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Jan in CA
03-16-2013, 08:44 PM
Tuscan kale, squash, tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, and onions. What you can't see in the background are mandarin oranges and naval oranges. Hubby has a green thumb.

GrumpyGramma
03-16-2013, 08:52 PM
Drool, drool. Lovely. Home grown veggies are the best! Enjoy! Love the raised bed too.

vaknitter
03-16-2013, 09:25 PM
so jealous of your growing season ! The last of our snow just melted. Do you have to compost your raised beds every season? Ours used to do really well and the last couple of years have been pathetic. Thinking about during it into a swing set/play area for the boys this summer.

Jan in CA
03-17-2013, 12:58 AM
This is actually the first year with the raised bed. He did add soil and compost. I just asked and he said he'd have to compost and fertilize every season, but let it rest every few years. His SIL had a weak garden this year and probably needs to do that, too.

Ingrid
03-17-2013, 10:42 AM
I'm itching to get out into the garden but it's been just too darn cold. Even have a coating of fresh snow. Haven't even seen a crocus yet! Refreshing to see healthy greens!!

Antares
03-17-2013, 10:53 AM
Jan, that looks lovely--and sounds yummy, too. Tell your husband he gets the "Atta Boy Award" for this one!! :wink:

We garden year round, if possible, and that's not easy in the midst of the drought here in Texas. We have three composting bins going at all times: two tumblers (http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/compost-wizard-12-cubic-foot-compost-tumbler) and one big open air composter (with wire mesh around it). Because we're so arid and also on water restrictions, it takes a while to get compost from all three, but when we do, we add it back into our garden, raised beds, keyhole garden (http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3726/), and potted plants.

The last couple of years, we've also started planting "green manure" crops late in the fall. This includes wheat, winter rye grass, Austrian winter peas, oats, vetch, and medic (clover). Several of these add nitrogen to the soil as they grow (the peas, medic, and vetch). They are tilled under in late winter/early spring as on-the-spot-compost (or we use them as a type of living mulch--something we need here cause we get "March" winds from about Feb. through May, and the plants need the protection).

We also add lots of things to the soil year round to help with fertility: dried molasses (which has the added bonus of running off fire ants), alfalfa meal, bone meal, rabbit manure, chopped up leaves and grass, dead fish, etc.

We've been gardening here for 5 1/2 years now, and before we bought the place, the same plot was gardened (with very little, if anything, added to the soil) for about 15 years, plus, before that it was a cotton field for decades. When we first moved here, the garden spot was dead! But we immediately began dumping truck loads of cow manure, hay, and leaves on it, and we grew a fairly decent garden the next spring.

So long story short is that you can make (and keep) your soil healthy (even in a raised bed), but you have to work at it year round.

AH1OZ
03-17-2013, 11:39 AM
my heirloom seeds are starting in my kitchen! I cannot wait to plant outside, but that wont be till May around here... there is still snow

Jan in CA
03-17-2013, 01:27 PM
Our yard is way too small and were too close to neighbors to have our own compost bins. He got and brought it in as well as us putting in a few things ourselves. I neglected to mention we also have a bush blueberry that he dumps our coffee grounds on since they like acidic soil. It's a fairly new plant, but we had bunches of berries last year and there have been lots of flowers this year so we are hoping.

GrumpyGramma
03-17-2013, 01:38 PM
Do you have problems with slugs? We do here in Western Washington. I found that mixing coffee grounds and crushed egg shells make great slug deterrents. They don't like coffee grounds and if they do venture onto them the egg shells cut them up. DD called the crushed egg shells "slug slicers".

Jan in CA
03-17-2013, 02:47 PM
We haven't had a huge problem for years, but I will definitely tell DH that!

Antares
03-17-2013, 04:58 PM
If you'd like to compost, you might try the tumbler composting bins. They come in small sizes (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ideas-EZCJR-BLK-7-Cubic-Foot-Compost/dp/B002D925D6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363553824&sr=8-1&keywords=Compost+Bin+Tumbler), and they don't stink because they're contained.

I have a new blueberry bush this year, too. It's pretty small, but I hope to have some berries some day (maybe next year?).

