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Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:28 pm
by Farside
The crows are killin me! They ate all the developing berries off the haskaps, the blackcurrants, and the strawberries. Then they ate the swiss chard that was just getting established nicely, and then pulled the plant stubs out of the ground just because. They've destroyed my oyster mushroom beds to the point that they are not recoverable anymore, and they're beginning to show interest in the lettuce.

There are some types of bird that will actively destroy things because they dislike change in their habitat. Pukekos in New Zealand are a great example. They would even destroy young trees I planted unless I protected them for a few months until they got used to their presence in the landscape.

I thought the crows were simply after food, but I suspect that a lot of this damage is intentional and might be a territorial behavior.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:21 pm
by Farside
For some reason I like eccentric people. And I have an eccentric friend who has this thing for rescuing plants. Sort of like how people take in rescue animals, but he does it with food producing plants that are near death at the garden centers. He like to take them home, and nurse them back to health.

So the other evening I get a message for him asking if I have any space in my garden for some rescues he's found. I told him yes, and since I have most of my non-producing beds under deep mulch, they are pretty much good for immediate planting.

He comes over early the next morning and puts in well over 50 tomato plants at various staged of dead, a half dozen squash plants of some sort, and this morning he's bring over corn, peppers, eggplants, and cabbage.

I very much doubt any of it will produce (tomato and peppers are rarely productive in the ground here even on a good year) as it's so late in the season but what can you do right? Maybe we'll get lucky!

On the non-rescue side, I hilled the garbage bag potatoes again, harvested garlic scapes, and it looks like the lettuce is ready for picking.

I've had a terrible time with flea beetles. They destroyed the radish, and seriously damaged the kale. I'm using banana peels in open containers of water to control them. they appear to be attracted by the bananas and then drown in the water. At the same time, all that potassium and other great things in the skin get leached into the water which I then use to feed the plants.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:59 pm
by Farside
A few years back I bought some things called multiplier onions. They were marketed as cut and come again green onions. They sort of grew but then they died off and I figured it was a failed project.

That fall, I was digging and found the bulbs so I put them in a paper bag, placed them in the shed to cure, and forgot about them.

In the spring I found the paper bag. The bulbs had frozen solid over the winter and I was expecting either mush or dried out shells, but they were hard, and looked to be in ok condition so I decided to plant them again. This time I planted them shallow as you do with onion sets and wow what a difference. They produce clusters of onions, each between the size of a really big shallot.

It turns out multiplier onions store much better than regular onions, and my lack of care proved that they are an excellent crop for food resiliency. I haven't eaten one yet, but they are supposed to be sweet and have a mild onion flavor. You eat the big bulbs, and plant the small ones for the next year's crop. Each bulb you plant will split into 5 or 6 individual bulbs, all joined at the roots.

Keep an eye out for them. In some places they are called potato onions.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:39 pm
by Farside
Here is a photo of multiplier onions growing in my garden
bunchingonions.jpg (55.74 KiB) Viewed 65 times
You can see how they are distinctly different from a normal onion. Each bunch started off as a single small bulb that looks just like a normal onion set. But as the season goes on, the bulb splits and forms new bulbs which put out shoots, and they in turn split.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:43 am
by Farside
Today I bought some powdered kelp and glacial rock dust. I'll use the kelp with some worm castings and aerobic vermicompost leachate to make a compost tea that I'll use on the greenhouse grow beds once I wipe out the weed seedlings with the flame weeder.

The rock dust will go on my outdoor garden beds in the fall to replenish the minerals. These beds started out 5 years ago as very sandy loam that had been rototilled so much that there was very little organic matter left in the soil. Since then I've been pumping organic matter into it, and even now it could do with more. I suspect there is a mineral deficiency there, and also a Nitrogen deficiency due to the sheer amount of carbon I have in there. Something to keep in mind when building soil fast is that there will be a big Nitrogen sponge for some time. My first year I put so many leaves into the soil that it was more leaves than actual soil. I was scared I had made a huge mistake but within 12 months there was no sign of any leaves. I took the Geoff Lawton rule of add as much as you dare and then triple it. Turns out even that was on the low side.

I have people asking me now how many trailer loads of potting soil I bought and how much it cost haha.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:32 pm
by Farside
This is my friend's house. He has no lawn which gets the city on his case a lot, but he does have food.
bens.jpg (167.46 KiB) Viewed 39 times
ben2.jpg (164.89 KiB) Viewed 39 times

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:54 pm
by Farside
His approach is different to what I would personally adopt, for example his widespread use of plastic mulch but is presents an alternative which works for food production. He gets all his plastic for free. It's used to cover lumber when it gets trucked around, and then it gets thrown away. So he goes to the lumber yards, home improvement stores etc and asks them to put it aside for him and they're happy to do so.

It addresses a major challenge in urban gardening that has to do with eliminating grass (which is incredibly invasive), but it also disrupts the entire soil life web.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:38 am
by Andy F
Nice thread Farside. He has some nice garden beds. Here in AZ, using the plastic mulch film is almost mandatory.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:16 pm
by Farside
Have you tried sunken garden beds? It's the opposite of a raised bed, and they are traditionally used in hot dry locations.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:04 am
by Farside
I picked a little over a Kg of blackcurrants today and froze them. All the blackcurrants on a bush don't ripen all at the same time, so I'm freezing them until the harvest is over in a few weeks, and then I'll make one big batch of blackcurrant jam:
45% berries
55% sugar

pretty complicated stuff...