Ruth Stout , here I come

Page 1 of 2  
I have her book somewhere , but remember the basics . Next summer I will be embarking on a no-till project I do this partly because the soil is poor and partly because I'm on a slope . I have figured out that my steadily declining yields are because I've allowed the best part of my soil wash away ... this year will see terraces and dedicated walkways to prevent soil compaction . I'll also be mulching heavily both as a weed control measure and to add organic matter to the soil . Samples will soon be sent off to the county ag office for soil analysis - can't amend until you know what you lack ! I'll also be copying a raised-bed technique and "compartmenting" areas just big enough that I can just reach the center and planting stuff closer together . I need to do some studying on companion planting - not so much to find what does well together but to determine what will NOT grow with what . I'm also not planning on starting my seedlings quite as early this year ...
--
Snag



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/4/2016 5:38 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

morning was about 39F then warmed up to high fifties. Still cold to me when it gets below about 80F.
We're on flat ground and garden in above ground boxes, 4' by 16' and two that are 4 by 8. Plus the entire fence perimeter inside the backyard has plantings also.
Sounds like you've got a plan now, seems like a lot of work too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George Shirley wrote:

It's already down to 26? here headed for a low of 22? - according to Weather.com and it's usually about 3-5? colder up here than down in town . I've recorded temps in the last few days as low as 18? , and now that winter is here that will be closer to the normal overnight temps .

Not as much work as it may seem , I try to only walk in specific places so I don't compact the soil . Just a matter of driving pegs and running strings to define the growing areas . I've already got most of it semi-terraced , I just need to straighten the edges out some . I'm hoping doing this will also help me to control the grass that has been such a problem the last 2 summers . I have come to realize that tilling it under just plants all those seeds it made last year ... last week I went over the worst patches with a foundry burner (like a weed burner just smaller) and burned as much of that dried grass as I could . I'll probably try to burn some more before spring gets here .
--
Snag



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/4/2016 8:59 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

damned stuff would grow out over concrete, grew into our pond years ago, stuff would climb a tomato plant given the chance. Gardening in above ground boxes has done that in. We do get the wind and bird blown weeds, mostly nut grass, but it is easy to remove from the man made "dirt" in our raised beds. As we age, we're in our mid seventies, I'm thinking of raising the beds up to at least waist height. Gets really hard to squat and bend anymore. I have one of those tractor seat scoots that does well for me but still end up with a sore back. Mostly due to two old back surgeries, a pot belly, and little exercise. Today is just to cold to get out there. I keep hoping the eggplant and pepper plants will die at any moment but they just keep on producing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

IIRC, Ruth cheated on her own system a bit and tilled or plowed every few years, but got away without it other years. More an issue with clay than other soil types. If organized and planning to till, planting a winter cover crop (rye being the classic) is good. If planning a bit further ahead a planting of daikon radish can help with the sub-structure (even if not tilling - it does some "tilling" as it grows, and if left to rot in place adds benefits.) There is also the "no-till roller-crimper" method of dealing with cover crops (and turning them into mulch), which might give you another welding project for the tractor. http://www.covercrops.msu.edu/crimper/about.html
I threw caution and my usual procrastination to the wind and ordered seeds on January 1 for a likely too-ambitious garden. General philosophy is moving towards more perennials (berries, etc) that don't need effort when we have no time, but I went right ahead and ordered leeks (never have had them work, but giving it a shot again) carrots (spotty with our soil of clay) basil (work ok if we can keep them from getting eaten by other things), cabbage (never have tried it since I don't like it fresh, but the sauerkraut experiments went well) lettuce and spinach and New Zealand spinach (often disappointing in the past) corn (usually disappointing or eaten by raccoons) peas (can be OK if not chewed off by rodents) tomatoes (eventually do OK, getting them anything like early is a lot of work and or a crapshoot) and beans (usually OK, trying soy for edamame for first time.) Also trying a "decorative spring wheat" just for giggles. Got my garlic planted, finally, on Boxing day. That is usually fine if I don't wait until spring.
As for amendments, compost is always good, and if you are not using the garden for a while, composting in place works. Sort out what else you might want to add later, but fire up all the compost you can handle now.
I don't find a lot of benefit in most of my observed experiments with companion planting, YMMV.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/5/2016 5:45 PM, Ecnerwal wrote:

