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Anyone with a vegetable garden?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by kevinmoelk, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Just considering projects for next year. Not into gardening, but wanting to be more self reliant, I've considered adding a veggie garden to my property for good fresh vegetables and also to cut down on the ol' food bill. I'm wondering how many folks have gardens. What size is it? How many people in your home? Does it supply all the veggies you eat? Have you done any calculations on money saved? How much time does it take to maintain? Etc.

    Post your thoughts folks.

    -Kevin

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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  3. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Thanks Roo. I still can't use my search function and I've also noticed that I cannot see the PMs I've sent. Errgh. Thanks for the thread link.

    -Kevin
  4. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    ***************** ;-) *********************
  5. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Holly cow Roospike! I'm very impressed with your garden. I'd love to have something like that. But my area has lots of problems. We have these animals called belding ground squirrels that dig tunnels all over the property. So I'd have to use raised beds. I also have a bad back, so I think the raised beds would be the way to go. Not to mention birds and rattle snakes.

    How long have you been gardening like this? I'm glad your kids enjoy the work. My only gardening experience stems from my childhood, but the gardening was purely ornamental... no veggies. We did grow rhubarb, but that's about it. Have much to learn I suppose. Do you have any books you could reccommend?

    -Kevin
  6. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Thanks Kevin , I have been around gardening my whole life as i have grown up with a garden and then started my own .
    The best thing to do is figure out what you would like to grow and then go from there on research of each item , start your garden small and let it grow in size with your growth of knowlage.

    A good place to start is at the Miracle-Gro web site , forum , Q & A and all kinds of information.

    http://www.miraclegro.com/
  7. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    I grew up with vegetable gardens and just recently moved to a location where I can actually have one. Since I personally haven't been gardening for long, I treat it as an annual experiment. The first year I didn't weed enough and at one point had trouble finding my veggies! This year I added a few things, kept the weeds in check and got a lot more out of the garden. Processing the food can be a time consuming task, but I find carrots, peas and corn are easy to freeze with very little prep. I will soon be thinking about next years experiment. Oh yeah, I grew pumpkins this year. The lesson: keep them far away from everything else! I had pumpkin vines all through my corn patch!
  8. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Pumpkins? Now we're talking! I have around 1000 sq ft raised. Against my better judgement, I began growing the Atlantic Giant pumpkins a couple years back, my fall harvest of other veges has dwindled since! I need to figure out how to insert pics and I'll post a few.
  9. Bushfire

    Bushfire Member

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    Kevin,

    Money saved? You should read the 64 dollar tomato by William Alexander - funny, and should answer your question. My wife and I do garden, but its more a fact of getting the varieties and selection that we would like, rather than what our local grocery store stocks - I don't think it saves us any money. It also allows us to grow everything organically, which has numerous benefits as you might imagine. What we grow does not sustain us completely, but it certainly goes a long way. I've attached a couple of pictures for you to see what our operation looks like. The raised beds are where most of the veggies get grown, although we also have other flower beds that we also plant a few ornamental, but edible, veggies in such as swiss chard, beets, garlic, etc. We also have bean tipees in a couple of places. We also have 2 apple, 2 plum, 1 nectarine, 1 peach and 2 pear trees that are only a few years old so have not produced fruit yet. We have good archards around (which I like to support) so these are more for fun than for food, per se. The other picture shows our asparagus bed when it was first planted some four years ago - we now get about 5 weeks supply of asparagus every spring for the two of us. Trust me, it looks a lot nicer now with a stone wall and wood chip path surrounding it, but these were the only pics I had on my work computer.

    Maintenance is huge, but also fun and good exersize. Plus, there is no better feeling that pulling potatoes right out of the ground and serving them up with a little butter and fresh herbs. Cherry tomatoes rarely make it into the house.

    Attached Files:

  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I would go organic and go with raised beds, wrenchy. Bushfire basically nailed it.

    We compost all our kitchen scraps, grass clippings, raked leaves, you name it. That stuff goes right back into the soil, making it progressively better.

    In your neck of the woods, I'd try pole and bush beans, lettuce, cukes, broccoli, cherry tomatos, carrots and all sorts of other good stuff.

    Here's another garden design if varmints are a problem.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/2477/
  11. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    My wife and I has kicked around the idea of starting a garden but there are just so many other things on our list. Most of the folks around me probably would buy one of these and call themselves gardeners:

    http://www.frontgate.com/jump.jsp?sort=-1&itemID=6140&itemType=PRODUCT&AS=1&keyword=garden

    That thing cracks me up. Seriously, though, for newbies like ourselves we might just do a container garden of some sort. It seems like it would be easier to a handle on the basics and keep out the critters.

