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Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


coyo7e posted:

http://www.territorialseed.com/

Local small-town business, run by really great people. Their catalogs are a ton of fun as well.

I'd strongly recommend at least having them send you a catalog, it's fun to leaf through.

Iím a seed catalogue junkie, and I somehow got on their mailing list. It is a fun catalogue, beautiful, huge selection of unique hard to find plants including a lot of heirlooms. Everything they sell has such detailed instructions on how to grow that you could use it as a reference guide. It seems like everything is very much on the pricey side though.

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Save me jeebus
May 6, 2009


I am very about gardening, as will be evident by my post. I'm trying to get better, though.

I have a half wine barrel that I've been trying to use for an herb garden. Being at gardening however, I never drilled drainage holes in it. As a result of the torrential downpours we've gotten in SoCal, the thing filled up with water. I just emptied out all of the nasty water and cleaned it out, added some drainage holes and built a low frame to keep it off of the ground.

Now for the Q: is the potting soil I dumped out of it still good? Or should I buy new and compost the old stuff?

mischief
Jun 3, 2003

Fuck everything.

As long as the stuff isn't just water logged sludge it would probably be okay. Potting soil is dirt cheap though (see what I did there?) so I don't see any reason not to just get some fresh stuff to try again. Throw some cheap gravel in the bottom first before the layer of potting soil to keep the bottom from getting water logged and stopping everything up.

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


Most herbs thrive and develop their strongest flavor when they are hot and dry. Depending on what soil you are using, along with putting gravel on the bottom, you might want to mix some sand in the potting soil.

Save me jeebus
May 6, 2009


Thanks. I live in the Mojave desert, so "hot and dry" is very doable. How deep should I make the gravel? I have one layer in there right now, over some window screen.

Richard Noggin
Jun 6, 2005
Redneck By Default


I order my seeds from Johnny's Seeds. I also have successfully used an electric blanket as a warming mat. I built a growing rack out of 2x4s, then used poly to make a mini-greenhouse. Temps are normally around 85F. The only thing I don't do is water the flats in there, for obvious reasons.

Kilersquirrel
Oct 16, 2004
My little sister is awesome and bought me this account.

Save me jeebus posted:

I am very about gardening, as will be evident by my post. I'm trying to get better, though.

I have a half wine barrel that I've been trying to use for an herb garden. Being at gardening however, I never drilled drainage holes in it. As a result of the torrential downpours we've gotten in SoCal, the thing filled up with water. I just emptied out all of the nasty water and cleaned it out, added some drainage holes and built a low frame to keep it off of the ground.

Now for the Q: is the potting soil I dumped out of it still good? Or should I buy new and compost the old stuff?

You're going to want to add some fertilizer soon, most of your nutrients probably went out with that rainwater.

My basil and pepper plant are still going strong, they've pretty much outgrown the frame I've been hanging my grow light fixture off of by now, so I've moved them over to the windowsill and started some more peppers. I've found you can make excellent seed starters by cutting a 2 liter bottle 1/4 of the way up, filling it up with potting soil mix and soaking, then feathering the bottom of the other part of the bottle so it can slide down. Did a bunch of these with more pepper seeds and had 95% of them sprout and root sturdily in 4 days. No worries about stress from switching media when you transfer them out, too, you just sit it in the destination pot and cut the plastic off.


Here's a lesson I didn't expect to learn: Raccoons seem to get at least as high as your cats do off of catnip. They will also do exponentially more damage to a potted catnip plant than your cat will. gently caress raccoons.

Kilersquirrel fucked around with this message at Feb 17, 2010 around 05:11

Zuph
Jul 24, 2003
Zupht0r 6000 Turbo Type-R

Got my seeds from Fedco today. I think I might have over ordered a little. Most of this should last a couple years, at least, though.


Click here for the full 1500x650 image.

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

You are so bewitched by its beauty, you are not sure if you can wield it.


Zuph posted:

Got my seeds from Fedco today. I think I might have over ordered a little. Most of this should last a couple years, at least, though.


Click here for the full 1500x650 image.




