RedBeard1987
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Location: South suburbs Chicago. Zone 5a

New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Hello all and welcome to RedBeard Ranch! Or what will eventually be. Right now i have a blank slate and too many ideas rolling around in my head. Some of you may already know my story but ill sum it up real quick. My name is RedBeard, you may be able to guess why. :lol: My wife and i bought our first house together last july. My old garden bed was a small 3 by 9 bed that i tended to overcrowd with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Im still fairly new to gardening and growing my own food. but in the last 4 years iv had all successful harvests. i was able to grow more than we could eat in that little bed. now my entire property is just under a half acre, and i have free reign over the yard pretty much.

So the plan, the long term goal of RedBeard ranch. What i hope to eventually accomplish is using all this space to grow way more than i can eat. i would like to be able to sustain this garden completely on its own by selling off the extra produce at the local farmers market. I would like to be able have the garden pay for its self while having enough leftover to feed my family and hopefully have enough leftover to donate to local food pantries for the needy. Im not really looking to turn a profit. I just really enjoy all the hard work and reward that comes with growing your own food.

Im aware of the scale of what im trying to accomplish. I will be doing this all on my own really. I hope i can get some help from friends and family along the way but i know the brunt of it will be on my shoulders....and its exciting! :-() I have been warned to keep it small and simple but wheres the fun in that! oh i expect to fail, i have lots to learn I know! :hehe: but thats the whole adventure, and i will be using this as my digital journal to document my progress.

So here is whats going into the garden this year

Tomatoes of course! and lots of them.
cucumbers(slicing and pickling)
zucchini
broccoli
peppers(sweet and hot varieties)
Sugar snap peas
Brussle Sprouts(i think im the only one who will eat these ha)
potatoes
green onions
raspberries
strawberries
pumpkins(jack-o-lantern)
watermelon
corn

some of these these might get taken off the list as things progress and i can get a better grasp on how much time i will actually have to accomplish all of this. The varieties are yet to be chosen, i plan on visiting local nurserys to buy seeds known to grow well in this area. looking for mostly low maintenance hybrids just to keep things a little easier on myself.

heres some pics of the space i have to work with.
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20150118_152016.jpg
this is an idea for a bed. not sure if i like the L shape or should i make two separate beds?
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20150118_151943.jpg
Thanks for stopping by the Ranch! Please let me know what you think!

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digitS'
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

I think it's great!

First, you'll have to deal with that lawn grass and whatever might have invaded it as weeds. Don't assume that you can just till it in and you'll never see it again. That might work but it will take repeat tillings, over probably about 6 weeks, maybe longer. You can see how that would interfere with a garden schedule.

Ongoing, you will have to deal with your trees and the bush and any other nearby trees and bushes. What are they? The bush looks like a lilac, syringa? The tree isn't a walnut, is it? You will have enough ground to work around them.

Shade to deal with ... what is the situation? Unfortunately, even lawn grass won't do too well if there is little direct sun through the day. That's okay :). The gardener needs work, storage and a shady rest area.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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rainbowgardener
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

good points from digitS. You have a lovely amount of flat space, but lots of shade producers: house, shed, trees, shrubs. If you are serious about growing enough veggies to feed your family AND sell, you may have to sacrifice some of that.

Re your list, it is light on cool weather stuff, especially greens. Why not plant spinach early and some mixed leaf lettuces? They will be done by the time you want to plant the late stuff like zucchini. Personally I don't think pumpkins are worth growing - they take up a huge amount of space and most people don't even eat them. Your nice big garden space will start looking small again. Pumpkin vines can easily be 30 feet long and take up hundreds of square feet (even thousands if you grow the giants). Instead I would grow acorn or butternut or other winter squashes. They are lots of food, long keeping, and much more resistant to the squash vine borers. They come in bush varieties that don't take up nearly so much room. I have given up on growing zucchini because the SVB's kill them.

