Time to start 2014 garden?

melsmith(4)February 19, 2014

Anyone else pushing the limits? Wisconsin's winter has been brutal but I've heard it said that if you don't lose a few plants to frost, you just aren't trying hard enough! I have onions, Roma's, Swiss Chard, and Leeks started so far. The tomatoes are destined for a larger dome for early crops.

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Hi Mel Smith!!!!

I am soooo happy to see your post. I have been reading all of your posts on your blog and tried to comment, but was unsuccessful!

I am getting ready to dig my heat sink in heavy clay soil, on a slight slope, for a small backyard Greenhouse. I don't want mine to flood like your first one did. ( :

The heat sink will be about 4 feet deep, below our water table. I thought we'd put a berm above the GH to direct water around it and also put up gutters that tie into a rain barrel. Do you think that would be enough to avoid too much water in the bottom or should be put in a sump pump?

Also, do you think it is safe to put our bottom layer of ADS tubing right on the clay soil? I am concerned that landscape cloth and gravel under it would attract more water to the area and/or cause the heat sink to be less effective.

THANKS in advance! Next year I hope to be pushing the limits of the growing season with you.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:40AM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

HA! I'm still buried under snow here in SE WI, so no, not starting seeds just yet. (except some basil) However, by mid-month or so, will start a few things in pots. Most of us don't have greenhouses or domes, and my veggie bed is only 4x8', with a high, high fence around it to keep out the deer that savage everything in my yard. Can't wait for the warm-up that is predicted for the weekend.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 3:24PM
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Waterstar-I wish you great success with your system. Here, I think water is something I'll always have to contend with through ground pressure, or condensation from the air... so a sump pump and an acceptance of dealing with water is what I plan for. I want to do another GH this summer in a low-lying area that I know will always be wet. I plan to elevate everything above ground with soil mounds rather than trying to dig down. I'll get the dirt during dry periods (I hope) and leave behind little pond areas that I can draw irrigation water from.

Pondweir - I share the buried-in-winter-snow syndrome. Never-the-less... hoping and thinking! The 15th through the 28 is my estimated 8 weeks before the last frost here in Sauk County, my target date time for starting peppers and tomatoes was even earlier for growing in the domes. It's going to be a struggle for sure! I have a few dozen early plants started in the basement and on sunny days, I cover the trays and walk each one out to the dome for some 'sun' time. They're doing great and I'm getting great exercise walking back and forth...

This post was edited by melsmith on Fri, Mar 7, 14 at 10:03

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:01AM
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THANKS for the info. I think we will make a place for an accessible pump (which will also be a hole where we can evaluate the dryness of the drain area) and then it will be easy to add a pump later if we need to do so. We get heavy lightning storm rains.

I think your idea of soil mounds in great. Now that I've read the book published in the 50's (How to have a green thumb without an aching back; a new method of mulch gardening. Stout, Ruth.), Masanobu Fukuoka's The One-Straw Revolution and of course Lasagna Gardening, I am never going to cultivate again!

Are you able to use a mulch system in your greenhouse or do you just add compost?

For companion planting for my citrus and avocado I am considering a living mulch of micro clover, french marigolds for killing nematodes and comfery to benefit them.

pondwelr, so far I am using a short fence and doggies for the deer, but this is the first year, so I may be sorry. I have a cherry tree that is away from the house (trying to avoid some of those red bird droppings that stain so badly) and I am considering trying garlic at the base as well as putting clover as a attractant elsewhere. But, I think my best bet will be a tall circular fence around the tree with plastic bags on the top of it to provide some rattle. My, won't that look lovely?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 1:05PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

melsmith, Today is 4/4/14, and we have some snow flurries; Will this winter never end?
I used to start plants in my basement, under lights, but at age 71, no longer have the urge. So I buy at the local Farmers Market, and make do with a few pots of some of my favorite tomatoes and a few herbs. My daughter is going to use the fenced garden, but I think she will stick to beans, zukes, and other easy stuff. My basil is up and usable already.
I used to dehydrate a lot of my produce when I had a big garden. Loved the intensity of flavor from Roma tommies, onion, and fruits. Do you can, freeze or dehydrate, or a combo of all three?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:56PM
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Hi All,
melsmith, our usual last day of frost is today. We are expecting FREEZING temps tonight. I'm planning on May 1 to put things out......if then....

pondwelr, how high is your fence? I'm counting on my dogs, but they are in at night. I also considered electric....rumor is they can hear it and stay away. And I'm almost 70 and I refuse to quit gardening. ( :

My greenhouse is not ready yet...so I have seedlings on rolling carts that go in and out of the garage. But, I sure understand buying the plants...so much easier.

Have you seen the raised bed that hex2006 built? It is awesome. You can either raise your veggies there with no problem (or just make easier for the deer to eat them?).


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:09PM
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