Feeding the Tribe (Gardening thread - Off Topic)

Tiny

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Seems a few members here are into growing plants in their gardens / allotments / ears... Seems appropriate to have a place to discuss it.

Post your gardening woes, tips, favourite websites / YouTube channels etc here. Share inspirational pics of your own fungus farm if you like.

Don't make me go and discuss gardening on an actual gardening website. Those folks are weird.

EDIT: Apologies if this is a bit too off topic for the Tribe. I am sure a mod will kill it with fire if that is the case... :D
 
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Stoof

Yakmarines 2nd Co. Word Priest
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So! Clay! Woe is me with a garden consisting of about 1/2" of topsoil on top of clay that would be fantastic if I was making pottery or my house was wattle & daub construction - not so good if I ever want to grow anything.

@Tiny just suggested that a few years of wood chips might do the trick to make actual soil and has pointed me in the direction of a video of someone doing it, but has anyone else had any clay-based success stories?
 
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Tiny

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Sadly my current garden consists of a driveway with about a dozen builder's trugs full of soil and an 18" border around one edge, so I don't have much first-hand experience. Tarmac is even worse for growing things than clay!

Edit: Video re: soil improvement here:


I really like this guy's channel as unlike a lot of YouTube growers who have acreage or an actual farm, he's in a small-ish back yard that makes it seem a lot more achievable.
 
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ThreeDice

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Raised beds work for us, too; we have about a foot of chalky topsoil, then solid chalk. I'd say build raised beds rather than buy them - they are dead easy and comparatively cheap to make. Even if you don't know what you're doing and mess up (like me), you'll still get a good few years out of them and have plenty of time to plan/make more. Buying ready made ones are obscenely expensive. Truly a con.
 

Stoof

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As I mentioned in the sidebar chat - old railway sleepers are perfect raised bed fodder.

If you live anywhere near a rail depot they will almost certainly have piles of sleepers that are no longer fit for purpose for load bearing but will last for decades as the retaining planks of a raised bed. Me & my father and law rocked up to a Network Rail depot with a trailer and twenty quid and took away 24 old sleepers - enough for three pretty large raised beds. Pretty much "I'll give you £20 for your tea kitty for as many of those as we can fit in the trailer - deal?".
 

Tiny

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Raised beds work for us, too; we have about a foot of chalky topsoil, then solid chalk. I'd say build raised beds rather than buy them - they are dead easy and comparatively cheap to make. Even if you don't know what you're doing and mess up (like me), you'll still get a good few years out of them and have plenty of time to plan/make more. Buying ready made ones are obscenely expensive. Truly a con.

Even my dad managed to build his own raised beds and he struggles to assemble Ikea furniture without help.
 

ThreeDice

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@Tiny Yes, they are a very satisfying project, especially if one is cack-handed. I think a lot of people get fleeced on them because they don't know any better, and it gets my goat. Charging for convenience is one thing, opportunism is another.

Also, Books! For the past 15-20 years, I've bought my mother herb, garden, garden-to-plate and veg preservation books as gifts. Sadly, for the most part they have been very pretty but of limited use or outright garbage, especially now the internet is everywhere. By far the best book of that ilk I've got is called 'Vegetable growing month by month' by just some allotment guy who wants to pass on his love of growing because it's healthy. It was a whim buy, and so good I got my mother two copies, myself a copy, and have got some for other friends and family members getting into gardening. I've bought like 15-20 copies of the same book, beginning to feel like a cultist. He also has a very conversational style, so it's just... nice to read. Not sure how useful it'll be for an already experienced grower, but for newbs it's wonderful.

EDIT: Also, is this strictly gardening, or other cool nature stuff like 'Bringing back wolves changed the topography', 'Guy plants tree every day in wasteland', 'Chernobyl mutant wildlife'? I mean, that has more necro potential then how to stop my dog stealing my cucumbers...

EDIT: Also, dig ponds.
 
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MedMos

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@Stoof I am still working on my clay garden... It was a horse pen for a few years before we bought the house, so it's been trampled pretty solid. So we rake leaves, apples and whatever else together during fall and winter, and it might be getting better, slowly... But a constant battle against snails and Elytrígia répens (don't know the english word for it).
 
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ClockworkOrange

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Gardening!

Here’s a Photo of my back garden from a couple of years ago, we’ve got an extension to the end of that decking now.

I’m very much a 50% of what I plant dies gardener though, so I go for ever green easy to maintain stuff and don’t really do veg.

8089DBFC-80AD-4FCC-A536-C694BD8F26D4.jpeg
 

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If your going to be eating what's grown in the raised beds watch out for the old railway sleepers. There's a reason why they're still in one piece. You can line them with a barrier uv resistant plastic ect but just be careful!

I have a backyard that's a concrete slab and a full plot on an allotment. (just under 250m2). Managed to get a half plot January of 2018. Then in August got asked if I wanted the other half plot as the bloke who got it hadn't been on all the time I had been on. So I now have 250m2 to grow on. Still big work in progress but gettin there.
 

Stoof

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If your going to be eating what's grown in the raised beds watch out for the old railway sleepers. There's a reason why they're still in one piece.

Bit of 1970's industrial creosote and ageing engine oil never hurt anybody.
Opinion not validated by the Sugeon General.

But yeah, line them with appropriate material!
 

ClockworkOrange

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Anybody got an opinion on mowers? I’ve got a petrol one at the mo, but it hasn’t got a roller for lining the lawn and I’m contemplating a push mower with roller? All very English I know!
 

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Anybody got an opinion on mowers? I’ve got a petrol one at the mo, but it hasn’t got a roller for lining the lawn and I’m contemplating a push mower with roller? All very English I know!
Ever thought about ducks or geese? Taste nice and also munch on grass unlike chickens who scratch it to death if not moved on a regular basis. :p
 
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=][=SW1=][=

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Dealing with clay can be a challenge but the tip is to get plenty of organic matter in there. Some dig it in others like to let the earthworms do it. I'm all for not putting the worms out of a job. ;)
 
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Azzabat

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Earthworm Jim for the win!

I’ve always been a big fan of green concrete.

In fact, if you leave normal concrete to it’s own devices ... it goes green all by itself. ;)
 

Stoof

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Dealing with clay can be a challenge but the tip is to get plenty of organic matter in there. Some dig it in others like to let the earthworms do it. I'm all for not putting the worms out of a job. ;)
When we first moved in I went to help my in-laws do their garden one weekend and stole every worm I found, I released them onto my struggling lawn and a couple of years later it's much nicer (y)
 
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=][=SW1=][=

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Can you compost right in the raised beds? something like have 3 raised beds, but grow in 2 and compost in the third, then rotate?
Definatly ... How big are the beds? If it's big beds then you can have half the bed compost pile and the other half growing things. Once it's decomposed you just kick the pile out over the bed and move it on.

Guess it also depends on your geographical location. In hot tropical climates chop and drop works as things decompose quickly and it also acts as a mulch to protect the soil from the sun. In colder regions this tends not to work as it stays for a long time and creates habitat for slugs to munch on stuff. In that case compost piles are better as covering the soil with finished compost doesn't give slugs places to hide out.