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Old 03-26-2009, 09:00 PM   #21
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Talk about soil from golf courses reminded me of the 1st home we bought. It was brand-new, and built on what was previously farm land. We had bumper crop the first 2 years, then never the same again. Fertilizer left in the soil?
Could be some leftover fertilizer. Could be because the soil had not been planted in many years which would have resulted in a nutrient-rich soil. As you planted the soil again, each consecutive crop depleted the nutrients to the point where the soil required enrichment. That's the reason why you are supposed to either rotate your crops (to let the soil rest between 2 harvests) or enrich the soil each year with well rotted compost / chemical fertilizer / worm castings, etc...
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:43 PM   #22
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I love gardening in the spring. Of course, by late June I'm sick of it and it's hot out there. My hubby built 2 raised beds a few years ago, 4' x 8' each. I'm a composting fool, so I've been turning the soil and adding fabulous compost all winter. Looking forward to fresh basil, parsley, peppers, chives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Nummy.
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:29 PM   #23
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...enrich the soil each year with well rotted compost / chemical fertilizer / worm castings, etc...
Back then, I had an old full-size pickup so bought manure and soil amendment by front-loader scoops from a nearby plant nursery. It still did not work that well. Could be a fluke, those first years.
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:41 PM   #24
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Talk about soil from golf courses reminded me of the 1st home we bought. It was brand-new, and built on what was previously farm land. We had bumper crop the first 2 years, then never the same again. Fertilizer left in the soil?
Plants need to be fed, especially if you harvest a lot of crops. This can (should) be done organically for sustainability, IMHO. I bury the carcasses from the salmon we catch, but that alone wasn't enough. There's a whole chemistry and biology thing going on under there. Different plants need different ph, different fungi, etc, but mostly they're all just hungry.
I started using organic fertilizer a couple years ago and my harvests are getting back up to where they should be, after 20+ years of raised bed gardening. Plus there are so many earthworms out there it's almost like a horror movie (or a little kid's paradise, depending on how you feel about worms).
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:51 PM   #25
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Yes. See my post above. My late father had a green thumb, and he bought lots of cow manure. I have been doing the same. I believe in cow manure as a soil amendment in addition to adding nitrogen.
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:59 PM   #26
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Then I don't know what happened NW. I agree with you though, cow manure is top notch for amending the soil and fertilizing. That's all my grand-parents used in their garden and they had great success with it.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:10 PM   #27
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I have been using Earthboxes for the last few years and I love them! (EarthBox - Homegrown Vegetables Without A Garden - saves tons of water and no back aches! No weeding!). I have 10 boxes. I am germinating Tasty Jade cucumber seeds and Romano type of broad pole beans called Hilda right now. Next month, I will get zucchini, eggplant and tomato seedlings (a few Heirloom tomato plants including Stupice) and maybe some peppers.

Nice to see the daylight time getting longer and longer isn't it.


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Old 03-26-2009, 11:19 PM   #28
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I have been using Earthboxes for the last few years and I love them! (EarthBox - Homegrown Vegetables Without A Garden - saves tons of water and no back aches! No weeding!). I have 10 boxes. I am germinating Tasty Jade cucumber seeds and Romano type of broad pole beans called Hilda right now. Next month, I will get zucchini, eggplant and tomato seedlings (a few Heirloom tomato plants including Stupice) and maybe some peppers.

Nice to see the daylight time getting longer and longer isn't it.


tmm
Cool! I considered buying some Earthboxes too, but I was put off by some complaints I found about their customer service. So I went with a competitor: the Grow Box from the Garden Patch (The Garden Patch). Similar principle, similar price, similar size and from what I found on the internet, similar results. I got 10 of them too. I'll try to take a picture in a few days when it stops raining.

I had to resort to these boxes because the ground all around my house is full of rocks and roots and it is completely unworkable (as I said earlier, I live in the woods).
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:24 PM   #29
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Please excuse my ignorance, but what is special about these plastic boxes compared to a planter box you can build with redwood? Which is cheaper? What are the advantages? Please explain.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:29 PM   #30
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Of course. Like every year. Do I save money? a little directly but indirectly if you count not using pesticides and the sheer joy I get out of my garden.
I have heirloom tomatoes, basil and pepper plants started inside under a grow light. Lettuce, carrots and peas are direct sowed already. I have raised beds per the Mel Bartholomew square foot gardening method. I am trying some upside down tomatoes this year.
Even though I am in a very restrictive development I have my secret compost piles.

Once the weather breaks I'll plant beans.
I love my gardens.

So as not to re-invent the wheel, here are some suggestions from an experienced gardener

go to the library and get out the following books
square foot gardening
four season harvest
lasagna gardening

put seeds in the soil and see what happens. Repeat year after year. Suddenly you realize you are a pretty good vegetable gardener.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:45 PM   #31
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Please excuse my ignorance, but what is special about these plastic boxes compared to a planter box you can build with redwood? Which is cheaper? What are the advantages? Please explain.
These plastic boxes have a water reservoir at the bottom (containing several gallons of water) with a wicking mechanism that allows the potting mix to remain uniformly moist at all times (something hard to achieve with regular pots and planters). That's why they are sometimes referred to as self-watering containers (you don't "water" the plants, you just refill the reservoir). This feature allows the development of stronger root systems compared to plants you water from the top. There is also a fertilizer strip in the middle which distributes food to the roots as needed. The whole thing is covered with a plastic mulch to lessen water evaporation and weed growth. The overall result is lower water consumption and no-guess watering and feeding.

