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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:39 pm 
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The garden is 3 years old. We started by putting down kraft paper we bought in rolls from agent orange (home depot). On top of that was 6-8" of compost that was mostly wood. We dug holes and started planting things. Some grew, most didn't. That winter I tilled in a couple dozen bags of leaves picked up on the side of the road. I added bags of lava sand, green sand, organic fertilizer, etc. The next year we planted again and covered the entire garden with straw for weeds, moisture control and the organic matter. That all got tilled in the next spring along with more bags of leaves. For the last two years I have been making a good amount of compost from goat and chicken manure and applying it to the beds.
I just has a soil test and my organic matter is 8.2%. 5 is ideal and I have never seen over 4 but I still have trouble with the soil acting like clay. Half of the garden towards the top of the picture is in raised beds. They received ample amounts of compost and coffee grounds from Starbucks. I think I will put the rest of the garden in raised beds so I'm not trying to amend and improve all the soil, just that inside the beds.
When you think of it, more than half your garden is walkways. I have 30 loads of free tree trimmings from the power company, the walkways are getting 8-10 inches dumped on them. That should take care of them for several years.
Probably way too much information, thanks for your help.
Tony M


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 Post subject: garden test
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:02 am 
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I'll probably never be able to post pics but just wanted to comment on the beautiful garden! Wow, Tony, your hard work has really paid off. (ps-we have a 'redbelly'Ford like yours)
Patty

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:19 am 
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Yea Patty, I remember you talking about the 8N last year. I thought you had to have some work done on it, did you get it fixed or am I mistaken?
Mine starts up immediately and get to working right now! Where else can you get a reliable 54yr old workhorse for a few thousand dollars.
Tony

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:24 pm 
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Thanks for all the details on your garden; I started my garden in the middle of a well established coastal hay meadow three years ago; the first two I pretty much spent all my time tilling-finally got rid of the bermuda but sorta sterilized the soil while doing it. January of this year I decided to go all organic and have been very surprised at the great results I have had in my first year. Found out how great mulch is-started out with hay but then I got 10 loads of wood chips from the power company and pretty much covered the garden with them. I am debating on tilling them in at the end of the year; the soil is already appears to be fairly healthy and most of the organic stuff seems to indicate tilling is a bad thing. I just purchased one of the tiny (looks like a toy) gas powered cultivators, set it to 6 inches wide, and tilled just the row middles where I am planting the second crop of peas, corn, and beans. Seems like it is going to work very well and takes a lot less time. If you dont mind me asking a few questions: What is your soil ph? I am already wondering if my soil is going to turn acidic with the huge additions of the organic matter. Also, how do you water-overhead, soaker hose, etc? Starbucks is opening in our town in about a month- how hard was it for you to convince them to give you their used coffee? Thanks for all the info!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:18 pm 
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DD-
You've apparently have had a couple of drops of rain at your place, looks great.
The pH of my soil is 74., ideal is 6.3-6.5. I don't concern myself too much with pH because the fertilizers and foliar sprays I'm using buffer irregularities in pH. I think the Calcium/Magnesium ratio is a bit more troublesome because of the nutrients it ties up, but mine was reasonable.
Most organic gurus will tell you to keep adding finished compost and other organic matter and the soil will balance itself. I had a specific problem with watermelons staying white and I thought I might have a micro-nutrient problem so I did the test. I'm still puzzled about the white watermelons.
I'm a fan of no-till but only after you've had a chance to get the soil healthy and to me, tilling in organic matter and amendments is a fast way to get there. 2006 was my last year to till.
Starbucks has a policy to recycle their grounds. They even have special recycle bags to put them in. I don't know how motivated your store will be to do this but mine is very cooperative. Just don't go in at 7:30 am to pick up some grounds.
I don't mean to preach but I will mention that even if an organic garden was more expensive or didn't produce the excellent results it does I would still do it. Nothing is worth contaminating myself, my loved ones and the environment with toxic chemicals.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:54 am 
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DD,

You are doing great - thanks for sending the photos. I have found two things extremely helpful for the success of my organic gardens. First, put your compost pile(s) in your garden. I even did this when I had a garden that was only 20' x 20'. I start them in the spring and fall. When the compost is finished, remove the bin and spread the compost around the garden. Then move the bin to a new spot and start another one. Now that I have a large garden area, I have two bins started and plan to start a third where I just pulled my corn since it is a heavy feeder. You will be amazed how much this improves your soil.

My second suggestion is to grow herbs among your plants in your garden. Some perennials like rosemary need to be placed in permanent spots, so you have to work around it but herbs are so beneficial since they have great pesticide properties. Some simple ones to start with that you can eat include sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives and basil. I also like to have lavendars (they don't like much water), tansy and rue just for their benifit to my garden. And there are many others to add once you get started.

