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Old 03-21-2009, 05:28 AM
1,815 posts, read 5,399,512 times
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^^^^ Yes, Jaxson, I agree that we've lost our 'gardening' gene across the nation. I don't know about where you are, but where I am people have lost their connection with nature, both adults and children. I know kids that are scared of earthworms because they think they will bite! That's what their parents told them! It amazes me how so many people in my area fear silly things and are amazed when I can grow my own food. They think I must be special or something. I tell them it's relatively easy, but they don't believe it. It's very sad. I get so much joy from being outside and watching nature while feeling the sun on my back and the earth in my hands. I can't imagine not knowing that. I hope this inspires others to try gardening and perhaps they will know some of the joys nature can bring.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:50 AM
Location: Nebraska
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LOL when I was 9 or 10, my mother planted a rose garden that came up sticks. Dad said she had a brown thumb. So I went out, started cutting them back, putting coffee grounds on them, tending them - and the following year they were 10 feet high and covered with blooms! After that it was I who planted everything she wanted to grow. When she wanted a vegetable garden, we rented a rototiller (one of those huge monsters that dig you to China if you are not careful!) and I put in the garden from seeds. I didn't have a clue what I was doing but I started reading up on things, and learned every year better and better ways to do things. Most seeds will fall to the ground, plant themselves and reproduce (if they are not hybrids) and so I figured, hey, how bad can I screw up? And that is how I got started. People now are always so amazed at my gardens, but it is years of gathering experience as well as knowledge, and figuring out the best ways to do things. I am pretty lazy (especially once summer really hits) so I look for the easiest ways to do things. Right now we are planning on chickens, so DH is going to build me chicken tractors to run between the rows to fight bugs and keep down weeds. (We WANTED a chicken moat around the garden, but the tractors are much less expense. The chicken moat will have to wait for maybe next year.) Then we have living herbicides and insecticides doing our work for us, as well as a source of ready made fertilizer, eggs, and eventually meat.

One of my favorite words is 'copacetic' - which connotation means to me - 'everything working together'. A developer and I were discussing the hype of 'self-sustainability' and he noted that many of those practices actually mean 'labor intensive'. True sustainability is putting different environmental practices together that sustain each other indefinitely. I think a lot of reasons why people get frustrated with gardening is that they don't learn, don't study, and simply latch onto first this, then that, idea, and get fed up when things are a lot harder than they thought - or than they should be. When effort and expenditure exceed profit - even to the point to where it is cheaper to buy the durned vegies in the store! - people throw their hands in the air and buy. And that is how they lose the 'gardening gene'... JMHO.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:18 AM
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^^^^ I'd rep you again, but it won't allow me too! Excellent post! Chickens are the next thing I want, but that will have to wait until I'm settled in after I move. This year I'm doing all my veggies in pots, so I can take them with me if I sell soon.
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:18 PM
Location: Somewhere out there
18,287 posts, read 23,183,971 times
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I don't intend on my family losing any of the genes I was passed down with. My kids gripe when they have to pull weeds but one day they are really going to see the importance mom taught them. The oldest already has learned the difference between home grown and store bought since he is out on his own now. He has even offered to come out and do the tilling this year.

BTW growing up I said I would never live in the country or have a garden. I am right back where I started from doing the things I grew up with.
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:38 PM
Location: UP of Michigan
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My sophisticated daughter who couldn't wait to get out of the "sticks" now living on a farm in the "country". (It is OH after all) Nice to have her ask about plant material, even though I am not all that knowledgeable. BTW SCG what are "chicken tractors" / chicksn moats?
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:50 PM
Location: Florida (SW)
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The only thing I remember about gardening on a farm in Ohio was the crawdad holes in the fields and the sound of crawdads dropping down their holes into the water beneath......I was used to gardening in the rocky hills of New England.....the flat fields and clay soils of Ohio were a whole different experience.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:57 PM
Location: Nebraska
4,176 posts, read 10,685,639 times
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A chicken tractor is a mobile hen house and yard. You build it all of a piece, and put it on wheels or skids (or just build it with handles to be carried!). When you set it down, the chickens 'clean up' the area where you set it. For pics of some, you can go here : Chicken Tractor Gallery compiled by Katy (http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html - broken link)

They have all different types and pics posted there. You can make them out of whatever you need to - some use wood, some pvc, some tin, but all with at least one part with chicken wire for the birds to be 'outside'. (My favorite of all of these is the one with Col. Sanders on the side - hee hee.) But depending on your yard and your requirements (and your available help for mobility), you can make them however you want.

