Gardening from scratch - a beginners guide

A beginners guide to Gardening.

Have added several 5' x 13' plant beds to a garden.  Starting from scratch using only the minimal of tools, a shovel, rake and a home made soil sieve.  Also using kitchen scraps to make a compost heap, along with grass cuttings and any spare soil from different areas of the garden. 

This is where the sod was  taken off and placed in different areas of the garden.  The soil has never been worked, and had to be dug by shovel to turn it over.

next, the soil was dug up and passed through a sieve to aerate it and get rid of any surface weeds.

 

and the next stage was to add other top soil which had been sitting out for a couple of years, the three types of soil used was the original, which is slightly grey in colour (yellow card) and the compost (green card) and the top soil ( blue card)

The tools used were rudimentary, and because there wasn't any wheel barrow, have used a plastic flower pot instead.  This works quite well, and builds up muscle.the sieve was put onto two upturned containers and worked through with the hands or a garden trowel.  the sieve was made of four pieces of wood and really find wire mesh about 1 cm diameter holes.  The garden centre thought it strange to ask for a 2 foot square piece of wire... but it was cheap and didn't want the whole role. 

The completed garden bed with a loose stone wall and loose brick planters.The total time it took from start to finish was approximately 12-14 hours of work with minimal equipment. This is half way through the process, the three extra beds took two weeks. Two other beds are done and are 13 x 5 as well.  Each bed will be fertilized with kitchen food, and compost from the compost heap at the end of October trenches will be built in each one and food waste will be placed in the shallow trench.  This will be covered once the frosts start freezing the ground and then covered over to break down over the winter.  Once Spring comes the beds will be turned over once more.  With the addition of extra soil in the fall to each bed they will be about 6 inches above ground so any settling will keep the beds at ground level or there abouts rather than sinking into the ground - at least that is the general idea...

Here are the beds half way through...

 

And here are the finished beds - all material was found on site, the only thing that was bought was the material to stop the weeds from growing up through the gravel.

some trees in the back ground are only a year old, everything seems to grow really fast during the summer months.  We have one tree that grows 6 feet in one year and is notoriously hard to get rid of, its Carraganon, and grows wild here on the prairies.  It's invasive but excellent for fencing, coverage for just about anything else except eating!

 

The beds are planted on the sides with what ever was found in the garden, the first bed has concrete breeze blocks excellent for using for potted plants as well, the second is made from stones found in the garden, and the third is made from lumps of sod from the beds ithemselves.  These are laid out at an angle and laid on top of the weed sheet and built into an informal wall about 6 to 8 inches high. Over the winter it settled and produced a hard surface along the edge of the bed.

Three extra beds were made and using the same process as above.  The beds have the hoola hoops and tomato cages to put the plastic over them to help prevent the seedlings from dying if the weather changes suddenly.  Branches can also be used.  In the new beds the soil was mixed with potting soil and sieved to reduce the grass, roots and dandelion roots.  Established beds were dug up and airated and left for a week, and then had a fork passed through them to get out the roots from the grass and dandelions.  All beds had kitchen compost dug into a trench in the early fall (September/October) and was buried to break down over the winter, then worked through the soil then left for a week before being raked over and then planted with seed.  As soon as the seeds were planted, took a journal and made a note of where the seeds were in the garden.  (in our area we have a short growing season, normally from May to end of August/September) then it starts to get cold again mid September to October.  After that it's anyone's guess as to when the snow falls!) All seed this year is short term, (maturing between 50 and 60 days.) because of the long winter and not sure of how long the good weather will last... but if there is a possibility, the seed can be planted twice.  Have also planted several types of squash, the leaves and flowers can be used in most cases, especially if it is pumpkin.  (seeds have been used from last year's crop)

Have also used containers to plant herbs and lettuce and will also be making a raised bed for herbs and other plants.

The seedlings are now coming up after 3 weeks, we planted fast growing seeds, raddish, swiss chard (2 different varieites), carrots, spinach and beetroot.  The tops can be used in a variety of ways almost immediately after showing especially the raddish.  They have a spicey peppery taste and good in sandwiches or salads.

Also added in other beds peas, tomatoes, bok choy, coriandar, several varieties of potatotes and squash.

