There are a lot of concerns about the increasing use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in products such as roundup. Many organic gardeners want to know how to make organic alternatives to Roundup Weed killer
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How to Make Organic Alternatives to Roundup Weed Killer | eHow.com
Some strategies involve physical removal, cultivation and mechanical barriers such as plastic or organic mulches.
Other methods exist such as pouring boiling water over the weeds.
How should I select a garden?
There are many things to consider when choosing a garden site. One consideration is simply where to place the garden. The answer will vary according to your situation and what you desire to grow. I have seen people who have incorporated gardens into their landscaping. I call this edible landscaping. Edible plants can be incorporated in among many traditional flowers and bushes. Thia interplanting allows for pest control and confusion.
So on to the more traditional gardening types.
Raised bed . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One method that I like is the raised bed method of gardening. Raised beds can vary in length to suit a particular situation. They tend to be three or four feet wide, which allows for weeding from either side. A person can weed to the middle of the raised bed from either side. An advantage of raised bed gardening is drainage. Another advantage is that they have a small footprint. This means that they can be tucked into small spaces and catered to fit small areas that are available. Still another advantage is that they have very deep, loose soil. This allows for deep root penetration. In the end, that plants may be healthier as a result of having more extensive root systems.
I modified this system and made what I refer to as strip gardens. I took 50 foot long strips of sod and dug them up in four foot wide sections. I then began to pile on the compost and other soil amendments. This gave me a raised bed type garden. I was able to add soil as I went. In this system, I was able to eliminate the walking paths that serve to compact the soil near the plants. I eventually elected to fill in the areas in between the strips.
Finally, on to a more traditional garden. Our garden is about 60 feet long by 50 feet wide. We elected to go this route as we are now able to plant rows of corn and bean in whatever configuration that we choose. We lay out our corn in rows separated by 30 inches. The beans go in rows that are 24 inches apart. We are then able to grow cucumbers, zucchini, and other plants where we want them.
The ideal site should be sunny (at least 8 hours of sunlight per day). It is ideal for it to be flat or sloped slightly to the south. In our area, it is best to have a wind break to the west and north. This prevents the corn from blowing over later in the summer when the big storms tend to roll in. We have our small orchard and berry patch to the West, which seems to keep the corn upright.
I am surprised to see that we have just reached the 100 post milestone. hopefully you have enjoyed the ride as I have. My hope is that you have an idea about who we are, what we do and why we do these things. I am somewhat random at times, but have tried to develop some threads as we go a long.
I am always looking at ways to improve the blog and ideas for posting. I recently received a few from a follower, so I will probably start some threads about these various topics.
So moving forward from here, I think I will try to focus my posts for a few threads or series:
- Homesteading (Keys, How to start, Things to consider, techniques)
- Fencing Systems (By Species, By fence type, alternatives)
- Animal Raising
- Organic Crops and Management systems
- Soil Series (how to test soil, nutrients, structure, etc)
- Pasture Management (Intensive grazing, Plant types for forage, Rotational Grazing)
- Gardening (Techniques and Tools)
Let me know how you enjoy any posts or ways that we can improve. Any input is always appreciated.
Today we took up the task of building a cold frame to extend the growing season. So we took off to the barn to look for materials that were laying around. Our efforts provided us with wood and several old wooden windows that we have been saving. I didn’t do specific measuring, so I will give you the generic version
First we set both windows on the ground to provide us with dimensions that we would need. We selected four pieces of wood for the sides of the cold frame. We chose a wider piece for the back and a piece not as wide to form the front. This gave us a sloping frame that we could face toward the south to maximize the sunlight exposure.
We laid the two windows side by side and the four pieces of wood on their corresponding sides. We then marked all dour sides in prefer to make the proper cuts.
The front and back were about 52 inches long and the sides were about 40 inches in length. The back ended up being 14 inches tall. The front is 12 inches tall. We would have liked to have more of a slope, but we wanted to create the cold frame for very little cost.
After cutting the four pieces for the frame, we found a 2 x 2 to make four corner stakes. These were cut to make four 2 foot long stakes that were pointed on one end.
We then drilled small holes in order to help get the nails started. The wood that we used was extremely hard, so much so that we bent several nails. Once we got the four sides nailed to one another, we set about attaching the comer stakes. These will serve to drive the cold frame into the ground and keep it in place. In order the keep the frame together and hold the stakes in place, we attached two c-clamps to the stakes and sides. These clamps kept the stakes in place as we drove the nails through the side panels and into the stakes.
Once all four stakes were secured, we laid the windows on top of the frame. With a huge sigh of relieve, the windows fit almost to a tee.
Above you can see our stopping point for the day. The stakes are sturdy and the windows are resting on the top. We will need to add hinges and then located a prop stick, but the project is nearly completed. Now to finish up so we can set the plants in place.
Sweet Sixteen of Garden Crops
In celebration of the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA basketball tournament, we decided to post a sweet sixteen list. We will not include Herbs, fruit trees, brambles, or grapes)
We will list our top sixteen crops for the garden. Counting down from 16 to number 1:
15) Chives (I guess this may be technically an herb)
14) Zucchini (This would probably be higher on the list, but that we keep getting vine borers, which shortens the crop season)
13) Pumpkins (we grow at the base of our corn to deter raccoon, who do not like to travel through the vines.)
12) Basil (New to our favorite last year)
11) Carrots (Again would be higher, but we have had a hard time getting them to grow right for some reason)
9) Radishes (Love that they grow so quickly and can be used for row markers that can be eaten)
8) Peppers (We grow Cheyennes, bells, and some jalapeno)
7) Spinach (Can be grown in cold weather, not good in heat)
6) Tomatoes (We grow a lot of salsa tomatoes. We love Romas. We are experimenting with some of the Amish Heirloom varieties)
5) Peas (May be #1 were it not for all of the work involved shelling them)
4) Lettuce (Wilted lettuce is like nothing else. I will have to put the recipe up at some point)3) Green Beans
2) Sweet Corn (Nothing beats sweet corn fresh from the garden. We use “Incredible”)
1) Asparagus (Beats out sweet corn because it is a perennial)
- Sweet Corn (Photo credit: baysmom3)
Young sweet corn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cucumber Growing (Photo credit: Celladoor)
Basil (Photo credit: finn)
Asparagus (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)
Things we would like to try this year:
Garlic (Fall crop)
A new Asparagus patch (we got this one with the house.)
Well, That is it for now. More to follow……