years and sometimes three. We keep them in the fridge sealed in an air tight container.
We grew leeks two years ago and they got very large. Neither of us cared for the taste so quit growing them. We broke up some clay soil back in Louisiana years ago with a Mexican plant that got as big as your head. The taste was good when immature but we didn't care for the taste of the full grown root. Don't remember the name anymore. With the raised beds and Mel's Mix from Square Foot Gardening we don't have soil problems anymore. Reminds me I need to start mixing the mix to add to the raised beds before to long.
Going to cut loose about a ten lb cabbage head tomorrow and turn it into kraut. There's a six or seven lb cauliflower out there too. Wife likes cauliflower roasted, grilled, or sauteed, I only like it pickled. Looks like we can have all of the above with this head. Kale is going nuts as is the chard and other winter plants. We've had so many hot days followed by cool nights the whole garden is going nuts. The pear tree still has its leaves, generally gone by December. Now I'm worrying it will bloom and then we'll get a frost.
That's Texas weather, if you don't like it wait for tomorrow and it will change, one way or another.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nudged me along a bit and I went looking for free/open source planning software (other than graph paper and #2 pencil) that appeared to function and be getting worked on still (which came after looking at a few that didn't function so well and had a corresponding considerable age since last update.)
Currently playing with this one; does seem to have +/- companion plant info, also supposed to inform about good/bad rotation planting choices with multiple years data entered (which I haven't got to yet - though there's remarkably little data for last year here, when bleep-all would be what we did in the garden other than grow weeds and a very few other things, and to complicate matters I'm trying to change-up the bedding for next year and going forward.)
"Kitchen Garden Aid" on sourceforge. A Java-based thing (Java 7), which will make some folks avoid it, but which also makes it cross-platform.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/kitchengarden/
I feel some holes (such as being able to put in specific varieties for record-keeping at least, and no sign that it groks the typical spread/scale of a plant. or gives any guidance for number per square foot), but I haven't looked very carefully to see if they are just interface issues or holes, and at least it is being worked on, so they might get dealt with. It is rather square grid oriented, coming from square foot gardening. Overall garden size is not something you can enter to start, you just need to keep putting things in edge cells to expand the grid (or zoom out to a small magnification, which is clunky but does eventually work.) It does save files locally (they are also pushing a variant that shares it to a cloud server, but that's not my preference.) I haven't tried printing from it yet. so I don't know how well that works or not.
This is one of the ones that looks potentially interesting but seems a bit moribund (May 24, 2013), if aimed a bit more at farms: https://code.google.com/p/cropplanning/ I suppose it's also moribund by virtue of being at google code, but I haven't found it updated elsewhere.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

