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Everything posted by DoubleD

  1. Miss your posts. Hope all is well .

  2. Joined August of 2006. Rarely visit now but occassionally stop by.
  3. I have LOTS in the garden and more in the wings (seedlings) that will be going in over the next few weeks. Our weather is a LOT different than yours though. Were it as warm here as you are obviously experiencing - I would be pacing myself much differently as well. We did a major expansion of the garden this past fall/winter and so I am doing double duty this spring - in that I have a bunch of new beds that I am double digging to prep for this year's planting up. Once double dug, I never do that again, but the first year is a ton of work to get a bed ready. And I have LOTS of them! LOL! Definitely getting my work outs this spring.
  4. You are doing very well Lynn. Starting small, making a plan, and then working your plan. Each year you will get new skills, more confidence, and learn from trial and error. The plot size you have set up is ideal for starting out. Too many people go crazy with big patches when they are new to gardening and end up with problems and are overwhelmed. This one will whet your appetite, feed your appetitite!, and you will have fun with it. Good work.
  5. That was a good find Cat. Amazing what useful and straightforward info was produced encouraging food production and self sufficiency. There is still really good information available through County Extension offices - but alot of it is catered to ornamental planting and they down play serious food production gardening info - in an attempt to stay "main stream". If you know what you are seeking you can find good info though and specific to your region's growing conditions.
  6. Well done! My first asparagus spear for 2009 just poked through this weekend. We will be enjoying the asparagus harvest season shortly.
  7. I did not recognize this as an old post (2 years old in fact!) until I ran into my own post and realized this was my planting plans from several years ago! LOL! Here's what's in the works for my 2009 tomato planting season: 24 plants in total comprised of 2 - "Stupice", 8 - "Siletz", 6- 'Legend", and 8 - "Viva Italia" sauce tomatoes. They are going into a 4'X24' bed planted 1 per 2 square feet (2 rows of 12 spaced 2 feet apart. The bed will have a soaker hose laid out on it going up one side and down the other so that each plant is next to the hose. This is then covered by the red plastic mullch and the tomatoes then planted in squares cut into the plastic. Cages (and for the indeterminates cages plus a ladder) put in place and they are good to go. I use plastic sheeting over the lot of them until our weather warms up and stabilizes. When planting I use a 1/2 cup of good organic all purpose fertilizer (5-5-5) and a couple TBS of epsom salts and mix that into the planting hole dirt at the bottom. The bed will have been previously prepped with compost and rock minerals (rock phosphate, dolomitic lime, and greensand). I used the red plastic last year for the first time and was impressed with it. I intend to keep using it from here on out.
  8. Well the weather has been very cold for the past few days - but it appears we are turning the tide in the other direction because it warmed up considerably today (still cool but not frigid!). Yesterday, I bottom watered all the flats of seedlings. Carted them all out of the shop and took them out back by the rain barrels so I could easily fill the trays with rainwater for the bottom watering process. I let them sit out there for about a half hour to soak up the water while I did some other garden chores. However, I quickly whisked them back inside to the safety and warmth of the grow lights and heat mat because the temperature was around 30 and dropping fast. Here's a picture of some of the tomato seedlings that I took while they were "soaking". They were planted on February 14th - so they are not quite 4 weeks old. While the seedlings were soaking up rainwater, I harvested some baby spinach from the large overwintered spinach patch. Which once I got the seedlings safely put back into the shop... were transformed into salads with a topping of glazed walnuts for the evening meal. Spring IS coming - just not fast enough for my tastes!
  9. Check out the link in my signature. The victory garden was an effort to reduce the demands on food production for homeland needs - so that agriculture and industry could be focussed on supporting the troops. Today's Victory Garden has a different focus - but has many of the same qualities as the predecessor.
