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  • Garden Talk

    I'm not sure if this is the place to post this, but it seemed most garden stuff was posted here. I thought I would share one of my garden articles/blogs.

    As garden time nears, I'd like to suggest some things to you all.
    A garden is not only a family friendly hobby, it increases your property value and is something very healthy for you to do. It produces yummy bounty for you and also many wonderful and cherished gifts for family and friends. However, as a prepper, the garden takes on a whole new meaning.
    Unbelievably, not everyone can garden nor do they want to...if you are one of those, please just ignore this!

    As preppers, many of us garden for our actual stockpile of food. Some freeze, some can, some do both. The point is, that if possible, your garden should significantly contribute to your food year round. When my kids were little, I never bought a single veggie, either fresh, canned or frozen. Nor did I have to get fruit. It made it possible to raise a family of 5 on less than $17,000 thousand a year when the average family in the area made $35,000 or more. It also meant that I never ran out of food!
    I taught a 4-H garden program and one of the things that I found was that many people thought that gardens equaled nothing but hard work and no fun. I worked hard to find ideas and tricks that would help with this porblem and I'll share some of them with all of you now.

    Rule #1 - set your garden goals. Half the fun of gardening is in planning. And, the devil is in the details! How many cans of green beans does your family eat? How many packets of seed will you need to make that many? Plan your garden for the things you need and want and in the amounts that it will do the most good for you and your family. If you can't have a garden that big (and it doesn't take as much space as you think!), then pick a few veggies that you can grow a lot of and make something out of them that will last all year long...many people like beets (I'm not one of them!) and they not only freeze or can them and the greens, but they also pickle the beets. So, for very little space, they can have a years worth of beets in all it's many glorious forms.

    Rule #2- work smarter, not harder! A garden that is not taken care of won't give you the maximum result...but that does not mean that it has to be back breaking labor every day and all through the season. In fact, it doesn't mean back breaking labor at all! I am not so young any more and have gotten quite lazy about where I put in extreem effort. So, I plan around my limitations....ball season, work, vacations all get in the way of your garden. So, plant in a different way. Think outside the box....I plant in raised beds. This helps with weeds and digging. It's an ideal way for people with limited space too. I only need to rototill once with a raised bed, as the dirt is never compacted by walking on it. The weeds always get shaded by the veggies after a while. I can grow a years worth of green beans for eating twice a week and for pickling and gift giving in a bed that is 4'x16'.
    If you can't build a raised bed, wide rows that are mounded up will work. If you can't have a traditional garden space, grow in tires, planters, or any container. Try one of those "topsy turvy" upside down planters.
    I never water my garden after the plants are up, unless there is an extreem draught (once in 12 years). I will explain in rule #3 about this.

    Rule #3 - ALWAYS have an experiment going in the garden. This helps you learn more, provides for fun and discussion and keeps the boredom away.
    I learned how to virtually eliminate watering by experimenting in the garden. I went to our local school and collected large cans...I think they are #10. I punched holes in the bottom and about 3/4 of the way up the sides. I sunk them into the ground between plants. Then I put a small scoop of compost in the bottom and filled them with water. Rain water did the rest of the watering. It provided my plants with a slow release of fertilizer (compost) and a drip irrigation system. One other thing that it does (talking about experiments) is that I had read that having metal in the garden improved the growth of many plants after a lightening storm. The kids would measure the plants and then after a storm, measure again...most plants were affected by having metal near them, as opposed to not.
    Different planting aids can help...trellises, of all different kinds can help you grow up, not out in the garden. You can even grow melons on a trellis! The fun parts/experiment comes in when the fruit is getting bigger. You will need to make little "hammocks" for the fruit out of something like panty hose.

    So- the rules are: Plan well, Work smarter, not harder, and make your garden fun!
    I'm only an emial away if you have any questions about gardening.

  • #2
    Great post!

    I encourage everyone to take advantage of their Agriculture Extension Office as the people there are usually VERY helpful with information and they even came out to look at my fruit trees and tell me how to correct a problem I was having with them.

    One thing I do with my garden is grow a little extra for trade. For example; My neighbor does not grow cucumbers, but she does grow eggplant. I usually trade cukes for eggplant as I am the only one in my household who enjoys fried eggplant. :)

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    • #3
      OOh, I'm so excited to plant this year! Especially after the warm weather we had this weekend!

      I'm planning on doing raised beds and building cold frames to extend the seasons. I have a tiny yard (like 20x20, on the north side of the house. :( ) so my beds will be along the perimeter of our lot. I also like to trade with my neighbors! And I can ride my bike to the farmer's market which expands my organic options over the few things I'd plant.

      I used topsy turvey planters a few yrs ago and didn't like it at all. The tomato plants grew long and leggy (thin stem) and at the bottom, the stem tried to turn up toward the sun. The stems split from the weight and stress. None of them ended up looking like the pretty pictures in the brochures! Maybe I should have kept them and tried cucumbers in them, but I didn't.

      I like the idea of the #10 cans in the garden. What a cool idea! I'm making rain barrels which I hope will catch enough water to be worthwhile.
      Harm none, and do what you will.

