Southern Spirit Hunters

Gardening => Gardeners Chat => Topic started by: Patty S on Apr 11, 2007, 07:05:49 PM

Title: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 11, 2007, 07:05:49 PM
I want to know why things don't grow as well in the summertime, when I plant them on purpose, as they do in the dead of winter, when nothing is supposed to be happening! (  If I were to deliberately want to raise grasses & weeds, I'll bet my little 7X23 foot veggie garden wouldn't look like this in early April!

So far, I'm among those who have been blessed with the weather that allows us to go outside & git 'er done, so on Monday I gave up my nap & busted my hiney, sticking with it until I got 'er did!

I didn't till this year, cuz it seems like that's a whole lot of work to do when the bulk of the garden space I have inside that fence doesn't really get planted in.  (In the past, after I've tilled the whole thing, I've just sunk in deeper & made my shoes muddy... then I had to clean the inside of the house!)  So I focused mainly on the areas around the edges, where I'll be planting things, although I did pull out the bulk of the weeds with well established roots, in the "walking area", by hand.  Then I hooked up the propane weed burner & fried every inch of the whole thing, to get rid of any grass & weed seeds that might have been distributed as I yanked stuff out.  (Then I raked through it all & fried everything again, for extra measure.)  During the growing season I always carry a hoe with me, to shave the weeds off as they come up... that works out a lot better than having to set time aside to weed, after leaving them to get a head start.

The previous owners used this area for a dog run, so I have no idea why they had vinyl slats in the fencing... (seems to me that the poor critters would be pretty bored if they couldn't see out!)  Those slats come in handy since it's a garden now, cuz while deer can easily hop over a 4' fence, they don't even think about it when the slats are pulled up in the summertime, so the sun can get to my crops.  (It doesn't look very nice from the street below, but I don't drive down there much, so I don't care!) (

The green that you can see on the ground are some of the strawberry plants that dug themselves into the ground from the runners I let go last year & never did anything with... haven't decided what to do with them yet, but I still need to finish cleaning out the berry planters, & will probably find some blank spaces for them.

Anyway, I thought I had it all ready for planting until I went to a Garden Club luncheon yesterday & the speaker was preaching about soil amendment.  I haven't done much to the clay soil in my veggie garden (after having been used as a dog run, nothing used to grow in there), except to till a dozen bags of steer manure into it 2 years ago, & last year I worked some sand into the planting places.  After hearing the presentation about amending soil yesterday, I bought a big bag of peat moss on my way home from the luncheon & gathered up the newspapers from my recycle bin so I can get started with beefing up my garden.  I haven't been very good about spending money on fertilizers, but I think that the little bit of extra time I'm spending on it now might be more worth my while if I get up off a buck here & there... & my plants will probably be happier! (

I'm waiting for it to stop raining... again. ( There has been about 20 minutes between showers since I got up today, so I've been taking advantage of that moisture by getting weeds pulled from the flower beds while the ground is soft.  When the sun peeks through again I'll be working in the veggie garden & will take pics as I go, so I can show you what I'm doing.....
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 11, 2007, 11:05:03 PM
Brrrr! I got drenched the last time I went out there, cuz a cloud came out of nowhere & gave no warning that it was ready to dump! Not everything that was in the garden is rain tolerant (radio, camera, papers, a box of bone meal & me), so I had to grab & run ...I think I lost!
(I'm staying in now!)

OK, step by step, here's what I did....

Most people would probably just do this in their whole garden bed, but since I'm such a conservative, ( I'm only doing it where I know things will be planted.


1. I shoveled dirt out & made a trench where I'll be planting my veggies. (About a shovel head deep.)

2. Dusted the bottom of the trench with bone meal.
(Bone meal provides nitrogen & phosphate, which stimulates leaf growth & promotes root development & stimulates blooms in flowering plants.)

3. Layed down 5-6 layers of newspaper (a good thing to use those 1040 booklets for) ( & soaked them down with the hose.

4. Added 2-3" of Pete Moss.
(Pete Moss loosens the soil so the clay doesn't pack & helps with water retention.)

5. Optional: Since I have worm bins, I mixed up the "dirt" from the bottom "collection" bin (had worms in it... ( all the better) with equal amounts of garden dirt & added that on top of the peat.

