Backyard Gardening

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:40 am

It's been a month since my last post & we've had plenty of rain. Everything is growing well. The garlic & sage seem to be doing fairly well at keeping moths & snails at bay, but it's not 100%.
Lately I've been doing some reading on growing heritage variety vegetables. Personally I've never bothered, except with one exception, my tomatoes are a type known as grose lisse. The reason I persist with this variety is simply because they do so well in my local area.
What I wanted to find out was, what's the fuss about heritage varieties or is it just flavour of the month.
I know quite a few people that do a similar thing with their chickens but I've always found that hybrids are a lot hardier, handle confinement better ( when for some reason they all have to be cooped, or a single bird isolated) & lay bigger eggs & more of them.
So if any one here is into heritage varieties of either vegetables, fruit trees or poultry would you please tell me why you choose to garden that way.
Good-luck with whatever you're doing in your yard. I imagine the northern hemisphere members are starting to get busy at the moment.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:35 pm

Hi, Shaun,
Two of the reasons for growing heritage varieties have nothing to do with productivity as such.
(1) To maintain diversity within the gene pool in case the new varieties all fail for some reason - all susceptible to heat stress or a new fungal pest, for instance. It's a real worry with bananas, for instance, since 99% of all the commercial bananas in the world are not just the same variety but clones of the same original plant, i.e. genetically identical.
(2) To keep the plant-patenters at bay. We don't want to end up at the mercy of one or two monstrous agribusinesses just because all non-patented varieties have been allowed to die out.

I don't set out to grow heritage varieties myself but I do like to acquire new plants by swapping with friends and neighbours, so the result is actually much the same. It even becomes another reason to do it - that is, to build a sense of community and encourage others to grow more of their own food.

:namaste:
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:53 pm

Thanks Kim, that makes sense.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:57 pm

Yes, good job, Kim.
I saw a TV film about this matter. There are some profecional organic farmers who cultivate old sorts of vegetable and fruits. They built an association, do research on varieties wich are resistant against deseases and swap seeds with the other members. But they are not allowed to sell the seed, because it is not according to EU-standards... But these standards make not much sence in the biological point of view... :crazy:

shaunc wrote: I imagine the northern hemisphere members are starting to get busy at the moment.

Yes, it is high season for my little gardening buisiness right now. I'm exhausted and feel stiff and acing. :smile: It's springtime!
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Osho » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:02 pm

Apologies if this has been posted previously
Garden Organic ( formerly Henry Doubleday Research Association) at Ryton facilitates heritage veg seed swaps and seed guardians.
UK gardeners only.
http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/heritage
More about Mindfulness here
http://bemindful.co.uk/

" A Zen master's life is one continuous mistake."
(Dogen).
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:18 pm

I have a small area in which to grow, so I've been attempting to have as much fun with it as I can, and make it as productive as possible too. So, I've been building mushroom patches underneath my vegetable and flower beds, or beside them. Fungi are among my favorite foods anyway; getting flushes of gourmet mushrooms is a side benefit though because the fungi have a way of feeding the vegetables at the root and keeping soil moisture constant.

Two summers ago, on a different site where the soil was this hopeless red clay and quartz stone, I fed the neighborhood fresh watermelon all through August and September. I ate so much watermelon my fingers turned into prunes every day! (this was in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA)

Here in Alexandria (Virginia, USA) the soil is different--mostly sand, some silt, endless flecks of plastic and styrofoam, and a few long-spent pistol cartridges (9mm usually). Once you get the junk out, some wood chips down, plenty of compost and organic matter &c, the fungi seem happy and maybe this year we'll fill everyone full of kale, tomatoes, beets, &c. And maybe some stropharia mushrooms too from the garden patch. I innoculated some logs with lion's mane mushroom spawn back in August; those may be ready to feed us this spring or maybe in the fall as well. You never know: gardening is gambling, and this is part of the fun.

Happy growing everyone.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:26 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Shaun,
Two of the reasons for growing heritage varieties have nothing to do with productivity as such.
(1) To maintain diversity within the gene pool in case the new varieties all fail for some reason - all susceptible to heat stress or a new fungal pest, for instance. It's a real worry with bananas, for instance, since 99% of all the commercial bananas in the world are not just the same variety but clones of the same original plant, i.e. genetically identical.
(2) To keep the plant-patenters at bay. We don't want to end up at the mercy of one or two monstrous agribusinesses just because all non-patented varieties have been allowed to die out.

