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Posted By smokinj,
Mar 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Don't hate the lack of mulch...I'll get there.
I hate the lack of weeds.
I moved the location of the garden for that very reason. I think I am going to put a permanent chair up there on the hillside. It is going to be a great place to sit and chill in the evenings.
I know exactly what you mean. When I'm waiting for my wife to get ready to go out, I start puttering in the garden, and I'm the one that makes us late. Far more entertaining than wherever we were going anyway.
I also look at a tomato seed and think- this will produce a plant that could yield 10-15# of tomatoes. That is just nuts.
i thinks the seed of the pepper plant, all flat and whafer thin, is also mind boggling. I noticed ants, farming gnats on my strawberries the other day...also a fascinating thing...then I had to squish them. I spread some coffee grounds around the plants, and then some medicated foot powder...they do not appear to like either...still cool though, ants, farming gnats...for guys with tiny little heads and no real brain, they pretty smart.
I've been using some diluted dish soap spray on infested plants and it seems to be working.
I have used soapy water before, usually mixed with some tomato leaf (later in the season) with good results. When researching the whole "ants farming gnats" thing I ran into the suggestions for coffe grounds or foot powder, I figured I'd combine them and give it a whirl. If they didn't work I planned on going back to soapy water. Funny that something as ubiquitous and non-descript as dish soap would do such a good job.
Coffee grounds are a good fertilizer- slow release, builds soil. I use lots.
A great amendment but not particularly acidic as many believe.
Yup. I will add- after composting, even stuff that people consider acidic is neutralized.
Since AP mentioned composting, can I bust in here with a compost question? I've composted for many years. Thought I had it down fairly well. I'm a novice gardener though. I put a raised bed in my front yard this year & filled with topsoil, composted cow manure and of course my own compost. Frickin' carpet of squash/cucumber and tomato seedlings from the compost. I'm pulling dozens of tomato volunteers per day, though the squash/cuc's have settled down to a few/day after threatening to take over the place. I plan to mulch with shredded leaves in a couple weeks hoping that with help, but lots of my seedlings are still pretty small so I can't mulch yet.
How can I prevent this next year & still be able to use my compost?
Two ways to prevent that- either compost veggies that would give you volunteers separately, or bulld your pile for extra heat to kill seeds. Set aside some extra browns and greens. When you clean up the garden, mix all that stuff together- not too dry. When the heat cycle dies back, turn it to heat again. That should kill the bulk of seeds
I keep a 30 gallon plastic trash barrel for bread/any veggies with seeds or flesh that would attract critters. ( no sense feeding the squirrels, it only helps them multiply )
Add some grass clippings and leaves.
Gets pretty moldy and hot. Add that to the compost before it is too heavy to pick up. Seems to kill seeds better than a Hot pile that isn't consistently hot throughout.
I also bury compost in the soil rather than leave on top. ( except around fruit trees )
Sometimes I'll rototill it in, especially a new garden, but I've been doing less tilling.
Tilling in screened compost works better than side dressing.
I'd really like to lay it on top and scratch it in but Spring is too often far too short here.
All my compost piles have nappy headed chickweed tops to them though.
Seeds are in the air no matter what you do.
Getting a pile hot can be tough some years.
If it is a dry year I'll maintain a concave top on the pile to catch rain water and try to keep the pile wet enough.
On a wet year I'll keep a convex top to shed extra water to help stop it from cooling off.
I'll stick my hand in the pile and if it comes out with skin still on it it isn't hot enough.
Thanks for the suggestions. Don't think I can convince my wife that we need 2 compost buckets in the kitchen & she does most the cooking. So I wouldn't be left with much to compost seperately. I could start snatching bags of grass clippings that my neighbors put out for collection... They already know I'm nuts.
So getting the pile hotter would be best, which is what I've read elsewhere too but doesn't seem easy with a small composter. With the new (small) garden plus a bigger plot at the comunity garden I should be getting more material which would help some.
Just as I'm writing this though I realize the biggest goof I made. That compost was made through the summer, fall & winter. It looked "done" but much of it never had a full bake through the summer.
Looks like I better go to a 2 composter rotation & make sure everything gets a full roast & then sits through the winter to be used in spring. Wait 'till I tell my wife we need to get at least 2 years ahead on compost too!
Also I guess I'll till it in and cover with some light mulch before I plant next year.
I know tomato seeds make it through the human digestive system and sewer treatment plants intact. I've seen them grow from sewage treatment plant sludge (biosolids).
Garden is officially in. Put in the second planting of corn and sweet potatoes yesterday. Will do one more planting of corn after the second planting sprouts. Melons are starting to sprout.
Tomatoes are blooming. 'mater sammich cravings already starting.
picked my first strawberry yesterday, blueberries are getting plump...we added a different blueberry to the mix last year and it looks like we will get substantially more blueberries this year than years past. I had read that it would improve pollination, but its seems quite dramatic.
Getting about a pint of strawberries a day now. Dayum those are good.
Something picked our first strawberry for us. My wife accused me.
Shes kind of selfish with the strawberries.
Sucks being in a northern climate sometimes - mine have only just started to flower! One of the nicest days we've had yet this year and the thermometer is just reaching 60...
Picking a quart of strawberries a day now. Romas and Cherries are now "tomatoing".
Wait a minute.....just 3 days ago, you were getting a pint.
WTH are feeding 'em?
My tomatoes are starting to gain some ground...they've grown about 3" since planting. This is after 2 frost episodes.
They were just getting started a few days ago...now they're rocking.
I'm out of town this week but when I talked to the wife she said we have a bazillion strawberries and the tomatoes need staked because they're starting to get some 'maters on.
We had some nice SB plants in the garden a few years ago.
I made the mistake of letting my wife loose in there with the tiller.
We have wild SB all over the place, but they get about as big as....well, they don't.