Marty Mitchell

pollinator
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since Dec 08, 2013
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I have now upgraded to my final Permie homestead... a multi-generational property on 8AC in coastal Chesapeake, VA. Surrounded by open fields and forests.

In the works... endless fruit and veggies, planting for nature's critters, ruminants (cattle and horses), chickens, bees, many structures for a more resilient lifestyle, developing new skills, etc.
Coastal Chesapeake, VA - Zone 7b/8a - Humid
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Recent posts by Marty Mitchell

Got some pics of my tomato harvest yesterday morning… and of the echinacea/blueberries patch. This flowers have an insane amount of butterflies and bees on them. Even with all of the other flowers around.

By looking at the pics… you can see the spots along the edges of the beds that will be receiving transplants of cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collards in a month or two.



Anne Miller wrote:Marty and Kim, thanks for sharing your pictures!

Pictures say what words cannot say.

Beautiful gardens!

I hope other will share their benefits of no-till.



Thank you. I do hope others chime in later on as well!

Kim Goodwin wrote:
Your garden looks awesome!

It's very fun to see these things and the garden allows for many close encounters with nature.



First off... thank you! Yours looks incredible as well!

I agree entirely with everything you stated.

This is mostly a first-year garden here at the new place... and with the amount critters showing up it is amazing. I have seen several types of bees that I have never seen before already even. They seem to LOVE the flowers on the scarlet runner beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, purple cone flowers, and comfrey out there going at the moment. The real thing that set the bumble bees off early in the year was the 8 acres of white clover and red clover out in the pastures. I even caught two bee swarms in my single Layens bee trap! How awesome is that!

Even the Black Swallowtail, Zebra Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, and a few Monarchs can be seen floating around out there.

I even found a patch of lizard or skink eggs out in the blueberry beds under the mulch yesterday.

I cannot wait to get large patches of wildflowers going out there... and tweak everything over the years for maximum effect.

I need to get a few water features going.

Katie Nicholson wrote:Are they more tolerant of tough growing conditions than snap peas?



Follow the link I put in that prior post. The red ripper variant originated from Africa and supposed to be able to be used as a cover crop… or food plot for wildlife it is so tough.

I have some in a bag in the fridge. I have not planted them yet. They are at the ready if one of the other crops fails prematurely. lol

They do say the red rippers will do better with irrigation but that it is not required.

Be sure to especially pay attention to the independent reviews in that link. It has sold me on them... to where I am just going to plant some along my beds now. Pretty blue flowers that pollinators love, great tasting, still performs even in dry conditions when most others won't, and more.

Katie Nicholson wrote:

First frost here is usually around November 1 so I definitely have time to grow something if we've got enough moisture in the ground for anything to grow. My potato patch is far from the spigot and I'm not planning to lug very many buckets of water! I may ask my husband to use the tractor to move the nice dirt to a spot where the hoses will reach.

Does anyone know what nutrients potatoes take from the soil? I'd love to plant a fall crop that restores what potatoes take, if possible!



In the case of needing Both something that does not take watering And replaces nutrients… that is gonna be hard to answer for most.

Sounds like you have now entered cover crop territory and left the realm of veggies. Unless some sort of field peas sound good to you. I hear red ripper cow peas taste yummy. However, they will need at least some water via rain.

https://www.rareseeds.com/red-ripper-cowpea

What is your climate rain wise?

What is your soil type?  

Is it sunny there or always cloudy?

What are the temps normally like there during the upcoming summer days?

[b]Benefit #1:[/b]

Being able to stack plants into the same place that mature during different seasons!

This leads to much more production in the same amount of space. The trick is learning how to pull it off. Which of course comes in MANY flavors (styles).

This is how I am pulling it off in my new garden. Adaption will be implemented... so all is very much subject to change.

In one of my 3' wide by 16' long rows (oriented North/South) out in the garden this year I planted 1/2 of the bed with red Nordland potatoes (short season) and the other 1/2 with onion sets I had started in January.

Down the middle of the row is a about 62"T worth of trellis that runs the whole 16' distance. This trellis lives there year-round and is not just for growing vertically on. It is also used for keeping plants from one side of the trellis from shading out plants on the other side... or plants in the middle in this case. As the potatoes were going gangbusters... I would simply pull their foliage back through the trellis to their side. Which kept the future trellised plants in the sun and thriving.

Down the entire middle of the 16' row... I planted a few types of Yellow Bell Peppers in this case. Now that the potatoes and onions are done... the Bell Peppers are probably 3' tall and starting to produce. They are being grown Espalier up the trellis and being weaved as they grow. They just got hit with a large bump of organic fertilizer along the entire area the potatoes and onions were growing AND deep mulched with wood chips. Just in time for the heat to start arriving.

[b]I did this same thing for nearly every row in my garden.[/b]

In the other rows I did things like broccoli, cabbage, kale (kale grows all Winter in my area), and lettuce out on the outside of the beds (Usually on the East side of the beds) and then a few rows of onions on the West sides of the beds. In the middle I had things like Emperor runner beans, cucumbers, watermelons (icebox types that can be hammocked vertically), cantaloups, and more just getting started. Onions on the West side allowed for good sunlight during the warmest part of the day in Springtime.

