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rainbowgardener
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the plant and forget it garden

I have a plot in a community garden that is not where I live. So what with being busy and it raining when I might have been gardening, it has been at least a month since I even looked at it. I went to look at it today and was surprised to see everything doing well. I had mulched it heavily, so there were some weeds, but it was not overtaken with weeds. The tomato plants there are a bit spindlier than the ones in my home garden which has much better soil. They have tomatoes on them, but no ripe ones. Cabbage was pretty chewed on by slugs and didn't head up as nicely. Onions that I planted from seed last fall are doing great, about golf ball size, which is about as good as I ever get; these may yet get bigger. Squash plants are wandering all over, including one that escaped the bed and is travelling down a path. They have squash on them.

Applestar gave me some roselle seeds, from which I got two plants. One is in the community garden and one is in a container on my deck. The one at the comm garden is doing much better, some combination of more sun and being in the ground.

Pulled the cabbages there and planted beans. Harvested onions, basil, anise hyssop, as well as the cabbages. Weeded everything and renewed the mulch -- a thick layer of pulled grass and weeds (of which there was plenty in the paths between the beds) covered by a thick layer of partly broken down fall leaves. I'm really liking the brown + green mulching I've been doing this year. Works well as mulch, feeds the soil nicely, and as a bonus the bed alll mulched in leaf mould looks beautiful; the effect people get mulching their flower beds with dark colored bark chips.

Obviously the plant and forget would not have worked in a less rainy year, things would have dried up. But it is a sign to me that we probably fuss more than we need to... Nothing was diseased; I didn't see any signs of pest damage except the slug holes in cabbage.
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Dillbert
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

with all the rain, the 'forget it' bit has worked this year. but I can second the 'if you don't mulch you won't need to forget it' theory.... one area I direct seeded some scallion - well, can't mulch too much until it's up - that's now a very nice heavy weed patch about 4 inches wide the length of the row.... a few scallion stalks to be found among the weeds.

did similar with beets and lettuce - the weeds got so thick I simply buried the area with a foot of fresh grass clippings. rats. I'm thinking if it gets good and hot&dry I may solarize that area - for whatever reason it really came up in weeds this year.... like a 10x10 area - just went totally bonkers with weeds.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

So having made the July 7 post above, I was travelling a lot in July and then having to catch up on the regular gardens and life intervening, yesterday was the first time I went back and laid eyes on the community garden again, since then. It continues to do well effortlessly.

The tomato plants there are small and not very productive, because they haven't gotten enough watering and care (and this is only my second year of gardening there, soil is not nearly as fertile as I am used to) but I brought home a few ripe tomatoes. Also brought home a bunch of fennel, a whole bag of green and purple basil, a whole bag of onions, a bunch of anise hyssop, some celery. The winter squash there is doing well and fruiting and I didn't find any sign of the squash bugs. Beans I planted on the 7/7 stop-by are thriving and blooming and have taken over the tomato cages. And the one roselle I planted there is huge and flowering.

So I pulled the few weeds that made it through the mulch, watered deeply, renewed the mulch again (although it was still in pretty good shape) and planted lettuce, spinach, chard for fall crop.

I love it -- stop by once a month and harvest! That garden has not been fertilized, watered, weeded, or tended in any way since it was planted, except for these two visits. The secret is the deep mulch (and a rainy season). The no work gardening thing is real!
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j3707
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Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

Re: the plant and forget it garden

Low maintenance sounds good to me. A kale seed sprouted in my gravel parking area and is now a bushy little plant about 10 inches high. Not bad for getting maybe 2 good rains this summer.
Avoid predictable disaster caused by unpredictable events, keep yourself open to positive outcomes from improbable events. -Aaron C. Brown

imafan26
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

My community garden has always been on its own. I only go to water it twice a week unless it rains. If I have other commitments, I usually don't get to make up the day if I miss it.

Most of what grows there is used to not having regular water, when it rains everything grows, plants and weeds. I grow things there that don't do well at my house and I don't have to pick daily.

I have chayote, peppers, bartlett pear, calamondin, satsuma mandarins, beets, carrots, daikon, jicama, asparagus,pineapple, Asian greens, hot peppers, and peanuts. I plants squash( kabocha, upo), sugar baby watermelon in early summer. Beans grow well there as long as they are rust and nematode resistant, but I don't go there often enough to pick them before the pods get too seedy.

Tomatoes grow better in my yard, they are small and produced poorly in the community garden. Onions get rust in the garden so they do better at home or in the herb garden plot. I will probably put another papaya in the community garden. I did have one before and it was good. The bartlet pear and mandarins are not ready yet but the calamondin produces fruit most of the year.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

I went back to the plant and forget garden last night. It is such a treat to go back to a garden you haven't looked at for weeks and find it thriving! Through the hot and dry we've been having lately, a friend did water it a couple times in there. I deep watered last night. With the weather and the mulch, I really didn't have to do any weeding and the mulch was holding up well, so I didn't add more. Just watered and harvested. A few tomatoes (the tomatoes are really not doing great, they would have benefitted from a lot more attention), a big bag of onions, a big bag of green and purple basil (coming out my ears now, but oh well), some fennel, some anise hyssop, a bunch of roselle pods. Beans are flowering and beautiful, but still no beans. There are a couple nice butternut squashes on the vine, not ready yet.

