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CKatCook

Growing Food....

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"Hah! Who would dare show photos after seeing the astonishing things you've done with your garden? You obviously have good taste, a good eye and a good back. To top it off, you have an incredible view of the Olympics.

By the way, the unidentified greens in one of your photos looks like young broccoli rabe."

OMG thank you!!! I look one way and see nothing but work...a lot of work ..and everything costs money!!! go figure... I dont want to work at my job for anymore than I do... I would rather be broke and in the garden than have money and have to be at work! ...Our weather finally turned and I just have to be outside! ..the only reason I am online now is because I am having coffee ....My house is a mess from neglect....is there such a thing as a gardenerholic?

I picked a huge bowl of baby escarole and tiny onions yesterday that I am going to go eat for breakfast now ..

what are you all harvesting now?

please post pics it is so fun seeing what people grow ...even window boxes ..buckets whatever...

I have an old clawfoot cast iron bathtub I wanted to plant as an herb garden ...

or what else could I do with it? ..a fountain??? help?


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I don't know if any of you are into bokashi composting, but just in case, I got a couple of questions about it

Can you keep adding fresh food waste to the bin or do you have to let the whole thing ferment completely before you add new stuff? Also, do you have to keep adding new bokashi wheat bran culture to the pile or can the previous fermented material be used to continue the culture (sort of like yogurt)?

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Big disclaimer - I haven't used the system, or attempted to culture the microorganisms that are responsible for fermenting the kitchen scraps.

But, I have discussed the system with others who have used it. If I am not mistaken, it is a fermentation process, so theoretically the microbes should grow and multiply as you add material. Wikipedia says that the starter culture can be reused in a similar manner as a yogurt culture.

I understand it is great for people who need a rapid composting method or are composting indoors as it keeps down the smell.

Many people swear by it, but for my purposes (outdoor and well established compost pile) I haven't gotten around to messing around with it. Theoretically, all you should need is a couple or three 5 gallon buckets with lids and an initial investment in the microorganisms.

In a related theory, there are some out there that are touting some micro inoculents like Espoma Bio-Tone that you inoculate the transplant with when planting in the ground. I have a friend that is doing side by side comparisons on the inoculent in earthboxes with tomatoes. The verdict isn't in yet, but a retired college professor that literally grew thousands of varieties of tomatoes conducted a similar study a couple of decades ago that showed no appreciable difference in yield or quality with plants grown in the ground.

I think if you have healthy compost or an established bed that has been amended over time with lots of organics, that the microbes are probably already there and available to your plants. In a container growing situation with limited space for composting - it may be a very smart way to go.

If you do give the bokashi a whirl, please let us know how it works for you. I'm curious, and always looking for an edge. :wink:

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The trick with container gardens is that you have to fertilize them. Add slow release fertilizer to the containers about once every three weeks throughout their growth and production. Use large containers for best results.

I used containers to grow tomatoes outside of my regular garden this year because we have a potato blight problem that effects tomatoes that are not well protected. I used high quality fish compost mixed with soil in my pots as a base to plant the tomatoes, and I use a low nitrogen fertilizer to feed them because the fish compost provides enough nitrogen. You can plant potatoes this way too, and they are very productive and the easy to grow.

On the subject of compost, I use a compost pile for when it is not convenient to dig my garden, and I add garden soil to the compost pile to condition the soil for later use, and it keeps the smell down and the rodents out.

Compost is best dug directly into a garden where plants can use the nutrients as the organics break down, and the worms work the soil. This spring I dug two long trenches in my garden, filled them with organics (grass clippings, weeds, last years corn stalks, and kitchen waste), and mixed some soil (includes micro organisms) into the organics, and then topped this mix with a 6 inch layer of the remaining soil. I planted my squash and cucumbers on top of this and mulched them. This would work well with tomatoes.

Digging raw compost directly into a garden builds soil structure because micro organisms and worms work the organics with the soil building a better soil structure for plants. This is particularly useful in areas with clay soils. Also, plants can take advantage of more of the nutrients before they are lost to other organisms or as gaseous forms to the atmosphere, which is what happens as organics break down and are processed.

