the "New" garden thread

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This topic contains 86 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  YogiNC 3 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 51 through 75 (of 87 total)
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  • #104886

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    Stick.. you need to buy a “reel” mower for that ‘muda grass..

    get down to 3/4″ and enjoy your your new part time job…

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #104887

    YogiNC
    Participant

    Stick, no need to wait, gypsum can be applied any time. And it does work wonders. My yard was once all bermuda and it looked great as long as I fed it (LOTS of nitrogen, LOTS). Don’t have the time any more to be spending cutting that stuff with 4 acres and I converted to centipede. Lots less work, looks great and if I skip a week or so cutting it’s no big deal. It is the lazy man’s grass. I decided to do that when I wore out a 5 gang reel mower Bill.

    As an aside I went 3 weeks in the first of June with 0.2 inches of rain and had to water every other day, but it was minimal with the raised beds. In the last week I’ve gotten 3 inches of rain. Monday I had 2 5 gallon buckets full of squash, zucchini, cukes, maters, peas, corn, and okra. I had a couple of zucchinis that were 18″ long and 6″ around. They looked like small watermelons. Melons and cants are exploding. The corn is awesome, I planted Serendipity this year and it is delicious!

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104888

    modobrew
    Participant

    any of you guys in the sandhills area? I sure could use some help prepping my garden for next season. We finally decided to do the whole garden thing this year, but it was too late in the year to get anything started. We just moved down here a little over a year ago and I’m used to the red clay of Raleigh, so this whole sandy thing is new to me. I could use some guidance in prepping it for next seasons crops. If anyone is in the area and wants to help, cold (craft, unless you prefer PBR or the likes) beers are on me.

    #104889

    YogiNC
    Participant

    Define sandhills, where are you exactly? I built raised beds this year. If your soil needs some refinements I have quite a few things that I did to my raised beds that worked really well. I planted them intensively, lots of stuff packed in really tight. It made it easier to fertilize, weed and keep watered when we went through a dry spell the first 3 weeks of June. Over the past week we’ve had 3 inches of rain and it exploded, I can hardly keep up with keeping it picked. I brought 2 5 gallon buckets worth of veggies into work yesterday. When I get home today I expect to pick the same amount of “stuff”. The extra soil required for the raised beds I got from cardboard I got from a local grocery store plus wheat straw. I have a recipe for turning it into compost that worked really well.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104890

    modobrew
    Participant

    Yogi, I’m right around the Pinehurst/Southern Pines area. Very sandy soil that holds just about 0 moisture. I like the idea of raised beds, but we’ve already set out plans for a garden with a nice fence around it. It’s a space about 80 ft x 40 ft give or take. Feel free to share as much info as you can. I’m new to all of this; I just moved from the Garner area only had less than 1/3 an acre. i now have 6 acres. Looking to put a well in either this fall or early next spring for watering the garden.

    #104891

    YogiNC
    Participant

    As someone who has always done the “row” thing I understand. My garden space is 50 X 75 so just about the same as yours. Last summer I could NOT keep enough water on corn and peanuts and wound up with none of either in spite of watering for over an hour everyday when it was rally dry. I’ve done extensive research on the raised bed thing and put it into motion this year. 2 beds are 4 X 40 and have corn, squash, zucchini, peas, pole beans, peanuts, watermelon, and cantaloupes. Intensive close quarter planting. In the other two beds which are 4 X 16 I have tomatoes, cukes, peppers, okra, eggplant, onions and shallots. When it was really dry I could water all of it in 30 minutes AND every other day. The makeup and design of the raised beds help them to retain water really well. I have almost no weeds to the point where I can spend 30 minutes twice a week weeding and they are gone. I have more veggies this year from that arrangement than I’ve ever had planting the 75 X 50 AND a quarter of the work. I’ll NEVER go back to the old way again. When the season is over I’ll turn everything in for composting in place. I’ll probably grow turnips over the winter.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104892

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    it’s ain’t gott nothing to do with “raised” beds ….

    except for the difference in what “soil” you put in them…

    soil amendments and organic materials, compost beer, etc..
    work basically the same in wood boxes and in the field…

    yes … there are some “scaling” issues and then there’s the sqft thing…

    —————-

    start with 5%-8% organic material…
    plenty of carbon and calcium ( the later is not the same as lime…)

    plenty of micronutrients

    and lots of those little microbes…

    in the field or in wood boxes…

    then adjust accordingly for your crops…

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #104893

    YogiNC
    Participant

    Bill, agreed on the soil amendments completely BUT for me this year the raised beds did things drastically different. Since the beds were being planted companion wise AND intensively planted the results were fantastic.