What's up, ordering-too-many-seeds buddy?


kid sinister
Nov 16, 2002

ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Save me jeebus posted:

How deep should I make the gravel?

Depends on how deep your barrel is overall, and if you ever want to move it easily. One alternative you can use is styrofoam packing peanuts.

Richard Noggin
Jun 6, 2005
Redneck By Default


mischief posted:

As long as the stuff isn't just water logged sludge it would probably be okay. Potting soil is dirt cheap though (see what I did there?) so I don't see any reason not to just get some fresh stuff to try again. Throw some cheap gravel in the bottom first before the layer of potting soil to keep the bottom from getting water logged and stopping everything up.

You need to put a layer of landscape fabric (the woven stuff that looks similar to Tyvec, but is porous) between the gravel and the potting soil, otherwise, the soil will just wash into the gravel and you'll be back to square one.

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


Since you are in the Mohave desert, I would not stress out too much about having a gravel layer, how deep it is, if you have landscape fabric or not. It will be on the dry side no matter what you do. I would just have a porous, sandy soil with some organic matter added to it, make sure you add some drainage holes for when it does rain or you overwater. I would specifically avoid styrofoam peanuts unless portability is important for you for the simple reason that if and when you are ready to move on and dispose of the contents of the barrel, if it is soil, gravel and sand you can just dump it in a low spot in the yard or spread it out, but if there is styrofoam, you will have these dirty, gross things you will have to pick out.

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005


fully trained greenskeeper


This thread is awesome. I am reading through it all to try to get a handle on what I want to do this year.

My plan is to do a small plot - 100 to 150 square feet. I live in Northwest Arkansas zone 6b, and have plenty of sun in this spot (about 80%) - I watched the spot pretty closely last year and planted a lonely tomato plant, which exploded towards the end of the season.

Assuming ordinary not-worked-in-years-and-years suburban yard soil, what should I be prepping with? The area is grassed and I'm wondering if it is a good time, or too late, to hit the area with black plastic to kill it all off.

I have an okay book knowledge of gardening but haven't seriously tried it yet, and we all know that plain old experience is best. Compostable kitchen scraps are rare for me - we are just a family of two and don't eat/waste much. Suggestions?

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


Jonny 290 posted:

This thread is awesome. I am reading through it all to try to get a handle on what I want to do this year.

My plan is to do a small plot - 100 to 150 square feet. I live in Northwest Arkansas zone 6b, and have plenty of sun in this spot (about 80%) - I watched the spot pretty closely last year and planted a lonely tomato plant, which exploded towards the end of the season.

Assuming ordinary not-worked-in-years-and-years suburban yard soil, what should I be prepping with? The area is grassed and I'm wondering if it is a good time, or too late, to hit the area with black plastic to kill it all off.

I have an okay book knowledge of gardening but haven't seriously tried it yet, and we all know that plain old experience is best. Compostable kitchen scraps are rare for me - we are just a family of two and don't eat/waste much. Suggestions?

There is something I find deeply rewarding about producing even a small part of my own food. Its not always true homegrown tastes better, especially if you get sidetracked and forget to pick something, and it probably doesnít save time or money, but it connects me to the natures rhythms and when you overcome problems, gives me a greater appreciation for what farmers have to overcome, except for them it is 100 times over.

The quickest and easiest thing to do would be to spray the area with roundup, but you are not talking about too huge area, so you could get by with digging the sod out piece by piece and shaking as much soil out as you can. Lawns can often get quite packed, so you might want to double dig. You will dig a trench a foot deep, make a pile on the opposite side of the plot with the soil, and loosen the soil at the bottom of the trench another foot deep. Then you cover it with the soil next to the trench, form a new trench one foot in, loosen, repeat. Unless the soil is very poor, you donít have to mix compost or organic matter into the bottom layer, but if you have enough, itís a good idea to mix it into the top layer. Itís also a good time to remove any rocks larger than a tennis ball, or smaller if this is an area you will use a tiller in the future, and any construction debris. Get the soil tested to see what you are working with as far as pH an fertility.

If you plant some tomatoes, salad greens, pole beans, etc. you should be able to get quite a bit of produce out of it.

