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The Garden Bug...

Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Blaithin, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    It's that time of year. Every January and February I just really want to garden. More so than even in summer when I have to actually make myself do garden work :bag:

    The last couple of years I've just done a few things in a couple of beds. I don't have a large garden plot or a tractor or cultivator to use to make one and I feel bad bothering my landlord just to let everything go to weeds :ROFLMAO: But this year I'm going to change that! There's about a thousand and one different ways to garden between plots, rows, beds, raised beds, straw gardening, hydroponics, blah blah blah. Well I think I'm going to fanangle some silage tarp and try that.

    Last summer my landlady tried some grain bag tarp and had good success with that. So going on what she learnt and how I think things may work best, I'm going to try my hand at it. If all goes to plan, I won't actually have to break up any dirt, I'll just cover the ground with the tarp before it thaws in spring. This should help warm the soil up quicker for my little seeds, and kill all the grass underneath by depriving it of it's favourite life giving nutrient. Hopefully the root systems and grass will help fuel the garden with fresh biomass. I'm also thinking of laying down a layer of straw and chicken house cleanings under the tarp. For watering I'm hoping to rig up something with a soaker hose underneath the tarp.

    All in all the tarp should:
    - Warm the soil up quicker and provide a nice, warm environment.
    - Stop weeds from growing!
    - Help conserve water.

    However I also see it being annoying and hot to walk on... so that may be a negative to it :LOL: I'm also unsure how certain plants like carrots and beets will work. While I'm not stuck in a row mentality, it seems like it may be a method that needs tweaking for plants that do their growing in little spots under ground vs spreading out above ground.

    Potential issues include:
    - Maybe getting too hot underneath. Can't decide if I want to do black side or white side down.
    - Issues with root veggies.
    - Annoying to walk on.

    Another thing I'm really interested in trying and actually getting to work is companion planting. While I've tried this before, my pathetic black thumb and my escaping calves have tended to mean that the only thing that lives is tomatoes. And one year many, many, many zucchini :ROFLMAO: Because winter gives a person a lot of time to plan, here's my Grade A architectural blue print of what I'm thinking!

    [​IMG]

    Now there won't be a big empty place in the middle... I'll space my plants better than my words. I also plan on scattering onions, garlic, lettuce, spinach, radishes and marigolds around hither tither. My biggest area of concern is the cows as they're rotated around by a hotwire in summer so that will be all that's separating them from the garden. I'll buff it up a bit and they're usually pretty good at not reaching over or under it (the buff up will be more to keep calves out), but I have tried to pick plants that people have experienced their cows mowing down on less. Obviously since I've only been able to grow tomatoes before they should be fairly safe, and winter squashes seem to not be a cow favourite. Plus this way they can take off into the pasture if they want to vine that way.

    Again, those beets and carrots aren't convincing me. I may end up doing a couple different "beds" of them spread around.

    Anyone have any thoughts or contributions? I find I'm good at missing glaringly obvious things at times hah. Share your plans too! So we can all steal from one another :)
     
  2. all a garden needs is 2 trees to swing a hammock from :happy:
     
  3. Dead Rabbits

    Dead Rabbits Member

    Location:
    'Merica
    Jean-Martin Fortier uses tarping successfully. Might read some of his stuff if you haven't heard of him. He isn't big into having a tractor or equipment. Just hand tools
     
    Blaithin and Farmer Roy like this.
  4. Old Boar

    Old Boar Member

    Location:
    West Wales
    I have tried to read the writing, am I right in thinking you have zucchini in amongst the tomatoes? Both attract white fly, so try to stagger them with some carrots (or african marigolds -white fly hate them). The marigolds also protect the carrots from root fly.
    You have not put where the sun comes from (which direction gets the most, not just the sky!) as the dill will shade a fair area later in the year (hopefully!).
    Both tomatoes (which can actually digest small insects!) and beans fix nitrogen to some extent. Worth rotating them so that other veg can benefit.
    Every squash and cucumber I have ever grown have made a dash for freedom and grown long tendrils and overflowed everywhere, so worth growing next to a path to curb them a bit.
    I cover the veg area with a black sheet in early winter to protect the soil a bit and kill the weeds, but it does encourage slugs.
     
  5. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Thank you @Old Boar :)

    When looking at the diagram as it’s posted you’re looking South. The entire garden will get a good days worth of sun although stuff on the right is going to get a bit more shade in late evening due to the pine trees there. I tried to pick plants that prefer a more acidic soil because of the needles in that immediate area.

    I’m planning on sticking marigolds throughly the garden as a general deterrent as well as trying to keep carrots fairly close to tomatoes. But I will definitely keep an eye on those zucchini next to the toms (y)

    Slugs are a non issue here. Really never see them. The cukes I’m thinking of trying a trellis for and seeing if that helps them. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to climb instead of take over the world though. The squash I’m not too worried about as they can just take off into the cows. Depending how on top of things I am I try to keep them trimmed back a bit anyway so they aren’t busy flowering and producing a thousand mini, useless squash and instead put their energy into a moderate amount of good sized ones.
     
    Farmer Roy, Kiwi Pete and Old Boar like this.
  6. Old Boar

    Old Boar Member

    Location:
    West Wales
    Oh no slugs! What bliss! Cucs dont do outside here, they turn into little bitter things. I can grow them in the polytunnel where they do OK, but the whitefly usually get the better of them, no matter how many ladybirds I transport from elsewhere and stick on the plant.
    Can you grow melons?
     
  7. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I caved in today and planted some flowers. Now the outside has to be ready in six weeks!

    IMG_7891.JPG
     
  8. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I missed this!

    Yes, I can grow melons here. Although they do better if started inside first.

