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Hi from Grants Pass, OR

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Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 4:20 am

Hello, Everyone!

I'm in Southwest Oregon, Grants Pass, my home being close(ish) to the Rogue River and a $17 trip away from Medford, the nearest place much bigger.  I've been interested in gardening since my teens, but only now that my neighbor let me use some of his raised beds have I been able to pursue it.  Not a lot of space in on the second floor of a city balcony, so I've gone wild and planted ... ummm ... eight beds at his place and 20 pots at mine?  Smile  Partly for the joy of the challenge, looking forward to best case scenarios of fabulous success ... and partly because I figure if I plant a ton of stuff and most of it fails ... at least I'll get ... something?

Happy to join the forum and I've already learned an incredible amount reading it.  I will read Mel's book as soon as I can, but until then am saving up for vermiculite, gathering the neighbor's horse and chicken poop, trying a little composting, and, when I can stop thinking about tomato hornworms and how I am Death to All Cucumber Plants, thinking about how to build the soil in our home situated on almost nothing but tree and scrub-filled land and the decomposed granite beneath it.  Which is apparently wonderful for trees and not much else. 

I'm looking forward to talking to you all and learning a lot more.

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2013, 12:04 pm

Welcome, Marc!

I'm in Bend, probably around four hours from you.

You're definitely on the right track. However, get the book and forget building up your soil.

Be on the lookout for composts, such as mint and blends of two or more materials. There are planting composts out there that will help you get started, although try to avoid any that contain peat moss, which would throw off your Mel's Mix ratios. The best source I've found for coarse vermiculite is U-Line. Shipping costs are a bit high, though.

Happy gardening!

donnainzone5

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  camprn on 7/5/2013, 12:07 pm

Mint compost? I am confused. Shocked  But that's not unusual. Shocked 

____________________________

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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

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camprn

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2013, 12:29 pm

Hey Camp,

Mint compost can be found here and there in Oregon and probably other states. I'd never heard of it either, but when I visited L&S Gardens in La Pine a year ago, it was for sale. It's rich and black. From what little I've heard, Mint is grown in the Willamette Valley.

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  gwennifer on 7/5/2013, 1:48 pm

Hi Marc and glad you\'re here  to the forum!  Donna is right - get the book and forget about needing to improve your existing soil!  


What a wonderful neighbor and they had 8 beds to spare?!?  Lucky you!  You are so right to be working on your compost pile.  It is the backbone of this gardening method and will pay off in dividends.  Good for you!

Oh, and tell us what happens to your cucumber plants?  I'm trying them this year for the second time.  Last year they got taken out by slugs and cutworms just as fast as I could sprout them.  Once I figured that out, then they were the victims of a nitrogen deficiency and didn't grow.  This year I have excellent homemade compost, raised tabletop beds that the slugs haven't found yet, and they are protected from the cutworms with toothpicks.  They are just taking off and I'm waiting for the first flowers.  Can't wait!

Join us in the PNW Region (from the home page scroll way down to find the Regional Forums).  We'd love to hear updates and see pictures of your progress.  Questions always welcome.  Happy gardening!

gwennifer

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  camprn on 7/5/2013, 1:48 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Hey Camp,

Mint compost can be found here and there in Oregon and probably other states.  I'd never heard of it either, but when I visited L&S Gardens in La Pine a year ago, it was for sale.  It's rich and black.  From what little I've heard, Mint is grown in the Willamette Valley.  
Huh. Well that's cool! Minty fresh!What a Face

____________________________

41 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

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




camprn

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  cheyannarach on 7/5/2013, 2:52 pm

Welcome to the forum, glad you joined us!! I bet you will have more successes than you think! My first year I was amazed at the difference between sfging and traditional gardening! I will never go back!

cheyannarach

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 2:54 pm

Be on the lookout for composts, such as mint and blends of two or more materials.  There are planting composts out there that will help you get started, although try to avoid any that contain peat moss, which would throw off your Mel's Mix ratios.  The best source I've found for coarse vermiculite is U-Line.  Shipping costs are a bit high, though.

Happy gardening!  
Hi donnainezone10!

Hmm, mint compost is new to me!  Mint grows wild very easily in Oregon, so I guess this is a perfect place to grow it.  I have two peppermint plants and an apple mint that overwintered in a pot from last year, and wish I had many more.  Love the stuff.  Never seen the compost.

I try to avoid peat in my composts, but it can be tough.  They love to put either wood or peat in the composts I've gotten.

I was speaking to an agricultural scientist I met at the local farmers market last year, and he told me to be very skeptical about top soil and potting soil mixes both.  He said the top soil is often very poor, and that the potting soil often has too much peat, which leads it to expand and contract too often when watered, unsettling the plant and leading to micro-tears in the tiny roots and root hairs that hinder the expansion of the root system.  I guess we've all seen the pot whose soil is an inch higher after you've watered it.

So I'm definitely trying to keep peat under control.

So far I haven't found vermiculite anywhere, and I've been to a lot of places.  Thanks for the recommendation!