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005


fully trained greenskeeper


That's a great post and exactly what I was looking for.

And yeah, I'm not trying to save money for the first year, I know that tools and soil prep will far exceed any veggie savings this year, but if I get set up this year, next year should go off with minimal fuss (hahaha, right).

mischief
Jun 3, 2003

Fuck everything.

I used the double dig approach and a tiller to overcome some seriously clayey soil last year. A LOT of work but really worth the effort. Compost is definitely your friend, and a cheap way to improve the soil is to gather leaves from your neighbors when they fall and till those in as well.

It is a tremendously rewarding hobby and once you have some habits and experience you can start to see significant savings if you eat a lot of produce (lettuce especially for some reason, that poo poo is waaaaay over priced in the stores).

kid sinister
Nov 16, 2002

ahhhhhhhhhhh!

^^^^You can add grass clippings to that list.

Jonny, how old is your suburb?

dwoloz
Oct 20, 2004

Uh uh fool, step back

Zeta Taskforce posted:

The quickest and easiest thing to do would be to spray the area with roundup,

Please don't do this. Not only is it costly but its toxic

To clear an area of weeds utilize sheet mulching techniques
Lots of info online, search "sheet mulching" or "lasagna gardening"

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


dwoloz posted:

Please don't do this. Not only is it costly but its toxic

To clear an area of weeds utilize sheet mulching techniques
Lots of info online, search "sheet mulching" or "lasagna gardening"

I'm not going to convince anyone who is of the belief if it is a chemical, it must be evil crowd, but Glyphosate is one of the safest chemicals used in agriculture. In addition, it is not costly. It has very low mammalian and insect toxicity, is quickly broken down by sun and microorganisms, and leaves zero residues. It works on an enzyme found only in plants.

For someone who only has a hundred square feet, it is kind of pointless. Just do it by hand. Yet in the US alone, close to 100 million pounds are used, and I have not seen evidence that it has led to a single death or injury when used properly. Even in intentional poisonings where someone intentionally drinks as much of the stuff as they can, the vast majority of people do not die.

krushgroove
Oct 22, 2007

WOO! Yeah!
We ROCK!


I think the reply to your suggestion is that it's just a little surprising that someone in a grow your own thread would recommend something made by Monsanto, and Roundup to boot.

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005


fully trained greenskeeper


kid sinister posted:

^^^^You can add grass clippings to that list.

Jonny, how old is your suburb?

Good call on grass. I am also taking home the coffee grounds each night from work for a bit, i heard those helped.

Neighborhood is right around 50-60 years old. Thinking about the dirt quality over time?

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


krushgroove posted:

I think the reply to your suggestion is that it's just a little surprising that someone in a grow your own thread would recommend something made by Monsanto, and Roundup to boot.

Monsanto does stuff I donít agree with, but they are not the antichrist either, and they make a good product. Competitors make it too. In my case where I put my garden last year was completely overgrown with shrubs, brush, milkweed, tall grass. I used it in the fall before to knock down the grass, covered it with leaves after that, and in the following spring the grass was dead. It was an uphill enough battle to get the woody stuff out of there, and all the tree roots made the area untillable, but without it I would still be fighting the grass. I plan on using it to kill the ivy that is growing up the other side of the house, because for some reason the previous owners thought ivy growing on wood was a good idea. Getting rid of ivy is the worst.

I would not have used it if I was just putting in a small garden in an old lawn, but it is a safe product, and no one is forced to use it.

dwoloz
Oct 20, 2004

Uh uh fool, step back

Zeta Taskforce posted:

I'm not going to convince anyone who is of the belief if it is a chemical, it must be evil crowd, but Glyphosate is one of the safest chemicals used in agriculture. In addition, it is not costly. It has very low mammalian and insect toxicity, is quickly broken down by sun and microorganisms, and leaves zero residues. It works on an enzyme found only in plants.

For someone who only has a hundred square feet, it is kind of pointless. Just do it by hand. Yet in the US alone, close to 100 million pounds are used, and I have not seen evidence that it has led to a single death or injury when used properly. Even in intentional poisonings where someone intentionally drinks as much of the stuff as they can, the vast majority of people do not die.

