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Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by RustyStuff, May 31, 2015.
Habeneros and jalapeño
Great job! Today I cleaned the garden a bit, manually water few of my delicate plants, tap washed all small basil plant. I also found info about pole saw on https://protoolsadviser.com/best-pole-saw/ and bought one for my gardening works.
The summer garden is about done. The last of the watermelons, sweet potatoes and winter squash.
Definitely had an autumnal week or so. Lots of rain predicted, to go with the lot we had last week.
Been tiding up. French bush beans gone. Only a few tomatoes left, but what a fantastic season they have given us. Despite many blight warnings, only the Ukraine purple succumbed, and they had more or less finished by then. Huge numbers of cucs both ridge and the round yellow ones.
Both the outside peppers and those in the green house have done well. Picked a tray today, lots more left.
The butternut squash has produced one decent sized fruit and two small ones, enough together for a decent curry or roast.
The winter cabbage recovered from cabbage whites getting in the cage. We pulled off all the devastated leaves and they are now looking like tall versions of savoys and January king.
In other brassica news, the Brussles sprouts are looking very good, as are several sowings of spring cabbage, enough to take us through to march. Purple sprouting broccoli is huge, and the kale really needs some picking to ensure some fresh tender shoots later.
This year our new netting had prevented the butterfiles doing much harm on the main bed, and will have to stay on to deter the pigeons over winter.
Leeks look too advanced for the time of year, I really think they are a mid winter veg - must sow later next year.
September sown spinach is through and looking good.
The Alpine strawberries are still producing and looking very healthy, the maincrop ones even threw a few as yet unripe berries this week.
Spent a couple of days turning the compost and doing some organising and rearranging, There is an pile starting for what should be the final pile of the year.
All the cucs and squashes will be added soon, maybe tomorrow, lots of top growth. All the dwarf beans are there already, the runners are still churning out pods like there is no tomorrow, so a waiting game. We have some seed peas to sort through - but lots of dried peas.
The asparagus top growth and spent raspberry canes will join them soon.
A lot of time today was spent trying to sort the small front garden - only decorative plants, so tends to get left. Cleared out some creeping stuff, and moved a couple of other helibors so we could add our three new additions, a dianthus, a potentilla and .... can't remember.
Cut the top off the beech tree, suddenly double in height, but in a very tight spot. Thinned out the crab apple thicket again and pruned the holly and verbena which is also starting to become a bit overbearing.
That will leave the winter pruning of the fruit trees, spreading compost on the beds and general tiding and maintenance to do. Oh and start sowing seeds in the new year, because it will soon be xmas.
Happy and productive gardening.
My garden was somewhat productive this year. We had so much rain in June that at one point my garden was under 6" of water when a storm drain in my neighborhood clogged and flooded out part oy my yard, my next soot neighbors and a big section of the road. Somehow the only thing that survived were my tomato plants and peppers. Everything else died and it was really too late to replant by the time it was dry again. I tried but ended up getting nothing except kale and we have been able to pick that for the last few weeks and should until it frosts. Beans, peas, squash, none produced.
The thing i am most shocked about is the peppers and tomatoes. They ended up doing really well. I'm actually still picking peppers both hot and bells.
Did a lot of canning this year, made hot pepper jelly, pickled Jalapenos and tomato puree.
My new canning rig. A lot more power than my stove in my kitchen.
So, I am wanting to start a raised bed garden. I have the space in the back yard for 3 4x4 raised beds. I am thinking of two high 2x10s for the construction. I live in Phoenix in 9b zone. Right now the back yard consist of sod grass (supposed to be grass...it's mostly sedge and crabgrass now), and contractor type crushed granite gravel.
I have a couple questions for anyone in the know.
1. Should I removed the sod underneath the beds? I've read that I should dig up the ground beneath the beds, but I suspect I will not find much under the sod to be diggable...probably caliche.
2. Should I place a liner between the ground and the filler for the raised bed? If so, what is best to use as a liner?
3. What do I use to fill the beds? I had planned to use regular garden soil from Home Depot. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kellogg...oil-for-Flowers-and-Vegetables-6850/205617876
It says I should mix it 50/50 with native soil. Anyone in this area know where I can get a pick-up load of native soil? I only have granite gravel to add from my yard.