A chicken moat is a double-chicken-wire fenced circle around your garden, with the exterior and interior fences being about 4-6 feet apart (depending on space). The coop is within the circle and can be accessed from outside the circle. (One idea has the fence run underground through a cement pipe at the gate so that there is continuity and the birds can't escape.) The purpose of this is to keep not only invasive weeds out from the perimeter of the garden but to keep down the bug population from flying/crawling into your garden. I REALLY REALLY want one of those but for the size of the garden it isn't feasible - yet! - to buy that much chicken fencing! Grin

Both of these give you chicken patrols in the garden without having the hens decide that that big tomato you've been waiting on to ripen doesn't need piercing - right now! LOL

PS I went to the feed store and got my brooder stuff (heat lamp, waterer, etc) today, then came home and ordered 10 hens and 10 cockerels - I'll let two ***** live, and the rest I'll butcher at about three months. The two ***** and 10 hens will then (I hope!! LOL) start making babies of their own... I got the Barred Rock variety; I love brown eggs and meaty birds that have a good mother hen instinct...
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:34 PM
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SCG - great idea about a chicken moat, never heard about one.

If you have 2 roosters, you need to think about separating them and each having his own brood of hens (5-5). They most likely won't co-exist peacefully otherwise. Also, be prepared for double-crowing all day long.

When we had 2 roosters, we divided our chicken house into 2 rooms and and the run right down in the middle into 2 runs. Then we needed a room for the next generation of new chicks to grow, so we sold one rooster and united the older hens. Instead of being glad, the rooster was terrorizing the new hens.

Also, the commercial breeds that they sell in co-ops and feed stores, have any responsibility of sitting on their eggs bred away. They'd attempt to sit but then leave and forget about the eggs. One spring it was a mess since I didn't know which eggs they were sitting on vs which eggs were freshly layed - both types were cold. It's not a pretty picture to be cracking half-sat eggs.

These commercial breeds are bred in electrical incubators. This is one of the reasons I'm looking into getting heritage breeds that are behaving still like birds should, sitting on eggs, are better suited for finding food in the wild, and withstanding cold. Though co-op chicks are still good for egg productivity and meat bulking up.

Last edited by nuala; 03-21-2009 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 03-22-2009, 04:35 PM
Location: Nebraska
4,176 posts, read 10,685,639 times
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Well, nuala, the reason I'll keep two is because I just KNOW that if I only keep one, he'll either die or turn out to be gay. "Not that there's anything wrong with that." But not good for having babies! The neat thing about the tractors is that you CAN separate them into 'harems'.

I am going for the Barred Rocks, for several reasons - they are recognized as a breed (offshoot from Plymouth Rocks) since the 1800's, they are excellent setters (I had banties once - flighty little hens, very bad mothers), and they will lay even in the winter. EVERYone here gets chickens in the spring, so the crowing will not be a problem.

Just a note to the anxious gardeners out there - we have just been put under a Blizzard Warning here for Monday Afternoon thru Tuesday night. There is a huge system sweeping down out of the Rockies headed east. They are talking about 45 mph winds and 6-12 inches of snow accumulation, along with blowing snow and whiteouts. Supposed to sweep into the Dakotas, NE, and KS tomorrow (Monday), then roar eastward. Get your plastic covers ready if you are outside planting already!

What my south window looks like (the sun is shining and it is 67 deg right now)

Last edited by SCGranny; 03-22-2009 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:13 PM
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 14,155,082 times
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I just read this thread for the first time. I ignore sticky threads for some reason. Anyway...

I started my tomatoes indoors this year. They were started on Feb 8. Here they are 6 days later. I use bottom heat and shop lights on a rack in the basement.

Yesterday, I potted them into larger containers. I had previously potted them individually into 5 ounce cups.

This time, I went for depth.

Today they got placed in the hoophouse along with all the flower seeds and overwintering plants that were inside.

I still have the cherry tomatoes indoors under lights. They were started on March 6. I'm not feeding them as heavily since as you can see, I am out of room in the hoophouse. Our last frost date is April 15. I hope to plant them directly into the garden.

I'll start my squash, cukes, and eggplant in the next week. They grow so fast, I don't want to be worrying about frost.

Beans and summer peas get direct sown. Corn too. I only have a small potager in the backyard for now, but I plan to stuff it. Whenever I run out of room, I'll start tossing things into the perennial bed wherever there is an empty spot. I'm thinking about enlarging the beds this winter. I thought I had made them large enough this year.

Growing up, I hated gardening. Gnats, bugs, hot, sun, hated it all. Now that I have my own yard, I have to grow tomatoes. The other things are there because I'm southern. It's what we do. In may, I'll plant okra. It's a hot weather plant and really wouldn't appreciate the cooler temps. Those will be planted in the flower beds. It is a hibiscus after all.
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