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Growing food

XenMargolis

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My mother and I have recently decided to grow our own food. We're re-working the backyard to make it usable for this. She's had some success growing peppers and eggplants on the side of the house, but we recently cleared out what used to be a play area and are turning it into a fruit/herb/vegetable garden.

For now, we're growing some vegetables in egg cartons, to transplant once they've taken root in the soil. I planted 60 seeds (15 different types of vegetable, 4 of each). I'm debating adding some melons to the mix, but I wonder if I shouldn't just keep going with vegetables instead (I like eating them more than I like eating fruit)

Any tips on taking care of root vegetables in particular? I have a particular interest in cultivating them.
 

ceecee

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Grow what you eat/like. That's what I do and I also grow some items more difficult to find in stores. Root veg do well with direct sow, lots of sun, good spacing, thining when needed and good bed prep. There are a lot of tips online for your area/zone.
 

JAVO

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I like the no-dig approach as described by Charles Dowding. Once you get started, garden maintenance each year simply involved throwing down 1-2 inches of compost. It improves soil health and reduces weeds too. The need to till the soil is a myth.
 

Peter Deadpan

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I'm in the early stages of developing a permaculture food forest on my property. I'll be building it up in layers on a berm that will also act as a runoff diverter. I already have apple trees (that the previous homeowner neglected to maintain) and a cherry tree, as well as several varieties of wild edibles that grow here and there (some of the land is deciduous forest), and chives.

There are a lot of deer in this area, so I am limited in what I can grow unless I want to build an enclosure (I don't particularly, at least not at this point).

If it were up to me, every plant on the property would be edible. I simply don't see the point in strictly ornamental landscaping, or grass for that matter.
 

ceecee

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I like the no-dig approach as described by Charles Dowding. Once you get started, garden maintenance each year simply involved throwing down 1-2 inches of compost. It improves soil health and reduces weeds too. The need to till the soil is a myth.

Not sure on that when it comes to yields. Bruce Darrell has tested no dig and while it's the easiest to start and maintain but not so easy to correct, depending on the grass/weeds. I like Charles Dowding and he has great instruction but I like the RED garden because it's data driven and he has 6 gardens grown following different methodology.


The garden I have is an Extensive garden, based on his methods (sow seed directly with good space). I didn't till but I don't know that it's a myth. I did double dig and add compost at the 16 inch level when the garden was created originally now I don't need much compost. I also have a couple of Steve Solomon's books and they are very good too. I think it depends on where you are and your soil but I'm going to grow in my greenhouse this fall/winter/spring and see how that works.
 

Yuurei

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Don’t forget to mark where they. I have accidentally dug up many.
 

JAVO

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Not sure on that when it comes to yields. Bruce Darrell has tested no dig and while it's the easiest to start and maintain but not so easy to correct, depending on the grass/weeds. I like Charles Dowding and he has great instruction but I like the RED garden because it's data driven and he has 6 gardens grown following different methodology.
That was an interesting video. I like RED garden's succinct communication and experimentation with different methods. I'll definitely watch more of those.

Dowding has an ongoing test in which he compares yields of a dig versus no-dig bed. The no-dig yield varies a little depending on the crop, but overall it does at least as well as the dig bed, around 5% better.



RED gardens encountered many of the same issues I did with no-dig (Dowding's approach), but more severely. I started off my current garden double-digging mine to 24 inches (trenched 12, heavily forked the bottom 12) and mixing in compost and peat. After a year or two, things weren't going as well as I had hoped and had experienced with other methods. I stopped tilling in the compost and organic fertilizer, and instead threw down 2-3 inches of bagged compost. Things improved dramatically. Direct-sow seed germination and young plant growth were especially better. I then used about an inch of compost on top each year. The bagged compost I buy isn't ideal, but it's not bad. I suspect that some of the issues RED gardens had was due to the compost, as he stated himself. Decomposition was using much of the nitrogen. I overcame this by using a mixed organic fertilizer. I've had some weeds because I didn't start with quite enough compost, and some of the compost contributes weed seeds because it probably didn't reach high enough temperatures to kill the seeds. I pull the weeds by hand about once a month, but Dowding does a light hoeing to get rid of them.


The garden I have is an Extensive garden, based on his methods (sow seed directly with good space). I didn't till but I don't know that it's a myth. I did double dig and add compost at the 16 inch level when the garden was created originally now I don't need much compost. I also have a couple of Steve Solomon's books and they are very good too. I think it depends on where you are and your soil but I'm going to grow in my greenhouse this fall/winter/spring and see how that works.
Interesting... I like the idea of growing more nutritious plants. I'll read and watch more about extensive gardening.

A greenhouse garden would be great! Hope it works well.
 

ceecee

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That was an interesting video. I like RED garden's succinct communication and experimentation with different methods. I'll definitely watch more of those.

Dowding has an ongoing test in which he compares yields of a dig versus no-dig bed. The no-dig yield varies a little depending on the crop, but overall it does at least as well as the dig bed, around 5% better.