I will have to encourage my husband to drink more coffee so I can dump the coffee grounds on the blueberry--or just make coffee and pour it down the drain so I get the benefit of the grounds (can't drink the nasty stuff myself).

GrumpyGramma
03-17-2013, 05:16 PM
If you'd like to compost, you might try the tumbler composting bins. They come in small sizes (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ideas-EZCJR-BLK-7-Cubic-Foot-Compost/dp/B002D925D6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363553824&sr=8-1&keywords=Compost+Bin+Tumbler), and they don't stink because they're contained.

I have a new blueberry bush this year, too. It's pretty small, but I hope to have some berries some day (maybe next year?).

I will have to encourage my husband to drink more coffee so I can dump the coffee grounds on the blueberry--or just make coffee and pour it down the drain so I get the benefit of the grounds (can't drink the nasty stuff myself).


Check with local coffee shops. Starbucks puts their grounds out for anyone to pick up, you just have to check frequently and grab 'em when they're out before someone else gets them. They'll turn funny colors, orange and green, and I've even read that some of the fungi or whatever it is makes them glow in the dark :shock: :ick: but it won't hurt your compost or your garden. If used as mulch they can crust over and you might need to break it up to let water through. Just to make sure it's clear: Brown coffee grounds are green for composting. :teehee: White paper filters are brown. Go figure.

justplaincharlotte
03-17-2013, 09:49 PM
The garden looks delightful Jan. Thanks for sharing your DHs great work on the raised bed!:cheering:

I've wanted a fig tree for so very long, and finally set one out yesterday - got enough exercise for three people digging the hole to China to plant it. :teehee:

Your photo has given me the "oomph" to get back into my garden beds next weekend with some vegetables. No digging to China required.:woot:

Jan in CA
03-17-2013, 10:41 PM
He used both seedlings and seeds. He also went a little crazy so they'll need thinning soon. :lol:

I have coffee every day so I save up the grounds for a week including filter and he just puts it all on the blueberry. After a bit he takes out the filters. He brought home grounds from the donut store once, but it's way too much for one bush. :teehee:

ABC's Mom
03-17-2013, 11:41 PM
We just got the email that the local community garden is gearing up again for this year. A local church turned extra, wasted space into about 50 garden plots for the community. They also have charity plots for those who need it.
We get an approximately 15x20 plot, tilled in the fall and the spring, auto sprinking when needed, all the compost you can use for a whooping $10 a season!!
It will be awhile yet before we can plant here in MI, but sure looking forward to the fresh veggies again this year.
We had so much last year I had to buy another freezer!!

Jan in CA
03-18-2013, 12:44 AM
We just got the email that the local community garden is gearing up again for this year. A local church turned extra, wasted space into about 50 garden plots for the community. They also have charity plots for those who need it.
We get an approximately 15x20 plot, tilled in the fall and the spring, auto sprinking when needed, all the compost you can use for a whooping $10 a season!!
It will be awhile yet before we can plant here in MI, but sure looking forward to the fresh veggies again this year.
We had so much last year I had to buy another freezer!!

Wow, that is awesome! My DH would love that!

butlersabroad
03-18-2013, 11:49 AM
Well between your three million finished projects and now you have a garden growing, I'm not happy with this site at all right now!!! I finished one sock (need the second), almost finished a hat (perhaps my husband can wear it this winter after all!) and then this at the weekend. Again:

http://www.butlersabroad.com/blog/17mar13/wood1.jpg

Ach, I'm so over Winter all ready! And I want to have time to knit too, anyone got any to spare?? We normally get our little veggie garden going in April and I would have started my pepper and tomato seeds indoors by now but we won't be doing either this year as we're heading to England for three weeks mid-April. Suppose that's something to look forward to at least!!

jinxnit55
03-18-2013, 12:31 PM
We had a Compost Tumblr and a bear ripped it apart! The same bear (we think) got into the garage when the back door got left open. He opened the fridge and drank beer and pepsi. The Bear League had to come shoot him w/ a tranqulizer gun and haul him away. So composting here is difficult!

I would like to get some blueberry bushes. I saw some in Vermont and our climate here by Lake Tahoe is similar.

butlersabroad
03-18-2013, 12:45 PM
We had a Compost Tumblr and a bear ripped it apart! The same bear (we think) got into the garage when the back door got left open. He opened the fridge and drank beer and pepsi. The Bear League had to come shoot him w/ a tranqulizer gun and haul him away. So composting here is difficult!