    Specifically:
    1. Weeds were easier to get to to pull and get to since the top of the beds were elevated 18 inches. Crabgrass was reduced by my estimation to a quarter of what it had been in the past. This is a big deal for me. I don’t have the back to bend over to pull weeds anymore.

    2. Irrigation needs when I went through a dry spell were met with probably 10% of what I had to do last year and even then I could not get enough water on my corn. This year the same dry spell came in early June but only watering every other day for 30 minutes vs. over an hour everyday last year and my corn crop was pretty good. It could have been better and I’ll put permanent drip type irrigation in for next year. The fact that the bed was mostly flat with either side retentions on the short beds or a raised lip on the long beds kept the water that I had to provide IN THE BED. They also retained rain water better. With raised rows there is no way to do this with irrigation. Since the corn was in the middle of the long beds it always got the most benefit from water. You live and learn with this stuff.

    3. Companion planting really works. There really is no way to do this in row planting. The squash and zucchini leaves are providing lots of shade on the large beds where the corn was planted. Weed mitigation, lots of it. Also reduced soil water evaporation. I also planted various beneficial flowering plants throughout my beds. I’ve noticed much fewer bugs eating the plants. 4 o’clocks ROCK. Bugs eat them and they die.

    4. Fertilization requirements are smaller. This is due to two things I think. First is the makeup of the bed itself. They are highly porous which makes them retain water easier. Second, the amendments are easier to get WHERE they are needed.

    5. The only drawback I’ve experienced is I have to “crop” everyday. The squash, zucchini and cukes get way out of hand if I skip a day since I’ve been getting rain over the last 10 days. I’ve had zucchini and cukes that looked like watermelons. No use keeping them they aren’t any good.

    My take is if it’s a small garden, make it smaller by intensive planting and make it easier by raised beds.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104894

    Pack78
    Participant

    Speaking as a non-gardener, this is a very informative thread; since we are an Ag school (among other things) this is fitting. BTW, you guys ain’t gardnin’, you farmin’!

    #104895

    YogiNC
    Participant

    LOL @pack78. I have a tractor but now I use it only to cut my 4 acres of grass. I did use it to help me build those raised beds but it will no longer be used in the garden. Seems to me tractor = farmin’, no tractor = gardnin’.

    I will say this, creating raised beds is no easy task. I put 3,000 lbs of cardboard into mine. Grocery stores bale their cardboard and if you have the method to haul it they will give it to you. Lowes was also a good source since theirs tends to be BIG (fridges, stoves, etc). I also used 20 bales of wheat straw. The only drawback to this is seeds inside that stuff tend to sprout. It’s easy to pull though. The base of my beds was cut up hardwood trees from the ice storm we had last winter. I dug out a trench and put the cut up limbs and such in , added some wheat straw and covered them up. This sorta created a water reservoir in the bottom. Added the cardboard and lots of 34 – 0 – 0 (10 bags) fertilizer to make it breakdown easily then more wheat straw, 17 -17 – 17 and soil. Squared them up with raised lips on the side and ends of the long beds, railroad ties for the short beds. I’ll enclose the long beds this fall with lumber of some sort probably. Much work on the front end but totally worth it IMO.

    I’ve given tons of veggies to 5 sets of neighbors (3 of them are elderly and living on limited income), and brought lots in to work to give away. I’ve never had the results like this before, never. It was funny watching and hearing comments from some of those elderly folks who had never seen this done before. Some thought I was kinda nuts but that’s nothing new. What was even funnier was their response when the veggies started coming in and how much such a small space was producing. The corn was a BIG hit, most said it is the best they have ever had. I’m seriously considering planting a second crop of that since I still have some seeds left and I didn’t freeze any.

