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Jan in CA 03-16-2013 08:44 PM

Veggies in my yard
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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 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, 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!

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