Here we go again

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What a winter for North Carolina. Expecting 2 - 4 inches on top of the ice we got this morning. Screwing with my greenhouse and my germination in the house for sure. I guess I won't be planting in early March as I had planned . Oh Mother Nature.....just keep us guessing. MJ
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Ma Nature , being the fickle bitch that she is , may very well turn around and give us an early and extended heat wave . And drought ... (sigh) I guess we just have to take what comes and make the best of it . Farmers Almanac said that we'd have a colder/wetter winter this year , so far they've been right . I have 2 different what-to-plant-when schedules from the web , both are in general agreement , BUT both are history-based so ... But any way you cut it , now is the time to be starting seeds for transplanting later . So far I have onions , 2 kinds of 'maters <2 more I picked up seeds for today> kale , lettuce , cauliflower , eggplants and cayenne peppers in the starter trays . And they're all sitting on a low table right in front of a southeast facing window where they get strong sun all morning then great indirect light the rest of the day . I guess it's time to get the tiller out and make sure it runs well . I'll be enlarging the garden plot this year , after a great first year garden and that machine has some seroius groundbreaking to do .
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

so much easier to smother it and retain most of the existing soil structure...
(we've not had a good tilling vs. smothering thread in a while have we? :) :) :) )
or if you'd like to cut down on how much time you do spend tilling, plot out the garden rows so that you are only tilling the slices where you will be actually planting and leave the rest to be smothered. most tillers will let you remove blades so that you can till thinner slices.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Mmmm , I don't think smothering is going to work on this one . This is ground that not too long ago was hardwood forest . The trees were cut before we got it 11 years ago , an oval clearing roughly 75' X 200' . It currently has some wild grasses and mostly blackberries on it . I tilled up part of it last year , and the results were *VERY* encouraging . The part closest to the trees on the uphill side weren't so much , but plants farther out into the clearing were amazing . I'll be doubling the size this year . And tilling the hay from the henhouse into the part I broke last year , after it's aged a bit . I'm really excited about this year !
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote:

Clarification : That clearing also contains a 12X20 carport/shop , henhouse and yard , our 25' camping trailer , and the beginninge of our new home . Last year's garden space was ~500 sf , this year probably 800-1000 .
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

ah, i thought it was already back to a field that was mowed once in a while. blackberries are a different story. i'm assuming that since you already did a part of this that you have something to knock them back (brush hog or some other chopper/mower)?

i'm glad to see someone excited about gardening and having a bigger garden. :)
has the hay been added already?
i would not till the hay into the previous garden. what does that accomplish? is there anything growing in that soil that will be able to use those nutrients that quickly? if not, you're effectively wasting a long term nutrient source for no purpose.
if instead, you scatter a small amount on the surface and lightly rake it in, then you can plant into that and you'll be fine. after planting a plot mulch around using the rest and that will be an excellent longer term soil nutrient source. as the rains come along they'll stimulate the worms and other soil creatures to break down the top mulch and since the rains also stimulate the plants to grow then they are getting the nutrients when they can actually use them. much less work and better for the soil community.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

No , it's piled near the henhouse aging ...

Last year's garden will also be this year's garden , just with different crops . Gotta figger out a rotation plan to keep the soil in shape .

The new area will get the same treatment as the new got last year . Each transplant will get a measure of manure mixed with the soil around it . Row crops will get a line of same worked in as I form the rows . Last year's will be partly planted in corn and pole beans , possibly that's where I'll plant the kale , lettuces , and bok choi .

I'm really charged up about the garden . The one we had down in Memphis was nothing compared to what I had here last year . I think it's more a case of the soil there being poor than the soil here being extra-fertile ... though both may apply . Either way , we'll be spending pretty close to zero dollars this summer for fresh stuff , and my neighbors may start hiding when they see me coming <grin> . I love living up here !
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

it is harder to maintain soil organic content in warmer climates -- beyond soil degredation issues it's also tougher to restore.

