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Farmer's Market Freebies

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Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  nosmok on 7/1/2013, 6:32 pm

Just scored several boxes of purple hull and lima bean shells from my local market.  They were happy to give the shucked shells away.  i Intend to use in my composter, but the gent told me that some gardeners put the shells directl into their garden.  Does anyone else on this forum do this?


Last edited by camprn on 7/1/2013, 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : enhanced title)
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  camprn on 7/1/2013, 6:58 pm

I don't do active composting in my SFG because I like to keep the mix loose. It can be done, but it's best if you are using the SFG method to put them in the compost heap.

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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  sanderson on 7/1/2013, 11:44 pm

I'm slightly hijacking this thread because of the title.  I've been working on building up a compost cage and all I needed was produce to finally build it.  Went to the Clovis Farmers' Market Friday evening with a nice plastic grocery tote and several plastic garbage bags.  I was trying to blend in by leaving the 5 gallon bucket in the car!

I scored big!  Two Hmong stands gave me two large bags worth of trimmings, bruisers, splitters, sun burned and dropped (on the city street), and other less than perfects.  Peaches and nectarines included with carrot tops, tomatoes, green peppers, string beans. cilantro, etc.  There were two interesting types of tomatoes and a long bell pepper and I saved seeds from them to play with.  It took 2 hours to chop up all that produce in the kitchen but it's worth it to me to have all of my compost ingredients screened or chopped.  Rather slurpy and fermenty the following morning but I just spread and poured over my other ready ingredients.  Started mixing ingredients and placing in cage before 6 AM and had heat exhaustion by 9 AM.  What a heat wave we are having.

I mentioned they were Hmongs because they were the only ones who were willing to give me their spoils.  My thanks to them.  The Fresno area hosts over 40,000 Hmongs and a few Miens.  They have introduced new vegetables to our plates.  One owner said he would save them for me next Friday but I told him that this was all I needed in my tiny back yard compost.  At the other stand, a daughter looked at all my cell phone photos and asked lots of questions.
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  sanderson on 7/2/2013, 2:21 pm

New compost cage is 130 F degrees 6 inches down. Only have a meat thermometer. I'm excited.
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  camprn on 7/2/2013, 2:31 pm

Nosmok, I have made lasagna beds with stuff that would have normally gone in the compost pile. Another reason I don't like to put uncomposted material into the garden is I would like to avoid infecting the garden with diseases.

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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  grownsunshine on 7/2/2013, 3:18 pm

Sanderson - I can hear your excitement. I'm excited for you. I heard the Hmong people are really gentle and nice. I believe they were helping the US during the Vietnam war, which is partly why they moved to the US and established a farming community in Fresno. Don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure that's true. France has a long history in East Asia and I'm sure has an influence on their food, even though Vietnamese food is fresh and not too saucy.

I just found this http://www.jefflindsay.com/hmong.shtml


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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  nosmok on 7/2/2013, 9:38 pm

Not only were my local farmers happy to give me their trimmings and shuckings, I also scored a slightly bruised cantalope that was delicious and a huge eggplant with one bad blemish.  Does this make me Farmer's market dumpster diver?
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  camprn on 7/2/2013, 9:52 pm

@nosmok wrote:Not only were my local farmers happy to give me their trimmings and shuckings, I also scored a slightly bruised cantalope that was delicious and a huge eggplant with one bad blemish.  Does this make me Farmer's market dumpster diver?
LOL, frugal isn't a bad thing, neither is being an opportunist. Unless you actually want into the dumpster, sadly you are no dumpster diver.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  Goosegirl on 7/2/2013, 10:20 pm

@nosmok wrote: i Intend to use in my composter, but the gent told me that some gardeners put the shells directl into their garden.  Does anyone else on this forum do this?

I tried it after last season, but my winters are too hard for it to work for me.  When the ground freezes solid several feet down, from December to April, lots of active composting time is lost! Shocked   I think if I still lived in Nor Cal it would work, but not here in NE SD.  I just tried one box as an experiment and that box is nitrogen-deficient due to not fully composting what I put in, even tho' the pieces were tiny.  Had to buy some fertilizer (organic, thank you Azure Standard!) for the first time since I have been gardening here - over 12 years. 

GG
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/12/2013, 1:17 pm

The idea behind burying the shucked bean shells probably originates from beans "fixing" nitrogen into the soil.

Working from links I found after doing a search for innoculating beans here on the forum, I read that most of the nitrogen that beans can provide is from plowing the entire plant back in. The roots, crowns, stems, shells, and leaves of beans don't collectively have any more nitrogen in them than, say, corn (the example given -- and corn gives more per inch because it's a bigger plant with more leftover stuff). Where the nitrogen is deposited is in the beans themselves -- the actual seed part, which all that nitrogen makes protein rich. When we eat the beans, we take the excess nitrogen out.

So it appears that the shells, then, don't have so much nitrogen that it is worth burying them in the garden. If anything, their decomposition should temporarily suck up nitrogen from the soil, depleting your growing plants.

Which makes the shells fit for the compost heap rather than the garden.

If one were to grow a legume as a cover crop, say red clover, and then turn it into the soil (which we don't do in SFG), then the soil would be enriched because it's getting all the nitrogen stored up in the whole plant. It's done before fruiting so, again, the nitrogen doesn't all just go into the seeds -- giving you a field full of clover seeds you have to worry about, but no significant nitrogen increase.
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  sanderson on 7/12/2013, 1:52 pm

Wikipedia, of all places, has a good article on nitrogen fixing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_fixation

Certain plants help convert unusable nitrogen into usable nitrogen.  Very important in field and row crops.  Not so important in SFG because we add plant compost to the mix.  Also, isn't there a caution about NOT growing certain plants in a square that just had legumes?  Something about waiting a couple of rotations?  But, that's another topic.
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Re: Farmer's Market Freebies

Post  grownsunshine on 7/12/2013, 3:01 pm

Whew, gotta go back to my high school chemistry book for that one study  Hummm??? Just bought a bunch of peanuts from the swap meet. I wonder if the usable nitrogen was roasted out of them...I'm sure they'll be fine in the compost pile anyway.

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