Costly in comparison to sheet mulching, which is free and arguably more effective

Herbicides and insecticides are without a doubt detrimental to our environment and toxic to living organisms (reproductive, endocrine and nervous system damage). Their problem is they are not by any means constrained to the locality upon which they're sprayed. They remain in soils, taint groundwater and runoff containing them taints our waterways and ocean.


The decision between the free and natural method vs the costly (as in having a cost) and unnatural method seems like a no brainer to me

dwoloz fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2010 around 06:07

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


dwoloz posted:

Costly in comparison to sheet mulching, which is free and arguably more effective

Herbicides and insecticides are without a doubt detrimental to our environment and toxic to living organisms (reproductive, endocrine and nervous system damage). Their problem is they are not by any means constrained to the locality upon which they're sprayed. They remain in soils, taint groundwater and runoff containing them taints our waterways and ocean.


The decision between the free and natural method vs the costly (as in having a cost) and unnatural method seems like a no brainer to me

This debate of the merits of (very) limited use of chemicals vs nothing at all doesnít belong here. I donít go into D&D that much anymore, but if anyone wants to discuss it there, let me know.

krushgroove
Oct 22, 2007

WOO! Yeah!
We ROCK!


Zeta Taskforce posted:

This debate of the merits of (very) limited use of chemicals vs nothing at all doesnít belong here.

True, but organic gardening (if that's what we're talking about here) doesn't really consist of 'nothing at all' - there's mulching, weed sheets, blood & bonemeal, manure, manual weeding, etc. 'Gardener' doesn't necessarily equal 'crunchy granola hippy' but I find it a tiny bit disconcerting someone heartily recommends Roundup for food gardening.

Anyway, back on track: I have a ton of long containers I use for gardening, but after a few months of ignoring them they're full of grass and weeds. I suppose the easiest way to clear them (without Roundup ) is to dump out the dirt in a big pile and shake out the weed roots, then refill the containers so they're ready to go. What a pain, I should have kept up with things from the get-go, but I have seed potatoes and strawberry plants waiting to be planted, so it needs to be done...bleah.

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


I should clarify, but when I say nothing at all, I mean no man made chemicals at all, not no mulching, cultivation, crop rotation, and anything else that enhances plant health. There are cost/benefits to everything we do. Even if you are talking organic gardening, there are ďnaturalĒ pesticides that are still available to you, but still are deadly to bees and beneficial insects, still leave residues, still can be highly toxic, still must be used according to label instructions if they are to be used safely.

quote:

If we think organic gardening means vegetables free of any chemical pesticides, we don't have the story quite right.
Organic gardeners can use certain pesticides -- chemicals that are derived from botanical and mineral-bearing sources. These chemicals may be highly toxic, but they break down more rapidly than common chemicals, such as the Sevins, Malathions and 2,4,Ds.
Just as the more common chemicals are given toxicity ratings -- CAUTION, WARNING or DANGER -- so are chemicals from botanical and mineral-bearing sources. "CAUTION" means low toxicity or completely free from danger; "WARNING" means moderately toxic and "DANGER" means highly toxic. The toxicity rating for each pesticide is provided in the paragraphs below.
http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopE...uit/organic.htm

Some of the organic ones are in the ďDangerĒ category. By comparison, Roundup is merely in the ďCautionĒ category.

krushgroove
Oct 22, 2007

WOO! Yeah!
We ROCK!


'Organic' to me means not using any sprays or anything also. I know it means different things to different people. I'm not a whole earth gardener by any means but I have a little 'bug house' (for ladybugs), I try to use companion gardening (onions/chives next to carrots), use beer traps (for slugs), etc., because I don't like greenwashing and digging out pumps and liquids and whatnot.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003

THIRTEEN!

I see people posting their seed companies. Does anyone know of any good ones in the raleigh/durham/nc area? We're looking at growing some heirloom or organic vegetables that'll grow well in our region.