One reason people have been suggesting start smaller is that you will need to do a LOT of work improving your soil. The better the soil, the better the garden. You can't make up for bad soil by throwing fertilizer on it. Most residential areas have really bad soil, because the topsoil was stripped off to clear the building site. So you need to be adding lots of organic materials: fall leaves, compost, mushroom compost, worm compost, and whatever other organic stuff you can get your hands on. With that much space, I wouldn't bother trying to build boxes, just wasteful of materials. But you can mark off beds and paths. Dig all the top soil out of the paths and pile it on the beds. Lay down burlap or old carpet strips (carpet side down) on the paths to keep weeds and mud down. If you do this, you don't even need to get rid of the sod, just strip it and flip it, grass side down and then pile lots of soil and the above organics on it. It will be smothered and will just add to the soil.

You are in the Chicago area? Your average last frost date is about the same as mine, mid April. For me that usually means I can be working the soil and planting the earliest stuff about mid-March, depending on the rain, etc. You do not want to work wet soil, especially clay-based soils.

Best wishes, keep us posted how it is all going.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Re: New HomCoe New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Hi Redbeard. You have a great space to start with. As others have said, you probably will need to pare down your list and start with only a few beds at first since you will need to spend a lot of time in the beginning preparing and getting to know your soil. In Chicago, you do not have a long growing season so add a greenhouse or cold frame or someplace to start seeds first. If you have plants to overwinter, you need a garage or space in the house or a greenhouse for that too. If you grow tomatoes, plant the earlier varieties as the long ones may not produce much in a short season. Cool season crops are a good suggestion since they can be put out earlier than the tomatoes and usually are done in a short time. Kale and broccoli and some other things can handle a bit of frost.

Straight beds are easier to work than "L" beds but that depends on the width. Most beds should not be wider than 4 ft and accessible from all sides and placed in full sun which means you will need to know how much shade that tree will cast. Tree roots are another thing.

Do a soil test so you know what you are starting with. You can cut costs by just mounding up the soil rather than have a formal border for the beds at least in the beginning. It also allows you to make mistakes in case you need to realign things later on down the road without having to take the beds apart. It is best to align the beds north/south to maximize the sun and to put the trellises and tall plants on the North end, as well as most of the buildings and compost piles so they don't shade the garden.

If you plan to sell produce at a market, you need to check out what permits and licenses you need to sell and what the state regulations are. You should also do some market research and see what is in demand or niche market that has room for growth. If you really get into that, ask at some of the local restaurants and talk to the chefs and ask them what local produce they would like to see more of. Some people here sell directly to restaurants. Thai and Vietnamese restaurants use a lot of specialty herbs and even have signs saying they are buying seasonal fruits. Food banks are happy to get any fresh produce they can, but here only a couple of food banks will take perishable items.
But, that is way out there in the future right now.

I have a lot less space so I have to think more about how to maximize yields. Corn takes up a lot of space, but I know none of it goes to waste so I still plant it. In the cool season I plant Asian greens cabbages, mustard, kale, broccoli. cilantro, beets, and peas. In the summer corn, beans, cucumber, 3 tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, long squash, chayote (it just arrives, I don't take care of it. It fruits in the cooler months and just requires a strong fence.), and a lot of herbs and peppers. I have a small garden at home and 800 sq ft community garden plot and I take care of the herb garden where I volunteer. I do have a 365 day growing year and I plant things that I eat and can grow well. BTW I also have a few citrus trees too, papaya, and a fig. I occasionally will plant carrots, but it is not worthwhile since they do not do well once the temperature exceeds 70 degrees and they are relatively cheap to buy. The herbs are the most worthwhile since many of them will last a long time and are very expensive to buy and taste better fresh. It may be worth planting potatoes for you, but I don't eat a lot of them and they don't like wet clay soil very much. Most of these plants yield more than I need in a relatively small space and I still have some to give away.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Soil prep, im expecting to be a nightmare. Any tips on what I can do to make that easier on myself would be much appreciated. I was thinking of renting a desodding machine to get the grass up but not sure if I want to spend the money. I mowed it through last summer and never saw any "weeds" really. Mostly just healthy grass. I do have a roto tiller that I bought with the house just need to make sure it works.

