Author Topic: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010  (Read 22193 times)

Offline ladieu

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Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« on: June 03, 2010, 08:37:33 PM »
I moved to my property North of Pittsburgh in 2005 because I wanted a bit of land to have a bit of solitude.  I had no notion of food production in my life.  Well I accidentally hit the jackpot because the guy who owned the house before me had a full fledged homestead going on.  A 40+ fruit and nut trees.  Now after listening to TSP I am finally starting to harvest this stuff and also this year I started my own plantings. I am going to share those with you guys below.


The orchard. Bartlet pears, and unidentified apples (as of yet, i hope to identify them come harvest)

I also have one mature peach tree



Winter pruning (sorry for the blurry pic)... still working on chipping/burning/chain-sawing... I attack a small pile every few days. I need to get out there because I need more mulch for the garden.



Strawberries



Gooseberries



New Peach tree


One of 6 kiwi vines I am growing over an old car port. A mix of male and female



More strawberries in one of those hanging deals


Some self watering planters and some normal planters
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 09:13:15 PM by bartsdad »

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 08:38:31 PM »
SFG1 - some things just sprouting, others were bought as started plants. I got a late start on annual veggies due to working hard on my orchard


SFG2


1 of 4 grapevines started along my fenceline (sorry for the finger)


Cherry bush (1 of 3)


Sun Flowers, sweet potato vines, sage


Raspberries (1 of 2) and some cardboard I set down to kill weeds


The main area for my SFGs, etc


Mint and pole beans in the other one to grow up the planter stand


If you don't own a decent corner clamp it is a nice addition to your tools and makes super quick work of making raised beds


Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 08:39:04 PM »
Raw materials


Applewood mulch


Helping me plant my blueberries


Every hot pepper I could think of and tomatoes.. gave a ton of seedlings away to friends and family.



« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 08:42:30 PM by ladieu »

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 08:42:56 PM »
My bootleg grow light with these huge 6500k CFLs i found on amazon.com. Some naysayers (nobody from TSP) told me this wouldn't work. I told him 1000 pot heads on youtube should know how to use grow lights. These worked great!





I saw this on youtube. My pepper's survived many a cold night under cut in half 2 liter bottles


Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 04:59:39 AM »
Great setup.   Send a thank you note to the previous owner for saving you 10 years or more on establishing the fruit trees. ;)

Funny I ended up using a large high output CFL after reading the closet dopers' raves about them in my searches.  It worked very well although the fixture is now 20 ft up the side of my house.

Offline Blu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2010, 12:19:45 AM »
Great work , makes me want to plant more

I told him 1000 pot heads on youtube should know how to use grow lights.
:D ;D :D ;D

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2010, 06:17:56 AM »
Great looking spread.  Garden is looking good.  And you were really lucky with your previous owner doing all that.  Saved many years of work and waiting on your part.  The only edible plants that my previous owner had in the landscape was a single blueberry bush, several wild black walnut trees and wild raspberries.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 10:25:46 AM »
Be aware that fresh wood chip mulch will deplete nitrogen from the ground and sometimes result in disappointing growth of the plants being mulched....

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2010, 01:07:49 PM »
Cohutt, that is interesting to know. How long do you need to leave it sit out until it is not considered new?


Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 04:18:04 AM »
The decomposition process is what pulls nitrogen so I'd assume the answer is until it is decomposed or composted.   It is fine where you want to suppress weeds between rows or in general areas not immediately around your plants.  I have it in the back between beds but used straw to mulch in the beds where needed.


Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 07:46:37 AM »
Be aware that fresh wood chip mulch will deplete nitrogen from the ground and sometimes result in disappointing growth of the plants being mulched....

That is a myth, well sort of.  If you bury wood chips they can temporally "take up" nitrogen during the decomposition process.  Even this effect is quite temporary (say 14-18 days) at which time the original nitrogen and additional nitrogen are released back into the soil.    Yet nothing is ever depleated because it isn't gone and it is released.  In fact it is always there it simply stops being bio available during a portion of the decomip process.