As the old plants got pulled... I simply dug a shallow trench in their spot and added fertilizer again for the plants in the middle. Then placed deep mulch on top.

You should see my insane garden this year!!! It is AWESOME!!!

[b]Benefit #2:[/b]

Drip irrigation. Now that I no longer have to till... I was able to finally add that dream drip irrigation system to the garden. Watering the plants slowly enables the soil to properly soak up the water for maximum absorption. As well as conserving the water.

I have been spending about 2hrs or more watering every time it is needed. Which is very often when it gets into the +95F range. I am now able to flip a lever and go do other things for a few hours while the garden is getting watered. Which is VERY IMPORTANT when falling behind like I have been here at the new place. I am trying to set up an 8AC homestead.

What are some benefits everyone else has been able to implement???
In one of my 3' wide by 16' long rows (oriented North/South) out in the garden this year I planted 1/2 of the bed with red Nordland potatoes (short season) and the other 1/2 with onion sets I had started in January.

Down the middle of the row is a about 62" worth of trellis that runs the whole distance. This trellis lives there year-round and is not just for growing vertically on. It is also used for keeping plants from one side of the trellis from shading out plants on the other side... or plants in the middle in this case. As the potatoes were going gang-busters... I would simply pull their foliage back through the trellis to their side. Which kept the future trellised plants in the sun and thriving.

Down the entire middle of the 16' row... I planted a few types of Yellow Bell Peppers in this case. Now that the potatoes and onions are done... the Bell Peppers are probably 3' tall and starting to produce. They are being grown Espalier up the trellis and being weaved as they grow. They just got hit with a large bump of organic fertilizer along the entire area the potatoes and onions were growing AND deep mulched with wood chips. Just in time for the heat to start arriving.

This year I will be planting the onions in the Fall actually!!! The onions grown from seed will grow all Winter and then get MASSIVE in the Spring allegedly. Right now all my onions are about the size of large ones from the store.

I did this same thing for nearly every row in my garden.

In the other rows I did things like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and lettuce out on the outside of the beds (Usually on the East side of the beds) and then a few rows of onions on the West sides of the beds. In the middle I had things like Emperor runner beans, cucumbers, watermelons (icebox types that can be hammocked vertically), cantaloups, and more just getting started. Onions on the West side allowed for good sunlight during the warmest part of the day in Springtime.

As the old plants got pulled... I simply dug a shallow trench in their spot and added fertilizer again for the plants in the middle.

You should see my insane garden this year!!! It is AWESOME!!!

Also, for your situation, if your grow season is long enough still... you should still have time left enough for sweet corn. In my area here in Chesapeake, VA our season is long enough to plant two crops of corn in the same spot. Just have to do it with early maturing varieties.
My grandfather had a row of apple trees along his wood line just for the deer.

The wood line was lined up perfectly from his back deck. They would exit the woods and begin eating the apples in the Fall... and he would be hunting from his porch. Which was good because he would always fall asleep and start snoring. lol

This past week I spooked up a large doe in my pasture when was cutting it back after letting it go to seed. She came back when I was 1/2 way through cutting... did a lap around me on the mower slow bouncing as high as she could go (hoofs were probably 8' off of the ground) while staring at me before jumping the fence again and heading back into the woods. I assumed she had a fawn in the grass and was trying to get me to chase her. Never did see a fawn while cutting... but know that there was one out there last weekend. It probably ran into my tall goldenrod patch I left just inside the small wood patch in my pasture (when I wasn't looking).

Moral of the story? I am getting a small used tractor now with a bush hog! lol

My (almost) commercial grade zero turn was struggling out there... and drank 15 gallons of gas AND took 2 whole days to mow just 6AC worth of waist to shoulder high grasses/redclover. A tractor with bush hog would have eaten it up. A much rougher cut though (not fine ground like with the mower) but also a much TALLER cut. Which is important once I finally put animals in there. Cutting the grasses less than 6" is bad for stunting regrowth when its hot.

Good story... and thank you for bringing up memories of my old grandfather's place.

I never hunt anymore. So this place will be a sanctuary for them with my animals. So long as they stay in the pasture and out of my garden/off of my fruit trees. Then it is fair game if they get destructive. I aim to share the bounty with them otherwise.
3 weeks ago
It has been a long while since I started this thread. Still learning!

I believe I have moved 5 times since the thread was started. Many different ecosystems.

At the new place here in Chesapeake, VA I have some very large fields that have been absolutely covered in white and red(pink) clover for a very long time along with the native flowers.

Because of this the bumble bee population has absolutely exploded this year!!! Now that my garden is in bloom…. I have bumble and honey bees absolutely everywhere. Along with Pensilvania soldier beetles and many types of solitary bees.

There has to be many dozens of bumblebee nests within their flight range. They are all over my clover, wall of cucumbers, wall of melons, and wall of scarlet runner beans.

I even caught two honey bee swarms in my single swarm trap this year. Awesome!


Also, my field borders are surrounded by Sour wood trees. I was about to order a bunch online to plant for the honey… but mot now. They are about $15 each online.

~Marty
1 month ago
Trap #2 is up… in a new spot. Probably not as good as the other spot though. But nearby…

This trap was the same one… but it is different than my first one. Instead of linseed oil… it looks to be dipped in wax. That is better right???

1 month ago