Trying to start a garden!

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MosinMe
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Trying to start a garden!

Post by MosinMe » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:56 pm

Well I've been wanting to try the garden thing again for awhile now. Haven't done it in a few years but figured it was time to try again! I'm not sure exactly what I plan on growing yet, depends on what will grow well here in Florida in the spring. Who am I kidding... it's almost always spring here.

I borrowed a tiller from a friend of my fathers. It didn't work when he gave it to me. All it needed was a new spark plug and the belt needed tightened. After that, it was good to till!
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I tilled about 15x20ft of land give or take a few feet. (My measuring-foo is off today... :oops: ) It was suprisingly dark soil too! I usually hit sand and water but for some reason this chunk of the yard was a nice blueish color :D
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I plan on making this as cheap as possible. I have more free time than I do free money. I'm even going to attempt to fertilize the soil only using chicken guano. If my dog wants to help, he can donate his dog guano as well.

Here are the feathered Guano machines.. Already got a few 5Gal. bucket fulls of their sweet sweet guano.
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And the guard dog. hopfully he'll keep the coons and possums out.
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Especially since the chickens took over his doghouse and started laying eggs in there...
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Corn never really worked here so i don't want to bother doing that again. Green beans and squash worked fairly good before and I may do those again. Still room for more goodies though!

Any advice on fertilizing or what to plant would be appreciated! I'm open to all cheap and practical ideas! :D
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by herbalpagan » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:34 am

Make sure that your chicken manure is aged a bit or it could burn the plants...not much of a problem if you dig it in well and use seeds.
When you plan a garden, I've always found that it is most useful to decide exactly what you want out of it. With good planting and the length of your season there, you should be able to get quite a lot out of that garden. So, think about your goals; a salad garden, a summer garden, a garden that gives you fresh food of all sorts for the summer with a bit extra for putting away or an all out garden that will give you close to a years worth of veggies.
Then you go from there...don't plant anything that you don't really like to eat (no lima beans in our garden! lol). Read up a bit on how to get the most out of your garden (wide rows, raised beds/mounds). With the looks of that soil, I'll bet you do real well!
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Tetra Grammaton Cleric » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:52 am

Dude. Awesome thread.

*places tracking device on thread*

Let me absorb all your piccy goodness and then I'll jump in.
HerbalPagan's right. "Hot" Chook poo equals "burned" stuff.
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Anianna » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:50 am

Regarding your dog's poo contribution, I was under the impression that carnivore poo is a no-no for a veggie garden because it takes too long for the contaminants to break down.

Are there deer in your area? I like collecting deer poos for my garden and it wouldn't cost much to make a compost pile of grass clippings, plant-based food scraps and a bit of straw, paper, or dried leaves. You just need to turn it or stir it every so often. A tumbling composter would do it faster, but patience is a good alternative to cash in this sort of circumstance.

TGC once mucked horse stalls for manure. If you know anybody with horses, that may be an option for you.

If you know anybody with rabbits, bunny poo is great for gardens.
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by ZombieGranny » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:06 am

Before Off Topic contributors and their posts are "burned to the ground" as stated by 'The Powers That Be', I have decided to take action and remove the 6,747 unwelcome posts contributed by me in the past 7 years.

My apologies to forum members for any inconvenience this may cause. This is the 4th time it's been threatened and I'm too old and tired to fight it again.
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by MosinMe » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:13 am

I always heard that the chicken poo was acidic or something but this stuff has indeed been sitting for months and isen't fresh by any means. I'll just till the whole garden once every day and keep the earth nice and fluffy, should help the fertilizer mix better.

Thanks Granny! That helps a lot :mrgreen:
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by callista » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:17 am

I'm surprised the dog hasn't taken advantage of the chickens' intrusion to have eggs for lunch!
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Texas Rebel » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:10 pm

Anianna wrote:Regarding your dog's poo contribution, I was under the impression that carnivore poo is a no-no for a veggie garden because it takes too long for the contaminants to break down.
This is correct. You don't want you dog leaving you little gifts in your garden.
I let mine in my garden but don't let them take a dump in there.
Heard that when you let your dog's in you garden area it helps deter other animals from coming in.
So far haven't had a problem yet with rabbit's or dear eating my plants.