Sorry for all the basic questions, but I am just trying to get started growing veggies in the desert. I grew up in Appalachia where growing a garden almost meant throwing out some seeds and coming back in a couple months to harvest.
Thanks in advance for any help and information, and I certainly appreciate the sharing of any resources/classes in the area.
1) I would dig up as much asI could too prevent the grass from growing up through the beds.
2) 1/2" hardware cloth stapled to the bottom if you have gophers or tunneling rodents. They will eat your roots.
3) look for somewhere like this - https://www.mdirock.com/product-category/soil
Add drip irrigation before planting.
There is no need to dig, at all.
If you feel a barrier is necessary - if you have lots of weeds, then use cardboard. The plain stuff, a couple of layers if you like. Wet it before adding compost/top soil. As miguelitro says, a more durable barrier if your area has destructive critters.
Plants you harvest only grow in the top few inches of whatever medium you use. So no need to do anything drastic and hard work - it won't make any difference other than stirring up any weed bank in your soil.
Plants need nutrients and trace elements/minerals, but they also need carbon - they, like us, are carbon based life forms and the majority of their structure is carbon. This is why carbon is important reason No1. No2 is that the humous you get in compost holds on to water longer, so any water you apply "lasts" longer.
I don't dig and don't water. The two are related. I use compost as a mulch, but lots of stuff will work. Applied every autumn to protect the soil underneath and prevent any weeds. It also provides the helpful soil biology that plants need, rather than digging which breaks up helpful biological bio systems that plants need to grow vigorously.
Some vineyards in the south of France use rocks for example.
The fairly common Back to Eden method is basically a heavy carbon based mulch, but to work successfully needs a bit more work than is commonly proposed.
Being in what I presume is an arid region, sorting out a watering system will save work and disturbance later.
@aterry1067 , Agree with Nick on no digging and just a layer or two of cardboard to smother the grasses. We used a heavy layer of newspapers on my friend's beds and that worked fine.
Unless you have voles or gophers or aggressive weeds or grass that will try to come up from the bottom, no barrier is needed, but if it gives peace of mind do it.
Our master gardeners recommended a raised bed soil mix of 1/3 each vermiculite, peat moss, and compost. No native soil (and we have decent soil here). It makes a lovely medium. I cheated their recipe a little and went quarters by also using the pink and yellow Kellogg Raised Bed mix, which on its own would probably be fine: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kellogg...-Premium-Outdoor-Container-Mix-6490/205617903
As Nick said, most garden veggies will only root down about 6 inches or so. You're planning on 20" +/- deep beds, which leaving a few inches at the top is 16"+/- of soil. That's a lot of expensive soil mix. I'd fill the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 with something less expensive like native soil (of which you said you have little of) or sand. You'll want this material to drain, so don't use clay. And for Phoenix, irrigation is definitely a must. I use Netafim brown 1/2-inch drip tube with 0.9 gph emitters on 12" spacing and set the tubes about 6 inches apart with emitters offset. Looks like this in these 3 x 5 ft beds constructed from reclaimed deck.
What it looked like last weekend:
Hey, look! There's some of @Pansy's cleomes! I think I'll get seeds from them.
Edit: The tomatoes look pretty sparse because I took the pruners to them a couple weeks ago, trimming off vegetation that didn't have a fruit attached. I do this around the first of September. The water also goes off at this time. It stresses the plants to (hopefully) encourage fruit development and ripening.
Just in case no dig comes across as weird, this year the four cherry tomatoes plants produced a dozen plus 5kg trays. And lots of big juicy beefsteaks.
Lots of other stuff besides, as listed in previous posts.
For watering, my partner uses a watering can if we haven't had rain for a few weeks. Horses for courses.
Thanks for the tips!
For filling the bottom of the beds with cheaper material, would granite gravel be ok to use for the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the beds? I have a lot of that around the property that I am going to have to get rid of, one way or another. If I could use some of that to fill the bottom 2 to 3 inches of each bed, that would be a bonus. I have read though that people are starting to shy away from using gravel in the bottom of containers and beds. Thoughts?
I have lots of seeds if anyone else wants them.... WARNING.... they spread like crazy on their own. The few bees I saw this year were hovering around the cleomes.
