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Adventures in Table Top

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/5/2015, 7:49 am

I agree.  Everything looks really nice AND sturdy, Ralitaco.  You could do small pumpkins or watermelons in the boxes on the side & allow the vines to trellis over the fencing.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 7/20/2015, 7:33 pm

Wow! It's been a very busy June and July with my work and not much relief in sight. I have been working on projects at Camp Lejeune Naval Base in NC; Randolph AFB in TX and Portsmouth Naval Base in VA. I am getting ready to travel to San Diego for training next week and may be going back to Texas for another project.

While my work and travel have kept me away from my family at home, my friends on this forum and my new Elevated Beds, in some ways it has been a blessing in disguise.
As a result of my absence, my wife has really gotten involved and invested in the garden. Not that she wasn't involved before, but since she was its sole care taker for weeks on end it appears she has developed a "bond" with the garden. Before I left, she kept calling it "your" garden; now she calls it "OUR" garden. What joy it gives me to hear that. What an amazing difference dropping 1 little letter can make.

Ok, so now for some updates and pictures. I wish all of the updates were good news, but as fate would have it, some are learning experiences (although, I am still trying to figure out what I learned Very Happy )

Here is the bounty my wife harvested around June 23:
As you can see we have zucchini. The 3 plants did really well, but the fire ants sure liked them too. They bore a hole in the main stem and that turned to mush but we still have 1 plant left and it has another zucchini growing. I am guessing that will be the last of them though.
As for the peppers, they are all from the 1 plant that survived. I had one that just died after transplanting and 2 others that I planted amongst the cherry tomato plants and lettuce. As a result, those 2 didn't get enough sun nor air and never grew - 1 died and the other didn't do anything after being moved to another square. Having said that though, the one plant is producing nicely. I think the peppers should be bigger but we keep picking them...they are too good to resist.

Here is what she harvested around July 2:
Amazing what a few days did for our cherry tomatoes. Our cherry tomato plants have grown to about 5-6' tall...add the 3.5' high bed and that equals needing a ladder to harvest now. I think 4 cherry tomato plants is great for our family. We have had plenty for salads and snacking...we have been eating them like candy.

Here is a Basil plant my oldest daughter started from seeds:
She was amazed that it got so big from "seeds from Target". Now if only I can learn how to dry those leaves.

Here is the one lone cucumber that actually grew:
Unfortunately, it was extremely bitter. On top of that, so far it is still the only one that got to harvestable size. All the others just shrivelled on the vine. There are however several that have appeared on the end of the vines. I am hoping they will grow; otherwise, I think it's time to pull the plants which struggled from the get go.

My younger daughter's pride and joy - Watermelons:


I have to say that Mel is right...there is nothing like seeing those melons growing vertically. Again we had a bunch of melons pop out but only a few survived. Of those that survived, 1 should have been in a sling because it fell. Fortunately it landed on the bed and only cracked - while it was small it was yummy. A second was harvested too soon by yours truly when I was trying to prune back the plethora of vines. Apparently the one I snipped had branched off into 2 vines. We will see how the other 2 melons do and if they have any more join them.

While I was out of town, my wife added some mums to OUR garden flower :

She also planted some herbs too.

She even planted a yellow pepper plant:
I am thinking it may have been too late to plant it because it isn't doing much, but time will tell.

I don't have pictures but my pole beans but they didn't do much. The one bean in the top picture was the highlight. They were inundated with Kudzu bugs but some neem took care of them but they just never produced. I planted some Snap peas but they didn't do much either. They have only grown about 12-18" high. Neither took off and covered the pergola as I had hoped.

It has been a mixed bag of results. Some of the plants have done very well but others not so much. I am thinking that I need to improve my compost that I am using but for now I am having to buy it commercially so I will probably need to supplement with ????

That's all for now...
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  yolos on 7/20/2015, 8:18 pm

Love the look of that watermelon trellis and the watermelons.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 7/21/2015, 3:19 am

@ralitaco wrote:While my work and travel have kept me away from my family at home, my friends on this forum and my new Elevated Beds, in some ways it has been a blessing in disguise.