6. I shredded newspapers when I had to come inside between raindrops, & added those, then watered them down.

7. Raked the dirt back over the top.
                       DONE! (

Now I'll let it sit for a couple days so everything can settle & the worms can start partying, before I put seeds in.

But right now I'm heading over in the corner to light my wood stove cuz I'm still freezing.  (Probably should have put some dry clothes on before I sat down here!)  (
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Dianna on Apr 12, 2007, 03:17:11 PM
That is really looking good, Patty! Great job! (

I do have a question for you, though. Is it safe to plant veggies, or flowers that you will be consuming, where a dog run used to be? Seems like I read somewhere that it would not be a good idea...

I am really interested in what you are doing. I am planning on doing some lasagna gardening myself, so reading your amending post will come in good use for me...

I like how you torched the weeds, too. Seems like that would save an awful lot of blisters from appearing on my hands...(

(Probably should have put some dry clothes on before I sat down here!)

Yes, you should have. We don't need you getting sick on us. (

Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 13, 2007, 01:16:22 AM
Gosh, I've never heard that you shouldn't raise food plants where a dog run has been! ( It sort of makes sense, but nobody here has gotten sick or anything, & after all the work I've put into it at this point, it's too late now cuz I'm gunna do it anyway! If there are still "contaminates" in there, I would hope that all this amending will take care of whatever problem there might be with the soil.  (Next time I'm at the extension office, I'll ask about that.  I'd like to think they'd advise to amend the dickens out of the soil.) (

When I was making a scrambled egg sandwich for my lunch today, it dawned on me that I could be putting crushed egg shells in with all the other goodies I'm adding to my soil amendment places. (I've been saving egg shells for several years now, mainly to put around plants to help keep the slugs away from them... and it helps to break down the clay, while adding calcium carbonate to the soil.) In fact, I would think that adding produce scraps & coffee grounds (as I do in my worm bins) would be good, cuz that'll bring the worms in. (No meat or dairy products, no raw potatoes, cabbage or onions, & no high-acid food scraps such as tomatoes & citris fruits.)

When planting in those newly amended areas for this season's crops, I would make sure that the produce scraps were shredded first, so they'll break down easier. Long decaying plant matter isn't going to produce "immediate" results, & could invite bacteria & bugs that might do more harm than good. (Save the big chunks for a regular compost bin or compost pile that will reach higher temperatures.)
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: patches on Apr 13, 2007, 02:56:37 AM
Hey Patty,

Wow, that's really looking!  What are you going to plant in there?  I wanted to plant a veggie garden this year, but I've run into a snag because of the telephone lines that are buried there.  Guess I'll just be doing the tomatoes and a couple of green peppers like last year.  Of course, I've got my strawberry bed finished now, so I'm just waiting for the weather to cooperate before I put the plants into the ground.  They say we might be getting some snow this week-end and more freezing temperatures again. :(  I want SPRING!!!  Geesh, I'm wearing myself out just covering and uncovering all my plants.  The crops around here are are really suffering.  :'(   :'(
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Dianna on Apr 13, 2007, 06:53:03 AM
Patty, I think the reason being for not using dog doo or cat poo in your garden is that it is not safe because they are meat eaters. On all composting topics I have read, it is mentioned that you are only supposed to use the "fertilizer" of plant and vegetable eaters. Something about the other "stuff" is supposed to be unhealthy.

With you amending the way you are doing, I would hope that the unmentionables would have leached out of the soil now and be replaced by all the good that you are putting into it! I wouldn't have even mentioned it, because I am still a new gardener myself, but I wanted to give you food for thought while you are feeding your garden. ;) I want to see a healthy garden and a healthy YOU all the time!  :-*

I am sure you will have a great looking garden with all the amending you are doing this year. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Maybe there will be hope for my gardens, too!

I am looking forward to reading more...
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 13, 2007, 12:30:20 PM
Patti, so what if telephone lines are under there?  Build up the soil & plant stuff in mounds, so you don't have to do much digging. The phone company should be able to tell you how deep those lines are, anyway... I don't know of any veggies that put out a root structure deep or strong enough to interfere with underground lines.  Sure wish your weather would straighten up!  It's just past mid-morning here, & it's already 60!  Twenty minutes ago it was 58, so I think we're headed into a great day for gardening! ( (My garden buddy will be here when school gets out at noon, so I have a feeling we'll be getting a lot done & will finish up that amending in our veggie garden!)

