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Thread: A little help please

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    Red face A little help please

    My wife has decided she wants a garden. The spot in the yard she has chosen has some weeds, grass, wild stawberries, and also has some rasberry plants next to it. What do you recommend we use to kill off everything but the rasberries? I know roundup will work, but it can kill the rasberries if it gets their roots. Also roundup will make the soil steril for around a year won't it? I plan on bringing in a couple of pickup loads of soil, enough to put down about 10 inches on the area. Should I still kill the stuff that's there first? What do you suggest? If I do use roundup (and manage not to kill the rasberries) will bringing in the soil allow her veggies to still grow? ANY and ALL help is greatly appriciated.

    Thanks,
    Tom

    PS. I would like to get this done by Thursday night, she is currently out of town and will be back early Friday am - want to supprise her!

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    I've use roundup quite often. Check the instructions I believe the spray effects the plant by going through the foliage to kill the roots. It shouldn't leave the ground sterile.

    kingfisherktn

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    Thanks Kingfisherktn. I grew up on a farm in Mich. and remember dad using roundup on the fields (not sure what the ratio was) but he also added Lasso and a couple other pesticides and herbicides, not sure what ones. All I remember was he mixed the Lasso, Roundup, and others in tanks on the planter with water and it was applied while planting. He would then throughout the year use Roundup and Lasso diluted to spray on the fields once the crops were about 2 1/2 - 3 feet high. Unfortunately I am no longer able to ask my dad what all he used and the ratios. And it's been many years since working the farm as a kid with him.

    Any advice from anyone on what to add to the topsoil I get - fertilizer wise? I have seen some horse manure on Craigs List and thought maybe mixing it about 50 - 50, is that about right?

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    I can't remember if it's Weed-B-Gone or Round-Up that's alleged to have a half-life of roughly two weeks.

    If the raspberries are more or less in one concentrated grouping, then I'd simply till the daylights out of the rest of the soil around them a couple of times in the next couple of days, disturbing the raspberries as little as possible, but tilling the rest of the weeds into smithereens. Or even postpone the top soil delivery 'til next week end, do the tilling the same couple of times, but slightly further apart in time.

    -Then- dump the top soil on the area that you've tilled a couple of times.

    You'll eventually (likely sooner than you think) still have weeds to contend with, though. It's just a part of gardening. And some of them can be stubborn, even from a depth of 6" to 10".

    We've been meticulously removing rhisomes and other weeds' roots from our raised beds with a small garden fork recently, and the strands of 'roots' sometimes travel through up to 14" of good organic soil, through the insulation area in the bottom of the beds, and into the silt beneath. The best you can do is to put a serious hurt on them, and then maintain them as best as possible.

    BTW, if it was me, and I was growing edibles in a given plot, I wouldn't necessarily believe all of what the corporatists said about their herbicides' 'safety'; I'd abstain from using either of the above compounds on my food-gardening area. But that's just me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dandeo2003 View Post
    Thanks Kingfisherktn. I grew up on a farm in Mich. and remember dad using roundup on the fields (not sure what the ratio was) but he also added Lasso and a couple other pesticides and herbicides, not sure what ones. All I remember was he mixed the Lasso, Roundup, and others in tanks on the planter with water and it was applied while planting. He would then throughout the year use Roundup and Lasso diluted to spray on the fields once the crops were about 2 1/2 - 3 feet high. Unfortunately I am no longer able to ask my dad what all he used and the ratios. And it's been many years since working the farm as a kid with him.

    Any advice from anyone on what to add to the topsoil I get - fertilizer wise? I have seen some horse manure on Craigs List and thought maybe mixing it about 50 - 50, is that about right?
    Sorry: Can't help you on the growing, but I'm great on the killing.

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    Re. ferts- A good clean sand (not silt), some peat moss that's been processed through a shredder (if that's not already what your top soil greatly consists of), some form of manure, (preferably composted, especially if it's horse manure, 'cause the horse manure will carry far more weed seeds than other manures do when uncomposted, especially if the horses were left to pasture, rather than tight, clean corals), then some soft colloidal rock phosphate or bone meal for phosphorous (both are available in bulk quantities, and some kelp meal or Jersey green sand, or both, for pottassium and micro-nutrients.