We picked up our pest killer and fertilizer yesterday. (crosspost from PI)http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...4#post372974608

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


Getting back to gardening, has anyone had any success in starting very tiny seeds like lobelia, coleus, and begonia? These seeds, especially the lobelia are beyond tiny, almost like dust. I tried starting some a few weeks ago with what can be described as mixed success at best. Actually more of a failure. I used a brick of Wonder Soil, and thinking that it would be easier later on, and minimize transplant shock, I started each seed in miniature individual cells instead of a larger pot before moving them to individual cells. Two things happened. Between the bottom heat and the intense light these seeds need for germination, the soil tended to dry out quickly, even with a humidity dome. Even when I misted the soil morning and night, it still dried out. If it got too dry I bottom watered, and the soil soaked up the water like a sponge and got very wet.

In spite of that, things did germinate. But then they started disappearing. I tried to move the survivors to larger cells that are easier to keep moist consistently, and noticed that the roots had for the most part rotted off.

Did the plants die from the wet/dry cycles, or from the choice of soil?

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

You are so bewitched by its beauty, you are not sure if you can wield it.


How coarse is the soil on that Wonder Soil stuff?


I've seen people take a sifter or a fine-screen sieve and run the top inch or so of earth from their potters through it so the topmost bit is really fine, and then plant the seeds in that.

Apparently, it makes it easier for them to get the right combo of water, heat, and air if you just bottom water.

I've never done it though, so this is all hearsay.

Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


Itís pretty fine for the most part, but because it has coconut fibers in it, it has some bigger chunks of longer fibers. These seeds are so tiny you have to plant them on the surface, so misting is essential. Iíve noticed that when it gets wet, it can get very wet.

Chajara
Jan 18, 2005



I ordered pickling cucumbers and San Marzano tomatoes from Seeds of Change and they got here today. I cleared off the top of my fridge and set up my grow light and got a big tray full of seeds started

I'm sort of frustrated at the lack of grow light setups in places like Lowe's. All they seem to sell is separate bulbs and housing and they expect me to wire it myself since none of them have cords or plugs. Why don't these places carry adjustable light setups? My mom gave me one instead that she's had forever, it's old as dirt but it's doing its job. No leggy seedlings for me this year!

Kilersquirrel
Oct 16, 2004
My little sister is awesome and bought me this account.

Chajara posted:

I ordered pickling cucumbers and San Marzano tomatoes from Seeds of Change and they got here today. I cleared off the top of my fridge and set up my grow light and got a big tray full of seeds started

I'm sort of frustrated at the lack of grow light setups in places like Lowe's. All they seem to sell is separate bulbs and housing and they expect me to wire it myself since none of them have cords or plugs. Why don't these places carry adjustable light setups? My mom gave me one instead that she's had forever, it's old as dirt but it's doing its job. No leggy seedlings for me this year!

i got mine from walmart for 10 bucks, it's a solid fixture, grounded plug, nice thick insulation on the cord, strong pullchain too. Actually came with a bulb that complemented my "warm" light that I had bought from the hydroponics store down the road exactly, they had run out of the "cool" spectrum ones and forgotten to update their online stock count.

E: Now with pictures!

Several months ago:



Same plant, today (please ignore the badly overgrown and undertrimmed basil):



Look at those big fat beautiful leaves!




Pepper's little sisters:



The whole setup(the catnip and rosemary are outside with my other 2 basil planters, tomato is the roommate's):



Kilersquirrel fucked around with this message at Feb 25, 2010 around 04:25

mischief
Jun 3, 2003

Fuck everything.

Getting everything wound up here as well. Need to make sure my seeds are all still in order. Spring is loving awesome.

Kilersquirrel
Oct 16, 2004
My little sister is awesome and bought me this account.

mischief posted:

Getting everything wound up here as well. Need to make sure my seeds are all still in order. Spring is loving awesome.



drat skippy, I've already got planters full of soil/slow release fertilizer just waiting for the last dip down below 50, then my stuff is all getting transplanted and going outside. It rocks having a south-facing porch, especially with an overhang for light mid-day shade.

I can't wait to see those pepper seedlings rocket up and start giving me sweet, tiny, firey fruits to torment my friends and tickle my tongue with.

