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2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

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2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 3/25/2016, 9:06 pm

My Winter Plans
Well, so much for plans.  My list of winter chores was - build 3 new compost bins, 6 new 2 x 6 SFG beds, get started on drip irrigation.  I did get one new compost bin built but then got called out of retirement.  I am now back in retirement and ready to go.  Of course I can't get all those winter chores completed because winter is over.  I did get the one compost bin built (see below) but the new beds will have to wait until next year.  I still need to get some kind of drip irrigation started.

My Compost Bin
I love my new compost bin.  It is built somewhat on the line of Sandersons bin.  I love it.  It is only 3 x 3 x 3.  I hate my old 4 x 4 x 4 decomposing bin.  Never again.  I did use treated lumber so hopefully I won't die from some kind of poisoning.  Here it is filled to the brim with compost I started in Oct but only turned a couple times.  I added some Alfalfa Pellets and coffee grounds to help kick start it.  My live oak leaves just take forever to decompose.
The front -


The front has 1 x 6 panels that slide out when you need to get into the bin to empty it or fill it.  There are tracks on either side to allow me to slide the 1 x 6 's down a track like this.

I think I might need to put some kind of spacers between the front slats to allow some air into the bin.  We shall see.

The back -


Right now those 2 x 4's on top are just sitting there for looks.  I plan on building a top to cover it that will open and close.  There is 1/4 hardware cloth on three sides of the bin to help keep the soil from coming out between the boards.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  trolleydriver on 3/25/2016, 9:57 pm

yolos ... that is one nice lookin' compost bin.

Congrats on re-retiring as well!

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/25/2016, 10:00 pm

Downtown, baby!

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2016, 2:12 am

That is one beautiful compost bin. First Class. You won't regret making it only 3' cubed.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  mschaef on 3/26/2016, 6:02 pm

Wow the compost bin looks great and the compost inside looks really pretty too!!!

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  CitizenKate on 3/26/2016, 6:27 pm

Nice work putting that together!

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Kelejan on 3/26/2016, 7:42 pm

One down, two to go.  You'll get them done in time for next year.  Unless you get grabbed back to work again.

Lovely job.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 3/26/2016, 10:00 pm

Thanks for the compliments on my Bin.  Now on to report on a couple of experiments I started this fall.

Spinach -
I tested 9 varieties of Spinach and planted them in the garden this last fall 9/26/15. I started presprouting in paper towels on 9/13, up-potted to cell packs as they started germinatingon 9/16).   I was trying to see which ones germinated easily and which ones would overwinter with little care. Unfortunately I cannot find my notes on which ones were easier to germinate.  But I did keep notes on which ones were hardier over the winter.

I planted one big batch of spinach in my 4 x 8 with modified MM.  It is not truly MM because it does have some soil as part of the growing medium in this bed.  I planted all the spinach 4 inches between plants and 6 inches between rows.  So that is equivalent to 6 plants per square.  The very short plants in the middle of the bed I just planted purchased transplants from Bonnie to replace some spinach that did not make it over the winter.  The bed looks kind of splotchy because of the plants that did not overwinter.


After I filled the above bed with spinach, I still had some transplants left over so I planted them in an unused row outside the garden.  Today it was real cloudy and as I walked by the row I noticed holes in some spinach leaves.  Turns out there were quite a few slugs eating away.  So I removed the mulch in the aisle and sprinkled some sluggo plus around the plants and in the aisle.  Love the pansies which flowered all winter.


Here are the results. After I started working again in Jan, I did not cover them over the winter nor fertilize them nor water them.  They were on their own for about 2-1/2 months. The percentages are the survival rate of each variety.

Bloomsdale Long Standing - 50% survived.  Medium size, rippled leaves
Matador - 75% survived.  Puny size
Teton Hybrid - 56% survived.  Medium size
Lavewa - 44% survived.  Good size
Bordeauz - 25% survived.  Good size, red stems and viens.  Best Germination
Monstrueux de Viroflay - 50% survived.  Biggest leaves and plants
Razzle Dazzle Hybrid - All died
Baby Leaf Hybrid - All died
Salad Select - 88% survived, but fairly puny

I just remembered.  Some varieties I planted 8 plants and some varieties 16 plants.  The varieties with 16 plants had a better germination rate.  Therefore, the better germinators were - Teton Hybrid, Lavewa, Bordeauz, Monstruex de Viroflay, Baby leaf Hybrid.

