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 Post subject: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:35 pm 
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Please?

I was going to do this last year but hoped I'd move, and I didn't, so I give.

I bought some fencing to keep out my dig happy dogs and today I put it up, sectioning off an area of my yard I wanted to use to plant in. Here are some pics.

Image

Image

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Now, I don't know if you can tell from the pics, but my yard is super sandy. I bought some of this organic soil mixture to mix in - will that work? What else should I do? I am, of course, planning on raking out the debris.

Image

There is just a major shortage of good produce around here, and the farmer's market is like 3 food stands and 2 of them sell eggs and/or honey and bread, and veggies are like an after thought. Sadness.

I have 3 lil things of strawberries to plant and here are my seedlings as of right now:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:52 pm 
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And crepe I just realized that soil has manure and chicken litter. Dammit. Guess I'm hauling that back to the store.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:52 pm 
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I hate it when that happens! And chicken litter and shiitake smells horrible so you don't want that in your garden anyway.
Your first steps are to till the ground with a shovel the best you can, at least a foot down and deeper if you can locate or rent a rototiller. Nothing will grow if the roots aren't happy or able to stretch out and down. Ideally you want to have a dedicated walking path because you don't want to compact growing soil back down- it should be nice and airy. At the same time you can incorporate some top soil (or garden soil) and compost- you'll definitely need some compost!
Using a shovel you can double dig (dig a hole and place the dirt next to it, then dig a hole next to the old hole and put THAT dirt in the old hole and continue like until you do it all).

I think that porch looks like a nice place to grow some peas and pole beans. Good luck gardening!


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Another suggestion: In the back right corner it's nice and shady, so grow lettuce and similar plants there since they like it cool and can stand shady areas, but tomatoes and peppers (if you're growing them) and sun and heat-loving veggies should probably be planted along the left forward edge to get all the sun they can.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:58 pm 
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Because Florida backyards are usually filled with limestone, my dad used to build boxes for his garden. They'd be about a foot high, filled with quality dirt and he would plant everything like that. I don't know if I'm describing it right or if it would even work for everything, but his peppers and herbs grew extremely well.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:04 pm 
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Thanks alligator!! I will see if I can get a rototiller anywhere, and a walking path would make it pretty. If I go a foot or so down, you think that will help my sand problem? Should I get non-organic soil? I don't have a composter and there's no where around that has any I can get (except for straight manure - blech).

Niev - That does make sense, but I wanted to be able to use the space I have. Ho hum.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:15 pm 
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Hmm... if you dig a foot or so down it's possible you'll come up with richer soil down there, who knows! You still should till downward anyway or else the plants will be stubby because of lack of root space. If you have a hardware store you might be able to rent a respectable sized rototiller- around here it's 50$ for 4 hours for a pretty big one that would be able to get your job done in 15 minutes (then again you might just want to dig yourself and save money).
As for adding soil, I am able to find 50 pound bag top soils at local garden centers or hardware stores that were pretty much just dirt with humus (something that bulks the dirt up and makes it airy, so I was told). Compost is a different story, it's basically all going to be manure unless you have some good friends who do vegetable composting in their yards... so you might have to settle or get creative.
The garden soil you got is just top soil blended with compost sold in a single bag, so it will probably be less expensive to purchase top soil separate and find compost separate as well.
I don't know the area you live in but if you have farms around, people with horses, goats or even chickens, it might be worth it to ask them for litter and manure instead of buying the bagged stuff that no doubt comes directly from factory farms.
Even adding only top soil may be good enough for your purposes because it's not like your home soil is completely devoid of nutrients- it's just sandy at the top, and hopefully there's something a little richer down a foot or so. Adding extra dirt wont hurt. Try digging a good sized hole to get an idea of what's under that sand!


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Oh and this place is lousy with squirrels! Should I be worried about them? What can I do to deter them?

Thanks! I don't think there are any local garden places, but I'll double check. There are some places that sell plants, but not soil.

The closest farms are probably all factory farms - I'm near Smithfield, NC.

I will dig a hole! Tomorrow probably. I'll report back - thanks :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:52 pm 
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is that your dryer exhaust? it will be damp (good) and linty (bad).
what about peat moss or even pine straw to rototill in?

and how high are your fences? we're moving and i have a new garden there and i'm planning the garden wall... .fork, i need something like a 6 foot fence concreted in b/t the damn dogs jump AND dig.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:28 pm 
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torque wrote:
is that your dryer exhaust? it will be damp (good) and linty (bad).
what about peat moss or even pine straw to rototill in?

and how high are your fences? we're moving and i have a new garden there and i'm planning the garden wall... .fork, i need something like a 6 foot fence concreted in b/t the damn dogs jump AND dig.


Air conditioning moisture release or wahtever. Drips like crazy in the summer - turns into a lil mud puddle that the dogs used to like to peas me off with.

I didn't check exactly - 4' or so? They haven't jumped over the 4' chain link fence we have (knock on wood).