Worms help to work compost, but they are more important in a garden as they form the soil (passed through them as feces) into small pellets that makes for loose well drained soil. This is a good reason to dig raw compost directly into a garden. A well worked compost pile, however, is an awesome planting medium, and can be used in pots.

Good luck with your tomatoes.

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OMG CSU that makes perfect sense! I remember I used to have a neighbor who dug half her garden put organic waste grass clippings whatever in it and covered it then the next year planted on that side ..she would go back and forth ..never occured to me to try this

I am going to start doing that on on of the tiers I plan to plant next year ..

thanks


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Hey the indians weren't wrong when they planted their corn with fish!

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Hey the indians weren't wrong when they planted their corn with fish!

The lushest most prolific vegetable season I ever had was when I had several oak half barrels with goldfish and water hyacinth. When the water got too cloudy green with algae I would take several buckets off and portion among the vegetables. Any unfortunates who went belly up also got dug into the garden. It was wonderful. Trying it on a small scale again this year, but the water plants just came into the stores, so no results yet.

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It seems for what is a little effort things are sprouting up all over now! I have no actual tomatos yet, but I have flowers on all my tomato and cucumber plants. I fear I bought the wrong variety of cucumbers for the small containers they are actually in (burpless variety) I have some that are doing well, some not so well. We have had some real good tornadoes around here and the hail on to the porch and damaged some of the plants. Some of the cucumber stems look like bite has been taken out of them where the hail hit them. But they are not dead and continue to grow so I am letting them grow.

I am very curious about compost, is there a beginners website someone could direct me to please? (I don't even know what the stuff is made of and why I would care to use it, if I would even use it...)


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Am I right in thinking that unlike some of the other gardening threads (which do have lots of relevant info), you are growing only in containers? Or do you have some open ground?....I'd love to hear what soil mixes other people with hot summers like for their containers!

Yes, I am growing only in containers.

Water, water, water. Container gardens require a lot of water, esp. if it's a sunny spot. Plants such as tomatoes require a lot of water in the best of circumstances, even more so when planted in containers. If you shop around you can find tomatoes bred specifically for patios (ie. containers). Hardy plants such as herbs need to be watered often or they'll become tough and bitter. Container gardening can be wonderful, despite the challenges. Enjoy!

I heard, and the advice I was given may be wrong, but if you stick a pencil, or popcycle (sp?) stick in the ground and it comes back with the dirt moist and clinging to it then you don't water. That containers look dry on the top layer but could still be very moist in the bottom layers and if you over water you could end up with root rot. Now that the tempurture outside is creeping up here in the southern half of the US, my plants love a good misting in the afternoon I noticed. They seem to be more "perkier" the next day. :smile:


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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And just as I spoke so soon....another round of storms came through and flattened my pepper plants! I stood them back up and reinforced the stem with more potting soil. And they were just beginning to flower! URG!


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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So I've been composting for a couple of weeks now and it's turning out beautifully, but I've ran into three HUGE problems.

First, I can never find enough carbon sources, so I always have to use newspaper/cardboard, which breaks down painfully slowly. Not to mention that lack of carbon tends to make the compost smell like manure (I add mostly grass clippings). I'm not sure if it has any questionable chemicals in there either. I've researched online, and alot of sources say that most cardboards use starch based glues and most newspapers have banned toxic chemicals for usage of ink. I guess I'll have to cross my fingers.

The second (and third) problems are pests. I'm not sure if they are mosquitoes, but lots of flying insects are breeding in my compost heap and people are getting bitten all over the house. The third problem is a direct result of the second, as lots and lots of birds are all over my yard now, pooping on the deck. There are so many that some have resorted to building nests inside my garage and on my roof.

I guessing a solution would be to buy one of those compost bins, but I can't believe they sell those things for hundreds of dollars.

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I can't think of any biting flies that would breed in compost. Mosquitoes certainly can't breed anywhere there is not standing water. But they might hang out there during the day if it's moist.