Mary


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 Post subject: gardens
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:43 am 
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Tony-

Yes, we did have a lot of work done on our 8N, I think it's an 8 3/4N now or some other animal! It's always something-right now it's the steering-can't turn left. Does present a problem...
As far as the gardens go-both you & dirtdiggler have beautiful spots! I will try this spring, even tho we don't live on our land yet, I think we're up there enuf to care-take a garden.

Patty

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:10 pm 
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Patty-
I know you are anxious to get to your property but there are a few things you can do to improve your gardening odds once you move there. Plant a cover crop where you plan to have your veggies and mow it into the soil. Start picking up all those free leaves on the side of the road this fall as you are driving out on the weekends. Save your kitchen scraps in a metal garbage can (that's what Howard does) so they won't stink or attract animals. Bury them deep in the compost pile at the farm. Look for broken bags of organic fertilizers or any kind of animal feed at the garden/feed stores and get that spread out.
By the time you move you will have stuff jumping out of the ground.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:58 pm 
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We've been mowing a 4 1/2 ac area regualrly & native grasses are more prevalent than when we bought in '02. But it's still full of weeds & wildflowers-those I like! Should we seed something like alfalfa? Clover? When?
Thanks-
Patty

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:52 pm 
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I know that question wasn't for me, but I thought I'd chime in:
What type of soil do you have? Around here (Nacogdoches County) we generally plant Crimson Clover and Hairy Vetch. Most of our soil is either sand or red dirt/clay. From experience I can tell you that most clover will work well and reseed itself on the tighter red soil here. It will grow on the sand but is harder to get started and has to be reseeded more; The vetch does well on both but seems to do a little better on the sand. We generally plant a mixture of both weighting it a little heavier whichever way the soil is. September is when we usually seed; problem is if it rains and then quits raining for a while, the seed will come up and then wither. If the moisture holds out, however, we generally get an excellent stand. I have planted seed during the winter but it has a hard time getting established before spring unless it is a warm winter. Either way, I would recommend planting a variety of seed since you wont need much for just a few acres and whatever works well with the soil will become obvious; resist temptation to mow it until seed heads are well formed.


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 Post subject: gardens
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:00 am 
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Thanks, Dirtdiggler-will this work for hard black clay over white rock? I think the neighbors seeded red clover last fall but the drought hasn't helped. We have another open field that we've tried a variety of trees & they have all died. Well, the last 2 afghan pines are leaning in that direction. The grass there is great, however. There is a slight 'mound' near the center that I'd like to plant strawberries in but a little afraid that wouldn't work. We haven't done the molasses or any other amendments, except 'sick tree treatment' on a couple cedar elms.

Patty

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:06 pm 
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I have no personal experience with that type of soil-I would suspect the clover will work the best. I would try 4 or 5 different types the first time and see what works best. Some feed stores will sell the seed by the pound so you wont have to buy a 30 or 50 pound bag of each type of seed. I generally broadcast the seed but if you have some way to lightly break the top of the ground prior to seeding, the seedlings will be more hardy and get a better start. If you want more info specific to your area, I highly recommend you call your local UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) office and talk to someone in the The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. In many counties they will cofund covercrop establishments so they generally know a lot about what will work in your area-of course they generally wont endorse an organic program but they still usually know a lot about what covercrops and other plants will work in your soil. You may be able to get financial assistance for doing stuff that conserves the environment-they often give out funds for pond building, range land improvement, fence building, wetland conservation, and tree planting. The criteria are different in each district but the paperwork is very simple, they come look at your property (which for me, was suprisingly helpful) and make recommendations, and then grants are made in the spring of each year based on a point system. The money does not have to be paid back and for a government process, it is a surprisingly good program but like most govt programs it depends on how good the staff are in your local office as to how helpfull it is. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:27 am 
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DD-
Thanks so much for all the info. Hard to believe the gov't can actually come out & HELP! :wink:
Certain areas of the property have better soil than others-I think where we tried to plant trees it was just too shallow-maybe 6" of dirt over white rock. That's probably why it's been open field for years. Other areas used to be almost marshy (back in the day when it rained now & then!) & the soil was light brown w/crawdads. So I have to assume different parts would test differently.

Thanks again-
Patty

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:09 am 
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DirtDiggler wrote:
[img]http://aycu28.webshots.com/image/2507/1862201704011852901_fs.jpg[/img

... If you haven't already, check my response on the Sick Pepper thread to find out how I got the true address of the picture(note it ends with ".jpg"). Also, play with the "preview" button when posting- I overlooked it at first but it is very handy...


http://www.dirtdoctor.com/forum/viewtop ... ck+peppers

I do not see the pictures on the sick peppers thread...

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 Post subject: Re: test
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:00 pm 
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Since this thread is here, I'm going to test uploading a few images I have in mind to use. Might as well keep the messy experiments to one place! :)


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File comment: This is a pot of red or rose colored Swiss chard, cut up in preparation for cooking them like mustard or collard greens. When you start out, the large kettle is full to the top.
Chard-greens-before-1a.jpg
Chard-greens-before-1a.jpg [ 152.93 KiB | Viewed 841 times ]

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