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Gardening virgin

Discussion in 'Home & Garden' started by Saugeyefisher, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. Ok so I had three trees in my back yard that shaded my hole back yard. The roots of these trees have grown outside the ground along my yard,mostly half exposed. Fairly big roots with tons of small "veins" coming off the bigger ones.
    There a pain. I have to weed wack along all these roots before mowing (I live in a development with squared off lots. Not sure on the acerage lol because I've never considered it acerage. Orobobly the size of a football field with endzones included any my house sits up on it centered.

    Any ways not that much of that matters. This spring I took a chainsaw to the middle tree. Leaving my daughter a nice stump to make a "fairy house/garden" out of. It's actually been a cool little project for us. So I decided to cut out a chunk of so about 10'x10' give or take a little,butting up to the stump. Useing two pre-existing roots and my concrete patio for the border.
    The last week I have been hacking at all the smaller roots in this area down to about 8" or so and clearing them all out.

    What should I do before the spring? I plan on planting veggies. We mostly buy tomatoes,cucumbers,and green bell peppers at the store,but enjoy most veggies fresh.

    Can you guys help me out here? I was hoping I could look around home depot or local green houses this fall thinking they might have some stuff marked down (or now for that matter).like soil,manure,Pete moss etc,etc. An can I start throwing any of it down this fall? I've pretty much tilled bye hand down to 8/10 inches digging these roots up.

    Or are there other things I need to do? Are the above veggies able to be grown together? I get sun most of the day here.
    Any other recommendations? Any at all? I've never done this before,but my daughter is super stoked about the hole thing. An can't let her down!
    hardwaterfan likes this.
  2. Sounds like you have the hard part done. Most important thing to do is get the grade above the current level. Plus 6 to 8 inches for settlement. You want it to drain well. I would get a load of top soil delivered that has lots of organic matter in it. Local landscape companies should have a nice supply. As far as types of plants, I think that should be wide open. Fresh soil will grow anything!
    Saugeyefisher likes this.

  3. I don't know if this will help, I'd leave the roots. Good compost.
    We don't have much room to grow. Small lots, 39'X 120' I use regular 2X10's. They last around 8 yrs. This raised garden box is 20' by 8' Been picking a bag full of maters everyday lately. 12 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants, row of cucumbers. Pumpkin and butternut squash on the other side, no boxes just added piled up compost in small sections. The butternut are almost done, we average 10 a year. But that area only gets a short window of sun.
    Start composting! For me, pallets make the best composter. But I can not have them where I live now, so I have to use the plastic ones that you buy. You will want at least 2.
    Your fish guts in the composters will be gone after just a few days if you have them. Walleye jaws/teeth last forever. Put compost into garden area every march if possible and turn into the dirt. One year I planted right after adding the compost. Killed most everything I planted. I believe it was too strong for the new plants. Needed a good week + some rain or more to leach into the ground. I've never done that again.
    icebucketjohn and Saugeyefisher like this.
  4. Thanks guys....
    Compost. Are you talking about just building a small one with 4 shipping pallets? I have the room for that,and would love somewhere to dump my fish leftovers. But like I said pretty developed area and it butts up to 3 creeks park so the neighborhood is littered with racoons/pausums. Do the compost piles smell to bad? And how deep are these critters willing to dig for a fresh pile of fish guts? I love the idea and would start it asap but will have to look into that.

    Open to any other tips/suggestions
  5. They will climb over to get to it. They take the easiest route.
  6. fastwater

    fastwater My ears itch

    Glad you are taking the time to teach your daughter gardening. Many of my fondest childhood memories comes from gardening with dad. Of course, in our situation, since we ate what we raised, there really wasn't a choice. But great memories all the same.

    ebijack has some excellent tips.

    If you have coons, opossum, skunks etc. in the area, open compost piles containing meats,fish and many veggies etc. WILL draw them in. It's just gonna happen. If you want to compost fish parts or left over meats and veggies, you may want to go this route:

    Far as building your ground, if you don't treat your yard with chemicals, you can start piling all your grass clippings and leaves in your garden area. Too, have never seen virgin ground in Ohio that didn't need lime added due to low ph of our soil. How much lime will depend on the current ph level of the soil. Just know that liming ground to get it to desired ph is a process because it's only recommended to put down so much lime a year depending on the ph and how much ground you're tilling. And know that if using regular powdered Ag lime, your ground will not reap the limes full benefit until same time the following year. Far as building your ground in general goes, it is a long term process and a yearly project.