Brought the anise hyssop home and made it up into strawberry-anise hyssop jam, my favorite thing I make! Since I already have some jars of purple basil jelly, I'm thinking of making this into purple basil vinegar:

Purple Basil Vinegar
Ingredients
• 2 or 3 sprigs (each 4 to 6 in. long) purple or opal basil
• White wine vinegar
Preparation
Push basil into a clean 12- to 16-ounce bottle. Fill bottle with white wine vinegar (vinegar should cover herbs completely) and seal. Store in a cool, dark place at least 1 week or up to 4 months.


Should come out a beautiful color! Put it up in fancy bottles and it will be something different for the Christmas baskets.

I made roselle -ginger tea last night, which was yummy, but I want to find something to do with the roselle, that would be good for the Christmas baskets.

I have said it before, but I really think the secret to this garden doing so well with so little care is mulch. I always mulch garden beds, but this garden is MULCHED (much deeper than I usually do). It makes a big difference.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

I have said it before, but I really think the secret to this garden doing so well with so little care is mulch. I always mulch garden beds, but this garden is MULCHED (much deeper than I usually do). It makes a big difference.
I agree 100%

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

Went back to the away garden today and did nothing but harvest. A couple last tomatoes (and then pulled the plants), a butternut squash, 3 dozen roselle pods, a grocery bag of purple and green basil, anise hyssop, fennel, a grocery bag of celery.
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applestar
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

Fantastic! My neglected celery have been growing in leaps and bounds since the cooler fall weather, I should harvest some too. I'm leaving the celeriac in the ground as long as I can. Another neglected crop for me is parsley -- I have three thriving plants that have been growing just ahead of invasion of Black Swallowtails. I let them have them, but now there is only one caterpillar left and the parsley are growing new leaves which will be for ME to harvest. 8)

I somehow lost my anise hyssop (I had three plants). I'm going to have to get some seeds and start new plants this winter.

I'm starting to collect basil seeds to replenish my seed stock since I used them up this spring -- lime basil seeds smell heavenly! But I seem to have lost the lemon basil. I'll need to get more seeds. I thought I lost the holly basil, but a couple of volunteers grew where they were growing last year :D
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tomc
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

I've been busy of late plagarizing an old Mormon ideal of creating food islands. Mostly fruit and nut trees, planted where they they can just grow. If I'm lucky I will get back to them once a year.
Think like a tree
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rainbowgardener
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

Interesting. I never knew of that as a Mormon idea, but makes sense - they were trying to survive as substence farmers and homesteaders in the desert. In modern version it is a keystone concept of permaculture, which calls them food forests. They talk about guilds, which are groups of plants (and animals!) grown together which support each other:

With fruit trees we always plant nitrogen-fixing groundcovers and/or “mother” plant to shade and nurture young seedlings (such as Siberian peashrub, or False Indigo Bush). Then come the bulbs (iris, edible daylily, alliums), which absorb excess nitrogen in the springtime (when it is detrimental to fruit trees). Various sages (clary sage, culinary sage, salvias) are there to draw pollinators and beneficial insects. Beeforage plants, like bergamot, spirea, beeplant are there for the obvious reason. Perennial greens, such as garden sorrell and salad burnett are planted where the water is sufficient to warrant their survival. Mineral mining plants (comfrey, nettles) are combined with medicinal herbs which Arina uses for making herbal teas and concoctions. - See more at: https://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.ph ... RruFx.dpuf


The important thing is that you install ample nitrogen fixers, nutrient accumulators, pollinator attractors, and pest repellants.

Fruit Tree Guild
Apple “Dwarf”
Shrubs: (1) elaeagnus x ebbingei
Groundcover: chives, horseradish, parsley, oregano, parsnips, garlic, daikon, dutch white clover

Cherry “Dwarf”
Shrubs: (1) elaeagnus x ebbingei
Groundcover: chives, horseradish, parsley, oregano, parsnips, garlic, daikon, dutch white clover

Pear “Medium Rootstock”
Shrubs: (3) Russian Olive, (3) Sunchokes
Groundcover: chives, oregano, camas, bee balm, dill, yarrow, chicory, daikon, dutch white clover

Nectarine “Medium Rootstock”
Shrubs: (3) Russian Olive, (3) Sunchokes
Groundcover: chives, horseradish, parsley, oregano, parsnips, garlic, daikon, dutch white clover
https://www.foodproduction101.com/tag/fruit-tree-guilds
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DoubleDogFarm
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Re: the plant and forget it garden

"keyhole"


Eric

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