  10. My overwintered bed of spinach is really coming alive now and producing regular harvests. Combined with the young lettuces in the unheated greenhouse - we have some lovely spring mixed green salads. I am working on a big garden expansion project over the winter and I am in the final big push of constructing beds and will soon be double digging them. Amazingly enough, I am actually on schedule with that project and should have the beds ready when the plants need to go into them. Like you Homemaker, I am marveling out how out of shape I have gotten over the winter. I am really huffing and puffing with the heavy lifting work and I know the double digs are going to wipe me out.
  11. First, if this is relatively new to you - don't make it harder by trying to incorporate succession planting at this time. Go with the more traditional cropping time frames and build up your skills. You will get plenty of produce and develop your knowledge and experience. Each year thereafter try another production improvement technique....i.e. succession plantings, season extending etc. You are in a different region and planting zone than I am - so I cannot give you positive advice for your area. They really are very different depending on your location. However, if you are getting a late start for your area ... just dive in and get them in now. If you really are too late for your area - all you are out is some seeds and some time. If not, you will get the production you are seeking. The approximate dates for starting crops do matter. There is a window of time that they have sufficient sunlight, heat, and time to grow to maturity. Some crops (such as tomatoes) take a long time to get to production stage and then produce abundantly from that time until the frosts/cold weather and reduced sunlight take them down. There is no reason to succession plant such items - because they will keep producing once mature. The only beneficial strategy with such items is to use varieites that mature more quickly plus some later maturing items to hurry up the beginning of the production season. Lots of folks do this with corn too. Planting an early, mid season, and late season all at the same time - so that they spread the harvest period over a longer window of time. Some crops (such as lettuce, and carrots) have a short enough growing period and do not "keep producing" once mature - that it makes sense to plant your first crop at the earliest time, then follow up with later succession plantings to ensure you have mature crops to eat as long as possible - maximizing the production. Just as there is a point where it is safe to begin planting - there is also a point where you can no longer put more succession in for these crops - because they just will no longer have time to mature and you are wasting seed. That is why there are "dates" for starting seeds.
  12. I started my onions and some more lettuces on mid January. I started the spring cabbages, kohlrabi, and broccoli on January 31st. The germination on the broccoli was not as good as I would have hoped - so I am going to reseed a few cells today. Next weekend (2/14) I will be starting the tomatoes, and celery. I have a pretty steady rhythm of seed starting once the year get's underway - designed to have crops ready to go when I need them to be and also ensures I am not overloaded with seedlings under the lights at the same time. By moving through this rotation I have older plantst that move out to the unheated greenhouse to grow on and begin hardening off - which makes room for the newest plantings to go under the grow lights.
  13. Originally Posted By: Frugal Cook If you put them near a window, do you still need the florescent light? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Remember, you are starting these seeds during the winter/early spring months - when the sun strength is at it's lowest. A super sunny window location will sometimes work for low demand crops (lettuce for example) but items like tomatoes, etc need a higher level of light intensity to grow properly. Weak spindly plants result from lack of adequate light and they are extremely susceptible to damping off disease etc. If you are waiting until April and May to start plants - then a really sunny window may be okay as the sun strength is significantly increasing then - but honestly most of the seed starting is in February and March to be ready for April and May planting.
  14. Seed starting does take a few things to do successfully - but it need not be a big expensive adventure. You will need some flourescent lights that can be placed just a few inches above the seedlings for about 12 to 15 hours each day (yes they need "dark" time too to really grow well). A $20 shop light fixture from homedepot, combined with your existing shelving will do the trick just fine. As for soil - buy a bay of germinating soil mix - it is finer and more sterile than potting soil or garden dirt. If you do not have a heat mat, try starting the trays of seedlings up on top of the fridge until they emerge (the seeds need the heat to germinate - not the plants once they emerge) and then move them immediately under your lights. Here is a great website on the basics of seed starting. I think it is the best resource available for those that are interested in doing this. http://www.sherrysgreenhouse.com/pages/see...ting/index.html In addition, I have some photos on seed starting on my web page - under the photo gallery. Good luck and happy gardening.
