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Trying to garden better this year

 
pollinator
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I have a lot of failure. I think that's a combination of not spending money on it and being less than involved continually.

So I spent some money and made some new beds. Cardboard, compost and rock edging.
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These beds are on either side of the path to the barn
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They are this narrow as the cardboard boxes i used opened this large.
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How I occupied the Kraken so I could accomplish things.
 
elle sagenev
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I had some super weedy flower beds. Since they were already planted I decided to use shredded paper to suppress weeds and then mulch. As you can see not having a planting plan or defined planting area my flower area is stupidly planted.
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elle sagenev
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This rock is something we harvest from the fields in front of our house. I love it!  I have used weed fabric along the fence. Not ideal but I have laziness regarding weeding obvs.
 
master pollinator
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Location: Between Tacoma and Mt Rainier in the Pacific Northwest
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Your kraken occupier set up made me laugh because I was doing the same thing last week with my littlest one. A water table and a hose set to trickle kept her busy long enough to weed out the stuff choking my flowers and strawberries. Now I need to get some mulch! Normally she's been helping me but this area was full of buttercup and she likes to eat the weeds like a good little permie and isn't big enough to remember that buttercup is a no-no.
 
elle sagenev
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Jenny Wright wrote:Your kraken occupier set up made me laugh because I was doing the same thing last week with my littlest one. A water table and a hose set to trickle kept her busy long enough to weed out the stuff choking my flowers and strawberries. Now I need to get some mulch! Normally she's been helping me but this area was full of buttercup and she likes to eat the weeds like a good little permie and isn't big enough to remember that buttercup is a no-no.



She had a great time! Then she was scooping water out and watering my garden beds. Super cute and I accomplished things. YAY! Happy to hear I'm not the only one.
 
elle sagenev
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So I'm having a problem with cats pooping in these new beds. What to do? HELP!
 
pollinator
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I look at your photos, and I'm thinking "I AM NOT A ROBOT, click all the photos that contain a litterbox." and I'm clicking pretty much all of them. LOL.

I'm guessing you mean the new soil/compost/rock edged beds, not the shredded paper/mulch/flower beds, right? And that it's a "problem" since these beds are for food?
A temporary cover of bird netting, or wire fence, just an inch or two up, would make it weird to walk on or not quite possible to "do their business as usual". We had a farm cat that liked the freshly prepared beds too, but we're a flower farm, so there.

Nothing wrong with those flower beds, by the way, you've got room for growth or more new plants...
 
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elle sagenev wrote:So I'm having a problem with cats pooping in these new beds. What to do? HELP!



In the past I have poked lots and lots of sticks in all over a bed. Cats don't want to dig if they have to deal with the sticks. Time-consuming, but works. There are few things quite as gross as digging in your nice garden bed with your bare hands and coming across a handful of slimy, stinky cat poo.
 
Lila Stevens
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Jenny Wright wrote:Your kraken occupier set up made me laugh because I was doing the same thing last week with my littlest one. A water table and a hose set to trickle kept her busy long enough to weed out the stuff choking my flowers and strawberries. Now I need to get some mulch! Normally she's been helping me but this area was full of buttercup and she likes to eat the weeds like a good little permie and isn't big enough to remember that buttercup is a no-no.



Mine get the hose on trickle into the baby pool, next to a sandy spot or the "mud pit" where they can bucket out water, dig in the mud, and get really, really dirty. This will keep my two busy for some time, unless they start fighting over which part of the mud belongs to who... I'm not even kidding. But my 5-year-old can keep himself busy for literally hours though with the baby pool and the mud pit, if his sister is otherwise occupied. Mine are 5 and 8 now, and it is just amazing to not have toddlers anymore and have them actually occupy themselves for long stretches of time.
 
pollinator
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Sometimes having a sacrifice area with loose soil for the cats helps. As things grow in the beds the cats won't find them so ideal anymore.

That's a good idea having beds alongside your path to the barn. You will be able to check on them more often since you will be walking by.
 
elle sagenev
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:I look at your photos, and I'm thinking "I AM NOT A ROBOT, click all the photos that contain a litterbox." and I'm clicking pretty much all of them. LOL.

