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#149115 - 04/11/11 12:58 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: skcreidc]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I also have to admit that settling in Oregon to farm is not on my mind. The mountains, hunting, and fishing are; I could finally learn to fly fish properly!

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#149116 - 04/11/11 01:56 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: Jimshaw]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
"Many a pioneers has built a homestead and planted crops and watched his livestock and family wither away until generally after 5 years, broke and broken, they leavee."

The same thing can be said about the Ozarks, but there's been a lot learned since those days....

Raised bed gardening, greenhouses, low tunnel greenhouses, hybrid plants, soil enrichment, fertilizers, contour farming, terraced hillside farming, and much more.

First, a veggie garden is a lot different than a crop farm. There are still not many crop farms here in the Ozark Mountains, but there are a lot of livestock farmers and a lot of veggie gardens and orchards. I am surrounded by beef cattle and chicken farms. Those farms wouldn't have survived here even 80 years ago, but they thrive here now. This is a direct result of refrigerated transportation by trucks and trains.

But a veggie garden can be grown almost anywhere now. As in my case, it's taken a few years of amending the native soil in raised beds, some fencing, some weather and pest protection, and consistent watering.

In my own garden I've been trying a method that's added a small new twist to raised beds, contours, and terraced hillsides. I call it a "Swale Garden". Basically, I've dug a trench that runs along the contour of the hillside and mounded the soil from the trench on top of the soil below the trench to create a mound (or raised bed). I fill the trench with leaves and other organic matter (shredded weeds, wood chips grass clippings, et al).

When it rains, instead of the water washing off topsoil into the creek at the bottom of the hillside and down into the lake below that, the water is trapped in the trenches and absorbed by the leaves. What isn't asborbed by capillary action from the leaves into the mounds is slowly soaked up by the ground below. The leaves work as a mulch to keep weeds down between the raised beds, and they turn into a rich compost which is used to amend the soil in the beds.

I was inspired to try this method by proponents of raised bed gardening, the Machu Picchu terraced gardens, and an Australian cattle rancher who created swales on his grazing land to improve the amount of forage available.

When you add to that good fencing, bug nets, low tunnel greenhouses, successive plantings and crop rotation, you have a pretty good shot at keeping a high production crop garden going almost all year long, just about anywhere you might live.

Using these advantages over the pioneers, and depending on the size of your garden, after reducing your grocery bill and improving your table fare you can easily grow enough to sell to supplement or replace your income. You may not be living like Donald Trump, but after all things considered, you may be living better.

Here's some pics of our garden:

This shows another shot at a low tunnel greenhouse. I'm using bamboo sticks with old garden hose to make the hoops. It's not pretty, but it works...


This shows the mounds and swales. The swales are filled with mulch, so you can't see their depth...


This shows how the mulch in the swales retain moisture...


These are for Jim. This shows our chicken coop from the outside...


And this shows the inside with the nest boxes, roosts, feed pan, water trough, and of course, the babies...
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#149128 - 04/11/11 07:16 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: billstephenson]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Very nice Bill. You are using a TON of mulch and the tunnel greenhouse design looks very functional.

Jim, the nest boxes in the last photo are probably what you want to use for the chickens. Having them separated like that will help keep them from laying all over the place.


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#149552 - 04/24/11 09:56 AM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: skcreidc]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I added a new element to my garden this year. It's been fun building the hives, stands, and frames, and painting them. Actually just putting them together, they come in pre-cut pieces. Lots of reading and going to meetings. Getting honey the 1st year will be a bonus, along with some pollination of everything within a 2 mi radius.







Her Majesty the Queen (white dot on thorax)




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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#149555 - 04/24/11 11:28 AM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: scottyb]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Bees, something I've thought about for years. My grandfather used to keep them and I helped "rob" them. Once! Where I live, I would need to put up a electric fence to keep the bears out.

Duane

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#149558 - 04/24/11 11:55 AM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: scottyb]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Oh, that is so cool!

Thanks for posting the pics, very inspiring!

I'll probably be setting up some hives in the next month or two. I really love honey, and we're in a perfect spot here for all organic wildflower honey smile

BYW, is that a bottle of "Ozarka Spring" water in your photo? I love that stuff! It's the only bottled water I will buy here.

