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tobh's winter garden


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#1 tobh

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 03:59 PM

hey there, homesteaders!

 

Just thought I would start a thread showcasing some of what we have going on here at el casa de tobh, and maybe find a resolution to a stubborn avocado tree i've been fighting with for months. Excuse the grass in the pictures, they're keeping our rutabaga and spinach company XD.

 

Without further ado, lets get some pictures in this thread!

 

This is our baby avocado, been in water for about a month now and it's really taking off! much better than our other one, which is leading me to believe that the other one was put in soil too soon with too hot of a nutrient mix.

avocado2-122814.jpg

 

For our cat, we have some catnip

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And here's our baby rutabaga, a bit top heavy from the stretch of growing in a window sill.

rutabega122814.jpg

 

Some spinach, this stuff I'm really excited for. According to the seed package, the flavor is supposed to be superior when exposed to a hard freeze, so come february these guys are going to be put outside for a night or two and we'll see how they do! (temps drop to single digits in my area at that time of year, is that too cold?)

spinach122814.jpg

 

Here's the two hopefully ladies that are keeping everything company. They're nameless as they're f2's in my own breeding process. Obviously still showing very broad phenotypes. there will be another thread in Grassroots on these ladies, just thought I would share as they are part of our garden right now :)

sativa122814.jpg

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And here's a shot of the whole group

plants122814.jpg

 

See how sad the avocado is in the red pot? I'm pretty sure, as previously stated, that we tried to burn it to death with nitrogen considering the baby in water is doing much better. I flushed it with nearly ten gallons of water just after transplant, and it perked up a little but I worry the twisted leaves are never going to return to a normal appearance. Can anyone elaborate more on the conditions in which they thrive? Thanks for any input on any of this, as this is my first veggie garden! plenty of dirt under these nails from grass and fungii but this edible gardening is all new otherwise.

 

 

P.S. thought I would share a pic of my view.... love this valley.

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#2 Skywatcher

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 04:27 PM

Nice little garden there tobh. I am well familiar with avocado, being born and raised in Cali. Young trees sunburn easily, but get stronger and tougher leaves with age, and freeze will do real damage. (just in case you thought it could someday be planted outside). They prefer roots not in too wet a soil, and can be burned with high nitrogen. If you have solved the overfeeding, leave the leaves no matter how they look. The tree will grow new branches from the base of the leaf.  Ideal location for the avocados are slopes where water does not sit, warm summers, lots of sun, and protection from frost. (treat it like an orange and you are good.)

 

I have grown quite a few from seeds. Once they got in the ground they all produced fruit. I even go back once in a while to harvest a few, although I do not live where they were planted anymore.


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#3 tobh

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 05:09 PM

excellent! thank you very much for the advise. it definitely confirmed my suspicion of high nitrogen. i've only ever seen sativas twist and curl in on themselves with super high nitrogen. this one took some time to actually start showing burn symptoms, and that's when i flushed. since i did that, it kind of took off, threw a new branch from where we topped it, and the new growth looks fantastic.

 

I did read they are tempermental when it comes to the cold, so both avocados will be pot-kept plants for the entirety of their lives, it simply gets too cold in the winter here. Do they like to be able to run their roots real deep or are they ok with some root bind? My old lady is the one that got these to pop, I have never had luck getting avocados to grow from seed.

 

Again, thanks for the advice Skywatcher. The internet actually failed me on this one, i've been scratching my head and having people tell me things that I knew to be ineffective based on my other growing experiences.



#4 Skywatcher

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 06:48 PM

In nature, avocados grow a ton of surface feeder roots. I would say they should still do fine potted. Pots need to be big enough to keep temperature and give some space, (and still be mobile like on roller platform). Once you have them to a size that can be potted, it would be better to select a pot that will remain adequate for many years, than to be re potting annually. (less root disturbing).

The first year once outside, provide some shade netting to keep from sunburn. By the time summer is closing, they should be able to handle full sun. Whenever you move the tree, acclimate it to the brighter light in stages. I personally prefer natural composted nutes as they do not burn like a chemical fertilizer.

