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How does your garden grow?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:26 pm
by iceagefarmer
This should be a forum as well!

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:39 am
by Andy F
Mary Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty flowers all in a row!

I'm sorry Christian, I couldn't help it. :lol:
(we have many visiting spammers)

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:25 pm
by Farside
I experimented this year with a system for growing in dry conditions. I grew lettuce in this system and it seemed to work pretty well.

I constructed a doughnut shape in the bed with a deep hole in the middle. And I filled the deep hole with compost, dead weeds, and other organic matter. It looked like a miniature banana circle.

I covered it with newspaper and planted the lettuce around the rim of the doughnut. I got the same number of lettuces in the space as I would normally have done with a high density offset planting pattern in rows which surprised me considering how much empty space there seems to be in the middle there.

The idea is to simply dump the water into the middle of the doughnut and let it wick into the sides where the plants are. It would be interesting to know how this goes in drought conditions. We had a cool wet summer so my results are inconclusive.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:36 am
by Elew
This is pretty interesting...


Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:17 pm
by carefix
Mine doesn't, very much to my irritation.... however I just had a phone call from a mate in Oz. He is an "unintentional prepper" who decided to retire early a dozen years ago to the tablelands in North Queensland.

He got a few acres of land next to a river and built a house there which seems to be off grid. He swims in the creek with the platypusses but there are no crocks for him to play with. He goes fishing there too and has the right to draw some 250,000 tons of water per year should he need it. The soil is rich and volcanic in origin and he does some kitchen gardening. The soil grows everything he wants. I asked him if he grew sweet potatoes and he tells me yes but he doesn't plant or cultivate them, apparently they are like tomatoes in the area and grow like weeds everywhere so you just go and pick them if you want them. He grows potatoes, and veg and just planted 75 trees on the riverbank to stablize the bank. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, maccademia, apples, pears plums, walnut, etc.. Apparently the existing grapefruit are the size of pumpkins. He has a few chucks for eggs of course but he seems to have gotten into zero effort farming without trying. It didn't cost much either, but I didn't ask...

He' coming over for a few beers at Christmas.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:09 am
by Jethro
we got an acre with riverfront full of lots fish, raised bed gardens etc but what i am excited about is mircogreens - i built a cold frame kale house that is 7 years old and going strong but for variety i built a large shed in the yard for solar platform and yoga studio for my retired wife who now teaches classes there. i had a whole wall of windows 20' long southern exposure in the studio for future hydro system. but in the mean time i experiented with micro greens sunflower seeds (40% protein) and "spec peas" in trays one 1/2 cup each of seeds for rectangle trays and from time of planting to on our dinner plate is 7 days. they are delicious and apparently mircogreens (organic internet order from Mumms in BC Canada) are very nutrient rich. we recently added red cabbage and arugula now combining all 4 together is outstanding. We now stock bulk seeds in the freezer just in case things get out of stock etc
one set of trays planted has a running cost of $2-3 per tray. the tray feeds us for 3/4 days. just a small portion of the tray sells at the grocery store for about $6 so we are saving considerably and free of all the issues with store bought produce. we can't go back now we don't like the taste of grocery store salad etc yuk.
well that was my first post just joined today

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:59 pm
by Farside
Nice one Jethro! I did some experimenting last winter with microgreens. If you can grow sunflower microgreens successfully then you can grow anything!

When I was doing my initial research, I realized that the biggest expense / waste in this type of system is the growing medium. Most people use some sort of potting soil, and then compost it afterwards.

I got to thinking that these seedlings don't actually require any nutrients. In fact their root systems aren't developed enough to access these nutrients by the time you harvest them anyway, so I was experimenting with a system for raising microgreens on those paper towels you find in public washrooms. It's non perforated, single ply, and comes on a roll.

I was successfully growing microgreens on this medium under cheap led strip lights. The biggest challenge is mould. I was using sunflower oilseeds that are used as bird feed and they are covered with spores and very difficult to grow. I did develop an effective sanitization protocol that doesn't harm the seeds or their germination rates, and I'm happy to share it if anyone is interested.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:05 pm
by dirtmurphy
@Farside, I'm interested in hearing it. That seems like very good info.
Since I'm here, I may as well say that this Feb is like last Feb: way too warm. Hawthorn, Nanking cherry, and peach trees are breaking dormancy along with elderberry bushes. We always get a deep freeze in March/April so I anticipate losing production there. Shiitake logs also fruited last week.

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:13 pm
by Farside
I have attached a document that contains instructions for growing sunflower microgreens that I developed.

The system uses 3 trays. The lower tray contains water, the middle tray contains newly prepared seeds and the upper tray contains seedlings that are 7 days old.

You harvest the top tray after 7 days (so the total time in the system from seed to harvest is 14 days).

I did this because the seeds need no light for germination so I can have 2 crops occupying the same space on the shelf at the same time. The top tray also ensures the seeds get good contact with the moist growing medium, and prevents the seeds from drying out. This combination of factors improves the growth uniformity of the final harvest.

Each "unit" is made up of a solid seedling tray that holds water, and two perforated seedling trays that stack on top, and which holds the growing medium and the seeds. I install a strip of paper that pokes through the bottom of the perforated tray and goes into the water reservoir below. These wick moisture into the paper lining and keep the seeds evenly wet provided there are two wicks in the tray.

The reason I do this is because the water level in the lower tray drops over time, and without these wicking strips, the seedlings would dry out and die unless I topped the water up daily. Using this method I fill the tray once and forget about it for the entire week.

So, each growing unit contains:
  • a lower solid tray with water in it
  • a middle perforated tray with wicking strips, paper liner, and seeds
  • an upper tray which was the middle tray from the previous week and that now contains seedlings

Re: How does your garden grow?

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:28 am
by Jethro
cool - thats what i do too - i pre soak my seeds - for sunflower and spec peas (bigger seeds) i do 6-8 hrs soak, smaller seeds 1-2 hours
glad to know other peeps out there doing this stuff
i also cover the seeds for a couple days to hatch also
i fight the mold with the organic seeds and move air around with a fan which seems to help with mould keeping it at bay