As for the cost? It's about $30 for each plastic box. I know that redwood is pretty expensive and I wouldn't be surprised if it actually cost the same or even more to build planter boxes yourself.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:27 AM   #32
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Do I save money?
I am not sure if I save money but eating tomatoes that actually have flavor... PRICELESS!

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:34 AM   #33
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the Grow Box
Firedreamer,

I bet the Growboxes do as well as Earthboxes. I remember people were complaining about the delayed shipment a couple of years ago (when they upgraded their boxes), so I hear you. I got mine a few years ago, so mine came very quickly. You will love those boxes!

Please do post photos! :-)

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:52 AM   #34
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Any worries about all the chemicals in that golf-course soil? They use a tremendous amount of herbicides to keep broadleaf weeds at bay, and the fertilizers needed to keep the grass green are fairly intense. Those grasses also tend to need a lot of water, which is why they put down gobs of fungicides. You don't see many grubs/grub-caused turf damage on golf courses--you can probably guess why.

I think the plan to get good soil is really clever, but I'd be a little concerned about the "better living through chemistry" aspect. Maybe grow flowers in it?
Truthfully, I'm not sure. We used some of the golf course dirt last fall in our front flower beds. Most everything seemed to do alright. For some reason the little dirt plugs really hold the moisture, which is great with our fairly constant 20+ mph breezes. I'm hoping the dirt (filled with grass roots) will break down and form a decent soil, but I really don't know. Most of it will be used in the landscaping beds, but we're definitely going to use it for the veggie garden too. We always had great dirt in our previous homes, or could create it over time with leaf mulch and compost. That's what we'll be doing here too, just trying to jumpstart the process. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:14 AM   #35
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Its summer here in Australia , our farm is Biodynamic , our vegetable garden we harvest every morning , early.
Plus we have poultry , guinea fowl , ducks and geese .
And I keep us in BD beef from the farm , and I fish regularly , so we have fresh fish too.
The winter is quite mild too , and the garden is still full , with winter vegetables , although we still grow frost tender vegetables right through winter.
Its good to know where everything you eat comes from.
My wife also has a really nice flower garden , 700+roses , hundreds of irises etc etc , and annuals too.
Her garden requires some outside help , but its worth it.
Great sitting out there under the willow tree , listening to the breakers crashing down , surrounded by such colour , and friends , enjoying a BBQ.
Regards Rob Johnson
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:52 AM   #36
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The seed and plant catalogs just keep piling in......almost everyday there's one or two new ones in the mailbox! I spend a little bit of time everyday plottin' & plannin', getting ready for Spring's soon arrival in just 74 more days!

I need to go over to the garden center/greenhouse today (hopefully) and pick up some supplies...used the last of the burlap yesterday making some sun/wind breaks for a few of my younger shrubs and a dwarf Alberta Spruce that I transplanted in the Fall. Want to see what they have on sale too....stuff they need to move out, to make room for new stock that will be coming in pretty soon.....I can usually find some darn good deals this time of year, since most folks aren't even thinking about gardening with the snow and frigid temps out there!!!

Oh, and tomorrow evening is the first 'garden club' meeting of the new year! WooHoo!!!
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:41 AM   #37
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I'll be starting seeds later this month. I have a lot of seeds from last year that I'll use; shouldn't need to buy any new ones this year. I have a small greenhouse and will use the heat mats to get the seeds germinating.

I guess I better get planning so I know exactly what I'll plant in which bed. I added a 4th raised bed this fall and need to have compost and dirt delivered to fill it in March or April. I'll plant in the ground around May 1st.
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:40 PM   #38
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I love my vegetable garden. We're still eating carrots and beets that I dug up just before things froze up out there in November, and they're delicious. I purchased a 6X8 greenhouse last summer that I am itching to try out this spring. I plan to start most of my transplants out there, using heat mats to keep things warm until it warms up enough outside. Since I'm retired now (woo-hoo!), I should have lots more time to spend on the garden this year. Planning to start some new tomato and broccoli varieties from seed this year that sound promising. Already ordered most of my seeds the other day.......Fedco seeds out of Maine has a great catalog, and shipping is free with a $30 order.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:04 PM   #39
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We have agreed with our next door neighbors to have a common raised bed garden in the 14 foot wide strip between our driveways. We will have a dinner/planning meeting later this month.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #40
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I keep debating with myself about putting in a small greenhouse, but so far I haven't talked myself into it yet. Maybe next year.....

I went to the U of I Extension office this afternoon to visit with my friend who is the Master Gardener Coordinator for our county. So after about an hour of mutual harassment chatting with him and the secretary, I signed up for 11 of the 12 Telenet Garden Seminars being offered by the U of I Extension.....$2 each or 3 for $5.....and also picked up the information on the upcoming annual "Spring Garden Seminar"! That all just reinforced the fact that.....Spring is only 74 days away, and will be here 'fore I realize it!!!
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