As a result of my absence, my wife has really gotten involved and invested in the garden. Not that she wasn't involved before, but since she was its sole care taker for weeks on end it appears she has developed a "bond" with the garden. Before I left, she kept calling it "your" garden; now she calls it "OUR" garden.

Here is a Basil plant my oldest daughter started from seeds: . . . She was amazed that it got so big from "seeds from Target". Now if only I can learn how to dry those leaves.

My younger daughter's pride and joy - Watermelons:

While I was out of town, my wife added some mums to OUR garden. She also planted some herbs too. She even planted a yellow pepper plant:
Sounds like the garden is now a family affair! You may have to build some more boxes for everyone! Very Happy

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/21/2015, 3:19 pm

@ralitaco wrote:
I don't have pictures but my pole beans but they didn't do much. The one bean in the top picture was the highlight. They were inundated with Kudzu bugs but some neem took care of them but they just never produced. I planted some Snap peas but they didn't do much either. They have only grown about 12-18" high. Neither took off and covered the pergola as I had hoped.

Beans can be funny that way, to judge by the last couple years with me. Wild variance between huge success and total failure. They can break or get sunburnt so easily, and sometimes production is spotty. Hope you have better luck next time you try them.

And your other stuff sure looks good. Many different veggies and lots of 'em!
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  AtlantaMarie on 7/22/2015, 7:25 am

Ralitaco, it all looks GREAT!  Congratulations!

On the basil, Yolos has been doing some experimentation.  You might look at her notes under Brooks, GA garden 2015 (or something similar)
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 1/19/2016, 9:00 pm

A Belated Happy New Year SFG friends!!!

Apparently it's been 6 months since I last posted...WOW! where did the time go?!?!?
I look forward to catching up on the forum and seeing what everyone has been up to. 

So what prompted me to get back on...well...a week or so ago, I decided it was time to clean up my raised beds and that got me thinking about SFG and the forum and planning for the spring, so here I am.

Here are some pictures of what my Elevated beds looked like after several months of neglect...







Now I don't know why but I didn't take any pictures of the beds after I cleaned them up...something to look forward to...
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 1/19/2016, 10:50 pm

Hi there! Welcome back happy hi

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/21/2016, 1:47 pm

You're back. That's what counts!
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POST Winter Cleanup

Post  ralitaco on 2/17/2016, 6:43 pm

Hello SFG forum friends!

I finally am getting around to posting my POST cleanup pictures, just in case y'all didn't believe that I actually cleaned out my beds Very Happy





Getting out there and cleaning up the beds, got me thinking about what I need to do next.
Construction wise: I plan to repaint the beds, add the top trim along the long beds and add the tall, vertical legs on the long beds. I am thinking that will give me some options to build plant supports, hang fabric, etc. Also I need to clean up the exteriors and repaint them. I am also thinking about cutting the legs down on one of the long beds because they are on a slight hill and since I had already built them I had to dig down in the soil a bit to level them up. I am concerned that even though I used treated wood for the legs, they are going to rot quicker than if I had them out of the soil.

Mel's Mix-wise: I need to add a bunch of compost to boost the level in one of the beds and to add nutrients to them all.

So what else am I missing regarding pre-planting preparations?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/18/2016, 7:32 am

Like a blank canvas waiting for a masterpiece!
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/20/2016, 5:26 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Like a blank canvas waiting for a masterpiece!
I was hoping it would be more like a paint by numbers
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/20/2016, 5:32 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Like a blank canvas waiting for a masterpiece!

Yup! Well done!
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 5:34 pm

@ralitaco wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Like a blank canvas waiting for a masterpiece!
I was hoping it would be more like a paint by numbers

Lol, good one!
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Adventures in Composting

Post  ralitaco on 3/20/2016, 6:41 pm

I know I am late to the party here, but I finally tried my hand at some composting. Here is a little about my experience. 
(Ok...you know that this won't be short because I tend to ramble, but I do have pictures  Very Happy)
 
At the end of the season, I pulled up my plants, and combined them with some leaves from the yard and periodically added the miscellaneous veggie items and a few egg shells from the kitchen. That lasted about 2 months and then it got pretty cold and I got distracted. Every so often I would go out to work in the yard and I would turn the pile. 

