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Passive gardening?

 
Miranda Converse
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Hello! I would really like to start growing my own fruits and vegetables but I just don't seem to have the time to care for them in the traditional way and so far, I have not been particularly successful. The few things that I have been able to grow, were mostly unintentional. A few years ago, I had some pitiful lemon balm and basil plants in a pot that went to seed and now, they grow back like crazy in the rocks that the pots were sitting on. I also missed a few cucumbers and they were left to rot and grew back the next year. And bonus, there was already wild mint growing like crazy on my property (which I don't mind at all).

So, my question is; How can I make nature work to my advantage? I really don't have time for tilling, fertilizing, weeding and all that. Obviously stuff will grow without my help (and even better than when I try), but what can I do to add to the things that are already there. I'm half contemplating just spreading all of the random seeds I have accumulated and never had time to plant and just seeing what comes up. I can put a little more effort than that into but I have no idea what. It would be much more feasible for me to put a couple weekends worth of work into something that I don't have to check on every single day. One thing that sticks out is hugelkulture...I also don't mind planting things that are considered a nuisance and grow out of control (like mint) because my chickens will keep the plants in my yard in check. I would be perfectly happy with having edible stuff take over my property.

I would also like to plant things that I can re-plant at harvest time and not worry about it until next year. What are some of these plants? I know of ginger and sugarcane. And apparently my cucumbers. Can I do this with most vegetables? I like the idea of them growing when they decide it's the right time, instead of starting seeds indoors and transplanting stuff or worrying about putting it in the ground at the right time of year. I have 9 acres so at the moment, I'm not terribly concerned about using a small area for multiple crops.


Oh and I'm in NW florida if that makes a difference. Hot and humid for most of the year, and weird bouts of massive amounts of rain whenever it feels like it...

 
Tyler Ludens
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I don't worry much about planting at "the right time of year" except I don't plant obviously hot weather stuff in the cold season or things that are certain to not germinate (like lettuce) in the hot season, but other than that, I plant something most of the year. Once I've harvested off a little patch in the garden (usually only about 3'x3'), I rake the soil, broadcast a variety of seeds, or if they're big seeds like beans or squash, shove them into the soil, then either rake in a little or throw some new soil over them (dug from nearby woods). If I need to fertilize a patch I'll put down a little chicken bedding or sheep manure, cover it with a couple inches of soil, and plant on that. The hard work of tilling etc was done when I built the garden with buried wood beds. http://www.permies.com/t/52077/hugelkultur/Buried-Wood-Beds It's not entirely passive, but it seems easier than what other people seem to struggle with tilling, weeding, etc.

If I lived in a place where stuff grows easily, I would probably make little fenced areas, clear the little patch (maybe using chickens to do the clearing), and throw a bunch of seeds in there, rake or stomp them in, and let Nature do what it wants with them.
 
wayne fajkus
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I'm on the 4th year of not planting tomato plants. They come back from the few tomatoes that fall to the ground. It's an amazing thing btw. Cause the tomatoes that come up from seed produce the same time (or sooner) than transplants. This goes opposite of everything we are told. I would bet that tomato transplants are a multi million dollar industry. I used heirlooms btw.

Also, look into perrenials. Asparagus being a favorite. Plant once and you are done.
 
Miranda Converse
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Oh good, I'm glad there are some people out there that grow stuff this way. I guess I just need to get some stuff started and hopefully in future years it will be easier. I've had quite a few failed attempts but the chickens and other critters have been a huge deterrent from me trying again. I finally just got some deer fencing and plan to fence off an area to keep them out.
I have several pine logs and my elderly neighbors just had a tree knocked down during the last storm that I plan to help them remove. Going to start working on my hugelkulture bed this winter. I'm hoping the hot/humid climate will accelerate the decomposition so it will hold water within a season or so.

Once I get my fence up, I'm just going to start experimenting to see what will grow with the least amount of effort. We'll see how it goes...