If the rental company is cool with it, I may rip out the lovely, half-dead bushes under the window and plant a straight-up herb and light veggie garden. It would certainly make the outside look a lot nicer and up their property value when I eventually clear out of here in a year or two.

enki42
Jun 11, 2001



You bastards in non-snowy climates

I jumped the gun and tried to do some Rapini WAY early and the seedlings are leggy as gently caress. This weekend I'll try to get some early stuff started, but I'm starting to think a grow light is a necessity since we're pretty short on sunny days right now.

Speaking of grow lights, I had this kooky plan to grow the odd herb in pots hanging from a rod underneath a shelf in a kitchen - only problem is I get about zero natural sunlight in the kitchen. Anyone have any recommendations for grow lights that can install under a shelf and don't take up a lot of room? Does such a thing exist?

kid sinister
Nov 16, 2002

ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Jonny 290 posted:

Good call on grass. I am also taking home the coffee grounds each night from work for a bit, i heard those helped.

Neighborhood is right around 50-60 years old. Thinking about the dirt quality over time?

Kind of... When they build subdivisions nowadays, the developers will strip all of the topsoil off the land first and sell it before they start building. Then they just put sod over the crappy subsoil (usually clay) and nobody's the wiser. This means that in newer subdivisions, it's harder to garden in those lots because the rich topsoil isn't there anymore. But 50-60 years ago they didn't do this, so you should be safe.

mischief
Jun 3, 2003

Fuck everything.

kid sinister posted:

Kind of... When they build subdivisions nowadays...




That's when you dig it all out and mix in a few truck loads of compost. It took forever.

The "top soil" for the grass was maybe 1/2" deep, the rest was straight clay.

kid sinister
Nov 16, 2002

ahhhhhhhhhhh!

enki42 posted:

Speaking of grow lights, I had this kooky plan to grow the odd herb in pots hanging from a rod underneath a shelf in a kitchen - only problem is I get about zero natural sunlight in the kitchen. Anyone have any recommendations for grow lights that can install under a shelf and don't take up a lot of room? Does such a thing exist?

Sure, just an undershelf fluorescent fixture, then get a grow bulb for it. Take some measurements and hit up a hardware store or even an aquarium shop and see if you can find a grow bulb that will fit underneath your shelf, then get a fluorescent fixture to take that bulb, making sure the fixture will also fit underneath your shelf. Pay attention to the bulb sizes when buying a fixture, there are 2 diameters of fluorescent bulbs used for under cabinet lighting, T5 and T8, and either one doesn't fit in the other's socket.

kid sinister fucked around with this message at Feb 26, 2010 around 05:02

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Zeta Taskforce
Jun 27, 2002


kid sinister posted:

Sure, just an undershelf fluorescent fixture, then get a grow bulb for it. Take some measurements and hit up a hardware store or even an aquarium shop and see if you can find a grow bulb that will fit underneath your shelf, then get a fluorescent fixture to take that bulb, making sure the fixture will also fit underneath your shelf. Pay attention to the bulb sizes when buying a fixture, there are 2 diameters of fluorescent bulbs used for under cabinet lighting, T5 and T8, and either one doesn't fit in the other's socket.

I did some research when I set up mine, and the conclusions that I came to were that comparing T5 and T8, T5 (the number refers to the diameter of the bulb in eights of an inch) is a superior technology in a lot of ways. They are smaller, brighter, and more efficient. But, and this is a huge BUT, they are WAY more expensive. I donít think the benefits outweigh the cost yet. T12 is a still older technology, and you will get a lot more choosing T8 instead and still pay something very reasonable.

The other thing I found out is the grow bulbs are nice, but you will get almost as much out of regular cool white bulbs. Cool light is mostly blue light, promotes shorter stockier plants. Warm light is more red, its necessary to induce flowering, but too much of it you get taller, thinner plants. I would avoid what are sold as plant lights or aquarium lights, as these produce mostly green light. Our eyes are most sensitive to green light and they are designed to make plants and other things under them pretty, but plants do not utilize green light well (that is why the are green, that is the only color they donít absorb well and only green light is reflected)

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