    The initial preps do take a lot of work. There are lots of resources out there about how to do it. I combined everything I read about raised beds, square foot gardening and companion planting. I’ll probably do a few things different next year but it will just be tweaks from what I’ve learned.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104896

    modobrew
    Participant

    Yogi, great information! Sounds like your garden kicked ass this year. Would you be able to take some pics and send to me your set up? I had 2 small raised beds at my previous house (2 varieties of hops in one and squash, tomatoes, and zucchini in the other) and they seemed to work fairly well considering the lack of prep i put into them. It’s interesting to read your results and how you prepped everything. decisions, decisions. Thanks again for the abundance of info. Are you in the same area as me?

    #104897

    YogiNC
    Participant

    I’m in Dunn so not too far away. I can send pics. Not sure how to send you my email addy. I really need to post this on our facebook page. I wish we had a way to send private messages on here.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104898

    modobrew
    Participant

    Yea, not sure the best way to send them. Is there another state forum we might use that has private messaging? Or maybe go here (https://filetea.me/default/) and drag and drop photos then paste link on here, that is, if you don’t mind others downloading them. Let me know if this works, if not, I might try to figure out my login info for my spam email account and you can send it there.

    #104899

    YogiNC
    Participant

    I’ll see about posting some pics on my facebook tomorrow. Won’t be able to do it tonight though, have other plans.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104900

    modobrew
    Participant

    No worries. I won’t be doing anything to my gardening area anytime soon. You have given me hope in this sandy soil though. I might research some of the ideas you laid out above and see what i can put together for next season. Seems like it comes down to the prep.

    #104901

    YogiNC
    Participant

    Most of my research on the raised beds wound up being based on the keyhole garden concept which I translated a bit to a standard raised bed. I wound up building the layers of my raised beds like the layers of the keyhole. That part really worked well IMO. Then I applied a good deal of the square foot garden and companion planting thought processes. It’s like combining 3 really good ideas into one. For me I’ll never do it differently again, the outcomes were just way too good. Like i said though I do have a few tweaks for next year.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104902

    Becton901
    Participant

    Yogi, your method sounds good. How long did it take for the cardboard and straw to decompose? Should I should start now for a garden next spring? I’m near Charlotte.

    I used straw a few years ago to keep the weeds down in my conventional garden three years ago. Apparently they had sprayed the field with herbicide some time before baling. Almost all of the garden curled up on the new growth, particularly the potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. The extension guy said it didn’t resemble any infestation or disease, so he figured it was the straw. I’ll ask next time.

    Thanks for your information

    #104903

    YogiNC
    Participant

    The straw is still decomposing. I fed the cardboard a lot of nitrogen (which is to stuff that you need to decompose carbon… i.e. cardboard). It went pretty quickly BUT the earlier you get it done the better. The straw really tended to be the sponge that holds the water. I’ve pulled up a few of the corn plants that are finished and there is a lot of straw attached to the roots and it’s pretty moist. There are things in how I did it that go fast and others go slow. I figure it will probably take at least 24 months for the total cycle to take place. After the “season” I plan to turn the middle of the beds up a bit to see what is transpiring underneath and to determine if I need to do anything to feed the beast so to speak. I got a pile of hardwood mulch from tree trimmers this summer that I used as mulch a bit that will be mixed in this fall.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104904

    highstick
    Participant

    Yea, not sure the best way to send them. Is there another state forum we might use that has private messaging? Or maybe go here (https://filetea.me/default/) and drag and drop photos then paste link on here, that is, if you don’t mind others downloading them. Let me know if this works, if not, I might try to figure out my login info for my spam email account and you can send it there.

    Packpride has private messaging.