So if you want a big plant with fairly large leaves, then I would pick Monstrueux de Viroflay.  The Bordeauz were colorful with their red veins and looked nice in a salad.  The bloomsdale Long Standing had fairly rippled leaves that gave body to a salad.  I can't tell you which tasted better because my taste buds are shot.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/27/2016, 9:24 am

Fantastic report! Thank you, Yolos! I'm constantly on the hunt for the curly leaf spinach that you find in a bag in the grocery store sometimes (Savoy?). My mother wants them and I still haven't been able to find them. Or could it be because I can't grow spinach large enough before the hot weather comes?

Which of those has the curliest leaf? Is it the Bloomsdale long-standing? I've grown that before but once again, maybe not long enough.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 3/27/2016, 10:01 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:Fantastic report! Thank you, Yolos! I'm constantly on the hunt for the curly leaf spinach that you find in a bag in the grocery store sometimes (Savoy?). My mother wants them and I still haven't been able to find them.  Or could it be because I can't grow spinach large enough before the hot weather comes?

Which of those has the curliest leaf?  Is it the Bloomsdale long-standing? I've grown that before but once again, maybe not long enough.

CC
CC - When I started germinating the seeds, I mixed up the two varieties of Bloomsdale so I am not sure which is which.  But they both have Savoy leaves.  One appears to be a larger plant than the other but only slightly.  Here is a picture of both leaves.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Windmere on 3/27/2016, 11:00 am

Yolos, my wife and I just now caught up on your entries.  Wow, what beautiful work you did on your compost bin!  And your report about spinach was so informative.  Thank you so much for sharing!

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/27/2016, 4:30 pm

Very nice all the way around, Yolos!

Question - are you planning on putting a handle (or 2) on the front panel of the bin? I'm just thinking that may make it easier to get in & out...

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 3/27/2016, 4:40 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Very nice all the way around, Yolos!

Question - are you planning on putting a handle (or 2) on the front panel of the bin?  I'm just thinking that may make it easier to get in & out...
I thought about it.  But each panel is only 3/4 inch thick by 5+1/2 inches tall by about 2+1/2 feet wide.  There are about 6 panels in the front all slid on top of each other.  I also thought about drilling holes in the panels that my fingers would fit into to help lift them.  But really, I would lift the top panel off using the top edge to grip.  Then fork out some compost, then take the next panel out.  So I will wait until I have tried that to see how easy it is to remove the panels as I empty the bin.  Don't want to weaken the panels by drilling holes or using screws to add the handles.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 4/1/2016, 10:00 pm

Tomatoes Transplanted - 03/30/16
These were started from seed on 2/14.  So about 6-7 weeks to transplant out.  This is a 2 ft x 32 ft planting area SFG style.  8 of the beds are 2' x 2' x 10 inches high and 5 beds are 1.75' x 1.75' by 5 inches high with 2 walkways in the middle of the row of beds.  There are 8 varieties of tomatoes planted ( New Big Dwarf, Juliet (grape), Brandy Boy, Brandywine (Sudduth's Strain), Big Beef, Gilbertie (paste), and Opalka (paste), Goliath).  I still have the hoops up and can cover them with 6 mil plastic if the temp drops below 50*F at night and I never took down my Christmas lights so that should add some warmth.  Looks like there will be a week of temps below 50*F this coming week and then the night time temps should be okay to leave them uncovered at night.


I am planting the tomatoes in the larger beds and planting veggies that need a little shade in the smaller beds which are located between each of the bigger beds.  This is a picture of a tomato planted on either side of a smaller bed with Kale.


Here is a picture of a variety I am trying for the first time this year - Big Beef.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 4/2/2016, 12:31 am

Nope, that tomato is not a Big Beef, it is a Brandywine.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  ralitaco on 4/2/2016, 1:13 am

Yolos, I just came across your thread (saw it in the "latest topics" list). First, I really like how you are documenting each year of your garden...so much so, that I think I may steal that idea and do it for my garden. My thread "Adventures in Table Top" is getting pretty long and is not only about building the table top beds any more. Be on the look out for "2016 SFG Adventures in Hampstead, NC"

Compost Bin - WOW!!! That is a very nice bin! Why is the 3x3x3 the magic number?
As for handles on the front, putting screws in the panel will not weaken them. You could also cut an arc (about 3/8" x 6") off of the top and bottom of each panel. that would give you some ventilation and you would have a 3/4" gap you could get your fingers in to lift the panel from the bottom.

