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Beth Yeoman
Posts: 19
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Hi - I'm a new member in Longview, WA. I'm currently gardening in a community garden -- this spring I'm mulching establishing new no-till beds with leaves (over cardboard) and my paths with woodchips over cardboard, and will continue to maintain the two small framed beds that I put in last year in "Square Foot Garden" style. I will be  planting cover crops in any bed that isn't plant in main crops.  I'm digging out the largest dandelions and thistles (and lots of little thsitle) and making them into a tea for the garden....I'm taking time to get as many of the little nettles actually rooted up as I can, and I'm discovering that they are all coming up from buried horizontal roots...not sure if it is spreading from a nearby plant, or if the bits of root were distibuted by the tractor that tilled last spring.

Last year I found that the two small beds really did grow about as many salad veggies as my household could handle, and I grew potatoes, beans and a couple of big Hubbard squash as well. That all took up less than half my space.

I also grew a little barley. This year I'm going to devote the other half of the garden to trying several barley varieties from Kusa Seed Society, and will request a second plot when they are available in late April, because I also want to try some perennial grains.  If I can't get the second plot, I will just turn the existing one over to the perennial grains in the fall anyway, and try again for a second plot next year, or find a shared backyard to garden in.

Now that I have a year-round garden space, I can actually begin to think in terms of perennials and permaculture. Until last year, all of the garden spaces were cleaned up every fall and tilled with a tractor in the spring. This is the first year that I am able to work on the garden earlier than May 1, and I'm working on an earlier start and planning to overwinter crops next fall.

 
ronie dee
Posts: 619
Location: NW MO
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The dandy lions are very tasty. the leaves are great b4 they flower..also the roots are great tasting too. After they flower the flower is good fried or raw in salad...

Stinging nettles are very nutritious and cooked right, they are a real treat until they start to flower. I can't wait till the first batch of spring nettles arrive..
 
Beth Yeoman
Posts: 19
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No fear, I still have plenty of dandelions left before I'm through, and I expect I will always have more.  I am planning to harvest some young greens.

I might get brave and try the nettle or thistle too.  I think it's Canadian thistle--it had a purple blossom on it last summer before I chopped down it's seed stalk, and I have dozens of little ones to deal with. I was really astonished at the size of the root system on the big one -- I expected to find a 3 or 4-inch stalk under a big rosette of leaves, but it must have been 8 inches across, and very hard. I only sliced off the top and put a few extra layers of cardboard in that spot, so I expect to see more of this plant as well coming up through my mulch.

I had a lawn in my own house once upon a time, and I was very benevolent towards dandelions -- my neighbors loathed me.  However, the community garden is a shared space with rules, and I could lose my site entirely if I didn't comply with them over a long period of time. 

The garden site also has lots of comfrey. It actually gets spread around every year instead of being killed by the tilling in the summer-only plots. I'm going to help myself to a few small plants before they till this year, and cultivate it as a compost plant and herb.
 
rose macaskie
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  I would have thought the best way to get rid of stinging nettles was to eat them, like spinach, cooked spinach anyway or turn them into fertilizer tea with regularity or just cut them down all the time for mulch. There is nothing like having a use for something for getting it to disappear. agri rose macaskie.
 
Beth Yeoman
Posts: 19
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LOL. I had a dandelion with dinner last night and nettles are on the menu this weekend.
 
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