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Hello from Texas

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Hello from Texas

Post  morganfam7 on 3/15/2012, 8:48 pm

I've been lurking here for a few days, so I thought I should introduce myself. Smile

I played around with SFG and composting in the 90's until we moved to the country. I had raised beds there, but I spent most of my time working with the animals and putting in fences. Now that we're back in the city, I'm excited to get back into sfg again.

We have one 4x4 bed that is a couple of years old - framed with cinder blocks. The kids planted lettuce in the holes around the outside. We have 4 Celebrity tomatoes, a square of cucumbers (Picklebush), a square of carrots and the rest in Sugar Snap Peas. I'm looking forward to planting and saving OP and heirloom seed again. Very Happy

We might do chickens this year, and we're definitely doing a worm hotel. Fun, fun!

My dh made me another bed last week out of the bifold closet doors that our neighbors were throwing away. The bed measures 6.5 x 3.25, but I don't have any compost ready for it yet. So, today I got a plastic 55 gal drum (filled with mulch!) and dh is going to make a frame and casters for it to tumble. Once I add the case of rotten pears that I was given and some soil, I hope to have some more compost soon! Very Happy

I don't plan on adding peat moss. I know, I know, but we regularly get
over 100 here, and I can't keep it hydrated enough. I want to add green
sand and tons of compost. I can get composted horse manure and bedding that's about a year old by the trailer load for free, so that will go into the new bed. I have a little bit of goat manure to add, but I have to buy Moo-nure for my cow compost....and on and on...looking for all the different composts might be challenging...and of course, this would have been much better if this Jan and not March! lol Oh well, I figure the fall garden will be better...so whatever we get this time around is just icing. Very Happy

I love the forums, and I've learned so much! Staf74's videos and updates are awesome!

Happy gardening everyone!

Marcy

morganfam7

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/16/2012, 1:11 am

glad you\'re here Marcy!

Have you read the newer ANSFG book (2006)? It makes the old way look like hard labor! Smile I had the old book and luckily found the new one before I started last year! Smile

It sounds like you have a line on some great compost! I can't really speak to your climate being from central Illinois, but I'm sure some other Texans will be along shortly to fill you in on what they do with hydration...

Can't wait to see pics! Smile

UnderTheBlackWalnut

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Thanks for the welcome!

Post  morganfam7 on 3/16/2012, 3:37 pm

Hello UnderTheBlackWalnut!

I bought the digital version of ANSFG, so I'm getting used to that format while I peruse the new edition. (I don't much like reading it on the computer, so I need to get a Kindle!)

About the compost, I found it through Craigslist. There's a mountain of it at the stables! affraid I have to restrain myself from wanting to bring loads and loads of it home. While I love gardening, composting is my greater love of the two. If I was retired, I could see myself picking up everyone's leaves and grass clippings from the curb and making loads of compost! Very Happy

Here are some pictures of what's going on in my garden today:


My youngest son didn't quite fill up his holes before he planted his lettuce!



And then the oregano that the folks here at SFG forum helped me id:


I apologize if this isn't the right place for these pictures...I haven't quite made it around to all the different boards yet.

Thanks again for the warm welcome!

morganfam7

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  TexasTracy on 3/16/2012, 10:44 pm

Well hello neighbor! Good to see someone very close to me!

Tracy

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  TejasTerry on 3/17/2012, 8:39 am

Welcome TexasTracy from the Hill Country north of San Antonio...

TejasTerry

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/17/2012, 11:22 am

Hey Marcy! Loved the pictures! You can post them in a specific thread if they pertain to a particular topic OR you can do what some members do and keep a running thread of their garden for the season. (Lavender Debs does this with videos and pictures). There is also the option of having a Gallery where you can post your pictures to a type of "album".

I know your original question about mix drying out and watering systems may have gotten lost so I'm bumping the thread so our members in the hotter drier climates might see it. I've refrained from answering because it's not my climate, but my gut feeling is that you should go with what Mel says because I believe he's tested MM in hotter climates. I say that cautioning you that many bagged compost mixes have peat in them so you will want to watch out for that so it doesn't throw your mix off.

I know Shannon1 in HOT HOT Florida uses MM with great success (in fact she just posted some pictures last night that were gorgeous Smile ). Deep South members, do you have any experience to share about the mix and keeping it well watered?

UnderTheBlackWalnut

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: )

Post  morganfam7 on 3/17/2012, 12:42 pm

Hello TejasTerry and TexasTracey! I sure hope we don't have all those 100+ days this year.

Thanks for the help Under!

Happy Gardening!

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  elliephant on 3/17/2012, 11:16 pm

Well, I'm just about as far south as Texas gets. I do have to say that I struggle with the peat moss. It's so hard to get it wet again if it dries out and it's so easy for that to happen. I still use it, but I also double the amount of compost in my mix.

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  walshevak on 3/18/2012, 8:10 am

Ellephant

From your join date, this is your 3rd year.

So folks, she may have worked out some climate issues. I've seen pictures of her successful garden.

Kay

____________________________

A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
Find more about Weather in Elizabeth City, NC
Click for weather forecast

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  morganfam7 on 3/18/2012, 3:46 pm

@elliephant wrote:Well, I'm just about as far south as Texas gets. I do have to say that I struggle with the peat moss. It's so hard to get it wet again if it dries out and it's so easy for that to happen. I still use it, but I also double the amount of compost in my mix.

