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!!!!!!!! Victory Gardens! How-to, what to grow, and so much more!

 
master steward
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We've got a lot of crazy stuff in the world right now, and it seems more and more that the solution to nearly all of it is gardening. This reminded me of those old victory garden posters, so I thought, "Let's start a victory garden thread!"

This is a place to share pictures of your garden, how you made it, tips for other people, what you've got planted, etc. I'll start!

My Son's Garden

How it was made: This was made out of duck poop, pine shavings, and a little bit of potting soil. I laid down old feed sacks and paper bags to slow down the blackberry that was growing there, and then layered duck bedding and then potting soil. It's edged with maple logs, because that's what I had at the time. Logs standing upright also make fun balance beams for the kids!

What's growing: There's strawberries, sorrel, blood sorrel, red huckleberry, and self-seeding kale. My son likes munching on all of these, and he doesn't like working in his garden, so this works out! We also planted carrots, radishes, and peas, and will plant some cabbage there too.

Apple Tree Garden

How it was made: I used hemlock logs to edge it (great for walking and sitting on!). Then I put down a layer of rotting alder trees, covered with leaves, chopped up ferns, compost, ashes from my woodstove, grass clippings and duck bedding. It's pretty much a lazagna bed made on top of a hugel.

What's growing:  There's self-seeding kale and daikon radishes, as well as green onions and garlic. I'm planting carrots, radishes and peas.


Thimbleberry and Husband's Garden
How it was made:  There's two different garden beds here. The one on the right was one of my first garden beds, edged with wood logs. It surrounds a thimbleberry patch. On the left is my husband's "Black" garden for growing all the darkest varieties of plants. It's edged with rocks and built up with duck bedding with a layer of potting soil on top. It also has a keyhole compost bin made from hardware cloth.

What's growing:  In the thimbleberry garden, there's self-seeding kale and wild strawberries. I just planted some cabbage, lettuce, beets and carrots there, too. In my husband's garden, we'll plant black nasturiums, pansies, radishes, carrots, as well as dark purple peas and beans.


My Daughter's Garden

How it was made: I staked bamboo straight down and used pallet boards leaning against it, and then wattled the top of the wall with more bamboo for extra stability. It's got compost burred in bedding Ruth Stout style, and  

What's growing:  Next to the garden, there's a cascade huckleberry, blueberry, black currant, pear tree, comfry, sorrel and green onions. In the garden bed are pansies, and we've seeded carrots, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, peas, and beets. My daughter wants to grow everything!


Keyhole Garden

How it was made:  Round logs around the outside, with some cinderblocks on the inside to sit on. This was made with whatever mulch I could find, as well as sticks, horse manure from our neighbor, and duck bedding, and soil from another portion of our property.

What's growing:  It has walking onions, kale, and sorrel. The kids love to come, sit, and munch!


Three Sisters and Asparagus Beds

How it was made:  Both were made by growing potatoes. I removed as many weeds (blackberry/salmonberry in the left, buttercup and grass on the right) and then put potatoes in the soil and kept covering with more and more mulch!

What's growing: I'll be planting a Three Sisters garden on the left, with corn, squash, and beans. On the right is asparagus and horse radish (this might not be a good combo. I bought too many asparagus plants and put them here, not remembering that I also had horseradish here!)  At the far ends of the garden beds are clove currants and honeyberry bushes


Blueberry Hugels!

How it was made: These are both traditional hugels, with logs at the bottom and soil that came from other areas on top. Ironically, the closer one is the hugel in Tricks to Keep the Dirt from Sliding off a Hugel. My, how the tall have sunk!  

What's growing: Honeyberry, blueberry, blue huckberry, strawberries, wild strawberries, mountain hucklberry, and rhubarb!


Log Cabin Bed

How it was made: This is the garden bed featured in Favorite easy ways to make garden beds? Here's mine using mulch and potatoes!. I made the garden edges with alders that fell in the woods

What's growing:  I planted cabbage, carrots, beets, lettuce, and peas here!


Trench Beds

How it was made: When we first moved in, we dug a swale here, thinking we needed it to keep water from out well house. We didn't! So we turned it into a garden bed using bricks and cinderblocks and logs that we around our property. We  grew potatoes in each, mulching them up with random mulch, which built up the soil nicely.