I've heard that "rule" too, Dianna, about not using carnivore waste as fertilizer, cuz it contains parasites that aren't friendly to plants. (That's probably why the grass dies!)  Other than that, I don't think it "infects" anything... at least I haven't had any problems with things growing in that area. (Must be doing something right out there!) ( It rains so darned much here & that garden plot is on a bit of a slope... (just enough for run-off), so I wouldn't think that anything (good OR bad) could stay in the soil for very long.  I have no idea how long the dog run was there before we got here, or how heavily it was used, but we didn't have to clear any dog dodo out of it... the only way we knew it was a dog run was because of the dog house that was in there!

We'll probably be putting in some peas, cukes, beets, green beans, watermelons, cants, bell peppers & tomatoes, like we've done every year.  (Funny, how I can get that all in such a small space, but I train most of the vine crops to do their growing on those shelves that I hook to the chain-link fence... saves a lot of space, keeps the slugs & snails off the food, & makes weeding a breeze!) (
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 14, 2007, 01:35:48 PM
I'm not kidding one bit, when I tell you that not even half the things that need to be done in my yard would ever get accomplished without her help!  I took pics to show how hard we she works...

I already had the digging done*, so we were ready to roll.  After covering the bottom of the trenches with Bone Meal, BG set out laying the newspapers down...
(This looks like work to me, cuz I can't move down a row while maintaining a position like that!  Uggh!)

Then she soaked it down with the hose,

...and covered it all up with Peat Moss.
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 14, 2007, 01:38:31 PM
Then she distributed the "worm business".
(She wanted a close-up pic here, as the worms are her "buddies"!)

...And followed that up with salad scraps, smunched up egg shells,
                            (Uggh again!)

and shredded newspaper.
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Patty S on Apr 14, 2007, 01:44:11 PM
After soaking that down, we covered it all back up with the dirt we'd started with, & she planted peas along the end of the garden.  Later on, we'll put a piece of wire fence above the chain-link for the vines to climb on, when they get tall enough.

Since everything was so wet there was no need to presoak the peas, as we usually would.  By the time they swell up & get started, her buddies will already have started doing their job within our amendment.

Notice that she did all this without once putting her knee in the dirt! (Uggh!)

*I forgot to mention earlier that after I had done the digging-out the day before, I treated the area with insect control powder, because we've had a problem in the past with something destroying the roots of especially our peas, beans & cukes.  When BG & I had gone out to do the amending yesterday, we found quite a few dead things that would have been disastrous to our crops again this year.  
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Dianna on Apr 14, 2007, 02:56:11 PM
Yep. Looks like I need a BG around here, too! :D I can't wait until Reyla gets just a little bit bigger so she can come down and help us out. You wanna loan BG to me until Reyla gets older?  ;D

It is looking very good out there in your garden, Patty! Can't wait to see everything start growing...


Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: patches on Apr 14, 2007, 09:17:28 PM
Hey Patty,

It looks like you've got quite a little helper there.   ;)  If you run out of things for her to do you can send my way and I'll keep her busy. :) :) :)
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Dianna on Apr 14, 2007, 09:18:34 PM
I've got first dibs on BG, Patti!  ;)
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: Jim on Apr 14, 2007, 11:48:58 PM
If the weather holds and we don't get the storms they are forecasting for tomorrow we may plant the garden tomorrow.  They were saying we were going to get dangerous thunder storms tonight and 45+ winds tomorrow. 

I got all the seed a few weeks ago and have already taken the tiller off the tractor and put the mower back on.  Last year we planted the week after Easter so we are a bit late this year.
Title: Re: Ready... Set... GARDEN!
Post by: plants n pots on Apr 15, 2007, 10:34:03 AM

It surely does look like she enjoys it though,
and I'm sure she's thrilled when she gets the rewards of the crops!

Does she get to do some fun kids things with you as well?

You're right... my knees are killing me just looking at her -
one minute in that squating position and I'd be done for! :o
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