    Victor
  12. detmurds

    detmurds New Member

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    I too will be doing a garden. Thing is, I don't reallly know what grows well here in Western Washington? This would be my first as well. What I would love to grow is: green onions, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, corn, and well just about anything as long as it grows well here? Any tips? I know already that I have to surround the garden with an 8 foot fence to keep the deer and other critters out of my "harvest"!
  13. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Com-mon people ! I'm trying to get into the ZEN of wood burning here and now I'm back to itching for the garden ...............sheeeese .

    Gardens are great ! there is nothing like FRESH , makes your local stores produce taste like tennis balls.
  14. detmurds

    detmurds New Member

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    I like your thinking!
  15. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Wow, gardeners and wood burners. The whole forum group seems a pretty self reliant bunch. I'm very impressed with the gardens everyone has shown. A lot of hard work involved I'm sure. It seems from everyone I've spoken to here and elsewhere are telling me to start small, then expand. So maybe I'll just make say a 4x8 raised planter and try a few things to see how it goes and how I like it.

    I'd like to go organic for health reasons, and I think it's just more of a challenge. So I have to ask, what's the best way to make a raised bed? Can I just use some 2x4s and plywood? Again, only to see if I'm going to like gardening, obviously not a permanent fixture. What's an inexpensive design? Can you use PT lumber or old rail road ties? How high should I build? I'd like the bed to be at waist height to save my back, but then how much soil do I need underneath? So many questions.

    -Kevin
  16. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    Considering that pressure treating lumber involves impregnating it with heavy metals and that railroad ties were usually treated with liquid creosote, those options would likely put more than a few undesirable things in your soil. Not what one would want the plants I am growing for food consumption to take up in their root systems. Don't do it. If you were looking for something more permanent, I saw on a recent episode of 'Ask This Old House' where Roger cook built a rasied bed using composite ties built from a Trex-like material.

    I am looking at building some beds too and will probably use some old granite blocks and tamarack posts which is what I remember using when we built them with my grandfather when I was a kid. I would suggest western larch if you can find it easily. You could also use scrap untreated lumber.

    The best place to get info and one of the most underutilized resources in most states is your local county extension agent which operate in conjunction with state land grant schools, Washington State in your case. They are the first place I would look.

    I couldn't find anything on the Yakima extension site but I found this on the Spokane County site. I hope it is helpful. Raised bed gardening
  17. Bushfire

    Bushfire Member

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    I used 2x8 or 2x10, I think. Boxes are 4x8. In the NE they'll last a good ten years, maybe more. PT and RR ties have issues, and I'd stay away from them for any food production. I looked into the new recylced wood/plastic products, but they were too expensive for the 8 boxes I constructed, but if just doing one, they'd last forever. However, if just tryign this out, I'd go for 2x6s or somwthing and then you can always easily burn it if you get bored. Picture of mu construction can be found below. I used scrap lumber for posts that I sank into teh ground about 18 inches or so. As you can see, my install was made harder by the slope, but it also acts as a great micro climate as it's all facing SE.

    Attached Files:

  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I always have had a garden but not blessed with the best soils Gardening means less time processing wood less time playing golf..
    Bambie and here friends ruined it a year ago then there was the wood chuck that is now providing fertilizer
    We compost everything and re work it back into the soils Nowhing like garden fresh Vegies that actually tast that way
    If I wanted sawdust I can grab fom around the bench saw not at the local super market
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    All you really need for raised beds is to dig out the walkways and mound the soil up into raised beds. Then you can turn compost into the soil and put sawdust from your woodcutting activities into the walkways. It's a good way to dispose of woody waste and allows you to walk around your garden without compacting the soil your plants are growing in.

    Some of my beds are framed in. I used 3/4" x 3.5" red oak pallet lumber nailed into stakes driven into the ground. Frames are nice, but you really don't need them.

    I think organic is easier than chemical. You don't risk over-ferting or burning your plants, and the compost just makes the soil better. I turn it into the soil in the spring or fall and I also sift it and use (lots of) it for mulching my plants. The mulch retains moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds and gives your plants a good shot of organic nutrients every time you water or it rains. Eventually it gets turned into the soil as well.