I've always been a lazy composter - I take what I got, throw it on the pile, turn it when I remember to, and let it rot. It sometimes takes a while. I just moved and am training my housemate to put rottable things in a separate bin for compost. :) One of the best deals I ever had was in my last place - I lived near several neighborhood street markets. They get their artichokes, cabbages, cauliflower etc. "in the raw," and trim off all the unsightly leaves for the display, clean the artichokes to the hearts, shell the fava beans...this results in huge piles of vegetable refuse. I recruited my upstairs neighbors and we went down with large plastic garbage bags and begged their refuse. Most of it would eventually go to feed livestock later, but not their livestock, so after the initial weirdness of the request they were fine with it. I had lots of compost then!

One note on container growing: Many old gardening books (and many newer ones who copy the information) say to line pots or containers with a thick layer of pebbles or crocker for "drainage." It sounds logical, but in reality, it has exactly the opposite effect. Why? Think of the soil as a sponge. Or better yet, picture a sponge in a jar with an inch of pebbles on the bottom. Now slowly add water to the sponge from the top. What happens? The water does not flow through the sponge into the pebbles. It collectes at the bottom of the sponge and only flows when completely saturated. The same thing happens in pots filled with crockery or pebbles, until (after just a few waterings) the soil washes in to fill the gaps anyway.

So better to just fill your pots with soil and learn not to overwater. A good method for checking is to take a bamboo chopstick and stick it down to the bottom of the container like a dipstick, let it sit for 15 seconds, then pull it up and look. Depending on the plants, let the moisture level go down about half or two thirds of the way, then water well. It's amazing how fast plants will suck that water out in hot weather!


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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I have fruit flies in my compost some days :raz: tons of worms coming in now ...it is quite fun , very rewarding and amazingly disgusting all at the same time!

my layers consist of kitchen waste all kinds!! anything that looks like it will biodegrade goes in there

I bought a bail of straw to mound my potatoes so I dump a layer of that or dried weeds (I have very attractive weed piles all over my driveway in various starges of death)

I am going to beg some menure from friends who have animals like goats or bunnies ..no chicken!!!

my garden is bursting with greens...the escarole is beyind wonderful and I have fresh herbs of all types but am using the fresh thyme tips with Italian parsley and onion thinnings daily now ...

I can not keep the potatoes mounded everytime I walk out they need another layer! I am not sure when to stop mounding them?

I have not grown these in years

the most fun thing I am growing in the garden are the potatoes!..they are very interactive! (I have red, white and dark blue potatoes growing) the blue potatoes I got from the market (because they were insanely expensive to buy as seeds) and cut up/sprouted are about three times larger now than the certified seed potatoes..guess there was nothing on them to inhibit growth!

has anyone grown potatoes in straw? are they really going to just be in there in layers or what?? I did them in dirt previously then dug them up

everything either has flowers or is growing fruit now ..... I can eat three times a day now out of this garden

Herb scones for breakfast

salads for lunch

and dinner I made a huge pot of chicken and escarole soup yesterday (enough for three days!) with all the herbs and greens I have and a giant chicken ...amazing

there is no excuse not to grow something! ..I think everyone who loves to cook and eat... should naturally adore growing something how could you not??

..but that is me thinking

OT I have two kinds of hummingbirds in my yard nesting :smile:


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Just curious; why the prohibition on chicken poop? As long as they are well fed, without hormones or antibiotics, what would be the problem?


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Just curious; why the prohibition on chicken poop? As long as they are well fed, without hormones or antibiotics, what would be the problem?

I dont like the smell is all

it is great fertilizer...I just can not stomach how it smells


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Instead of digging potatoes in near the garden surface, I dig trenches to plant my potatoes, and dig the seed potatoes in at the bottom of the trenches. I leave the removed soil piled up between the rows, and as the potatoes grow I slowly backfill the trenches with that soil. Once I have backfilled all the soil so the garden is level again, I continue digging the soil from between the rows and piling that up on the potatoes creating the mounds much later in the season.

This approach minimizes the need to bring in other material to mound potatoes and the potatoes grow deeper in the soil which helps with soil conditioning. I add a mulch such as lawn clippings as the final touch, in case any new potatoes poke through the soil, I don't want them exposed to sun light.