I entertained the idea of raised beds all over the place but quickly realized how foolish that was. I love raised bed but the cost to build and fill them would break the bank.

If you look at the last picture with the gazebo to the right. I'm facing west there. So my yard runs east to west. If you notice it is separated by a chain link fence. The area with the sheds won't be garden area. Behind the garage gets plenty of sun though out the day despite the two trees right there. The previous owner grew his tomatoes there without an issue so I'm going to give it a try. As for cool season crops I figure I won't have much time for those since I'm starting new and no prepared soil yet I'm thinking of skipping them in favor of getting the warm crop beds ready to plant.

As for some of those trees in the way back....I got me a chain saw to take care of them! I plan on using the wood from them to build trellises and what not.

As for the pumpkins. I'm growing pumpkins not to eat but more for the novelty. I think it would be so great to have the necessary and nephews come over and pick a pumpkin from their own private pumpkin patch!

imafan26
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

If you don't have a lot of weeds in the grass then you could do a lasagna bed instead. You don't have to dig out the grass, just fork it as deeply as you can so air and water will get through. Still plan to align the beds to make the best use of the sun. Put the tallest plants and trellises where they will not shade the rest of the garden once the sun is on the move.

Layer the area with thick cardboard. Boxes from moving places or appliance stores are the best they are large and thick. If you cannnot get enough cardboard several layers of newspaper will do.

Contact some local tree trimmers or landscapers. If they are nearby they may be more than willing to drop off the tree trimmings rather than pay to have it dumped elsewhere. You may have to be picky, no walnut or imported weeds.

If there is a composting facility near you, you can buy compost by the truckload a lot cheaper, if you provide the truck. The delivery charge usually costs more than the compost. Once you get your compost pile working, you should be able to provide most of your own compost.

Manure- if you know a horse ranch or farm nearby that has manure you can get it cheap or free, but beware fresh manures are best added to the compost pile and not in the vegetable bed unless you have at least 120 days before harvest.

Greens from the kitchen, neighbors, friends. If you make friends with some restaurants and grocers you may be able to get their throwaways, but you may have to separate out the trash, save those coffee grounds. Lawn clippings are also green especially if they don't have weed seeds and no one has used a weed and feed product on them.

Usually this type of bed is prepped in the fall and should be ready for Spring planting, but you can plant on top of it right away if you put a few inches of compost and soil on the very top of it.

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/s ... osting.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Susan W
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

This is a wonderful venture, RB! Where are you (please put location in profile). Pics show cold, so grown probably frozen. There are several good suggestions for you listed above. If I may, will throw out a couple more. I am urban and budget minded, just a tad warmer in the MidSouth!

It is hard to read through long involved posts, so perhaps missing some comments. One suggestion is to figure a small area, perhaps 4 x 8, sunny, near house. Prepare early, semi raised bed, for spring stuff including spinach, lettuce, radish etc. The other areas can be tilled or whatever for summer veggies.

I have mentioned the sorta raised bed before, will be brief here. Basically, mark off your area, sprinkling flour a good way. If anything is growing, weed eat that area. Pour on a bag of Black Kow poo. Lay down newspaper, several layers. Put more poo and some top soil on. Water with hose. Then just build up with bags of whatever is available (top soil, poo, natures helper, cotton burr, mushroom compost). Mix. Then put some cheaper mulch, such as shredded hardwood mulch around the edges to keep contained. This gives you at least 3" to plant early not deep rooted stuff.

