Summer 2015: How does your garden grow?
This thread is another seasonal place to put food garden photos, ask questions about growing things, and share tips and tricks and such. I'd recommend you put your growing USDA zone or international location so we can get an idea of what grows well where. I'm in USDA Zone 8.
The above picture is of one of our salad beds and our herb garden. It has Jericho cos (the first year it's formed heads!), and lots of black-seeded Simpson leaf lettuce in a cut-and-cut again bed, where we pinch the leaves at the top to prevent bolting. Another bed has kale, baby cabbages we are thinning, and beet greens. The medicinal and cooking herbs in this bed (all perennials) are bee balm, lavender, oregano, and thyme. We also have, in other locations, dill, coriander, basil and sage.
What are you growing? How is it doing? Share what you learn here and speed up the learning curve for us all.
This is my first year gardening so advice from me will be somewhat none existent. However, i am keeping exhaustive logs of what i plant, when it is planted, soil type, how often it's fertilised and the rate of growth. In the meantime I've got some updates to share.
I'm in the United Kingdom with a USDA Zone 8b. I've taken the rather optimistic approach of planting whatever i can get my hands on just to see what takes hold. In the second year I'll focus on what grows best.
In the meantime here are some potatoes that i was forced to harvest early as wind damage snapped the main stem. Not to worry, i have 9 more plants!
(There were another 2 potatoes attached but they fell away during extraction)
Now for the data; these were planted on 8/3/15 after a 2 week chitting period in a 50/50 mix of general purpose compost and miracle grow all purpose enriched compost in a partially shaded area. They received 3 doses of liquid fertiliser in 2 week stints starting on 18/04/15. Growmore fertiliser (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) was worked into the soil on 11/5/15. I'm actually thinking of laying off the liquid fertiliser and the Growmore in future. I'd like to try something organic so I've got some fish, bone and blood for the next dosage. I'd also like to garden with minimum input to lower the resource requirements for growth. They were harvested on 29/5/15 giving two and a half months of growth.
All the best,
Small potatoes, also known as fingerlings, are the best tasting ones in my opinion.
I like how you are experimenting with what works for your property, your microclimate. We are really happy with things that grow with minimal assistance, minimal insect damage, no insecticides or herbicides (heaven forbid!) and minimal watering or other fuss. This is not just because we are lazy or busy, it's because things that require that sort of care are not healthy, not cheap, and not sustainable in an emergency when you cannot get more of whatever it is from the store.
Example: we lost our peach tree to old age and put in a new one, which should have not gone near the raised beds and therefore succumbed to root nematodes. We have to cut the new sapling down, and while we can put in a different peach tree somewhere else they always require Bt (bacillus thuringiensis ) to have healthy fruit that is free of plum curculio insect damage (from bugs that overwinter in the soil) . So we are going to put the new peach tree in the hen yard to let the chickens eat the bugs. Voila! No more need for Bt.
You can also cut down on the use of nitrogen fertilizer if you can get over the cultural programming that says bags of cow manure from the store are great for your garden but urine (ha – get it?) trouble if you use . . . well, you know. Even if this is not your cup of compost tea at the moment, keep this technique in mind for when number two hits the fan. Number one might just help you grow enough food to make a difference.
You can cook all those leaves up too if you aren't composting! Asian cultures of course use them in their cuisine. You can pan fry or steam. Give it a shot if you haven't already.
Please do not eat the leaves, stems, or green tubers of potatoes as they contain glycoalkaloid poison.
The potato leaves used in Asian cuisine are *sweet* potato leaves which are edible. This is a VERY important distinction.
I've gone full plunge into the world of human waste; that manure in the first bed is Class A biosolid. My old man works at the local sewage plant so I've been able to acquire a little for the journey into this brave new world.
A few documents worth checking if you're going down this route;
It recommends a 10 month application to harvest timespan so I'm just going to play it by ear.
We're all heading there eventually anyway so I've learnt to let go of the vanity aspect. I can handle other people's shit
All the best,
P.S. Potato leaves will be composted – thanks for the heads up
P.P.S. And in other news my neighbour has just discovered 2 bee colonies in her guttering. Upon further investigation at least one of them looks to be honeybees which she is happy for me to take and put in a hive. Is there a market value for social capital? It isn't listed on the FOREX…
Municipal sewage sludge is far more toxic than most realize – lots of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, solvents, and other non-biological nastiness. I'd be very reluctant to import biosludge from offsite, where I have zero control over what went into it, given all the – er, not s**t that goes down the drain.
Here's one link to get ya started: https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/sludge.php
Yep, I've seen those reports. Heavy metals and steroids I think were the main offenders.
Toxic sludge is poison!!!
Quantities, please. In what dosage and for what size of human? Are we talking new born babies or fully grown adults?
Can mother's breast feed if food is sourced from biosolids?
I don't know the answers, and I will offer full disclosure on what I produce. People can make of it what they will. But the time for being scared, cowed and indecisive is over – resources, resources, resources! Grow or extort! The mandate of Humanity!
But i agree on Humanure – get to know your own shit
For the record, only a small proportion of my diet will come from said biosolids – I need more data at this point before I go knee-deep. But consider this;
8) What percentage of biosolids are recycled and how many farms use biosolids?
About 50% of all biosolids are being recycled to land. These biosolids are used on less than one percent of the nation's agricultural land.
Organic manures Biosolids currently represent 2% of the total organic manures applied in agriculture but are the most highly researched and regulated of all organic manures. The rest is comprised of farmyard manures (96%) and industry by-products (2%).
Yes, the coverage isn't overwhelming but chances are you've already joined me.
Is failure still an option?
All the best,
What's everyone harvesting so far? We have been harvesting the last of the peas, the beginnings of the blackberries, more lettuce, more cabbage and kale, beet greens, fennel, jalapeno peppers, green onions, lavender, and spices. We've frozen all the remaining strawberries and mulberries, and made mulberry syrup – and pies!
Still using up from last year: Home-canned chicken stock, peaches and pears, fig jam, grape juice, and pickles and relishes. Dried foods: hot peppers, figs, green beans, mushrooms, blueberries. Frozen foods (not many of those left): last November's cabbage strips for stir-fry, green peppers, parsley in ice cube trays, and garlic chives.
What's coming in: new figs, potted ginger, and grapes are still tiny. Wax beans, okra, banana and bell peppers barely fruiting yet. but doing well. Tomatoes, blueberries & elderberries are not yet ripe, pumpkins may need hand-pollinated despite an apiary 2 blocks away. That's worrisome: they have not "deployed" the hives to various gardeners in the county. I need to go talk to them.
What's new: sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) I got from my father-in-law's garden are already 2-ft high. I'm trying pole lima beans this year.
Disappointments: as I stated earlier we lost a peach tree to root nematodes. The olive tree died back a bit due to cold this winter. Carrot and cuke seeds must've been too old and, for the most part, did not sprout.
Next project: replace aging teepee trellises, putting in celery and sweet potatoes. Need to plant a new crop of lettuce.
I've done a cost-benefit analysis, and we save–NET–about $1,000 a year on produce. We know how to grow other crops, but we put in no peanuts or potatoes this year. We've experimented with them, however, and feel that it's enough that we know how, and where, they will grow
summer squash of the season. still no squash vine borers (my most hated pest)