Grew strawberries in a raised bed with good soil. Had great berries for 2 years and then squat. Started a garden. Transplanted the berries. They are doing lousy. My peas and beans never got big. Mellons seem to be doing fine and corn (my first ever) is about half and half good and bad. Heights range from 18 inches to 7 feet. This garden is in a built up back yard from the 1980s. It sits near a septic field and I think it sets on a clay berm along side of the field. I have about 3 inches of top soil. I tilled it and added about 12 wheelbarrow loads of compost to the 20x40 garden area and tilled again.
I'm in S.E. Michigan. I received 2 comfrey plants that were in sad shape. I planted one which now has 8 new leaves. The other, I divided in half and planted. The halves now have 4 and six leaves. These plants were transplanted about 4 weeks ago. They didn't have a lot of root, only about 3 inches if tap root and some tangled regular roots (not sure what "regular" root are called). My question is, is it too late in the year to dig one up and start a bunch of new plants off of the tap root. I saw a video that said you can start a plant off the smallest bit of root. So I would like to cut a root into 10 pieces and plant them along my back property line away from the garden where they are now planted. Will get any growth by dividing them now? How much root do I need to use? Can they be in morning and half afternoon sun and then shade from around 3pm on? Or should I put them in pots till next spring?
The compost pile gets hot. My is usually 120-140 degrees and I'm trying to get it hotter. Wouldn't worms just die as fast I I can put them in? Or, after the pile gets over its initial hotness will the worms just start coming up from the ground and finish what the heat started? Also, are all worms created equal or do I need to use a specific kind of worm? I saw videos that specified "compost worms". Whats that?
I rototilled in my mulch/compost today. Sorry, all you anti-till people. I promise that this fall I will much heavy on the surface but I was bothered by the unhealthy look of my soil. I definitely see a difference in the texture and the color has gone from a drab gray to a more brownish color. Looks better to me for what thats worth. I applied my whole compost pile which was about 12, or so larfe wheel barrow loads to a garden of 20ft x 40ft. So I guess thats about a wheel barrow load for each 100 sq ft. Sounds like a lok to me but it sure didn't change its looks that much. If i had more I would put it on.
When I get some good garden growth going, will this have any effect on the underlying clay? Or am I just going to have to keep adding to the surface to build up more depth?
Putting in a garden for next year. About 8 inches down the ground is hard clay. What I have rototilled is also somewhat clayee. My compost pile never finished composting so I am going to let it continue working. I have another pile of shredded and mostly non-shredded leaves from last year that are hald way broken down. They are a black mass that is quite moist. I shredded so of it and it came out looking like black dirt so I guess it was getting close to being compost. I decided to just spread the whole pile on my garden and till it in. It will add organics to the dirt and make it more able to hold water and permit drainage. My question is, since the leaves where not properly composted can they actually do harm to my soil? It seems to me that any organics added will have to be an improvement. What do you think? It will have till nest spring to decay further.
I was reading about using rabbit poop to make compost tea and it occurred to me that using manure could lead to e coli contamination of plants and vegetables. Is this a possibility or is manure ok to make tea out of? Would manure supply the same kind of bacteria as finished compost would? I think the two would create completely different concoctions.
Read a lot of stuff on compost tea and everyone has a special recipe. Isn't compost tea made from just any old organic stuff (food, grass, manure, dirt, compost, etc), left to rot a little and then added to water and left to ferment? I want the short and quick version.
I rototilled my new garden space. Tilled up the first couple inches and ended up with 3 huge wheel barrow loads of grass with a small amount of dirt mixed in. I used the grass to start a new compost pile which will end up back in the garden. Mixed the grass with a little dirt from my first compost pile and some half decomposed non-shredded leaves. I should know in a couple of days if its going to heat up.
Also, I have learned that one of the most important things to do when making a compost pile is to keep it a manageable size so that it isn't discouraging to try to turn it every week or two as needed.
This new garden is in a yard that was poorly maintained grass. I am preparing it now for planting NEXT SPRING. So I am assuming that any shredded leaves or other organics will be broken down by springtime.
Is it nessessary to know my soil content before I add compost, etc to it or is it ok to just go ahead and add organic matter? I have soil that was added as fill when the house was built in the 1980s. Its a little clayie and also medium dark. I want to add the contents of my compost pile to it and till it in. I also plan to mulch up a lot of leaves this fall and add them either in the fall of wait till spring. They will not be composted but just shredded well.
I want to try growing some wheat and harvesting it. I have a five year old bag of whole grain wheat, for baking, that my wife found in the cupboard. I sprouted some of it. What I don't know is if it is winter wheat, spring wheat, or if it matters with organic wheat. This is Arrow Mills Organic Whole Grain Wheat. Any Ideas if I should plant it now or wait till fall?
The vet can give her a very easy shot of tranquilizer that will put her into deep deep relaxation (a great relief in times of pain and suffering). Then he will give her a shot that stops her heart and she never knows. It is fast, painless and her last minutes will be in total relaxation. As if dieing in her sleep. Take one of your old coats for her to lay on. If the end is near and there is misery, is there a better way? Don't do this yourself. You could cause untold suffering. Be responsible and loving and let the vet do it peacefully.