 

A pot will not last forever, but I am also a Bonsai enthusiast for 40+ years, so I know any tree can be root pruned with an equivalent amount of top pruning if not done to excess or when the tree is not actively growing, and trained to remain within a certain size range. Getting fruit depends on the variety and whether it is a summer or winter producer. Some variety's need cross pollination.



#5 tobh

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 04:41 PM

Excellent Skywatcher, thanks for the advice and information. I was sure the issue was nute burn, but the new growth on the twisted one has started to become malformed as well, leaves twisting in on each other and the tips are still burning as if being hit with too much nitrogen. damn miracle grow.

 

We put the baby in soil now too, it was really starting to show signs of nutrient deficiency sitting in the water. opposite ends of the spectrum with these avocados. I couldn't say what variety they are, as we bought them in the produce section of the local grocer, not sure where they source their product from. But, just to be safe my old lady wanted to grow two out just to ensure cross polination.

 

I'll post more pics of how things are looking shortly, just have to strip all the meta data from the images before I can upload them. Thanks again for the information, I haven't really had much time to sit down and thoroughly research this variety of plants like i used to have when i was really into cannabis. but, a green thumb is green regardless what it's growing, right? i sure hope so haha.


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#6 tobh

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:38 PM

Well, it's been a while since I've stopped by the 'topia. Been caught up in studies and the search for those elusive things called clients. Anyways, things are going well enough. The large avocado tree is not fairing well at all, I think I did too much damage to it in its youth. Now I'm battling fungus gnats in it, thankfully they haven't discovered the other plants. yet. The rudebaga is doing excellent, though it needs up potted something fierce. The spinach could be doing better I'm sure, need to research it a bit more. The leaves are super wrinkled looking and dark, not anything like the product I'm used to seeing at the store. I'll be popping some more seeds here shortly, and plans are coming together to get a couple raised beds going by April and have plants by May. I'll post some pics of everything once I get the meta data stripped. Thanks for stopping by, though winter is almost at an end!



#7 tobh

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 01:10 AM

Alright, since it's my thread I assume it's ok ettiquette to double post?

 

So I decided I'm going to go ahead and drop a bunch of seeds tomorrow in the dirt outside. It's been amended with compost and some 21-0-0 dry nutrient and I hand tilled it down to about 12". We'll be putting in spinach, rutabaga, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet peas and carrots. I'm also starting roma tomatoes and jumbo melons inside to go out shortly after the first freeze.

 

I'll be putting in an order for some more seeds as well including a couple mint varieties, geraniums, perpetual spinach, french sorrel, hyper red rumpled wave lettuce and a handful of other herbs. Once the frost gets closer I will also be starting two varieties of egg plant and danvers carrots.

 

If you have tips on other things I should be growing, my ole lady and I are trying to get as close to self sufficiency as possible where the only things we buy at the store are paper products, meats and grains. Thanks!



#8 TastyBeverage

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 01:46 AM

Get some thai basil. It has a really different flavor than italian basil and great for asian dishes.

 

Amaranth is a great multi purpose plant that comes in scores of varieties, although the most common is the fairly ornamental 'Love lies bleeding'. The leaves can be used as salad or cooking greens much like spinach, and the seed grain is very nutritious and high in protein.

 

Also, what about the aliums? Gotta have garlic and onions at the very least.


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#9 PsyBearknot

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:50 AM

Seed savers has a strawberry spinach that is not a true spinach but has spinach flavored edible leaves in a bush that produces a red berry as well. The berries are edible and have been used to make a dye.

Agree with The amaranth as well. Stunning plants!

Swiss chard is another one good for the greens but I have found a lot of interest in the stems as well. Celery like great for color in stirfry and makes wonderful addition to chicken (or chicke less) salad as well as good addition to pickled veggies! Lasts we'll after cut in the fridge

I love multipurpose plants.

Damn sorry for so many edits on this.
For your indoor garden go for sunflower greens in 10x20 flats. So cheep and easy with a harvest in 10 days. Nutty green flavor goes awesome in salads for texture flavor and point of interest.