 
Todd Parr
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Hugelkultur is the last thing I would attempt if I didn't want a lot of work. I think they are a huge amount of work and in my very limited experience, not worth it. They seems to work best if they are huge and made with heavy equipment. Back to Eden gardening is best for me. There is work to do initially, but once you have your woodchips at your property and spread out, the amount of work goes down immensely compared to traditional gardening with tilling, fertilizing, watering, weeding, and on and on. Once the gardens are created, you just plant and harvest with not much maintenance required.
 
Miranda Converse
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Well it's not that I care about doing a lot of work, it's more about my schedule. I work 8-4 m-f and when I get home I have to spend what little daylight I have taking care of my livestock. My weekends mostly consist of homesteading projects, some of them with an urgency to complete (like building a new shelter because goats are going to kid soon). So I can't really be tied to watering every day, or planting anything at a specific time, or basically anything that needs to be done at a certain time. But, I can devote a couple weekends to gardening, once all of my urgent projects are complete.

Hugelkulture appeals to me because after some time, it basically waters and fertilizes itself. I have more wood and brush that I would ever need, and I'm already digging (slowly) a pond. So as I dig the pond, I can add that dirt to the mound. Might take some time, but I'm not in any hurry. Eventually I will get a tractor or something that will make the work a bit easier.

I'm not familiar with the back to eden gardening. I'll do some research and see if that will work. I have plenty of area to do different things and see what works. I don't have a source of a lot of woodchips though, and I don't really want to spend money to bring some in. I do have a small wood chipper/shredder, but it can only produce a little bit at a time and I can only do small branches. I mostly use it to add to my deep litter in the chicken coops. I could use that, it would just take forever...
 
Todd Parr
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I understand completely. My projects are many and my time is short. I didn't mean to insinuate that you didn't want to work hard, just that the amount of work to build hugel beds isn't worth the return in my mind. If you search for Back to Eden garden movie, it's free online. Wood chips can be found free in most places. I have done large areas of my land and haven't paid for anything except gas to go get the chips. Others were delivered to me for free. Since putting down wood chips, I don't have to water or weed. To me, the pay off is much higher for the amount of work done. Best of luck to you no matter which way you go.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Miranda Converse
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No worries! Thanks for the link, I'll watch it tonight. It sounds pretty good, just need to find some woodchips. Any places to look in particular? I'm on craigslist all the time and have never seen them there. There is a big paper mill here so they might already have dibs on any large sources...

I'll probably give both of them a shot and see how it goes. Once I get them established, I'll report back with how each does...
 
Miranda Converse
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I watched that video last night, it was pretty interesting. Never would have thought that just mulching would have so much impact. Little heavy on the religious stuff, but the message is good! I have my boyfriend calling tree services today, since I'm at work...hopefully we can find a good source! Just wish we could mulch our own trees, we have about 5 acres worth I would like gone...
 
Jake Whitson
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Maybe it goes without saying, but with limited time/resources I would always go for fruits first - almost all fruits are perennials (usually woody tree/shrubs) and hence the far less work. Also they are usually more expensive to buy in shops than vegetables (because of their fragility and short shelf life which makes picking and shipping expensive). Forget about a fruit tree for a few years and probably nothing bad will have happened to it. Fruit self sufficiency is easy! I would hazard a guess that figs would be grow well in your area - great fresh and also dried for the cupboard.
 
Tyler Ludens
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If you have $$ but not time or physical strength, you might be able to find a land clearing service to clear some of the trees and chip them. We've had this done a couple times, and it generates a huge pile of chips, enough for years of mulching the garden. At first we tried renting a chipper and cutting and chipping the trees ourselves, but it was not cost effective because we didn't work fast enough to justify the expensive chipper rental. The real tree guys (clearing guys, not arborists) are incredibly fast and hardworking.
 
