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A walk around the yard

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by StayLowGrows, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Hello,
      First off, I'm going to gibber jabber a little to get it out of my system. This first post will be a bunch of blah blah blah. So, if you want the meat and potatoes only, skip it.
      Thanks for checking out the thread. Those who have seen me may remember I started a thread a few months ago I believe. What a mess! Too random. Too much gibberish. Very unorganized, and just plain out very unsatisfying to me (I assume any readers as well).  I also lost A LOT of ambition for anything having become very awake to the actual reality of this country (US). Having looked back on my past troubles, I suddenly became very angry realizing why situations unfolded, and even began the way they did. But enough about the negative. I finally came to grip with what needs to be done. First, is to be positive, and focus on important issues. I do not care how pretty your shoes are, so don't ask me.
      I fell very behind on goals and ideas I had planned for gardening, but as I said, I have found my peace and so things have been back on track. Slowly, and still behind on planting dates but that's ok. I plan on shutting some people up and growing in the snow this year.
      The overall goal of this topic will be to get as many people in tune with growing their own food as much as I can. The benefits FAR out way every other aspect. I will be emphasizing using what's around, and reusing any and everything possible. Being as I am not around my home town, or area, anymore, I don't have hardly any resources available to me anymore. I will be forced to go buy things such as plastic sheeting, maybe even barrels, buckets, etc., but I will be sourcing everything on the cheap. Everything I will be doing will be shared here to help everyone learn by experience with me. I have the knowledge and it's now time to put it to practice.
      Last point I would like to make is that a lot of information is very easily attainable elsewhere. However, the main problem is that it is so very scattered about. Or someone wants five dollars for knowledge that if shared freely would not have the world so ass backwards as it is. It's this greed, and this greed alone, that will screw us all in the end. By taking this journey, I will know that my son's future will always be secure as he will grow up learning this knowledge himself, and therefor will not be forced to be dependant on ANYONE else unless he so chooses.
      And so, I will be putting to practice many different aspects to gardening, and farming at some point. I very much welcome outside knowledge, especially from personal experience, and very much welcome criticism. You won't offend me, nor hurt my feelings. :)
      I have a lot of materials to acquire even now and as such this may start off slow and very small. But we'll get there. I'd also like to say that my reasoning for choosing GrassCity to begin this journey is because this is the place that initially started it for me. Two weeks into growing, and the Miracle-Gro and all other chemicals went into the trash. I just hate that it ended up in the landfill and probably in the county's compost.
      Oh! Yea, I don't do chemicals, genetically modified seed; I do not feed the wheels of evil. If you care about your children's futures, you will stop doing so as well.
      And now past the BS of my mind and ramblings.....thanks for reading however if you did.