I think that has to be the best excuse for not composting that I've ever heard!! At least I don't have to deal with that! Although I watered my deck flower boxes with a fish food fertilizer once, thinking it would be good for them (it was) and the smell would dissipate after a day or two (it did). What I didn't contend with was attracting all the neighbourhood racoons who dug the flowers and soil out of my boxes every darn evening for three nights looking for whatever tasty food was in there! We had to put the boxes in the garage at night for a few days until the fertilizer smell went away!

Antares
03-18-2013, 01:10 PM
For those of you with varmint problems (both the large kind [bear] and the small variety [raccoon]), let me recommend getting a guard donkey. No, I didn't misspell that. I said a guard DONKEY. Ranchers use them to protect sheep and goats around here. Heck, the donkey's will even protect people. I know this because a donkey that was briefly left at my parents' house was protecting my mom!!

So forget the dog and get yourself a real, honest-to-goodness donkey. I've suggested to my husband that we'll need one here once we get chickens this spring. I've proposed that we just let it roam the neighborhood much like the previous neighbor's dog did. Wouldn't it be nice to wake up to a loud "HEEEEE-HAWWWW HEEEEEE-HAWWWW" every morning, and just think of the extra fertilizer you'd have!!

And jinxnit55, if you'd just serve that bear in a regular way (like, leaving his beverage of choice on a picnic table), you wouldn't have to worry about your composter or your freezer.

butlersabroad
03-18-2013, 01:50 PM
...let me recommend getting a guard donkey.

Oh I just LOVE that. I can see the sub-division committee members faces now.... :yay:

vaknitter
03-20-2013, 02:53 PM
I've never heard of a guard donkey ! I've been bugging my husband for a pair of alpacas but maybe we'll have to get donkeys. We have a bear (most likely a cub) who has created his own ingress/egress in our 8ft fence to drain our bird and squirrel feeders.

GrumpyGramma
03-20-2013, 03:06 PM
I've heard of donkeys in with sheep to keep them safe. If I recall correctly, with a donkey companion the sheep weren't bothered by coyotes nearly as much.

Antares
03-20-2013, 04:44 PM
Yeah, guard donkeys are used quite often for both sheep and goats (and I guess cattle, too) in Texas (and probably elsewhere). I would recommend getting one that is used to and gentle with people--and likewise hell on varmints and unwanted critters!

As I said, my parents had a guard donkey left on their property after some goats were moved off (none of the animals were theirs). Sally (the donkey) would follow my mom around, and one day chased off . . . . something . . . . that my mom never even caught a glimpse of.

They're interesting animals, but some do have a stubborn streak and/or can be mean to people. So be choosy about which . . . ahem . . . donkey you bring home! (It wouldn't let me use the other term!)

vaknitter
03-20-2013, 08:49 PM
woudl they chase off feral cats? If they keep the cats out of the yard the hubby will go buy them tonight !!! Nothing ruins a veggie garden like feral cats.

GrumpyGramma
03-20-2013, 10:00 PM
woudl they chase off feral cats? If they keep the cats out of the yard the hubby will go buy them tonight !!! Nothing ruins a veggie garden like feral cats.

Inquiring minds want to know. :rofl: According to this site (http://www.cadama.org/donkeys_for_predator_control.htm) they will go after cats and dogs; and you want a jenny, not a jack.

jinxnit55
03-20-2013, 10:18 PM
I really wouldn't mind composting, but Yogi (as he came to be known) put the kibosh on it, for sure.

We also have raccoons, big ones, and both bears and raccoons were getting in the garbage, as well as neighborhood dogs (including ours). One summer night several years ago I heard a ruckus up by the trash, and ran out in my nightie to chase off whoever the culprit was. There, lit by moonlight, rose up the biggest raccoon I had ever seen, clutching a pizza box. When he snarled at me over the top of it, I quickly gave up and ran back into the house!

Now we have this thing called a 'Bear Bin' that has a locking door so we don't have to risk life and limb challenging critters that get into the garbage.