Straw may work as a growing medium. You can grow potatoes in sawdust as long as the seed potatoes are placed in contact with the surface of the soil - they don't even have to be dug in to soil. I used to live near an old lumber mill and I would take home a truckload of old sawdust. I would place seed potatoes on top of the soil surface on any area of poor unused ground, even rocky ground worked, and then I just shoveled the sawdust on top until it was about 8 inches deep.

The potato plant found it's nutrients through the roots growing at ground level and the new potatoes developed in the sawdust. It is not as productive as proper gardening, but if you have a large area of unused space, you can produce big harvest of very clean high quality potatoes this way. I suspect it works the same with straw if you pile up enough straw to allow for compaction. The main thing with straw is you might have a problem with mould, but that may not effect the potatoes. I would try it.

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It amazing to me just how "flexible" the plants actually are. The pepper plants I had flattened by a hail storm have now recovered and I have a small pepper forming on one of them. My cucumber plants are growing almost out of control at this point, but I love it. It is such a joy to go out to the garden to get fresh herbs!

I agree, hummingbirdkiss, I don't see how anyone that loves food would not love this!


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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OT I have two kinds of hummingbirds in my yard nesting  :smile:

haha! I have two birds who are nesting on top of a light fixture in my garage. I removed the nest twice and every time I reopened the garage, they would come flying back in again ready with twigs and leaves. By the end of the day, there would be a perfectly formed nest.

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This little black thumb has started a small scale container garden of her own, inspired by all of you. :smile:

I've got peas sprouting, and have plonked the pot next to the fence so they can grow happily up it.

I've decided, since greens are my favourite vegetable food, to plant various green leaves that are not all related to the cabbage family. So alongside the bok choy, I've planted stuff like Yellow Orach, Miner's Lettuce, Strawberry Goosefoot and Malabar Spinach. I figured that this way even if I get a plague of cabbage moth, I'll still get some greens.

It's mid autumn, verging on winter here, and we've had our first storms of the year. I think it's probably a little cool for sprouting other things like tomatoes at the moment. I'm going to be planting out some bush beans soonish.

It's an amazing feeling seeing things sprout and not die! (Yet. :raz: ) I'm looking forward to all this..

I've also found a great local business that helps recycle the mulched waste from tree lopping and tree removal companies, and will be having a stupidly large amount ("Hey lady, you get what's on the truck. Which should be eighteen cubic metre's worth.." :shock: ) of mulch and woodchips delivered tomorrow. I've told my neighbours they are welcome to help me put a dent in the pile, in return for borrowing their wheelbarrow! :smile:


" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

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This little black thumb has started a small scale container garden of her own, inspired by all of you. :smile:

I've got peas sprouting, and have plonked the pot next to the fence so they can grow happily up it.

I've decided, since greens are my favourite vegetable food, to plant various green leaves that are not all related to the cabbage family. So alongside the bok choy, I've planted stuff like Yellow Orach, Miner's Lettuce, Strawberry Goosefoot and Malabar Spinach. I figured that this way even if I get a plague of cabbage moth, I'll still get some greens.

It's mid autumn, verging on winter here, and we've had our first storms of the year. I think it's probably a little cool for sprouting other things like tomatoes at the moment. I'm going to be planting out some bush beans soonish.

It's an amazing feeling seeing things sprout and not die! (Yet. :raz: ) I'm looking forward to all this..

I've also found a great local business that helps recycle the mulched waste from tree lopping and tree removal companies, and will be having a stupidly large amount ("Hey lady, you get what's on the truck. Which should be eighteen cubic metre's worth.." :shock: ) of mulch and woodchips delivered tomorrow. I've told my neighbours they are welcome to help me put a dent in the pile, in return for borrowing their wheelbarrow! :smile:

I'm in South Florida, and I got the brilliant idea of letting a tree trimmer dump his load of chips in our yard; not only did I get ticks in the yard, the SOB wanted to charge me for the load he'd had to pay to haul to the dump! Maybe not the best idea in the world... :shock:

Edited to correct rotten typing!


Edited by judiu (log)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I'm in South Florida, and I got the brilliant idea of letting a tree trimmer dump his load of chips in our yard; not only did I get ticks in the yard, the SOB wanted to charge me for the load he'd had to pay to haul to the dump! Maybe not the best idea in the world... :shock:

Edited to correct rotten typing!