I don't set out to grow heritage varieties myself but I do like to acquire new plants by swapping with friends and neighbours, so the result is actually much the same. It even becomes another reason to do it - that is, to build a sense of community and encourage others to grow more of their own food.

:good:

I'm also a seed saver. I've been selecting peppers, melons, winter squash, fennel, and some others (nicotiana flowers) for certain characteristics for about fifteen years. I think that if a grower is consistent, careful, and somewhat lucky, he or she can develop stronger and more site-appropriate strains of many different food crops within a few generations. For myself, some of this is a bit silly. I prefer Thai chili peppers that are larger in size and only grow vertically, not horizontally. I find them more appealing visually, and I like to imagine they are less vulnerable to mold with this growing habit.

If any DW members might like to exchange seeds, that's entirely appropriate and this thread may be a good place to do it, if the laws of your country & locality allow it.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:10 pm

I think in Europe (EU) they just hinder the selling, but not the exchange on non-profit base. It is just a matter of moneymaking without any concern about the nature...

But this sounds worrisome for me:
Jikan wrote:Here in Alexandria (Virginia, USA) the soil is different--mostly sand, some silt, endless flecks of plastic and styrofoam, and a few long-spent pistol cartridges (9mm usually). Once you get the junk out, some wood chips down, plenty of compost and organic matter &c, the fungi seem happy and maybe this year we'll fill everyone full of kale, tomatoes, beets, &c.


Have you checked the soil for poisons? Cartridges (printers ink) can contain heavy metals, which are poisonous for the liver in longterm...
I recommend the climbing plant Fallopia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_baldschuanica ).
It is said that it collects the poisonous substances into it's leaves. After two years the soil is clean, but then the plant is concentrated toxic waste for the special dump.
Sorry for these bad news.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:23 pm

Ayu wrote:I think in Europe (EU) they just hinder the selling, but not the exchange on non-profit base. It is just a matter of moneymaking without any concern about the nature...

But this sounds worrisome for me:
Jikan wrote:Here in Alexandria (Virginia, USA) the soil is different--mostly sand, some silt, endless flecks of plastic and styrofoam, and a few long-spent pistol cartridges (9mm usually). Once you get the junk out, some wood chips down, plenty of compost and organic matter &c, the fungi seem happy and maybe this year we'll fill everyone full of kale, tomatoes, beets, &c.


Have you checked the soil for poisons? Cartridges (printers ink) can contain heavy metals, which are poisonous for the liver in longterm...
I recommend the climbing plant Fallopia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_baldschuanica ).
It is said that it collects the poisonous substances into it's leaves. After two years the soil is clean, but then the plant is concentrated toxic waste for the special dump.
Sorry for these bad news.


You're right to be concerned. This is a serious problem for gardeners & urban homesteaders everywhere, and not only because of printer ink, and not only in North America. I have reason to be confident that the soil I am working now is as safe as any. This is not so in our last garden; I had to abandon one part of it after I figured out someone had dumped motor oil from a car or motorcycle on one area some years ago.

Interestingly, there are some places in the US that are fairly young geologically, and seem to be more radioactive than normal. Colorado is one. Some fertilizers from Utah are said to contain significant amounts of radioactive isotopes. And some fertilizers that are used on tobacco plants do as well, which become concentrated in the leaves (one reason why inhaling cigarette smoke into your lungs is just a bad idea)... lead-210 & polonium-210 for instance.

Here's another way to think about sequestering toxic pollutants from soil & water:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycoremediation
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:13 am

Inspiration for those on DW who don't have backyards but do have a bit of urban space:
15 IMAGES OF THE MOST ENERGETIC ROOFTOP GARDENS IN THE WORLD
http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/2014/02/18/15-images-of-the-most-energetic-rooftop-gardens-in-the-world/

:namaste:
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:45 am

These look great Kim. If you're determined there's always room and time. The winter crop is starting to pick up pace, thanks to some good rain over the last month or so. The hens are still laying well and are helping to keep the snails down. At the moment we've got heaps of black olives, but I'm not a fan of them, but an Italian neighbor is going to help himself to some. Good luck with whatever your doing.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Sun May 11, 2014 12:02 pm