Edited by PsyBearknot, 12 February 2015 - 10:57 AM.

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#10 tobh

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:50 PM

Wow! I seriously need to subscribe to my own thread lol. For some reason I'm not getting notifications of posts in them. Anyways, here's what I did today:

 

20150212_174044.jpg

 

Got six rows dug today. In addition getting those dug, I set up some trellis from some old cut down rose bushes and planted around 25 seeds of mammoth melting snow peas which will provide plenty of those for quite some time. If it gets too warm, I'll simply build a shade for them through out the summer.

 

Right now we have 7 rutabagas in the ground, one spinach in the ground, four in a pot next to those and around 10 seeds to fill in the second row. I also planted five seeds for di cocci broccoli and blanching cauliflower to see if it really is necessary to start them inside as the instructions say. This evening I will be starting a handful of roma tomatoes and 2 jumbo melons inside so come 4/20 they should be ready for the dirt.

 

I also planted 10 cloves of garlic at the front of the rows and interspersed with the snow peas. Hoping to drive away them wiley wabbits from eating all my tasty greens. Also sprayed the plants down with a garlic and dish soap solution in hopes if they do come they get a mouthful of strong garlic and soap. I will also look into getting some onions as well see as they are supposed to be another excellent companion plant that drives away particular pests. As this section of yard comes together, I will be building another area for the purpose of growing some potatoes as well, seeing as starchy tubers are a staple in our diet.

 

I'll definitely take your recommendations into mind PsyBearknot and TastyBeverage. We will be placing a seed order later this week or next week because there's still more room for 3 or 4 more rows and we have plans on building a 4'x8'x8" cedar raised bed to the right of the freshly made six rows.

 

Not visible in the picture is the trellis for the snow peas which is behind me, and the area at which we will be building a green house. Lots of stuff will be going on this spring and summer, luckily this is likely to become my full time job as my ole lady is the bread winner and I'm currently between clients. Damn freelancing and being unstable with the cash flow. But everyone's gotta eat and who doesn't love fresh, organic veggies?!

 

It's incredible, how alive that soil is out there. So many different creatures were present as I disturbed their homes. Can't wait to see what this season brings. Would it be worthwhile to buy some beneficial predators as well? Just as a preventative in case this soil has any nasty things that'll affect my plants? Or is it better to rely on nature and assume they will come if needed? Probably going to be asking a lot of questions this season, this is my first time growing 90% of what I'm sticking in the ground.

 

Thanks for stopping by again guys!


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#11 PsyBearknot

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:55 PM

Nice work.
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#12 tobh

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:11 PM

Thanks PsyBearknot. So glad this soil was well cared for by the owner of the property, tilling and digging all this by hand is a job alright.



#13 TastyBeverage

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:25 PM

K, you've got peas, brassicas and rutabagas but only one spinach? I'd suggest more leafy greens. Rainbow or red chard is great like psybear suggested and will tolerate heat in summer better than kale. Brassicas don't like deep summer, they tend to be cooler weather crops. Beets are high in vitamins and you can eat the greens just like chard. I like golden beets-- they don't stain like the red varieties, but don't have as much iron, obviously. What kind of potatoes are you planting? Might i suggest adding sweet potatoes? MUCH more nutritious and yummier, IMO.

 

And what about carrots? heheh


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#14 Skywatcher

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:44 PM

Things I use constantly for as long as I can keep it going, Thyme, Basil, a section of leafy lettuce's (reds, greens) garlic, chives, and onions.

Squash and zucchini need only one at most two plants, and will still produce more than you will eat. Seasonals like tomatoes get canned or made into sauce as soon as there is more to can up, and it lasts through the year.

 

I don't have room for potatoes or I would totally do as Bev suggested and go with the sweet potatoes.

 

Your prep looks great.


