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  • 1 month later...

Week 7. The children are getting big enough for Styrofoam cups. Cayenne, Jalapeno, Habenero are doing nicely. Will be putting them in the ground in about 4 weeks or so.

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Trent's is WAY too big for me!  I"m more of a small raised bed guy.  Last year I donated over 1000 tomatoes and untold cucumbers to the homeless shelter from my little plot.  Drip irrigation on a timer valve.  Black plastic on the ground so I don't have to weed.  Just plant, water and harvest.

Did way to much weeding in my daddy's garden, which was even bigger than Trent's way back when I was a little one.  God forbid he found weeds growing in your section of the garden.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I used black plastic for a couple of decades in my garden, and it worked very well. It allowed me to grow watermelons, okra, and great peppers, which none of my neighbors could do with traditional garden beds. I'd build up the beds with tons of manure, compost, fertilizer, etc, cover them with black plastic and let them run for 5 seasons or so, after which time the plastic would start to deteriorate and the soil would be used up. Then I'd repeat the process. A few years ago, I decided that it was too much work and switched to the Ruth Stout method of mulching with lots & lots of hay. (Google Ruth Stout) This works fine, but it doesn't warm the soil the same way that the plastic did and my warm-weather plants really don't like our low nighttime temperatures. In my garden, the temperature can be 90-degrees plus during the day and in the 40s at night. This plays hell with warm-weather crops. Watermelons are nearly impossible and the peppers are ok, but I can just see them chattering their teeth every morning. 

Any ideas for me? 

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I've got a friend who has the space for the Ruth Stout method of growing potatoes.  Gets a bumper crop every year.  

I don't know about that "too much work" thing.  About every three years, I get another load of compost to throw in there and till into the rest of the soil.  That's about the only real work.

The rest of it is just planting, turning the timer valve on the drip irrigation hoses under the plastic, and harvesting.

The only idea I have for you is to go back to what worked in the past.  Of course mine is only a small 10 x 20 bed.

 

 

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Image from 2018. I have been using eight-foot garden fabric for years and years and it works fine but its expensive. I'll be going with black plastic this year. However, it will get thrown out because the plant holes will not match up year-to-year.

I have a friend who uses hay. He grows sweet potatoes and other stuff, but is also planting hot peppers for me this year. He has a plot of land next to Dan Ryan Woods (the only forest preserve inside the Chicago city limits). He has a bee farm to grow honey and rents out a space to some botanist from University of Illinois/Chicago. So the city boys can play farmer. 

garden with fabric holes.JPG

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10 hours ago, Erby said:

I've got a friend who has the space for the Ruth Stout method of growing potatoes.  Gets a bumper crop every year.  

Potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, etc all love the Ruth Stout method. I'll never go back to the black plastic with those things. 

10 hours ago, Erby said:

I don't know about that "too much work" thing.  About every three years, I get another load of compost to throw in there and till into the rest of the soil.  That's about the only real work.

Yeah, but my garden is about 60x60. When the beds are due for amendments, we're talking literally tons of stuff. I'd order two or three dump truck's worth of whatever looked good that year. Plus, just laying out the plastic got to be kind of old. Walking out there and shaking hay over everything is pretty close to no work. Heck, if Ruth could do it in her '90s I can do it indefinitely. I don't even own a tiller anymore and I haven't *turned* anything into the soil in years. I just keep dumping hay on top. 

 

10 hours ago, Erby said:

The only idea I have for you is to go back to what worked in the past.  Of course mine is only a small 10 x 20 bed.

Yeah. I might try going back to the plastic for one bed for the warm weather stuff. I'm also considering building a little cold frame over a bed and lining all round it with rocks as heat sinks. I saw one odd-looking garden where the owner "Mulched" with small flat jet-black rocks that he got from who-knows-where. He layered them on the ground like fish scales. I have not the time, patience, or back muscles for that one. 

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Well, at 60x60, it'd sure as hell be the Ruth Stout for me.  Unfortunately, I've not that much room where Momma chooses to live.  I was lucky to get her as far out of town to a little lake community as I did.  She's a bit of a city girl.

 

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All yall that remember Ruth Stout No Work Garden are showing your age.  I went back to the work kind after having ants and mice mess with my no work method.  I have gone to hand work only after taking the tiller to the metal recycler.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Depends on how fast the season heats up.  When heat makes them start to resprout they have to come up.  The scary face is one of those beginning to bolt.  This one is called Inchelium, a soft neck found on an Indian Rez in Washington state. 

It was 91 here the other day.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Be careful what you wish for. So far 82 lbs. from my smallish garden with more to pick. I have run out of freezer space and there has been a pandemic run on freezers - unless you are willing to pay double.

 

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