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Old January 8, 2019   #16
PlainJane
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GoDawgs, Your garden is stunning!
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Old January 9, 2019   #17
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Thanks, Jane. It keeps me occupied. When I retired seven years ago I started converting most of it to 16 raised beds and two open areas at the bottom for corn, pole beans and squash. This is a pic from 2017. Fenced muscadine grapes in the foreground, asparagus patch middle left. This is why being a data junkie comes in handy for tracking!

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Old January 9, 2019   #18
PlainJane
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Really impressive.
Are your raised beds made from cedar? Have you run drip irrigation or are you watering by hand?
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Old January 10, 2019   #19
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The beds are 4'x18' with removable ends so I can zip the tiller through the bed if really needed for incorporating stuff. I usually just loosen the soil with the broadfork.

The beds are made with regular 2x8's ( two 8'ers and two 10'ers per side and one 8' cut in half for the ends. The sides and ends are held in place on the outside with 17" long pieces of 1/2" pvc pipe so that, if ever needed, the bed can be easily disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. 17" length lets me get 7 "pins" per 10' length of pipe with no waste.



Except for the corn (which is watered with an overhead fan sprinkler affixed to the top of a step ladder) I pretty much water by hand at the base of the plants with a water wand.



It takes about an hour to water everything by hand when the garden is in full tilt boogie mode but I don't mind. While "visiting" with the plants I can give them a good look-over and spot any developing problems (bugs, disease, etc) really early and deal with them.

This past summer the peppers weren't doing so well until I put soaker hose to them as a last resort. Bingo. So I'll do that from the get-go this year. And maybe on a few other things too. Trying to figure how to hook soaker hose to several beds at once without it laying on the ground between beds and blocking the mower. Maybe an underground pvc between beds that pops up inside the beds.
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Old January 10, 2019   #20
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It all looks fantastic. I love the sprinkler on top of the ladder trick. I also hand water for the same reason.
I see why you’re tracking your garden via spreadsheets; that’s a lot of crop rotation to keep in your head with that many beds.
Given your zone you could probably run garden hose through pvc and not have to bury it too deep.
Or just pull it out come winter and thread it back through in spring.
You don’t have issues with raccoons, possums, etc?

Once we finish a landscaping project in the backyard I want to install raised beds in the side yard. I love seeing what folks on TV have - so many good ideas.
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Old January 10, 2019   #21
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Very motivational post! I used to teach database design north of the DC area back in the day, but now I keep starting spreadsheets and putting off finishing. Something with this additional information is just what I need. I always run out of steam and start fall transplants too late.



A full sun garden near a water source, heaven! I am wondering about corn attracting raccoons to the area too. Your soil looks so rich and friable. Do you use wood chips for mulch in all your beds, or customize according to crops? Cover crops? Compost? Now that is GREEN, not a yellow leaf in the bunch!!!



- Lisa
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Old January 11, 2019   #22
PlainJane
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Looks like this thread is finding some of the TV database nerds. I work doing QA on a data warehouse team and look at data all day long. Also did DB design and coding in a prior life.
I’m also interested in hearing about your cover crops (if used), fallow plan (if any), what soil and disease issues you’re facing.

And thanks for the great pictures!
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Old January 11, 2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlainJane View Post
You don’t have issues with raccoons, possums, etc?
The possums don't mess with the garden at all. They're too busy inspecting the compost pile and cat food bowls up at the house.

Lately there's been an armadillo problem that started in the yard by the house and then moved down to the garden. There the 8" deep conical holes were mostly along the bed sideboards. You can see one in that pic of the bed corner I posted. It's hard to catch them digging but the shotgun has eliminated the problem... for now.

The raccoons seem to come for the real early corn and then hang around for the later variety. I really push the planting window so I think the early stuff is ready before the silage corn grown a few miles from here and that draws the coons in. For whatever reason, there were no visitors last spring/summer.

Last edited by GoDawgs; January 11, 2019 at 08:57 AM.
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Old January 11, 2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
I keep starting spreadsheets and putting off finishing.
That was me when I first started with the spreadsheets. But by sticking to it, after a few weeks updating it becomes automatic and somewhat addictive!