What's growing:  The closest bed has elephant garlic and will probably have squash later. The middle one has asperagus. The farthest one has elephant garlic and artichokes.


Well House Garden

How it was made:  Two years ago, my son decided he wanted to grow corn, so we ripped out as much buttercup as we could, put down what compost we had, covered with paper sacks with duck bedding on tip. We cut holes in the paper and planted Three Sister mounds in it. We've grown that here for two years in a row, and I think it's time for some crop rotation!

What's growing:  This year we'll grow potatoes here!


Trellis Bed

How it was made:  I put stakes of bamboo into the ground, and then put logs between them. The front I wove bamboo wattle-style. I filled it with some logs, then bedding, and then soil that was excavated from the kids gravel pit.

What's growing: Kiwi and strawberries! Can never have enough strawberries!



Herb Spiral of Randomness!

How it was made: One of the very first gardens we made. We used whatever we had lying around, from big glass light covers, to cinder blocks, to rocks and pots. It's filled with logs and soil from elsewhere on our property.  You can see more pictures in my thread Herbal Hugel Spiral of Randomness!

What's growing: Lovage, sweet cicely, parsley, chives, elephant garlic, sage, echinacea, thyme, oregano, rosemary, salad burnett. (I'm sure I misspelled something there! )


Fruit Tree Guilds

How it was made:  Dug a big hole. Put the grass down at the bottom of the hole, then other soil and tree on top, then more soil. Then bedding. Then some soil in the bedding where the strawberries are. Kind of Ruth Stout Garden-like. Other fruit tree guilds I've just put down paper sacks with mulch on top, and planted into that mulch.

What's growing:  Strawberries, leeks. Other gardens have daylillies, chives, elephant garlic, hostas, comfery, sweet cicely, mint and blackcap raspberries. The fruit trees range from this bush cherry to pears, apples, peaches, prunes, mulberries, and sweet cherries.

Not pictured are our raspberry/salmonberry/elderberry/rose/thimberry hedges, or all our fruit trees, or our nettle patch, or the random pots of figs and herbs on our patio!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We've been here 7.5 years. Each year, we make a few garden beds, and it really adds up! And it goes to show that gardens can be made in all sorts of ways, and even little ones add up to a lot of food over time! So let's help each other make gardens. There's lots of good ways, and all those little gardens add up.
 
gardener
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

On the right is asparagus and horse radish  

I've read that asparagus and strawberries are really happy together, so since you mention later that you can never have enough strawberries, I thought I'd just mention that. It's on my list to build a bed for that combo, but I'm still at the "turning the clay into soil" and "protect it from the deer" stages.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I was thinking about adding strawberries there, or maybe also with my artichoke, but I've been doing deep mulching to keep out the weeds, and I'm wondering how to manage that with strawberries.

=============================

I couldn't help post these Victory Garden posters. Of course, rows aren't necessarily the most permaculture way to garden, but something is better than nothing, and do what works for you, your soil, and your time! I thought they made nice inspiration and guides on how much to plant. They sure make me think I need a lot more garden space!






I found both of those on https://www.familyfoodgarden.com/gardening-for-troubled-times-modern-victory-gardens/. I'm wondering how many more handy diagrams there are from that era!
 
pollinator
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With spring break plans cancelled, I'm working on my garden every day. Starting tomatoes and spreading sand currently.
 
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Glad you posted this. I was out yesterday turning over the first beds for kale, chard, and cereal rye (I know, the rye should have been planted last fall....). Planting a garden is my way of taking control, at least a little bit, of the COVID-19 situation and my food production. My goal is to turn and plant a bed (raised beds, approx 36" x 8') each day, and top dress with the composted poultry litter from last fall.

Unfortunately I don't think there are seeds for toilet paper trees available :)
 
master steward
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Catherine Carney wrote:Unfortunately I don't think there are seeds for toilet paper trees available



Maybe not but here's Cowboy toilet paper which is a biennial herb
 
master steward & author
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self-seeding toilet paper that is also good as a medicine for lungs and earaches.  Love it!
 
