crop I expect to harvest are the potatoes though. The deer won’t eat potato plants because the plant is poisonous.May 24, 2017 at 4:07 am #51886
Got started late and didn’t use any of our heirloom seeds either – just got lazy and went to the nursery and got some Big Boys. The upper garden (of which a small portion of one end is visible behind the wall) has four tomato plants. I use electrical conduit for supports, and until this year used to use netting to train the plants straight up. This year the netting was pretty ratty anyway, so I ripped it out and just put some heavy wire across between the bases of the two supports, then strung thick twine from bottom to top (ran out of white, obviously, hah hah! – orange is the new white). We’ve already got multiple tomatoes per plant and SO far no pests. Wish I could say the same about the collards in one of the 4×6 boxes on the lower level – the white cabbage butterflies are laying all over them!
The chicken wire in the two visible lower boxes is for the four cats next door that loved using the boxes for “personal purposes.” I love cats, but they’re no longer welcome in our yard both because of the garden boxes, as well as the birds we feed – more varieties than ever before this year!!! In fact, I’m adding one additional photo of what showed up in our yard for almost two months – a leucistic sparrow! I’d never heard of such a thing, let alone seen one, yet we were favored to have one – absolutely stunning, even with the naked eye from the house. The attached photo was taken with a 300mm lens however (about 80 feet).
Despite providing insect meals, the collards are growing marvelously this year, and someone taught us how to prepare them to remove almost all the bitterness. Wish I’d know about that long ago, since we already love collards (cut them, wash them, cut them up, put them – still wet – in a freezer bag and freeze them, then cook them the next day – the freezing simulates first frost of the season, and they’re just as mild as you could ever want!). We’ve got one or more Japanese eggplants on each of the plants (right edge of photo), many peppers growing nicely, lots of herbs this year, the four tomato plants (enough for just the two of us, and maybe some give-away later in the summer), and some yellow squash. We’ve got a few other things planned over the next few days, but at least we finally got started. Oh – and the strawberries are coming in nicely since we took them out of the garden this year and moved them to the pots on the wall in the photo.May 26, 2017 at 5:38 pm #51902
Have two tomato plants, starting to bloom. Harvesting chard. Also Bushrat’s stock tank raised beds are going great. Ate the first planted blackberry yesterday. Slowly but surely getting stuff established.
- This reply was modified 2 years ago by wildartist.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.May 27, 2017 at 3:31 am #51915
Ah, chard! We learned to love that years ago, and for some reason have not thought to plant it recently. Others claim it doesn’t do well in summer, but we simply haven’t found that to be true. I don’t know if it’s a function of the raised beds on almost solid clay making for good drainage out the bottom, or what, but we’ve had good luck with chard almost all year ’round in the past. I just love all the varieties! Thanks for the reminder Wildartist.
And what do you do about drainage with the stock tanks – holes drilled in the bottom? I kind of like the idea of stock tanks, if they’re large enough and not too deep. What size (dimensions – especially depth) do you use? (we’re currently using three 4×6′ raised ground beds using cedar sides, along with a much longer garden using concrete bricks for sides) And how many years do you get out of the stock tanks before the zinc begins to significantly corrode on the inside, especially?May 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm #51938
I have used galvanized tanks for years – but stopped using them for growing a number of years ago as my gardening needs expanded. In my experience – do NOT put holes in the tanks unless you coat around the holes and the edge of the hole with a silicone rubber sealant. If you do, believe me, you will speed the rusting of the tank – the coating gets compromised, see? If you grow acid loving plants the coating will break down faster – but they will last you a very long time – so no worries really. It’s the holes in them in not coated will speed the degradation quickly.
If you live in an area that can get lots of rain, and/or days on end – then make the holes but coat them. Otherwise, a deep layer of gravel (I used 8″) with fine mesh or cheesier landscape fabric (very lightweight) to keep the soil from migrating easily will do.
The things to think about is1) how hot, when placed in full sun, the zinc will heat up the soil. The zinc tanks when new will blind you sometimes in the sun!! (Also draw attention BTW) – 2) how much soil it takes to fill them. A 100 gallon tank, for instance, will take 600 pounds of soil/material (or 15 – 40lb bags) to fill if I remember correctly, if you aren’t using a gravel layer. HTH
I use my old stock tanks (with holes plugged) to make my compost quicker. I add straw, leaves, horse manure, garden waste, cut up small twigs and branches (run through chipper) into one tank until it is half full, and fill the rest of the way with water and literally let it rot. Then use a pitchfork and shovel to transfer it into another empty tank to dry out, turning it once a week or so. Then I add earthworms – let it sit a couple of weeks more – then use it. Quick.May 29, 2017 at 7:25 pm #51941
Thanks, Tweva. I thought about the issue of removing the zinc coating by drilling, but hadn’t thought about the heat. Here in the South, that might be an issue through the summer. But if we move into a final (hopefully) retirement home with very little yard space, that may still be a great option for growing our own.
What I particularly like is your compost idea. Somehow, I’ve never seen the method discussed before that you use, filling one tank half full of compost ingredients, then filling it and “literally let[ting] it rot.” That certainly would work quicker, and would likely reduce the number of times the material would have to be transferred to create good mixing. I’m gathering that the “drowning” of everything doesn’t significantly kill off all the bacteria we want to break down the components into a nice usable compost. I may just try that!
As for measuring, I’ve been fortunate that a local stone and dirt facility has a “mulch planter mix” for sale that they say is very high quality (i.e. no large contamination – just good ingredients). I’ve gotten it for years from the same supplier, and been extremely pleased with it. So I just measure my containers (whether they’re raised ground beds, containers, or whatever), and do the conversion math to get cubic yards. I have that dumped at the end of our driveway near the gate, and then just transport it by wheelbarrow to the gardens not very far away. Yes, it’s a bit of work to move it, but the price savings over bagged manure and soil makes it all worth it (plus, it’s good exercise for an old[er] man – LOL!). What we get is so good that I can’t use it right away most year – it’s still “cooking” for a few days after delivery. Once the pile cools off, I move it to the gardens.May 29, 2017 at 7:39 pm #51942
If you coat the outside of the tanks with appropriate white or light color….or add a wood or bamboo border around (aesthetics up to you) it will help mitigate soil heat on plant roots. I did tests on them early on but can’t easily find – but enuf to recall it was for the more shallow rooted plants – significant.
BTW, while stuff is ‘rotting’…after a week or two..I use some of the water as a ‘tea’ to ‘dress’ the plants instead of chemical fertilizer. BIG diff. All works out somehow. Unfortunately, still taking care of elderly (90’s) father..so my garden is, of necessity, and again, much smaller this year. Grapevines not clipped back correctly, espaliered apple trees running amok…always something — but nature is so resilient. I love.May 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm #51950
I can only dream of having the ability to garden as you do. Some of my favorite posts, even though I really can’t relay the written knowledge into practical use. Some have a green thumb – mine is more like an Agent Orange.
http://ageofdecadence.comJuly 4, 2017 at 4:08 am #52038
The heat in the southeast and west is unimaginable. Even with a greenhouse i dont see how you could grow anything there. Too hot.July 4, 2017 at 9:03 am #52040
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