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Dale's - Three Day Garden  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6673
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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This project started when my friends from Thailand lamented the loss of their gardens after moving from houses to condominiums. Both are ladies whose children are grown. Financial reasons forced downsizing.

My total contribution so far, has been about 15 hours of labor over 3 different days.


It took 5 minutes for me to find a beautiful south facing garden on a garden sharing website. It is a few blocks from their home, has deep soil, and has a deer fence.

I immediately called the owner. She told me that three different couples had made a start and then abandoned the garden in the three years it was listed. Because of this, she was no longer interested in having someone take over the garden. --- And that's where it might have ended. --- I asked my friends if they had pictures from their old gardens. One had a laptop full of great photos of herself, surrounded by a beautiful garden at her old place. I emailed the best ones to the garden owner. She phoned me the next morning and by that afternoon, we were all digging up her weed patch !

Work began on July 7th. Next year it will start in March.


The first day was spent hacking at turf with a mattock, digging out long forgotten brick pathways that were covered with soil and yanking up about 200 sq. ft. of burried landscape fabric that had totally failed at suppressing weeds.
-------
The first photo was taken on the second day. All of the sod was piled up after shaking out some soil and then I covered it with black plastic which got very hot in the July sun.

A total kill was achieved within a week. None of the grass or morning glory from the super hot compost have sprouted.

My gardening partners had quite a collection of over crowded vegetables on a balcony and in a friend's flower bed. These plants were moved to the garden. The owner had a small patch of over crowded lettuce. The last photo was taken about 8 days into the project.

The dead grass was piled in rows and covered with soil and lettuce. There was about 2 cubic meters of well rotted leaf mold and sticks on the property. These lettuce mounds are mini hugel beds with a very absorbent interior.

The sweet potatoes in the foreground were planted on about July 12 and will never mature. The leaves are eaten. A sprouted mango seed also produces leaf and could never survive our winter.
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Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6673
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Thai kale is prolific and not bitter. The leaves are thick. The sweet potatoes were bought in Chinatown as leaf and stem cuttings. Most of the stem is buried. At first, it looked like they would die but later photos will reveal just how well they are doing after 7 weeks.

The lettuce hugel is about 3 weeks old in the second photo.

Photo 3 was taken about 5 weeks in.

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Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Thai morning glory is a mild tasting salad green that cooks up like chard or kale. One area was infested with regular morning glory. We chose to plant it in that spot in order to out compete the wild stuff. So far, so good.

The sweet potatoes are also in that plant family. Here they after 7 weeks. Leaves are ready for harvest.

The lettuce mounds have settled a little.

Stuff is coming on fast now.
It's been almost 2 months since the garden was just grass and weeds. It's more than we can eat. I have bags of lettuce that I dispense to friends. The owners of the garden eat almost none of it, preferring to look at it from their porch.

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Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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A few days ago, we got permission to remove more lawn and enlarge the garden.

That's me using the mattock.

The ladies beat the sod that I removed until the soil was a fine powder. Pleas for mercy were ignored. I tried in vain to convey the concept of over tillage.
"We know how, we know how" was the reply. At one point there was laughter after something funny was said in the Thai language. I enquired about it and was told, " She said, hit you one time on the head. Dead. You too bossy". I am very bossy.

My gardening buddies are both approaching 60 and their experience far surpasses my own. Both come from small farming villages and have been at it since they were 2 years old. The largest is a strapping 115 lb. but you wouldn't want to meet them in a back alley if they are carrying gardening tools.

The seed bed was covered in straw before anything was planted. This prevents damage to seedlings and pants stay clean.

On the second day of this project, I picked up one of the ladies and she was dressed up in the same sort of outfit that she'd wear when going to see the Buddist monks. I asked why she wore her good clothes. She said, "Because I might see Anne and I want her to know that I take the garden seriously". Anne is the very happy owner of the garden.
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Dale Hodgins
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All of the grass was piled up two days ago. It is mixed with about 100 lb. of chicken manure and coffee grounds. It should be ready in a week. I said it would be 10 days before the space could be put into production. I received 2 calls today, asking me to hurry it along. "GARLIC MUST BE PLANTED NOW".