    If your top soil's fairly acidic, as much of it can be, you can carefully use organic wood ash in fairly closely measured amounts, as both a PH adjuster, as well as a potassium and micro-nutrient source (in the fire you make to create the wood ash, burn no cardboard, no brown paper, no laminates or plywood, etc., JUST CLEAN NATURAL UNTREATED WOOD FROM YOUR AREA. The brown cardboard and brown paper are often high in boron, and can screw up your garden's nutrient ballance.)

    Fish meal, or crab meal can be an excellent alternative to some of the nitrogen and phosphorous sources above (the manure and the colloidal rock phosphate, for example). They tend to run an N-P-K rating of approximately 6-10-0 with a fairly high calcium rating, which will help to avoid bloom end rot in your tomatoes.

    Again, nearly all of these amendments come in bulk quantity if you call around to feed stores or more serious gardening centers.

    Finally, add what ever amount of dolomite lime is indicated by the PH testing of the dirt, dependent on what ever crops you specifically intend to grow.. This will also give you a boost in terms of calcium and magnesium.

    If I'm going whole-hog on an area, and can afford it (providing that it's either raised beds, or a limited sized plot I'm dealing with), I even till in a bunch of perlite to the dirt; it helps in aeration, texture, and drainage, but in a larger garden plot it's not really economically feasible.

    As your plants get going, on occasion you can dissolve 1/2 tsp. of epsom salts per gallon into your water, and spray them with it.

    edit: Till in all of your amendments that your garden has been determined to need, except your dolomite lime, before doing your final PH testing, as everything that you add from the above lists, with the -possible- exception of the perlite, has the capacity to affect the PH.

    ruffle

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    I nearly forgot to mention blood meal (also available in bulk quantities).

    Blood meal tends to be high in nitrogen and iron, and unlike many other organics, the release is fairly immediate, so you have to be careful with it.

    One of the benefits of blood meal, aside from its fast release, which can also make it a detriment, (in terms of too much, too quick, potentially giving your plants a nitrogen burn), is that some claim that it helps to keep some critters (bunnies for example) out of the garden, if a quantity of it is laid down around the gardening area.

    I can't say that I've had any real success there, though, as my garden's over-run with voles at the moment. Mouse traps with peanut-butter and oatmeal work well for those little furry pests, btw.

    Lastly, when ever working with dry organics, whether it be peat moss, manures, blood meal, bone meal, etc., wear a filtration or other protective breathing mask of some sort. The amendments such as peat act as an irritant to your lungs when dry and finely powdered/shredded. Many of the other amendments are either excrement, or made from the bodies of dead critters, likely carrying bacteria, or even, potentially, disease. In either case, they can create havoc for your lungs, respiratory system, and/or immune system.

    I rarely wear a mask due to my beard, and I almost always come to regret it later.

    ruffle

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    If you are planning on bringing in a good 10 inches of topsoil the day before you do it mow everything down as much as you can scalp it if you don't mind dinging your blade then when the topsoil shows up cover the ground with a good 5-7 layers of newsprint wetting it down as you go then spread your topsoil over it nothing that is under it is going to come up through it.

    If you are getting a good blended topsoil its not actualy going to be pete moss that is shredded with it but the pete that forms the swamps and muskeg around your area generaly they may be high in ph but for right now don't worry about that.

    you can look for and find free manure usually goats cow's chicken and horse's will all be high in nitrogen so they will need to be composted as mentioned before sitting out all winter in a pile by themselves is not composted spread and aged in this way will bleed out the nitrogen good enough as well but not if its just sitting in a pile. If you can find rabbit manure its good to go just the way it is.

    If you want to add any of this its really up to you at this time right now is really just the time to ease into it, it is possible to get turned off by it by trying to go master gardener from the get go.

    Some words that make it easier to get the results that you want later.

    Get a compost pile going there is plenty of advice on google on that subject so I won't bore you with it here.

    When your bin is full in the fall take that last couple bags of grass clipping and BROWN leaves and throwthem on your plot same goes for anything left in the garden that was not harvested leave it in there and just turn it in with a spade if it grows from the soil this is the easiest way to get those nutrients and carbon back into the "soil web" Google that term to and do some reading.

    Look into taking a class the UA through the Co-Op if you can take Elle Vandavisse (spelling?) organic sustainable harvest class its great!

    And don't get discouraged!

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    Oh and most commercial fertilizers are chemical based especially salt based which will make stuff grow now but will be more harmful in coming years.

