Chronicles of a Noob Garden and Gardener

flowerbug

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i don't want to shoot any creatures if i can help it.

good fence goes a long ways towards solving most of those problems. birds may get some things, but if you put birdbaths away from the gardens they seem to help draw them off a bit, but also you want to avoid feeding the birds so it encourages them to get after bugs.

in all the years we've had gardens hardly anything other than the strawberries is bothered by the birds (including tomatoes). i can live with that. i'll share. :)

i also share strawberries with some of the chipmunks. we can get overrun with those even with semi-feral cats running around. i trap them using buckets of water and ramps, a rolling can with some peanut butter on it makes it hard for them to resist. check youtube vids for versions easy to make. while i don't enjoy controlling such creatures i think it important to do it and to also bury them in the gardens and say sorry and thank you for giving me life.
 

so lucky

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Welcome, and wow, it sounds like the gardening bug has bitten you hard.
Before you get too far along next spring, you might want to think about laying down some soaker hoses, so you can have a good way to conserve water while getting the water to the roots where it needs to be.

If you have room indoors, you will be amazed at how easy and cheap it is to grow practically all your plants from seeds. That way, when the birds, squirrels and rabbits eat your plants, you will be mad enough to murder them with your bare hands.:barnie
 

Ben E Lou

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Welcome, and wow, it sounds like the gardening bug has bitten you hard.
Before you get too far along next spring, you might want to think about laying down some soaker hoses, so you can have a good way to conserve water while getting the water to the roots where it needs to be.
See attachment. I have bought 400 feet of drip line with emitter holes and an 8-outlet manifold. The 2019 veggie garden will average 16 feet across and 45 feet long, so that gives me 8 50-foot lengths of drip line, spaced 2 feet apart.



If you have room indoors, you will be amazed at how easy and cheap it is to grow practically all your plants from seeds. That way, when the birds, squirrels and rabbits eat your plants, you will be mad enough to murder them with your bare hands.:barnie
hehehe. The wife has vetoed indoor planting, but is getting me a mini-greenhouse for Christmas, to be placed on the deck, and we already have an appropriate heating mechanism for it. I hope to do a ton of growing from seeds out there.
 

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Ben E Lou

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Now that we're getting a little rain, we've finally had some serious snow melting, so I was able to go out into the yard this morning and mark out where each area is going to be with my boot. Attached is a pic of where things are intended to be.

In case you're wondering why what looks like a rectangular space isn't quite that, it's because I'm intentionally making it slightly wider as it moves up the yard. I've only got 13 feet from the fence to the ramp of the storage shed, and I need to limit myself to that distance there because I need to be able to get my riding mower into the shed.

As of right now, everything but the blueberry area is covered with at least 2-3 inches of leaf mulch. I'm going to put pine straw there (higher acidity,) perhaps as early as this weekend, since the snow there is almost gone.
 

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Ben E Lou

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Oh...and I should mention one other thing: I purchased and planted six California softneck garlic bulbs in late November--a total of roughly 65 cloves. 50+ of them were planted along the top and side outer edges of the vegetable area. Hoping to harvest a bunch of that come late June/early July.
 

ducks4you

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WOW!! You ARE organized!! Congratulations!!!! :weee:weee:weee
Regarding the critters (like rabbits), buy a trap and DRIVE A GOOD 20 MILES to dump any vermin, or else they will find their way back to your yard. I have livestock and 2 dogs And 7 cats, so rabbits are snacks. One year we had deer, but the new fencing discourages both the horses and the deer from jumping the fence, and local deer won't walk in from the street.
I would suggest putting your compost pile either close to your garden or as far away as possible, but NOT butted up to your lovely wooden fencing bc you will get wood rot. Many people pick up pallets and make a box by tying together with rope, then taking apart when necessary.
You have learned the first lesson for garden beginners, Grasshopper---gardening can be just as expensive as golfing!
Many people here have discovered cheap or free ways to recycle products and keep the costs down.
You'all don't get much snow, so the picture is surprising. TWC was jumping up and down bc their storm prediction was spot on. That doesn't always happen.
If you want to invest in something, I would suggest chickens, if you are zoned for it. 4 hens will give your family enough eggs, then you can invest in an enclosure and a coop and get some very good fertilizer. Plus your daughter will have fun. Hens are pretty mild, but you can make inquiries regarding aggressive breeds. Pretty much ALL roosters are mean, but you don't need any and many HOA's allow only hens, anyway.
To put up MY chicken area would run $700 for the fencing (12' x 30'), and the prefab coop ran $1,000.00, the bird netting (cover) was a little over $100.00
I can keep up to 12 chickens in this coop, but you can get a smaller one.
I got the dog panels for free, and many people sell theirs for a modest price after the dog is gone. 12' x 12' is plenty of run space, even 10' x 10'
I butcher my own birds and replace them every few years bc the egg production goes down.
 