It took 15 minutes to construct this hugelkultur strawberry castle.
It contains some freshly cut cherry branches covered with several wheelbarrows of leaf mold.---- My gardening buddies doubt the whole concept of hugelkultur.---- At one point, one of them looked at the tree waste and said, "No good, snakes will live there and bite me". I Googled - snakes of Vancouver Island - on my phone and showed them images of our harmless garter snakes. This was met with skepticism. They grew up with cobras and pythons in the rice paddys. Five minutes after going over the harmless nature of our snakes, I was asked to seal up all of the gaps in the brick work, to prevent entry. Ever bearing strawberries will occupy those gaps.
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Mariamne Ingalls
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: NE Ohio (Zone 6a, on the cusp of 6b) 38.7" annual precip
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Wow, Dale!

FAB! FAB! FAB!

Thank you for sharing this! Mariamne
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Never underestimate the will of an Asian cook when it comes to growing food.
Most Asian cuisine consists of a couple ounces of meat to each pound of vegetables.

If I ever decided to go vegetarian, I would want to move to India, Indonesia, or Thailand.
Looking at how most westerners cook veggies, it's no wonder 'kids don't like vegetables'.

It sounds like the property owners are happy to have found somebody who will produce.
A win/win situation.

 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Mariamne Ingalls wrote:Wow, Dale!

FAB! FAB! FAB!

Thank you for sharing this! Mariamne


Thanks Mariamne, it's been fun. I've never gone from nothing to something so fast. Two months ago I bought all of my vegetables. Now I'm giving some away.
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Polk wrote:Never underestimate the will of an Asian cook when it comes to growing food.
Most Asian cuisine consists of a couple ounces of meat to each pound of vegetables.

If I ever decided to go vegetarian, I would want to move to India, Indonesia, or Thailand.
Looking at how most westerners cook veggies, it's no wonder 'kids don't like vegetables'.

It sounds like the property owners are happy to have found somebody who will produce.
A win/win situation.


That iron will can be problematic. On the first day, I was sweating like a pig.
Whenever I stopped to drink or for any other reason, the break was interrupted by "hurry up, hurry up". Those plants had survived just fine on the balcony for months. Then, once I find them a garden, they couldn't wait for an extra hour to get it planted.

Many of the fast grown vegetables are naturally mildly flavored. Some of the concoctions made from them could strip paint. :cry: When I was invited for supper, I had to cook my kale, chard, mustard greens and morning glory separately. I tried mixing some of their spicy stuff into mine at a 10 to 1 ratio. Still so hot that I could barely eat it.

When I peeked into this pot, I was told, " fulong (white guys) don't like to look at that kind". She was right.
I was served a nice fillet of fish with no head attached. :)
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Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Thai pumpkins are grown for the leaf. There are many items that are referred to as Thai this and Thai that. I thought a quiz might be fun. I asked about the origin of a dozen different plants. Corn, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, coffee, bananas, oranges, beans... If it likes warm weather, they believe it's from Thailand. Then I got into cool weather stuff. Turnips- Canada. Swiss chard - Canada. Brussels sprouts - Canada. They have experienced two places. Canada is credited with just about every modern convenience and all cool weather vegetables. Going further, I discovered that they had never heard of Antarctica. The news was met with laughter and disbelief. I had to show pictures and video to prove that I hadn't made it up. ----- One question was answered correctly. It was agreed that Buddha came from India, up in the mountains somewhere. When ? "A long time ago" . So, I guess there were two correct answers.

Kale is grown over the Thai morning glory.

There are still many green strawberries. Hopefully they'll keep going until October.

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Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Nice work!

