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Growing my first garden - suggestions...

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 06:52 am
So now that we have land, I decided to try my hand at gardening. I used to help my mom at this when I was a kid.

Any way - I am starting this year pretty small - some tomato plants, a couple of pepper plants, cukes and strawberries and some herbs. I am trying to keep it as organic as possible so as to avoid as many chemicals as possible.

I am currently using coyote urine to keep bunnies and deer away. It seems to work so well that my dog won't go to that side of the yard. This morning though I discovered some of my basil leaves with holes in them and a very guilty looking slug right below the plant. I proceeded to pick up the vile creature and then squashed him flat.

So what are suggestions to keep these other bug-like creatures away? Any other thoughts on things to use to keep my plants healthy and happy so I can have a fruitful harvest? If successful, I will expand this venture next year.

 
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 07:09 am
Copper, or copper tape. Slugs won't cross it. It gives out a small current, apparently.

I have two raised beds, to which I've secured scrap copper piping, about four inches from the ground, all the way round on the outside of the frame.
Granted, it will confine any slugs that are already in, but once you've cleared those, you will have your own little force field keeping the buggers out.
I have lettuce and basil growing, and no slug damage at all. Pigeon damage maybe, but not slug.


Another cheapo tip.....seek out an old venetian blind that is being, or has been thrown away.
Take it home, remove all the gubbins so you're left with just the slats.

Get scissors and cut up slats into custom made, weatherproof plant name tags. As big or as small as you desire, pointy at the "soil" end....round at the other.....and FREE!
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 08:49 am
@Lordyaswas,
https://www.gardenexpress.com.au/images/P/Copper_Snail_Tape.jpg
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:11 am
@Linkat,
Id suggest gardening whatever you wish in 4'X8' raised beds. You can really chock these boxes full to the extent that weeds are crowded out and can easily be pulled by hand. My raised bed garden is now up to 6 of these boxes and its a joy to keep fed and weeded and the soil tilled by sitting on the edges and reaching in by hand. My previous gardens, all required heavier tillage equipment and tilling was required frequently because ll tilling does is to make you feel good about loose soil for a few days >And then the weed seed germinate and the till cycle must begin again.

I have 2 new boxes Im prepping for next year. Ive shoveled composted sheep manure and straw based oil into the boxes and Ive covered em with black plastic to "fester".

I think that a complement of 10 4'X8' raised beds will be all I need for our yearly needs. (I do grow gourds and pumpkins out in a field in two large compost piles that I let the punkins just crawl all over.

Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:14 am
@Linkat,
Diatomaceous earth works well for slugs and snails. I used it when I was living in Sacramento and had a slug invasion in all my plants on the second floor balcony.

Quote:
Diatomaceous earth (DE).
After testing all kinds of slug barriers, Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth about Garden Remedies and professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota, concluded that DE is the most reliable. "DE is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, one-celled algae that have a skeleton made of silicon," Gillman says. "To a slithering slug, this lethal powder is extremely sharp and cuts their undersides, causing dehydration." DE does have to be replenished each time it rains, making it a better choice for climates where it does not rain frequently. (Note: Buy only untreated diatomaceous earth formulated for garden use, and wear a dust mask when applying it. DE made for swimming pools is chemically altered and not suitable for use in any garden, much less an organic one.)


People also recommended a beer trap to me, but I never tried it since I don't drink beer and didn't want to have the smell of it in my garden.

Quote:
Beer trap. This type of trap works because slugs are attracted to the fermented yeast in beer. In a study by Whitney Cranshaw, Ph.D., professor of entomology at Colorado State University, nonalcoholic Kingsbury Malt Beverage was found to attract the most slugs. Michelob and Budweiser placed second and third out of the 12 beverages tested. (We're still waiting for the results from the gardeners' taste test.) "Take a shallow container (such as a sour cream or yogurt cup) and bury it so that it is even with the soil level," explains gardening expert Willi Evans Galloway, who gardens in Seattle. "Then fill the container with beer to within an inch of the rim. The slugs crawl in and drown." For best results, change the beer every few days.


Here's info on the copper tape suggestion:

Quote:
Copper barrier. When a slug crosses a copper barrier, its moist, mucusy body reacts with the copper and it receives an electric shock. Copper barriers can be pushed into the soil to make a vertical fence around a plant or bed, or laid flat. Either way, use 2- to 3-inch strips. Yes, this product can be costly, so save it for your most prized plants or where the slugs are congregating.



