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Adventures in Table Top

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/23/2016, 11:21 pm

Took the day off work today...well not sure I can say I took a day off from work because I worked in the yard and on my beds all day. Cut down some small trees and have plans to get someone to come and cut a few big ones that are shading where I want to put more beds.

After cutting up the trees, I moved on to my elevated beds. I added tall legs on my 2 - 2x8's on the ends that didn't have any. (will post new pics later). My plan is to run 8+' of conduit between the tall legs to use as a built in trellis. Last year my tomatoes and peppers were falling all over the place. I tried to use tomato cages, but they did not do to well. I think b/c they could only go down 6".
I also plan to add some netting to keep out the bugs this year. I do not want to pick off kudzu bugs again or lose any more maters to those evil hornworms affraid
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2016, 2:02 am

Ramial wood chips! Can you get the trimmings chipped? Very Happy

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Ramial Wood Chips & Holly Trees

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2016, 8:36 am

sanderson wrote:Ramial wood chips!  Can you get the trimmings chipped? Very Happy
Never heard of that, so I googled it. still not clear...sounds like ground up tree limbs. Is that all it is? If so, I guess I will need to acquire a new tool Very Happy (my wife thanks you)

Half of the trees were Holly trees, can those be used? I read that their leaves should not be used for compost but I think it was because of the time it takes for them to breakdown.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2016, 5:34 pm

I'm sorry. Ramial chips are produced when the branch and leaves are chipped together. Makes a wonderful rich ground cover around ornamentals and trees. It is also used in the Back to Eden method of gardening.

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2016, 7:39 pm

Can it be used in the SFG?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/24/2016, 11:00 pm

To my knowledge, Mel never spoke on the subject.  In my town, at this moment, trucks that are contracted with the power company are going around grinding up things....the offings are free. You just have to call the company and request the delivery to a certain address....Townsend is who is in my town.  I called.  Will keep y'all updated.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2016, 11:02 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:To my knowledge, Mel never spoke on the subject.  In my town, at this moment, trucks that are contracted with the power company are going around grinding up things....the offings are free. You just have to call the company and request the delivery to a certain address....Townsend is who is in my town.  I called.  Will keep y'all updated.
Thanks SR...let us know
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2016, 4:03 am

My take.

I believe if you put ramial chips in the beds it would no longer be SFG. It would be some kind of hybrid. Putting dry wood chips on top of the MM for summer is different, that's just mulch, like dry leaves or chopped straw. Ramial chips are generally made from live branches with green leaves. Stockpiled or spread out thick, they get warm, and nice and moldy. They are great for putting on top of dirt, where it slowly transforms the area for planting. I put them in my flower/shrub/tree beds, keeping them pulled back from the base of the shrubs and trees.

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 10:14 am

sanderson wrote:My take.

I believe if you put ramial chips in the beds it would no longer be SFG.  It would be some kind of hybrid...Ramial chips are generally made from live branches with green leaves.  Stockpiled or spread out thick, they get warm, and nice and moldy.  They are great for putting on top of dirt, where it slowly transforms the area for planting.  I put them in my flower/shrub/tree beds, keeping them pulled back from the base of the shrubs and trees.
Thanks Sanderson,
I am easily confused. So 1 more question on the ramial chips, do they eventually turn into compost that is usable in the SFG or would you add some to your compost pile?

sanderson wrote:Putting dry wood chips on top of the MM for summer is different, that's just mulch, like dry leaves or chopped straw.
What is the purpose of putting the mulch down? Is it just to help retain moisture?
What do you do at the end of the season? Pull if off or mix it in?

Thanks again
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Moss, Clover, Old Roots in my MM

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 10:47 am

I am trying to get ready to plant soon and I need to mix in some of MY compost. But when I was looking at my beds, one of them had moss growing in places. I believe I added some extra peat to this bed to fill it up so it may be holding more moisture than the others. Also, I have clovers or some other green grass like stuff growing in all my beds. So some questions
1. Should I try to pull out the moss or just turn it into the MM?
2. Should I be concerned about the moss?
3. Should I weed the clover/grassy stuff or turn it into the MM so it can add nutrients?
4. What about the roots of the plants I pulled out? Should I try to get them all out or leave them to break down?

Thanks
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Kelejan on 3/25/2016, 1:02 pm

You may notice that leaves seldom come from branch that are over 3 inches in diameter.

Anything over that is non-ramial and will seldom have any green in it so are just plain old wood chips that are good for for covering and retaining moisture and will eventually break down when nutrients in the form of greens, manure, fall leaves etc are added to it and attract the microbial life needed to make good soil.

I believe that the thinner branches, even with no visible leaves, contain the beginnings of the growth to come so add more to the garden.

All the above is from what I have observed but I am sure it needs backing up.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 1:58 pm

thanks I had no idea there would be a difference b/n the big and small branches.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2016, 4:26 pm

RT, Everything breaks down eventually. A layer of ramial chips on the ground will slowly turn into compost, the wood being the last to decompose. It is just left on the ground, feeding plants and providing mulch protection. A pile of ramial will likewise decompose. If you sift out the solids you can get some black gold on the bottom.

1. Pull out the moss
2. I personally think so. ??
3. If it is a weed of any type, pull it out. I have what I would call clover in 3 sq ft. It spreads underground so I have to remove all of the MM and heat treat under clear plastic. If that doesn't work, I will toss the 9 squares and make new MM.
4. Get the roots of weeds out of the mix, especially anything that spreads through the root system.

