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From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

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From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  MackerelSky on 5/18/2015, 5:25 pm

Hi All,

Hope the '15 version of SFG is treating you well.

First post to say Hi and a bit about what my lady and myself do with our version of Mel's vision.

We moved to this God Forsaken valley(that we love) in December of 1989 in the NW Mountains of Pennsylvania and quickly learned over the next couple of years that we had a very short growing season. We came from Louisianna after all the kids were grown and out of the house as both of us wanted to get back to a location with 4 seasons. Pam's originally from Mass. and I from Oregon. Down South we were accustomed to having tomatos and such by May, where here we can still have 3 foot frost depth into mid April.

So we have settled here, I still operate my HandyMan business and my lady is retired. Well, retired from working off the property for a living anyways. We have 2.5 acres of land with a stream running at the back of the property year around, except when it's frozen over from the first of the year thru February and most of March. But ML puts on the snow shoes and takes walks with the dogs to places she has a hard time getting to other wise.

We puchased our first edition SFG book in '83 I believe and we still have it, clear shipping tape holding it together and sure signs of being left out in a rain storm or the baking sun. My lady suprised me last year with the "ANSFG" and things are pretty much the same in the second edition. I enjoy looking at both.

We chose a location for our main garden in the spring of 1990 and learned that we had an abundance of clay and rock. We removed a garden fork depth from a 4'x4' sq. and a 2'x8' rectangle, built a couple of boxes and went to the woods to 'steal' some topsoil along with some leaf and mushroom compost that we purchased. We didn't invest in MM because we decided to see what we were up against and not have the first year with too big of an investment. We learned of new bugs and critters that first year and 25 years later it's still hit and miss to get crops from planting to harvest for any number of reasons.

I've been cruising the forum for the last couple of years and just signed up a couple of weeks back. Lot's of enthusiasm here and the folks seem to keep a tight ship. I think gardeners are a layed back bunch to begin with. Anyways, I hope to contribute and even at my age still learn and make some new friends along the way.

I've noticed that many folks have a 'widget' from Weather Underground in their signatures. I have a PWS(Personal Weather Station) and I send my data to WU along with other places. I also have up my own non commercial weather website that I have a banner to, McKeanWeather.com. It's named for the County in Pa. that we live in and shows the temps and stuff from my back yard. If the mods feel I shouldn't have it linked I will change it over to a widget from Weather Underground.

All the Best
Brad

MackerelSky

Male Posts : 73
Join date : 2015-04-25
Age : 62
Location : Smethport, Pa. Zone-5a

View user profile http://www.McKeanWeather.com

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  sanderson on 5/19/2015, 3:01 am

Brad, Welcome to the Forum from California. Glad you have officially joined us. It sounds like you have a nice place there. Do you have a green house to extend the growing season? I had to chuckle when you said the new ANSFG was "pretty much the same" as the old method. In the new method, no dirt is used, only 6" of Mel's Mix (1/3 fluffed peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 5-way compost. Do you have your own compost pile? Please share your gardening experiences. And we LOVE photos.

I don't see a problem with your weather widget, unless the experienced Chief of Staff(s) know something I don't (which is a lot!)

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  MackerelSky on 5/19/2015, 10:23 am

@sanderson wrote:Brad,  Welcome to the Forum from California.  Glad you have officially joined us.  It sounds like you have a nice place there.  Do you have a green house to extend the growing season?  I had to chuckle when you said the new ANSFG was "pretty much the same" as the old method.  In the new method, no dirt is used, only 6" of Mel's Mix (1/3 fluffed peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 5-way compost.  Do you have your own compost pile?  Please share your gardening experiences.  And we LOVE photos.

I don't see a problem with your weather widget, unless the experienced Chief of Staff(s) know something I don't (which is a lot!)

Lol, glad you got a chuckle...

We tried a greenhouse way back when, but shoveling snow to get to it was a little rough and then for it to truly do any good it would have to be heated. The way we are situated in the valley, it's usually after 9am before the sun hits the property late fall thru early spring and sets as early as 3pm. Just wasn't worth it in our minds so it came down to put up a 28' x 40' garage a couple of years later.

