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: 24059

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We dug the gardens over and added more compost to them over the last few weeks.  Now as the weather is starting to freeze, kitchen compost will be continuously added through out the winter.  The compost heap was added to over the summer and had alternate layers of food scraps and soil.  Then we added leaves from around the garden over the top of it.  We did this with a couple of other plants in the garden such as the parsley.  The leaves and then hopefully the snow will help provide some protection from the harsh winters we experience here. 

IMO - this is a book that EVERYONE should buy as an absolutely indispensable guide as to how to, not only deal with human waste in the aftertime, but also how that waste can easily be transformed into viable fertilizer for your crops.

Never before did I know how useful, composting (in general) has the potential to solve so many of the pollution problems we face today, let alone after the pole shift! And the book contains so much more useful information than just about recycling human waste.

Get it here or on amazon - either way, you will NOT be disappointed with your purchase - the information contained within its pages is simply PRICELESS.

I am probably going to buy a second copy, just to make sure that I will have the information contained within, when I will need it most!

we use a composting loo and the compost we have is great - takes a bit of time getting used to the loo - and the most important thing we have learnt is to keep the design simple plus make sure the solid stuff is dry - the more moist it is the more flies re attracted to it

I wanted to share this great idea I came up with for turning ALL of your containers into self watering plant pots in a very easy way.

Conventional wisdom says that you should have some holes in the bottom of your containers to make sure you don't over water your plants (so they get water logged), and they even make containers with marks on them suggesting you should drill holes there;  then you fill the bottom with a bit of gravel to make sure the holes don't get blocked and you put your soil on top of that.

Well, of course I did that with all of my containers last year but it occurred to me this time round that there is a MUCH better way of doing it.

They are lots of great sites with instructions on how to make self watering containers, but there are many steps and it can seem a bit complicated - but still worth while as self watering containers are very useful for making sure there is always water available to the roots of the plant.

This way is so simple, I wish I had thought of it last year as to now convert the containers I drilled holes in the bottom means I have to fill them in again, but hey ho.

The principle works the same - you have a layer of gravel at the bottom (something like 1-2cm gravel, not too small) but rather than having to do too much to make your bottom reservoir of water, that's what the gravel does.

Assuming a fair sized plant pot (maybe 30-45cm diameter for example), make the level of gravel up to a few inches rather than just a bit at the bottom to stop the holes from being blocked and then drill the holes in the SIDE of the container at the level of the top of the gravel, and then put the compost on top as before.

The holes in the side act as the overflow protection and the gravel section is then always filled with water and hey presto, you have a self watering plant pot with no need to buy any extra parts.  If you want, you can add a tube that feeds straight down to the gravel reservoir, but it's not strictly needed as if you water it from above as usual, the reservoir will still fill and will not get water logged as any excess will come out of the holes in the side.

Really good idea, will have to give it a go with the containers this year as well.

Mark said:

I wanted to share this great idea I came up with for turning ALL of your containers into self watering plant pots in a very easy way.

Conventional wisdom says that you should have some holes in the bottom of your containers to make sure you don't over water your plants (so they get water logged), and they even make containers with marks on them suggesting you should drill holes there;  then you fill the bottom with a bit of gravel to make sure the holes don't get blocked and you put your soil on top of that.

Well, of course I did that with all of my containers last year but it occurred to me this time round that there is a MUCH better way of doing it.

They are lots of great sites with instructions on how to make self watering containers, but there are many steps and it can seem a bit complicated - but still worth while as self watering containers are very useful for making sure there is always water available to the roots of the plant.

This way is so simple, I wish I had thought of it last year as to now convert the containers I drilled holes in the bottom means I have to fill them in again, but hey ho.

The principle works the same - you have a layer of gravel at the bottom (something like 1-2cm gravel, not too small) but rather than having to do too much to make your bottom reservoir of water, that's what the gravel does.

Assuming a fair sized plant pot (maybe 30-45cm diameter for example), make the level of gravel up to a few inches rather than just a bit at the bottom to stop the holes from being blocked and then drill the holes in the SIDE of the container at the level of the top of the gravel, and then put the compost on top as before.

The holes in the side act as the overflow protection and the gravel section is then always filled with water and hey presto, you have a self watering plant pot with no need to buy any extra parts.  If you want, you can add a tube that feeds straight down to the gravel reservoir, but it's not strictly needed as if you water it from above as usual, the reservoir will still fill and will not get too much water as any excess will come out of the holes in the side.