It's Mother's Day today so firstly happy Mother's Day to our members. It's quickly approaching winter. We've had our first couple of frosts, the hens are moulting & have finally started to go off the lay. The cabbages & Brussels sprouts are developing their hearts & the broccoli have just started to get a head (only about 4cm across) as yet the cauliflower haven't shown any development. I'd imagine that in the northern hemisphere it's action on all sides as you sow seed & transplant seedlings into your beds. Good luck with it all, I hope it works out for you.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun May 11, 2014 12:28 pm

shaunc wrote:It's Mother's Day today so firstly happy Mother's Day to our members. It's quickly approaching winter. We've had our first couple of frosts, the hens are moulting & have finally started to go off the lay. The cabbages & Brussels sprouts are developing their hearts & the broccoli have just started to get a head (only about 4cm across) as yet the cauliflower haven't shown any development. I'd imagine that in the northern hemisphere it's action on all sides as you sow seed & transplant seedlings into your beds. Good luck with it all, I hope it works out for you.

Not just the northern hemisphere, Shaun, but northern Australia, too.
My spinach is going well, giving us enough for a meal every few days, and the sweet potatoes are sending up so much greenery they must be doing well underground - I hope! We planted a few eggplant and capsicum seedlings a few weeks ago and they are doing okay.
As always, herbs are doing best of all - loads of lemongrass, basil and parsley, plenty of sawtooth coriander and galangal, some oregano and mint and a few others ...
On the downside, something is eating the tomato seedlings before they get a good start and the spring onion seeds didn't even show shoots - maybe the seeds were too old or got too wet, or something ate them as they emerged. :shrug: We'll just try again.

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby reddust » Mon May 12, 2014 9:52 pm

It's transplanting time! Squash, Pumpkins, and tomatoes are going in the garden this week. Potatoes are also going into the garden, fingerlings, yukon gold, red, and russets. My husband and I enlarged our potato bed and we should be getting around 300lbs this year. Enough to last us till planting time next year. Direct sewing, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, and beets. My leeks, onions, and garlic from last year are blooming. I will cut the immature heads off my garlic and steam them...one of my favorite spring foods. Pictures are on my blog. :namaste:

I'm off to organize my canning jars. We only had to go shopping twice a month last year and this year. I have over 300 jars I need to get ready for canning later this spring and through the summer. :thinking:
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon May 12, 2014 10:55 pm

reddust wrote:It's transplanting time! Squash, Pumpkins, and tomatoes are going in the garden this week. Potatoes are also going into the garden, fingerlings, yukon gold, red, and russets. My husband and I enlarged our potato bed and we should be getting around 300lbs this year. Enough to last us till planting time next year. Direct sewing, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, and beets. My leeks, onions, and garlic from last year are blooming. I will cut the immature heads off my garlic and steam them...one of my favorite spring foods. Pictures are on my blog. :namaste:

I'm off to organize my canning jars. We only had to go shopping twice a month last year and this year. I have over 300 jars I need to get ready for canning later this spring and through the summer. :thinking:

:bow:
You're putting much more effort into your garden than I do into mine - and obviously getting a lot more food out. :smile:

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon May 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Visit http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/video/ for streaming video of the ABC gardening show - mostly filmed in southern Australia and includes some food gardening every week. e.g. "The Patch, Date: 10/05/2014, Tino plants out the last two beds in The Patch" in the latest programme is all about planting out brassicas and peas/beans.

:coffee:
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Edit: link formatting :emb:
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Tue May 13, 2014 6:25 pm

In my place it is still cold and rainy. Strange weather this year.

I put some seed of a chillie plant into a pot. Out came some pepper and one tomato. :tongue: The tomato needs to come out now. I bet there will be one green fruit this year. :roll: I'm a lousy farmer.

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Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Tue May 13, 2014 7:06 pm

But flowers are coming out:

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Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
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What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby reddust » Fri May 16, 2014 3:12 am

Kim O'Hara wrote::
You're putting much more effort into your garden than I do into mine - and obviously getting a lot more food out. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim


I only put in 2 hours a day, that's an averaged out through the year...During harvest and canning season I put in 12 hour days, but that only last a few weeks and it's not every day. I had a goal and I'm staying with it! I want to know how much food I can grow. I also want to know if I can live off of what I grow, it would be so nice not going grocery shopping. I really loath shopping...lol
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Motova » Sun May 18, 2014 12:13 am

Ya'll need to get modern and start using hydroponic systems to grow your greens. :roll:
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