Ha, wow, what a coincidence! I've been having the hardest time finding wood chips or carbon sources for my compost pile, and since I couldn't afford a wood chipper, I have been resorting to scavenging for twigs and sorts and grinding them up with my lawnmower (which is not a pretty sight). Soon enough, my neighbor has a tree grinding service across the street. I asked the guys if I could have some woodchips and they agreed to dump some on my driveway. Next thing I know, they got a little carried away and I ended up with over a thousand pounds of woodchips dumped on my driveway, LOL! Needless to say, I now have at least a year's supply of mulch, but hey at least it was free, and they didn't ask many questions either

I've been bagging them and putting them in the backyard for the last week. I did notice that dragonflies (strangely enough) have been showing up, and I'm a little afraid of termites making their presence. Didn't really see any ticks either, but I'll guess I have to wait and see. I guess I feel a little more secure knowing the tree came from my neighbor instead of some unknown source.


Edited by takadi (log)

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I guess I feel a little more secure knowing the tree came from my neighbor instead of some unknown source.

The tree grinding guy on the phone told me that they were going to be coming from a local job where they'd be removing a couple of trees from the grounds of a nearby church.

Maybe they're consecrated woodchips? Or should I be disturbed that the giant pile is gently steaming in the cold weather..? :raz:


" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

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I'm in South Florida, and I got the brilliant idea of letting a tree trimmer dump his load of chips in our yard; not only did I get ticks in the yard, the SOB wanted to charge me for the load he'd had to pay to haul to the dump! Maybe not the best idea in the world... :shock:

Edited to correct rotten typing!

Ha, wow, what a coincidence! I've been having the hardest time finding wood chips or carbon sources for my compost pile, and since I couldn't afford a wood chipper, I have been resorting to scavenging for twigs and sorts and grinding them up with my lawnmower (which is not a pretty sight). Soon enough, my neighbor has a tree grinding service across the street. I asked the guys if I could have some woodchips and they agreed to dump some on my driveway. Next thing I know, they got a little carried away and I ended up with over a thousand pounds of woodchips dumped on my driveway, LOL! Needless to say, I now have at least a year's supply of mulch, but hey at least it was free, and they didn't ask many questions either

I've been bagging them and putting them in the backyard for the last week. I did notice that dragonflies (strangely enough) have been showing up, and I'm a little afraid of termites making their presence. Didn't really see any ticks either, but I'll guess I have to wait and see. I guess I feel a little more secure knowing the tree came from my neighbor instead of some unknown source.

HA I knew there were two gardening threads! I just posted in the other one and really thought there was a compost conversation going on...

then I just thought I was imagining things :raz:

anyway raccoons tore up my compost heap ..and baby rabbits are full of produce!!! while I was away and the dogs were not in or around the house for a week ..wildlife had a blast with the freedom!

Takadi the chips are a score but the termites can be a real issue! ..so watch for them closely and just keep them away from the house!!!...way way way out in the garden!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I grilled the 1st Zucchini and 2 baby yellow squashes from my garden last night. Man were they good.

My tomato plants have clusters of huge beefy green tomatos. My wife wants me to make fried green tomatos with some of them. I'm waiting for them to ripen so I can slice one up and eat it on plain bread with mayo, salt and pepper.

I planted Bell peppers, banana peppers, spinach (never came up :( ), tomatos, green beans, corn, yellow squash, zuchini, and cucumbers, the rest of it is producing or blooming.

I was worried about bee populations in my area until this morning, my garden was swarming with honey bees. I need to follow them home!


Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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A question about cucumbers. My cukes are growing in odd shapes, hourglass, horseshoe, oblong like an eggplant. Is this normal? I'm worried that they might need a tighter watering schedule to grow evenly.

Also, do I wait until they are really green to pick them? Right now mine are getting to a decent size but are very light in color.

Edited to add pictures of garden not related to my cucumber question.

gallery_55239_5394_91352.jpg

gallery_55239_5394_99283.jpg

gallery_55239_5394_10447.jpg


Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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