shake up my beds at least once/year and dig them every third-or-so year due to incursion of native tree roots. I read Ms Stout's first book in the mid-'70s and, IIRC, she minimized the fairly significant fact that she _already_ had a thriving truck garden before she decided to stop digging.     Unfortunately, new gardeners who see her book and/or who give credence to the great mass of "Pollyanna" (and largely fictitious, IMO) BS that abounds on the W3 about "no-till" and "lasagna" gardening often conclude that all one need do is pile a bunch of crap into a bed and wait for magic to happen. Well, the "magic" is (almost) certain to occur, in most climates, but the expectant gardener could be long dead.     I am a strong advocate (and long-time practitioner) of chemical-free, wide-row gardening, especially for new installations in areas with less than perfect soil texture—that is, most of North America;-) Toward that end, I found early issues of "The Mother Earth News" (first five or ten years) as well as Dick Raymond's _The Joy of Gardening_ (1982, Garden Way Inc.) informative. Raymond's _Dick Raymond's Gardening Year_ (1985, Linden Press) is also quite useful but one must adjust the relevant dates to conform to ones latitude.     FWIW: Garden Way is the company that manufactured and sold the "Troy Built" brand of gasoline powered rotary tillers and which also sponsored Raymond's teevee "infomercials". However, regardless of ones view of rototilling, the principles and information remain valid.     Through it all one cannot overemphsize the importance of succession planting (so-called "relay planting") and of crop rotation. If you don't already do so, start a garden journal that at least record planting dates and location, 80% germination date, date of first harvest, date of removal from the garden. After a few seasons, that information will prove useful in planning companion and succession planting.     The URLs following are sites that offer companion planting guidance, much of it redundant, and all to be taken with the proverbial GoS: One should always, always, take the evidence perceived by ones own lying eyes over _anything_ some unknown-to-you "expert" presents as "gospel", although it might pay to determine why any divergence between your experience and The Truth exists. The following are valid a/o this writing.
<http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/companion-planting-guide-zmaz81mjzraw.aspx#axzz2nTqprCoo <http://www.burpeehomegardens.com/VegetableHerbGardening/_CompanionPlants.aspx <http://naturewiseplants.com/documents/CompanionPlants.pdf <http://homeguides.sfgate.com/compatible-plants-onions-garlic-22804.html <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants#Vegetables <http://www.the-gardeners-calendar.co.uk/Companion_Planting/companiontables.asp <http://www.sgaonline.org.au/companion-planting/     All of the above links are from my W3 bookmarks. However, IMO, contents should be regarded as largely anecdotal and inherently unreliable when used in any specific application. Although it seems obvious, that "companions" must have common nutrient and water requirements often is overlooked. Failure of individual varieties to thrive when interplanted in a community garden might be interpreted as "antagonism" when the cuase really is nutritional deficiency or imbalance or even disease. We gardeners seem to have a bit of the gambler's fallacy about us but, then, would a pessimist be gardening in the first place?     Finally: Nothing to offer about when to start seeds in your part of Arkansas(?). As a rule, all I start in pots (and not indoors) are tomatoes, peppers and eggplants and that's usually some time in February. I do so only because the juveniles don't survive well in the wild down here. Seedlings are extremely effective cutworm and grasshopper bait until the stems toughen a bit and for a while thereafter the leaves remain at risk.
--
Derald
Peninsular FL, USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Derald wrote:

Thanks Derald ! Lots of good info there . My biggest problem here is that I've let what decent soil I have get washed downhill . Thus the terraces , and heavy mulch to help keep rainwater from washing what I do have left away - and to get that organic stuff into the soil . I will till this year to incorporate what organics I have into the soil and to be sure I start with it loose . Also to finish defining the terraces .
--
Snag



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

have you considered raised beds? I neglected to mention that since 2008, I've gardened in raised beds that my wife built in 1997 and gardened in for a few years and, despite a few drawbacks, find them advantageous over attempting to maintain the native soil, as I had done previously. In this part of Florida, the only thing that changes within the first 20-30 feet of digging is the color of the sand.
--
Derald
Peninsular FL, USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/6/2016 9:32 PM, Derald wrote:

garden on five feet of Houston gumbo clay fill. The beds of flowers are amended each year as they are in the clay. We dug out three full size pick up beds of clay, hauled it around to the back fence, which was teetering on falling over, and packed the clay in there. Saved the sorry ass fence, which will be replaced this year, and kept the critters from the detention pond from coming under the fence and eating our garden. The snakes alone kept us busy for a while. Mostly harmless water snakes with the odd water moccasin thrown in. The rat terrier no longer has to patrol the back fence and bring us trophies of the kill.
Another plus is that we have rolling garden seats and use them along the sides of the raised beds, helping elderly backs and still getting the weeding, etc. done. Weeds seem to have an affinity for raised beds, either that or the birds like to seed them. <G> We get free fertilizer as one of the beds is under the power lines to a point and the birds rest there frequently.
Heavy rain last night around 10 pm, lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Knocked the power out twice. It seems our portion of Harris Cty, TX needs some new electric wires and stations, don't know when we get it though. Neighbors two doors down are on a different sub station and their lights are always on. The rain makes sleeping better, the thunder makes it difficult for the dawg to sleep. Oh well, such is gardening and sleeping for old people.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

county was plagued with frequent and long power outages, especially during rainstorms, as well as with those nearly instantaneous outages that test the mettle of solid state devices. Storm damage in 2004 was extensive and post-storm restoration seems to have pretty much eliminated or at least greatly reduced reoccurrences.

