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Godless in the garden

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Godless in the garden

Welcome to gardeners, growers of veggies, fruits, flowers, and trees!  

 

Welcome  backyard hen enthusiasts, worm farmers, beekeepers & composters!

Location: Planet Earth
Members: 169
Latest Activity: 8 hours ago

Welcome to Eden!

If you like to dig in the dirt, plant & prune, grow food & flowers, or sit and watch as someone else does your landscaping, you'll find something here to discuss!

Selected topics, in sort of alphabetical order:
Aging.  Gardening with an older body.
bees.  insectary.  insectsbee gardening. Beneficial insects.  insects drive evolution

Compost.  herecontaminated compost.

Backyard Chickens here. here. here. here.

Edible yard.  here  urban farmfront yards.
Growing Fruits

Folklore.

Fragrance and Scenthere.
Fruit growing.  in a small space, by backyard orchard culture.
Frugal gardening.  labels.

Gardening for future generations.  also permaculture, trees, historic varieties, soil

Hegelkultur here, here, here

Heritage and historic varieties.   heresources

locally grown plants to prevent blight transmission here.

Moon Phase Widget here. Moon phase topic here.

PeppersHot peppers.

Permaculture MollisonFalk  Liu, Joan's IntroTransformation in 90 days, Perm Principles at work. Food forest, Holzer

Potatoes.  here.

Rooftop gardening.  here

Seed starting. starting spring crops.

Scientific Gardening.   The Informed Gardener.  The truth about garden remedies.

Soil and soil building - healthy soil microbes, mycelium, dirt is everything, soil analysissoil pH.
Squirrels.

Synergies.

Tomatoes.  Myths and truths

Trees.  Tree tunnels.  Ancient tree planting. Plant commemorative trees

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Comment by Daniel W on October 23, 2014 at 9:30pm

compost fights climate change.

 

Cenak, Thanks for the pH meter update.  I should get one.  I have a very acid soil.  Last year I added lime, but I don't want to overdo it.

 

Your info below also hits an a point I like to make.  "Pick trees that thrive in your climate and soil by looking at what types grow without human intervention."   Depending on the species, you can save seeds from local trees that look healthy and flourishing.  Some seed grown trees can be really fast - I have a red maple that must be 15 feet tall, from a 1 foot seedling transplanted 2 years ago.  It needs to branch out now, and I know it will.  Nursery and big box store trees often sulk, and some have short life spans due to root mistreatment and girdling.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on October 23, 2014 at 10:07am

Only this year I found out that soil pH meters are very inexpensive! I always had assumed that they would be hundreds of bucks but I got one for $35 that should be fairly accurate.

Joan you are spot on about how to manage clay based soil. I'm hardly an expert but I studied soil ecology at K-State while getting my merit badge in Boy Scouts ages ago. 

Here on the high plains of Kansas I have to work with a soil that barely falls inside the silty clay classification. Root crops have to work extremely hard to produce. Even many trees here cannot send roots down past the "B" soil layer about 8" down. Compost and sand are key for high garden yield. 

One factor to keep in mind is that if you change your soil type from native your plants may not do as well. For example in dry windy climates high clay content leads to very small soil pores helping it to retain water. A sandy soil in the same climate will require careful supervision to avoid it going dry. Contrawise if you are in a high rain area and add clay or compost you will make your sandy/volcanic soil have a lot less drainage so be ready for that.

Don't try to till or grow crops in the "B" layer or subsoil. If you need more topsoil it is better to build it up with compost than try to dilute, aerate, and culture the subsoil. The exception is that when planting trees pierce the subsoil and replace with topsoil. Use the subsoil to make a berm around the plant whose radius is appropriate to the length of the branches. The idea is so that the tree creates its own rain shadow and makes it easy to water the tree without making a ditch or drip system. Pick trees that thrive in your climate and soil by looking at what types grow without human intervention. 

I guess those are some random tidbits hope someone finds them  helpful.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 22, 2014 at 9:30pm

Barbara, I just read your wonderful comment about learning about composting. Most people do not realize how valuable leaves and grass are. But then, not everyone is interested in growing soil. As to what kind of soil pH to have for what plants, that just comes from experience. If you see a plant wilting in one place, it may be because the soil is not correct. A simple search on the internet will provide information on the needs of the plant and the soil requirements.

Recommended Soil pH for Growing Garden Fruits and Vegetables.

Vegetable pH Levels (list by Vegetable type).

pH for Trees, Shrubs, Vegetables, and Flowers.