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 2:57 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:Welcome to the forum, glad you joined us!!  I bet you will have more successes than you think!  My first year I was amazed at the difference between sfging and traditional gardening!  I will never go back!
I know one thing -- I am really enjoying not weeding!

I only have use of my neighbors beds, so cannot choose the soil.  What he's got is what he's got.  I just amended it with some compost and use compost tea. 

I would like to put some worms in it sometime, though!

And I'm building a self-watering 5-gallon bucket to transplant a tomato into.  That soil, I'll be able to play with!

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  cheyannarach on 7/5/2013, 3:05 pm

I feel your pain! I hate weeding!

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 3:11 pm

@gwennifer wrote:Hi Marc and glad you\'re here  to the forum! 

What a wonderful neighbor and they had 8 beds to spare?!?  Lucky you!  You are so right to be working on your compost pile.  It is the backbone of this gardening method and will pay off in dividends.  Good for you!

Oh, and tell us what happens to your cucumber plants?  I'm trying them this year for the second time.  Last year they got taken out by slugs and cutworms just as fast as I could sprout them.  Once I figured that out, then they were the victims of a nitrogen deficiency and didn't grow.  This year I have excellent homemade compost, raised tabletop beds that the slugs haven't found yet, and they are protected from the cutworms with toothpicks.  They are just taking off and I'm waiting for the first flowers.  Can't wait!

Join us in the PNW Region (from the home page scroll way down to find the Regional Forums).  We'd love to hear updates and see pictures of your progress.  Questions always welcome.  Happy gardening!
Hi and thanks for the welcome!

You ain't kiddin' about my getting lucky with the 8 garden beds!  Our neighbor used to fill them all, but he's almost 90 now and not physically up to working more than half about 7 beds himself.  He let a friend use however many leftover beds he wanted to, and I got the rest if I wanted to plant them.  And I did!  It's pretty cool so far, but breaking up and sifting through the beds was back-breaking work for sure.  They're, I guess something like 10 x 2 feet.

Re cucumbers, I planted some last year in a pot and they got yellow and died, and I bought maybe 16 lemon cucumbers this year and have managed to kill off all but four of them.  Of course, those are supposed to be not only incredibly easy to grow in general, but to grow here.  *sigh*  All but one of the survivors are flowering, but not very big, and the flowers drop off.  Honestly I think the crazy weather here lately (super cold, then super hot, then cold and really cloudy but with no rain, and then super hot again) put most of my plants in a holding pattern at best.

I have cucumber beetles at my house (but not at my friend's garden, where all those beds are) who eat their way around and probably spread some disease.  The leaves spot yellow, then it spreads, and eventually they turn brown and shrivel.  Unfortunately that seems to describe what happens with half the diseases, viruses, soils, and watering schedules and amounts out there, so I haven't been able to narrow down yet what it might be. 

And I'm probably also the only person in southern Oregon who never succeeds with zucchini.  Tiny holes all over the leaves (flea beetles?), various other problems.  Of course in the next bed over, my neighbor's zucchini's are so big they're coming out of the bed into the path.  Arrgg!

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/5/2013, 3:35 pm

glad you\'re here 

I had the problems with cucs and zuccs last year, too...my first SFG year. My zuccs were taken down by powdery mildew and my cucs just wouldn't form up or grow up. It was weird. This year I seem to be off to a good start with both so I have my fingers crossed. I've already been hit with PM so I have been spritzing with baking soda & water. And the squash vine borers have paid a visit so I had to cover with tulle.

Let's keep in keepin on, Marc...we CAN do this! hyper 

CC

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 3:43 pm

Good luck to you, CapeCoddess!  It ain't over till it's over, as they say.  I'm crossing my fingers I won't kill these last ones off.

 And guess what?  My neighbor said she has half a dozen extra cucumber seedlings to give me! Very Happy

Baking soda eh?  I heard of that somewhere, but despite all the reading I'm always doing, I haven't gotten around to seeing what that's about yet.

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2013, 4:09 pm

Marc,

In ANSFG, Mel warns about top soil and potting soil, so your source was correct.

I use Gardner & Bloom Harvest Supreme as one of my composts; it contains no peat moss, although it does have small shreds of wood or bark in it. Nevertheless, my Mel's Mix seems to excel at growing plants!

There is also a Rogue River Valley compost, OMRI certified, that's comprised of plant material only. I found some of it at a local hydroponics store. Is there a llama farm in your vicinity? I'm able to get small amounts here for free. And one usually can find mushroom compost, although read the ingredient list carefully. It often contains peat moss, top soil, or other no-no's.

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2013, 4:17 pm

Thanks! I'll keep the Gardner & Bloome recommendation in mind.

I know I've seen llamas here and there on the way to Williams (south east) or on the way north.  Quite a ways though.  Maybe I'll google it.

I have to go easy on the spending for a while, so will not be able to buy everything I'd like to this year.  But it's good to round up my sources so I can put more and more pieces in place over time.

Marc Iverson

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Re: Hi from Grants Pass, OR

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