16x16 garden

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16x16 garden

Post by Admin on Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:49 pm

My health actually good enough I wanted some sort of annual garden this year. My old one has too many trees and bushes. So made new one on some bare and not very fertile ground. 16x16 as I fenced it with four cattle panels. Hand dug it with garden fork. After breaking tine, welded it back and reinforced all tines with rebar. Worked fine after that despite being heavy clay and lot small rocks. Could only dig after good rain as otherwise even garden fork wouldnt go into this soil, this is almost like subsoil, heavy clay with little organic matter, just patchy thin bit grass/weeds on top. After digging it, I raked bunch grass cuttings and worked them in, didnt bury them as that would be counter productive. Hand digging lot gentler on earth worms and soil structure. Rototiller like putting everything in a blender. Thats only good on this type soil if you want to make it into adobe bricks.

It was kinda late in spring when I decided to do this. Also wasnt too optimistic whether soil would allow much to grow, figured might need lot more organic matter worked in and maybe then be bit productive next year.

But it was an especially good year for spring and early summer rains. Didnt just turn hot and dry like lot years. And this allowed the grass clippings to moulder and provide some fertility. I have had success before with this as long as big spigot in sky doesnt shut off, you need lot rain. Here is pretty cool free book that explains how it works. http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/folly/follyToC.html

I had bought some green glaze collard seed. Planted that and row blackeyed peas, okra, and some milk thistle (still trying to figure how to eat such a prickly plant... its supposed to be edible). Space left so tossed out some buggy pinto beans I found in cupboard. And then some buckwheat I had as cover crop years back when I had a big garden. I had researched, you can eat "buckwheat lettuce" as a green. But it has a chemical that can cause hyper sensitivity to sunlight in some people.

Buckwheat not only germinated but growing fast as buckwheat has tendency to do. I have been eating it as a green, both raw and some added to soup. Taste is ok, not overpowering like some greens. No problem with skin sensitivity to sunlight yet.

Surprise was that good portion of the pinto beans germinated. These are just supermarket pintos and had been in cupboard for like 3 year. More than half cup pinto beans at a meal will spike my blood sugar so not really worth cooking half cup at a time. Thus they went unused.

But bean leaves are edible and at least in younger stages make pretty good green. Tastes bit like raw green beans before they develop beans inside them.

Entering hotter drier part of summer (think the big spigot in sky ready to shut off). Hoping collards, okra, and thistle take over providing fresh greens. Yes, okra leaves are edible too. Though they have similar quality to the pods meaning they have that slime factor.... But anymore I am just thrilled to have something truly fresh that doesnt cost an arm and a leg to buy.

This fall will dig in a big load of leaves. Hopefully even further improve this soil. Maybe next year do a second 16x16 patch with just buckwheat. Easier to grow organic matter than to cut, rake, and move it. Swap back and forth year to year with buckwheat cover crop and actual garden. Though can always snitch bit buckwheat lettuce if it continues to agree with me. Looks so far like I have good tolerance for it. It is used as a staple in some parts of world. No doubt cause it is so productive. At this point my little patch buckwheat could probably supply greens for three or four people. I am not making much of a dent in it.


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Re: 16x16 garden

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:51 pm

Sorry for no updates, but hey, nobody has joined the forum and thus nobody else posting, just talking to myself.... so not lot incentive.

Anyway this has been a most unusual summer, instead of annual heat and drought, July/August has been moderate and rainy.

The cabbage worms decimated both kinds of collards. These "improved" green glaze collards not nearly so resistant to cabbage worms as older version, though more so than the georgia vates collards. They are regrowing leaves and hopefully at this point worms wont be such a problem.

Now the buckwheat is going to seed and hasnt been super productive green since it put all energy into seed. The pintos never did much. BUT I also had planted row Great Northern beans, just grocery store dry beans. They went far beyond call of duty and spread out everywhere. Not only were leaves productive and tasty but they produced abundance of green beans and still producing. Most productive bean I ever have grown here. I am actually canning few pints so they dont go to waste.

Havent canned anything much since moving here except one year had lot of these Chinese radishes the size of human forearm and made pickles with them. That usual summer drought just eliminates productivity. Heavy clay soil developes brick like qualities. You plant enough garden you gets some fresh spring or fall veggies, but no surplus. I simply dont have water most years to keep garden productive. Some years have to haul water just for household use, then its about like camping out.

Need to mention the Burmese okra. Think about six plants and it was late garden with okra needing long growing season. But they are doing well are producing pods. Not as productive as if they had been planted back in April/May. But this is best okra I have ever tasted. Low slime factor. And frankly just good taste. The leaves are also edible. Though I havent harvested many as I wanted plants to get as big as possible. Also have beaucoup bean leaves and buckwheat lettuce so didnt really need them as a green.

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Re: 16x16 garden

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:31 am

Not much productivity at this point, mamma nature seems to have sent out the message that season ending. So plants shutting down. Okra still producing but at pretty slow rate. The collards are sending out new leaves but again only at slow rate.

I did experiment canning some carrots and hot peppers left over from shopping trip before last. I wasnt going to use them before they turned to garbage.

Used some Mainstays store brand lids from Walmart. Hadnt ever tried them before. Box twelve flats $1.23. Supposed to be made by same Jarden company that makes Ball and Kerr lids. Kerr lids were $2.18. Close to double the price. Online you will hear horror stories of the Mainstays lids. Seems they were at one time made in China.

They worked fine. Gotta say the Ball and Kerr look identical except they have Ball or Kerr printed on them. The Mainstays lids are completely blank.

You will probably have to ask for canning stuff. My area Walmart had it hidden back with the plastic storage boxes. I guess they dont sell lot of it. Otherwise you would think in season they'd have it out on aisle endcap or something.

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