    Gardening is one of the more relaxing, satisfying things you can do in your spare time, IMO. Right up there with cutting and burning wood.
  20. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Thanks guys for all the advice. I will seek out some local advice for my particular climate for what's good to grow. I want simple and easy. I like the idea of using some pallet wood. I've got some cedar fence boards left over from a project this summer. Probably not enough to build everything, but it wouldn't take too many more boards. If I want to build a raised bed say at waist height, then how much soil do a need? Should it go to the ground, or can I build a table like structure with a bottom, and say maybe have 12-18" of soil?

    What about watering? Do you folks just spray it down with the hose, or do you have irrigation systems installed?

    -Kevin
  21. Bushfire

    Bushfire Member

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    Raisng the bed to waist height maybe too much, in my opinion. You really only need to riase the level about 12-18 inches, if that, from the ground to improve drainage and allow for ease of adding amendments. As Eric points out, having rasied beds also allows for you to walk between them, thus not compacting the soil on the actual planting area. Watering raises an interesting thing with raised beds. They are great in that they drain and thaw a lot earlier than the ground, thus allowqing earliler plantings in the spring, but they do tend to dry out more quickly in the summer, thus requiring more frequent watering. At the moment we just use a hose, but I plan on setting up a drip irrigation system sometime in the future that is fed by water caught from the roof of the house. By adding more organic matter, the soil will actually retain moisture more efficiently and also allow plants to draw upon that moisture in times of scant rain. You can never have enough OM, in my opinion. If you end up using a raise bed system, I highly recommend the square foot gardeing system - see Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

    Good luck.
  22. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    Location, location, location, Full sun from sunup to sundown from spring to fall if possible. For hi yields plants need sun and water, the more hours of sun the better the yields. I went no till years ago you should have seen the worms the that garden. Leaf mulch in the fall, plant through them in spring, covered with grass clippings in the summer, no weeds and its all gone by fall in time for more leafs.

    I water at 1 inch a week, rain fall or water from the hose. get a rain gage. Plants need deep roots to get through dry periods I will water only once a week if needed and the soil under mulch stays wet longer.
  23. njtomatoguy

    njtomatoguy Feeling the Heat

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    I love gardening- When I was a kid, I learned from my grandfather, and his best friend, who was my neighbor- but- it is a lot of work. With that said, nothing beats a Jersey tomato, and I have excellent sandy soil. I use no synthetic feritilizer. Last year I had a calcium deficiency, so the tomato plants looked like hell, but still got a pretty good crop.I also plant spinach,lettuce,green beans, jalapeno peppers, sunflowers cucumbers and green and yellow squash. I also try a new veggie every year.

    In the past have tried:

    Beets
    Carrots-miserable failure
    Okra
    Sugar baby watermelon
    Cantaloup-failure
    pumpkins-take up too much room
    eggplant- I don't like it, so I wont grow it again.

    Get that square foot gardening book, it's an excellent reference.

    Bob
  24. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Funny about the carrots. When I lived in a place with sandy soil, I had fantastic carrots. Now my soil is a little heavier to clay, and I have trouble getting them to grow single, straight roots. Leave them in the ground, though, and they make a nice mid-winter snack if you can get to them. That hasn't been a problem so far this year.

    But yes, it's a lot of work, though I'd say the satisfaction from even marginal results is more than worth the effort. Look at as physical and mental therapy, with the added bonus of excellent free food. Ply your neighbors with fresh veggies, and they'll forgive all sorts of abberant behavior.
  25. Firewoodguy.com

    Firewoodguy.com New Member

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    [quote author="wrenchmonster" date="1166170128"]Just considering projects for next year. Not into gardening, but wanting to be more self reliant, I've considered adding a veggie garden to my property for good fresh vegetables and also to cut down on the ol' food bill. I'm wondering how many folks have gardens. What size is it? How many people in your home? Does it supply all the veggies you eat? Have you done any calculations on money saved? How much time does it take to maintain? Etc.

    Post your thoughts folks.

    -Kevin[/quote

    A veggie garden is good, if you have the time to maintain it. Whats good about it, there is always fresh vegetables (e.g. fresh vine ripen vegetables) It does take time to care for it, but the outcome is well worth it. You may have to protect the garden from small animals and critters. I usually use 4' chicken wire on the outside perimeter. Hoeing, watering and spraying is a standard procedure. I mainly grow a dozen or so tomatoes and green peppers plants and have 2 or 3 hills of cukes and a few other small variety of veggies. My garden is only about 15' x 30'. As to the saving from supermarket prices, consider maybe none, but the freshness is far superb than supermarket produce. Good luck to you what ever choice you choose.

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