Catherine Carney
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Yes, I know mullein, and let it grow along the margins of the property....Love the soft, fuzzy leaves. Pity it won't be up and growing for a while yet.

I'm looking at adding more perennials and herbs to my garden plans this year, but we'll see what the wildlife leave me....
 
r ranson
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A bit energy-intensive, but here's my Victory Garden for this year.  I'll be doing more outside this weekend, but I wanted to get a head start on some of the more tender plants.

I put the fan on it as the light wasn't doing enough to stop the tomatoes from getting leggy.  
20-03-18.JPG
too early to start outside
too early to start outside
 
Catherine Carney
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Here's a link to another "how much to grow" page.The nice thing is it's a calculator, so you can enter the number you anticipate feeding and the crops you want to grow.

https://morningchores.com/vegetable-garden-size/
 
Catherine Carney
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And here's a nice interactive hardiness zone map for those who might need it: https://morningchores.com/planting-zones/
 
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Hi Nicole,

I suspect most here are aware of the back to the land/homestead movement that took hold in the late 60s and 70s and somewhat later.  I suspect far fewer are aware of the earlier Have More Plan that was much earlier.  I have not done much reading on it, but it appears to have been a post WW2 extension of the Victory Garden concept.   It was popularized by the Robinson's among others.  My parents were part of that and moved me from Detroit to southern Illinois. Of course, I climbed on board with the Shuttleworths after picking up a copy of Mother Earth in the late 70s.  I bring this up because some of the garden designs seem to go back to the Have More period. Thanks for the flash back.
 
Jay Angler
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

I was thinking about adding strawberries there, or maybe also with my artichoke, but I've been doing deep mulching to keep out the weeds, and I'm wondering how to manage that with strawberries.  

My quick thought is some number 10 cans cut in half as tubes around the strawberries to keep the mulch from covering them up. A circle woven out of willow whips might do the job? Let's keep thinking of a simple, round barrier about 6 inch diameter.
 
steward & bricolagier
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I just started a thread on a quick strip along the street labeled "Yes, you may" and let the neighbors pick from it. Worth thinking about doing. I have garden skills.
Yes, you may

:D
 
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I'm jealous of people that can start already.  I think I will get a few grow lights and start some plants indoors.  I can't really start planting most things here until at least mid-May.  I have lots of extra seeds for beans and squash, some I'm going to plant some at the beginning of May and maybe I'll get lucky.
 
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there is no time like the present, planting a garden to provide nutrition may be the saving grace this year like none other in several generations.
 
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Nicole,

I suspect most here are aware of the back to the land/homestead movement that took hold in the late 60s and 70s and somewhat later.  I suspect far fewer are aware of the earlier Have More Plan that was much earlier.  I have not done much reading on it, but it appears to have been a post WW2 extension of the Victory Garden concept.   It was popularized by the Robinson's among others.  My parents were part of that and moved me from Detroit to southern Illinois. Of course, I climbed on board with the Shuttleworths after picking up a copy of Mother Earth in the late 70s.  I bring this up because some of the garden designs seem to go back to the Have More period. Thanks for the flash back.




My grandparents were in their 20's during the great depression and they made it through by gardening and raising their own livestock.  Many of the foster parents that I grew up with were in their teens and early 20's during the great depression as well and they "all" without variance taught me the importance of raising my own food and being self sufficient.

I was not aware of any get back to nature movement after WWII, but my grandfather worked days as an electrician and farmed at night providing all of their food after he left the US Army Air Corps in 1945.  My grandads father was born in 1872 and all he knew was farming until he went overseas as an infantryman in WWI dying in Normandy.

Whether my grandpas influence came from his fathers back ground or from his experience in the Great Depression or as a result of a back to nature movement after WWII who knows which or if it was all, but he felt it was very important to be self sufficient.  
 
John F Dean
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Hi Roy

The Have More approach was less about getting back to nature and more about having more.  View it as a Victory Garden approach on steroids.   I know my comment about my parents moving  from Detroit to southern Illinois made it seem as it might have been a back to nature thing.  It may have been.  But my father was president of a local union in Detroit in the late 50s.  Can we say "Jimmy Hoffa".   My best guess is my father was packing up his family and heading out of Dodge. Of course, I really have no proof of this.  I was pretty young. And in the late 50s one did not question one's father's decision making if one wanted to stay healthy.
 
