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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:59 pm 
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I do what Torque does. And I let everything (including weeds) go to seed, so my garden is always a mess. But the beneficial insects and bees love it, and I always have lots of stuff for my compost pile! I know there are some organic weedkillers, but I'd still worry about using them in an edible garden.

But Eryn, if you don't let your weeds go to seed, the number of weeds will decrease every year. And if you hoe or pull them up before they flower, you can leave them in your beds for instant mulch. Plus if you minimize soil disturbance when you plant, you'll stir up even fewer seeds.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:16 pm 
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eryn wrote:
Do any of you use weedkiller or do you just pull up your weeds regularly? My garden is full of weeds, and no matter how many I pull up there are always more ready to take their place. I'm kind of tempted to get some weedkiller and totally destroy them.


Depends on the type of week. I've had success pulling dandelions (with up to 3-foot taproots) by soaking the soil for a long time first and using a fork rather than shovel to loosen the root before pulling.

But the viny weeds are the worst. I have a backyard that is about 80-85% Creeping Charlie instead of grass. That stuff is awful. When I built my raised beds and needed to clear a spot for them, I just laid down layers of brown corrugated (with labels and tape removed) as a weed barrier under everything. It works but you have to add more mulch on top every year to keep the weeds at bay. And they are easier to pull out of mulch than the clay soil we have here in Chicago.

Ditto with clearing a section of my front yard for a woodland garden except that I used like 20 sheets of newsprint under a truckload of mulch. Then punched holes in the newsprint with a spade to plant the woodland plants. Newsprint in the US is primarily printed with soy inks now and worms love all the layers.

But I admit, I too am getting frustrated with the Creeping Charlie that has infiltrated what's left of the lawn. If you use vinegar or borax, both will change the soil. Borax, if I recall, doesn't break down. I also tried that new, organic-in-some-states, iron stuff and it only kills what it can touch. Not a systemic herbicide.

And if the weeds are intermingled with the plants you want, they you're stuck with pulling.

I have read that Mexican Marigold has magical properties and can fight against weeds. Sounds too good to be true plus a true Mexican Marigold grows to be 5 foot high thus shading veggies you are growing. I have not tested this plant to see if these so-called magical weed-fighting properties actually exist.

No easy solution. I think my forever home will have raw woodland, patio and raised beds, no lawns. Yep.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Gals/Guys, I started a thread on garden products and posted a link over there to my review of a vegan fertilizer. I didn't see a garden product thread anywhere so I created one. If I run into any other helpful garden products, I'll post about them over there: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=21545&p=611520#p611520

Hope the info helps someone.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:33 pm 
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snarkyvegan wrote:
But the viny weeds are the worst.


Yes. I spent something like 5-6 hours spread out over two weeks just ripping up vines. I got really into it though, we even pulled up a stump that was sending out the vines. My garden is built up higher, but there's a bush and at some point there were other bushes (I guess it was decorative garden and not a food one) so it's a never-ending battle of pulling and pruning.

Also I don't do shiitake about the weeds except laying some old boards down as pathways, but when I switched from hand watering to the sprinkler, that became ineffective and now I have a weed garden. Brian and I cleared it all out once but it's so much work.

Next year I should (please god) have my own house again, and i'm going to dedicate a large portion of the yard to gardening so I can really have the space I need and don't have to sidestep between rows of tomatoes and the shorter veggies can have their own space so they don't get overshadowed. Dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeams.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:55 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
Next year I should (please god) have my own house again, and

Quick tip on house hunting, I learned the hard way:

Pay attention to the type of trees in the yard BEFORE you buy. We have 2 highly invasive trees that are always sending up weed trees from the roots, allover the yard. Trees to watch out for are Tree of Heaven (horties refer to it as the Tree of Hell) and Black Locust.

Tree of Heaven will rain down huge dead branches in gusty winds. That's how we lost the roof over the back porch. And if you cut it down, it will send up even more trees from the root as far away as your neighbor's yard. If it's too close to the house, it will wreck the foundation.

Black Locust is beautiful but thorny (I've seen thorns greater than 10 inches long in mine) and the seedlings have a very high germination rate. Hard to pull too, with those thorns.

If only I had known, we might have passed on this house.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:49 am 
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Thanks everyone for the weed advice. I've made a start pulling the weeds up, now I just need to keep on top of it instead of letting them grow wild!


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:54 am 
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PPK tree experts!

