UnusualAttitude

The Gardening Thread: 2018 season.

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20 minutes ago, tater said:

Bananas are getting smaller... still delicious! (daughter's hand for scale)

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For all we know, that is a normal-sized banana and your daughter is a giantess. 

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I should have taken an image of daughter, banana for scale, and messed with people.

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I was going to comment on the tiny banana, but the giantess daughter... :D Oh, you guys

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Hail fellow gardeners from all horizons! Happy new season!

I would like to resurrect this thread for 2018 because I have ambitious plans for this year (more about this below). But first a look back on the results of 2017.

Uncle Jim's Tomatoes, Courgettes (as always) and radishes.

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About 10 kg of red and yellow onions hanging out to dry.

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Can't remember how many kilos of tomatoes we harvested, but enough for tomato sauce well into the winter season, and some left over to be preserved. Awesome.

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Now, a couple of weeks ago I moved into a new place. This time, it happens to be my place (I mortgaged my soul to a bank for the next twenty-five years for the privilege of saying so), so I can do whatever I damn well like out the back.

Here you can see the initial state of affairs.

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The house is conveniently situated to one side of my plot, leaving plenty of room for agricultural activities. In the long run, some re-landscaping may be performed. There is a gravel path around the house that doesn't really need to be that wide, and trees and shrubs that I will have to work around.

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But this year, because there is so much work to be done inside the house itself, we will be going down the road of least resistance and making do with what we have. Until this autumn, every free day I have to work on my house or garden must count and must be productive. All this must happen on a relatively limited budget.

First there's that lawn to get rid of if we want to plant a variety of delicious vegetables. We could spend several days of back-breaking, blister-inducing work removing it with a fork and spade, or we could buy or hire a rotovator, burn two-stroke petrol mix and disrupt the topsoil's natural equilibrium.

Or we could get smart.

Last spring, I visited a small market garden outside Toulouse that was created by a couple of baggy trouser-wearing, straw hat-flaunting dudes called Michael and Hervé. Despite their terrible taste in music, I was impressed by their project that applied all of the major principles of permaculture. In time, I decided that I would attempt to apply elements of permaculture in my garden.

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But back to this grass-removing business. I decided that the obvious solution would be raised beds with a bit of lasagna. Naturally, I had plenty of cardboard left over from my recent move, as well as timber formwork from a bunch of very well-built shelves that the house's previous owner (now deceased) had installed in the workshop on the ground floor.

It took me just a few hours to put this timber and cardboard to good use and lay out the shape of the raised beds in the northwest corner of my garden.

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Next week, I will take delivery of a tonne-and-a-half of topsoil mixed with compost from a local company to fill these beds. Please note that this is because I'm impatient, I'm pressed for time and I'm starting from scratch. This could be done for zilch with very little extra effort. Anyone can produce their own compost (as I will be doing as of this year), and wherever you live, I'll bet that your local classified ads are full of people begging to get rid of cubic metres of topsoil because they are digging out their new swimming pool.

This week I also took delivery of my seeds. These come from the non-profit organisation Kokopelli based in the foothills of the Pyrenean mountains. I've never met these guys but I'm pretty sure that their pants are even baggier than Hervé's, and they strive for plant species diversity and would gladly take a flamethrower to anything GMO or F1 Hybrid.

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I'll just leave you with a mosaic of the delights I will attempt to grow this year, including multicoloured carrots, maize, chilli peppers and melons.

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The ultimate prize will be, as always, good quality tomatoes and this year, habanero chocolate brown chilli peppers.

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I will update as soon as I manage to get my greenhouse upright.

Happy growing, everyone!

Edited by UnusualAttitude

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^^If you ever want some New Mexico Chile seeds, I could probably send them, assuming that's not some sort of international contamination :)

 

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Does growing Algea in a bottle count as gardening?

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9 hours ago, NSEP said:

Does growing Algea in a bottle count as gardening?

Short answer: yes.

Tell us about it. What sort of algae? What sort of bottle? Why? 

Tasty seaweed to supplement your ramen, or spirulina superfoods that my hipster friends tell me are the future of nutrition?

Or something...?