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We've been working on the new place we bought, trying to get it ready to move in to, ripping out the old rotten floors, digging out the very unlevel earth floor, that sort of thing.  There's still a ton to do, but we've also found time to start getting a garden together.  We've planted several fruit trees, and I've been getting raised beds ready and starting to plant them up. Here's a few photos.

These are some beds being made, using boards I reclaimed from some of my deceased husband's projects on my current farm. It seemed the most appropriate use for them.



I roped my son in to do a lot of the donkey work for me.

Here's the view from the window of my bedroom-to-be looking out along the little terrace which is to be my garden. I'm using landscape fabric to cover the beds until I'm ready to plant to keep weeds at bay.



Soil has been gradually washing off the terrace behind the house for the last seventy years and has built up in the gap.  It's causing problems with damp and needs to be removed, so we're making a start on it by using it for filling up the beds.

The avocados in the pots are ones I've grown from seed and are ready to be planted out.



I used one bag of purchased potting compost as a top layer on the beds and then planted various vegetable seedlings straight in. Some are home grown, some are purchased - I just wanted to get a good selection growing as quickly as possible. This bed has broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, beetroot, sweet peppers, aubergine and a few red russian kale. The one on the left has lettuce, parsley, coriander and a load of cabbages at the back. It's an odd mix, but I figured anything was better than nothing.  This year is a bit of an experiment and I'll be glad of any successes.



I'm ysing an old tarp to clear a patch of land for planting at the far end of the terrace, beyond where the shade netting will be.

Maybe sunchokes, and some beans and pumpkins or something. Not fully decided yet.




 
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I'm growing some extra leafy greens in response to this dilemma and using fish emulsion more than i had previous years because I very well might need the crop foods depending on how this pans out. If i end up with extra, i can help feed others.

It currently looks like I have many lemons and kumquats setting fruit as well as plums and peaches. My apples have yet to wake up.

I've been harvesting the asparagus, mint, and broccoli too. I have green onions for days and garlic to spare. Plus I'm still getting some oyster mushrooms too. Fingers crossed everything else does very well.
 
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Things I think about when I'm in quarantine.
victory-garden-market-permies-2.png
coronavirus victory garden
Victory Garden
 
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I hit up a farmer-friend who hoards her supplies for about a dozen plant-starter trays so I can start building "Victory Garden" starters for my less inclined friends who suddenly find themselves confronted with spending more time at home (telecommute or just not-working) and the worry that grocery supply chains may fail on them.  

It feels like a really good time for the otherwise "too busy" or merely "disinclined" to get in touch with their DIY and/or back-to-nature selves and I'm doing what I can to help them.

I was heartened to find this Victory Garden thread.  My parents came of age during WWII (my father joined/served only in the last few months of the war) and grew some kind of garden all their lives... passing the basics on to me.
 
Catherine Carney
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Steven A Smith wrote:I hit up a farmer-friend who hoards her supplies for about a dozen plant-starter trays so I can start building "Victory Garden" starters for my less inclined friends who suddenly find themselves confronted with spending more time at home (telecommute or just not-working) and the worry that grocery supply chains may fail on them.  



Sharing our knowledge and resources like this is so important right now--the more we can build support and community the better at this point.
 
Sara Rosenberg
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Steven A Smith wrote:
I was heartened to find this Victory Garden thread.  My parents came of age during WWII (my father joined/served only in the last few months of the war) and grew some kind of garden all their lives... passing the basics on to me.



I have been thinking alot about victory gardens and truely hoped they would make a comeback. time will tell.
 
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Great post and awesome poster! Can I borrow it for my Facebook page? I am a food security program coordinator in BC Canada and I am running a contest to get people growing gardens and this would be perfect!
 