The Thai Morning Glory I think is KangKong/Ipomoea Aquatica, closely related to morning glories and sweet potato which is Ipomoea Batatas.

We picked up a fresh bunch at the farmer's market stripped the leaves and planted the stems and it was off to the races. Fast grower and super-easy to root from cuttings, same as sweet potato vines, perennial and can be grown in water or soil.

 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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yukkuri kame wrote:Nice work!

The Thai Morning Glory I think is KangKong/Ipomoea Aquatica, closely related to morning glories and sweet potato which is Ipomoea Batatas.

We picked up a fresh bunch at the farmer's market stripped the leaves and planted the stems and it was off to the races. Fast grower and super-easy to root from cuttings, same as sweet potato vines, perennial and can be grown in water or soil.


They call it Pak Boong. Google images has many examples. Smaller leaf but grown in the manner shown in the video. I think it's safe to say that they are both cultivars derived from the same or similar wild stock. One word may be Chinese , Vietnamese ...

I want to try several varieties as a ground cover surrounding a large pond on my farm.
Most other plants want drier soil or they want to be submerged. This one can fill the gap. It will winter kill here. That's fine. There are many undesirable natives that will occupy this zone unless something smothers them. That something should be something edible and salable. --- This little garden is a test plot for me. I want to cover a few acres with easy care edibles. I'm sure that some Thai stuff will make the cut.
-------
Further digging has revealed that they are different plants. KangKong is widespread and has many local names. Wikipedia --- In Thailand, where it is called phak bung it is eaten raw, often along with green papaya salad or nam phrik, in stir-fries and in and curries such as kaeng som. In Laos, where it is known as pak bong ...
 
Dale Hodgins
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I harvested a bike yesterday!!! It was beside a shed and completely engulfed in morning glory. The owner said, "take it away". Score. Aluminum frame and wheels are a positive. --- I noticed a shovel handle sticking out of the weeds and started digging. There were also two rakes, a hoe, an edging tool and some rolls of wire. The bike was behind the vine covered wire.

It turns out that the Thai morning glory was actually a Chinese variety. It was chosen for cold tolerance. The Thai stuff that I ate came from the garden of a lady named Lung. I thought it was the stuff we grew.

Onion seedlings are protected by straw.

Here's a view from the porch. Much nicer than the weedy mess of two months ago. The owners are getting a chicken tractor to keep a few laying hens in. This should help with the slugs, which are the only significant garden pest in these parts.

I've come up with a way to passively market some of the extra produce.
Most of the women from this little community make their living preparing food or doing Thai massage. People with back and other injuries are subjected to more poking and prodding than a hide being tanned. I don't have any aches and pains, but I agreed to endure one minute of free neck and shoulder work. It was downright painful. I don't recommend it unless you're into pain or already in pain. They think I'm a sissy. There's no funny business allowed. They serve both male and female clients --- Anyway, it turns out that tips make up a good slice of that income. They already serve tea and little spicy treats at the shop. I suggested that customers be given a little gift bag of garden produce to take home. This was done, some was turned into spring rolls and a rolled lettuce leaf and spice thing has been added to the shop menu. Tips have gone up. News of my garden finding skills may lead to me searching out additional space for others.

Part of the deal in this crowd of older married ladies, is that they all seem to be amateur match makers and they won't rest until every single female relative at home who wants to emigrate has done so. My lack of interest in this sort of arrangement is frowned upon. They seem to take personal affront. Marriage fraud is openly discussed as are the financial credentials of every single male in Victoria who has been judged as suitable husband material for daughters, nieces, cousins ... They never tire of this line of conversation, interrogation and investigation.
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Dale Hodgins
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The good news never ends. The ladies have been doing some trades with other Thai women who have well established gardens. One of them was hosting a party yesterday and needed lettuce, celantro and mustard greens. We have way too much of this stuff. We were given apples, some pie and the squash pictured below. Potatoes will arrive soon.

