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Author Topic: The gardening thread  (Read 43663 times)

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clemsonfan

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2007, 12:24:25 PM »

I'm thinking about putting in some large raised beds in my backyard for growing vegetables. I would wait until late winter/early spring to do this. Has anyone done this sort of thing around here before?
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2007, 03:20:36 PM »

Are you talking about a full raised bed with a frame around it?  I personally don't think they are worth the time and expense.  You'll waste a weekend just building the frame.  I especially wouldn't do it with a vegetable garden, because I'd worry about the chemicals in the pressure-treated lumber leaching into the vegetables.  You know how they pressure treat lumber?  They inject arsenic into it.  Nowadays they have more environmentally safe methods, but I still don't trust it.  I doubt it's a serious health hazard, but at the same time it's kind of like what's the point of going organic then?

You also need a lot of soil, which will be super expensive plus you'll have to rent a truck or something to get it dumped in there.

The "easier" way to do it is to do a double-dig/raised bed.  What you do is

1)  Dig a trench one spade-length deep, maybe 1-2 feet wide, and four feet long.  Dump the soil onto a tarp or wheelbarrow.  Hopefully your trench will be between 8-12" deep.

2)  Take a turning fork and stick it into the bottom of the trench to loosen the soil at the bottom.  This will get you another 8-12" deep of loose soil.  If you're really lucky, you'll hit some soft subsoil, and you really won't have to do much turning.  You might even be able to skip this step, or at least totally half-ass it.

3)  Dump a bag of garden soil into the bottom of the trench, about 3" deep.  Mix it up with the loose soil at the bottom a bit with the turning fork.

4)  Dig a second trench the size of the first, but toss the dirt from the second trench into the first one so it is now filled up.  When you toss it on the first trench, you may want to break up the dirt clods.

5)  Loosen the soil at bottom with a turning fork, add 3" of garden soil, mix it up.

6) Dig a third trench, toss the shovel from the third trench into the second trench.

7)  Repeat.

8)  When you've dug the last trench, take the dirt from the first trench and dump it into the last trench. 

9)  Between the three inches of soil you added, plus extra height from loosening what was previously compact soil, you'll have a bed about 6" or more high.  You can take a hoe and push the dirt around to either make a crown in the middle (or if it's backed against a wall or something a slant from back to front.)

What you'll have is a bed that's about 18-24" deep of nice loose soil.  It's also raised and crowned so a bit so water won't gather.  I have to warn you though, this method can suck.  Big time.  This is what I just spent all weekend doing. 

If your soil doesn't suck and doesn't have big-ass tree roots in it, you can just rent a rototiller from Lowe's.  Toss about 3-6 inches of garden soil on top of your bed, then just till to 18".  Or you can just do a foot if your soil is reasonably good.  It's still tough work, but it beats the crap out of double-digging.  In my mind, it's totally worth the extra expense. 

But if it were me, I'd just buy some of these:  http://topsyturvys.com/10001b.html.  It's probably cheaper and a lot less effort.  Plus you can grow all year round if you want.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2007, 03:28:21 PM »

Thanks for the photos of the rainbow knockouts. Hopefully ours will be in the ground in the next week. :)

I just ordered two more.  I can't believe the one I ordered in spring is still alive, given the ridiculous drought we've had over here, and the fact that I put it in an unbelievably crappy location.  But not only is it alive, it's still blooming! 
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clemsonfan

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2007, 04:19:42 PM »

The reasons I was thinking about doing a raised bed for my vegetables were:

1. I have 2 dogs and at least one of them might destroy a big veggie patch. I was hoping a raised bed would minimize damage.

2. There are tons of rabbits around here. Last time I grew salad greens the old fashioned way, the rabbits ate it all. I have grown them in containers before but I want to expand my garden a bit next season.

3. I know it sounds lazy, but I hate weeding. I was hoping a raised bed would make weeding less of a chore since you wouldn't have to bend as far down.


I wonder if I could just get some stones or concrete blocks to sort of build it with. I was watching Living With Ed on HGTV and Bill Nye made some raised beds out of bricks, but I don't know if I'm committed enough to actually lay bricks.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2007, 05:00:03 PM »

oh, I see.  Yeah, a raised bed will work but you'd probably have to build it at least two feet high.  Bricks or concrete fake bricks would look more attractive than wood, but it'd be pretty expensive if it's a reasonably big bed.

I'd just wrap about two feet of chicken wire around it.  That's what my sister does.  It's kind of ugly but it works, and it's a lot cheaper and a lot less work than a raised bed if all you want to do is keep pests out.
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MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2007, 09:00:52 AM »

At the start of the season Rva recommended the topsy-turvy to me and I can thoroughly recommend it. We got loads of tomatoes from them and they were really easy to use. The only thing you've got to do is remember to keep them watered (but not overwatered).