I'm guessing you mean the new soil/compost/rock edged beds, not the shredded paper/mulch/flower beds, right? And that it's a "problem" since these beds are for food?
A temporary cover of bird netting, or wire fence, just an inch or two up, would make it weird to walk on or not quite possible to "do their business as usual". We had a farm cat that liked the freshly prepared beds too, but we're a flower farm, so there.

Nothing wrong with those flower beds, by the way, you've got room for growth or more new plants...



I have the same wood shavings around every fruit tree and they are just litter boxes. It's not a big problem though because I'm not digging in them. So yeah, it's the food beds that are a problem for me. Darn cats. I suppose I could chicken wire over the top.
 
Jenny Wright
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I've read about draping tulle over beds. Anything with claws supposedly will avoid it because it's uncomfortable. It lets water and air and sun through, is very lightweight, and cheaper and less tanglely than bird netting and it would last for years. I keep intending to try it out.
 
pollinator
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Wish you a successful gardening year! The garden bed looks neat. I remember you said people don't spray locally so hopefully the compost you purchased is toxic free.

I had bad experience with potting mix/soil this year. First bag I bought was basically woodchip and chaff. After a few rain showers, all the young plants showed signs of nitrogen deficiency. 2nd bag was from Burpee and it was great for starting small seedlings because of the coconut coir. Then I got a bag of M brand raised bed soil, hoping the plants will adjust faster when transplanted into the garden. Well, various cuttings never rooted after 3 weeks. Tomatoes and peppers were stunted at the cotyledon stage for two weeks. When I finally repotted all of them, I saw the roots had very little grow and no root hair. I will be very careful with purchased garden mix next time and do some quick test before using them.
 
Lila Stevens
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May Lotito wrote:Wish you a successful gardening year! The garden bed looks neat. I remember you said people don't spray locally so hopefully the compost you purchased is toxic free.

I had bad experience with potting mix/soil this year. First bag I bought was basically woodchip and chaff. After a few rain showers, all the young plants showed signs of nitrogen deficiency. 2nd bag was from Burpee and it was great for starting small seedlings because of the coconut coir. Then I got a bag of M brand raised bed soil, hoping the plants will adjust faster when transplanted into the garden. Well, various cuttings never rooted after 3 weeks. Tomatoes and peppers were stunted at the cotyledon stage for two weeks. When I finally repotted all of them, I saw the roots had very little grow and no root hair. I will be very careful with purchased garden mix next time and do some quick test before using them.



Yes, I too have found that bagged potting mixes and composts can vary so greatly! Some are just completely useless. We just started at a new property a year ago, so I needed to enrich the soil fast, and bought a variety of different things. Boy was that a learning experience. One that was supposed to be "cow manure and compost materials" was basically sand and woodchips. Luckily I only got one bag of that. Another potting mix I used for seed starting stunted all of my plants, or they just didn't come up at all. Organic pro-mix works amazingly, but it is mostly peat moss, which I don't feel good about, so maybe when I have time I will experiment with making my own with mostly coco coir and compost. Maybe start a worm bin to add worm castings. One thing I learned this year is that a good seed-starting mix makes a huge difference.

The best compost I bought was from a local compost facility, by the pickup-truck-load. It was made from composted yard waste mixed with cow manure. Also the most affordable for the quantity. It still wasn't as nice as homemade compost, but way better than anything I got in a bag. I tried 3 different compost facilities within an hour of me; this one had the least trash in it and also was the only one that added manure. The others definitely needed nitrogen added, probably to deal with all the not-quite-composted bits of wood in them.

I'll be picking up lots and lots of autumn leaves this fall from the nearest towns, though. With our goats and chickens contributing to that, I hope to not have to buy any compost at all by next year.  
 
elle sagenev
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Ya'll are killing me. I better have bought stuff that things will grow in!!!

I do see some sprouts but not everything I had expected. Of course, it snowed after I planted so I may just have to replant it all for that reason. We shall see.
 
Lila Stevens
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elle sagenev wrote:Ya'll are killing me. I better have bought stuff that things will grow in!!!

I do see some sprouts but not everything I had expected. Of course, it snowed after I planted so I may just have to replant it all for that reason. We shall see.