Mike Haasl
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If it's on here, it's in the public domain so share away!  I think it's likely also on the permies facebook page so maybe it's easy to grab from there?  I don't know but go for it!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Jay Angler
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I'm starting with some quick, early season plants. I start in paper pots so I can transplant easily without disturbing the roots, but it's too easy to have slugs eat every one if I don't get a few leaves going before planting. Today I did 8 pots each of Leaf Cabbage, Kale, and Tall Purple peas that someone gave me. I put two pea seeds in each pot because peas are groupies. I already have a trellis for the peas, and the others will go in a bed I just put deer protection around. I planted some Romaine lettuce about a week ago and they're just getting their first true leaves, so soon I'll move them outside to harden off.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Joanna Marie wrote:Great post and awesome poster! Can I borrow it for my Facebook page? I am a food security program coordinator in BC Canada and I am running a contest to get people growing gardens and this would be perfect!



Yes! Everyone is more than welcome to use the poster! The more people we can get growing, the better!
 
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My apartment complex just announced they are no longer having contractors on the property until  shelter in place is over. Part of me wants to bug out and go camping in the woods in our bus and wait it out. Part of me want to try to use this as an opportunity to start a community garden at the apartment complex and start a small scale goatscaping for the businesses that don't have landscapers now.  Any suggestions on what to do?Ideas on how to propose starting a garden and goatscaping while still here?
 
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Here's a real life experiment on this, done by one of my favorite bloggers, just last year:
https://practicalselfreliance.com/survival-garden/
 
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Catherine Carney wrote:Glad you posted this. I was out yesterday turning over the first beds for kale, chard, and cereal rye (I know, the rye should have been planted last fall....). Planting a garden is my way of taking control, at least a little bit, of the COVID-19 situation and my food production. My goal is to turn and plant a bed (raised beds, approx 36" x 8') each day, and top dress with the composted poultry litter from last fall.

Unfortunately I don't think there are seeds for toilet paper trees available :)



    ( Caltalpa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa tree is said to have toilet paper leaves)
 
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Joanna Marie wrote:Great post and awesome poster! Can I borrow it for my Facebook page? I am a food security program coordinator in BC Canada and I am running a contest to get people growing gardens and this would be perfect!

. HELLO JOANNA, from a fellow Wet Coaster, WELCOME ABOARD!
 
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Great thread! I have been working on a number of new growing areas this last fall/winter and I just finished my biggest one yesterday--a new terrace garden for onions, corn, squash, melons, and carrots! This part of my "backyard" is fairly steep so I though building a series of terraces would be a great option. I will be adding some fruit trees above and below it as soon as they arrive.

The long bed that runs along the south side (grass side) will be filled with flowers while the bed that runs along the north side (fence side) will be planted with all native plants. Right now I have sword ferns, and woodland sedges planted in it and soon I will be adding a bunch of miners lettuce (edible!). The way the terraces work is that each terrace is split into a pair of 2 beds. The largest bed in each pair will be for corn except for the lowest one that is for squash and melons. The smaller bed in each pair is for carrots, and onions. The onions are already planted--I should get 100+ onions this year!

Each corn bed will be planted as a mini-meadow filled with edible low growing plants that will grow around the corn. All are semi-shade tolerant and should produce a harvest before the corn gets going and then after the corn is done. Counting the corn each mini-meadow will have a mix of 8 plants in them.

This is an experiment but I'm very hopeful that it will do well!

The concrete is a bunch that I salvaged when my neighbor tore down a building. All dry stacked and the walls should provide habitat for garter snakes and other beneficial critters.

Still a lot more to do with this garden bed. I will be seeding it tomorrow to get the mini-meadows and flowers going. Corn will wait until about mid-May with the squash and melons waiting until late May or early June. I'm experimenting with some new varieties of squash and melons that are adapted for northern climates. We will see!

All the beds are mini-hugelkultur beds--I added wood before the soil but not a lot. Just some cottonwood splits (fully dead) but that will help encourage fungi and will provide some benefits to the soil.

Been a fun project and I will share more when everything is growing! I still need to finish the area below the terrace and above it but that can wait since I won't be doing much planting in those areas this year.

Edit: Forgot to add that I put in 2 large snags to attract birds and provide habitat for other wildlife. They also work to hang jackets on!
full-terrace-garden.jpg
Looking at the full terrace garden--the flags are marking spots for fruit trees.
Looking at the full terrace garden--the flags are marking spots for fruit trees.
northern-edge-terrace-garden.jpg
Looking at the native plant area.
Looking at the native plant area.
southern-edge-terrace-garden.jpg
Looking at the southern bed that will be filled with flowers.
Looking at the southern bed that will be filled with flowers.
 