Miranda Converse
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Jake Whitson wrote:Maybe it goes without saying, but with limited time/resources I would always go for fruits first - almost all fruits are perennials (usually woody tree/shrubs) and hence the far less work. Also they are usually more expensive to buy in shops than vegetables (because of their fragility and short shelf life which makes picking and shipping expensive). Forget about a fruit tree for a few years and probably nothing bad will have happened to it. Fruit self sufficiency is easy! I would hazard a guess that figs would be grow well in your area - great fresh and also dried for the cupboard.


I have been buying fruit trees here and there. Usually when I can find a good deal on them. Lowes sells them cheap after the 'season' is over. Last year we had a few good freezes that killed, or just nearly killed most of the citrus I planted. I've also gotten some stuff off craigslist. About 20 blueberry plants, they didn't do so well. Also got 20 banana trees. Some of those are doing great, one just about quadrupled in size in a couple months. It seems as though my property has varying levels of great soil to horrible soil, because some trees will do great in one spot but 20 feet away they will do terrible.

But yes, I was thinking the same thing; If I can just get them a good start, they will be easiest to maintain. After watching that video, I was wondering if mulching around already planted trees would help the ones that aren't doing so well...
 
Miranda Converse
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Tyler Ludens wrote:If you have $$ but not time or physical strength, you might be able to find a land clearing service to clear some of the trees and chip them. We've had this done a couple times, and it generates a huge pile of chips, enough for years of mulching the garden. At first we tried renting a chipper and cutting and chipping the trees ourselves, but it was not cost effective because we didn't work fast enough to justify the expensive chipper rental. The real tree guys (clearing guys, not arborists) are incredibly fast and hardworking.


We actually found a company that will pay us for them, so they would take them away. They just haven't come yet...I would love to be able to use all of those trees, but I really can't turn down a couple thousand dollars for them.

Just talked to the bf and he said that he found a place that will let us take as many woodchips as we can. So we'll go pick up a truckload of those next weekend probably. In the meantime, I'll probably contact a few more places to see if any of them will drop them off at our place...
 
gina kansas
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just a thought on your blueberries- my first failed attempt at blueberries was many years ago- a very kind botany student working at the local nursery helped me choose the appropriate berries and advised me to use chicken manure and amend heavily and put a couple of inches on top of the soil. They died before the season was over. Two more attempts, three seasons lost before I discovered blueberries HATE urea nitrogen. Manure kills them. That spot is now a beautiful rose bed and my lush and fabulous blueberries are grown in peat moss trenches dug two feet deep and three feet wide. I top dress with grass clippings and woodchips every year to feed them, hold moisture, and keep down the weeds-who has time to water and weed??


 
Miranda Converse
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gina kansas wrote:just a thought on your blueberries- my first failed attempt at blueberries was many years ago- a very kind botany student working at the local nursery helped me choose the appropriate berries and advised me to use chicken manure and amend heavily and put a couple of inches on top of the soil. They died before the season was over. Two more attempts, three seasons lost before I discovered blueberries HATE urea nitrogen. Manure kills them. That spot is now a beautiful rose bed and my lush and fabulous blueberries are grown in peat moss trenches dug two feet deep and three feet wide. I top dress with grass clippings and woodchips every year to feed them, hold moisture, and keep down the weeds-who has time to water and weed??




I'm glad you told me this! I was planning on using some of my chicken coop clean out to fertilize them! I guess I won't do that now. Saved me the hassle of trucking that stuff to the opposite side of the property too! I will definitely be adding some mulch to them though. Spent way too much time last year trying to keep the weeds under control...
 
Todd Parr
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Miranda Converse wrote: .....I was wondering if mulching around already planted trees would help the ones that aren't doing so well...


Yes, it will.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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For your blueberries see if you can get pine needles to use as mulch, they will also acidify the soil so the bushes are happier.
Blueberries do very well with a pH of 5.5 to 4.0 (hint, most of your fruit trees like it a little more acidic than the traditional 6.5 that veggies prefer).