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    Careful with fresh rabbit or chicken manure, It WILL burn your plants. We have loads of chicken and rabbit compost. We usually water it down quite a bit to get a lot of the urine out of it. It's just way to hot to throw on your garden. When we offer the compost out to folks who need it, (free) we have already processed loads of it and it has sat for all season without new stuff mixed in. We rotate our animals so that we can rotate our manure piles too....


    We have also made it into a compost tea which works REALLY well.......
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntress View Post
    Careful with fresh rabbit or chicken manure, It WILL burn your plants. We have loads of chicken and rabbit compost. We usually water it down quite a bit to get a lot of the urine out of it. It's just way to hot to throw on your garden. When we offer the compost out to folks who need it, (free) we have already processed loads of it and it has sat for all season without new stuff mixed in. We rotate our animals so that we can rotate our manure piles too....


    We have also made it into a compost tea which works REALLY well.......

    What do you feed your rabbits how often do you brew your tea and what compost do you use in the brine?

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    Good info james, much appreciated!

    Ray
    Semper Fi!

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    Rototill the area. Any plants that are there now will be incorporated into the soil. There's no way in hell I'd allow poison into the soil where I was growing vegetables that my family will eat.

    Good luck with nearby raspberries. They'll wander into your plot and will present problems. You might consider an under soil barrier. They're easy to grow and hard to eliminate.

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    Thank you for all your info. Yesterday am I sprayed some Roundup on the grass and major weeds. Let it set between 1-2 hours, then turned on the sprinkler. Gave it a good soak then went to work. Got home around 6 pm and comenced to rototilling. Went over the area 3 times and then added some peat moss and a little Mirical grow for veggies(about 1&1/2 tablespoons per square yard that the wife had in the shed from last year)then tilled it 1 more time. Got to put up a fence this afternoon to keep the dogs out once the plants are in. (and yes to those who might be thinking it - I made sure the dogs are staying out since the Roundup went on) My wife gets home tomorrow night/Friday morning and boy is she gonna be suprised! She thinks I have been fishing while not at work.
    Huntress, do you recomend I add a little seasoned rabbit compost before she plants. She will probably transplant her seedlings this weekend. If yes, how much? I also have a way to get horse manure from a stable. Would that be fine instead?
    Also built her a potato box and had enough material left over to make her a compost box.

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    Hi rdrash,


    We feed our rabbits pellets from Alaska Mill and Feed. They also get all the timothy hay they'll eat, along with scraps from our veggies. They absolutely love fall time when we harvest our little garden. And from time to time they get the occasional willow branch to chew on. Since we dont have a lawn just yet, (new house) we use the hay and grasses that fall out of the rabbit cages as compost as well.

    As for our tea, we don't have an exact science to it. We just use a scoop full of our composted materials which includes everything we compost not just the manure. Water it down, squish her around and there you have it.
    We'll be doing it a little different next year now that we have large white plastic barrels to make it in. We use a screen to weed out the "lumps".

    We have burned our plants using fresh rabbit manure and were told it was the urine content. It's impossible to get manure without their urine when they are using the same corner for both. So we have just learned to keep it watered down, dilute it.








    Quote Originally Posted by rdrash View Post
    What do you feed your rabbits how often do you brew your tea and what compost do you use in the brine?
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    dandeo,

    I dont know a whole lot about horse manure, but I would imagine it would be like cow? Just assuming there!

    We mix a 5 gallon bucket for every 5 square feet. Hubby has this handy little kit that tells us what the soil needs, and if it needs more we'll add as we go along. We are by no means master gardeners but if it works, we are happy to spread the word.
    This year we are adding sand, we found out that carrots and onions love sandy dirt. So we'll mix some in and see if we get better results.