Mike Haasl
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So what is the easiest way to get a garden going from grass?  I'm thinking along the Victory Garden theme where it's possibly new gardeners and the goal is calories and likely annuals.

I did the tillage method where we tilled up a grassy pasture, laid out beds/paths and planted within a month.  A downside was all the chunks of turf that the tiller slightly buried which then sprang back to life and needed to be removed.  We probably hauled away 3 wheelbarrow loads of crescent shaped turf bits to the compost pile that first summer.

The potato method that Nicole does would work nicely if all they wanted to grow was potatoes.  I'm assuming that trick won't work for very many other crops?

My notion is to lay out brown cardboard where the garden will be.  Soak it down really well and add 2-4" deep rows of soil and wood chips on the cardboard.  Soil rows about 2.5' wide, wood chips about 18".  Then mulch the soil with grass clippings throughout the summer (never more than 1" thick).  Seeds could be started in the soil and by the time their roots get to the cardboard they'll poke right through (I think?).  For transplants you'd cut through the cardboard and plant the seedlings, possibly mounding up the soil or digging down into the dead turf a bit.

Any thoughts on my "notion"?

Any other ways to start a Victory Garden from turf (especially one focused on food for this year)?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Two years back, my son decided he wanted to grow corn. I didn't have a garden bed prepared, and Bryant RedHawk gave me an excellent suggestion:

Dr. Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Kola Nicole,  In this case I would put down the paper sacks over a spreading of compost and duck bedding, then I would cut X's to plant the corn seeds through the sacks, lay on mulch leaving the seed holes uncovered so the seeds can come up through the paper X then you could mulch closer to the new corn plants.

This will give some good microbes the chance to establish under the sacks and hold moisture in place. I would not bother trying to dig the area, just where you want to plant the seeds.
Water the first few times with  water then make a tea and use that, (to really boost the microbes use tea once a month and maybe one or two waterings with mushroom slurry.

Redhawk




So this is what I did (https://permies.com/t/40/85595/health-issues-Sit-soil#709548)

me wrote:I ended up mowing the grass as short as I could, and then put about 1 inch of compost and duck bedding over the area. If I had more, I would have added more. Then I put the sacks over everything, and it sat like that for a week due to hot weather and fussy kids. Today, my parents came over, and my mom helped me get the bed ready to go. I wanted to try a three sisters-type bed...which made cutting Xs kind of hard to fathom. So, we took off the sacks. For each "mound," we dug a circle of soil about a shovel head length down and flipped it over dug a circle of soil (pretty much stepped on the shovel over and over to make the outline of a circle, and then) flipped the circle over, so the grass was on the bottom, and the soil on top.

My son came and helped plant four seeds in each circle, and then we put the sacks back on to cover the areas between the circles, and put what woodchips and duck bedding we had left on top of the sacks to hold them down and help smother the grass. We'll add more mulch on the sacks as our ducks create more...and hopefully we'll get a new load of tree trimmings and we can use that, too!



Here's the garden bed. There was only a little mulch on top, just enough to keep the paper sacks down. But, it was enough to allow the food to out-compete the buttercup for the season


Here you can see the holes where I planted the three sisters gardens


And, here's the garden bed! It was a bit too shady there, but we still got corn and squash and a few beans!

My son with his sunflowers, corn, squash and beans

 
Daron Williams
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Mike Haasl wrote:So what is the easiest way to get a garden going from grass?  I'm thinking along the Victory Garden theme where it's possibly new gardeners and the goal is calories and likely annuals.

I did the tillage method where we tilled up a grassy pasture, laid out beds/paths and planted within a month.  A downside was all the chunks of turf that the tiller slightly buried which then sprang back to life and needed to be removed.  We probably hauled away 3 wheelbarrow loads of crescent shaped turf bits to the compost pile that first summer.

The potato method that Nicole does would work nicely if all they wanted to grow was potatoes.  I'm assuming that trick won't work for very many other crops?