If it looked and smelled good I'm sure you are fine :) And you are mixing it into existing soil, so there are nutrients there too. Just keep an eye on your plants, and you might have to add some manure or something if things seem nitrogen-deficient.

I had pretty poor germination when direct-seeding here in Texas, probably because it was really hard to keep the upper layers of soil moist enough. So now I am starting most things in pots and transplanting. Not super permie, I know, but better than getting no garden at all. You gotta do what you gotta do :)
 
Lila Stevens
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I just looked more closely at your photos and saw you were using a steer manure blend. I'll bet you'll be just fine for nitrogen.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:

Kenneth Elwell wrote:I look at your photos, and I'm thinking "I AM NOT A ROBOT, click all the photos that contain a litterbox." and I'm clicking pretty much all of them. LOL.

I'm guessing you mean the new soil/compost/rock edged beds, not the shredded paper/mulch/flower beds, right? And that it's a "problem" since these beds are for food?
A temporary cover of bird netting, or wire fence, just an inch or two up, would make it weird to walk on or not quite possible to "do their business as usual". We had a farm cat that liked the freshly prepared beds too, but we're a flower farm, so there.

Nothing wrong with those flower beds, by the way, you've got room for growth or more new plants...



I have the same wood shavings around every fruit tree and they are just litter boxes. It's not a big problem though because I'm not digging in them. So yeah, it's the food beds that are a problem for me. Darn cats. I suppose I could chicken wire over the top.



do you have some old hay you could spread around as mulch?
 
elle sagenev
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Laurel Jones wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:

Kenneth Elwell wrote:I look at your photos, and I'm thinking "I AM NOT A ROBOT, click all the photos that contain a litterbox." and I'm clicking pretty much all of them. LOL.

I'm guessing you mean the new soil/compost/rock edged beds, not the shredded paper/mulch/flower beds, right? And that it's a "problem" since these beds are for food?
A temporary cover of bird netting, or wire fence, just an inch or two up, would make it weird to walk on or not quite possible to "do their business as usual". We had a farm cat that liked the freshly prepared beds too, but we're a flower farm, so there.

Nothing wrong with those flower beds, by the way, you've got room for growth or more new plants...



I cannot easily get hay as I don't own a truck. The wood shavings are bagged animal bedding and Ivan fit 6 bags in my tiny Honda insight. That's mostly why I'm doing it.

I have the same wood shavings around every fruit tree and they are just litter boxes. It's not a big problem though because I'm not digging in them. So yeah, it's the food beds that are a problem for me. Darn cats. I suppose I could chicken wire over the top.



do you have some old hay you could spread around as mulch?



I don't own a truck. That's the limiting factor. The wood shavings I use are animal bedding so they're bagged and I can fit 6 of them in my Honda Insight. Tiny arse car. lol
 
elle sagenev
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Lila Stevens wrote:I just looked more closely at your photos and saw you were using a steer manure blend. I'll bet you'll be just fine for nitrogen.



I find it doesn't hold water well though. It runs right off of it without sinking in. I'm working on cutting all the grass in the area and throwing it on top as mulch. Maybe it'll help.
 
pollinator
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Same problem. My solution. Make a bowl of dirt around each plant and top it off with the mulch of your choice.
DSC05089.JPG
Bowl holds water
Bowl holds water
DSC05091.JPG
Mulch retains the water
Mulch retains the water
 
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Location: Southern Manitoba...bald(ish) prairie, zone 2b/3
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Debbie Ann wrote:Same problem. My solution. Make a bowl of dirt around each plant and top it off with the mulch of your choice.



I spent a summer working as a landscape labourer many years back and we essentially did create a well like that when planting perennials, shrubs, and trees.  Depending on the job specs we mulched some and left others exposed.
 
Debbie Ann
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Welcome to Permies Derek. We all appreciate your input. Your knowledge is appreciated.
 
I got this tall by not having enough crisco in my diet as a kid. This ad looks like it had plenty of shortening:
HARDY FRUIT TREES FOR ORGANIC AND PERMACULTURE
https://permies.com/t/132540/HARDY-FRUIT-TREES-ORGANIC-PERMACULTURE
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