Garden Prep
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
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Default Garden Prep

It's about time to start getting ready for spring planting and I thought this would be a good time to post favorite gardening tips?

My tip: Start a compost box for your scraps, clippings, and leaves (anything organic) , and keep it downwind. It smells like s*^$ but it makes plants grow like it and dramatically cuts down on the fertilizer you need.

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Old 02-11-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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I live near Philly, with the questionable soil around here, I prefer raised beds. Anyone know some good shade tolerant veg?

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Old 02-12-2012, 12:49 AM   #3
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Compost is an excellent thing. We sort of compost directly- I use a leaf vacuum that sucks up and grinds leaves. Dump in garden, add some lime (oak leaves- tannic acid) and turn them in. Keep right balance of green/brown added to compost, no meat or bones, keep it turned, it will get HOT (some of mine have run at 165 degrees) and very little smell.

Shade tolerant depends on what you plant, and how much sun it needs. Various lettuces go well in semi-shade. Seed catalog reading time!

This is also good time to be getting gardening gear in shape. My hoes and shovels get a file on the cutting edge, coat of linseed on wood handles, check power equipment- fresh oil if you did not change in the fall, fresh fuel, check air/ fuel filters, etc.

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Old 02-12-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
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Greens - lettuce, mustard greens, chard, roots - carrots, onions, garlic, leeks, as well as peas and beans are shade-tolerant. I'm not sure how broccoli is in the shade, but it produces much better for me in cooler weather.

It's about 15 out right now and the ground is frozen. Nothing I'll be able to do to prep the outdoor raised beds until March or April.

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Old 02-12-2012, 04:40 AM   #5
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chicken manure is great high in nitrogen my tip to anyone is buy Heriloom seeds that can be harvested and replanted yearly then if the !HTF we dont have to worry about getting seeds to plant next and if it dont well at least we dont have to buy seeds next year

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Old 02-12-2012, 05:25 AM   #6
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We picked up a greenhouse from Harbor Freight a couple of weeks ago. Still have to put it up though. We will be starting the tomatoes (all heirlooms, need full sun) indoors here pretty soon. The weather is really weird this year so not sure how things are going to go. We haven't had much in the way of a winter yet. (it was in the 50's and 60's today and it is 44 right now). We have not had much rain, just under 10 inches where we normally would have more than double that by this time of the year.

My compost pile is running year round. If properly managed your compost pile should not be nasty smelling at all, if it does smell bad you are doing something wrong. Be sure to turn it over regularly to introduce oxygen into the pile. Keep it turned up. Worms help a lot as well. I have a composting horse manure pile next to it (I replenish this yearly and about 2 or 3 years ahead of time.) and keep that turned up as well.

Tomorrow I am meeting a guy who is going to teach me about grafting fruit trees. I have done some in the past with marginal success but I have never been given a lesson on how to do it properly. I am entirely self taught so far.

Bat guano ($hit) is a great very high nutrient amendment to add to your soil, but that is difficult to come by. Little buggers are difficult to toilet train.

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Old 02-12-2012, 05:40 AM   #7
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Default Heirloom Seed Kits

On that very subject... Who sells the fairest priced, maybe regionally focused, freshest heirloom seeds kits of varying sizes that'll store well? I've been planning on buying one but want to wait till it won't freeze in shipping!!!

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Old 02-12-2012, 05:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockaLouis View Post
On that very subject... Who sells the fairest priced, maybe regionally focused, freshest heirloom seeds kits of varying sizes that'll store well? I've been planning on buying one but want to wait till it won't freeze in shipping!!!
If I buy any seeds I buy 'em locally. That way there is no "regional" mistake. The seed viability should be listed on the individual seed packages as in date they were packaged, what percentage would be viable at the time (should be 90% or higher for heirloom) etc. etc.

No seeds will "store well" for a long time. Over time they lose viability. that's where the percentage goes down. A 50% viability means only half the seeds will sprout. I have had some beans that have been upwards of 80% viable after ten or more years. Not so good with corn.

Get your seeds (or maybe seedlings) from a local grower. Make sure the seeds you save have been dried thorgoughly before storing them (if not they will mold/mildew and kill the seed). With my beans I will leave them to dry out on the windowsill well into October before putting them in the jar for next year.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:17 AM   #9
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I really just want, need, to get a kit of seeds to stick in the 'fridge. Agway is my only other best option and the kits should be better and cheaper.

It seems about a half dozen places kinda dominate the web with packages of long-term storage kits... Looked at Heirloom Seed a coupla years ago but have not bothered -- stuck with intermediate term supplies. This is a whim for friends and I, and for the low price this insurance seems worth the investment...

I can't find seeds for baloney!

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Old 02-12-2012, 06:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by HockaLouis View Post
I really just want, need, to get a kit of seeds to stick in the 'fridge. It seems about a half dozen places kinda dominate the web with packages of long-term storage kits... Looked at Heirloom Seed a coupla years ago but have not bothered. This is a whim for friends and I, and for the low price this insurance seems worth the investment...

I can't find seeds for baloney!
If you aren't going to grow them then why have them? Sticking them in the fridge seems to be foolish to me, sticking them in the ground makes more sense. You can grow the plants from the seeds and year after year produce your own seeds replenishing your seeds in perpetuity. Putting them in the fridge will only reduce their viability over time. (personally I store my seeds in the pantry. Any dry cool place will do)
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