  15. - 2008 - - Significantly increased our financial savings - Added a new vertical grow bed to the garden - Grew all of our vegetables and approximately 40% of our fruit - Added more rainwater collection barrels - Established a new website - "The Modern Victory Garden" - 2009 - - Increase the financial savings again - by at least the same amount as last year - Expand the garden (already underway) - Increase our fruit production to 50% of our needs - Remain incredibly valuable to my employer. The most important objective for 2009 is to hang on to our cash and my job.
  16. Goodness Mother! I just popped in to Mrs S to see what was shaking... and found it was You! Or should I say "shaken"! LOL! I so hope you are feeling a mite better already and send you my best (but careful) cyber hug. The good news is ... you have some time to heal before the gardening season gets in full gear. Wishing you the speediest of recoveries. Laura
  17. Pretty much always interested in my garden - but when the days are short and cold - I start dreaming and scheming to while the time away. I started a major garden expansion project this fall, but have had to put it on the back burner due to heavy snow and arctic cold blasts. This weekend though, it is starting to moderate again - so hopefully soon I will be able to get back to the root removal and preliminary prep necessary before I can construct and dig beds later in the spring. Got my seed order in for the year already and have done some initial bed layouts.
  18. Good work Fritz_Monroe. To answer your question - yes we do have things still going in the garden - but that is because I use season extending techniques and plant hardy/semi hardy crops to over winter and provide fresh produce. In the garden currently providing fresh harvest: Overwintered without any protection are - carrots parsnips brussel sprouts broccoli leeks kale swiss chard corn salad In covered grow beds and/or an unheated greenhouse - spinach lettuces more swiss chard for early spring harvesting
  19. I live out of my garden every year - can and eat fresh. We are 100% self sufficient on all vegetables and about 40% self sufficient on fruits (working on that one). I have 18 months of food reserves (more for some key basic items). The food reserves includes grains, dried beans, and other basics PLUS my preserved garden production. I have learned through experience by living this way routinely for a period of time now - how much and of what we need to eat fresh and have food set by to augment the winter fresh garden produce which is much less than a summer garden produces. I have also learned that if you run out of something you just do without. While I love my canned and fresh tomatoes - the truth is life can continue without those in the diet until the next year's crop can be brought in. I have also learned that charts mean nothing to me beyond a starting point reference because: 1) Often they give numbers as if that is the ONLY food item you will be living off of - which of course is NOT what we do in reality. Instead we eat a omnivores diet of many many things. 2) The soil condition/nutrient, climate, sun availability, and water availability are very different for each location and yeild vastly different results accordingly. Just my experiences - for what they are worth.
  20. A good reference on biointensive planting to fully provide for vegetable, fruit, and cereal grain needs is John Jeavon's "How to Grow More Vegetables..." (long title). You CAN feed a family of four on 1 acre assuming it is all available for use (not blocked by shade, steep slopes, or extremely rocky soil). It is labor intensive though in that double dug beds take alot of labor initially (less so later) to establish. I feed my family of 3 100% on vegetables from our garden which is just at 700 squarefeet of garden planting area. We do not grow grains, sizeable amounts of dried beans, and do not grow dairy/meat. If my 1 acre of land was not all in woodlot we actually could do all of those things though. Just limited by the property I have.
  21. Heirloom just refers to the fact that it has been around for some time and kept viable through seed saving efforts of many people. "Heirloom" is often used interchangeably with the term "open pollinated" (i.e. it is not a hybrid and breeds true) because by definition heirlooms ARE open pollinated. However, not all open pollinated items are varieties that have been around for many many years. So when you speak of "heirlooms" are you seeking varieties that are open pollinated or are you truly after the old strains and intent on keeping them alive and thriving into the next generation? The reason I ask is that what you are seeking may simply just be varieties that are "not hybrid" - and the term "heirloom" may not be used as it may not really be appropriate. Also - for some plants - open pollinated is not an appropriate consideration - as they are propagated by essentially cloning through tubers (potatoes for instance), or grafted cuttings, or rooted cuttings.