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#15 tobh

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:56 PM

TastyBeverage, I have 5 spinach total, one in the dirt and four in a 4 gallon pot, and I planted 10 more seeds when I realized that I had way more rutabaga than spinach. I will need greens that are hardy to heat as it can reach 120+ in July/August where I'm at, so I will look into chard for sure. I'll be planting some russets, I believe. I came across an excellent article that described an easy way to grow them and I figured why not, I'll give it a go. Funny you mention sweet potatoes as well, I was thinking about that too. Can probably grow them the same way as the potatoes. Oh, and carrots will be planted 1 week after the last frost. We're supposed to have some cooler nights coming up that the carrots won't tolerate so well.

 

Just so I am clear (I've grown herbs and mushies for years, these food plants are all new to me) brassicas = garlic, correct?

 

Skywatcher, great tip on the squash and zuccini! I will definitely get some of those too, love me some spaghetti squash. mmmm. My ole lady is going to be making sauce with the tomatoes for sure, that's why she wanted the roma's. Her family recipe calls for them specifically. Also the chives was a good idea too, adding them to the list.

 

We will also be starting two varieties of egg plant when spring gets closer and something else i can't recall right now. Either way, with your guys suggestions we will be having an awesome variety of homegrown greens! You guys rock!


Edited by tobh, 12 February 2015 - 09:59 PM.

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#16 TastyBeverage

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:09 PM

Brassicas are in the cabbage family, so i mean your cauliflower and broccolis. Hopefully you'll be able to harvest off of them before the those 120 degree temps really sink in. Seriously, at those temps (which i lived in 2 years ago) ALL LEAFY GREENS DIE unless you have them in a cooled green house or constantly misted shade. That's a rough one.

 

I do have some varieties that are pretty heat tolerant and bolt resistant though... lemme look them up. Hold on, i have to open my spreadsheet... did i mention i have a serious seed hoard? *cough*


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#17 PsyBearknot

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:18 PM

WAIT...no peppers? They love the hot weather! Malabar spinach is more heat tolerant and they take well to cuttings for starts. Would be easy to take cuttings when the weather gets hot and root them inside on your windo shelf and be ready to plant out side again when cools down.

I love a good garden thread about as much as an herb or mushroom thread. Speaking of wine caps are supposed to be good for the garden soil and another edible item in your garden.
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#18 tobh

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:52 PM

PsyBearknot, I live in the land of the best red and green chili in the world. So, no no peppers lol I stock up on chili at harvest season every year. 20 pound burlap sack for $15 - $20, roasted for free and it lasts almost a year. I was debating grow some bell peppers though. Still on the fence though.

 

TastyBeverage, thanks for the clarification. Agriculture is pretty big in this area, and I do see a lot of people grow leafy greens, but if I have to, I'll build covers to protect them. Would the weed barrier fabric work for such a cover? I was reaching that the brassicas will bolt in higher temps and the cauliflower is particularly tempermental. I'm not sure how resistant these are to bolting, all I know is I ordered the from Sustainable Seed Supply, Co. (I think that's their name).


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#19 TastyBeverage

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 06:18 AM

Your best bet is to go talk to some of those farmers in your area that have successfully managed to keep those leafy greens alive. They have learned from experience and likely have landraced varieties of plants that will withstand the local environment better. Go makes friend with one of them! Maybe they'll kick down some seeds or starts. :)

 

Networking can be a farmer's best tool. Speaking of which, my spreadsheet says i have 232 varieties of seeds and i am constantly adding to my vault.

 

Anyone want to trade? heheheh   :biggrin:


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#20 tobh

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 12:49 PM

I would be so willing to trade, though from those numbers you already have anything I've got lol. That's a hell of a collection you've got there! I'll see about going and speaking with some farmers out here, though my spanish is quite rusty the networking efforts may go one of two ways. We shall see haha.

 

Would a good spot to network be at the farmers market perhaps? Or is that more of a spot where people tend to stay tight lipped seeing as they're trying to make a buck and don't want any more competition than what they have?

 

I woke up to this guy on the couch this morning. Thought it was a crumb until it started moving.

 

20150213_103147.jpg 20150213_103121.jpg

 

No idea what it is, and have no idea of even what to google to figure it out. Any ideas? Should I be concerned or is that little guy a beneficial creature? Looks sorta like a lady bug in camo, rough texture though not smooth like a lady bug.






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