  2. #2 StayLowGrows, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2013
    All images will be large thumbnails, with links to the full size image hosted at
    If enough people ask, I'll even switch to small thumbnails. I know I like to browse by mobile quite often as well. :)
    The Beginning
    This will be short because I plan on restarting so that you all will be able to follow along as far as the composting goes. Started with leaves, grass clippings, and throughout kitchen scraps were added.
    Here is what I started on May 5, 2013
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    As well, I had a 4 gallon bucket that I was doing a 'hot bucket' compost in. Not sure if that term is actually used, but it's what I had pop into mind. This was soil, mucky at the time, with leaves buried in that came from around a tree stump. Notice the worms? They're everywhere here.
    May 7, 2013
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    I don't have a finished picture of this, but turned out to be 'black gold'. I'll be making a post later with the area this was used in. Best results I've had so far, coupled with no effort until I recently felt like it.
    A picture of scraps that were added (one of many, but for some reason I took this picture, so here it is)
    May 15, 2013
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    What's left after using most of it (oops; I forgot to take a picture of the big pile). Later you will see the locations this was used in though. Some limbs fell in yesterday, and the pile is getting too dry already not having as much mass (and lack of worms because most of them went into the new garden bed with the compost.). It doesnt look too great in this picture, but I assure you it turned out great. Don't mind the other two piles for now. I'll get to those later.
    August 2, 2013
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  3. #3 StayLowGrows, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2013
    The other piles:
    So, I mentioned other piles around the yard. The main purpose of this is to gather as much of a diverse amount of microbial life as possible. In nature some plants and species grow better in other places than other plants.
    I happen to have a big ass pile of downfall just inside the wood line. After, is a big pile of leaves. Then comes about 10 feet of clear space (was actually leaves on the forest floor before I raked them back). Then comes the grassy yard. In this clear space is where I have placed more piles for composting. This area is great for fungal diversity being near this downfall, and pile of leaves.  All of the piles placed here are used as inputs; materials that go in the main compost pile (previous post).
      The two piles here used for inputs are: one, grass clippings; two, a secondary traditional compost pile that gets kitchen scraps alternating the frequency from the main. The grass clippings with the amount of fungi nearby decomposes quite fast. Grass clippings also attract bacteria. And don't forget worms. Worms love everything. The second compost pile is here to attract worms, fungi and bacteria that may not reside near the main pile. This secondary pile also decomposes at a fast rate.
      At some point when the grass clippings become mostly decomposed (or at least pretty black), I just mix these two piles together, and bring in more grass clippings when I mow the lawn.
      I was going to go take some pictures of this area, but it started pouring down rain. So, I guess I'll get these later.
    (images here)
    I do have a 30 gallon rubbermaid with plenty of earthworms (I try not to buy anything, so I harvest these for FREE from around the yard). And you know what? I didn't drill any holes, or make any changes to this bin. I put in some compost from the main pile, full of worms, threw some food scraps in it, and keep it moist. At night, I go check the worms with a flashlight, and they're always getting down on scraps. So, no extra bullshit. Bin, soil, worms, food scraps, gently stir once every two weeks, DONE! Just keep the bin out of direct sunlight. I do want to change this to a rotatable 55 gallon bin so that I can extract castings and  lechate much more easily though. As it is, I just use this to multiple my worm base and use this for compost teas. By having free worms, I don't feel bad about grabbing a few and tossing them in the garden every now and then.
    Changes to be made
    Sometime in the near future, I will be putting together a few composting bins. These will sit on wood saw horses; the bins made from 55 gallon food grade barrels. The piles around the yard will all become inputs for the compost bins. I can't outright just abandon ground piles, as it just seems to me that these attract more microbial life (and worms obviously) being on the ground. The idea I have in my mind I have yet to actually see a design exactly like it. Some do each idea independantly, but for some odd reason, none (again, that I have found) incorporate them all into one. Later when I get to building this, as I've said, I will share the design, building process, material sources, etc.. 
    The plan is at least to have four different bins. One, well balanced mix of carbon:nitrogen. Two, more carbon over nitrogen. Three, more nitrogen over carbon. And four, VERMICOMPOST. There is a vast variety of flora around the yard that these different mixes will help to benefit some more over others. My landlord likes pretty flowers and shrubs (more carbon/fungi generally). I like stuff I can eat (more nitrogen/bacteria generally). The well balanced will be mostly for compost teas, and mulching. Complicated? Nothing is complicated when you enjoy what you do.
    Extras that help
    This is a pretty vast subject area. I'm not going to get into it just yet but I thought I would go ahead and make it clear that I will cover most of this as I go along. When I do something, you'll know. This is an open ride for all.
    Wood ash (also making charcoal, and biochar)
    Compost teas (plenty of knowledge in the organic forum, but it is part of the journey)
    Fermented plant extracts
    Botanical teas
    I also like to cultivate bacteria and fungi. This will covered as well.
    I'll add more as it comes to mind. I'm farely unscripted and fly off the seat of my pants.
    Thanks for your time so far. I have more to add, including a couple garden beds, random plants around the yard (if you see some in weird locations, keep me in mind). I'll get to more tonight as I can. It's that time of the day at the moment, so.....GET YOUR GARDEN ON!
  4. #4 StayLowGrows, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2013
    Long evening and night.
    The Gardens
      I need to point out that I will not be publically advertising my main garden. That is for me and mine. Sorry. So if ever you wonder where something came from if it pops out of nowhere, this may be why.
      Such as the case with this delicious kale and tomato sandwhich :)
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    Cutworms got the best of these particular kale plants, so it lacked a little. Wouldn't now though. Not sure if you care to see the full image of my sandwhiches either, but hey! Some people are just weird like that. You go on and be weird with your.....weird self?
      A little humor.
    Tree Stump Garden #1
      A while back, I uprooted a wild swiss chard from the woods and planted it near this stump (following picture). It flourished, and blew my mind. I eventually uprooted it and threw it in the compost. My body just will not accept swiss chard. That was a horrible night, and I will not be returning to it any further.