Here's a link to my old topic on the problem from 2003:

http://able2know.org/topic/10382-1
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:15 am
@farmerman,
What do you do with all the gourds, farmerman?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:19 am
@Butrflynet,
Most we use for various projects , bird houses and garden planters. They require drying till spring of 2014
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:24 am
@farmerman,
Hmmm, now that's an idea. I'll have to try planting some next year. Do they require as much water as others in the squash family?
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:28 am
@farmerman,
Gourd bird houses!

what a great idea.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:35 am
@farmerman,
Do you have runner beans where you are? Maybe you call them something else?

They're always one of the best value crops I grow. A small bag of beans turned into at least 40lb of gorgeous, tender runner beans last year. We were still using them out of the freezer at Christmas.

These are not mine. (mine were much better! Laughing )
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02203/beansmain_2203170b.jpg
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:37 am
@Linkat,
Linkat, you might also consider planting what is known as companion plants around your garden beds to help repel pests. Marigolds are very good for that, as are some mints and other herbs. Here's a link to one of farmerman's old topics on companion planting. It has a bunch of links in it to additional info about good plants to use for specific problems. http://able2know.org/topic/171881-1


You're doing the right thing as far as starting out small for the first year. A lot of first time gardeners go all out the first year and get discouraged by either some of the unsuccessful crops or the overabundance of food that they don't know what to do with or have time to prep for long term storage.

Peas and beans should be easy for you to grow in your area and your girls will get a kick out of them.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 09:40 am
@farmerman,
I agree.
Last place I lived, I built 4 redwood raised beds, about 18" high and 4 x 8 wide, with 2" x 10" sitting boards on top (for easy weeding).
The good part of raised beds, to me, is that you can hurl whatever amenities you want to in there and be spare with all that, should you choose, in the rest of the yard.

I didn't have slugs but the yard had snails galore, which I enjoyed melting away with a spray squirt of dilute ammonia. (I forget the amount of dilution). They preferred to crawl up the side of the house, giving me snail target practice.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/ossobuco/IMG_zpsaf4d77dc.jpg
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 10:25 am
@Butrflynet,
what fun - it looks like the beer option might be the most cost effective - the smell mixed with the coyote urine should be interesting. At the very least I can drink the left overs.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 10:28 am
@Butrflynet,
thanks I like the idea of companion planting - I know some people were telling me about onions to keep the burrowing type pets away.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 11:37 am
@Linkat,
Crushed eggshells will cut the slugs' stomachs and they will die. Alternatively, in BC, where slugs rule, I bought a product called Meta. Comes in two forms - one for dry weather, and one for wet. Works like a charm. Problem with the beer traps is a) you always have to refill them, and b) when it rains, it's useless.

Good luck!
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 12:01 pm
@Butrflynet,
maybe where you are. Certain "crops" should be allowed to grow naturally with little extra nutrients and water other than what their natural home area presents. Gourds and pumpkins all came originally from Central AMerica, then were transplanted south to the ANdes from which they actually were made to jump to Spain and then to North America. Melons and pumpkins were more likely to have come via the spread of populations of indigenous people trading Nortward from Mexico
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 12:02 pm
@Lordyaswas,

Bottle gourds " have been a favorite alternative martin house for years. We will stick a gourd in a higher branch to attrct orioles and tanagers
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 12:06 pm
@Lordyaswas,
That's one ground row crop we do grow Lordy> WE grow the yellow runner (or" bush bean" as we say in the colonies). These are great steamed in a foil package over the grill. I usually grow arrow for us and a row for seed , I let the beans mature and dry on the stem and we just collect the beans and keep them in a freezer all winter
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 12:09 pm
@ossobuco,
My beds don't have that nice lip on top> Mine are near our north pature and just look nice in a luster. People come up the lane and often get out and go to the raised beds before they come to the house. Its a great ice breaker cause everybody out here either
1gardens like a madman or

2wants to garden
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jul, 2013 12:12 pm
@Mame,
weve tried the mega (diatomaceous earth) and have had not such good luck. Ive lately been thinking that the diatom story was a bit of wives tale.
 

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