I'm totally out of the loop as to what might be harvested and who it goes to. It's working, so why rock the boat. Looking at all the stuff we were given in exchange for our greens, I asked why we got so much. "Because our garden is new. Next year we will give to them". Works for me.

Here's another thing that I have learned in sharing this project.
My Thai friends come from a rural society where self sufficiency is a matter of pride. Everyone is expected to contribute food at the many social gatherings that they are invited to. Thong told me that since her house was sold, she was unable to afford the high quality ingredients for dishes that she used to contribute. She has grown 200 lb. of garlic in a season and used to bring a roasted garlic dish to weddings or to visiting monks. She said she was embarrassed about bringing store bought stuff to these events for the past two years. With lots of home grown bounty, she plans to once again make quality food that is the talk of the party.
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William Bronson
Posts: 1412
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Thank you for sharing this! I love your spirit of community and cooperation. You sir make a mean"stone soup"!
 
Dale Hodgins
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William Bronson wrote:Thank you for sharing this! I love your spirit of community and cooperation. You sir make a mean"stone soup"!


Thanks William. The ladies are quite cooperative with one another.

NO FEE VEGETABLE MARKET

The largest outdoor market in the city is just across a narrow street from the garden. People pay quite a bit to sell there. If we can get permission from the owner, some stuff will be sold from the lawn next year. There's a chance that the owner won't want to compete with the market. I won't let the market owners concerns affect me. Many in this city sell produce from home. Attempting to stop us would generate really bad PR. So, it all comes down to whether the garden owner wants to let it happen.

I don't expect to be involved in this garden long term
, since I have several acres of my own to plant on. I may eventually enlist several people to sell my stuff in the city and the Thai ladies top that list.

WILD HARVEST

I've been harvesting lots of wild fruit. Next year, I plan to harvest tons of it by allowing students to harvest fruit in exchange for travel on my bus. Several older ladies have expressed interest in making jam, apple sauce, pies and fruit leather in exchange for travel. My website will have a page dedicated to all of the ways that a person can earn rides through labor or other services. Food is included in the cost of some trips, so I have a built in customer base for anything I grow or harvest. The best way to get full retail is to have a restaurant where all meals are paid for upfront when tickets are sold. It's all legal. I am basically a mobile eatery. This little garden is small potatoes compared to all of my other food related business that will be rolled out over a five year period.

Eventually I want to supply food for company events, weddings and other gatherings.
I won't go hat in hand, looking to sell produce to the caterer. I'll generate leads through the bus business when arrangements are made for transport to various venues. I will include catering in my pricing. That will make me the middle man.The caterer gets the business contingent on using my produce, jam, fruit smoothies ...
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Dale Hodgins
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Beans are ready now.

This big leafy thing is mustard that should have gone to seed but it was cut down by a student who lives with the owner. His garden access has been put on hold, pending some education. Red ribbons are being tied to items that are not to be touched.

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Dale Hodgins
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FREE COMPOST AROUND EVERY CORNER. -------- I've seen these bags of compost stacked near the garbage cans at many homes. Then I saw this truck and it all came together in my mind. The city's has a new composting program. The trucks start each run loaded with these bags.

They gather and distribute at the same time. The stuff shows up beside the cans automatically. So it stands to reason that at the homes where it is left to pile up by the cans, they have no use for it. I enquireed at 3 houses and 2 told me I could take it away ! "Meatloaf" would agree that 2 outa 3 ain't bad.

A few days ago I met an organic landscaper with tons of clippings to give away.

Two lucky finds. But I had to ask. So often useful stuff is unwanted by others.

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Dale Hodgins
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The big pile of sod has gotten very hot and the grass is dead. Much of it has been loaded into the brick planter along with sticks, leaves and grass clippings.

About a third of it was mixed with grass and leaves from the landscaper.