    Cucs, zucchini and squash will take over if given half the chance. Had a garden full of gourds one year because of the kitchen scrap pail :ROFLMAO:
     
    Farmer Roy likes this.
  9. Old Boar

    Old Boar Member

    Location:
    West Wales
    I have planted lots of seeds, and some have shot up, including the sweet peas (3 different types). My broad beans are being very slow, and the courgettes are just two leaves and sitting there. The purple sprouting seeds are hiding as are the Cosmos. The nastertium seeds indoors are not doing anything, but the self seeded ones outside are beginning to show signs of more than two leaves!
    The nettles and brambles have put on a spurt and waiting to injure, but no blossom or even buds on the fruit trees, and the only green leaves to be seen in the hedges are elders greening up.
     
    Blaithin likes this.
  10. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    There's nothing green outside.... Not even the pussy willows are budding yet although they probably will be soon. And some of the bare spots should start showing some grass shoots soon I'd think.

    I tried some Iris bulbs just in vases on my kitchen table. They're blooming! I might go stick some from the rest of the package in the dirt in the flower beds since those aren't under 2 feet of snow anymore.
     
    Old Boar and Kiwi Pete like this.
  11. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Today, with the convenient arrival of a piece of grain bag that blew into a nearby field :ROFLMAO:, I got the garden area covered. Initially I wanted to get it done before the grass started growing but the snow went so fast and the grass was right behind it, all during a busy time, so this is the best I can do.

    I plan to leave it for a week or so until the grass is really looking ill and dying. Then I’ll stick some soaker hose underneath it and maybe some more decaying manure and then go from there.

    More conventional gardeners don’t seem to think this will work. The tarp bit being silly. My landlady who uses tarp herself is unsure about the not rotertilling part. But that’s the part I like as I don’t have a rotertiller and hate that job anyway! The only issue I can see is the ground being too hard that the plants don’t get good root expansion. But since most will be seeds growing, not started plants, hopefully they have strong roots and don’t get root bound! Fingers crossed anyway :LOL:

    A photo of the area before, with a cat modelling.
    BB612DB5-95AA-4D91-9330-918F756909CA.jpeg

    And after I applied the tarp. It looks dauntingly large now :ROFLMAO:
    201488CF-AE92-40A3-A5DF-F491C2093810.jpeg
     
    Treg, Farmer Roy and Dairyfarmerswife like this.
  12. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    It’s been 8 days since I laid the tarp down. It’s been fairly warm here which I’m sure helped cook the grass. It smelt well cooked when I pulled back the tarp today anyway :ROFLMAO:

    This is what it looked like.
    D98C4719-3E53-44BF-BBBE-24CAED0A5534.jpeg

    Then I took the mower and mulched it down so it will lay smoother. Dry cow poo spreads quite nicely when hit with a mower on mulch! After that I laid out the soaker hose. I need to get more so the distance will probably change but it’s a long weekend so I’m not venturing anywhere just for hose! The cat is back to model.

    C436A08D-0212-4914-A2BE-DE9B4D4E0B1E.jpeg

    Two days of work coming up and then hopefully the rest of the hose and starting to plant (y)
     
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  13. Breakthru

    Breakthru Member

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
     
  14. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Got some more soaker hose and laid it down today. Not sure if they should be closer together or not but it is what it is. Hopefully the tarp helps conserve the water as good as I think it will.

    5089B555-A847-481F-893A-4F22C3FC3706.jpeg

    Bought some bedding plants and stuck them in tonight. Made about six before I cut a soaker hose :banghead::LOL: So relaid it and now have to get another piece. Should’ve bought a spare! Learnt my lesson though, have the water on when cutting through the tarp so I can feel the hoses :ROFLMAO: The tarp does get smoking hot in the day, when it’s 29 above anyway. Supposed to be a bit cooler tomorrow so hopefully they don’t get roasted alive. They’re all watered well it’s just a matter of them burning.

    0802814C-316A-47D5-843A-1817CE34EE95.jpeg

    Hopefully Sunday I’ll get some of the seeds planted as well. The ground isn’t as packed and hard as I thought it might be and most areas are nicely damp and loose once I break them up in my hand so hopefully everything continues as planned!
     
    Farmer Roy likes this.
  15. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Oh! I also got the potato’s planted! Forgot to include them.

    D25D52BA-5D0E-4178-8D9D-DED3BD6B8D83.jpeg
     
    Treg likes this.
  16. anzani

    anzani Member

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  17. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks! That’s a great link I’ll be saving and reading for sure. Gotta get some better words to use as explanations. Was talking to a Hutterite the other day and he gave me a funny look and said just use round up :dead::ROFLMAO:

    I’m glad it’s kind of saying everything I’ve seen is normal and fine. I was worried about the harder soil inhibiting root growth, especially in bedding plants. But it’s not compacted it’s just dry and hard, as soon as it gets adequate moisture it’s nice and crumbly. Good to hear the plants shouldn’t mind and will power through fine.

    I also seen a line where he said worms love working under black polythene so my worms should love me! I’ve seen a few in certain areas so hopefully they really start to multiply. I did want to get more manure on top before tarping but time got away from me so this year it’ll just have to depend on the decomposing grasses.
     
  18. anzani

    anzani Member

    If you have few slugs, you could add straw to the mulch. Hay is sometimes suggested but hayseeds will probably add to the grass you are trying to kill!
     
  19. Blaithin

    Blaithin Member

    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    There’s no slugs here.

    Originally I was just going to toss straw and cow manure straight from the barn on it so it can break down under the tarp. Maybe next year. There was such a grass cover that even though I mowed it there’s places I have to push aside an inch or more of grass and mulch to get to the ground.
     
  20. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    Looks like a lovely area to live in, not many people around and a nice open view of the country!
     
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