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CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/6/2015, 1:42 pm

Interesting hobby!

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Was going to cheat but...

Post  Amethyst42 on 5/6/2015, 2:03 pm

Our last frost date here in Winnipeg is May Two-Four... but I have been known to jump ahead a week or two if the weather looks good. However, just got notice it's going to go down to FIVE CELSIUS on Saturday. Boo! Well, I suppose I'll be alright planting the slow-growing seeds...

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/6/2015, 4:37 pm

Help!

I bought a 10 Kg bag of Acti-Sol chicken manure and found out it is granular (pelletized). The instructions for veggie gardens state 10 Kg per 100 square metres (i.e., 22 pounds per 1076 sq ft). For a 4x4 box it works out to about 141 grams or 5 ounces based on their instructions.

This seems to be potent stuff.  I'm concerned about putting it in my Mel's Mix. 

Has anybody used this type of chicken manure in their Mel's Mix?

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/6/2015, 6:02 pm

Looks like a natural product fertilizer, but not a compost, if it makes sense.  Compost usually has both browns and greens in it and has some bacterial and mold activity to break it down over some time period.  This is one pure ingredient and is one of the hottest, with high nitrogen.

I wouldn't use it in the Mel's Mix.  But, at, say, a teaspoon (have to read the instructions) per square, it could be used as top dressing fertilizer feeding mid-way during the growing cycle if plants seem to fade in greenness.  I think too much and you can get some wonderful green plants but with fewer fruits.  Maybe use it on the trees, bushes and flower beds.

What say others???

PS: Please feel free to take photos of products, of the front and back with ingredients, before you buy them. We can try to help you pick out the best for MM before you buy or open a bag.


Last edited by sanderson on 5/6/2015, 6:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added PS)

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/6/2015, 9:02 pm

Sanderson ... Thanks for the input. I've decided to take the chicken poo fertilizer back to the store. I found a small container of the same stuff in my garage that I can use if I need any.

As of this evening I've got two boxes in place with weed block underneath them. One box is almost full of Mel's Mix. I realize now that I will have to buy more compost material and peat moss for the second box. I've got plenty of vermiculite. I think for the second box I will us one measure of store bought compost, one measure of my composted horse manure (from my neighbour), and the remainder will be material from my own composter. That way i will be able to compare the results from the two boxes ... one with my own compost and the other without.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  Kelejan on 5/6/2015, 9:18 pm

Thank goodness we have sanderson backing up our Canadian thread, she knows much more than I do.

You are doing great TD and congratulations on your progress and having such a wonderful wife.  I bet you are the envy of many a husband.

I like to think that my late DH would have backed me up in anything I decided I wanted to do. Worms and all. Very Happy 

I must look up the hobby of geocaching.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/6/2015, 9:27 pm

Thanks for the encouragement folks ... much appreciated.

For people in my area (Ottawa) I just found out that the City of Ottawa sells compost at its Trail Waste Facility.  The price is $10.75 a car load (under 245 kg).  For pickups or trailer loads its $27 per load. You have to load it yourself. I think I'll get me some of that stuff for my second box.

My wife of 43 years has been great today. She cooked some ribs in the slow cooker for our dinner. Then after dinner she helped me put together the Mel's Mix and get it into the first box. What more can a man ask for.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/7/2015, 10:37 am

This mornings returns and purchases are as follows:


  • returned the Acti-Sol chicken poo fertilizer to the local Rona store
  • went next door to Canadian Tire store and got CIL Plus Compost with Worm Casings, Circle H Farms Composted Sheep Manure, Circle H Farms Composted Cattle Manure, and a large bag of Sphagnum Peat Moss


I'm happy to find worm castings even though they are mixed in with other ingredients in the CIL Plus product.

I will use the CIL and two Circle H products in the compost for box #2. I'll add one bag of composted horse manure from my neighbour and make up the remainder with the equivalent of a couple of bags of compost from my own composter.

Temperatures are heading for 28 Celsius today and 30 Celsius tomorrow here in Ottawa.

If I am boring everyone with my constant updates please let me know and I'll slow down or stop the commentary.  Have a great day y'all.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  Kelejan on 5/7/2015, 1:17 pm

Please don't stop, TrolleyDriver.  You should know by now that we lap up every word that is printed.

We must have hundreds if not thousands of people reading who never, ever, post. I am no getting at you because if everyone posted we would never get anything done.

