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JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #11 
More or less the same layering sequence...5-27-13 032.jpg 

JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #12 
Both halves finished with mulch. 
5-27-13 037.jpg 

Ky-Jeeper

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Reply with quote  #13 
Very nice beds.I have five 30' beds. They are awesome.. one thing you done that i wish i had was dug a trench, or double dig as i call it. http://www.homesteadingtoday.com has a great gardening forum. Couple of really smart guys on there. Anyway im glad you posted this subject and pics.

Ky-Jeeper
JoeK

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Reply with quote  #14 

You can see here next to the new bed along the property fence is a container garden I built the year before, its on top of our septic tank so I didn't want to dig or put logs on top and all that. Plus the containers provide an extra layer of seperation even though they are fabric and roots do penetrate them. Not that it's totally necessary for safety reasons, you would be fine with well-raised beds in that regard. HOWEVER any septic guy will of course tell you to keep the garden and especially trees away. Generally that's GOOD ADVICE as septic issues can be very costly, particularly if you need to get into excavation! those apple trees are really pretty close for comfort, though the smaller one is nearly below grade of the tank.  Not to mention @7,000ft in the Rockies apple trees are surefire bear bait... Don't think I'd plant those there again (you need at LEAST 2 to pollinate eachother) but hindsight's 20/20 i suppose. that big one in the above photos was free as I removed it from an unwanted location. The smaller tree down by the "parking lot" was a 4-way combo from Home Depot.
In the containers on back row is Sungold cherry tomato, beaver dam and purple bell Peppers, and a fava bean. Cilantro, basil, spinach and lettuce would all be planted around the peppers and bean plants. I just left the tomato solo cause i knew it would shade out anything else in that barrel. The other two rows include more cilantro (it seeded last year and started growing on the ground around the area too [smile]. Also planted Romanesco, Chia (seeds didn't mature in time),  more basil, and mostly herbs and spices like Za'atar, anise, fennel, and a little bit of celery. Plus a couple Nasturtiums, which are just visible in this pic on the side containers on either side. I'll come back later to answer any questions and post some time lapse photos showing how this small front yard garden performed this year.

5-27-13 038.jpg 
 


JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #15 
When your converting a lawn or grassy meadow the digging gives you both a nice thick organic layer of Nitrogen rich fresh grass+roots and soil to put on top of the wood, it also gives you the soil directly below the grass roots which can be placed on top of the whole thing at the end and planted in directly. Cuts down the need to bring in any expensive materials like topsoil, just "waste" products like manure, leaves, moldy hay, old straw etc. Some bit of good topsoil is nice though if you can manage it, especially if the layer below the grass is decomposing granite, like mine!

I really appreciate all the great contributions by the other members here and since they are helping me out so much with my solar designs and interests I wanted to contribute in this empty garden area. I have been gardening intensively on my small plot with much success the last several years and feel like I have something to share that is of interest to lots of folks on this forum.  Happy to field any questions and I'll put some more pics in my other thread too
JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #16 
June 12th I believe I bordered with logs on this half and planted, so I guess I gave this one a couple weeks after all, but you certainly don't need to. For success with immediate planting it helps to have a nice layer of topsoil (6inches?) on top to spread the rising heat from below and to support the sprouts for a few weeks if the compost below does get too hot for roots.

6-12-13 076.jpg

JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #17 
6-12-13 077.jpg  
These two long beds were terraced and held decent topsoil already, but I dug them up and piled them higher with logs, wood chips, poop, and leaves. That was the year before. Contrary to my previous advice about root crops and poop I planted potatoes mostly in there and they loved it. Purple vikings grew as big as softballs. I think with a well built bed things decompose so fast that by the time the potatoes have formed a crop of tubers its all good. I did use "aged" manure and gave it a few weeks before I planted as I recall. I learned that lesson the hard way my first years carrot crop out back though.  This year just where you see the pits at the end of the bed went to taters. 1 plant per hole. after the plants grow out of the hole it will be filled in loosely and most of the tubers will stay in that area since they love loose soil.

JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #18 
 
I've been planting a diverse polyculture the last couple years and love it so far. In the foreground here are leeks, cauliflower, cabbages, and turnips with beets, carrots, zucchini, borage, nasturtiums beyond that...

6-12-13 078.jpg 

JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #19 

 A couple weeks later its June22 and you can see beans and Sunflowers coming up on the North border where they will shade the parking area, and not the rest of the plants. alongside/underneath them will be a motley crew of lettuce, pak choi, amaranth, squash, onions and plenty of volunteers too. I waited until after average last frost (~june 1stish) to plant the sunflowers, but after seeing them handle some tough early frosts in september and october I might get them started a little sooner next year. The seeds were only mature on some of the plants, though I was able to save quite a few of those before the squirrels and birds cleaned up their fair share. Started sooner they might be a little bigger by the time the beans get up and looking for something to climb too. The beans climbed'em but I still staked the tall stalks again as past years since we have some intense winds through the canyon and the sunflowers can even appreciate a little extra support, not just extra weight from the beans.  I had success with the classic Native American three sisters combo (corn,beans,squash) last year where I put the taters this year and I certainly reccomend trying that trio.  Remember for good pollination leading to full ears on your corn, plant in blocks rather than long rows, preferably a decent size patch. Mine was a bit small and I had some ears that didn't fill in very well, though some still did.

6-22-13 084.jpg

JoeK

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Posts: 135
Reply with quote  #20 

No pics of the new bed from 6/22 but heres a peek around the back yard at one of my latest favorites, "strawberry spinach". Actually closer relative to quinoa and lambsquarters, the prolific local volunteer.  All are in the chenopodium genus and all can be steamed up for a very nutritious early crop that tastes a bit like spinach.  I pick the lambsquarters for greens and let these get along to making the delicious berries already seen ripening in this photo. Did I mention this is really early where I am? last frost is ~ june1.  The berries are sweet and juicy but full of tiny black seeds. Given the relations nutritional profile I suspect the seeds pack some extra protein if you chew them up a bit lest you just pass'em on through.  Garlic also visible. This is along S(w) side of house where I'm planning to install a winter hot air collector.

6-22-13 088.jpg

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