I see mulch mentioned to get straight from tree people. This stuff is green, and you don't want it on your garden. Also being fresh, you get all the disease and bugs that were in that tree, probably why it was taken out. Trust me on this. I just had the pros take out a nasty elm. They chipped/shredded the smaller stuff on site, well 1/2 the tree. I for one wouldn't want to use it fresh!
Have fun!
Susan

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Sorry i thought i had my location in there already! Im located in the south suburbs of Chicago. zone 5a as i understand it. :D we had a pretty mild winter this year so far. i even abandoned fixing my busted snow thrower since we only had enough snow to shovel twice so far. ill save the money in parts until next year. youll learn that im pretty cheap! ha :lol: I love to try and recycle things and turn them into something useful, and what better place to do that than a garden. im pretty handy as well you will see as i tend to show off from time to time. i enjoy creating something from nothing.

thanks for stopping by everyone. still have so much to think about! I feel like ive been reading nonstop on gardening. i picked up a book on amazon called "the backyard homestead" it has lots of good info in there and im only on the first chapter. i keep a real journal for my garden that my wife got me this christmas, and ive been keeping lots of notes in there. Getting very anxious to get my garden going this year. i think i even have my wife excited with all my babbling about tamatoes this pumpkins that. She is even starting to like the idea of keeping chickens! but now im really getting ahead of myself!

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Quick update. Haven't been able to do much outside yet. Ground is still too cold. Checked into local laws and found I'm limited to owning dogs and cats and that's all. No poultry, livestock nothing. I find it funny because this town used to be a dairy farm Town I beleive.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

another update. planning is going better now that im starting to get a better idea of how everything "should" be planted. decided not to plant in ANY raised beds. Im going to till and amend the soil in rows going north to south in the back lot. i will take care of a few shady trees in my way and make a nice sunny area. if im guessing right based on what i saw last summer i should have no problem getting over 8 hours of direct sunlight for the majority of the growing season.

as for the back of the garage ive decided to keep that area more "decorative". when we moved in i told my wife i wanted to make our yard as close to the vacation feel as i can get. we love the backwoods small town feel and i want to try and recreate that in my yard until i make it there one day. we tend to vacation in spots like a cabin in the ozarks, or rent a house in the woods on a lake. that kinda thing. so thats what im going for a spot for us and a spot for me and my garden :mrgreen: .

behind the garage and in the yard i would like to plant lots of pollinator attracters as well as some herbs. There are already some day lillys and Naked ladys(my favorite :lol: ) witch was awesome because we love lillys. I have to plant star gazers for my wife, those are her favorite. our yard is so peaceful and relaxing already but i think i can make an even better place for my wife and I to spend time together.

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digitS'
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Garden rooms! Areas for different activities - some mostly vegetable gardening, some mostly lawn grass, some for heavier "traffic" activities. :)

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

digitS' wrote:Garden rooms! Areas for different activities - some mostly vegetable gardening, some mostly lawn grass, some for heavier "traffic" activities. :)

Steve
I actually thought of this. sectioning off parts of the yard for different reasons. but thats why im leaving the yard alone and planting in what im just going to call the back 40. The yard has plenty of space to play around in so im not worried. and if i don't like it i can always change it next year!

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

I've been thinking about my soil situation. Some things that I've read suggest that my back 40 may have pretty good soil aready. The previous owners owned the house since it was built sometime in the 60s. They told me they never did anything with the land other than using it for space for the kids to play. He mowed it with a bagless riding mower so it's been collecting natural material for a long time. I Looked and There are a few weeds but not much. I'll Take pictures. What do you think. I still want to bring in some compost and topsoil. I have A test kit already so once I till the soil I'll see what's going on.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Well winter is trying to kill me before I can even getc this garden started! Fell on the ice last week with my hands in my pockets. Badly brused my left ribs and lung. At least the doc gave me some meds! So while I've been out I got bored and went rooting around the garage and found my left over seeds. Decided to plant some and see what sprouts. As well as some new stuff. So far after 2 days I have some cabbage, Brussels sprouts, thyme, sweet basil and cauliflower. Excited to see some stuff popping up. I used some burpee seed starter seems to do the trick. I also picked up one of those 4 shelf greenhouses at Menards for 16 bucks! Can't go wrong there. Here's some pics of what I got so far.
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RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Well the weather has been great the last week here so ive been trying to get things going when not stuck at work. so far I have built a new rain water reservoir, and tilled a 25x25 plot(i think i need to go bigger). Didnt get as much done as i had hoped but ill take what i can get. heres some pics of the new reservoir that im pretty happy with. It works by filling one can at a time it then overflows into the next can and so on. each can has its own shut off valve just before the hose valve. this allows for maximum water pressure and use of water by filling and draining tall containers individually instead of all at once. the theory goes the higher the water level the better the pressure at the hose. if all else fails a pond pump should work well to move the water to the garden.
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RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Oh and i was pleasantly surprised by the soil. before tilling i went and dug a few holes to see what i was up against. looks like i got lucky with some pretty loose black dirt with lots of worms crawling around! just have to do some soil tests to see whats next.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

