Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garden, 2014 started

There is a tremendous amount of peace of mind in knowing that, God willing, your garden can supply you with a substantial portion of the food your family needs for the next year.

My current garden is on two plots.  One is shaded by apricot, pear, oak and mulberry trees.  The second is shaded by pecans on the west (along the driveway), and rows of pears running east-west throughout.  I have no intention of cutting down the food bearing trees so I need a Plan C for my garden.

The garden shaded by apricots, pears, oak and mulberry will be flipped over to a plot of asparagus and a chicken run.  The garden shaded by rows of pear trees and pecan trees will be mostly kitchen/salad plants in 2014.

Plan C is to open up a third garden.

Part of my property has been on loan to a neighbor who rotationally grazes his cattle.  The portion closest to the pole barn (age unknown) along the North boundary of the pasture is extremely rich, undoubtedly due to decades worth of animals unloading their bowels and bladders on the way to-and-from the barn.

I reclaimed the richest rectangle of that pasture. That rectangle is approximately 90 feet east-west by 75 feet north-south.  That makes it bigger than 1/7 of an acre in size.  It is bounded on the west by an orchard of semi-dwarf apple trees (over an obsolete rootstock named MARK) and on the north by a fence row with Rose of Sharon (edible flowers) and Pawpaws.  It is open to the east and south.
Milk jug was a corner marker.  Looking Northwest.  Pole barn in center background.

I mowed the grass.  I sprayed the newly mowed pasture with glyphosate + 2-4-D.  In a week I will scuff it up with my rototiller and broadcast a brassica mix.  It will be a mix of whatever is left over in my seed locker.  I expect it will include purpletop turnip, rutabagas, dwarf siberian kale, Barkant turnip, daikon radishes and 4-seasons radish.  I may also throw in some bulk dried peas. These are all aggressive growers in cool, wet weather.   They produce tons of solid matter. Their pieces parts till up easily.

The Five Bigs:

Planning is a crucial part of gardening.  Rotating types of plants helps break the disease/insect cycle.

Nightshades: Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and tobacco
Brassicas: Cabbage, turnips, kale, rutabagas, broccoli, radishes, turnips, canola
Corn: Flour corn, sweet corn, ornamental corn
Legumes:  Beans, peas, lentils
Vining crops: Squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons

These are all hogs for nitrogen except for the legumes.  So a 40 pound bag of urea (46% N) spread over 1/7 of an acre equals about 120 pounds of N per acre.

A target of 200 lbs of N per acre requires 67 pounds of urea spread evenly over 1/7 of an acre.  I expect that one and a half bags (60 pounds) will be plenty close enough.


  1. When are you going to plant that? I'd be tempted to ease out there one morning and find me a nice hidey-hole. Deer are going to love it. There's nothing like harvesting venison over your food plot.

  2. I plan on planting in about a week. The picture in my head is I will broadcast about 10 pounds of dried peas and then scuff up the sod with my rototiller. Then broadcast the brassica mix.

    This has been a strange year. The rains kept coming and the grass never stopped growing. The seed should take right off because I should have very good soil moisture.

    I need to fence off the plot from the rest of the pasture but that should not stop the deer. They go right over the fence into the orchard over MARK as if it were not there.

    I should be able to sit in the pole barn and watch. I do have to be very careful about my background. I have some houses at 135 degrees (800 yards out) and 215 degrees (400 yards out) by the compass from the pole barn door. Sitting in the orchard is an option but that puts me west of the food plot and upwind.

    This would be a fine time to use a cross bow.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.


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