RED gardens encountered many of the same issues I did with no-dig (Dowding's approach), but more severely. I started off my current garden double-digging mine to 24 inches (trenched 12, heavily forked the bottom 12) and mixing in compost and peat. After a year or two, things weren't going as well as I had hoped and had experienced with other methods. I stopped tilling in the compost and organic fertilizer, and instead threw down 2-3 inches of bagged compost. Things improved dramatically. Direct-sow seed germination and young plant growth were especially better. I then used about an inch of compost on top each year. The bagged compost I buy isn't ideal, but it's not bad. I suspect that some of the issues RED gardens had was due to the compost, as he stated himself. Decomposition was using much of the nitrogen. I overcame this by using a mixed organic fertilizer. I've had some weeds because I didn't start with quite enough compost, and some of the compost contributes weed seeds because it probably didn't reach high enough temperatures to kill the seeds. I pull the weeds by hand about once a month, but Dowding does a light hoeing to get rid of them.



Interesting... I like the idea of growing more nutritious plants. I'll read and watch more about extensive gardening.

A greenhouse garden would be great! Hope it works well.

I'm very excited about the greenhouse and since we built it (in March) it's been amazingly handy. There is another guy in Canada that grows in poly hoop tunnels and green house all winter, with no additional heat source beyond the sun.



My house backs up to a hops and soy farm and my street was part of that farm so the soil is very workable but, a lot of rocks and stones and I have the same sort of wind issues RED gardens has. I also run into issues with my own compost - simply having enough - so the purchased stuff has to do and it's been fine. When I did direct sow this year I covered it the same as you, with about an inch of compost. I have been thinking about some heavy mulch - we let grass clippings dry out some before adding to the compost bins but we have a ton of grass so I would have plenty to put on the garden to help with evaporation. One thing I realized is that if I don't add enough coffee grounds and used tea bags, there are problems, especially as it warms up.

I made Steve Solomon's organic fertilizer this year. One drawback is that it's a bit pricey and not everyone has access to these ingredients but it's been working very well so far. I used fish fertilizer for tomatoes, eggplant and some others I started from seed in Jiffy pots.

A Better Garden Fertilizer - Organic Gardening - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

I have been pulling weeds by hand and the amount of rain we have had is making it a chore. I may need some light hoeing. The only item not doing as well as I hoped is the fennel. I use an app for planting called Gardenate and I think it's one of the better choices although it isn't free, it's like $1.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I bought a basil and thyme plant. I figure that's a good place to start. Also, I definitely have noticed a big difference when using these herbs fresh (as opposed to something like parsley). It would be nice to have them on hand.

My goal is actually to have them produce seeds so I can re-plant them for next year for free. I'm not quite sure how I'll pull that off. How much should I leave unharvested when it actually starts to flower? What form do the seeds come in? Not sure about those things.
 

ceecee

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I bought a basil and thyme plant. I figure that's a good place to start. Also, I definitely have noticed a big difference when using these herbs fresh (as opposed to something like parsley). It would be nice to have them on hand.

My goal is actually to have them produce seeds so I can re-plant them for next year for free. I'm not quite sure how I'll pull that off. How much should I leave unharvested when it actually starts to flower? What form do the seeds come in? Not sure about those things.

I know basil seeds are super tiny. Why don't you just let them go to seed?

How to Quickly Harvest & Save Basil Seeds - The Beginner's Garden

I grow Persian basil as a landscape plant - the smell is so good, kind of spicy and it has pretty flowers.

Thyme is easier. Just let it dry and rub the stalks, the seeds will fall out.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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ceecee

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Whenever I buy fresh herbs, I always get way more than I need. If I grow my own, it will be less wasteful, because, I can only pick the amount I need.



So I shouldn't pick all the leaves off if I want to save the seeds?

Use the leaves as you normally would for cooking and seasoning and let them flower getting towards the end of the growing season. Let the bees have the nectar and once the stems are brown, take the seeds from the flowers. But they're tiny so use tweezers.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Use the leaves as you normally would for cooking and seasoning and let them flower getting towards the end of the growing season. Let the bees have the nectar and once the stems are brown, take the seeds from the flowers. But they're tiny so use tweezers.

I assume I should leave at least some leaves on once it starts budding, though, right? I mea, it must take energy to survive long enough to reproduce.

I was thinking of just shaking them into the pot, but then they might sprout prematurely. Maybe I should save some of them in a paper envelope, and then just shake the rest out into the pot, just because I'm curious.
 

ceecee

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I assume I should leave at least some leaves on once it starts budding, though, right? I mea, it must take energy to survive long enough to reproduce.

I was thinking of just shaking them into the pot, but then they might sprout prematurely. Maybe I should save some of them in a paper envelope, and then just shake the rest out into the pot, just because I'm curious.

Right just let them go then take the seed from the flowers. I would put what you don't pot into an envelope - that's how they come from suppliers. You could also order seeds to plant later in the summer for a fall harvest.
 

John Catstentine

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Right just let them go then take the seed from the flowers. I would put what you don't pot into an envelope - that's how they come from suppliers. You could also order seeds to plant later in the summer for a fall harvest.

my mom stores them in old rx plastic bottles she's cleaned out nd removed the labels from
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Right just let them go then take the seed from the flowers. I would put what you don't pot into an envelope - that's how they come from suppliers. You could also order seeds to plant later in the summer for a fall harvest.

Yeah; I would assume the important thing for storing them is that they're in something opaque. A ziplock bag probably isn't the best place for them; they might sprout when I don't want them to.
 

ceecee

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my mom stores them in old rx plastic bottles she's cleaned out nd removed the labels from

That's a good idea. I got a photo organizer from Michael's for almost nothing with a coupon, that works well.
 
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