just finished my soil test. PH is good at around 7.0. NPK is low across the board. If anyone is reading this...any ideas on a good fix to raise my NPK ratios. Any cheap ferts i could use. compost pile is still in the works so thats a no go. would horse manure be a good amendment for the nitro? theres a stable not to far from me who gives it away. I have to do something quick as im running behind. i should be putting my cabbage and brussles sprouts and so on out right now. Just started my tomatoes and tomatillos inside. peppers and cucumbers will be next on the list.

so much to do and so little time!

cdog222
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

I just wanted to chime in a say that your rain water reservoir is pretty darn slick! It's puts my little set up to shame. Might be time for an upgrade.....

imafan26
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Free manure is nice, but it is best to put that into your compost pile and not in the garden. Horse manure has a lot of seeds in it and most animal manures are best if they are cured first to get rid of pathogens and weed seeds. Manures need to be hot composted or cured for a minimum of 120 before harvest to be safe.

Nitrogen always has to be added since it is a volatile ingredient. You may have to buy some composted manure. If you use chicken manure it is the richest in nitrogen but also contains calcium which will tick up the pH to about 7.5.

You can get bone meal. for phosphorus and calcium and some. I think it is criminal to feed animal parts to an herbivore. No wonder they get mad cow. It is very cheap, literally pennies per pound. It does have to be incorporated well and quickly since it really stinks when it starts to rot. if you have crtitters though, they will come and dig it up to eat it. It is slow release nitrogen.

If you had more time, I would suggest you grow legumes first. Innoculate the seeds first so they will form nitrogen fixing bacteria on the roots. Here's the catch, you don't get to eat the beans. You need to incorporate the plants into the soil when they flower and are at their peak of nitrogen fixing. Till it all in and the nitrogen that is stored will be available to the next crop. The added bonus is that it also adds biomass as well. The legume I am most familiar with are cowpeas a.k.a. pinke eye or black eye peas since they grow well in the tropics. The other cover crop I have used is buckwheat, which is good for attracting beneficial insects and weed suppression, although it can be a weed if it goes to seed. Buckwheat does not fix nitrogen but does add biomass. I can also find cowpea inoculant the easiest and it can also be used to inoculate soy beans. Hairy vetch is usually a fall nitrogen fixing cover crop for the northern states, but you need to use a vetch inoculant.
https://www.groworganic.com/seeds/cover- ... lants.html

https://www.csun.edu/~hcbio027/biotechno ... emann.html
If you don't care if it is organic, there are a lot of synthetic choices.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

thanks for the info on the soil imafan26, you always have good advice! i took all that and some i read elsewhere and heres what i have done so far. i havent had close to enough time to get things ready so its slow going at the moment. but i have made progress. i ammended the soil on the south side of the garden wit peat moss, manure and mushroom compost. i used some gypsum and vermiculite as well. i have to retest the soil still but it has helped a lot with the clay soil. it stayed pretty loose after a good rain.

today i gathered up all the leaves i could find to start a compost pile. Still need to get some greens in there. i used some of the more broken down piles to start my potato cages with some peatmoss and potting soil too. i have two cages up so far and plan to add to more as a project with my niece this weekend. I put some more brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green onions and broccoli out. one side of the garden was planted without much amendments to the soil. (plants don't look to good) and the other side was recently amended as stated above. so we shall see how this pans out. i added some amended soil to the top layer of the experimental side hoping to speed things along.