Was just a little wet after 4 day's of rain. :evil:
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by razi » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:52 pm

make sure to stake the bottom of the fence down. keep those bunnies out!
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Kaelos » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:33 am

Presuming your location is accurate, the single most valuable resource for you is the Florida Cooperative Extension Service at <http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/>. Navigating around the site should get you information on when you should water or fertilize to best effect, varieties of crops that have been specifically adapted for your region, and what might be killing your *insert prized plant here.*

I would heartily recommend getting a soil test <http://soilslab.ifas.ufl.edu/ESTL%20Pag ... alysis.htm>. It looks like in your state its $7 for a standard soil fertility test (the tests you get from the store just aren't accurate, in my experience.) Pain in the arse, but a totally worthwhile investment. Sometimes you'll be short on something fertilizer can't fix but 10 lbs of granite dust will cure permanently.

I also cannot overstate the benefits of companion planting rather than rows or blocks of a single species. It confuses the bad bugs, prevents epidemics if a disease does latch on, and attracts pollinators and beneficials. You can see at minimum a 3-fold increase in fruit and veggie production by simply attracting good pollinators.

Good luck to you and your furred/feathered friends!

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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Ax-Man » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:01 pm

MosinMe wrote:
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So forgive a city boy for asking such a dumb question but.. wtf are chickens doing in a tree? Didn't know they could fly/jump that high...

I find this very perplexing...
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Salam9nder » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:43 pm

Ax-Man wrote:
So forgive a city boy for asking such a dumb question but.. wtf are chickens doing in a tree? Didn't know they could fly/jump that high...

I find this very perplexing...
Oh yeah, they can get up there; they're roosting. Protects them from predators, except for an industrious snake. And Florida IS pretty famous for having ex-pet pythons running around.

If you think those chickens are special, you oughta see wild turkeys fly! Freaked me out first time I saw that...
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Valarius » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:25 pm

If my dog wants to help, he can donate his dog guano as well.
No he can't. Predator guano (dogs, cats, etc.) have bacteria and viruses that can kill a garden and kill you if you eat infected food. No dog poop, period.

I recommend making some raised beds. Some info I found in a ZS search.They're easier to weed and water. Any idea on what you're going to grow?
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by MosinMe » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:38 pm

Salam9nder wrote:
Ax-Man wrote:
So forgive a city boy for asking such a dumb question but.. wtf are chickens doing in a tree? Didn't know they could fly/jump that high...

I find this very perplexing...
Oh yeah, they can get up there; they're roosting. Protects them from predators, except for an industrious snake. And Florida IS pretty famous for having ex-pet pythons running around.

If you think those chickens are special, you oughta see wild turkeys fly! Freaked me out first time I saw that...
Lol, yes. They are roosting for the night and I just snapped a pic of them form below. Chickens CAN fly.

Wild Turkeys can SOAR :shock:
Valarius wrote: No he can't. Predator guano (dogs, cats, etc.) have bacteria and viruses that can kill a garden and kill you if you eat infected food. No dog poop, period.
Point taken! No dog guano!


So I planted it today!

-My dad having grown up in Iowa woulden't leave me alone unless I planted corn... So I put in 6 rows of sweet corn.

-Beans did very well last time I tried them so I put in 3 rows of green beans.

-I made some mounds on the end of the garden and planted some watermellons in them. I have 6 mounds devoted to watermelons as of now. :P

-Next to the mellons I made 5 more mounds and planted an assortment of Zuchini and Squash. they grew well in the past so I decided to try it again!

-For the lady friend I made a small patch and planted some sunflowers. I might try to make my own seeds again. Last time I cooked them a little too long, but they weren't too bad :|


I didn't get to fit as much in there as I had hoped, makes me want to expand my garden a little bit more. I still have a packet of radishes and plenty of corn/beans left. :?

Luckily Florida's growing season almost never ends! I can plant most things from March until August. That means I'll be planting a second crop sometime this summer! :mrgreen:
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Bubba Enfield » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:04 am

Here's my advice on green beans: when they start to grow, check the plants every day and pick the ones that are ready. I tend to pick them a little on the small side, because once they get big they taste like branches. Two days between pickings can mean a bunch got too big. I've got no qualms about blanching and freezing a handful of beans at a time, if it means all the beans in the bag will be good to eat. It's easy in the summer to say "well, this one's a little bit big, but I'll freeze it anyway". But in December when you cook your frozen garden beans, and half taste like wood, you'll wonder why you didn't spend three minutes a day checking your plants.