I jammed the most coarse chunks of sod into pails to be covered by the plastic along with the new hot compost made from mostly grass and leaves.
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Dale Hodgins
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The new compost will be ready in a week.

The new ground was planted in celery shortly after it was available.

Some of the lettuce is done. Thong harvested it and planted something new right away. She went easy on the tilling this time. YouTube videos of ruth stout methods have had some effect

Her boyfriend has secured a grass covered plot in a community garden. I'm going to kill the grass using the paper- no till potatoes method. Before watching the videos, they planned to dig and sort the grass from the soil.
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allen lumley
pollinator
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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William Bronson : I was trying to think of a way to share in the spirit of 'the giving', and point out how every buddy gained out of this arrangement !

And then you came up with the perfect turn of a phrase - Stone soup indeed ! This could easily grow into a forum level topic, and I for one- hope it does !

For the good of all things Permies! think like Fire ! Flow like a Gas ! Don't Be the Marshmallow ! Comments,/questions are always welcome Big AL




 
Dale Hodgins
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Thank you, William and Allen. I had to Google the stone soup story. We're certainly scrounging resources and other input from the whole village.

I hope to multiply this, many times over.
We have a large, mostly elderly population who often have unused garden space and we have a growing population from Asia, South America and Africa who usually don't have access to land because they tend to live in apartments and shared accommodation. Many new arrivals have agricultural experience and a strong desire to get ahead financially through frugality and self sufficiency. I'm happy to facilitate arrangements between diverse groups. Many from various ethnic communities, go to great lengths, to produce foods that come from their home country. In doing so, they become breeders of cold resistant varieties and masters of micro climate creation. This knowledge and these crops are adopted by the rest of us over time. ----------------

The first batch of lettuce is done. This new crop of kale is 6 days old and doing very well.

The onions are well established.

The Thai kale growing in the pots has been harvested at least 10 times.
Half of a plant can be removed every two weeks. I called Thong the other day, to ask what needs to be done in the garden. She said "Picking, picking, picking. Must be more picking for more growing". The tenderness and lack of bitterness is related to quick growth and regular harvest. Next year I will get some seeds for this amazing crop and I'll send some to members of the forum who are in the seed business. If there's a test garden at Paul's place, I'll send some there. The discovery of this crop, has been the best part of the whole experience for me. It will be interesting to see what other botanical treasures await discovery, next year.
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Dale Hodgins
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Today's harvest included chard, kale, mustard and radish greens, celantro, beans, parsley, sweet potato greens, apples and strawberries.

The neighbor saw me gathering fallen apples against the fence and said I could pick them all. The ever bearing strawberries are still flowering but colder weather will soon stop that.

I separated about 20 daughter plants from the 2 original strawberry plants. There are many more in pots.

I have now put a total of about 20 hours of work into the garden, plus about 4 harvest hours.

I have some dummies living on my land, who have grown less in the 16 months that they've been "farming". I'm going to move them along and do my own farming next spring.
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Dale Hodgins
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These radishes are grown for the pods which are the size of a small bean. They're still flowering in October.

The kale is smothering the Thai morning glory. I think it needs a longer season. Mid July was a late start for many items.

I harvested 2 garbage bags of greens for the freezer. Lots of stems and air in those bags. Probably 15 pounds of lightly boiled stuff was frozen. This is a task that I hope to delegate in the future.
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Dale Hodgins
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SHADE --- Most Canadian gardens see a frosty end to the gardening season. Here on the west coast we have a very long season of up to 9 months.

The trees grow taller here and there are mountains. These things cast long shadows over many gardens, long before December frost can take it's toll. I'm 20 miles from the world's largest Douglas Fir. Shade doesn't kill things outright, but growth grinds to a halt.

The garden is in pretty good sun now on October 8th from 8:30 am until 10:30 am, then it's in partial shade until 3pm, completely shaded until 4:15pm and then in sun again until 6.15 pm except for an area shaded by a tall wooden fence. This will get progressively worse and will get back to this point by the second week of March.