while moving some plastic that was collecting water(mosquitoes, no good!) i found lots and lots of big earth worms! i collected as much of them as i could and added them to the potato cages, garden and compost pile.
cdog222 wrote:I just wanted to chime in a say that your rain water reservoir is pretty darn slick! It's puts my little set up to shame. Might be time for an upgrade.....
thanks! I [put some work into it! The pvc gets a little pricey with the valves but other than that it was pretty cheap to build. i had most of the lumber already besides the posts. i made it triangle because i only had the three cans. and i designed it so that if i wanted to add more i only need one more post and some 2x4's to add another triangle and three more cans. I am happy to report that it is fully functional as of last week. after two good rainfalls all 96 gallons are filled. The cans are starting to buckle a little so i will have to get some straps around them to keep them from breaking in the future. The pressure is not what i had hoped but i didnt expect much after 100 feet of hose. im going to look into some sort of pump i can rig up. I have ideas in my head for a drip irrigation system but am not sure if the pressure would be sufficient without a pump. I think the problem that im running into is that the elevation of my garden is higher than where the reservoir is. Jacking up the system might work, but now its full and way to heavy :roll: either way i think a pump is the best solution.

well thats all for this overdue update. cant wait to get my tomato starts in the ground.
heres some pics of whats going on so far.
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RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

quick update. its been getting colder here. not good! this weekend has the lows predicted in the mid 30s. Not too happy about that since i just moved all my starts to the garage. It seems to keep pretty warm in there. the growth has seemed to have slowed after repotting and moving to the garage. I moved a small oscillating space heater in front of the plants to keep them toasty. its set to shut off after a couple hours. the walls are well insulated but the roof is not but its usually noticeably warmer in the garage. i need another thermometer in there to track the temp. saw some people with wireless ones where you keep a monitor in your house and a probe outside. sounds lazy and right up my ally! something to think about.

so far all the greens in the ground outside seem to be doing well. something (probably my clumsy mutt) trampled one of my brussels sprouts but it seems... alive. just toppled over for now. The north side of the garden is starting to do much better. I added some iron phosphate to the soil around the plants and some compost to help green up the leaves a bit and it seemed to do the trick in the manner of about a week. they were looking pretty sad and stunted. same plants that i had hardend off longer and planted on the south side have been much healthier and bigger.

the southside of the garden one of my larger cauliflower starts i got from menards is starting to yellow. i think i may have gotten its leaves wet and the night got to cold and frosted them over. its the only one effected by this so far. everything else is green and leafy on the south half. so wait and see i guess.

After this week things should start warming up. i will begin bringing the tomatoes outside in the mornings with some shade cloth to help harden them off before putting them in the ground in a couple weeks.

Oh and i got a couple of raspberry bushes to plant. I also started work on my strawberry towers. pics to follow when they are done!

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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

If you like kale, it is one of the plants that doesn't mind a dusting of snow. You may be able to plant out cold hardy starts. Rainbow can probably tell you which ones will do well even in the cold.

For the compost pile, greens can be kitchen waste, fresh stable manure, green leaves, coffee grounds, grass clippings minus any pernicious weeds.

Browns newspaper, brown paper bags, coffee filters, small twigs, stems, wood chips, and straw.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Good news everyone! It seems the cold has gone...hopefully for good this time! Picture update to follow. were well past the predicted last frost date of april 20th. Ive been hardening off my maters that were moved to the garage. I plan on putting them in the ground after mothers day. Still havent started my peppers. will do that tomorrow. also need to find one more hot variety and a small sweet variety (requested by my mother).

Whats new in the garden?
Plants are doing really well actually except for two. One of my cabbage plants has been pretty stunted and one of the lower leaves is turning a bright red. another is still recovering from being stepped on by the dog. :roll:
I have my first potato plants growing!!! was very excited to finally see some leaves poking up through the soil of my potato cages. Hopefully they grow some good taters! this is my first go at potatoes so we shall see.