Mulch slows down surface evaporation and keeps the soil/roots cool in hot weather. I remove mulch (I use chopped straw because wood chips hurt my hands!) for the winter producing beds. I vary between saving straw, tossing on the ramial /wood chip areas and tossing in the green waste can.

Everyone has eventually developed their own way of dealing with common gardening problems. SFG just makes it easier and more efficient dealing with these common problems. At least we don't need the hula hoe or weed wacker!

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 4:42 pm

Thanks Sanderson,
I will pull out the moss. I looked at a few websites and it seems that moss will grow in areas that stay moist and in soil that is highly acidic. I may have to try to get my soil tested. In the meantime, that bed is still a bit low on the MM level so I think I will just add compost for now.

I will try to snap a photo of the growth, both moss and clover and post them later

As for the roots, I was curious about the veggies roots (e.g.-tomato roots, some herbs, etc) I have pulled the plants and pulled a bunch of roots, but as I was digging in the soil, I found some more. Just wondering if I should pull them and drop them on the compost pile or just leave them to break down where they are.

I may try the straw this year to help with the soil temps or if I do some winter crops. As I said in another thread, I am thinking about enclosing my TT's to make a greenhouse of sorts so perhaps I can extend the season.

What do row gardeners use this for?
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2016, 1:47 am

RT,  The smaller hair roots are probably okay to leave.  I do and think I read where someone else does.  I think row gardeners use hoops and something like Agribon.  Does the clover look like this? Embarassed  I failed to keep the weeds out of the area around these 3 little beds and now I am paying for slacking.

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/26/2016, 10:18 am

Thanks, Sanderson.
I was planning on leaving the little roots but thought I'd ask the pros.

Here are some pictures of what I found growing in my beds. Keep in mind, I just left them sit pretty much all winter, and then I pulled a bunch of the growth.

Here is what I am calling clover:


Here is what I am calling Moss:
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/26/2016, 10:22 am

also, here is what the bed looked like before I cleaned it out:
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/26/2016, 12:17 pm

An organic flower farm that I read an article from a while back (didn't save the reference unfortunately) said that they have gone 100% no till and the way they handle situations like this where weeds have overtaken a bed is to cover it with black plastic for 4 weeks.  They said that the weeds are killed by the sun and in their case the worms eat the dead plants and they beds are perfectly prepared to start growing in.

I'm running an experiment right now with this on my back hillside.  It's been a little over 2 weeks and most of the weeds have died-ish.  My weeds aren't a pernicious type like bermuda grass or something similar so if they die they'll simply be gone.  I may leave my plastic down a little longer until our hot days come to sterilize the weed seeds that are still there.  

I wonder if you just covered your beds with black plastic for the winter if you might avoid the issue in the first place?  Does anyone know?  My biggest issue is some compost I applied directly to my boxes that I gathered from a friend.  It had been sitting for 5 years but was cold composted and the weed seeds in it are a constant bane!!!  Fortunately they're easy to pull up but it's made for a lot of work.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2016, 2:08 pm

RT, I don't recognize your weed so maybe you are lucky and merely pulling them will take care of the problem. Mine spread by roots and stolen. Sad

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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/26/2016, 9:13 pm

Thanks Audrey and Sanderson.
I spent the day working on the beds. After closer inspection, I don't believe they were clovers; however, I did find a bunch of acorns sprouting and some worms (big and small)

I pulled all the weeds I could, broke up the packed MM, added my OWN compost, added some worm castings, and mixed it all up. I watered one bed and got distracted and forgot to water the other 2. Fortunately, I only have a sage, oregano and lemon something herbs in the one box.

If I don't do something like a cold frame for the winter, I believe I will cover the boxes with the black plastic.

I also was able to build my tall legs on the 2x8's but it was dark when I was done so no pictures yet. I plan to make some kind of trellis/tomato cage system using conduit because last year my tomato cages kept falling over in the TT's.

Thanks again.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/27/2016, 9:15 am

If I'm not too late to the weed party I'd like to insert something: I saw the video where Ray Browning pulled weeds and turned them upside down around his plants as mulch. The roots stick up in the air so the weed dies. I've tried it and it works great.

CC
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/27/2016, 1:41 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:If I'm not too late to the weed party I'd like to insert something: I saw the video where Ray Browning pulled weeds and turned them upside down around his plants as mulch. The roots stick up in the air so the weed dies. I've tried it and it works great.

CC
We are talking weeds, so you're NEVER too late to chime in.
That is an interesting take he has. And that kind of answers my question from earlier. I know a lot of folks grow a cover crop of grass or something and then turn it in for the nutrients, but I wondered why the grass wouldn't regrow.
For me, I went through and pulled all I could and broke up the MM that had kind of packed down.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  ralitaco on 3/27/2016, 11:52 pm

Here are the pictures of the new legs/trellis frame:








Also, here are the beds all weeded with fresh compost & worm castings added in.







I plan to put a rim on the 2 - 2x8's and make some new grids out of pvc or drip line.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Kelejan on 3/28/2016, 11:44 am

You are making great progress, ralitaca.  I am looking forward to seeing them filled with greenery etc.
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Re: Adventures in Table Top

Post  Windmere on 3/28/2016, 11:53 am

I love what you've done ralitaco.  I wish I could prepare some of those myself.  Keep us posted.
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