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #104905

    highstick
    Participant

    The straw is still decomposing. I fed the cardboard a lot of nitrogen (which is to stuff that you need to decompose carbon… i.e. cardboard). It went pretty quickly BUT the earlier you get it done the better. The straw really tended to be the sponge that holds the water. I’ve pulled up a few of the corn plants that are finished and there is a lot of straw attached to the roots and it’s pretty moist. There are things in how I did it that go fast and others go slow. I figure it will probably take at least 24 months for the total cycle to take place. After the “season” I plan to turn the middle of the beds up a bit to see what is transpiring underneath and to determine if I need to do anything to feed the beast so to speak. I got a pile of hardwood mulch from tree trimmers this summer that I used as mulch a bit that will be mixed in this fall.

    I’ve been playing with the compost tea using grass clippings, yard debris, vegetable scraps, etc. Making small quantities in a 5 gallon bucket so the mosquitoes don’t breed. Veg plants and roses really seem to like it when they get a drink. Let the bucket cure for a couple of weeks and it smelled like the barn at Keeneland.

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #104906

    highstick
    Participant

    Stick.. you need to buy a “reel” mower for that ‘muda grass..

    get down to 3/4? and enjoy your your new part time job…

    Think I can train my 3 year old grandson to mow with the reel? I used one of those until I was about 13 years old on centipede. My objective was to get the grass to grow. I have my own mowing etc. to deal with so “that’s not my job”!

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #104907

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    STick.. in a word…. NO.
    and one reason is his Mama won’t back you up…..

    ————————–

    Yogi, et al…

    One of the “things” we’re trying to figure out on the Farm is how to translate the best of the sqft gardening concepts to a larger production environment…

    I’m farming 7 acres, all organic … which is every sense is “too big to be little and too little to be big”.

    Here’s what I know so far…

    1. you either growing crops or you’re growing grass and weeds…
    2. it’s all about labor v. equipment and we’re building our own equipment, ’cause we can’t find what we want that’s affordable… I’m swictching alot of stuff from 48″ rows to two 30″ rows…
    3. we still spend a helluvalotof time doing “handwork” and hoeing…
    4. people have forgetton how to bend over, stay down and go to the end of the row….
    5. labels are deceiving… most organic products, especially organic, when you try to figure how much per acre instead of per 1000 sqft… ( the answer is never “mulitply by 44)

    6. two rows of plants in one 20″ bed/row works ok… three rows in one 20” bed/row does not…
    7. shade is your number one all purpose herbicide… straw, compost and mulch are number two…
    8. the indoor guys gott one right… “grow” – “bloom” – “finish”…

    I’ll get back to ya’ll on the rest when we figure it out….

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #104908

    YogiNC
    Participant

    Bill, I can’t imagine trying to apply what I’m doing to a very much larger scale. As it is what I’m doing is way larger than the common concept of raised beds since my smallest is larger than most and my big ones are 5 times larger. I felt I had to do that in order for the corn to work like i wanted it to. One thing that I would probably do for 7 acres is planting everything in black plastic. I have a brother in law that farms flowers. Yep, flowers. He’s doing it on about 8 acres and he plants intensively in black plastic. I also have a neighbor that does yellow squash in black plastic.

    For a personal small garden what I’m doing is a much better solution that what I’ve done before. For anything over 1/2 an acre doing one crop of a specific veggie in black plastic seems to make more sense. It does great for my brother in law. They have a contract with Lowes foods and Whole Foods in the triangle and they sell A LOT of flowers.

    Smarter than the average bear

    #104909

    modobrew
    Participant

    Yea, not sure the best way to send them. Is there another state forum we might use that has private messaging? Or maybe go here (https://filetea.me/default/) and drag and drop photos then paste link on here, that is, if you don’t mind others downloading them. Let me know if this works, if not, I might try to figure out my login info for my spam email account and you can send it there.

    Packpride has private messaging.

    Yogi, are you on packpride? If so, my username is the same over there.

    #104910

    Fastback68
    Participant

    ^Modo, you still have time to plant a 4 acre dove field with brown top millet which loves sandy soil. The sandhills was a favorite gray jet airport in my younger days. Late 70s – 80s

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