    Quote Originally Posted by dandeo2003 View Post
    Thank you for all your info. Yesterday am I sprayed some Roundup on the grass and major weeds. Let it set between 1-2 hours, then turned on the sprinkler. Gave it a good soak then went to work. Got home around 6 pm and comenced to rototilling. Went over the area 3 times and then added some peat moss and a little Mirical grow for veggies(about 1&1/2 tablespoons per square yard that the wife had in the shed from last year)then tilled it 1 more time. Got to put up a fence this afternoon to keep the dogs out once the plants are in. (and yes to those who might be thinking it - I made sure the dogs are staying out since the Roundup went on) My wife gets home tomorrow night/Friday morning and boy is she gonna be suprised! She thinks I have been fishing while not at work.
    Huntress, do you recomend I add a little seasoned rabbit compost before she plants. She will probably transplant her seedlings this weekend. If yes, how much? I also have a way to get horse manure from a stable. Would that be fine instead?
    Also built her a potato box and had enough material left over to make her a compost box.
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    dandeo,

    Another thing I was thinking of, have you thought of raised beds? Maybe even put a ground cover under them so that the weeds dont sneak in?
    You'll still get a few here and there, but nothing will come up from underneath...and you eliminate any poisons in your garden. We stay as natural as possible around here, even going as far as using lime and DE (food grade diatomaceous earth) for our pesticides, odor control and fertilizer.

    Good luck!
    "In the interest of protecting my privacy I will no longer be accepting Private Messages generated from this site and if you email me, it better be good!"

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    All of our raised beds (in the expanding main garden area) now get typar/taipar/tipar under them, as a weed blocker; eepecially for blocking the sneaky aspen trees' roots. When Joe Vogler referred to them as boreal weeds, he wasn't exagerating; they'll send a root 20-30 feet or more to access rich soil, and you won't see it until you dig or till.

    Manure will add nice texture to the soil, as well as nutrients. Some primary differences between horse, steer/cow, and chicken manures are this; chickens have only one tract with which to get rid of bodily waste, and therefore the 'manure' and the urine leave together. Urea is found in the animals urine, and is -the- high source of nitrogen that burns, as Huntress has written about their rabbits.

    Cows are rumenants (spelling?), meaning that they have five(?) stomachs (as are moose, by the way), and so the weed and grass seeds are more heavily digested than horse manure, as horses have only one stomach chamber. This is why you get -LOTS- more unwanted grasses and weeds, more often than not, when using horse manure.

    Horse manure CAN be used fresh. Horse manure runs a very minor risk of leptospirosis, but that risk dissipates nearly immediately in the open air, as soon as the 'horse nuggets' cool. If using horse manure fresh, simply use less of it, and till it in THOROUGHLY. If concerned about health issues, don't use it fresh in root crop areas like spuds, carrots, beets, etc., though many do.

    The 70/30 peat sand mix here almost always tests between a 5 and a 5.5 on the PH test kits (I use a Lamotte's soil test kit tray, which I swear by, and it's both easy and fast to use, a cheapo-sleazo Rapid Test kit, and an expensive calibrated pen). This is below neutral, or 'acidic,' and requires some dolomite lime, both as a nutrient buffer, and as a PH buffer, for most garden plants. Depending on what you intend to grow, many plants have different tolerances/preferences for PH. The Lamotte's PH test tray lit comes with a very nice booklet that covers not only different types of soils, but liming/PH and fetilizer preferences as well.

    My tomatoes, for example, thrive their best at about a 6.3. My broccoli and lettuce like a slightly higher ph, closer to a 7, or 'neutral.' My carrots prefer a bit more acidity to the soil; a 6 or slightly less. Some folks say that potatoes require an even more acidic soil, and that the acidity may help to protect against blight, but my spuds do great with a 6 to 6.5.

    One advantage of raised beds is that you can custom-tune each bed, both for PH, as well as strength of nutrient content, to the specific plants being grown in that specific bed.

    The organic solids are nice to use, as any build-up of most organics takes greater time to toxify your plants in the event of an excess or 'efficiency.' They're slower release in most cases, than chemical or more refined fertilizers.

    That said, once toxicity is arrived at with organics, it's also slower to recover; remember the analogy of getting a freight train rolling, and then trying to slow it down.. Or of steering an oil tanker. That's organics in a nut-shell.

    In the event of over-fertilizing with solubles/chemicals, or building up salts, such as can occur with Miracle Grow, (which renders itself acidic sometime shortly after mixing, if not applied), Peter's, et al, a garden with good drainage, and clean water applied liberally, will help to dissolve and wash away many salts.