On the surface they do no harm, my beds are under 2-4 inches of Cyprus at all times and well you guys have seen them.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 04:34:04 AM »
That is a myth, well sort of.  If you bury wood chips they can temporally "take up" nitrogen during the decomposition process.  Even this effect is quite temporary (say 14-18 days) at which time the original nitrogen and additional nitrogen are released back into the soil.    Yet nothing is ever depleated because it isn't gone and it is released.  In fact it is always there it simply stops being bio available during a portion of the decomip process.

On the surface they do no harm, my beds are under 2-4 inches of Cyprus at all times and well you guys have seen them.

After listening to a years worth of Mike Mcgrath's "you bet your garden" podcast I guess my warning is a conditioned response....    I can't say I've seen much else about it and but posted it anyway.   

The idea that it is a temporary process that stops kind of makes sense though and is consistent with what I have observed of the chips from the trees I had removed in my yard last fall. 

About being released back into the soil- some of the more technical composting materials I've read say that the nitrogen is released into the air (vs the ground) from the process so I'll remain skeptical about that part for now. 

I'd consider cypress mulch a special case since it is extremely slow to break down vs other wood (like apple).  The process of breaking down is supposedly what draws the nitrogen so in theory cypress would be an exception if there is anything to McGraths claims. 

Dammmit now I have to read and educate myself some more.

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 07:01:34 AM »
You might not be right Cohutt but I still don't think you are wrong either. 

Here's a post I made on wood chip mulch.  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=16256.0

There is an article linked in there about the "myths".  Unfortunately the author only addresses the myths that can be easily debunked.

Wood chips are in most cases better than nothing.  People have this obsession with no weeds in the garden.  I mean there are no weeds in nature right?  Even in a forest with a heavy leaf litter I can find you some weeds.  The leaves do a good job of supressing but mostly they keep weed seeds from hitting the soil.  I've got hills with heavy leaf cover but come spring they look like the Amazon there are so many weeds. 

As wood chips (or any mulch) on the surface breaks down they actually release nitrogen at the surface where nitrogen normally isn't.  It also gives seeds a foot hold where they would normally bounce off of the slightly hardened surface.  This makes a great growing environment for weeds.  So in effect you mulch, weeds come, you mulch some more, weeds come some more. 

Wood mulch also creates a more porous surface than most other mulches, therefore you have to lay down more to get more protection.

Most fungal activity is good but be aware that wood mulch holds moisture in the mulch itself longer causing more fungal, mold and potential for disease.  The fact that it also holds water instead of shedding it is also not a great thing. 

I have and will continue to use wood mulch in certain places and when nothing else is available.  It seems to be great for covering wide swaths.  However it is not the best mulch by any means from what I have read and experienced in person. 

I mean seriously, every myth is probably rooted in some fact however distorted but do you hear anything bad about yard waste compost? 

J

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2010, 08:20:47 AM »
Keep in mind that in permaculture rough and chipped wood mulches are used extensively. 

Here is a good "middle ground" argument, sitting some where between all the opposing views

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1979-07-01/Work-Wonders-With-Woodwastes.aspx

My view is if wood chips harm your soil you must have marginal soil with few amendments.

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 08:38:59 AM »
Keep in mind that in permaculture rough and chipped wood mulches are used extensively. 

With so much ground to cover in permaculture its the logical choice both logistically and cost-wise.

J

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2010, 09:25:55 AM »
Wow - how far you've come from that first post  - 40+ apple trees and what do I do with them - Awesome job! Keep up the good work! Blessings TBM

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2010, 10:55:39 AM »
i use the mulch because I make it for free. Actually my main vegetable garden has no mulch currently, but had planned to add some. I do use a liquid organic fertilizer, so hopefully that offsets any potential harm. I want it there in august not to suppress weeds but to enhance moisture retention.

also @twoblues... thanks... it is overwhelming to take on so many projects at once. There are so many tasks left undone for the orchard that I feel that this years crop won't be what i want it to be.  Right now I am focusing my spare time on chipping and building my cider press/masher in time for the harvest. I am making 2 currently since I promised my uncle I would build him one too.