Agree on the difference between SFG and ANSFG that nothing is grown in regular 'soil' in the second edition. I guess my comparison was to spacing, trellising etc. But his soil building techniques in SFG is what we have gardened with all these years. Actually, we only this spring have used 100% MM in a new area the lady wanted developed and I knew the rocks/clay were bad there so it was time for her to break out the checkbook instead of my backside.

Compost Bin, You Betcha! Wouldn't be without one. In 1990, we built the following '3 Bin' that we saw in Mother and it's still standing/working today. These next two images ought to give you a real chuckle...



I took a bin that I started three weeks ago and turned it into another bin this past Sunday, the 17th. The bin is now 3' x 3' and around 30" deep. This will be turned into another bin the first week of June and should be ready for use on our fall planting. Nothing else will be added to this batch and a new bin will be started sometime this week.



Looking at the forecast, there's a decent chance of frost this coming weekend as this current front comes through, but everyone, whether they live in a valley like we do or the 'hill toppers' 6 or 700' in elevation higher than we are will be planting the summer crops the next couple of weeks. All of our squares are ready but we are holding off until the first of next week to put in the transplants...

Haven't heard from the Chief of Staff(s)

All the Best

Brad

MackerelSky

Male Posts : 73
Join date : 2015-04-25
Age : 62
Location : Smethport, Pa. Zone-5a

View user profile http://www.McKeanWeather.com

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/19/2015, 2:28 pm

Hi Brad.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA! 

I, too, am glad you've decided to speak up.  I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from your progress...!

AtlantaMarie

Certified SFG Instructor

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Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 53
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  MackerelSky on 5/19/2015, 3:16 pm

Thanks Marie, Seems like a nice place to stop by on a daily basis. I hope to contribute and to learn.

Thanks again,  Smile

Brad

MackerelSky

Male Posts : 73
Join date : 2015-04-25
Age : 62
Location : Smethport, Pa. Zone-5a

View user profile http://www.McKeanWeather.com

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  jimmy cee on 5/20/2015, 9:22 am

Hello Brad and a hearty welcome.
Many Many years ago I worked up in your general area, Renovo/Driftwood , Dents Run to be exact.
That was quite an experience, one I'll never forget or regret.
A 2 to 3 mile road carved out of the side on a mountain, curved and up hill all the way, no passing at all.
Trucks needed to back up to the closest indent in order to pass.
There were trucks that went over (driver jump out) It's my understanding they were never reclaimed.
At the top of the mountain laid a gorgeous area filled with all kinds of wildlife, had to check the dozers and shovels for rattlesnakes for the previous days running. ( they loved the warmth of machinery)
Deer, bears, turkeys, all kinds of hawks were  constant companions, as we stripped the mountain top bare to access the clay deposits 100- 150 feet below..
I often wonder now, if that area has ever been reclaimed and the steep drop offs eliminated.
A precious area of our country that not many have ever seen.

Just checked that area with Google Earth and noticed the only recovery appears to be done was and is by nature.

jimmy cee

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Location : Indiana PA....zone 5

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

Post  MackerelSky on 5/21/2015, 2:43 am

Thanks Jimmey Cee for the welcome.

Have made a few trips past the area you describe from St. Mary's to Emporium, not highly populated and very pretty.

You mentioned rattle snakes. As neither one of us are found of them, we asked about them when we first moved in. 'Yep, snakes around every rock, lot's of them'. But a few of the old timers we talked to, once they new where we lived, said you won't have a one. The water in your valley runs North and for some reason rattlers don't care for that of all things. hmmm

Whether it's a wives tale or not in 25 years we haven't seen one.

Good luck with your Garden, your posts are always interesting to read.

Brad

MackerelSky

Male Posts : 73
Join date : 2015-04-25
Age : 62
Location : Smethport, Pa. Zone-5a

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Re: From the NW Mountains of Pa. -- Howdy

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