    I don't have the raised boxes for my garden as ebijack suggested but if I lived in town I sure would.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  7. The other good thing about composting is the worms! When my daughter and i are going panfishing we just go out and turn over a couple of forks of compost and we're good to go!
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  8. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

    Good advice here, and good for you! Believe me, asking questions is a great way to get started. I started my garden before I found out about OGF, and made plenty of mistakes. You will too, but that's how we learn.

    My first was about 8'x10', and is now about 15'x25'. And I'm looking to chip up about 5 more feet of sod to expand it further. Things got a little crowded this year.

    It's like anything else, if you get into it, it will become a passion. Yes, there's work involved, but like someone else said, looks like you have the really hard work done! Plus, you get good food out of it. Once you taste real, home grown produce, you'll really come to appreciate it!

    Congrats on getting started!
    Saugeyefisher and Lowerider1029 like this.
  9. Doboy

    Doboy HeWhoDiesWithTheMostToysWins

    Yep Bob,,, I'll say it again, "I wish you lived closer to Youngstown"

    I'd say, Everything said so far is right on.
    Like ress said, "Fresh soil will grow anything!
    The first 2 or 3 years will make you look like Shrek,,,, totally GREEN! But after the second year get ready to toss the triple 10 & compost to it.
    I really like the home-made (yes make 2) barrel composter pic, but if your really going to stuff in the fish guts, maybe you should dig some 2'-3' deep holes in each corner of your plot. .Throw in Fish, grass, leaves, lime,,, weeds, kitchen waste, LIME! then dirt, etc,,,, all the way to the top. Rotate/ move/ fill in the holes each year.
    I use to dig a 16" deep 8' long ditch for my fish, covered them with lots of lime, & it still wasn't deep enough. Neighbors dogs & the coons would make one heck of a stinky mess,,, along with tearing up a huge chunk of the garden.

    I'll always suggest 'my' 55gal GROW BARRELS to any newbie,,, even if you do break new ground. & Specially with limited space,,,
    'MOBIL', Early production, late harvests,,,,, simple & easy. $8 makes 2 planters. 2cf bag of Miracle Grow potting soil, with fertilizer added.
    Keep us posted!
    Jer's barrel garden 2016 1.JPG

    Jer's barrel garden 2016.JPG
  10. My pallet composters were 5 pallets (7 total, placed under a tree to ward off excessive rain) stapled/tied together with left over outdoor chair webbing. Standing on edge. With 2 more pallets (looped webbing around corners) as the swinging doors for the 2 compost compartments. If that makes sense. Rotate as required from one bin to the other. Grass clippings on top help to keep critters away.
    Once your compost starts to "cook"/get hot. You put the fish guts in the hot middle, cover with compost. I had plenty of possum/coons etc, But they would never get near the hot center. I didn't care if they took rotted stuff off the sides/top. If there are possum in your area, you have possum in your space whether you know it or not. If they get in your garage, then you have problems!
    When placing fish guts directly around bushes, garden etc. I found if I dug holes with a post hole digger. and was careful to leave not the slightest remains anywhere near. I never had a problem with critters digging them up. I could place fish guts right where I wanted them. If you have loose soil, that might not work. I had mostly clay under the top soil I built up. Worked for me. Once I started doing that. Only thing I can think of is they don't want to dig hard dirt. Or dig straight down. They like to go at an angle like most critters. The post hole digger keeps the hole just big enough for 1 or 2 lake Erie walleye to drop into each hole and easy cover up. I only go down 2-3 feet for each hole. Punch fish down into the hole with the digger. Pack dirt tight over top.
    As far as smell, once in a while you could smell it. But not often. Neighbors never complained or mentioned it. Besides, they can get the benefits of fresh veggies! I ended up setting one of my neighbors up with the same set up. He ended up making 4 bins.
    No meat, only veggies,grass,fruits,fish, leaves etc.
    A correctly working compost even in the dead of winter with snow on top. When you open up the center should be white hot, still working. You could not put your hand anywhere near it. Pretty amazing first time I experienced that. The plastic bins I have to use now will not keep working thru the winter like my pallet ones. But better than nothing. IMHO
    bajuski and Saugeyefisher like this.
  11. Since you have (had) roots sitting above ground level, is the area you are talking about a wet area with poor drainage? Generally speaking most trees don't like sitting in water and will have more developed surface roots if it's wet. If that is the case I would put in raised beds. I had a similar area and my tomatoes never did any good until I raised the beds and now they are going great.
    Lots of good plans and ideas for compost bins online. My yard sounds about like your and depending on how much yard waste you have you'll want something fairly big so you have room to work. I just have a big pile in the back of my property, no need for a bin back there. Every thing organic, no meat or fish.
    Saugeyefisher, fastwater and bajuski like this.
  12. Only when it rains really hard there's a little bit of standing water. But the roots grow every direction exposed :(. Even in the higher dryer areas of the yard.
    But I will be doing a raised bed,just seems like the way to go. Lol and might make it bigger.
    Can you guys recommend a more flexible material for the boarder. Something to follow the contour of the roots bordering the garden(there to big to easily remove).