Got a new bed prepared and furrowed for some corn. planted 3 out of 6 rows. will plant the rest in a couple weeks. does this sound like a good strategy for corn? or should i just plant all 6 rows?

anyways so excited for the growing season to finally take off! Thanks for stopping by, here's some pics! :-() These pics are a couple days old so not totally accurate but still fun to look at.

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RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Oh and i finally have my photobucket account up and running again. theres some pics from my old garden on there. huge difference!

since were talking about pictures... heres some more of the rest of my yard. needs lots of yard work but its getting there. Was happy to see some flowers that i didnt notice last year. guess I thought they were weeds and mowed them down! Im sure some of you know this but those bushy plants along the shed are lillies. One of my favorite varieties, Naked Ladies! :lol: :-() :hehe: But seriously we love lillies. these have been growing there a long time and it shows. when they bloom its just a sea of beautiful pink lilies and they make the yard smell awesome!

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digitS'
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Pampered pooch, with such a roomy doghouse ... :)

Most sweet corn varieties ripen their crop almost all at once. It's kind of a shame to have none, then waaay more than needed, then none again. You can sow seed for early, mid, and late varieties and have about a 6 week season. Or, take seed from an early variety and stagger the planting.

In my gardening environment, late varieties don't always have time to mature. Not being willing to risk losing the ground through the entire season, I have almost no experience with them because I stay with a couple fairly early varieties and just stagger the sowing dates.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

yeah Tucker is one spoiled mut! I made that dog house last summer out of scrap wood i found after we moved in. I figured ifwe had a new house the dog should get one too!

Im not allowing much space for corn. only 6 furrows about 6 feet long each. i planted a 86 day variety of sweet corn. i also have a slightly earlier variety. maybe i should have done the earlier one first? still have plenty in the seed pack i already opened so i might just finish it off. ill plant the other 3 furrows when the corn starts to pop up. or should i do one row every couple weeks? how do you stagger yours? I know ill have no issue eating or finding someone to eat the corn!

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digitS'
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

That's a fairly small "block" of corn plants.

I believe that there is a rule of thumb ... that corn should be sown in 10' by 10' blocks at minimum, so as to insure proper pollination. I always plant more than 100 sqft so I've never been much concerned about it except, my plantings may be a little narrow at times.

The every-2-weeks scheme is what I follow, even if it's just a couple of times. Recently, another gardener wrote that he sows seed again after the most recent planting has 2" of growth. That seems like a real good idea.

An 86 day variety is a late sweet corn. It really has to do with growing degree days and commercial varieties have those ratings for the farmers. Gardeners are just supposed to wing it, I guess. Anyway, you may live where corn seed can be planted over a long season. It might make sense to do the math, as best as those random numbers allow, so as to not have the early variety ripening at the same time as the late, if you do plant it.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Thanks for the info digitS. i might have to consider expanding my corn then. Not sure how well thats going to go, ill have to see how much space is left after i figure out where its all going for sure. So much to think about still!

well quick update today. Came home after a bad day at work. decided to head out and do what gardening i could to cheer me up, and oh boy was i happy! Went and turned my compost pile and it is HOT! just an inch deep with the pitch fork and the steam was rising out. it was very warm to the touch almost hot! This definatly cheered me up today! this is my first compost pile and its only been out for a few weeks and im starting to see results! must be doing something right!

Had some rain the other night, temps stayed in the 50s over night so thats a good sign. still planning on putting the maters out next Tuesday weather permitting. going to start leaving them out tonight. left a couple out on the patio table as a test. they seem to be doing fine so i brought the rest out. makes room for all the rest of the starts i have.

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applestar
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

I'm enjoying watching your garden's progress :D

If you are going to expand the corn, you'll need to do that right away so the new seeds catch up. If you decide not to expand, you could also consider hand pollinating the corn -- that's how I manage to get away with "tiny" patches of corn -- as small as staggered double row in 2' x 4' (really) though that was for Cherokee Longear popcorn which only grows small cobs.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Thanks applestar, I'm glad your enjoying the show! I put some thought into it and decided to keep my original plan. Its too much space my head started spinning when trying to figire out how to fit it. I could dig outside the garden and plant but thats just too much to do. So much on my plate right now makes thinking difficult. Hand polination sounds like something I might try. Must remember to research this.