For informational purposes: I have a work table out by my shed that I built for various uses...one of them is as a chop saw table where I have a section that I can pull out and set the saw down into it so the saw table is flush with the wood table. If I pull out the bottom of that recess for the saw, that leaves me a rail on each side and an open bottom. 

Fast forward to this past week (about 4-5 months since I started my pile).
I had seen on U-tube several automatic compost sifters, shakers, sieves, etc. and thought that I could build one and use that section of my work table for its home. I repurposed the wheels from a dead push mower I had in my yard (I plan to repurpose the handle as a trellis) and I used some scrap 2x4's to build a frame. I purchased some 1/4" hardware cloth and stapled it to the bottom. 


I then planned to connect a reciprocating saw to the box I built, slide my wheelbarrow under the table, add the organic matter from the pile to the screener, turn on the saw and let it roll the tray back and forth causing the compost to fall into the wheelbarrow below...well that was the plan and it sure sounded good, but then reality reared its ugly head like a weed in one of my perfectly spaced squares!
1. the wheelbarrow didn't fit under the table
2. Connecting the saw to the blade that was screwed into the box was unexpectedly challenging, mainly because the release lever was on the bottom of the saw which was now strapped down to some wood blocks which were screwed to the table
2. the reciprocating saw "rattled" the box instead of rolling it with a grand total range of motion of about 1".
4. I did not have a plan for removing the big pieces left in the box, which was now attached to the saw, which was attached to the table which was a pain in the  Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven to detach.

After I calmed down and disassembled my saw from the box and table, I decided to see if the sifter would even work. So I opted for a more low-tech method. I attached a tarp under the table and decided to just use muscle power to roll the box back and forth. 
I added a couple of shovels full of stuff from my pile to the sifter,


I grabbed hold of the sifter and rolled it forward and backward over and over. I could see a change in the material in the tray.


I was left with a bunch of leaves in the sifter which I carried to my other compost pile and dumped on top.


And much to my surprise, there was a small pile of what I am calling and am hoping is compost and not just dirt that the pile picked up when I turned it!


I then shovelled my compost pile into my wheelbarrow, (Of course Murphy was visiting, and when I went to lift it up and one of the handles broke off.  Mad ) Fortunately and again much to my surprise the material was very light so I was able to roll it with one handle and my hand on the wheelbarrow itself. 
Anyway, I continued this process until the pile was depleted: 1-2 shovels full of organic matter from the pile into the sifter, roll the sifter back and forth by hand, watch as the compost piled up on the tarp, and dump the non-broken down leaves on top of my other pile.

This ended up netting me enough compost (at least that is what I think I have) to almost fill up a 30 gallon trash can AND lots and lots of worms too.






So before, I go and add this to my beds, I have some questions. (remember I have never made my own compost before)
1. Is this actually compost?
2. Should I be concerned about the little bits of leaves and twigs or will they continue to break down in the SFG beds?
3. How can I tell if I used too many browns or if this even will have any good nutritional value for my plants?
4. The ingredients in my pile were Leaves, some egg shells, broccoli stalks, celery ends, etc. If this is indeed compost, how many of the 5 components of blended compost will this count as?
5. Should I add any manure to the sifted compost or to my new pile?

Thanks in advance for your input and also thanks for taking the time to read my post.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 7:29 pm

OK just WOW! Yay for you! The Borg would be proud!

1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Don't worry about it.
4. Don't worry about it.
5. No.

You are the proud and clueless papa of compost, my dear Watson! None of us truly understands the beauty that creates this black gold from stuff we would normally throw in the trash, but , Compost happens! It is a complex, beautiful, amazing series of things that if you want to knwo WAYYYY more about it, get the book (from your library to start with ). "Teaming With Microbes" (Lowenthals). Or start with Rodale's basic tutelage on compost.