      As you can see in the following picture, I eventually did a little digging around, and planted some stuff near this stuff. I have found out that tree stumps are indeed so full of life, and just about anything planted near one will come back to life.
      Where the Swiss Chard once grew, I already had a tomato plant next to it to see how well they grew together. They did fine. But you'll now notice the lone tomato plant where the chard once was. To the left of that is a little patch I recently transplanted two French Dwarf Marigolds (will be subject to future cross breeding experimentation), and two Hot Peppers of some kind (seeds from a friend awhile back). Left of that is six more Tomato plants. Just behind these six up against the stump is two Sweet Basil plants. Then a void for more planting. Then comes six Morning Glories (seeds I brought from NC). Another void. And then I recently decided to direct seed four Red Russian Kale (only three sprouted). Next is a french mesculin seed mix. More will go into this area to fill any voids or gaps once I acquire the seed I want.
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    Tree Stump Garden #2
      This has yet to be done. Therefor I haven't taken any pictures yet. This will documented later for all to follow along.
    Previously Established Garden Bed (PEG for short)
    May 6, 2013
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     Not much to be said. Burdock started taking over. There was a few Spearmint plants growing inside the lattice, under the porch. About a month before tilling up this area, I pulled a few and put them in the front of this bed (right side of photo). You can notice they started thriving. This was my gauge for this bed.
      By the dates you can tell I lost my ambition because I failed to take any pictures for visual aid. Oh well.
      July 18, 2013
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      This area is lacking obviously. The squash needs a trellis. But I also need to fill some gaps as well because one objective is to use all available space. Not one square foot empty. Unfortunately, PEG here had a fuzzy dog problem. So half of what I did plant in the beginning got trampled by a white god zilla as far as the sprouts and cuttings were concerned. RAWRRROOF???
    Garden Plot #1
      Here is where new knowledge comes into practice for me. I have never actually COMPLETELY dug up a new area. Nor amended and layered as I did.
      With this area, it sits wide open. Eventually I will put some barriers around it (raised bed), but this will be later as again, I do not have free resources here. I'll end up having to buy some probably. No biggy. It's just an extra WANT. Not a need. Lasagna Gardening is the method I chose to utilize here if you must, thought as usual, I kind of did it my own way. I have time to go out to the gardens when I want, but if saving time is your main objective I would look into the proper way if this method sounds as though it would suit you. I left out the vegetable scraps.
      Right now, this area is only 3'x8' (3ft X 8ft). I do have a design and plan for much greater space. As time goes on.
      All pictures Aug 2, 2013
     Here, I used my shovel to shave the sod (bottom of photo). Then turned the soil over a minimum twelve inches deep. A lot of rocks removed. Not much in terms of clumps needing to broken up, but I did so a little anyway. Honestly, I probably didn't need to do anything else because the soil fertility here has been great so far.
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      Next, I shredded some leaves from the forest floor with the lawn mower. Spread near an inch thick. I forgot to take a picture of this step. Sorry.
      At this stage, I also spread a cup of dolomite lime and three cups total of Jobe's All Purpose and Vegetable fertilizer mixed. I try to stay as close to natural as possible. However, this environment is still new to me, and as I stated in the first post of this topic I will be growing all winter long. Snow included. So this is for reassurance. Note: I like Jobe's. Have had great results with everything. I would like to say that Espoma is also a great product. Espoma Plant-Tone and Flower-Tone are their two products I have tried. Plant-Tone coupled with Jobe's Vegetable fertilizer made a great first cannabis plant for me. Remember, this is me. You may like others, have better results with others. I just happen to know what lacks and what doesn't with these.
      Then came a thin layer of the main compost pile. Worms included (they're camera shy). I didn't bother sifting, or pulling out every twig and branch. The big ones yes. The little ones I left to help keep the soil from compacting. I'm layering anyway. Remember?
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      Now on to the grass clippings. These sat in pile location #2 for maybe two weeks. Maybe only one. Who cares? They're showing signs of decay, fungal and bacterial life. And...MORE WORMS!
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     Last, another thin layer of compost. You might notice I spread some cedar wood chips around the outside of the bed. This is just to see if they have any effect on the cottontail rabbit and deer that inhabit this area. This will be a problem, as I do have a feed block not fifteen feet from the bed. Haha. Maybe they'll stick to the apple trees thirty feet away. We will see. I'll plant a garden beside the wood line just for the animals if it does become a problem.
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      You may notice that not much mass was actually added. I kept it thin and small for the moment in case another rain spell decides to come through. They have been spraying the skies a lot lately. Yea, you need research Geo-engineering since I brought it up. Start asking questions. But also, I wanted to allow oxygen to reach ground level (original native soil) to help the leaves and grass clippings decay a little faster. I plan on waiting only two weeks before I planting into this spot. I don't feel like waiting a whole month. Yea, I could probably plant now, but I prefer transplanted sprouts, not direct seeding. And I have no sprouts ready. Nor my seed actually.
    Note to self: WE FORGOT THE SEED!!
    Until later. Tomorrow. Next week. Let's go with some time in the future. That sounds good.
  5. Diggin the garden man  :smoke:
    I moved into my new crib in May so I didn't get to start a lot of stuff....i'm already looking forward to next year 
  6. I plan on building a greenhouse of sorts. Lumber, plastic and I have a small balcony grill I'm going to run some ducting to use as a wood stove for heating. The new garden bed will get outfitted with this for all winter growing.

    A couple design ideas floating in mind. I'm going to keep it simple with the wood work and have this first cold frame as a prototype.

    Some of you will like this. Again, nothing new, but it will be as cheap as possible.
  7. I'm moving again next month. What a waste. That new 4x8 garden plot is looking nice. Gets frequent fertilization from the deer and mostly cottontail rabbit every day too.
    So, yea...but I'll be going all out at the new place :) Can't wait for taxes. Buying my own crib....wahahaha
    Hi SLG :wave:
    Sorry to hear that you're moving after all the work you did at this place. Thank you for sharing your hard work with us. Best wishes to you at the new place. :smoke:

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