Im posting this from work right now(slow day) and it's so beautiful outside. I want to get out a here and get some maters in the ground! Speaking of maters. Today is there first whole day outside. I put them in the morning shade under our big maple. By time I get home they should be in full evening sun. I figure this should help ease them into full sun mode. They will get lots of sun when transplanted. I'd say at least 9 to 10 hours of direct sun on most of the garden. Will post some pics of how they faired tonight.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

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They made it! lol i figured they would. still was a little nervous. its supposed to rain tomorrow, not sure if i should leave them out or not.

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Raspberries!! need to find a place for these real soon!

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Not sure whats wrong with these marigolds. got them from the hardware store. all was well untill a couple days ago. have been potted for almost 2 weeks now.

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applestar
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

The marigolds look too little to be blooming -- they might have done something to them to make them bloom early for good show. I would clip those flowers off and let them focus on growing a bit more.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

update for today. This morning i arose to the sound of the weather lady throwing my plans for the day in the trash. They called for frost tonight and today was the day i planned on putting all my tomatoes in the ground. :evil: but i said screw you weather lady! :twisted: and went out and planted 8 romas and 5 early harvest. also caught up on some much neglected yard work. Real work schedule and yard work schedule tend to conflict a lot.

I planted these on whats is probably the worst spot of my whole garden plot. for whatever reason the clay in this spot is just so much more.....well more. I can never seem to stop pulling up rocks even though i have ran the tiller over this spot at least a dozen times since the ground was workable. Till, rake out rocks, till rake out rocks repeat over and over. :roll: i also noticed im getting a one inch layer of super compacted sand. I never seen this before but I keep digging out chunks of it. Red sand thats hard but real brittle. i can crack it and break it up by hand fairly easily.

So what i did was go down about a foot with my pitchfork and broke up as much as i could. i then spread some peat moss, gypsum, bone meal, mushroom compost, and composted manure across the rows and tilled that in with the pitchfork. dug my holes for the plants, threw in a handfull of gypsum and a little potash and bonemeal into each hole. fingers crossed they do well. :cool:

Im beginning to get nervous about this whole deal! :lol: I have always grown in raised beds where i have complete control over the soil because i put it there! Growing in this clay is new to me. i think i did a pretty good job amending it so far. the top layer stopped cracking and developing a crust after drying. but 8 inches to a foot in its just clay. hope those tomatoes have some strong roots!

pics to follow a little later.

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

sorry about the lack of pictures here. Having trouble uploading to photo bucket right now for some reason. will try again later. anyways the maters in the ground are doing great so far. no signs of stress yet. leaves look perky and green. no drooping or bad signs 24 hours after transplanting out in the garden. Looking good so far!!! :-()

RedBeard1987
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Life gets busy sometimes, but im back!

like i said life gets busy and my garden has suffered for it a little. the weeds! sooo many weeds! I just have not had the time to get much done. my corn has been completely taken over by grass, but the corn is about knee high or taller. all of my tomatoes are doing well. spent about 8 hours weeding my tomatoes last week. time for the other side of the garden this week. its been raining here a lot lately. everything is planted and doing pretty well.

I ate a couple heads of cabbage and finished off all the broccoli and cauliflower. im really excited for some homegrown carrots. never had a fresh carrot before! my pepper plants are small, still need to thin them out a little. cucumbers are starting to climb. every last tomato plant has some maters growing! i cant wait for that first fresh mater sammich! and all the fresh made sauce! oooo and pickles! all the pickles! spicey garlic, sour dill, mmmmmm.

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digitS'
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Re: New Home New garden! RedBeard Ranch 2015.

Weed life?

You can think of weeds as a "compost crop."

If, they have not begun to go to seed and perennial roots are dead.

Enjoy those veggies!

Steve :)
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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