Some Pointers in Regards to Our Garden…From You

I’d like to toss something out to our good friend Kunoichi. If you remember, you were commenting not too far back that you used to mow the grass in a field, or lot, across from where you lived.

You stated, well actually you said:

Years ago, after moving back to my home town and thinking it would finally be our last move (we’ve moved 5 times since then), I had lots of space and started up a new garden. The property was made up of a couple of lots, with one of them empty and basically left to its own until someone came by in the fall and hayed it (did I mention we lived in the middle of “town?” *L*). It was filled with various grasses (including lots and lots of crab grass. :-p), some alfalfa, yarrow, vetch and a few other things I didn’t know the names of. While we lived there, I did keep it mowed, but most of the time it was just a small field.

It was on the edge of this that I tried to put in a garden. All I could do at the time was till the area several times over with an ancient monster of a tiller that could barely cut its way through all the root systems. The soil was hard and difficult to hoe. What I really wanted to do was make a lasagna garden, but I didn’t have enough organic material to do the whole area.

In the section I planted the corn, I did make some attempt. In between the hilled rows, I lay down layers of wet newspaper, then topped it with grass clippings. I didn’t have enough of either do to the whole garden, or I would have. It helped keep the ground moist and ended any need for weeding in between my corn. My corn and rhubarb were pretty much the only things that grew well.

In the fall, after everything was pulled up and I was getting things ready for the winter, I tilled the whole area again. Most of the garden was just as hard to work as before, but suddenly my tiller just sank into the ground by several soft, beautiful inches. Then it would hit a hard spot again! Where the corn rows had been was still hard, but where the grass clippings and newspaper had been in between the rows was soft, gorgeous soil. The difference was night and day!

Unfortunately, I can’t say how that helped out in the long run, as that was the last garden I ever planted. The next summer never arrived (it was all cold, rain and flooding) and then we started moving again, so the area was left to grow over. Even when we came back again a couple of years later, I never got the chance to start up another garden.

Which is a long way of saying that, from my experience, using grass clippings as cover in between my corn rows worked really well.

Well, if all you guys remember, I’d been down on my corn pretty hard this year. What came up has eventually done pretty well, BUT, the dern stuff just wouldn’t come up worth a hoot! I watered, and babied, and watered, and fertilized, but a lot of the corn seed never even broke the ground!

I even planted it twice, one row right up against the original rows, all 5 rows! The same result…very poor sprouting!

Also, on our west end of the garden, in an area about 30 feet long and 50 feet wide, the soil is not as good as the rest of the garden’s soil. It’s had all the same additions added to it the rest of the garden has had, but was much poorer soil from the get go.

This would show up as the garden really starts growing off as the plants on that end always are a little shorter, and don’t look quite as good as the rest of the garden. Also, by the soil being poorer, the vegetables seemed to dry out faster too.

About a month ago though, I took Kunoichi’s advice, though with reservation, I have to admit. We took our lawn clippings and immediately took them to the garden and spread them out among the rows of corn.

We covered the area with the poorest soil first. What was left over we used as far as we could go until running out of clippings.

Today, the area of corn, IN THE POOREST SOIL, has caught up and standing just as tall, just as pretty, and has just as much corn on the stalks as the best area! No kidding, it’s obvious the benefit received from JUST those grass clippings! Nothing additional has been added, I promise you that.

I pointed this out to Dale earlier today as well, and he couldn’t believe it either. But you know, we add these clippings to our compost pile, and from everything I’ve read, they all talk about the grass clippings are what adds nitrogen into the pile, and helps to continue the breakdown process of the other materials. I’m telling you, this made an obvious difference in the corn.

Thank you, Kunoichi, it worked out well for us also!

I told you guys a couple to three months ago that we had started a compost bed.

I also stated we’d never composted before, and that this would be a project we’d never attempted prior to then. We started with newspaper, and although I can’t remember the exact order of the layering, I do remember the materials used.

We used a layer of dirt, a layer of hay, cow manure, grass clippings, oak leaves some of which we ground with the lawn mower, and continued to do this until our pile was about 10-12 feet long, maybe 8 feet wide and about 2-1/2 to 3 feet high.

Since the garden is coming in now, we throw all of our vegetables pods, and the remnants of our daily juicing’s, as well. We add all of our banana peels, eggshells, etc., and we still add our grass clippings each week from mowing the yard.

We stir it at least twice a week, and sometimes three, and water thoroughly after each stirring.

Now you can see the progress the compost pile has made. It’s amazing to me how these materials have broken down, and it is obvious the benefit to be received from this compost.

Our plan is after the garden is “through doing its thing,” we’ll then move the pile closer to the garden area and start placing it in the area which has the poorest soil that I had talked about earlier. We also plan to start a bigger compost pile very close to the garden itself, where it will be more convenient for us.

This, the composting, is just another example of what Deb and I have learned since this site’s inception, from you guys. Here we’d had all this material on our place that we could have been putting to good use, and what were we doing with it? Only putting it into piles and burning them.

So, if you guys have any questions at all over most anything we discuss here, I’m telling you, all you have to do is just ask the question, and someone will surely be able to supply you with an answer…or at the very least point you in the right direction to find the answer.
Listen, we love doing this column and shootin’ the bull with you guys, but for a little while we’re just cutting it back some because of Deb’s situation.

Which by the way, we had her second opinion yesterday, and this Doctor’s suggesting NO breast surgery, at least for now. He sent us to have a biopsy, and we had blood work…all done yesterday. We’ll have a follow up appointment on the 6th and will start treatment somewhere following that appointment.

He’ll have the biopsy report in hand and be able to tell us the treatment she’ll be receiving.

I’ll say this in closing. This Doctor has the reputation of being the very finest breast cancer Doctor in the Central Florida area. We were very fortunate in being able to get in and see him.

When he spoke with Deb yesterday he assured her no surgery was needed, and went so far to say that in her case, he wouldn’t perform surgery on his mother, wife or sister. Only that let’s get the biopsy, see what type of cancer we’re up against, and get treatment started.
As we were leaving his office his last words to Deb were simply, “God Bless you Deb, and I can help you!”

This was good enough for us!

Thank you all once again, and I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but we so appreciate all your support and prayers for us. Deb says to assure everyone too, that you all are in ours as well! Thanks guys!

God Bless you!

Dub and Deb

Here’s you just a few pictures from our garden today. The first picture is a fine example of what I was talking about this morning…Kunoichi’s grass clippings, composting, and even Mississippi’s “cow tea” recipe, and the benefits they provide for your vegetable garden.

The first picture is, are you ready for this… CHERRY TOMATOES!! LOL!! Just kiddin’, Mississippi!

The last two pictures of what the Fusarium Wilt has done to our tomatoes in the raised bed garden! This was a shame.

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2 Responses to Some Pointers in Regards to Our Garden…From You

  1. Kunoichi says:

    I’m glad to hear how well the grass clippings are helping out! :-D I love those adorable little goose-necked squash. So pretty. Such a shame about those tomatoes, though! :-(

    Thanks for updating us on how things are going along for Deb. This new doctor sounds pretty amazing.

    Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers! :-)

  2. Sandy Grant says:

    Our tomatoes look just like yours in the last photo but we had attributed it to the drought we are going through and there are so many tomatoes on the vines they are not able to sustain life. We had as many as 15 on one branch. Most of them are scalding in the sun now because all of the folage has died and they have no shade. We had 102 degree weather today. We have had cooler weather longer than normal and now hotter weather sooner than normal……………..Who knows. We want to replant but not until we get some sign of rain AND NOT in the form of a hurricane please.

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