I think next year I am going to try growing green beans in one of them.

As far as keeping the critters out of the beds, do as Rva said and run chicken wire around it, or put wooden stakes around the bed and secure a net over it. Put bricks on the edge of the net to hold it down (and keep critters out) or alternately you can buy small metal landscaping stakes to secure the net into the ground. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for around a buck for 20.

I used a net not so much for rabbits (although they can certainly be a problem) but for birds. The birds were having daily parties in my strawberry patch, and the only deterrent Dad and I could come up with was netting. The birds were not happy about it, but it worked.
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2007, 09:00:04 AM »

I have a quickie question, I'll be receiving some heirloom tulips and daffodils within the week--should I plant them as soon as they arrive? Or should I wait a week or so?
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2007, 04:01:21 PM »

A week is not going to make much of a difference one way or the other.  If you have more time the following weekend, or it's going to rain and soften up the soil, or especially if you want to some time and maybe do a little preparation on the bed, that's far more important.

If it absolutely makes no difference to you, put them in as soon as possible.
 
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2007, 04:26:53 PM »

I'm a complete novice about this gardening thing so bear with me...

We bought some mums over the weekend, smaller plants not terribly expensive so there's not a lot invested.  Should I plant them?  I've often heard that people have problems with them not coming back the following year.  Am I wasting my time if I plant them or should I just arrange the containers for now and then chuck them once they die back?

What do they look like the rest of the year when they're not blooming?  I assume I'm going to want to plant some spring blooming plants in the same area so that I don't just have dull foliage the rest of the year?  Or do they die off completely between spring and summer?
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2007, 05:01:12 PM »

These are like mums for planting, right?  Not like the potted flowering mums they sell.  If it's the potted flowering kind, don't bother planting them.  They're really just supposed to brighten up your house for about a month or so before dying.

Assuming it's the mums for planting outdoors, see if there's a tag with a full name on it, because there's lots of different kinds of chrysanthemums, some of which are now being re-classified or whatever. 

They are generally pretty hardy, in fact they are almost evergreen.  When I was in Alaska, everyone grew Shasta Daisies, so they're pretty cold-tolerant.  I think most mums have nice foliage myself, pretty full and dark. 

But if you think that's too  boring, then yeah you can plant stuff with them.  If you want a quick little garden, buy some bulbs and you can plant them both at the same time.  Plant the mums however far they tell you to space them.  Then plant the bulbs in the spaces between.

The bulbs will be pretty in spring, and then they will die (and they do look ugly) but by that point the mums should be going pretty good and will serve to cover the dying plants.

A pretty standard garden combos is daffodil, day lily, and mums. 
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #40 on: October 17, 2007, 08:42:06 AM »

I have no idea, they're probably just the throw away kind.  We bought them at a farmer's market, they're potted.  No little tag.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2007, 12:06:56 PM »

How should I dispose of yard waste without sending it to the landfill?  I'm talking about sticks, tree/shrub/bush prunings and sweet gum balls not just grass clippings and weeds which I'll compost.

We have three big silver maples on our property that drop sticks at even the slightest gust of wind.  We also have several honeysuckle bushes along our fence (which I hope to eventually remove entirely) and some other assorted bushes and hedges.

For right now when I prune or pick up sticks etc. I take them back and toss them under a big clump of honeysuckle bushes and other scrub brush at the very back of the yard, but I want to eventually clear all of that out as well.  My dad used to have a pile in the woods just beyond our fence that he tossed stuff on, which I'm sure was good habitat for something, but I don't have any woods beyond my property just someone else's yard.  Most of our neighbors just seem to have a big pile of stuff in their yard.

I wish there was some way to use the stuff but it's not good for compost.  The only other thing I can think of is to burn the stuff. 

Any thoughts?
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MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2007, 01:40:02 PM »

It's probably best to simply bundle up the sticks/twigs/trimmings with some twine and put them to the road, unless you want to invest in a wood chipper, which is really for large limbs.

You might want to check the laws before doing any burning. I believe it is illegal in the city.

Good luck with that honeysuckle. It's a beast to get rid of.
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2007, 01:49:40 PM »

Ditto MK. Honey suckle is a pain in the ass to pull up, it can be done. You'll end up just wanting to toss gasoline on it and lighting a match though.

Got my tulips and daffodils on Saturday, they're going in the ground tonight! My dahlia is blooming again too  ;D
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Ella Minnow Pea

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2007, 01:50:23 PM »

Raleigh has weekly curbside collection for yard waste - probably since it is illegal for us to dispose of it in the landfill.
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