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      • #4
        One other thing that it does (talking about experiments) is that I had read that having metal in the garden improved the growth of many plants after a lightening storm. The kids would measure the plants and then after a storm, measure again...most plants were affected by having metal near them, as opposed to not.
        I'd never heard of such a thing! how interesting.


        I am so excited about having a garden this year, I cannot wait!! I do plan on canning and dehydrating my harvest, to have all year long.
        "Be Excellent to Each Other"

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        • #5
          it's something to do with the elecrical energy or something like that. All I know is that it works! Put a metal statue, a piece of fencing or even string up metal pie pans that will scare away the birds...any of these will do. I use tin cans and fill them with water and compost and it does the same thing.
          It's fun too.

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          • #6
            Very good info.. I am cutting the trees and have plans for the "Built up garden". I have been surfing. I see a few resevations about using treated lumber? Is there a big problem with using treated lumber and boards at the border because if toxins in treated lumber?. I can use the pine drops and dead fall as a border. ( I just dont' want to spend the next 3 or 4 weeks pulling stumps) I have found a topsoil provider who's tandem load to that will fill our beds at a good price. What do you recomend?
            Thanks for the info. PF
            "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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            • #7
              In my first raised bed garden, it was a scraggly forest and we cut the trees and moved them around to make raised beds, then filled them. This one we got pressure treated lumber and built 4/16' beds, with a brace in the middle to keep the boards from bowing. I researched about the pressure treated stuff, but learned that it won't hurt the plants or soil, something about it not leeching out. Plus they use a different method now to treat it.
              I hate pulling stumps, and tend to cut them up and mound the soil around them and make it a feature! :p I have a stump in the middle of our front garden, and I planted a tall grass and herbs around it and then set a bird bath on top of the stump. The butterflies love it and they help with polination too.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the quote of confidence we already shared..PF..

                I'll "PIC" profile the beginning to the end. (for research and stuff)
                PF
                "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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                • #9
                  Here is a link for anyone thinking of a raised garden
                  http://journeytoforever.org/garden_sqft.html

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by herbalpagan View Post
                    In my first raised bed garden, it was a scraggly forest and we cut the trees and moved them around to make raised beds, then filled them. This one we got pressure treated lumber and built 4/16' beds, with a brace in the middle to keep the boards from bowing. I researched about the pressure treated stuff, but learned that it won't hurt the plants or soil, something about it not leeching out. Plus they use a different method now to treat it.
                    I hate pulling stumps, and tend to cut them up and mound the soil around them and make it a feature! :p I have a stump in the middle of our front garden, and I planted a tall grass and herbs around it and then set a bird bath on top of the stump. The butterflies love it and they help with polination too.
                    I was wondering if I could get some advise:o I have had these seed since 2002. Do you think that it's time to "use or loose" them?
                    Attached Files
                    "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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                    • #11
                      use them definitely! But make sure you have more seeds, just in case. I have seeds from a number of sources, in case one crop fails, I've got plenty more set by.

                      Perhaps HP can answer this question, but I thought since seeds are living things, they should not be vacuum packed?
                      "Be Excellent to Each Other"

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                      • #12
                        You can go ahead and try them. If you want to know in advance how viable they are, take ten seeds and put them on a wet paper towel. Wrap them up and place them in a plastic bag for several days. Check every day, keeping the paper towel very damp to see if any are sprouting. After 10 days (for most seeds) you should have a fair idea of how well they will sprout...10 seeds=100%,8 seeds=80% etc.
                        Or, you could just plant them and watch and replant as needed.
                        Some seeds ARE vacuum packed and I still have some from years ago (now that I think about it) and they work just fine for many seeds, keeps them fresher and dry. I think it's cost prohibitive for things like peas and beans though.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the feed back from both of you. We are Planting / Sprouting our seeds over the next few days. It is going to be two or three weekends before the raised beds are complete. If we get good germination I will plant these seeds exclusivly. Will it hurt to blend with other hybird plants as long as I keep tract of which is which?
                          "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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                          • #14
                            Any of you try "Three Sisters" type of garden? Was reading about it today.
                            Links at http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/threesisters.html and http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html and http://www.ecoliteracy.org/publications/3sisters.html and a table of "compatible" plantings is at http://www.canadiancountrywoman.com/...nionplants.php .

                            Lots to read there!
                            "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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                            • #15
                              IMO, the "three sisters" works best if you have a traditional garden. The vines need a place to spread out. I don't grow vining beans, so I don't need to use it. I also have opted not to grow corn. Corn takes a lot of space and nutrients, and as it's mostly my husband and me and he hates corn, there isn't any point to growing it.
                              However, the "three sisters" is just another method of companion and "tiered" gardening. This makes a lot of sense, especially when space is at a premium. I grew tomatoes last year in one of my beds and peppers in another. Rather than let the space betweem go to waste, I popped in some spinach seeds. Spinach grows fast, but it also can take a wee bit of shade. Perfect for the space I had. I'll plant my dill, but underneath I may do lettuce...get creative! When one crop is fading another can be seeded to take over.

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