Gardening / Housebitchin' advice. (1 Viewer)

OrphXan

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Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
18
Current Location
Somewhere in Canada
After the better part of a decade being an addict, homeless, and nomadic I've been trying to settle down and get some stability for myself.

I've got a duplex in eastern Canada and I've just started my first garden. So far I've just tilled the spot I picked and pulled out all the weeds and random roots that came up. I've sprouted a few things like kale and radishes and peas.

It's a partial shade garden. So it doesn't get direct sunlight all day. I'm wondering if anyone has tips on what to plant and with what and when and all that.

I also want to start gathering and drying herbs for medicinal purposes. So if anyone has suggestions on wild medicinal plants that I can find around the east coast of Canada... or what I should plant, I'd be grateful.

I'm an opportunivor so I eat it all. Recipies are appreciated.

If you want to send me seeds, PM me for my address. I'd almost worship you, thank you repeatedly and make sure I pay it forward.. :)
 
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Doobie_D

The Slack Action Hero
Joined
Sep 13, 2006
Messages
800
Current Location
Florida - FEC milepost 105.1
I'm more or less in the same boat. I decided to settle down after a decade and a half on the road and lucked into a half acre of property that I've set out to turn into a food forest.

Unfortunately we probably are as far away planting zone wise as possible. I'm guessing your in zone 2-4? I'm down in zone 9b.

One thing I would recommend you invest in (if possible) would be a hoop house or something similar to extend your season. At bare minimum you could do what I did and buy a few long sections of 1/2 inch pvc and some plastic or visqueen to make your own for under $20.

I know alot of folks up north use raised beds so that the soil is able to be worked sooner. But that can get expensive. Straw bale gardening is a pretty cool workaround that I've been toying with lately :


As far as things to grow... All I can recommend is what not to grow because what works great here would never fly up there and vice versa. I'd imagine early maturing varieties are probably the way to go.

Also look into companion planting and permaculture plant guilds. I know I've been having killer success mimicing nature's patterns of doing things.

Here's a starter article geared toward your area :

 

iamwhatiam

Burrito fund contributor
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Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
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Darrington, WA
I can't recommend enough the importance of a soil test for a new plot. In order to maximize health of plants and nutritional value, it's really a must IMO. I don't know about in Canada, but in the US it's pretty cheap....like around 10-20 bucks. The one I did told me exactly how much of specific amendments I needed to add to the soil per 1000 sq feet.

You can grow a lot of greens and some veggies in partial shade. Things like tomatoes, melons, etc of course require full sun. Also a good idea to do staggered plantings for some things so you get a continual harvest throughout the season. Start a compost pile if you haven't already. Chickens or rabbits are great to have for meat/eggs/fertilizer.

Lastly, I recommend to keep a journal of what you plant, crop rotations, what the weather's doing, what works and doesn't . It's really nice to be able to look back and learn from your mistakes and remember what did well and how you did it.

I'll share some pics of my garden when I get home. Have any of your plot you care to share?
 

Older Than Dirt

Wanderer
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
292
Age
60
Current Location
Upstate
Lots of good advice so far.

See if your town has a dump where you can get free compost to improve your soil, and free woodchips to use as a mulch. The dump can also be a good source of free materials for building raised beds.

Start composting whether or not you can get it free- you can get as deep as you want on this topic, but the most basic approach is alternate layers of green stuff (grass clippings or veggie garbage, for example), and brown stuff (dried leaves being most common, or coffee grounds). No fats whatever, animal or vegetable- this attracts raccoons, rats, and skunks. I would also avoid eggshells which are theoretically compostable but tend to attract critters and varmints.

Seedsavers Exchange Heirloom Seeds (seedsavers.org) is a really good source for veggie seeds, and some flowers. Seeds are cheap as shit- if you have literally any money at all, you can afford seeds. I probably spent like $30 to put in a large vegetable garden and a few new flowers this year.

Talk to folks with nice gardens in your neighborhood- this will lead to free cuttings, and plants they are removing to thin things out, and good advice. Also just look at what is growing well in shady places nearby. Gardening is very local- climate etc vary a lot, and what works in the next town over might not work where you are. Certain old ladies (and a few old men like me) in your town know literally everything about gardening there- find them.

As far as flowers, perennial means the plant will come back forever once it takes- obviously this is cheaper than annuals, which need to be replanted every year (some annuals will self-seed and come back every spring). Basil is a very very easy plant to grow, as are most herbs.

The best gardening advice i know comes from a friend of my mom's: "Find out what your soil likes and plant lots of it."
 
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Older Than Dirt

Wanderer
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
292
Age
60
Current Location
Upstate
Wet leaves will kill damn near anything growing under them (except little trees). You can use them to kill off areas of what you don't want, but don't put leaves on anything you do want.

One way to make dead leaves more useful is to run them over (and over and over til finely ground up) with a lawnmower (or reversed leafblower for small amounts). Ground up leaves are called "leaf mold". This is an excellent mulch, or can be dug into soil to add organic matter (that worms will eat, worm shit is the shit).

Best thing to do with fall leaves is to compost them. The heat from the composting reaction will kill the seeds. Make piles of leaves in fall and compost with green garden waste from fall cleanup, or cover the piles with tarps and layer them into your compost piles/bins in spring/summer when there will be tons of green waste from weeding etc.
 

iamwhatiam

Burrito fund contributor
StP Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
929
Age
35
Current Location
Darrington, WA
Here are some pics of my garden last year. Last year, I tried the concept of a living mulch, which is that low growing green stuff in between the rows. I'm doing it again this year. YMMV, but for me it worked amazingly. I used white clover. It's uses are many: helps keep weeds down, fixes nitrogen back in to the soil, attracts bees with it's flowers, helps soil friability, helps the soil from drying out too much, and also the chickens love to eat it. The idea is to have as little bare earth as possible, and build up the soil life as much as possible. It's best to sew the seeds of your living mulch AFTER your veggie starts get established so it doesn't crowd the young seedlings out.
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