Or honestly, just keep doing what you're doing, because you made COMPOST! cheers
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  jimmy cee on 3/20/2016, 10:01 pm

To me that looks like some nice compost, tiny stuff, I'd not worry about. If it smells good, you have a winner.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  yolos on 3/20/2016, 11:07 pm

@ralitaco wrote:
5. Should I add any manure to the sifted compost or to my new pile?
This has always been my problem/question.  My compost is made just about like yours.  Leaves, grass, coffee grounds, egg shells, garden refuse, kitchen waste.  No manure just because I don't have any.  I worry about it being the right ingredients for growing.  So, I add some things to my finished compost.  I use 50% my compost then add 50% of other bagged compost.  Always Black Kow cow manure, Earthworm Castings, Mushroom compost and anything else I happen to run across.  So far, I never have enough of my own compost so adding other purchased bagged compost just seems to work for me.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/21/2016, 4:44 am

Ralitaco, It was fun to read your post. rofl Looks like nice compost, maybe also some worm castings??
1. Yes!!
2. No
3. It will be nutritious.
4. Good question. two? Maybe 3 with worm castings?
5. I'm hung up on manure! I would blend in some composted manure. Just me. Depending on the brand, you may want to sift out extra wood, bottle caps, rocks, etc.

Dstack in Florida made something like yours with wheels. He set it in some kind of frame and rocked it back and forth. After spending time today sifting City compost of wood chips, I really could use something like yours.

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  has55 on 3/21/2016, 5:23 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:OK just WOW!  Yay for you!  The Borg would be proud!  

1.  Yes.
2.  No.
3.  Don't worry about it.
4. Don't worry about it.
5. No.

You are the proud and clueless papa of compost, my dear Watson!  None of us truly understands the beauty that creates this black gold from stuff we would normally throw in the trash, but , Compost happens!  It is a complex, beautiful, amazing series of things that if you want to knwo WAYYYY more about it, get the book (from your library to start with ). "Teaming With Microbes" (Lowenthals).   Or start with Rodale's basic tutelage on compost.

Or honestly, just keep doing what you're doing, because you made COMPOST! cheers

+1 you did it. great stuff.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/21/2016, 8:04 am

5. Yeah, I don't currently have manure in my compost piles, and I never have, but I am going to get a couple buckets of cow poo this year for my new pile. I too, like yolos, don't really have enough to take care of my beds. I am expanding my new pile and am using my leaves, usual kitchen offings, and am going to jump start it with some cow poo courtesy of a farmer friend. So, should you? You can ( and did) do without it, but it is certainly fine to use it as well, I think!
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  jimmy cee on 3/21/2016, 8:11 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote: 5.  Yeah, I don't currently have manure in my compost piles, and I never have, but I am going to get a couple buckets of cow poo this year for my new pile.  I too, like yolos, don't really have enough to take care of my beds.  I am expanding my new pile and am using my leaves, usual kitchen offings, and am going to jump start it with some cow poo courtesy of a farmer friend.  So, should you?  You can ( and did) do without it, but it is certainly fine to use it as well, I think!

That cow manure is really good stuff, my piles heated up right after adding it last year.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/21/2016, 8:56 am

That's AWESOME, Ralitaco! Congratulations!

I really like your trailer setup for sifting....
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/21/2016, 4:41 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:That's AWESOME, Ralitaco!  Congratulations!

I really like your trailer setup for sifting....

Thank you, but the only thing mobile is the tray, but I am thinking about making one I can roll around the yard or pull behind the mower...I mean, after all, what else am I going to do with those 2 riding mower tires?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/21/2016, 8:36 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote: 5.  Yeah, I don't currently have manure in my compost piles, and I never have, but I am going to get a couple buckets of cow poo this year for my new pile.  I too, like yolos, don't really have enough to take care of my beds.  I am expanding my new pile and am using my leaves, usual kitchen offings, and am going to jump start it with some cow poo courtesy of a farmer friend.  So, should you?  You can ( and did) do without it, but it is certainly fine to use it as well, I think!

That cow manure is really good stuff, my piles heated up right after adding it last year.

Good to know, Jimmy, because I use a traditional Rodale style pile, not a hot method. Looking forward to cooking some browns a little better! Wink
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