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:33 am 
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Definitely put lots of top soil, peat moss, and compost in. Sand doesn't hold water very well, so you'll end up with a desert/ant hill garden.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:46 pm 
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I finally took a picture!

Image

That's about a foot down. I found a mayo wrapper at the bottom - weird.

And my seedlings! Everything is doing well except carrots.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:47 pm 
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Thanks AM! I have to pack up those huge bags of grossness back into my car and take them back to Lowe's and find something less gross.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:28 am 
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The dirt looks promising, doesn't look too sandy deeper to me- is it? I think a little compost will do you fine, just till it well!


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:51 pm 
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no it's just on top! woo!

i got some top soil today and some "mushroom compost" that appeared to be vegan and a think with spurs for mixing it all around.

thanks!! :D expect further panicked questions.

also, what should i do about the 8 million squirrels? are they going to eat my stuff? my seedlings are getting too crowded for their tray and I was thinking about planting them.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:52 pm 
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p.s. i just peeked at your blog - happy belated birthday! marchies, woo!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:14 pm 
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Appifanie, I thought mushroom manure was composted mushrooms, but it is animal manure that mushrooms are grown in. Not sure if mushroom compost is the same. Good luck with your garden. It is so exciting to grow your own food.
I would try to add as much organic matter to your soil: leaf mold, straw, compost, grass clipping. You could start trench composting your kitchen scraps in the bed.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:26 pm 
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if you don't have a composter, start a worm bin!!
xo
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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Magpie-Grin wrote:
Appifanie, I thought mushroom manure was composted mushrooms, but it is animal manure that mushrooms are grown in. Not sure if mushroom compost is the same. Good luck with your garden. It is so exciting to grow your own food.
I would try to add as much organic matter to your soil: leaf mold, straw, compost, grass clipping. You could start trench composting your kitchen scraps in the bed.


i read the ingredients cause that's what i figured, and i forget what they are but it seemed good. i'll double check before i dump it in :)

trench composting sounds interesting.

kittee wrote:
if you don't have a composter, start a worm bin!!
xo
kittee


worms freak me out! i'm a worm wimp.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:36 pm 
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I think I might have gone overboard in seed land.

In the tray:
carrots
cilantro
dill
curly kale
green peps
lettuce mix
basil
swiss chard
big boy tomatoes
homestead tomatoes
2 rows of flowers for livi (zinnias and wildflower mix)

Ordered yesterday:
Lacinato Kale
Red Russian Kale
3 kinds of lettuce (Red flame, spotty romaine, red romaine)
Pole beans
red cherry tomatoes
yellow cherry tomatoes
and uhmmm watermelon (it says they love heat and sandy soil!)

Today I bought:
cucumber
basil
oregano
thyme
lavendar
beets
more flowers for livi (cornflowers)

And I have 4 strawberry plants.

i think the garden is about 7 1/2' by 10' - i'm going to need more room, aren't i.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:40 pm 
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appifanie wrote:
no it's just on top! woo!

i got some top soil today and some "mushroom compost" that appeared to be vegan and a think with spurs for mixing it all around.

thanks!! :D expect further panicked questions.

also, what should i do about the 8 million squirrels? are they going to eat my stuff? my seedlings are getting too crowded for their tray and I was thinking about planting them.


Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Squirrels are NUTS here too. They are kept at bay with chicken wire fence- it's not strong enough for them to climb it (it'll just tip over and scare them) and so far they don't get in the garden. They are less interested in my seedlings than they are of the food when it starts coming in! A fence should suffice, and maybe a few little plastic sparkly wind-mill things that will blow in the breeze and scare them.

eta: You should be worried about birds! I get a lot of birds (you might luck out since it's next to the house). They love to peck at seedlings. They're also scared of things that move in the wind, or wind chimes.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:54 pm 
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I can do both, thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Okay! I'm about to go dig up most of it with a shovel - it's pretty packed down - and then I'll use my fun little tiller thing (spurs) and dump in some topsoil and I will double check the mushroom stuff and if it's good, it's going in. I'm kind of scared because there's a very even hole in the ground against the wall now about 1" in diameter and I'm scared something lives there. Eep! I expect my neighbors might hear me scream shortly (I am SUCH A WIMP).

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Oh I so have a problem - aside from the buried wood, bricks and huge cement stones. There are these annoying trees around here - they have thorns on the lower part of the tree and white flowers and the roots go EVERYWHERE. Anyway, of course there's one under my porch - because building a porch over a tree is smart, right? And the roots go all the way through my garden. So if I ask housing to take care of it they'll prolly just tell me to do it myself (military housing - forkers) and I can cut and remove a bunch of it, but the damn thing will just regrow. Parasites.

Words of advice?

Here's the bulk of it - of course more extends along the whole area.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Help me make a garden!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:39 pm 
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you can just cut through the roots with the spade, even if you can't get the whole root out. it's a pain in the asparagus but you don't want the tree to grow through your porch!!
i spent part of today opening up new garden beds and i'm forking exhausted, and also stepped on a rusty nail. That tetanus shot in 2002 was probably the best thing i ever did.

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