Good for you, giving it another go. Every person on the planet should be trying this to some degree.
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Rock2Fox » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:36 pm

I understand that cat/dog/predator/alien shit is bad to have in the garden, because it is bad to have in vegetables and therefore bad to have in my diet. However, neighborhood cats keep taking shats in my raised bed. Does this mean that anything I grow in that bed is tainted? I took a leak around the beds to deter them via my Alpha scent (I don't really have any scientific evidence to back up that this works), and poured some chili powder on the top of the soil.

I guess what I am asking is, even if the cats don't come back - are the veggies safe to eat (I turned the soil before planting)?
In the alternative, if the cats keep coming back - are the veggies unsafe, and what the heck can I do to keep them from ruining all my hard work?
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Salam9nder » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:09 pm

I don't know about the safety of your vegetables, but if you still have problems with the cats after the chili powder, you could try one of these motion activated water sprinklers:

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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Stormrider » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:14 pm

MosinMe, you should try making "tea" for your garden. You get a pillowcase and fill it with your chicken manure, then you soak the poop pillow in a 5 gallon bucket full of water. After maybe a week you water your plants with the water. You can also do this with any other kind of suitable manure (cow, horse, rabbit, etc.) or compost.

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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by AeSix » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:29 am

Hey,
I've grown radish and tomatoes in pots. You can use your radish seeds that way, so you're not tilling up more of your yard.

One thing you won't miss in my garden is greens (collards, mustard or turnips). Turnips are good to eat, both the root and the greens.

I hope you do well! I've been cleaning up the yard and been thinking about a garden again myself. This is the first year in quite a while that I've had the opportunity to grow one again. I live in a suburban residential neighborhood now. The back yard is filled with live oak, swamp cabbage and slash pines. Nothing grows back there, not even the weeds. So I'm looking at the front yard. The neighbors will get over it :)
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Lucretius » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:33 am

MosinMe wrote: Corn never really worked here so i don't want to bother doing that again. Green beans and squash worked fairly good before and I may do those again. Still room for more goodies though!
Good call. Corn just SUCKS all the nutrients in the soil, leaving a barren wasteland behind. An old trick is to bury a fish for each corn stalk you plant. That's a lot of fertilizer, and you could always just eat the darned fish.... :P
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Salam9nder » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:45 am

AeSix wrote:Hey,
I've grown radish and tomatoes in pots. You can use your radish seeds that way, so you're not tilling up more of your yard.

One thing you won't miss in my garden is greens (collards, mustard or turnips). Turnips are good to eat, both the root and the greens.

I hope you do well! I've been cleaning up the yard and been thinking about a garden again myself. This is the first year in quite a while that I've had the opportunity to grow one again. I live in a suburban residential neighborhood now. The back yard is filled with live oak, swamp cabbage and slash pines. Nothing grows back there, not even the weeds. So I'm looking at the front yard. The neighbors will get over it :)
Maybe it's just me, but I think it's fairly easy to make a garden look nice enough for the front yard. Tomatoes have colorful fruit, squash and zucchini have nice looking foliage, put the low-growing stuff on the street facing side of the garden and the tall stuff in the back, etc. I also put a border of marigolds around my garden; keeps some pests away and they're cheap and colorful. And you're right - if the neighbors don't like your efforts to save money and be more self-sufficient, they can bite it. :)
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by MosinMe » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:21 am

Stormrider wrote:MosinMe, you should try making "tea" for your garden. You get a pillowcase and fill it with your chicken manure, then you soak the poop pillow in a 5 gallon bucket full of water. After maybe a week you water your plants with the water. You can also do this with any other kind of suitable manure (cow, horse, rabbit, etc.) or compost.
:shock: :? :o :D

I need to get those pooping machines rounded up into a coup for a while and then I might just try your "tea" technique.
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Re: Trying to start a garden!

Post by Chef » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:45 am

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's fairly easy to make a garden look nice enough for the front yard. Tomatoes have colorful fruit, squash and zucchini have nice looking foliage, put the low-growing stuff on the street facing side of the garden and the tall stuff in the back, etc. I also put a border of marigolds around my garden; keeps some pests away and they're cheap and colorful. And you're right - if the neighbors don't like your efforts to save money and be more self-sufficient, they can bite it. :)
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