the storms, the immediate neighbors all were without electricity but ours held firm. DW&I were popular among the nearby cell phone users and I wish I had a photo of the lo-o-ong extension cords (and water hoses) running from the hovel and from the pump house.     FWIW: During and for a time after the near-miss, the _only_ functioning cellular network hereabouts was Verizon's. Apparently, it relies more on auxiliary gennies than on backup batteries but I don't know anything about that stuff.     We've had a bit of rain in the past week or so but it's been what I call "technical" rain: Just enough to show on radar, to give the teevee heads something to natter about, and to leave small sparkling spheres on ones fur. .32" (32/100 inch) since 1/1/16. Same is occuring as I type this: "Rain", but not enough even to rinse the dust from the trees.     Weather's cooling a bit but I don't think it's a trend. Am putting off planting a few more things that I normally grow over the winter. Little point if air and soil are too warm. The air has cooled a bit but the dirt in the beds is still a bit warm. Another week or so of it, and I'll have to pass on broccoli, although I do have a short-season "early" variety to try. I don't ever try to grow Brussel's (named for a person, not for a place) sprouts because they never have time to develop and rarely try crisp head lettuce because most years it _starts out_ bitter, never makes a head and bolts/blooms very very early. Finally getting some carrot activity, though (yay), and the peas, mustard greens and turnips are going strong. Gonna plant more carrots and turnips RSN; more peas, too. PIcking "Wando" and "Little Marvel" green peas daily now. "Little Marvel" is my favorite and most reliable variety. The "Wando" was a test planting (the second, actually), which won't be repeated. I left the seeds outside and by the time I realized it, field mice had eaten most and an attractive furry mold had begun eating the remainder. Won't be buying any more, though, because I found no advantage to having a second variety.
--
Derald
Peninsular FL, USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Terry Coombs wrote: ...

sometimes people dig up the soil at the bottom of the hill and haul it up to the top again. :)
is the cold weather getting down your ways?
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
songbird wrote:

Up here they call it "ass-bitin' cold ". It was around 15? this morning at 3 when I was outside trying to get the generator running because the power was out . With around 2" of fresh snow on the ground ...
--
Snag



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/18/2016 5:07 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

sixties. Winter here should be over in a few weeks, maybe sooner. Almost time to put in the spring garden. Have a couple of huge cabbage heads to harvest very soon, harvested a six lb cauliflower head last week, good thing my wife likes the stuff. Her cauliflower soup does manage to stink up the kitchen. Bah!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George Shirley wrote: ...

sounds wonderful! :)
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Terry Coombs wrote:

uhg! that's about what it has been today. night time temps are in the single digits. we've sometimes been able to get out for some walks but i hate it when the eyelashes freeze together when you blink.
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
songbird wrote:

I hate it more when my breath condenses and freezes on my beard and 'stach .
--
Snag



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Terry Coombs wrote:

i wear a short round scarf (call it the foreskin :) ) which is also thick so that the air going out preheats the air breathed in. saves a lot of sinus and lung troubles for me.
i've already put winter goggles on the list for our next outing to the stores as i really would like to be able to see when i'm walking...
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/19/2016 8:51 AM, songbird wrote:

those anytime we were topside on a destroyer in the Arctic. Beat frozen nose hair and eyebrow's, not to mention my 'stache. I think I've mentioned before how much I hate cold weather. <G>
49F out this morning and a lot of sunshine, forecast for mucho rain coming though. Won't be long before spring is here in SE Texas. Finally pulled up the eggplants, the sweet chilies are still producing and haven't been frostbitten as yet.
Won't be long until the fruit trees are blooming and getting leaves on.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.