Your raised beds look great @IDRIDR ! Mine were a mess of volunteer maters. Never had a chance to plant anything. Dang chipmunks must have been dropping tomatoes all over because we got home & found them growing in the burn pile & flower gardens LOL.
I don't know why gravel wouldn't work and I'd probably go that route. My two first boxes used some landscape gravel/pumice type rocks that I had extra of. I placed fabric liner above the rocks to limit soil loss into the gravels. I'm interested to know why some are shying away from this method. The later boxes have about 6-inches of native soil with no fabric liners.
Thank you for the garden compliment. The bees loved the cleomes, and also the bee balm, zinnias, sunflowers, and honeysuckle. I'm trying to plant a variety of bee and hummingbird attractants.
Thanks again for the seeds. I've looked around and haven't seen anyone else growing cleomes around here and have had several compliments. I'll harvest the seeds from the garden plants and let the ones in the front herb garden do their own thing. There's just a few plants in the background. The zinnias are all from last year's seed from a handful of plants started in the garden.
Like Nick, I do as much no-dig as possible in the garden beds.
I picked up some saffron crocus bulbs that will go into the herb garden this weekend. Also picked up several types of garlic for planting later this month.
Well it will work, at the cost of prodigious drainage. Great for alpines and other plants that thrive in very free draining soil.
You can use other stuff than soil or stone. You could try straw or hay, which will rot down quite quickly, but allow you to spread the cost of your top soil over a few seasons, or even make your own.
I make upwards of a ton of compost per year. My BiL in Germany always digs a hole and buries his veg waste. He also sows a lot of green manure. My sister was an avid chop n' drop. They have/had three allotments between them (and a vineyard). The allotments are on the edge of an ancient sand dune, so they could have similar ground conditions to you.
Another well known method is to go for hugelculture, which I think came from somewhere arid in south America. Basically any untreated wood, with other orgaincs and soil on top - most people use branches - and you can leave the leaves on. This too will rot down eventually, but its much greater biomass will absorb and release moisture for much longer than the hay stalks. It also releases nutrients and trace elements as it breaks down.
Most people just build them straight on the ground. But you can dig out a shallow trench, using the spoil as a filling layer. Will save you having to build the raised beds, unless that is a vital of your garden plan.
Lots of hugelculture vids on the tube.
A further method I haven't tried is the so called Ruth Stout method. I live in a windy place, you'll understand why it is untried when your see how it is done.
If nothing else, no dig is great for the part time gardener. The compost I use as the mulch is homemade, so probably not the best. But it really does suppress weeds and for people starting out, doing lots of work setting up, then coming back next week to find the weeds overtaking everything, is truly depressing.
I got into no dig after seeing Charles Dowding and what he was producing on his plot in the SW of England. He has lots of good vids on youtube - starting out prepping beds, sowing in trays or outside, interplanting and succession planting. Pretty much covers everything. Obviously his conditions are closer to mine than yours, but you can pick up ideas. I visited his garden on his recent open day, a fantastic experience. So neat, so tidy, so fecund, so free of pests.
His website has a place to ask questions (which he does answer!) and he did run a large small holding in France, so he is not unacquainted with more arid conditions. Worth a try, an you will turn up 100's more variants.
Mix sand in with the gravel to fill the voids, set it for the bottom 10", it will work very well.
The only thing that did well this year were the cherry tomato plants, Asian pears and yellow delicious apples. Everything else was kind of a bust yield wise. No apricots ( entire state lost over half the crop due to very cold temps in feb/march), the peaches were golfball size not softball this year, Bartlet pears were damaged by weather, cherries were good yield but had a very sour flavor. The apples were very good for being 3 year old tree's. Choke cherries were destroyed by my neighbor so no crop this year, I did get a little bowl of blackberries off the wild vines I'm growing. Going to plant heirloom Concorde grapes from seed on the fence line, that I got from my great grandfathers grape patch on the farm.
Going to have to rebuild my planter boxes, a thunderstorm microburst blew the trellis panels over and broke the boards.
I'm also a fan of no-dig.
I took the cuttings from my tree trimming (limbs and all) and threw them in the bottom of the raised beds; took up space, will eventually break-down and I'd like to think provided some air-space in the soil.