:)
songbird
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Derald wrote:

I'm starting out a little less ambitiously ... I have 6 plants in a starter tray , we'll see how it goes . I plan on using it fresh-picked for salads and stirfry , and try to pick it when the leaves are young and tender . Got a lot of stuff I'm trying for the first time this year ...
--
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Derald wrote:

I wish you luck with the celery.
I grew beautiful, plump and juicy celery in Michigan, but my attempts in SE VA were a bust. Too stringy and thin stalks. Between the long growing span of celery and the heat here, celery wasn't happy and the results weren't worth the effort and garden space.
Nyssa, who can't grow half of what she uses because it won't grow here or the voles get it
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Derald wrote:

Since celery usually takes around 120 days to maturity, by the time I'd get the seedlings planted out into the garden, there simply wasn't enough time of cool weather for good development of tender, juicy stalks. The heat makes the celery stringy and the stalks small.
I'm about 60 miles west of your Gloucester folks.

Yep, the voles around here LOVE onions, carrots, potatoes... anything with roots. Nothing like going out into the garden and seeing just the green top of an onion sticking out of an empty hole. Or pulling what you hope with be a big carrot and finding someone else has already taken a bite out of the side. <sigh>
Nyssa, who still hasn't ordered her seeds yet
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Nyssa wrote:

...

:) me too!

aww...

do you like fennel? it is much quicker and easier to grow.
this year i'm adding pak choi and fennel to the mix. we'll see how they do in various locations, some with competition and others with none, and a variety of soil places and moisture levels.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

I don't care for fennel, but I have grown bak choy several times. I usually stick to the extra dwarf variety for salads and the dwarf for use in stir fries and soups.
I'd grow bak choy more often, but I'm the only one who eats it. I can't give it away to the neighbors, ditto any other Asian vegetable that I like, so I rarely grow it anymore. It just rots since I can't use it all.
Nyssa, who needs to recruit neighbors who are more open to "strange" foods
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Derald wrote:

I'm single and live alone, so cooking with Asian vegetables isn't a problem for *me* but my neighbors. I'm surrounded by meat-and-potato types.
Yep, the hot weather will cause it to bolt almost overnight, especially the extra dwarf stuff. You have to use it when it's less than 2 inches tall... or else.
Nyssa, who likes Asian food but can pass on Mexican and most Italian stuff
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Nyssa wrote:

...

hmm. :) good luck with that!
ah, too bad about the fennel as i think it is so wimpy, especially when cooked that it doesn't really take much like anything, similar enough to celery for me to use it.
do you recall any other asian veggies you used to grow in Michigan? (i'm in mid-michigan...) i'm mostly looking for those that will self-perpetuate too and those with firmer and larger leaves. i figure if i can keep planting a mix of edibles here and they'll take then it's a good food source if needed, and if not needed i'll let it be bunny and worm food... :)
songbird
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Why would you cook it??
--
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Ecnerwal wrote:

celery substitute... why do people cook celery? :)
but i like it fresh too as i like celery crunchy too.
songbird
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Probably to keep me from eating it - and carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, and spinach, and (evidently) fennel, among other perfectly nice foods that are ruined by cooking.
(But I'm no "raw food diet" fool.)
Peas and corn can go either way (a little heat melts the butter, but is otherwise not critical, and the butter doesn't help my height to width ratio anyway.) Cabbage should just be turned into sauerkraut. Potatoes, squash and plantains need cooking. Apples can go either way (some more one direction than others, of course.)
To each their own...so long as they are not serving me. ;^)
--
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songbird wrote:

Sorry, I didn't grow Asian vegetables when I lived in Michigan, so I can't help with any specifics for there.
But I can steer you to my source for Asian vegetable seeds: kitazawaseed.com
They're located in Oakland, CA, and have been in business for ages. Their catalog is worth having on hand both for the seed descriptions, but also for the recipe suggestions.
Besides the extra dwarf and dwarf bok choy, I also have grown several varieties of their snap and snow peas, napa cabbage, and a green called Vitamina which is a very fast growing cabbage-like green. There are two lettuce varieties that are among my favorites, Okayama Salad and Manoa (which even my fussy neighbor loves). Lots of goodies to choose from, although their shipping prices are a bit steep, so I only order from them every other year.
HTH
Nyssa, who just got hit with a winter storm on Monday after hitting 60+ degrees on Sunday...what a winter!
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Nyssa wrote:

Last week I was riding my Harley for my errands . This week we're waiting for the ice to melt enough to get out to the highway - and we drive a 4WD 4Runner .
--
Snag
Stone County Ar.
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