Since you want to have a "little work as possible" garden for veggies, you can get the bed all composed and mulched up then just leave the last few on the plant over the winter.
When the conditions become right, those left behind veggies will sprout up from the seeds you let our earth mother take care of.
The bed prep work is getting the compost and mulch down, these two items will also turn the soil into a moisture holding machine.

When mulching already planted trees (or newly planted for that matter) don't put mulch right up against the trunk, leave a hand's width of space between the trunk and the mulch so the bark can breathe.

Hugels (growing mounds) are great if you have the materials ready at hand. It helps a lot if some of this wood is already rotting, (mycelium growing in the cellulose and breaking it down) means a lot better environment for the roots of the plants you will be installing, and better water sponge effect by the wood.
If you don't have any already rotting wood to use, don't worry, in a year or two you will have. A wide base makes it easy to build, but you can go fairly steep with some branch sticks used to help give some footing to the soil as you go up.
Don't be afraid to use veggie scraps and even meat deep in the mound as you build it. My ancestors are the ones who taught the pilgrims how to plant corn by using fish for fertilizer, it works, always has and always will. Putting these deep in the pile will keep critters from going after those tidbits.

Like you, my wife and I both work during the week and we have hogs to care for along with our dogs and chickens, soon we are going to be adding some goats to that mix.
We have taken to the "divide and conquer" method to get as much done as possible on Saturday and Sunday, so far it is working better for us than before when we tried to get things done together all the time. Now we only do the things together that require four hands to accomplish.

Good luck to you in your adventure.
 
Miranda Converse
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:For your blueberries see if you can get pine needles to use as mulch, they will also acidify the soil so the bushes are happier.
Blueberries do very well with a pH of 5.5 to 4.0 (hint, most of your fruit trees like it a little more acidic than the traditional 6.5 that veggies prefer).

Since you want to have a "little work as possible" garden for veggies, you can get the bed all composed and mulched up then just leave the last few on the plant over the winter.
When the conditions become right, those left behind veggies will sprout up from the seeds you let our earth mother take care of.
The bed prep work is getting the compost and mulch down, these two items will also turn the soil into a moisture holding machine.

When mulching already planted trees (or newly planted for that matter) don't put mulch right up against the trunk, leave a hand's width of space between the trunk and the mulch so the bark can breathe.

Hugels (growing mounds) are great if you have the materials ready at hand. It helps a lot if some of this wood is already rotting, (mycelium growing in the cellulose and breaking it down) means a lot better environment for the roots of the plants you will be installing, and better water sponge effect by the wood.
If you don't have any already rotting wood to use, don't worry, in a year or two you will have. A wide base makes it easy to build, but you can go fairly steep with some branch sticks used to help give some footing to the soil as you go up.
Don't be afraid to use veggie scraps and even meat deep in the mound as you build it. My ancestors are the ones who taught the pilgrims how to plant corn by using fish for fertilizer, it works, always has and always will. Putting these deep in the pile will keep critters from going after those tidbits.

Like you, my wife and I both work during the week and we have hogs to care for along with our dogs and chickens, soon we are going to be adding some goats to that mix.
We have taken to the "divide and conquer" method to get as much done as possible on Saturday and Sunday, so far it is working better for us than before when we tried to get things done together all the time. Now we only do the things together that require four hands to accomplish.

Good luck to you in your adventure.


I just so happen to have acres and acres of pine needles! Just a matter of trudging through the brush to retrieve them. I didn't know that blueberries liked acidic soil, or that pines made soil acidic, when I planted them. I probably planted them on the part of the property that is furthest away from pines. Oh well, I'm sure I will plant more in the future and now I know.

That is exactly what I want to do with the veggies. It worked great with the cucumbers, just didn't leave enough for it to be substantial. And I have plans in the works for the hugels. There's a couple pines we already cut that have been sitting for about a year. Not that long but hopefully long enough to get some ecosystem started among them....