Spinach and Tomatoes - That's a bunch of each you have planted. I am quite envious. I wanted to try spinach but I am thinking I missed the boat there. I am waiting on the local nursery to put out there tomatoes, but hopefully next season, I will be starting from seed.

Lastly, of course that wasn't a Big Beef...anyone could see that...duh. Razz

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  sanderson on 4/2/2016, 2:39 am

@ralitaco wrote:Lastly, of course that wasn't a Big Beef...anyone could see that...duh. Razz
Razz Actually, Brandywine have an atypical leaf shape for a tomato.

Why 3' x 3' x3'?  That's the minimum volume for getting good temps in a compost pile.  And here you were wondering why some of us seem to like the number.  The max is 4' x 4' x 4', which is what Audrey has been building.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Windmere on 4/2/2016, 8:24 am

Yolos, your tomatoes look wonderful!  What a nice variety of you have.  I really want to know how that Brandwine variety tastes, so keep us posted.

I have been waiting to transplant mine outside.  I checked the weather, and temps at night are going to be in 40's for the next couple of nights.  I don't have a set up that can protect all of my tomatoes, so I'm just going to have to wait some more.


Last edited by Windmere on 4/2/2016, 8:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  ralitaco on 4/2/2016, 11:12 am

@sanderson wrote:Actually, Brandywine have an atypical leaf shape for a tomato.
Showoff Razz

@sanderson wrote:Why 3' x 3' x3'?  That's the minimum volume for getting good temps in a compost pile.  And here you were wondering why some of us seem to like the number.  The max is 4' x 4' x 4', which is what Audrey has been building.
Thanks. With a 3' cube, how long is the composting process - roughly.

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 4/2/2016, 12:22 pm

@ralitaco wrote:
Why 3' x 3' x3'?  That's the minimum volume for getting good temps in a compost pile.  And here you were wondering why some of us seem to like the number.  The max is 4' x 4' x 4', which is what Audrey has been building.
Thanks. With a 3' cube, how long is the composting process - roughly.
Don't think it matters whether it is a 3 foot or 4 foot cube when determining how long it takes to compost it.  It depends on the effort and materials you put in the bin.  My compost takes about 6 months because I use a lot of live oak leaves which take forever to decompose.  Also, I only turn it a few times.  Now Sanderson can get her pile composted in a few weeks using the 18 day method.

The 3 foot cube bin takes less time and effort to fill.  It takes less time and effort to turn.  It is disappointing to keep collecting, shredding and adding material to a 4 foot cube and only see it partially filled up.  It is so much more pleasurable to put the material in a 3 foot cube bin and fill it all the way to the top.  It is faster, less effort, and less material to fill and check that off your "To Do List".

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  sanderson on 4/2/2016, 2:17 pm

The 3 cubic foot bin is 27 cu. ft. of turning. The 4 cu. ft. bin is 64 cu. ft. of turning. Significant difference in volume of material needed and labor in turning. I can handle the smaller one. Very Happy

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  yolos on 4/2/2016, 8:47 pm

I gave my seedlings a shower on Thursday.  They all liked the experience except the paste tomatoes.  Both varieties curled their leaves and branches.  Two even started to fall over.


Tonight I covered my tomato row with 6 mil plastic and turned on the Christmas lights.  Also put concrete blocks in the pathways under the cover.  I could actually see condensation on the inside of the cover.  I hope that means it is warmer inside the tunnel than on the outside.  It will be in the upper 40's tonight so they would have survived without the cover.  But tomorrow night it is supposed to get down to 39*F and later in the week the low is forecast to be 35*F.


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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/2/2016, 10:02 pm

Looks cozy! It is freezing and gale force winds here...hope towels keep mine alive...

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/3/2016, 8:46 am

Looks great!

35? Really? And we're further north than you. NOAA is saying only lower 40's here... Or at least they did the other day!

So how did they do last night?

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

Post  Windmere on 4/3/2016, 9:04 am

Yolos, your set up looks ingenious.  How did your tomatoes fare?

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Re: 2016 SFG in Brooks, Ga

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