We moved into a new house a few weeks ago and are getting our new garden started (it's still a bit too cold here to plant much, so we've just been getting things ready). I was building potato towers next to some trees in the yard this afternoon and I realised that there were what looks like dried fruit pits from last year all over the ground. Does anyone know what kind of trees these are? I Googled a bunch of options but I can't tell the difference between the flowers on these and any of the photos of different trees that I saw online. If it matters, it would appear that they are the current meeting place for all the bees in town.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Any ideas? I'm impatient and don't want to wait until we (maybe?) have fruit to know what they are!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:53 am 
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plums, i would bet.

call me when they're ripe and i'll come over and we'll make umeshu.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Erinnerung wrote:
PPK tree experts!

Does anyone know what kind of trees these are?

I agree with Torque; looks like plum pits. But remember, not all plums are yummy. I had a plum tree once that turned out to be ornamental. Imagine that. Hope yours are the yummy kind ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:26 pm 
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Boyfriend guessed plums too (noting that he has no forking idea what he's talking about). I was guessing apricots, maybe. I just want something I can use to make jam!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:34 pm 
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Okay, I wanted to post in here because you guys gave me so much advice about my tomatoes a few months back...

My heirloom beefsteak-variety tomato plant, the one with the verticillium wilt, grew ripe fruit! I harvested the first one yesterday and the second one today, and there are 7 or 8 more in various states of ripeness on the plant. Well, and a handful of additional tiny totally green ones that I just don't think will be ripe by the end of our season.

I guess it's not a great yield (10 ~1/2 lb fruits from one plant, if all the ones on there ripen in time) but I am pretty psyched that my first attempt to grow tomatoes resulted in something edible despite 1) planting too late and 2) making the mistake of putting garden soil in with clean potting soil and giving my poor seedling the wilt.

Check it:

Image

In other garden news, my African marigold is just on the verge of blossoming finally. It has gotten so big! It's like 4.5 feet tall and 4 feet or so wide. And it has a sum total of 2 buds on it. Hilarious.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:10 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
My heirloom beefsteak-variety tomato plant, the one with the verticillium wilt, grew ripe fruit! I harvested the first one yesterday and the second one today, and there are 7 or 8 more in various states of ripeness on the plant. Well, and a handful of additional tiny totally green ones that I just don't think will be ripe by the end of our season.

In other garden news, my African marigold is just on the verge of blossoming finally. It has gotten so big! It's like 4.5 feet tall and 4 feet or so wide. And it has a sum total of 2 buds on it. Hilarious.

Congrats on the tomatoes! They are surprising plants sometimes.

Re: that Mexican Marigold, If you save seeds from it, I'd love to do a seed trade. I have LOTs of tomato varieties.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:43 am 
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nice tomato!!
if the plums are not yummy, again, make plum liquor from them. I made some from what was supposed to be an ornamental plum (super sour!!!!) and it was amazing.

i just put in tomatillos!!!!!
my tomatoes are just beginning to set small buds and for the first time, i am using a bug repellant (tobacco extract, it makes my yard smell like a barbecue). we'll see if it keeps the yellow sucker bugs away this year.

ETA: this weekend i went to tour an organic ag/permaculture research station and it was overwhelmingly awesome. There was one greenhouse in particular where the soil had been emended with compost for 15 years, the dirt was so gorgeous i could have eaten it. They had parsley plants that came to my waist.
They also had two herb gardens with more herbs than i've seen since i moved here, many things i thought we didn't have in Brazil, even stinging nettle (which you don't miss til you don't have it anymore)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Hey guys, I just posted a product review of a Troy-Bilt cultivator on my blog and also provided some research into effects on earthworms. I'd love to know if any of you have any further insight into the burrow habits of Endogeic worms (the upper soil strata dwellers). The surface dwellers, Epigeic, live pretty much in compost piles and leaf litter and Anecic (night crawlers) have very deep burrows, often up to 8 ft. No chance of a tiller or cultivator affecting night crawlers unless they surface in search of food, usually at night. Unlikely to affect Epigeic worms since one wouldn't be cultivating compost piles or woodland settings. But I'm not finding a ton of scientific research on Endogeic. I know that when I tested the cultivator in a patch about 30 ft x 6 ft, I only saw one worm. And he was pulled up but not harmed. So I'm really wanting to figure this out more so that vegans who don't want to harm worms have the info they need if they choose to use a tiller or cultivator to amend soil.

Please post if you have info or a lead on info.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:59 am 
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nice blog, snarky.

oh great gardeners, throw your gardening wisdom my way!!!!