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baymule

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THIS is what you do with Rosemary! (and lay sprigs on top of pork/beef/lamb roast)

This bread is so good, we scarf it up like ravening wolves. I also chop the rosemary leaves and mix in the dough.

How To Make Easy Rosemary Focaccia
Makes one large focaccia or two 9" x 13" small focaccia breads

What You Need
Ingredients
  • 1 envelope
    (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 1 3/4 cups
    warm water

  • 3 1/2 cups
    white flour

  • 1/2 cup
    whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoons
    salt

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons
    (approximately) good extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 5
    sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • Several pinches of Maldon salt (or other flaky sea salt)

  • Equipment
  • 11-cup (or larger) food processor (See Recipe Notes for other mixing options)

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Medium sized bowl

  • Large sized bowl

  • 1
    baking sheet (16"x12" or similar size)

  • Wire cooling rack
Instructions
  1. Dissolve and proof the yeast. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a medium bowl. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to start to foam up. This is proofing the yeast. (You can skip this step if you are confident that your yeast is good and strong.)

  2. Make the dough. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt to combine. Add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse until a rough ball of dough forms, about 1 minute. Remove from the dough from food processor. It should be moist but not too sticky. Form it into a ball. (See Recipe Notes, below, for instructions on making dough without a food processor.)

  3. Leave it to rise. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a large bowl. Put in the ball of dough and turn it so it is coated on all sides. Cover with a tea towel and place it in a warm place to double in bulk, about 2 hours.

  4. Put the dough into the pan. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto the baking sheet and rub it over the bottom and sides. Punch down the dough and place the dough on the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, coax and stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan; it may not reach all the way to the edges. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rest, about 30-40 minutes.

    → You can also divide the dough in half with a sharp knife to make one smaller loaf for smaller gatherings, and freeze the other half of dough for later. Smaller focaccia breads can be baked on a quarter-sized baking sheet (9-1/2" x 13") or in the center of a regular baking sheet. To freeze the second half, place the dough in a freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air, seal, label, and freeze.
  5. Preheat the oven and prep the rosemary. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems. If the rosemary leaves are large, chop them with a knife. You can leave a few of the smaller, softer leaves whole. You should have about 2 scant tablespoons.

  6. Prep the focaccia for baking. When the focaccias have puffed up in the pan a little, sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the surface. Using your fingertips, dimple (make shallow indentations) the surface of the focaccia all over. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the loaf, so the oil pools in the indentations here and there. Use a little more if needed. Sprinkle the loaf with 2 or 3 pinches of the flaky salt.

  7. Place in the oven and bake. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375°F. Bake about 20 - 25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes. The focaccia is ready when it's golden-brown.

  8. Remove from oven and cool. Remove bread from oven. Using a hot pad or spatula, remove the bread from baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Focaccia is best eaten when warm, but perfectly fine at room temperature. If the crust gets too soft, try popping it back in a 350°F oven for a few minutes to crisp it up.
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-simple-herb-and-salt-focaccia-186606
 

baymule

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Your cucumbers more n' likely got yellow and bitter from the summer heat. I have a fantastic sweet and spicy pickle recipe from my great grand mother if you'd like to have it.

You are one super organized gardener. You will certainly be an asset here! Haha, some of us sloppy-styled gardeners will have to try and keep up with you.

Our garden is 100'x70' and we have covered it with cardboard and wood chip mulch. The weeds still grow. My favorite is lambs quarters and giant ragweed, the sheep love them, so I pull them and toss over the fence.

Do you have plans on canning, dehydrating and freezing the bounty of your garden? If you are going to can, be sure and get the Ball book of canning.

https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Complet...nt=&hvlocphy=200623&hvtargid=pla-586375869797

WHAT?????? in searching for a link for the book, I see that Ball has come out with a NEWER VERSION!!!! (hands are trembling, twitch on face, breathing hard….) I MUST have the NEW AND IMPROVED VERSION!!!!

https://www.amazon.com/All-Ball-Boo...locphy=200623&hvtargid=pla-416516077560&psc=1

And if you plan on dehydrating, be sure to get solid sheets for each shelf. I make grape fruit roll ups for the grand kids with zucchini pure' and frozen Welch's grape juice.

I have the 9 tray 3900 model

https://excaliburdehydrator.com/pages/dehydrators

and I got the silicone dryer sheets

https://excaliburdehydrator.com/col...™-ultra-silicone-non-stick-drying-sheet-14x14

Pressure canner;
I got an All American, the only pressure canner made in the USA, It is heavy, machined aluminum, I named mine The Beast and I love it.

https://express.google.com/u/0/prod...MIkryfqvef3wIVDR-tBh25_wGBEAQYASABEgIjpPD_BwE

Ok Bennielou, I guess I'll shut up now. :)
 
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