    I'm gonna start looking for materials the next few weeks. I have all the tools and stuff. Just need to start buying the other stuff.
    I forgot to mention. We do grow flowers in pots every year out front. An have done 2 tomatoe plants in pots with ease. I plan on adding a couple potted plants/veggies to the area as well.
    Doboy I like the plastic drum idea!!
  13. Lazy 8

    Lazy 8 Professional Derailer

    I think I heard ol Viper in there somewhere? Maybe it was some of his advice being handed down? Man, I miss him.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  14. Ok the roots were not that hard to rip up with a heavy pick-axe(the bigger bordering roots). So now it's square an I'll just use lumber for my raised bed!
    Lol added a few more feet to.
  15. There's really no need to follow the ground precisely. I have somewhat a similar situation where I put my raised beds in. I built my raised beds from some left over deck boards (5/4 x 6)from my deck rebuild last year. My raised beds for the tomatoes are 16" x 8'-

    If I remember correctly I had to place a few bricks under one end to get it sort of level. I filled the bed with several bags of composted manure, some potting soil and some compost from the compost pile.

    Here is how we start all new gardens.
    My wife 1st sprays the area with round up. We had a tree removed here and we did have the stump ground.
    You can't see it but I dug 2 holes about 12" diameter maybe 8-10"" deep and maybe 3' apart. I planted a cantaloupe in 1 hole and a watermelon in the other. The only place we disturbed the soil was where the plants are. My wife added a pink flamingo to guard the far it's working.
    I will be adding some compost on top of this area this fall but we won't till it in. It's mostly some nasty greasy clay under the surface. Next year when the area gets planted we again will only mend the soil where we add the new plants. Every year we'll do the same. This method works great and we use it in all our gardens.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  16. A thought for uneven ground. Buy some Landscape fabric from any home store. It last forever and keeps the dirt in and grubs out.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  17. Why would you not use fish? The most expensive fertilizers are mainly fish by product based. From my experience. I've had excellent results for many years using the left over fish guts/bones. From gardening to most every other plant/bush/flower. Grandma's secret (over 50 yrs ago) that made her garden and flowers grow. I've been doing it ever since.
  18. Doboy

    Doboy HeWhoDiesWithTheMostToysWins

    FYI,,,, "if you live closer"
    You'd go nuts if you seen all the 'building' crap I just got laying around,,,,,, (see the background on my first pic) ;>) I could/ would fix ya up.
    I was given a semi trailer FULL of plastic/ vinyl fence & about 200 deck boards,,,,,, so my neighbors are always trying to 'borrow' a dozen of those 5-1/2" x 16"ers for their gardens. Ya, Right lol,,,,,
    You know, they are EXPENSIVE, (worth About $38-$42 each)
    For a 16' x 4', 12" high raised bed you would need 6 boards. but will last forever! So in the real long run, you win.
    Sometimes You can find them used, or 2nds, on Craigslist.
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  19. For the most part I just don't see the need to and I absolutely don't want the smell of rotting flesh of any kind and get good results just using vegetation. Done properly I'm sure there is no smell but I'm not taking any chances.
    I will say I'm not opposed to using fish if people want to. A friend of mine buried a bunch of fish remains in his garden back in March and his plants did good. I can't say the garden did any better than normal but his plants have to be tough just to live there. After the plants go in the ground they get their initial water and then that's it...they're on there own. He wants a few fresh tomatoes for some summer BLT's and if he gets that, he's good. He's single, he hardly ever cooks a big meal so his needs are simple. It's hard to gauge success over there.

    Also I've worked in greenhouses, been around farms all my life, my wife has a degree in horticulture and had a great business managing gardens and estates in a very affluent neighborhood.
    None of these people used fish and all of their plants are growing like crazy and their businesses are thriving. Like I said before, I'm not opposed to it I just don't see a need.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    Saugeyefisher likes this.
  20. Read some labels on organic fertilizer. Most contain fish parts and the main thing is chicken manure. One product comes to mind, P-Tone......Cheap and only takes a little.