Here is where I am at with the grinder... It is the "whiz bang cider press" design (google it)



-Nick

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2010, 11:03:58 AM »
Be careful what you wish for!

This is what happens when you encourage new growth through careful pruning, but DON'T take the time to thin your fruits.

The new growth exploded with a massive fruit-set. I was very pleased and had planned to go thin the tiny fruits.  I'll get to it tomorrow... tomorrow comes and goes and comes and goes...

Too heavy, this poor little tree is devastated.  Hopefully it makes a come back. Sorry for the twilight cell phone pic... didn't feel like hiking to the house to get the good camera.


Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2010, 05:03:51 PM »
ladieu,

Sorry to divert your garden thread into woodchipmulchdebateland.

It looks like you are making great progress; when it gets overwhelming I always take a pause and ask myself "ok, what can I do right now" and do it. the other tasks seem to line up after that,

Jack and KYdoomer,
thanks for the input and links; this is the cool part about this forum and how i learn.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2010, 08:00:08 PM »
cohutt, that is great advice. Often I just play xbox 360 when i get overwhelmed.. ha ha.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2010, 06:28:44 AM »











Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2010, 11:16:30 AM »
OMG LOOK AT ALL THAT WOOD CHIP MULCH!!

(;))




Seriously-
It looks like you are going to put up a bird netting hoop house.  ?  
Again this year I'm fighting the birds one bush or group of bushes at a time; next year I think I'll give in and make a frame structure over a cluster of beds.   The bastige mocking birds even ate part of a pimento pepper. Go figure: I hope he got gas....  

What kind of round squash(?) are those?

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2010, 02:00:14 PM »
the netting was to keep out the dogs originally, however they don't seem to be too interested in the garden after an initial trampling which took out only a few seedlings.

the conduit is for extending the season via hoop house, but obviously in July I don't need it yet

The birds in my yard are very well fed and don't seem to care about my little garden. Between the farm next door and all of the fruit/nut trees  my neighbors and I have they haven't pecked at my garden (knock on wood).

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2010, 02:01:50 PM »
those are acorn squash i think. I made the mistake of planting tons of stuff and not labeling it. Next year I will hope to be better organized.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2010, 12:55:50 PM »
Made some fresh pesto from 3 varieties of basil I am growing... Yummy. Made a fresh slaw from cabbage and jalapenos... this garden stuff is fun :D

The wife is making zucchini bread from these 2 monsters she plucked today. I need to check the plants more often, when i looked a few days ago these 1 pound zucchinis were tiny little things



I learned a lot this year, like squash takes up a lot more room than the square foot gardening book claims. The huge leaves shadowed the squares in front of it and stunted the growth of some arugula I planted there.  

Going to get some fall stuff in the ground today. I am always behind schedule on this stuff!

Apple harvest is looking AWESOME! So I need to get my cider press project wrapped up. Going to work on that tonight.

Offline Roswell

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 02:13:13 PM »
Awesome looking garden!  You found a sweet piece of land too.  They did a good job getting it ready for you.


I had some really good acorn squash not too long ago.  Pretty simple too. Cut squash in half, put butter and vanilla extract in the center, bake and enjoy. not sure of temp and times.

Hate to revamp an old spat, but I too listen to Mark McGrath and remembered he also said that mulch of any sort while it chokes out the grass it also gives pests such as slugs a place to thrive unseen.  Also, as KYDoomer mentioned there is the fungal issue.  My father in law just retired from the US forestry service and he said they had a major problem with all these landscapers piling woodchips right on the trunks of trees. He said it allows pests to attack the tree without being seen and created a huge fungus problem in many places. He said I could leave it, but to make sure there is an inch or more clearance around the circumference of the tree between the mulch and the trunk. This way you can choke weeds, fungus can't get to the tree and you can see if any pests are creeping towards the trunk.