  22. I'm glad I have been preparing for years and am not in the "emergency prepping" drill. My stockpile of food and personal supplies provides a great deal of calmness in a world that feels particularly chaotic at the moment.
  23. I have lots of things that are in the garden that will overwinter - but most of it is fully grown going into the winter and then harvested throughout the dark/cold days of winter. In addition, I plant my garlic, shallots, and multiplier onion bulbs in early to mid October (next weekend in fact!) and they are overwintered and then grow on during the following spring/summer. In the garden right now: -Fall peas (will be harvesting later this month (October) -Kale (fully mature now and will provide winter harvests) -Spinach (just up and growing - will provide late fall/early winter with the help of a grow tunnel cover late in October) -Lettuces (several varieties in containers that will move into the greenhouse when the weather turns colder to extend the harvest period) -Stupice tomatoes growing in a half whiskey barrel in the greenhouse - unless disease kills it first - should provide fresh vine ripened tomatoes into November. -Brocolli - both a early fall crop (eating on it now) and late fall crop (should be ready in November) -Brussel Sprouts - both an winter and early spring (overwintered) variety -Carrots - three different plantings staggered out - with the first being largely used up now but still a few remaining, the second being at the height of size and will feed us through January and the final crop being currently immature but should be ready to follow on the second crop. -parsnips -leeks -cabbages (giant overwintering variety) -swiss chard -corn salad/lambs lettuce These are all going currently in addition to the late summer items like pole beans, tomatoes, zuchinni, cukes, acorn squash,small sugar pumpkins, and the late season russet potatoes that I have yet to lift and store (soon).
  24. Grace&Violets and Darlene are on to what I was indicating to watch (as regards to oil and finished petroleum products) - today's market action in regards to oil and gasoline supplies/prices (which occurred after I posted) was exactly what I was anticipating. The other I was referring to (and related intimately) is the currency markets - which also had a HUGE jump downwards today in the valuation of our US dollar against most other world currencies. As the world and financial markets sobered up from Friday's little euphoric rally - it began to dawn on most of the other sovereign nation funds that finance the majority of our national debt habit - that maybe (just maybe!) our nation's ability to repay our massive debt and trade imbalance is considerably impaired with the imminent addition of close to a trillion dollars of additional tax and debt burden - all placed on a nation of consumers that are already tapped out financially. And while this fix proposed by Bernanke and Paulson addresses the immediate crisis of liquidity and bank credit seize up - it actually does absolutely nothing to attend to the underlying and systemically very unhealthy economy of the US. Worse it is setting us up to be economically even more shakey than we were before all this began blowing up. We are bleeding out financially. Living on credit to pay for a consumable good (oil), financing a very expensive war in Iraq, all while we export manufacturing and real production of goods to others in the "global economy". It is not a recipe for a sound economy. I have said it before and I will say it again, the stock market (while terribly interesting) is not a good barometer of the economy or the financial health of our nation. The more important barometers to follow is our currency value in the currency exchange markets (do others think we are a going concern and that our pledge of future payment is good?) and what is happening with our energy supply and costs. Everything else is a function of those two things - and they in turn are a function of our overall economy, sustainability of the level of debt we carry, and our ability to feed and transport our selves and our economy supporting industry. Okay... I have rambled on enough - I'll be quiet now and go back to lurker mode! One last thing - Mother - I am so glad you found your way to my site and thank you for the kind words. I hope by sharing my own experiences (both good and bad) that others may find their way to something more sustainable and self sufficient as well. If not... then I at least will have had some fun along the way and met some new friends.
  25. Watch the currency markets, the oil/finished products markets, and hang on to your wallets.
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