Have you heard the one about:

"If one person complains in writing, that  is equal to many more emailing  ('cos it's easy) and thousands more muttering under their breath."

I kind of made that up but I have read something similar.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/7/2015, 7:06 pm

Aargh!!!

I thought I had plenty of vermiculite but I ran out before completing the fill on the second box. I need about another inch of Mel's Mix. I guess I ran out because I used 2x8 rather than 2x6 boards so my boxes are deeper.

The options seem to be:


  1. Cheat on the last inch of Mel's Mix and just use peat moss and compost but mix it in with the previous layers to get some vermiculite mixed in with it.  This will dilute my Mel's mix for several inches.
  2. Purchase one or two small bags of vermiculite at Canadian Tire for $6.99 per bag to use on the last inch. I expect the size of the particles will be small or at most medium.
  3. Purchase another big bag of large vermiculite from Ritchie Feed & Seed for $25+. I'll have a lot left over but perhaps that would be a good thing for future projects.


I also have to 


  1. Come up with a method for dividing the squares (e.g., rope, wood).
  2. Make some chicken wire covers to keep out the local critters (e.g., rabbits, squirrels, cats, etc.).


One thing for certain is that I have been getting a real physical work out with all the shopping, lifting, building the boxes, making Mel's Mix and filling the boxes. This 67 year old body is feeling the effects.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  FRED58 on 5/7/2015, 8:25 pm

TD: you should ask the city what the compost is made from. The compost pile at the local dump here is not controlled. I know people put anything and everything in it including dog and cat feces. I'd suggest that you ask if it is OK for vegetable gardens or if it is only suitable for flowers and trees.

Anyway, I've been pretty busy at the old Salt Mine* so I have not posted much. I still plan to spend the weekend building the beds and filling them. (I will shut of the BlackBerry).

My tomatoes are  bit better, but I am worried as to whether they will be ready in three weeks or so to go in the garden. I will spend some time this weekend and pick up some extras.

*Its not an actual Salt Mine of course, Kincardine is famous for two things: Its Bagpipe Bands and its Nuclear Plant. I play the guitar, and look after the cranes at the plant.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/7/2015, 8:57 pm

FRED ... I emailed the city before I posted it here on the website. I asked them specifically if the compost can be used in vegetable gardens. I got an email reply stating that is good for vegetable gardend. However, your point is well taken. BTW I did not use any city compost in my own Mel's Mix. I probably should edit my earlier post. I would not want anyone to get ill.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/7/2015, 9:13 pm

TD, Heck, buy the big bag. Extra vermiculite is the easiest product to have to store. It's already inert, the heat won't bother it, the bags are usually tough enough for a couple years. It also means you'll be temped to build another box! Of course, I vote for wood grids assembled to fold up for storage during the winter. Max size 4' x 4' for easy removal and storage.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/7/2015, 10:55 pm

Thanks for the advice Sanderson.  Much appreciated.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  Kelejan on 5/7/2015, 11:56 pm

Make sure you do not store the vermiculite in the sun as the bag does fall apart.
I know. silly me

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/8/2015, 8:25 am

Further to the concern expressed about City of Ottawa compost. Here is the exact response (name of responder deleted) I received from the city. Now the question is, "Does the person who sent this response really know for certain that it is safe or is this simply the standard response?"  The safest approach is to make your own compost.

Good afternoon,
 
Thank you for contacting the City of Ottawa. As per the Trail Road Landfill, yes the compost is very much safe for a vegetable garden.
 
Yours truly,
 
Client Services/Service à la clientèle                           

3-1-1 or/ou 613-580-2400                                             

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/8/2015, 1:48 pm

Early afternoon update. This morning I bought another 4 cu ft bag of Vermiculite. I also dropped in at Lowes to see if I could find anything suitable and not expensive with which to make a grid. No luck. On the way home my wife suggested that I make my own wood strips by ripping some wood on the table saw. When I went into the shed to get a piece of wood I saw an interesting package standing in the corner. It contained a bunch of metal blind slats each five and half feet long. 