My notion is to lay out brown cardboard where the garden will be.  Soak it down really well and add 2-4" deep rows of soil and wood chips on the cardboard.  Soil rows about 2.5' wide, wood chips about 18".  Then mulch the soil with grass clippings throughout the summer (never more than 1" thick).  Seeds could be started in the soil and by the time their roots get to the cardboard they'll poke right through (I think?).  For transplants you'd cut through the cardboard and plant the seedlings, possibly mounding up the soil or digging down into the dead turf a bit.

Any thoughts on my "notion"?

Any other ways to start a Victory Garden from turf (especially one focused on food for this year)?



My terrace garden was all lawn before I started building it. I just put cardboard down over the areas for the beds (after building the walls) and then added wood and soil on top. I will add mulch on top of the soil once I finish planting--though some of it will just rely on the plants to be a living mulch. In general the soil is about 6 inches deep though in a couple spots (behind the walls) it's a fair bit thicker. I have used this method all over and it generally works fine. Occasionally I get some grass poking through but I just dig back down and put a new patch of cardboard over it and that tends to solve the issue.

When I'm just planting shrubs or trees I only add wood chips and skip adding extra soil. The soil just speeds the process up and allows me to easily sow seeds or plant non-woody plants.

I really like sheet mulching and as long as you have access to the cardboard and the soil/mulch it seems to work well.
 
Nicole Alderman
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One thing I've started doing when planting trees is to dig a far bigger hole than necessary--basically dig out the area around it and make it into a garden bed. I take the sod off first and set it aside, then put the top layer of weedy soil in one wheel barrow or big bucket, and then fill another wheel barrow with the more life-less soil at the bottom. I then put down the layer of sod upside down, put the fruit tree on top of that. Then add the weedier soil on top of of that, and then top it with the not-weedy under soil. Then I put mulch on top of that, and kind of Ruth Stout-style plant into the mulch some perennials.


This is actually what I did with my bush cherry tree:



I'm thinking for someone that has a limited amount of mulch/compost or sheet mulch material, they could do this semi-double-dug bed, with compost mixed into the top soil, or just much on top of it if you have no compost. If they can add mushroom slurry or compost tea or EM1 or even pee on it, that would help! Here's the basic steps:

(1) Dig out all the sod for the whole garden bed area. Set it aside.

(2) Dig up the next 3-4 inches of weedier soil and place in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp. When you dig, try to keep it in clumps to preserve soil microrganism

(3) Dig up the bottom 3-4 inches and place in a different area/wheelbarrow/tarp.

(4) Put the sod down upside down in the hole

(5) Put the weedier soil on top of that. Try to keep it in clumps to preserve soil life. If you have any veggie/fruit scraps, throw them in here!

(6) Put down a layer of finished compost mixed with your remaining soil, or just put down your remaining soil if that's all you have.

(7) Add nutrients and soil life to your soil if you can--pee on it, water with mushroom "tea" or compost "tea" or EM1. Plant into it.

(8) Add mulch on top when your plants start to sprout.
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:So what is the easiest way to get a garden going from grass?


The responses from Nicole and Daron are really helpful.

By coincidence, I pulled out "Gardening when it counts" out of my book shelf last night.

Steve Solomon writes at least two pages about how to turn lawn into a garden, either by a certain shoveling technique to kill the suds or by using fertile mounds where you dig up the soil in mounds that receive extra fertilizer (whatever you have available, even roadkill) and those mounds expand towards the outside during the growing season.

I am sure there are other people here who have read the book and can summarize the idea far better in understandable English.

Also interesting is this blog entry by Ashley Adamant (Practical Self Reliance, not sure if she is on Permies?) where she protocols her trial on a survival garden from scratch:
Survival Garden

 
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I am so very glad to see this! Believe it or not, I have been introducing my Australian friends here to exactly this. After all classes were taken online, and since we have not gone to the store in over a month for supplies I discussed with my housemates and we put our very own victory garden in with what we had on hand. It was rough, there are many blisters, this is only a 2M X 4M area but it was all the yard we have. THere are more potted plants, but those were moved so we could get in to take care of the area better. We had to turn the sod and use what safe paper we had to hopefully work as a weed barrier just long enough for the seeds to get started. It may not look like much but I am really proud of my friends! Considering we did all of this with what was on hand in a place where we have practically no yard at all.

Our Victory Garden!
 
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