The compost heap was originally placed at the back of the garden.  It had been added to over 5 years but needs to rest.  It will be turned over this year, if there are no squash growing in it.  So we made a second compost heap using only kitchen scraps no meat as this would attract vermin and it would stink.  We placed the scraps on a piece of dirt that had been cleared of grass.  Then cordoned off to show where the compost needs to stay.  We added soil ontop of kitchen scraps over the winter to help with the breaking down of the food and then when spring started we added more.  We also add grass cuttings.  In previous years we have used the dandelions and spinach for salads.

After two months, the spinach is starting to flower and go to seed.  Will be keeping one row for seed and will harvest the rest.  The spinach when it's starting to flower is still good to eat either raw or cooked Believe the plants with the yellow flowers are swiss chard.  Have kept a garden journal of what seed has been planted in each bed.  But, these came up from last year when it went to seed.

And here is the Spinach...

And the chives.

http://www.zetatalk.com/food/tfood142.htm

http://www.zetatalk.com/poleshft/p168.htm

http://www.zetatalk.com/info/tinfo25c.htm

http://www.zetatalk.com/poleshft/p28.htm

Views: 24102

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


@ Casey: This is good to know, we have amaranth growing in the garden, it's a red variety. We found that the seed we planted last year didn't take, and not sure why, but the year before that it took and grew to be approximately 7 feet tall!  The unfortunate thing at the time, was that we didn't know what it was and we didn't harvest the plant.  This year we intend to make the most of the plant.  

casey a said:

Hey Km. By red, do you mean the leaves or the flowers? Did you guys use this as a leaf or grain (or both)? The ones i have are used for their leaves & produce black seeds. I believe white seeded ones are/were used as grain. But I read you can toast the black seeded ones or make a porridge out of it.

The leaves are red.

casey a said:

Hey Km. By red, do you mean the leaves or the flowers? Did you guys use this as a leaf or grain (or both)? The ones i have are used for their leaves & produce black seeds. I believe white seeded ones are/were used as grain. But I read you can toast the black seeded ones or make a porridge out of it.

We decided this year to put several different types of squash around the garden.  We wanted to see how well squash did in various locations around the garden and different circumstances.  Some had clay soil, some had virtually no soil but sod put on top and others had been put into well drained and composted soil or into the compost heap.  

We had one bed where the squash was planted with corn but the corn didn't come up and we have only 4 squash plants in the bed but they are covered with spinach leaves  at this point and are struggling. This bed has clay soil but also the seeds were planted at the end of April and the cold in May affected them.  We didn't take a picture because the squash wasn't doing well and are hard to find. 

The other bed we planted with sun flowers with the squash and other plants so it's a bit crowded but the squash is doing really well so far. 

In the bed we've done companion gardening, borage seems to like being with the squash, spinach seems to grow well when squash is young and can be harvested long before the squash takes over.  There's also the sunflowers as well which help the squash to grow up the stems.

In the second bed we planted with lots of compost.  

The squash is growing nicely in this bed and in between are radishes and some beets to one side.  Off to one side are some sunflowers, but we've strung up the squash to climb up off the ground.

we planted squash around the garden in various places.  This one we planted randomly in a berm with just a bit of dirt.  The chick weed, (small leaves) is also edible! 

These are planted in the same berm, but with more soil and some compost, the compost was kitchen waste not marinated over the winter but directly from the kitchen!

This is also in the same berm but on the side, with just soil covering the seeds and not much water, but it's still growing! 

These were discarded squash, from the spring this year, kept over winter, they became mouldy and were unusable as were the seeds as they seemed to be mouldy too. At the beginning of June we threw them out and the potting soil from a discarded plant that didn't do so well was put on top. The top set of squash didn't have any soil and just had compost waste put on top of it.  We water the compost heap to help the food break down and marinate.  It doesn't smell as we don't put meat or fish into it.

The squash here is growing with beans and sun flowers.  This was planted in another berm but on the western side of the garden.  The mulch is last years sun flowers and a little soil, no compost.  These seem to be doing really well!

All the squash have full sun as well as lots of water.  Just different soils.  The squash doing well have rich soil and compost added to it or in shallow soil.  The one bed that is not doing so well, the squash seeds were planted deeper, with a bit of compost.   All the other seeds were planted less than an inch deep under the soil.