I'm getting so excited now, I just want to start growing everything!
 
John Polk
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I'm getting so excited now, I just want to start growing everything!

Look out! That can be infectious.
Once you start seeing success, it is hard to slow down.
Soon, your plot will be so full that you can't eat it all.

 
Jake Whitson
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It's worth bearing in mind that cement and concrete make soil alkali - I've come across many blueberries that have died from being too close to a wall, or concrete driveway. Also, a little soil from the pine forest mixed in the hole when you plant blueberries, or used as a mulch, will often help them a lot. Or even plant the blueberries under the pines in spots where there is enough sun. Good luck!
 
Casie Becker
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This is in a different vein than everyone else here, but don't you have a native pumpkin vine in your area? The Seminole pumpkin.

I planted a relative here in my Texas garden this year in August and then mostly forgot to water it. I'm talking about temperatures over 90 for months and maybe one watering a week. It survived until the fall rains came and then happily produced squash until the first frost... Oh, the variety I grew is Tatume. I was looking for a good substitute for zucchini. Next year I'm planting in the spring to give enough time for fruit to mature and try it as a winter squash.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I grew Tatume squash this year also and they were fabulous - best growing squash I've ever had, super tough and productive. I got a huge crop from just one plant, which we ate both as small Summer Squash and as mature "pumpkins."

 
Casie Becker
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I had that type of success with snake melon last year. Between fresh eating as cucumbers and quick pickles from the fridge, we ate off that one vine from spring to late summer.. and I have growing kids in the house.

 
Matu Collins
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I've been contemplating the same question. Low work gardening!

For me, looking at all the land made me crazy because I wanted to plant all the things now. Especially fruit and nut trees, since the payoff is always down the road a bit with trees. I've lost a lot of trees through enthusiasm and poor design choices, but I figure it's the cost of an education.

What helped me was digging in to permaculture design. Where I live, winter is a great time to sit around reading Bill Mollison's designer's manual and trying to grok the connection to my place and my community. For you, the higher maintenance plants will do best where you will see them often (on the way to the animals? On the way to the car?)and the rest of the place needs a low maintenance design. You can have a bigger zone 4 and 5, have a tiny zone 1 and 2. I have done this with my property and have made a zone 2 trail around the perimeter so I can take a regular peek at whatever is happening around the place but not have to do anything most of the time. My kids help me with the observing work and they get a good walk.

Blueberries like acid soil and they like lots of moisture while they get established.

My herb garden hugels have been pretty low maintenance, but I just grow what grows well there. I'd like to turn a big part of my garden into low maintenance herby forest garden
 
Tyler Ludens
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Putting the garden right close to the back door into the kitchen was one of the most important changes I made which reduced garden labor. It's so convenient to visit and harvest from the garden when it's right near the house.
 
William Bronson
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I use raised beds. I put a lot of work into them at first, then I mess with them a couple of times a year, adding amendments.


I have tomatoes and fodder radishes that reliably self seed and I intend to add ground cherries and garden huckleberries.
The radishes are too hot to enjoy strait but they make good pickles,and the greens and seed pods are great.
Our black berries are along the path too the car, so they get eaten off the bush or collected.
Grapes in the twenty foot long back bed produced lots this year, but mostly on the hateful neighbors side of the fence.
They sheared them off flat against their side of the chain link fence.
We built a 10 foot tall cedar plank fence.
Great fence, but the neighbors still suck, maybe it makes usinto better neighbors?
That bed has hosted the volunteer tomatoes, but heavy mulching kept them down this last year, mores the pity.
I will invest some time in getting them to estabish elsewhere in the yard.
The j chokes are also in that bed, as well as the hardy kiwi.
This bed has lots a leaves on it right now,and it will get a bunch of comfrey roots stuck into it.
I am wanting comfrey kiwi and grapes to dominate.
The mint is starting to spread from its 4 x 4 patch,which is cool.
The clover can't seem to compete with the other green things, surprisingly.
Of course one of those things is bindweed! I hope to try earpting it soon. If that works, I will grow it as a sunscreen in some places, but continue to fight it elsewhere.
Other green warriors in my yard are sprouts from the Rose of Sharon hedge, the dying mimosa tree, and a mulberry of unknown location.
All of these are edible in at least part, and the mimosa is also a nitrogen fixer.
I let the sprouts live until they become inconvenient.
I will transplant some to my dedicated pico farm , perhaps soon, as it is in the 60s outside in the middle of December!
Other than those plants , we have three pear trees.

