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May's GAMCOD garden

 
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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This area in my front yard has poor and compacted soil with little vegetation. Over the last few years I slowly started a few tree guilds with berry bushes and flowers. I mapped a 200 sq ft area in between these tree guilds for the GAMCOD project.

I am facing several challenges:

1. The soil is not fertile enough for food crops that have a higher requirement for nutrients than tree and perennial ornamental plants.

2. I don't have enough time or resources to build up soil fertility. Many organic gardens starting from scratch take the advantage of the dormant winter season and bring in large amount of organic matters.

3. Being visible in the front yard, my family members prefer it to be more pleasant looking. I don't want fencing but I also have free-ranging chickens.

4. Paul wants it cheap, productive and not taking lots of time. Although it's said you can only pick two out of the fast/good/cheap triangle, I will take the challenge.

ETA. I later change the location to meet the requirements but the above mentioned challenges are the same.
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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I save this for some basic information.

Location: Full sun
Dimension: 20' by 10'
Historical forst free days: late April to Mid October  175 days
Last frost date 2024: April 22

Plants:
Jerusalem Artichoke (March)
Garlic (March)
Mixed seeds( dill, bean, buckwheat, squash, wildflowers) (April)
Tomato (May)
Sunflower (May)
Sweet potato ( to be determined)

Input:
Chicken wire fence 50'
Bamboo stakes
Home made compost: 50 Gal
Fertilizer: 5 lbs plant material/ 32 gallon water per week
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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I'd like to make some quick compost for the plot before the season starts. Chicken manure is not allowed, since my chickens are not 100% free ranging (12 eating 50# scratch grains in a month). I scavenged available sources from ghost acre: leaves, charcoal, urine and squash peels. Covered with barks from dead ash tree since no cardboard. I built the 1/6 cubic yard pile yesterday and it's already at 90F after 17 hours. It should be done within 10 days due to the small volumn and I plan on digging in the to cure and improve soil texture ( only in the small circle part). Might plant a few potato tubers in but I couldn't find the packaging.

Time spent:
Making charcoal: 30 minutes (use only part of it)
Raking chopping and screening leaves (20 gallons): 1 hour
Prepping food scraps and building the pile: 15 + 30 minutes
Subsequent turning: 5 minutes each

Would take less time if I don't have to document.

For people interested in doing small scale hot composting, I put together some photos in my secret minion post here. I don't have time to write a detailed thread but the pictures should be sufficient.
P3057826.jpg
Raking leaves off the ditch
Raking leaves off the ditch
P3057832.jpg
Starting materials
Starting materials
Resized_20240307_081634.jpeg
The pile
The pile
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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Paulvsaid no dog bone shape so I haven't figured out what to do next. I don't have materials to start a new plot( planted all the sunchokes). I rearranged the logs to mark a 25 x8 area between existing tree guilds but that eliminated paths between them. It's hard to put path in the plot since now sunchokes are right in the middle with some outside of the plot. I have one week to decide till garlic planting time.
Resized_20240313_092848(1).jpeg
25 x8
25 x8
Resized_20240313_140550.jpeg
Hard to get around
Hard to get around
 
master steward
Posts: 6354
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
3067
4
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A couple thoughts -
Do you need a path? The bed looks fairly narrow, so much of it you can reach from either side. I think I would just plant all over it and try not to step on the plants too much.
The artichoke were only planted just over a week ago, if you could stand the effort they would probably transplant and still grow away well in a new location.
Well done for not just giving up!
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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Good or bad, we are having an early spring. I managed to dig up some tubers and they are growing fast. Another patch planted 3 weeks ago already have shoots emerging.

Plants I choose are supposed to be easy to care and resilient so I probably just need a few spots for foot traffic.
Resized_20240315_112223.jpeg
Sunchoke
Sunchoke
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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I started in a new site and left the original plots for perennials. I didn't choose the backyard at first because we had two years of severe drought and situation is really bad there since it's more exposed. The ground is barely covered with 1" residues even though we haven't mowed since last July. I parked the truck bed liner too long on one spot and killed the grass underneath, although I tried mulching and sowing lots of cover crop seeds it remains bare. Choosing this area will mean more work and I may not get any harvest, but building soil is my priority.

I have planted 7.5 lbs of Jerusalem artichokes and 1.5 lbs of garlic, now I am making compost for warm season crops. I also started a spreadsheet to record all the planting date/ amount/cost/time. Everything is going as planned.

Taking video is some new skill to learn for me. I have an over 10-year old DSLR that I only use lightly since I had kids. Participating in GAMCOD rekindles my enthusiasm in photography. Many clips won't be submitted but still are lovely records of MO wildlife for myself.
P3217941.jpg
20 by 10 in the start
20 by 10 in the start
Resized_20240222_140447.jpeg
Cover crops can't save the dead spot
Cover crops can't save the dead spot
Resized_20240325_153922.jpeg
Old camara still going strong
Old camara still going strong
 
gardener
Posts: 1958
Location: British Columbia
1105
3
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That's awesome May! I bet there are people on Permies that can help if you need some camera support.

Oh wow your trees are blossoming! I'm so excited to start but it's currently snowing!
 
Nancy Reading
master steward
Posts: 6354
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
3067
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May Lotito wrote:Taking video is some new skill to learn for me. I have an over 10-year old DSLR that I only use lightly since I had kids. Participating in GAMCOD rekindles my enthusiasm in photography. Many clips won't be submitted but still are lovely records of MO wildlife for myself.


I actually bought myself a second hand DLSR partly for potential GAMCOD, and partly towards some photography to sell in my shop (calenders and jigsaws). I'm finding it a bit awkward - I wear glasses and the viewfinder diopter does not adjust enough to my poor vision, but I'm not happy with the autofocus. I also need to teach myself video editing - always something new to learn :)
 
May Lotito
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Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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A good phone would be very convenient to carry around for all kinds of shootings. My phone is a cheap one so the DSLR is irreplaceable when I need to take a full view of the garden area or footage of local flora and fauna. The latters are important phenology indicators and help me make decisions on planting schedules. We have a warm winter and spring and a early hot summer is likely to follow. I planted my cool season crops at least two weeks early. I skip leafy crops and potatoes in the GAMCOD garden and start rooting some sweet potato tubers based on this year's weather.
 
May Lotito
gardener
Posts: 1487
Location: Zone 6b
973
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We had one light frost on April 22nd, a few days before the historical last frost date. I planted 8 sunflower seeds and transplanted 3 cherry tomatoes before we had multi days of storms and recieved over 7 inches of rain over the weekend.
IMG_20240429_072725.jpg
Planting done
Planting done
IMG_20240429_072241.jpg
Sunchokes
Sunchokes
IMG_20240429_072239.jpg
Garlic
Garlic
 
May Lotito
gardener
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Location: Zone 6b
973
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Sneak peek.
Screenshot-2024-05-09-151307.png
Planting sunchokes
Planting sunchokes
Screenshot-2024-05-09-151416.png
Planting garlic
Planting garlic
Screenshot-2024-05-09-150709.png
Burning biochar
Burning biochar
Screenshot-2024-05-09-152447.png
Broadcasting mixed seeds
Broadcasting mixed seeds
Screenshot-2024-05-09-150553.png
Raking leaves
Raking leaves
Screenshot-2024-05-09-151048.png
Hot compost
Hot compost
 
Nancy Reading
master steward
Posts: 6354
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
3067
4
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Oh I do like your garden helpers! Looks like they are getting right in there.
 
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy, because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low, little ad
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