I took six slats, measured them off one foot on each side of centre. Then with a paper punch I made holes where the pieces cross. I found some quarter inch bolts and nuts in my workshop. They fit perfectly through the holes. The bolts and nuts add enough weight to keep the light grid in place in the wind. It's not that windy today so further testing is required.  As well the bolts are long enough to go down a bit into the Mel's Mix. For now I just bent the ends of the slats over the sides of the box. I may need to secure them better in the future

So I now have a grid on box number one.  The grid cost me nothing extra and took less than 30 minutes to build and install.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/8/2015, 1:53 pm


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Grid Materials - Sourcing

Post  msensi on 5/8/2015, 7:48 pm

I do a lot of yard sale searching in the summer. I am always looking for things I can re-purpose.

Today, I had a look at some new venetian blinds I picked up last year. Church sale - end of day - they wanted to clean up and go home, so I took several sets free.

Each set has enough slats to make grids for several boxes and although not as durable as some other materials, will certainly last one season for sure, and you can't beat the price. They will not survive long in cold weather, though. Will become brittle and break up.
 I will use them on the first box and see what happens.

Has anyone had experience buying heirloom seeds in the USA and processing them through customs.

I came across a supply source called The Cook's Garden and they have a wide range of seeds available.

My concern over seeds is relative to the genetic manipulation of food products by people like Monsanto.

Corn was once one of my fave foods until Monsanto got busy increasing yields to jump all over the market place.

I became increasingly sensitive to corn -- not in the sense of illness - but to a negative taste response. Today, about three years later, beef is off my plate because of our feeding programs in feed lots. Chicken is slowly catching up.

Most cereals use corn in one form or another - same problem - and fast food outlets, ha!, they say they don't use corn oil - I say they sure do, or at least my taste buds do.

If you see some guy reading the ingredients labels on every package he picks up and returning most to the shelf - that will be me.

In my case it is a gag reflex. Just like the first time you offered your baby mushed solid food and discovered what bibs were for.

I am slowly moving to veggies, and am cooking with a pressure cooker. Fantastic taste and all goodies in the plants saved and consumed.

I am hoping that heirloom seeds will allow me to produce unaltered groceries more like the kind I grew up with during the WW2 days when most of us actually did grow our own. 

I recently learned that a producer not too far from where I live is marketing water buffalo meat from animals grown on his site. The next time I am in his neck of the woods I will look him up.

As the old saying goes - it is an ill wind that does not blow some good. At least, with the price of beef where it is today, I can save a fair dollar by not including it in my diet. Never was enamoured with pork.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/8/2015, 8:40 pm

I put my photos on Photobucket and then created a post with descriptions for each of the eleven photos and links to the IMGs on Photobucket. I was allowed to create the post but I was not allowed to send it to the forum because new members are not allowed to post links for seven days. SO it was all a waste of time. I ran into this restriction a few days ago in relation to putting in a link on another subject.  I should have remembered. I'll try again in a few days.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/9/2015, 12:50 am

Baker Creek (rareseeds.com) specializes in heirlooms and ships to the US, Canada and Mexico.  Some of the other heirloom seed companies probably also do.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  FRED58 on 5/9/2015, 7:36 am

if the rains hold off I'll be making the rounds of the garden centers looking for tomato seedlings to replace my failed attempt at starting my own (I don't think the spindly thin seedlings I grew will survive. They're going to compost). Sadly I doubt I will be able to find San Marzano tomatoes.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  Kelejan on 5/9/2015, 9:26 pm

Give them a chance Fred. You never know how they will surprise you. 

Today our Farmers' Market started and I was able to buy a variety of lovely starts and will plant them when the snow disappears from the two mountain tops that I can see from my house. Any day now. That is known as phenology. 
Toms: Gold Nuggets - Sweeties - Black Chev? name has rubbed off.
National pickling cukes and patti pan.  Now I have to read up on them.

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  sanderson on 5/10/2015, 12:48 am

Fred, I agree with Kelejan, Give them a little more time to see if they perk up. Last year I lost every single tom I started from seed, plus all the replacement I bought. Only 2 yellow volunteers survived and gave me a handful of toms. One came up in the front color spot and I had to fight to stave off my husband from pulling it out!

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

Post  trolleydriver on 5/13/2015, 8:34 pm

I did some layout planning for my 2 boxes (32 squares) but now I'm wondering if I should be concerned about companion planting.  I did have beans and onions in adjacent squares but I've moved them so there is at least one square between them.  Is companion planting an important consideration for square foot gardening or am I just over-thinking my planning?

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Re: CANADIAN REGION - What are you doing in MAY 2015

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