More detail than you needed obviously, but I basically choose perennials," invasives"and self seeders, give them a lot attention up front, and then ignore them until I have time.


Oh, I killed the blueberries we planted in the alkaline earth, despite supplementing with citrus peel ferment.
Next time I will plant them into 55 gallon sub irrigated planters, filled with peat.
The twenty gallon reservoir should help even out the moisture over time, even without any human attention.
 
Peter Ellis
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This site is an entire bachelor's through Phd program in how to work with nature. Every day someone posts more information about the ways they have found to do it, or links to research telling us about discoveries that can guide us to even better harmony.

There are some understandings involved in following this kind of path. Gardens that are coordinated with nature, that do not fight against her, are not productive in the same ways that most of us are used to. They are not as neat as we have been taught to expect gardens to be. There won't be orderly rows and groups.

If you accept the idea that your crops will naturalize and grow in places of their choosing, then it can be a pretty impressive return on not much effort.

Among other things, look for perennials that produce leaf or fruit crops (perennial root crops exist, but you need to make sure you don't harvest too much and have no plants come back next year), look for annuals that will reseed readily (which is lots of them).
Use lots of mulch, feel free to overplant insanely to help keep the weeds from gaining an edge, weed a little now and then when it is clearly needed, but mostly - let the things you planted grow like nuts.

At least, that is my thinking and the direction I am going with my gardening. Less work, with plentiful productivity - the return on investment is promising.
 
Miranda Converse
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Casie Becker wrote:This is in a different vein than everyone else here, but don't you have a native pumpkin vine in your area? The Seminole pumpkin.

I planted a relative here in my Texas garden this year in August and then mostly forgot to water it. I'm talking about temperatures over 90 for months and maybe one watering a week. It survived until the fall rains came and then happily produced squash until the first frost... Oh, the variety I grew is Tatume. I was looking for a good substitute for zucchini. Next year I'm planting in the spring to give enough time for fruit to mature and try it as a winter squash.


I have heard of the Seminole pumpkin but I have never seen any. It would be great if I could find some growing wild somewhere. Although, most of the places that have anything growing wild, are practically impassible without a machete and a lot of patience. Maybe I'll just find someone who has done the hard work already and buy some seeds...

My area seems to be a weird in-between for a lot of edible stuff to grow. It's not hot enough for tropical plants but it's not cold enough for others. So I would rather not fight nature and if I can find something that grows here natively, I am all about that.
 
Miranda Converse
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Putting the garden right close to the back door into the kitchen was one of the most important changes I made which reduced garden labor. It's so convenient to visit and harvest from the garden when it's right near the house.


I would love to do this, but we have a leach field for our septic system right past the concrete patio that leads into our kitchen. We affectionately call this "Poop hill" and have both agreed we don't want to eat anything that grows there. I was actually thinking about planting some stuff for the chickens. They won't know the difference...
 
Miranda Converse
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William Bronson wrote: I use raised beds. I put a lot of work into them at first, then I mess with them a couple of times a year, adding amendments.