The the majority of the squash is edible, the leaves, stem, climbers and flowers, even the young fruit is edible.  We've cooked it in stews or used it just like spinach.  The squash growing in the compost heap will probably be thinned out to allow better growth for the plant. 

I had 4 chili pepper plants. They've all come out well.

In the 2nd pic, there's the green onions & parsley I'm able to harvest on a regular basis as well.

The leaf amaranth has also come well in a month. The picture on the left shows some droopy basil. The amaranth & peppers are sort of shading it. Picture on the right shows some oregano, as well.

This is some cilantro. And on the right are two lamb's quarters (wild edible related to quinoa) i got from the back of my building. I'll grow them to seed & harvest them from next generation, onwards.

(One of the good things about growing plants indoors is that you have to know how each plant is pollinated yourself.)

I also got a place to grow some veggies out in the open. Probably too late in the season. But if i can get things to seed there, i'll post updates. cheers

I'd like to try this next year: Pole beans grown on Amaranth. http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Spring...

@ Casey: sounds like a good idea! this year we've got pole beans, squash and sunflowers in one bed, wanted to see how they turn out as companion plants.  

casey a said:

I'd like to try this next year: Pole beans grown on Amaranth. http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Spring...

Good short playlist for basics of gardening: https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnJeavonsGrowBio/videos

I did a quick search of community gardens in New york city, Los Angeles & Chicago -- the 3 biggest cities in the U.S.

New York - http://www.greenthumbnyc.org/gardensearch.html

L.A. - https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zb8SjEUmErlI.ksM8uMilxNY0

Chicago - http://chicagocommunitygardens.org/garden-map/

In urban areas, community gardens are more likely to be there. Even if you cant get a plot for you to grow stuff, you can volunteer, gain valuable experience & put the learning curve behind you...

Some pictures from my garden @ a community garden:

In the 2nd pic, the peppers look sad cuz i just transplanted them. They are tied on to an amaranth plant to the left. Look at how thick that amaranth has gotten. I planted it as a baby transplant 1 month ago. In the sweltering heat, I'd say it was the most productive plant compared to every other plant growing in the entire community garden. In 1 month I've already harvested it 3 times.

The bed itself isn't very impressive cuz i was only able to plant it exactly a month ago. I'm growing pole beans, kale, spinach, amaranth, quinoa, cucumbers & okra. Also some buckwheat (not pictured), i want to experiment with. Still figuring how to thresh those weird seeds, though

Casey your garden looks good! with plenty of sun and warmth your garden will grow nicely.

casey a said:

Some pictures from my garden @ a community garden:

In the 2nd pic, the peppers look sad cuz i just transplanted them. They are tied on to an amaranth plant to the left. Look at how thick that amaranth has gotten. I planted it as a baby transplant 1 month ago. In the sweltering heat, I'd say it was the most productive plant compared to every other plant growing in the entire community garden. In 1 month I've already harvested it 3 times.

The bed itself isn't very impressive cuz i was only able to plant it exactly a month ago. I'm growing pole beans, kale, spinach, amaranth, quinoa, cucumbers & okra. Also some buckwheat (not pictured), i want to experiment with. Still figuring how to thresh those weird seeds, though

We were just about to post pictures of the garden and how the squash was doing, when we got a pretty bad storm come through almost two weeks ago and the hail shredded most things.  The amaranth and quinoa, herbs, carrots and strangely enough the SW bed in the garden were okay, but the rest of the garden got shredded,  Am going to wait a few more days before posting pictures of how the squash is doing as it got shredded and most of the plants that were out in the open have not yet recovered.  When inspecting them to see what damage there was, most of the squash had come up but had male flowers on, and no female flowers so are not producing fruit.  These seeds were from someone who had squash on their organic farm, but the heritage squash from seed that has been saved from the last few years has been producing nicely.  We may yet be surprised by squash being produced in these beds.  

Reply to Discussion

RSS

SEARCH PS Ning or Zetatalk

 
Search:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

Donate

Donate to support Pole Shift ning costs. Thank you!

© 2020   Created by 0nin2migqvl32.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service