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Could use some encouragement to get the garden ball rolling


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#1 Santiago

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:32 AM

Hey folks. I really want to plant a garden this year. I've got a pretty sizable amount of land that I could make use of, I'm a bad estimator, but maybe 15 m x 45 m. The only thing is, this land currently has scrubby trees and poison ivy on it. I'm really just lazy, but I could use some encouragement to get out there and start hacking trees down. I hate the thought of hacking trees down - they have a right to be there too, right? But at the same time, I could improve my quality of life exponentially, and potentially the quality of many of my friends' lives as well.

In addition to all the good fresh veggies that can grow in the SE US, I really want to have an abundance of fresh basil so I can have an abundance of pesto. I really love me some pesto...

#2 MrChen

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:59 AM

Hey folks. I really want to plant a garden this year. I've got a pretty sizable amount of land that I could make use of, I'm a bad estimator, but maybe 15 m x 45 m. The only thing is, this land currently has scrubby trees and poison ivy on it. I'm really just lazy, but I could use some encouragement to get out there and start hacking trees down. I hate the thought of hacking trees down - they have a right to be there too, right? But at the same time, I could improve my quality of life exponentially, and potentially the quality of many of my friends' lives as well.

In addition to all the good fresh veggies that can grow in the SE US, I really want to have an abundance of fresh basil so I can have an abundance of pesto. I really love me some pesto...



Build some boxes for raised beds. You could start seeds inside around this time of year for early planting depending on when your last frosts are. Instead of removing all the trees you could shape/prune some of them with an eye to your sun fields and use them to grow shade or part shade plants near. I'd also dig out that poison ivy now before it spreads more. :thumbup:

#3 iamsmiley

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:08 AM

if your not in the city doing a controlled burn in the area might be the best way to prepare the surface.also have you dug down in the spot to make sure its got a good soil layer before doing all this work only to realize the spots full of gravel or something and not of much use

#4 Santiago

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:19 AM

Well, it's red clay. It'll have to do. I'm going to bring in a truckload or twenty of composted manure.

I don't think I could burn here, and I heard that burning poison ivy was a bad idea - but I don't know for sure.

#5 AGAMA

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:53 AM

Well, it's red clay.
and I heard that burning poison ivy was a bad idea


Dude, look up "lasagna-style" gardening.
It works out great for herbs, veggies, flowers!! :eusa_clap
If you're not familiar with it, basically, it's just no-till,
layering of materials, and growing!:amazed:

And raised beds are the shit too.:eusa_clap
Got me a HUGE raised bed of horseradish, made with RR ties
(OK, one tie wide, and two ties long.) Much more than I can eat!!

It's a bad idea to be downwind of burning poison ivy, if you're allergic!

And it IS time to be deciding what you want to grow, and figuring out where to get the seed. You can window-box lettuce greens, and many herbs right now!
P.S. MrChen's advice is worth seriously considering also, every bit of it. Not a big "tree-killer" myself, unless necessary.

#6 Ben Dover

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:12 PM

To be completely honest, gardening and laziness doesn't mix :) Just clear a little at a time and then you'll get in a pace to clear what you want to work with.

Sounds like you need a raised bed. It a little more effort in the beginning but will pay off when you're not bent over for hours working the rows. Especially since you live in cow country and can fill up some larger boxes pretty easy. Add leaves, grass clippings, red clay(it's packed with nutrients), anything organic. Don't worry about weeds. When you get you boxes full, simply seal the top with clear 4 mil plastic(little dirt on the edges to hold it in place) and it will act like an non-vented greenhouse. This will cause any seeds to grow and die due to heat and no air flow.

As for the posion ivy, are you allergic to it? If not and your in the country, burn the shit out of it! Just don't stand directly in the smoke down wind. I helped a friend do this with no ill reaction. Then again we aren't allergic to it. How far away is the next house? If you can't burn it, either pulling by hand (get a tyvek suit) or heavy machinery are you options.

#7 Kronos

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 01:22 PM

Get on with it you lazy git, the air will do you good.

On a posative note, a garden is something that matures, like a good bottle of wiskey.
You cant rush it, to much work, do a little each week and slowly over time you'll have what your looking for.
Make a general plan of what you want, then start to clear it!
Good luck there, make it your new years resolution.

#8 Bobcat

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 04:28 PM

Hmmm, your not gonna just be able to cut a tree down. The root system will be in place. To go from a woodsy area to garden soil, your really gonna need some man power and know how. Call around. Save some $$$$. Ask for other people's money if anyone else would be interested in growing or getting fresh produce.

But really, you need the roots to be pulled or at least sawed up underground. And ideally, you could chip the trees and then have all that wondrous organic goodness tilled right in the soil (as long as your trees aren't in the walnut family)

ALTERNATIVELY, you could start small. Take a fraction of your land and do it yourself. Grow what you can, and every year you would just do another fraction.

But yes to whoever said... Lazy and garden don't usually go together.

#9 Santiago

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:55 PM

I shouldn't say I'm lazy. I should just say that I don't want to get back there to clear the land out. The primary reason is that I AM in fact allergic to poison ivy.

These are scrubby trees, and I don't anticipate difficulty with the roots. In fact, I don't know, they might actually be bushes. Although maybe. Maybe this year I'll just clear out and wait for things to rot for next year.

As far as the roots go, if I chopped the trees down, I could just cover the area in plastic and go raised beds over them, right?

I think raised beds is the way to go for me. Yep. Thanks for all the advice folks. Hope I can manage to keep the poison ivy away - every time I went back there last year it didn't work though.

#10 Bobcat

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:52 PM

Raised beds are very nice. Earlier start to the season is especially nice.

I wouldnt lay plastic down, though. Just frame and fill.

Even in that situation, it's best to till, even if you can only do patches around root zones. Even if you REALLY raise it, like 12 inches or more.

Go with a nice organic fertilizer like espoma all purpose and throw it down prior to filling in your frame.

If you can raise the bed high, contact your local tree trimmers and get chips for free for some free filler, then put soil on top. Just ask if they have chopped up any nut trees recently. You don't want walnuts or hickory chips in your garden soil.

#11 the1

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:03 AM

I'm with ben dover on this raised beds put out alot of veges and just a few weeds and if your dealing with clay well maybe you can used raised beds till you can get the rest of the soil conditioned.If you want to do it cheaply you can just mark your raised beds where you want them put string around the stakes then lay down card board then put the soil on top.You don't even need a rototiller or lumber! You better read up too cause when you got truckloads of veggies coming in you need to know how to store it and fast.good luck




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