Tall houses to the south are the culprits for our garden. It lies 35 feet from the house that is about 32 feet tall. A giant 4plex next door is taller.

The first photo shows the garden at 4pm. It's a bright sunny day, but the whole thing is shaded. By 4:30 it's in partial sun again. A month ago, the plants saw 3 hours more light than now. The days get shorter in the fall, but most of the loss has been due to the lower angle of incidence. The front yard of this house still sees 10 hours of sun per day.
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When the garden was started in July, shade was not a problem. We go from days that are over 16 hours long in June, to Just under 8 hours in December at this latitude 48.5 N. Cloud cover and other shade blocks most light from November to February. Therefore it's critical that the site makes good use of those long days. Mine does that. By November, growth will be virtually stopped, but the garden is still a good cold storage area. Some folks use a sheet of plastic to preserve hardy greens through the winter. They may not grow very much, but it's a nice big fridge. Rabbits and slugs can be a problem.
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At my own place, I have some areas that will make use of 14 hours of light in June and that will still see 9 hours in mid October. All greenhouses will be in that area, which is on a gentle south facing slope. Paul started a thread called "Greenhouse suck factor". Most of the problems associated with greenhouses during the winter, have to do with poor light levels caused in part by poor site selection. The closer you are to the poles, the shorter your winter day length and the further you must be from sun blocking obstacles when the sun is low in the sky. My gardening partners want a greenhouse. This desire comes from a belief that temperature alone is our main concern. It's not happening.
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Edith Stacey
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Hi Dale:

I concur that:
"Most Canadian gardens see a frosty end to the gardening season. Here on the west coast we have a very long season of up to 9 months.... and that by November, growth will be virtually stopped."

However I think there is a popular misconception that winter gardening means just different varieties, whereas in our climate it really is winter harvesting of plants sown and/or transplanted many months earlier. It is true of course than hours of sun, some warmth and protection either by way of greenhouses or various row covers can extend the season, but there is a seasonal pattern that cannot be denied.

While I know this is obvious to you, it may not be to your Thai gardening partners, but by all accounts they are fast learners, even if they don't appear to appreciate your "no, it's not happening" answer.

I like the quote which I borrowed from a sermon I heard many years ago from Gary Paterson, currently moderator of the United Church in Canada. "Transforming people can be difficult to live with"...

It appears to me that we have a much higher than average readership here of folk who "march to a different drummer" anyhoo ....

Edith
 
Dale Hodgins
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I knew that shade would eventually be a problem, but didn't realize that it would happen so early. It was quite hot in this totally sheltered yard when I first saw the place and I needed sunglasses. I could have easily duped myself into the greenhouse notion, were it not for previous experience with many poorly sited structures. The new beds of winter kale are two inches tall right now. I don't expect much from them. I may grab 50 of them to plant on a south facing hugel bed at the farm.

These links take us to graphic illustrations of the problem of sun angle.

http://pittsburghpermaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/sun-path.jpg

http://pittsburghpermaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/suns-path.gif
 
John Polk
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One crop I don't see mentioned is (Chinese) Snow Peas. They are common in many Thai dishes.
The PNW is an ideal climate for them. Like most peas, they don't like/require a lot of heat.
They may be either spring sown (70d), or fall (+/- 250d).

I have fall sown them in zones 7-8, but would possibly do well in Zones 5-6 as well.
I succession plant up to about 3 weeks before the first hard frost puts them into dormancy.
That way, they get well established, and develop a good root structure before cold sets in.
(I have seen them overwinter under a foot or two of snow - hence their name.)

In the spring, when the soil has warmed enough to wake them up, they restart themselves.
(Which is also the perfect time to begin your spring succession sowings.)
First crop in about 3 weeks!