(I will try and do some diagrams to add later to show you what I mean)

Gardening has come a little later this year, and preparation has started with one of the beds.  Hopefully will be able to show how to get rid of couch grass in a couple of different ways.  This was one of the first beds to be built and it's full of couch grass.  When helping a local community garden make some more space and getting rid of the grass, they had put down plastic over the grass and left it for the summer for the sun to bake the roots.   In the past have put old carpets to kill the grass when making beds but it doesn't kill the couch grass.  

the bed with some compost in it from last fall and the couch grass.  

Not all the bed has been covered, there are some chives at the top end.  The plastic would be kept on the grass to bake the roots and the compost would not be kept on the bed but taken off as it can lead to dangerous mould spores before the plastic would be more securely placed.  The concrete blocks will be taken out and have the soil changed as there is grass in them as well.  There are a couple of other ways to get rid of couch grass that are more labour intensive and will show these as the weather and ground improves.  Right now, the ground is very wet from a lot of rain and still frozen a few feet down.  

We waited to mid May to dig up the bed as it was filled with couch grass.  Here we started to fork through the bed to see how bad it was.

We then dug out the soil and and replaced it with different soil. 

We filled the bed 13x5 feet with soil with two adults working for 3 hours.

Since we have already planted seeds, we will be using the waste water from rinsed dishes onto the bed to act as a ready made compost.  

The soil was from a neighbour who dug their basement out.

Great Idea! I will try it.

KM said:

Really good idea, will have to give it a go with the containers this year as well.

Mark said:

I wanted to share this great idea I came up with for turning ALL of your containers into self watering plant pots in a very easy way.

Conventional wisdom says that you should have some holes in the bottom of your containers to make sure you don't over water your plants (so they get water logged), and they even make containers with marks on them suggesting you should drill holes there;  then you fill the bottom with a bit of gravel to make sure the holes don't get blocked and you put your soil on top of that.

Well, of course I did that with all of my containers last year but it occurred to me this time round that there is a MUCH better way of doing it.

They are lots of great sites with instructions on how to make self watering containers, but there are many steps and it can seem a bit complicated - but still worth while as self watering containers are very useful for making sure there is always water available to the roots of the plant.

This way is so simple, I wish I had thought of it last year as to now convert the containers I drilled holes in the bottom means I have to fill them in again, but hey ho.

The principle works the same - you have a layer of gravel at the bottom (something like 1-2cm gravel, not too small) but rather than having to do too much to make your bottom reservoir of water, that's what the gravel does.

Assuming a fair sized plant pot (maybe 30-45cm diameter for example), make the level of gravel up to a few inches rather than just a bit at the bottom to stop the holes from being blocked and then drill the holes in the SIDE of the container at the level of the top of the gravel, and then put the compost on top as before.

The holes in the side act as the overflow protection and the gravel section is then always filled with water and hey presto, you have a self watering plant pot with no need to buy any extra parts.  If you want, you can add a tube that feeds straight down to the gravel reservoir, but it's not strictly needed as if you water it from above as usual, the reservoir will still fill and will not get too much water as any excess will come out of the holes in the side.

(I will try and do some diagrams to add later to show you what I mean)

We are currently working on making the potato box.  Here we started with the bottom layer and placed some weed cloth at the base, and built a basic square 3x3.  We will have two support posts on all four corners, so we can slot the boards between them.  

 The box is not yet complete as it needs the posts, but wanted to show the first layer of the soil.  We plan on having some varieties including sweet potato.  

While reading through this blog again it inspired me to look at easy ways to irrigate and I discovered Olla's which is just a porous pot you plant in your garden beds to water your plants from underground.  This is a wonderful video .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI5OfjHwTyU

I found the two following links on preventing lead absorption through soil/plants helpful. I thought I'd post them here.

 Link 1, Link 2

In summary,

-compost minimizes plant absorption of lead. (Compost tea could be a useful application here)

-children absorb lead 5 times more than adults

-raised beds help.

-wash veggies thoroughly. Peel root crops

-plants dont absorb a lot of lead. Most of it remains in the roots.

-Studies show leafy vegetables (collard greens) grown in soil with lead, would provide only 25 percent of the intake from water containing a safe level of lead.

This garden bed apparently hasnt been fertilized or tilled.

Only vermicompost was added to holes where veggies were planted.

Found it from another useful ning about worm composting:

http://vermicomposters.ning.com/

How to make compost in 3 days

"Normally, it takes several weeks or months to turn food scraps and yard waste into compost….here’s how we make it in 3 days."

Reply to Discussion

RSS

SEARCH PS Ning or Zetatalk

 
Search:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

Donate

You can support the ning by using the above button. 

 

© 2020   Created by lonne rey.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service