The best way to know your soil pH is to call your Houston USDA Extention Agent for information on how to do the test. It is a simple process, just takes time. Because your soil is probably clay, you will need lots and lots of humus, which you will get from your compost. Your tiller will work fine working the humus into the clay. You could also use some sand. I get mine from the people to make tombstones. They will often give sand to you without charge, just haul it away. Sand from granite and marble offers many minerals to the soil. 

This sounds really complicated, I know. Just start slowly, Do a small patch at a time so you don't get too tired, and read a little as you encounter problems. 

Knowing that you are replacing your lawn, you could do lasagna composting. It saves you a lot of work, It kills the grass and you don't have to make a pile and move it later. 

Lasagna Composting

I do both bins and piles for my composts. I don't turn either of them. I fill bins or make the piles and make sure there is water getting to them. I use a soaker hose and during the summer I turn it on for a while and then off. During autumn, winter, and spring, I just let the rains keep the pile moist. You will have a different situation in Houston. 

During the winter, I do indoor composting with a worm farm. 

composting with worms

Right now, I am moving compost and it is a big job. I like it though. So do the mice and squirrels. 

Comment by Randall Smith on October 22, 2014 at 7:51am
Re: sweet potatoes. I plant about two dozen about 3' apart (extras from my farm kids). I have planted sprouted ends from "last year's" potatoes, but they usually don't do well for some reason. Never tried growing them in a container. Vines extend 20' or more.
To eat them, I've baked, zapped, fried, mashed, made pies, you name it! Used them in a stir fry last night.
Joan, thanks for the brick comment. Yes, I laid them all down over the years as I come across some. Most had mortar--a challenge to chip off. I have no intentions of extending the bricks all the way to the road.
Comment by Daniel W on October 21, 2014 at 1:09pm

Randy, those are great looking sweet potatoes.  How do you cook them?

Joan I am all into food forest concept.  My yard is sort of headed that direction, but not so officially.  Still, lots of fruit trees, and some trees for bee nectar, and some just trees.  I underplanted fruit trees with herbs.  Some work OK - oregano, thyme, but mint and lemon balm are too aggressive and need to come out.

 

Spud,  I hope that melon tastes bad, so they don't steal next year!

 

Joan, my soil is alive too, and part of the reason is your inspiration.  The raised beds, while made from the yard soil, are much darker soil, more crumbly, and have a nice earthy smell.  Lots of earthworms.   

 

I avoid petrochemicals.  If I was going to use them, it would be "medicinally" - to treat or cure a specific, tightly focused problem.  I have not done that in ages. 

 

Last weekend I planted garlic.  A nice October thing to do.  Weather, energy, and mood permitting, next weekend I want to clean up the perennial onion bed - walking onions and potato onions.  I because discouraged this year because deer kept eating them .  Deer don't read the books about what they are not supposed to eat.  But there are lots of starts, enough to fill a garden bed.  Then, before they get too big, build a frame to reduce herbivory.

Comment by Idaho Spud on October 21, 2014 at 1:04pm

I asked this on the Food group, but I may get more responses here.  Will sweet potatoes grow in a container like regular potatoes, where you keep adding material that they grow in?

Comment by Idaho Spud on October 21, 2014 at 12:48pm

Sounds good Joan.  I like the sound of a "Food Forest".

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 21, 2014 at 12:31pm

Spud, Seattle is developing a Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project. You may not realize it, but you may be starting a new trend in your community. Pocatello, Idaho may become a Food Forest Permaculture Project. 

"A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels. The Beacon Food Forest will combine aspects of native habitat rehabilitation with edible forest gardening. 

"The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to bring the richly diverse community together by fostering a Permaculture Tree Guild approach to urban farming and land stewardship. By building a community around sharing food with the public we hope to be inclusive to all in need of food. 

"The Food Forest is set to include an Edible Arboretum with fruits gathered from regions around the world, a Berry Patch for canning, gleaning and picking, a Nut Grove with trees providing shade and sustenance, a Community Garden using the p-patch model for families to grow their own food, a Gathering Plaza for celebration and education, a Kid's Area for eduction and play and a Living Gateway to connect and serve as portals as you meander through the forest. "

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 21, 2014 at 12:13pm

Randy, a beautiful harvest of sweet potatoes. Some mighty good eat'n awaits. I like your brick ground covering. Very pretty way to manage getting out of mud and having a solid surface. Did you put it in? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 21, 2014 at 12:10pm

Patricia, the video of the hummingbirds coming in through the open window to the feeder is a remarkable sight. The bird has the best of both worlds, access to freedom and the outdoors, and feeding in a safe place away from predators. What a nice idea. I wonder what the poop is like for a hummingbird? 

 

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