I purchased a bunch of seed packets a couple of years ago. About half are from Livingston Seed Co which I learned is a reputable non-GMO company. The rest are called "American Seed". I googled American Seed and found that these seeds are from a company called Plantation Products ( http://www.plantationproducts.com/pages/cfHome.cfm ) and they have a LOT of bad reviews. There is another American Seed Co ( https://www.americanseedco.com/ ) which is a reputable supplier and they have a disclaimer saying they are not the company selling "American Seed" products to big box stores. My question is, are these American Seeds from Walmart and Meijer type stores a rip off? Should I throw them away or use them? Are Livingston Seeds ( http://livingstonseed.info/ ) as good as the website states? This is a lesson. Packages that say "American Seed" are NOT from the America Seed Co. Read your packages.
O yes, we do have squirrels. I think I need to figure out how to keep pests away this year. 2 years ago I had a great crop of strawberries in a 5x10 raised bed. But last year as soon as the plants all had little berries, the next day they were all gone,every single one. I found that bird netting is an extremely difficult thing to work with and wire fencing does not keep little rodents out.
I'm a new gardener. Have only done cucumbers, onions, strawberries and melons so far. I want to grow wheat next summer. I only have a few small garden plots. If I wanted to plan on my first crop yielding say, 10 lbs of wheat, how big of a plot would I need? Any tips on wheat planting? I'm completely unfamiliar so far.
I second community garden. Get with city leaders and have them assign a plot or even the whole dang city curb system. Get them to make compost out of all their waste (leaves, grass, old food, etc) and put you in charge of the program. This would be a wealth of good garden nutrition to be given to citizens. Start a non-gmo seed collection program. Start a "greener city" program and you determine its purpose. Put an ad on craigslist for donations of land for a community garden. You can do it.
As the wood used in Hugelkultur beds is simply to hold water as it rots, is it fair to say that any substance that rots can be used instead of logs and branches? Using logs and branches leads to a need for a lot of soil to fill the spaces and allow to settling. I wonder how it would work to just use a deep bed of leaves and other vegetation? I have tons of leaves but not a lot of branches lying around. Also have lots of grass but I wonder if grass would be a good idea. I'm new here so I am playing with easy ideas to get started and get some good garden beds started. I'm in Michigan and have a yard of hard soil. I intend to have a good crop of compost next year and would like to put in some raised beds with wood chip paths in between.
Got around 30 large bags of mulched leaves now. Heres some pics. Temp inside has ht 140 degrees. These are all fallen leaves. I assume that this temp will not hold since they are low in nitrogen. Correct? I will probably require to add greens to hold the temp right? Still planning on topping this off and have started a second bin to the left of this one. Lot of leaves yet.
Temps here have been in the 30s and 40s at night and in the 50s and 60s during the day. I have about 16 large leaf bags of leaves shredded and piled in my compost bin. Its been 1 week and the pile is about 100 degrees inside. Size is currently about 5 ft x 5 ft and 2 feet high after settling. There are probably 50 or 60 pounds of coffee grounds thrown in also. I will probably need about 60 bags of leaves minimum to fill this bin. Trees in this area are currently about 50 percent fallen and even less in many areas. Lots of leaves to be collected.
Wow! I was not expecting this much reply so soon. Thanks!
My bin is made from farm fencing (4 inch squares about) 48 inches high to start (I may add a second story when I get it full. And held up with 6 t-posts. One on each corner and 2 on the north and south sides to add a fence divider. This divider will be only 3 feet high. I can fill the bin up to 4-6 feet. Next spring it should be settled down to 2 or 3 feet (hopefully). At that time I can aerate it and pile both side into just one side. Then every so often I can turn the pile by simply pitching the whole pile from one side to the other and add to it as stuff comes available.
And where will I get all these leaves you ask? I'll be picking up peoples bags of leaves in town before the trash man gets them.
As for anaerobic action? I did not realize that fallen leaves are already considered "brown". So I will be adding "greens" and probable some manure.
I'm going all out this fall and filling a 10ftx10ftx6ft bin with leaves. I will also keep a replenish pile nearby. Questions....I don't have time to run them through my crappy shredder. Will the leaves still compost at a reasonable rate if I turn them from time to time? If I start this in the fall will breakdown begin before it gets too cold and then continue through the winter?
I have a thought for "turning" the pile. How about a pvc pipe rammed through the center, wiggled around to loosen things up a bit and then left there for a while to let fresh air in. Then the pipe will be moved to a differant location. It seems to me that this should have the same effect as turning...not as well but better than nothing. Also, a spray nozzle inserted could disburse moisture.
What do you think? Sure I'm lazy but aren't we all...aren't many of us...aren't some of us...are you? If I have to turn it I will but if I can find a simpler method I'll go with that.
paul wheaton wrote:
so she piled
on straw and a light scattering of soil, planted potatoes into it, and
harvested a couple bushels of spuds in addition to dissolving the "problem".