Scene 1:
three weeks ago: MULBERRIES! MULBERRIES! OMFG MULBERRIES! nom nom nom
today: googling "how long goddamn mulberry tree yield"
i need to cut the tree back (it's shading a bed) and was hoping to do it after it stopped producing. there are still whitish berries coming on. le sigh. any guesses how long it might take?

and
Scene 2:
some questions that reading some new garden books left me with....
-i have planted pole beans near nappa cabbage. one book said that was a detrimental planting, another said that was only bush beans. any truth to this, you think?

-i am scattering organic matter (mostly kitchen leaf waste, like chopped up collard leaves, tea leaves, etc) around the base of my tomatoes as mulch until compost gets up and going. no straw available, the only thing i have is sawdust and shredded paper, and i'm not thrilled about them. a book i was reading last night said that leaving unrotted organic matter in the soil ties up the nitrogen so the plants can't use it. Again, think it's true?

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:26 am 
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the bit about unrotted organic matter tying up the nitrogen in the soil is def true.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:00 am 
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OMG! so do i supplement with extra nitrogen until all the shiitake is rotted? (i don't see myself getting everything out now)....
(and so is mulching bad? i have a hot summer coming and i need to figure out some sort of mulch thing before we get hot here)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:21 pm 
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torque wrote:
OMG! so do i supplement with extra nitrogen until all the shiitake is rotted? (i don't see myself getting everything out now)....
(and so is mulching bad? i have a hot summer coming and i need to figure out some sort of mulch thing before we get hot here)

Not necessary, since you're not working it into the soil but rather mulching on top with it. Plus leafy green debris has a lot of nitrogen in it already. If you were mulching with high carbon waste, like wood chips, sawdust and even straw, sometimes sprinkling on a little alfalfa meal or other higher nitrogen fertilizer first is helpful, especially for heavy-feeding crops.

Another trick - collect and dilute your urine (5-10 parts water/1 part urine) for a high nitrogen pick-me-up if any of your plants need greening up.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:13 pm 
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Jill wrote:
Not necessary, since you're not working it into the soil but rather mulching on top with it. Plus leafy green debris has a lot of nitrogen in it already. If you were mulching with high carbon waste, like wood chips, sawdust and even straw, sometimes sprinkling on a little alfalfa meal or other higher nitrogen fertilizer first is helpful, especially for heavy-feeding crops.

Another trick - collect and dilute your urine (5-10 parts water/1 part urine) for a high nitrogen pick-me-up if any of your plants need greening up.

What Jill said.

Also, urine will keep away some critters like rabbits. Except in Chicago where all bunnies carry Tommy Guns and shoot on sight ;-]


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:51 am 
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thank you for clarifying, i was starting to get a bit scared.
back when my guinea pig garden buddies were with me, their pee was my gardening pick-me-up.... now it will have to be me.....

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Snarky, do you think vegan urine does deter rabbits like that of a predator would? I have a rabbit problem but haven't noticed if where I've used urine has had an impact or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:21 pm 
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I was going to pick all the ripe tomatoes from the plants on my balcony this morning for breakfast only to find all of them gone!!! It could be birds or squirrels, since they are always hanging out on the patio, but they didn't pay attention to the plants all summer, so.... I think a rude opportunist neighbor walked over and picked my precious tomatoes! Every single one of them!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Jill wrote:
Snarky, do you think vegan urine does deter rabbits like that of a predator would? I have a rabbit problem but haven't noticed if where I've used urine has had an impact or not.

I never thought about the efficacy of vegan urine to deter rabbits. But I will tell you a story about a lady I met, who works for a parks district, and uses male urine. She swears it makes more of a difference than her own.

She discovered this trick when her son left for college. All of a sudden she had rabbit problems. She went to the hardware store and a little old man chatted her up about her rabbit problem. He guessed that she had a son that just went away to college and that he and his buddies had been using the yard instead of going inside to the John. She thought he was joking but asked her son about it anyway. Sure nuf, that's what was happening. So now she collects it when she can and uses it periodically.

I must say tho, that my husband's urine was not as effective. But he's a pacifist so maybe the rabbits can smell that too?


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:52 pm 
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BTW, I've got way more garlic than I have room to plant. If anyone wants some and can come to pick it up, I'll give you a bunch. I've got several types, don't recall the varieties off the top 'o me ed.

Trick is you should plant it now, before the ground freezes if you want to harvest large garlic next summer. Email me at julia at snarkyvegan dot com if you want some and can stop by to pick it up. I'm in Oak Park, just left of Chicago.

Technically you can plant garlic in March in zone 5 but it will be about 30% smaller come harvest time in July or August.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:54 pm 
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If you don't find enough takers for your garlic, it does make great broth/stock for soups!

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