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19 hours ago, tater said:

^^If you ever want some New Mexico Chile seeds, I could probably send them, assuming that's not some sort of international contamination :)

Dammit. Those New Mexico Chilies sound appealing, but unfortunately, according to the French Embassy website, you could only send me (I quote):

- Fresh cut flowers (with or without leaves)
- Celery stalks
- Leaves of aromatic plants (mint, basil, thyme, chervil, tarragon, cilantro, chives, sage, etc)

...but not "vegetables, aromatic plants and herbs (except those that have been dried, frozen, crushed or cooked)".

And, unfortunately "seeds and grains".

Ho hum. You're very welcome to send me some New Mexican celery stalks, I suppose. Or some frozen chillies. :/

Also...

"For example: 10 kiwi fruits could be brought to France as long as the total weight is less than 5 kg, or 7kg of watermelon could be brought to France as long as the total number of watermelons does not exceed 5 specimens."

Better limit those kiwis to 500 grammes... lol.

Edited by UnusualAttitude

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On 17/02/2018 at 12:19 AM, UnusualAttitude said:

Short answer: yes.

Tell us about it. What sort of algae? What sort of bottle? Why? 

Tasty seaweed to supplement your ramen, or spirulina superfoods that my hipster friends tell me are the future of nutrition?

Or something...?

Pond Algea in a coke bottle. Not planning to eat it, i just want to do a patience project.

How much rice in grams does one plant yield? 30 grams?

EDIT: I have a theoretical farm that is exactly one Hectare, and has a 150kg yield, where each plant produces 30 grams of rice and each plant has a 4x4cm spacing. Yet other sources have at least 4 times more yield than my imaginary farm. So is the yield per plant too low or the spacing too big?

Edited by NSEP

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My large banana tree is making fruit, but while the first hand of bananas is fine, all the new flowers just fall off :( .

A drag. Still, my atrium looks like a jungle, which is cool.

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On 3/15/2018 at 3:32 PM, tater said:

Still, my atrium looks like a jungle, which is cool.

I'd love to see some pics... :)

So, early April and we have got a lot of stuff done... despite some tasks taking much longer than expected.

For a start, I underestimated the amount of topsoil I would need for my raised beds by a full order of magnitude. So I made up for my mathematical ineptitude with hard work and in the end, shifted a total of about twelves tonnes of biosphere with just a shovel and a wheelbarrow. All this was done with my various domesticated creatures hanging around and making fun of my plight.

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Next, fertilizer to bring my garden to life. Because I have just moved in, I haven't produced any compost of my own yet, so I went in search of a local dealer. Fortunately I now live in horse country and I am surrounded by riding schools and equestrian centres. I made my way to the nearest one, less than a mile away. The landlord pointed me to a great steaming pile at the bottom of his field and told me to help myself.

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So now our beds are just about ready...

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Meanwhile, indoors our seedlings have been sprouting. Unfortunately we lack a good bay window that would be ideal for this sort of thing. Not enough light. I envy your atrium, @tater.

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We have invested in a proper greenhouse this year. It is quickly filling up, though. 

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Edited by UnusualAttitude

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I have one massive problem with what you're doing here, @UnusualAttitude. You call them courgettes, but everyone knows they're zucchini.

Edited by Dman979
Edited for clarity

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While I don't have any plots to grow them properly, back in highschool I managed to grow a few stalks of corn.

No, I mean it.

I planted them on the gap off the kerb (house-side obviously). They managed to flower, and one went fruit. Due to lack of pollination though, most of the seeds went undone.

 

We also had chillies (really easy one that) and tomatoes (didn't fruit at all). Sadly they were left dry and those in front of the home, just off the kerb, were taken out.

Now we have screwpine (pandan) and betel (sirih). The last one is absolutely going off control. The old house we lived in a few years ago now have papayas on them.

The land here in the capital is very fertile - sadly it's now a city, and people are more interested in having houses and shops and buildings on it.

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15 hours ago, Dman979 said:

I have one massive problem with what you're doing here, @UnusualAttitude. You call them courgettes, but everyone knows they're zucchini.

Zis ees France, Monsieur Deeman, and we call zis la courgette and we put zis in la ratatouille. 'Ow could you dream of making la ratatouille with - 'ow do you say - le zucchini....?! Mon dieu!

12 hours ago, YNM said:

We also had chillies (really easy one that)

All of this casual, effortless chilli growing from you folks living in hotter climates is making me jealous. :D Just wait until my Habanero Chocolate Browns are ripe!

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51 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

All of this casual, effortless chilli growing from you folks living in hotter climates is making me jealous. :D 

If you really love them, move down a place monsieur :wink:

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