How would potatoes grow in a pile of logs and brush covered with dirt? This must be assuming that the dirt applied to the pile would be quite deep...12 inches minimum? Or must you wait for the brush to start to decompose? I ask because it seems as though the potatoes would be expected to grow amongst a network of voids and empty places. Plus, when harvesting you would need to dig the potatoes from amongst the buried debris.
I have had a rinky dink compost pile for 2 years now. Started out with about a 6ft x 6ft leaf pile. The next year it was down to about 2ft square. So I knew it was working. Never got around to adding a lot to it. This year I added a little straw and hay (mulched with my $10 gas mulcher) and a couple wheel barrows full of fresh cut grass (mixed in well). That was just about 6 days ago. I just noticed the pile is hot inside. I stuck in a thermometer with one of those long wires leading to a sensor and found that the temp in the pile is 130 degrees. Yippee! I think this is really good. What is the best temp range?
A good compost is what, 1 part green to 3 parts brown material, or something like that? Suppose I rake up some freshly fallen leaves. These are green with lots of nitrogen. Now I also have a pile that I made 2 months ago. They are all dried up and and crumbly. These are brown and have little nitrogen and are mostly just carbon. Am I right so far? Now here is my question. How long does the green pile take to become like the brown pile? How long is the green pile usable as nitrogen and when does it become usable as carbon?
I spread some of this clay out on a plastic surface and let it thicken. It is still a little gritty from not totally rehydrating. It gone pretty gummy. Sticks to hands like crazy, so much that it takes rubbing to wash it off. I formed a couple of 4x4x1 inch bricks. One is just clay and one has chopped hay mixed with it. I had no straw so I used hay. It had very little strength to it and this is just a test. I forgot to mix sand with the clay. Woops! Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I will let these dry in the sun and see what happens. Monday I intend to call a masonary place to see if I can buy masonart clay in powder form. I'll keep you posted.
What am I hopeing to do? I am just trying to get some workable clay and then I want to fire it. If it fires like it should I want to proceed to make a kiln and then try making some bricks and eventially a backyard oven.
I grew up on a river with a beautiful blueish gray clay vein in the bank. It was great clay for shaping. I went back and now can not find it. What I find now is low clay content sandy mud. But I'm still looking. The river was dredged a few years ago but I would thing the clay should still be there.
I bought a bag of cheap kitty litter. The bag says ground clay. I mixed with water and let it soak for a day. Bought a paint mixer bit for my drill and mixed it up. Its a nasty looking brown that looks like mud. It still is sloppy and gritty instead of smooth and pasty. Maybe it needs another day to absorb the water and then more mixing. Hopefully it will turn out. Any thoughts on this?
William Bronson wrote: How about a big stainless steel stock pot?
Harbor Freight has a set of 4 ,about 20 bucks.
This is right up my alley. I actually had a stock pot but it turned out to be aluminum and it did not survive the 55 gallon trash barrel inferno. Do you know if these stainless pot will stand up to the heat for very long? How would you go about clamping the lids on. I used vice grips and the heat ruined the springs in the handles. I also used little c-clamps but I will need to find where to buy more of them. I only have 2.
My preferred method for making charcoal is to use 5 gallon paint pails with the lids. I put the wood in them and lower them into my 55 gallon burn barrel. Problem is that those steel pails are getting mighty rare. Does anyone know what industries or business still use them (instead of the plastic pails)? Or, do you have any ideas for another kind of container? I don't what to do the whole thing of creating a charcoal retort like the fancy youtube guy make. I'm not the handy and don't have the time or ambition. I just want some steel 5 gallon buckets with lids.
I tied some up in a sheet tonight and hung it on the deck railing. We'll see what happens. I think I'll have to go find a source of better clay also. I've been reading that sometimes silt fools people into thinking its clay. I have yet to see proof positive that I have good clay. We'll see.
Thanks for replying.
I've recently learned that you can harvest clay, process it, form and fire it. I am also intested in trying some cob projects. However, my main interest right now is clay. If there is a better forum for this fell free to move this post or tell me where to put it.
I went to the river where I grew up because I remember the river banks full of pure bluish or gray clay. Now, however, the river has been dredged and the findable clay has changed. It is now a grayish or brownish color. Not good with colors. Got some color blind stuff going on. Anyway, the clay comes in a 4 inch band with rotted vegetation above it and coarse gravel below it. And the clay is not very pure.. So I brought home a couple of buckets and strained it through a screen. So far so good. I let it settle and siphoned off the clear water. My problem arises at the point of forming an object from the clay. It is to wet to form. It takes many days to dry enough to get a firm clay from it. I poured some into a 55 gallon plastic barrel which was cut in half length-wise so as to get it more surface area to evaporate. So my question is, what is the proper proceedure to dry the clay. In fact, I would be happy to get advice on the whole process. I will upload some pics if I am able. The 2 cans of sand and gravel are what I removed from about 7 gallons of clay.