Mountain Valley Springs water is the best around here, but it's pretty expensive. I envy those close to the spring though and bring some home every time I head down to the Ouachitas.
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#149564 - 04/24/11 02:38 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: scottyb]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Scottyb, very nice pictures! I'm curious about what you have learned about the disease's (or fungus?) that are affecting the bee population in the US. Are there ways to avoid these problems?

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#149565 - 04/24/11 02:41 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: billstephenson]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Bill, Iv'e got a chicken compost question for you. How old should chicken poop compost be before you use it for fertilizer? I've been guessing 1 year...I am wondering if that is not enough?

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#149571 - 04/24/11 05:57 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: skcreidc]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Originally Posted By skcreidc
Scottyb, very nice pictures! I'm curious about what you have learned about the disease's (or fungus?) that are affecting the bee population in the US. Are there ways to avoid these problems?


You are probably referring to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). They have yet to pinpoint it's cause, thinking it may be a variety of stressors. I'm trying to go treatment free. There is a big push to try to breed the bees to be resistant to their pest and viruses vs treating them with antibiotics and harmful pesticides. Many think this is causing dependency in the bees and resistance in their pests. Of course the big commercial operations can not afford the losses that are suffered by getting on the treatment free bandwagon. Small people starting out like me, can and maybe with time, the bees will bounce back and overcome their enemies. It was supposed much easier to keep bees prior to the 80's due to the emergence of several pest since then.

I caught my 1st bees while waiting for the ones that I ordered in Jan. I started constructing swarm traps and placing them around at friends property and a few others. It's kind of like fishing or setting trout lines. The more hooks in the water, the better chance of catching something. I couldn't believe it when I checked on one of them and it actually had bees moved into it. Of course you run the risk of Africanized Honey Bees (AHB), but if they turn out to be too aggressive, you just split them up into smaller colonies until you can find the queen. Then you pinch her and introduce a new fertilized queen to them. She possesses both sets of DNA and gradually her genes will take over the hive.

Swarm Trap



Swarm Moved In



Swarm In Hive








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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#149717 - 04/28/11 08:34 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: scottyb]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Neat, great thinking. Something to think about.

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#149738 - 04/28/11 11:37 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: skcreidc]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I compost my manure for a year, but you can make chicken poop soup using fresh manure by placing a few cups in a burlap bag and soaking it in a 5 gal bucket for a few days. Then just water your plants with it once every week or two.

I'm sure www.MotherEarthNews.com has articles online you can cross check to make sure I've got that correct, but I think that's pretty close to what I've read there and other places, and I've used it myself too.


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#149772 - 04/30/11 12:12 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: billstephenson]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks for the advice Bill. We haven't looked at Mother Earth News in a while. I need to check it out again. We use to get it from the library along with copies of the Tightwad Gazette.

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#149862 - 05/03/11 08:15 AM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: scottyb]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
In the early 80s my dad came home from work one day with a hive and 7000 bees. My sister had horrible allergies when she was a kid and my dad had been reading about how local honey was good for those with allergies. We had the bees for a few years and more honey than we knew what to do with. It was great. If I remember right fire ants were a big problem.

The past couple of years I've given some thought to setting up a hive. It would probably help the garden a lot having pollinators right there too.

Speaking of which - we're getting jalapenos out of the garden and the tomatoes are turning a greenish orange hue. I can't wait to bite into that first tomato.

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#150646 - 05/22/11 10:47 AM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: billstephenson]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Be nice if we could get a little rain. Last two days it has rained all around me. Got skunked both days. Bees are still bringing in pollen, not sure from where. Mesquites bloomed last month and prickly pears, but no wildflowers this year to speak of. Tomatoes are doing well. I set up an automatic watering system last weekend so they get watered while I'm gone. Headed to the Yampa River in late June.
_________________________
Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#150651 - 05/22/11 02:02 PM Re: Garden 2011 ( low tunnel greenhouse) [Re: billstephenson]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
To let folks know, I moved this thread over to the new Home Gardening forum, but I left a pointer to it in the original forum. That pointer will expire in a week.

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#150654 - 05/22/11 06:40 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: billstephenson]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I've spent hours over the past few days weeding, fertilizing, mulching, and even a few minutes of harvesting in the garden.

The leaf lettuce has been delicious and I'll be picking it almost daily for another week or two. I cut at least 2 lbs today, and got a bunch of nice radishes too. Some of the radishes are pretty scrawny. I used a mix of old and new seed for those, so that's probably the problem there.