I have tomatoes and fodder radishes that reliably self seed and I intend to add ground cherries and garden huckleberries.
The radishes are too hot to enjoy strait but they make good pickles,and the greens and seed pods are great.
Our black berries are along the path too the car, so they get eaten off the bush or collected.
Grapes in the twenty foot long back bed produced lots this year, but mostly on the hateful neighbors side of the fence.
They sheared them off flat against their side of the chain link fence.
We built a 10 foot tall cedar plank fence.
Great fence, but the neighbors still suck, maybe it makes usinto better neighbors?
That bed has hosted the volunteer tomatoes, but heavy mulching kept them down this last year, mores the pity.
I will invest some time in getting them to estabish elsewhere in the yard.
The j chokes are also in that bed, as well as the hardy kiwi.
This bed has lots a leaves on it right now,and it will get a bunch of comfrey roots stuck into it.
I am wanting comfrey kiwi and grapes to dominate.
The mint is starting to spread from its 4 x 4 patch,which is cool.
The clover can't seem to compete with the other green things, surprisingly.
Of course one of those things is bindweed! I hope to try earpting it soon. If that works, I will grow it as a sunscreen in some places, but continue to fight it elsewhere.
Other green warriors in my yard are sprouts from the Rose of Sharon hedge, the dying mimosa tree, and a mulberry of unknown location.
All of these are edible in at least part, and the mimosa is also a nitrogen fixer.
I let the sprouts live until they become inconvenient.
I will transplant some to my dedicated pico farm , perhaps soon, as it is in the 60s outside in the middle of December!
Other than those plants , we have three pear trees.

More detail than you needed obviously, but I basically choose perennials," invasives"and self seeders, give them a lot attention up front, and then ignore them until I have time.


Oh, I killed the blueberries we planted in the alkaline earth, despite supplementing with citrus peel ferment.
Next time I will plant them into 55 gallon sub irrigated planters, filled with peat.
The twenty gallon reservoir should help even out the moisture over time, even without any human attention.


Definitely not too much information! I love to hear what has been working for others! Sounds like you guys have a lot going good! Well except your neighbors...

I hadn't thought about bindweed! My vet actually told me to look for it when my poor goat had scours. Of course I couldn't find any but I didn't think of planting any. Seems like it is something that some people may want to get rid of so maybe I can find someone around here that will give me some. I think I'll plant that just outside the goat fence so they can get to some of it but not kill all of it for when they actually need it...
 
Todd Parr
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Miranda Converse wrote:
I hadn't thought about bindweed! My vet actually told me to look for it when my poor goat had scours. Of course I couldn't find any but I didn't think of planting any. Seems like it is something that some people may want to get rid of so maybe I can find someone around here that will give me some. I think I'll plant that just outside the goat fence so they can get to some of it but not kill all of it for when they actually need it...


Bindweed is one of the 2 things I would NEVER plant, and I'm not afraid of "invasives". If you do plant it, look forward to it taking over every available inch of your property, as well as anything adjoining your property, and possibly the world, while killing every worthwhile thing you have growing. I have seen it kill pine trees. Before you think of planting it, I would definitely go look at a place someone has it and see what it has done.
 
Miranda Converse
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Todd Parr wrote:
Miranda Converse wrote:
I hadn't thought about bindweed! My vet actually told me to look for it when my poor goat had scours. Of course I couldn't find any but I didn't think of planting any. Seems like it is something that some people may want to get rid of so maybe I can find someone around here that will give me some. I think I'll plant that just outside the goat fence so they can get to some of it but not kill all of it for when they actually need it...


Bindweed is one of the 2 things I would NEVER plant, and I'm not afraid of "invasives". If you do plant it, look forward to it taking over every available inch of your property, as well as anything adjoining your property, and possibly the world, while killing every worthwhile thing you have growing. I have seen it kill pine trees. Before you think of planting it, I would definitely go look at a place someone has it and see what it has done.


