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Back to Eden Gardening Thread~Note: pic heavy thread.

Discussion in 'Gardening On Your Homestead' started by Beekissed, May 17, 2017.

  1. May 23, 2017
    Lazy Gardener

    Lazy Gardener Almost Self-Reliant

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    I am also a fan of BTE, and DL in coop and run. I started a BTE orchard several years ago on soil that never should have fruit trees planted there. It is thick, heavy, rocky clay, and the water table is very high. You can hear the water squishing under foot when walking on it in the spring. In spite of that, my trees are blooming this year, and have put on some decent growth. I am pruning them to hopefully keep them short enough to manage without a lot of ladder assist. I am converting my garden into BTE as well. I'm blessed to have nice sandy loam (imported) with a gentle south slope, good sunlight. While my neighbors are moaning and groaning about not being able to get into their gardens to till b/c it's too wet, I've been eating various veggies from my garden/green house for a month now. volunteer lettuce cropping up in the garden. My tiller sits in the garage and does not come out to play unless I am digging a hole to plant a tree or a fence post, or making a walk way or some other such nonsense. I merely loosen the soil for a row, plant or garden bed with my garden fork, and plant just as soon as the frost is out of the ground. That's an other benefit of BTE: the frost doesn't go as deep, so you can plant even earlier. Wet soil is not as wet b/c the chips act like a sponge to hold it. Dry soil is not as dry b/c the chips keep the underlying soil from drying out as fast, and they release their moisture to the soil over time. BTE also provides the perfect substrate to grow mushrooms. A new venture for me this year. I've spawned 3 beds of Wine Caps, and shared spawn with 4 other friends and neighbors. The microrhizae activity will aid in releasing even more nutrients to the beds that the mushrooms share with the veggies. I am not seeing the weed problems that have been plagueing Bee. (at least in the orchard) The garden is not well mulched enough for me to be able to speak to how that will do. My biggest issue is in getting the wood chips to the places that need them. I have had a few loads delivered, but those big boom trucks don't like to work in confined areas.
     
    tortoise, baymule, sumi and 3 others like this.
  2. May 23, 2017
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Ah you've convinced this cold weather wanna-be gardener! If we don't move, I'm starting this next year (well this fall). Heck if we do move I'll start it, just elsewhere!
     
    samssimonsays, tortoise, sumi and 2 others like this.
  3. May 24, 2017
    baymule

    baymule Sustainability Master

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    Our soil is pure sand. On the pipeline, it is terrible soil. I have concentrated my efforts on the garden, because we eat so much of our food from our garden. But I have to get to conditioning the soil in the pastures. The pigs are in a half acre pasture and have roto-tilled it. When they go to freezer camp, I'm going to sprig it with Bermuda grass, seed it with a variety of grasses and clovers, spread Azomite mineral dust on it, lime, and let it lie fallow until next spring. A lot of the wood chips will go on the pipeline. I have planted grass seed on it, but the sun scorches the roots and it dies. I planted winter rye grass, which should be 2 feet tall by now and it is 6 inches tall. So, I have my work cut out for me, not only in the garden, but in building pastures for my sheep too!
     
    Beekissed and NH Homesteader like this.
  4. May 24, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Super Self-Sufficient

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    So you think bte is a good choice for sand? I have sand and im giving it a shot with my garden. Does the organic material make its way into the sand without mixing it?
     
  5. May 24, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Super Self-Sufficient

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    So you think bte is a good choice for sand? I have sand and im giving it a shot with my garden. Does the organic material make its way into the sand without mixing it?
     
  6. May 24, 2017
    baymule

    baymule Sustainability Master

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    We are going to lightly spread mulch from our wood chip pile on the pasture areas. The sand heats up and burns the newly planted grass seedlings, hoping the mulch will shade the grass roots.

    In our garden, we spread pine shavings from a horse event center in fall of 2015. We fenced in the garden and raised 3 pigs in it until March 2016. They roto tilled the shavings in, pooped, rooted up roots. I disced it smooth with the tractor and waited several weeks before planting. That was our 2nd year garden. (the first year everything died) The 2nd year was decent, not good, just decent. This is the 3rd year here and we have done deep mulch with wood chips. So far, so good. The peppers don't look so great, but everything else does. If I dig a hole, under the mulch is black, rich earth--then the sand! LOL So in answer to your question, yes, the organic material makes it's way into the soil without mixing it. It won't be overnight, but as the wood chips decompose and break down, they add enormous fertility and humus to the soil.
     
    Ferguson K and Chic Rustler like this.
  7. May 24, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Super Self-Sufficient

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    I have done something similar, but not to the same extent with mine and its my first year...ever.

    I let chickens run on it for a few months and then tilled in all the horse manure/pine shavings, chicken manure, and rabbit manure in. I planted and now im mulching with wood chips. I may let the chickens run on it this winter too, but i wonder if they will make a mess of the wood chips.
     
    baymule likes this.
  8. May 24, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Super Self-Sufficient

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    The chickens will move it all around, make some holes & hills, adding fertilizer as they go...:) Plan on raking it back smooth in Spring. That's what they do.

    If you deep litter their coop, you can clean that out onto the garden side in early Spring, before raking it around. Few good showers on it and you should be ok. Add more mulch when you plant.

    You can lightly till in a couple inches if you have a LOT of mulch but, primarily the decomposed material keeps building itself on the top each year. Eventually, you have several inches of this which breaks itself down. Think lasagna compost area or raising the bed a little each year.:clap

    What you have done already is a great start. Keep adding.
     
    sumi and baymule like this.
  9. May 24, 2017
    tortoise

    tortoise Wild Hare

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    I found lasagna gardening book at a thrift store today! I bought it! I can't wait to try stuff!
     
    sumi and baymule like this.
  10. May 28, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Took a few pics of some of the things growing in the BTE method so far this year...not all by any means, but just a few of the things. I think the third year must be the pay off year for this method, as things are just bursting from these gardens like never before.

    I've planted this flower bed with various seeds and annual bedding plants over the years but this year I just threw down some seeds and got a full bed of flowers coming on strong. Never got such growth there before...after the rains this week, this group of flowers are heading up for blossom~zinnias, calendula, Bachelor's Buttons, marigold, Black-eyed Susan, tickseed, and various wildflowers.

    100_5648.jpg
    Cattle panel rings around the apple tree saplings have been composting for two years, a combination of wood chip, leaves, straw, chicken litter, horse manure, etc. Planted them last year to spuds but got all tops and no spuds, but this year it seems a normal crop of taters. These are red Pontiac.

    101_0501.JPG
    These two were planted a few weeks after those above.
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    The sugar snap peas are taller than me now...I've never had sweet peas grow that big in my life. Maybe y'all have, but in this soil I've never had them taller than a couple of feet tall, with spindly vines. This is one section....I have four of similar size around the fence of the garden.

    101_0502.JPG

    Those Fortex beans everyone said would be hard to germinate...every single one has come up and are strong as can be.

    101_0503.JPG 101_0504.JPG

    Strawberries returned from last year's garden and have made more of themselves...I've had a handful of sweetness off them already this year.

    101_0505.JPG

    The honeysuckle is having a banner year...the storms have brought down a lot of the blossom but it's still lovely and bursting with sweet scent!

    101_0506.JPG

    And this is the year for roses in this garden method...they are blooming like crazy and the blooms are vibrant, the foliage dark green.

    101_0509.JPG 101_0510.JPG

    I'm very excited about year three of the BTE!!! As if you couldn't tell..... :D
     
    lcertuche, baymule and NH Homesteader like this.

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