Before the end of this week I'll be cutting my first ever home grown Broccoli. It looks delicious too, and if it is I'll be growing more of that next year. The cabbage and cauliflower are getting big, but no heads on them yet. We'll see how they do when we have a hot spell, and that won't be long now.

My cukes are just getting going. I only had about 1 out of 3 seeds sprout, so I'll plant another round this week. I used old seed for those too, but I also planted some starter plants from the store.

My Swiss Chard doesn't like where it is at all. Probably won't plant that again. I have some dill that's doing ok in a couple different spots. I also have some Peppers going, they're doing ok. Now that it's warming up they should do better. Too much rain for them.

I have way too many tomatoes planted, and they're just starting to grow now. We'll see about them. Tomatoes have been tough here the past few years.

Here's a few pics:
http://ozarkexplorer.com/homestead/Garden2/
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#150662 - 05/23/11 08:33 AM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: billstephenson]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Got my corn, okra, carrots, beets, greens, lettuce planted this weekend. Still cool, expected to only be in the mid 60's this week, so I'm hoping the corn seed doesn't rot, although I planted it under black plastic which helps warm the soil up. I'll plant beans this coming weekend and hope it warms up so they don't rot. Can't believe how cool it has been and stayed.

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#150681 - 05/23/11 03:47 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: billstephenson]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
I've been getting lots of tomatoes and jalapenos and a few bell peppers. There are tons of flowers on the bean plants so that should be happening pretty soon. There are silks on the corn too. Should be seeing some zuchinni pretty soon also.

The lady next door brought me two and a half dozen eggs from her chickens last week. I gave her a big bunch of jalapenos. I'm probably going to end up pickling a bunch of peppers this year. They're doing really well.

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#150841 - 05/27/11 10:55 AM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: sjohnny]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I'm presoaking my beans so when I plant them this weekend they will be germinating and won't rot, next week if if warms up they can pop out of the ground, they can then get frozen. Never seen it like this before.

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#150905 - 05/31/11 09:01 AM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: hikerduane]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
We had a handful of green beans for supper last night. I always germinate the beans in a wet paper towel and wait to plant them until they have those two first little leaves on them.

I returned the neighbor's egg cartons to her yesterday and filled them up with tomatoes and jalapenos. She let my kids go and get whatever eggs were in her chicken coops. They got another dozen. I'm pretty happy with this system.

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#150944 - 05/31/11 09:57 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: sjohnny]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Things are finally starting to take off in the garden now. My cukes are still looking a little weak, but the tomatoes are growing fast and I've got heads on the Cauliflower now. Even the Carrots are starting to show some vigor.

The Broccoli was delicious! I'll definitely plant more of that next year. So far the Cabbage is doing good. Lettuce is about done, but I think I'll get a couple more harvest before switching the beds to something else.

I let my 10 little hens out of the pen a few days ago. So far, so good. They're staying close by the coop, and all have been there for a nightly head count. They should be laying in about a month or so.

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#150967 - 06/01/11 01:26 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: billstephenson]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
It should have been into the low 80's here by now, but the nights are still hitting the 30's after temps in the 50-60 degree range during the day. I checked my corn last weekend, found a few shoots under the dirt, hoping the beans are ok after planting them with short roots after the pre-soak. Not a good year so far. Hopefully the ton of money I have spent on an electric fence will keep the deer out. Saw a small herd of 6 Monday AM, chased them off too. Even the Dogwood isn't all the way out yet.

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#150976 - 06/01/11 03:39 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: hikerduane]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
Low 80s would be nice. It's been in the high 90s for a week or two here.

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#150978 - 06/01/11 04:13 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: sjohnny]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Since we are building I'm not gardening this year - so of course the weather is warm... <sigh>

Roses are up and some are blooming, bluebells are blooming - my flowering onions are coming up too.

High 80's here (though we've seen low 90s in the last couple of weeks off and on.)

Since we've had hot and dry weather with thunderstorms off and on (not a lot of rain though) - we now have smoky weather because of forest fires =(

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#150984 - 06/01/11 07:54 PM Re: Garden 2011 [Re: Heather-ak]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
That's not right Heather! Here in CA we're supposed to have what you have, smoke and warm temps.

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