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Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
Your soil looks so rich and friable. Do you use wood chips for mulch in all your beds, or customize according to crops? Cover crops? Compost? Now that is GREEN, not a yellow leaf in the bunch!!!
Actually, the soil is rather on the sandy side which makes for watering more often. This is an "equal opportunity" garden... all plants grow in the same stuff.
I used to mulch with wheat straw but when it got to $5+ per bale (one bale would mulch two beds about 2-3") it hit me. There are a ton of leaves on the property. Brain said, "Use them!" And so we have. My sister just bought a leaf vacuum attachment for the riding mower this past fall and now there are even more leaves to use and a lot less work raking.

They work great and used to get tilled in at the end of the season to prevent overwintering of bugs but for the last two years I've been leaving the leaves on top, loosening the soil with the broadfork and just adding more leaves after planting. I do spray an entire bed surface with pyrethrin immediately after sowing or setting out transplants but before final mulching. So far it has really reduced the flea beetle invasion, especially with a second application as soon as the first shot holing is noticed.
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Old January 11, 2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlainJane View Post
Looks like this thread is finding some of the TV database nerds. I work doing QA on a data warehouse team and look at data all day long. Also did DB design and coding in a prior life.
My introduction to spreadsheets happened when I became inventory manager at a production nursery with acres and acres of shrubs and ornamentals. Data all day long. I also use a spread for my garden "treatments" (date, plant, what fertilizer/spray was used and why), contents of my little seed vault and even my freezer inventory. LOL!

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I’m also interested in hearing about your cover crops (if used), fallow plan (if any), what soil and disease issues you’re facing.
I fiddled with various fall/winter cover crops (crimson clover, winter rye, blue lupines, annual rye in different beds) but stopped. There's always something growing year round and spring planting starts early (brassicas in February). The crimson clover was a deer magnet. Some of the covers weren't mature enough to do any good when it was time to turn them under and get them out of the way. And turning over and incorporation was a physical problem. I do use buckwheat in the summer in empty beds. The pollinators love it.

The big soil problem is root knot nematodes in the beds on one whole side of the garden. It severely limits what can be grown there and when. I've never fallowed anything because a lot is always in use. But I will be doing that in some of the nematode beds as it will starve them and knock back numbers. They'll never go away. The only other soil problem is bacterial wilt that kills tomatoes so they're grown in buckets up at the house. No more problem with that.

Last edited by GoDawgs; January 11, 2019 at 09:28 AM.
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Old January 12, 2019   #26
PlainJane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
My introduction to spreadsheets happened when I became inventory manager at a production nursery with acres and acres of shrubs and ornamentals. Data all day long. I also use a spread for my garden "treatments" (date, plant, what fertilizer/spray was used and why), contents of my little seed vault and even my freezer inventory. LOL!



I fiddled with various fall/winter cover crops (crimson clover, winter rye, blue lupines, annual rye in different beds) but stopped. There's always something growing year round and spring planting starts early (brassicas in February). The crimson clover was a deer magnet. Some of the covers weren't mature enough to do any good when it was time to turn them under and get them out of the way. And turning over and incorporation was a physical problem. I do use buckwheat in the summer in empty beds. The pollinators love it.

The big soil problem is root knot nematodes in the beds on one whole side of the garden. It severely limits what can be grown there and when. I've never fallowed anything because a lot is always in use. But I will be doing that in some of the nematode beds as it will starve them and knock back numbers. They'll never go away. The only other soil problem is bacterial wilt that kills tomatoes so they're grown in buckets up at the house. No more problem with that.
Root knot nematodes are the bane of my soil as well. I’ve spent hours researching deterrents and countermeasures. The fruit trees I’ve put in are going on year 3 and are thriving, so the nematodes don’t seem to bother them. I’m growing all other veggies in smart pots until I can get raised beds going. The only cover crop I’ve planted are field peas (as a green manure, not a food crop per se)
I’m planning to keep on top of bacterial issues with bleach spray (B54Red) ...we’ll see how that works out.
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