Territorial Seeds has a variety that was developed by Dr. Jim Baggett, while teaching/researching at Oregon State Univ. I have had wonderful success with them here in Seattle.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Snow peas grow well here. I'll get some.

This is the sun situation at solar noon. It's actually a nice bright day. Bright light affects the camera phone. Days with blue skies see the garden in shade much of the time. Lightly overcast conditions spread diffused light fairly evenly.

The radishes are still producing flowers and pods.

The sod is growing some grass, even after a month under the black plastic. The first batch that was covered on July 8th, experienced a total kill in 6 days. This batch got pretty warm, but not steamy hot.
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Dale Hodgins
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The sod is now burried along with some leaves and twigs. I'm calling it "sodgelkultur". Straw is laid out to retain moisture now, but soon it will bear the impact of winter rain.

The tomatoes were trimmed of all excess growth 2 weeks ago. This will allow some ripening and prevent further fruit set.
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Dale Hodgins
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The tomatoes are ripening.

The second photo, shows the garden near noon. Partial shade for most of the day.

Mustard greens are still growing quickly. The purple one that was hacked down has come back again.
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Dale Hodgins
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Radishes pods just keep coming. They are still flowering at the end of October.

Things are growing slower now. This is all that was ready after 4 days without harvesting.

The sun at 11:40 am.
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Dale Hodgins
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Some things continue to grow, some have died and some are in dormant cold storage. This was my haul about 3 weeks ago in the first photo.

The second one is the haul a few days later.

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John Polk
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That bin in the upper left corner is occupying valuable sunny space. To store empty buckets & mulch.
Could it be moved to a shadier spot, (behind the bean/pea trellis) or UP higher on the fence...not on the soil?

 
Dale Hodgins
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John Polk wrote:That bin in the upper left corner is occupying valuable sunny space. To store empty buckets & mulch.
Could it be moved to a shadier spot, (behind the bean/pea trellis) or UP higher on the fence...not on the soil?



Good point John. Now, see if you can guess why I haven't claimed that spot or the bare ground in front of it. Hmmm.

The owner of the garden was reluctant to get rid of a whole lot of grass at first. Grass removal has been sold on the idea that we need more space for this or that or something else. Eventually, she will reach a point where no more grass can be taken out. When that day comes, I'll conquer territory within the garden. I want things to appear cramped for now. I'm just that devious. :cool:
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We had our first hard frost about 6 days ago and the garden has suffered. The mustard greens were doing better in the low light than most things. It froze and I will harvest all of it tomorrow. The radish pods are soft and gooey. No hope for the radishes. The garlic sprouts are fine, so far. The Thai kale has seen some damage but will recover if it warms up. The regular (bitter) kale has survived very well. I don't expect to see much growth until February but a standing crop in the garden is nice to have in cold storage.

Notice the remnants of our half inch snow fall. That's a lot for Victoria. There's also frozen pots full of ice. The slugs have quit nibbling.
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Dale Hodgins
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I harvested a huge amount of mustard, kale and chard. When leafy things are frozen and thawed, they are easy to pack into bags and are greatly reduced in volume.
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Dale Hodgins
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Dale Hodgins
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Even in the midst of all of this destruction, there is hope. The garlic is an inch tall and will continue in spring. Chard and kale can take some frost.
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Dale Hodgins
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This is the garden on January 10. The weather has warmed quite a bit. The last frost was more than a week ago. Most Canadian gardens are frozen solid.

I had some heavy trenching to do this week. I did it shirtless in order to stay cool, while the rest of the city wore winter gear. Sissies.

The garlic is taller than last time.

Slugs have eaten the onion starts.

The kale is growing very slowly.
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Dale Hodgins
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Mustard greens are the fastest grower in cold weather.

If temperatures don't dip again, new stuff will be planted in February, you heard me right Torontonians, February.
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Live a little! The night is young! And we have umbrellas in our drinks! This umbrella has a tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree (early bird price now)
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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