Yea, I started reading about it after I posted this and have since decided, it's probably not a good idea. Next time my goat has scours, I'll just find someone who has some and feed it directly to the goat...I'll find some less damaging invasive stuff to plant
 
Miranda Converse
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Oh and you said one of the 2 things...what was the other one so I don't get silly and plant it?
 
William Bronson
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Bindweed is one of the 2 things I would NEVER plant, and I'm not afraid of "invasives". If you do plant it, look forward to it taking over every available inch of your property, as well as anything adjoining your property, and possibly the world, while killing every worthwhile thing you have growing. I have seen it kill pine trees. Before you think of planting it, I would definitely go look at a place someone has it and see what it has done.


Oh, I absolutely agree, I wish I never had reason to know its name, much less plant it.
When I say I might "grow" it in some places, that means not trying to kill it. Actually, I am not sure anything I do makes a difference to the bindweed.
I recently moved something in the yard that had been sitting in one place for most of a year, and yeah, a pale ghostly bindweed plant was still alive and kicking underneath.
This is what makes me want to eat this stuff. Come to think of it, it would do less damage as an indoor salad plant.
 
Todd Parr
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Miranda Converse wrote:Oh and you said one of the 2 things...what was the other one so I don't get silly and plant it?


Quack grass
 
Miranda Converse
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Just an update on the seeds that I spread this past winter;

I must have spread at least 20 different types of seeds and I did not keep track of any of them. It's been interesting analyzing every single plant that sprouts to determine if it's a weed or not.
The few things that did sprout and I was able to identify include mustard greens, poppy, carrots, broccoli, kale, and sunflowers.
Some things I've learned/observed;

Carrots-These grew like crazy. I will definitely plant more because they were so easy and I love carrots. They grew where I spread them and I suppose the rains carried the seeds a good ways because I found them all around the corners of my raised beds and spilling out to the outsides of the beds. I think some are still sprouting a couple months after I cast them out there. I spent a good bit of time thinning them and they are still pretty close together. I pulled some last week and most were of an edible size. I think I'll just pull them as I need them for now and when it get's too hot I'll pull the rest and can them.

Mustard greens-These grew pretty well also, but not as great as the carrots. I cast them in two different areas, one in an unused chicken pen which I eventually allowed a hen and her chicks have (they demolished them in about 2 days), and another in my garden. Since they were the only thing growing, at the time, we didn't really eat any of them. I also have no idea what to do with them lol. I'm letting them go to seed so I can grow them next year with other stuff. Most of them have very well formed pods on them now, just waiting for them to dry to harvest. This will be my first time trying to save seeds and I figured this would be a good plant to start with.

Poppy-Two of these sprouted. One very healthy one, one not so healthy, especially after the chickens discovered how to break into my garden and dug a hole next to it. Both sprouted in the raised beds although I scattered these everywhere I thought they might have a chance.

Sunflowers-I don't even remember scattering these. We do feed the seeds to the goats and chickens and the feed seeds sprout readily but I don't know how they got in my garden. Took me a while to figure out what they even were.

Broccoli and kale-I actually started some of these seeds inside and scattered a few outside. I'm pretty sure all the seedlings I transplanted died but the ones I scattered are doing fine. Just goes to show the more work I try to put into growing stuff, the more likely I will be to kill it.

Anyway, this has been fun. I have noticed I spend a lot more time in my garden when things are growing and also when I'm trying to figure out what something is. I will check on a mystery plant every couple days just to see if it has developed a new trait that I could use to identify it.


 
Kris Mendoza
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Oh, yum, mustard greens! Regarding what to do with them:

If you like sharp/hot, radish-y flavors, eat them raw in a salad. If you don't, pick them small as microgreens/"baby" mustard for salad, and they will be milder. I also love to sautee them with garlic, olive oil, salt, and a little veg or chicken broth and the sharpness is greatly diminished. Mustard is probably my favorite green to grow. Easy to sprout, forgiving if there's a late frost, not as many pests as the kale, easy to save seed. My favorite is Osaka purple mustard.
 
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