Edit: forgot to add McGrath suggests that compost is the best mulch and I agree. You can usually get it free from your county.

Double edit: I should also add that I don't know anything about the nitrogen properties of wood chips and will have to look to my gardening mentors Jack and Cohutt for answers about that
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 07:04:42 PM by Roswell »

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2010, 07:52:24 AM »
thanks for the comments... it's worth noting that the mulch is around my garden and not on it.  It might be beginners luck but so far my veggies seem unmolested by pests or disease. My main problems at the moment are lack of knowledge and poor planning. 

I have a bunch of peppers growing and I don't know how to tell when they are ready to pick, also my squash is basically taking over one of my gardens and the arugula and herbs i planted can't get any sun.... also I didn't know that peas needed to be trellised and they have grown hogwild all over the garden and wrapped themselves around everything... not sure that is a problem, but sort of amusing... it is a tangled mess!

Also I planted tomatoes in self watering 5 gallon buckets, I have been very diligent with keeping them watered, and I am certain they have good solar exposure, however the production isn't as good as I had hoped from them. My biggest plant only has like 6 tomatoes on it.  I used miracle grow potting soil in the bucket mixed with manure.  I have been feeding with miracle grow about once a week. Not sure what the problem is. Next year I will probably put these into raised beds and forgo the containers for my peppers and tomatoes.

On the upside my watermelons in a large pot with the same soil are growing beautifully and I have about 10 watermelons between 2 plants.


My wife's gords went absolutely nuts and I am sure we will have 20+ gords. 

With square foot gardening I learned you can just randomly plant in the various squares, more attention is needed to the arrangement of the plants beyond putting corn and pole beans in the back.

In other news, I almost finshed my apple mashers... working on finishing them this weekend and getting started on the press. I need to get these done soon, the apples are looking GOOD!


One is for me and the other I am building for my uncle



-Nick

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2010, 08:31:39 AM »
As for the acorn squash. That sounds similar to the preparation i have used. This should help with cooking times

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Acorn-Squash/Detail.aspx


I'll try the vanilla extract version tonight I have a bunch of these I picked yesterday. Not sure if they were ready or not but my husky seemed to think that the squash plant was a comfortable place to lay down and he broke them off... lol... they know not to mess with the main garden, but I planted extra stuff along my fence too

To use up zucchini i am partial to making "pasta" out of it.  Just slice it up with a potato peeler and saute it with garlic and olive oil.   Then make up some fresh pesto from the garden, can't beat it!!  My wife beats chicken breast flat with a meat tenderizer and slathers them with fresh pesto and wraps them up. Pin them with toothpicks and bake them. 

Not my picture, but it will look like this:



This weeks experiments:  My first foray into pickling. I want to pickle some beets and some cucumbers that have been stacking up. I have a bunch of jalapenos so I figure these could be incorporated somehow to make hot pickles (which I love)

Offline cohutt

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2010, 05:33:54 PM »
Great update +1

What kind of gourds did your wife plant?  My birdhouse / bottle gourds are taking over this part of the county right now.

Offline ladieu

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Re: Nick LaDieu's first garden and homesteading projects 2010
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2010, 09:20:27 PM »
i want to say they are "bottle neck" gords. I remember they were from burpee, she got them at lowes and they said "great for crafts" on them.

Making a bird house seems like a cool idea.. Possibly they are these

http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/gourds/gourd-orn-large-bottle-prod000720.html?cid=PPC

guys, make some fresh french fries (I bake mine) then serve with artichoke and slather all in pesto... MONEY IN THE BANK


Pesto from my garden start to finish

2 cups basil packed down pretty good (don't jam as hard as you can but a few firm pats)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh grated parm or romano
salt/pep to taste (i leave these out and apply when I use it)

combine / blend / enjoy

batch #1 - 3/4 cup sweet basil. 1 1/4 cup thai basil









batch #2 - 1 3/4 cup sweet basil   + 1/4 cup purple basil  - freeze into an ice cube tray and thaw as needed for long term storage.








« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 09:22:29 PM by ladieu »