    We've used, almost exclusively, the various and many organics over the years, including our own compost, into which you can incorporate your own shredded leaves, spruce needles, etc., as stated by rdrash, and we've also been fortunate to add worm castings, manures, and other more processed organic amendments. Our garden produces for us, big-time, year after year.

    ruffle

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    Our solution is different. Start with 2x12 boxes and weed blocker on the bottom. Fill with the best soil you can find. Level and amend as necessary with lime. Run rows of 1/4" drip irrigation lines spaced appropriately. Cover with black visqueen and untreated tree chip mulch. Cut holes to insert plant starts. Hook the irrigation system to a water timer. Fertilize occasionally with your favorite concoction. We use compost tea, organic liquid fertilizer, and occasionally some Miracle Grow. We're careful with the Miracle Grow because it inhibits biotic action in the soil. Organic is better and better tasting, but a shot of Miracle Grow in the beginning can kick start the plants.

    Far North has all the irrigation stuff and it isn't expensive. Consistent watering is as important as the soil. The visqueen eliminates weeds, warms the soil, and reduces the water requirement. I'm eating my lunch salad right now. It has home-grown organic tomatoes and cucumbers in it from the hydroponic garden. YUM!

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    Hi Mr. Pid.

    I never got into hydroponics, though I'm aware that it can be done with organics, by virtue of teas, etc. Thus, I'm finishing up a lunch of a zesty moose spaghetti, with basil, oregano, garlic, pablano ancho and cayenne peppers, fennel, some of last years' canned tomatoes/sauce, and almost enough tomato paste. ;^>)

    The mulching and covering, except for the plant's access holes, is an excellent technique, Mr. Pid!!

    With our raised beds, however, I moved all of the -root crops- out to a slightly-cooler ground-level garden, with top-soil and amendments added and tilled in, (to be surrounded by taipar, at the periphery only, of the garden).

    That was after I'd researched that there's supposedly a higher sugar and starch content in root crops grown in cooler soils.

    After that, I figured that I'd been wasting valuable raised bed space on crops that would've preferred a cooler soil, and thus reserved the raised beds for stuff that was seeking a more moderate or warmer climate, but that still didn't require a hot house..

    (That tid bit was the result of reading about the fellow in the Mat-Su area, who'd acquired the deal with the airlines for marketing his 'baby carrots' as a tasty snack commodity... Remember? Back when you didn't have to fork over $5.00 for the questionable in-flight 'meal.') ;^>)

    Apparently spinach prefers a slightly cooler soil as well, and giving in to that preference can reportedly help to prevent the early 'bolting' that so many hybrids succumb to. (The term 'bolting' frequently reminds me of that 'Wayne and Garth' movie, where they're discussing the woman that one was pursuing....)

    The typar/taipar that's exposed -between- our beds will either be covered this year with spruce chips from the local mill (which can be gathered and replaced year after year, or how ever often it's required), or some nice, not-too-sharp, whitish-colored rock (in the event that I win the lottery).

    Our raised beds vary in size and shape, but many are roughly 4' x 8' on the interior, made with spruce poles, and more or less alligned in a symetrical pattern, for easier access to the beds with a wheel-barrow (this came about from a hind-sight of a lesson, that fortunately hasn't repeated itself). ;^>)

    With the interior of the beds at roughly 4'x8', a standard sheet of plywood can be used to cover them when necessary (early Summer frost, sleet, etc.). And the 2'+ reach to the center of the bed, from either long side, provides me with -almost- all of the stretching exercises that I need in the Summer, without over-doing it. ;^>)

    Though the spruce poles eventually rot, they are easy enough to replace and notch with the chain-saw. The side rails are left square cut on the ends, and the end pieces are notched to receive the ends of the side poles.

    Many of the spruce poles currently containing our raised beds today are almost 10 years old. Some are approaching needing to be replaced. The nice part is that the soil will/can more or less hold its shape when removing the sides/older poles, and the spruce, unlike railroad ties, terracing lumber, etc., have zero copper napthanate in them; a SERIOUS carcinogen, if ever there was.

    So now, any time that I have a project that involves cutting down spruce, such as a truck trail to the back area of the property that I've been clearing lately, I save all rounds that are smaller than 8"-10" in diameter, on down to about 4" in diameter, and try to keep them in lengths of at least 9' to 10', to be cut to shape and size later on, using a simple square notch in the end pieces (4' wide on the interior, between the notched areas and roughly 4'8" to 5' over all length, including the notched areas.). The larger pieces are either saved for firewood, or other projects that we have in 'the works.'

    Take care,

    ruffle

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