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Old 03-01-18, 02:08 PM   #26
Apprentice EcoRenovator
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: North Alabama
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Default 2018 Garden

After the failure of last year, I have another year and another chance to start over. Here is a rundown of the issues I had last year:
1) Grass! The cardboard and wood chips did little to prevent the grass from popping up everywhere.

2) Seedling failure. This is documented in my LED Grow Light Thread, starting with post #15.

3) Poor plant growth. This is unconfirmed, but possibly due to the large amount of wood chips in my garden, robbing the nitrogen out of the soil. My cucumbers, squash, and green beans did well, but everything else was lackluster.

4) Cucumbers were hard to pick, again. The A-frame sucks.

5) Bush beans are annoying. Pole beans might encourage me to pick the beans more.

6) My thorny blackberries are literally painful to maintain. Picking can be difficult and trying. The winter pruning often has me picking thorn splinters from my skin and gloves for a couple of days after.

2018 is a new year and a fresh start to conquer my previous problems.

#1) The city run wood mulch pile was closed down last summer due to budget constraints. This caused me to look for alternatives for a mulch source. Like any city, we have people who rake up and bag their leaves for people like me to come by and pick them up! I don’t know how many bags I ended up picking up, but it was a lot. I dumbed the leaves in my garden, then mulched them with my push mower. Once mulched, I would dump more and run over them again with the mower. I repeated this until everything was covered with a thick layer of leaf mulch. After it was all said and done, I now have about 3” of leaf mulch on top of my entire 8’x42’ garden. My hope is if I keep up this deep mulch concept it will keep the grass suppressed.

#2) This is an easy fix. First, start the seedlings a little bit later (I started them too early last year). Second, I will be using a good seed starting mix.

#3) I just collected soil samples around my yard and garden. I am mailing those samples down to the Auburn University Soil Testing Facility to get the samples properly tested. As you can see below, my garden soil looks significantly different from my regular yard soil!

I should get the results back either next week or the week after, which will give me plenty of time to fertilize what I need before I start putting plants in the ground.

#4) The A-Frame was ok, but typically the cucumbers would hang beneath the frame and be hard to find and pick. I am switching to a vertical trellis and will just use 6.5’ sticks of rebar driven into the ground for the trellis support.

#5) My thinking is a trellised bean will be easier and quicker to pick than a bush bean. Rumors have it that pole beans have a better flavor, so that is also a positive. Anyways, I plan on trellising the beans just like the cucumbers. Remesh supported with rebar.

#6) I did my winter pruning of my blackberries last week and was again picking thorns from my flesh for a few days after. I knew I wanted to eventually trellis my blackberries and came across this YouTube video:

I was immediately sold! I plan on implementing this as soon as I have time to dig the holes.

Since it has been raining buckets all week, I don’t have any pictures yet, but once it stops I will snap a few of the progress I have made so far.
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