Ellephant, thank you for replying. It's good to know that I'm on the right track. The horticulturist at North Haven Gardens here in Dallas suggests that we do deeper beds to help with the heat and we add more compost (and no peat moss). I found that info here on the forum in this thread: SFG in 100 degree plus temperatures

But here is the direct link to her reccomendation for the best raised bed soil mix for us here in the metroplex:

http://growlively.typepad.com/growlively/2009/12/question-2-what-is-the-best-raised-bed-soil-mix.html

and then this link says why she doesn't like the peat moss (which you've already seen):

http://growlively.typepad.com/growlively/2010/04/square-foot-gardening-soil-mixdo-i-think-it-works-for-texas.html

I'm not really following her recipe, and I've always done deeper beds just because that was how it worked out. I am limited a lot by $$ so I'll fill my new bed with as much homemade compost and free scrounged compost as I can. Wink

Ellephant, if you have any other tips, I would love to hear them! I should probably go hang out in the lower South forum, too, for some strategies against the heat...like growing tomatoes in partial shade...I wondered about that.

Thanks again! Very Happy

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I just had a thought

Post  morganfam7 on 3/18/2012, 7:46 pm

...this is why when I'm digging in the flower beds that I find the peat pots...they don't break down when they're planted here in the summer - because it's almost impossible to keep things hydrated then...hmmm, I'm making a mental note to stay away from peat pots when I buy plants.

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  elliephant on 3/18/2012, 8:26 pm

I took a look at those links. Too complicated a mix for my taste, lol! I do have to say that I have NOT had to add any fertilizer. Compost has worked just fine for me and my issues with plants have always been (in addition to the watering challenge) disease and bugs, NOT nutrition. And I'm not nearly as um, well, "perfect" Laughing as some around here as far as getting a solid mix of 5 sources. I get most of my compost from our municipal compost facility; I do spring for the "Fine Premium Compost" which has the rotten produce from Wal-Mart and HEB mixed with the brush and yard waste and is screened. Then I add in what ever else I can find, which is usually a couple bags of cow manure and a bag of chicken manure. Like I said, nutrition has not been a challenge for me...except for the occasional lapse when I forget to replenish a square while replanting. Or, right now I have a tomato plant that is turning a bit yellow on the new growth...well, it's been going for over 6 months right now Shocked So, yeah, it makes sense that it's getting a bit hungry. I sprayed with fish emulsion, top dressed with some mixed compost, and watered it in with fish emulsion. I expect it to look better soon.

But I have had HUGE plants growing in about 4 inches of MM do just fine, so I really don't think that, nutritionally speaking, MM is a problem. And that was before I started doubling the amount of compost. I mostly started doing that because it was a cheap way to make enough to really top off my beds and get the full 6 inches once it settles. And I've continued doing it because I feel like I get enough of the friability from the peat moss and vermiculite with these proportions. Early on I did a year with a couple of my beds filled with straight compost and found that I really missed out on the friability that way. But I don't want any more peat moss than I had to because it can be such a pain once it gets dry. Honestly, though, you don't want to let your beds dry out, period, and I think that would be true with or without the peat moss.

Since fall I have had 2 boxes that are 12 inches deep (about 10 inches of MM). Of course the real test of their benefits is just beginning as it warms up. I mostly did it because we moved and my new yard was smaller, so I stacked 4 boxes to make 2 deep ones. I have to admit I am seeing a difference already. I just picked up a drip irrigation kit and I am anxious to see if that will even out the difference between the deep and shallow beds. I suspect it may because I am often rushed in my watering (3 young kiddos).

Regardless of how I water, what my mix is made of, and how deep my beds are, I expect daily watering to be a fact of life for about 5-6 months of the year...when we are having lows above 75 and highs above 95.

As for shade, I've always put my beds where they get some shade. Afternoon shade is best, but I've not been that lucky in my options most of the time. I've not yet used shade cloth; it's definitely on the wish list. I also don't worry about which direction I put my trellis or tall veggies shading short ones. We have plenty of sun to go around sunny

Anyway, lots of ramblings, but I hope it helps some!


Last edited by elliephant on 3/18/2012, 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Hello from Texas

Post  morganfam7 on 3/20/2012, 2:26 am

Yes, I agree about some of the things she said. She says you have to add fertilizer...I just don't like that route at all. I like to feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants....as much as possible. But then again, I haven't been at this for a long time, and I've forgotten a lot, and there's a lot I need to learn. I may have totally different ideas after I have a few growing seasons under my belt.

I'm not adding shale because my daughter loves carrots, so maybe I will get some peat moss to try. I think I might try something like 1/4 peat, 1/4 vermiculite and 1/2 compost. It would be a nice side-by-side comparison with my other bed.

My 4x4 raised bed has a lot of "let it sit and rot" compost (made from leaves and veggie scraps) and then humate from Wal-Mart. It's a few years old, and I also did a few green manure crops in there - peas - I chopped them down and buried them. I also buried my son's hair in there when he went from long hair to a buzz. That bed is doing well and is very friable - not as much as I've seen in the SFGer's videos though. I'm sure my compost has something to do with that.

We got a cool front, and I'm so glad for the lettuce's sake! Very Happy I hope y'all got it too. It's been raining for about 5 hours now, so yay! for that.

Thanks for all the help! Happy Gardening - I wish you nice tomatoes fruiting all summer long! Very Happy


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Re: Hello from Texas

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