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  1. #271
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Get a broadfork Bob. One pass and you can rake your weeds out whole including the entire root system sans dirt.

  2. #272
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    I have both a turning fork and a rectangular tread shovel. I've dug these beds various ways for years. The best thing in the world is this 6" stainless steel hand hoe/cultivator.



    It cost about $10 at Lowe's. It was so wonderful, the first season that I used it, that I bought a spare, just in case they stopped carrying them. The original one has lasted about 6 or 7 years so far, and the spare still has its wrapping.

    Using the hand hoe requires about 20% more time to complete working all the beds, but at about half the total energy outlay of using a shovel and fork. Then, when it comes time to layout and dig the holes for each transplant, the hand hoe is again the perfect tool for planting.

    The larger tools leave a lot of small root segments that can re-sprout (like Creeping Charlie), unless the soil tilth is ideal--which isn't often. The little hand hoe gets everything, and allows me to work close to the soil, saving my crumbly back. One other significant benefit is that I actually can see and remove most of the cutworm larvae that have overwintered in the soil. When I used larger tools, I seldom saw them.

    Unlike many of the young bucks on the forum, who set aside a day to till, I set aside a month and a half. For me, it's a gentle, meditative process--a Zen-like experience, preparing one 5' x 12' bed at a time. As the tortoise in the race, I am satisfied with the process. (In a strange way, my stainless steel hand hoe reminds me of Buffalo Bird Woman's hoe, made from a deer scapula. It uses persuasion, rather than brute force.)

    I know this all sounds pretty soppy, but I love my hand hoe.

    Bob

  3. #273
    Senior Member ChinaVoodoo's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by deluxestogie View Post
    I have both a turning fork and a rectangular tread shovel. I've dug these beds various ways for years. The best thing in the world is this 6" stainless steel hand hoe/cultivator.



    It cost about $10 at Lowe's. It was so wonderful, the first season that I used it, that I bought a spare, just in case they stopped carrying them. The original one has lasted about 6 or 7 years so far, and the spare still has its wrapping.

    Using the hand hoe requires about 20% more time to complete working all the beds, but at about half the total energy outlay of using a shovel and fork. Then, when it comes time to layout and dig the holes for each transplant, the hand hoe is again the perfect tool for planting.

    The larger tools leave a lot of small root segments that can re-sprout (like Creeping Charlie), unless the soil tilth is ideal--which isn't often. The little hand hoe gets everything, and allows me to work close to the soil, saving my crumbly back. One other significant benefit is that I actually can see and remove most of the cutworm larvae that have overwintered in the soil. When I used larger tools, I seldom saw them.

    Unlike many of the young bucks on the forum, who set aside a day to till, I set aside a month and a half. For me, it's a gentle, meditative process--a Zen-like experience, preparing one 5' x 12' bed at a time. As the tortoise in the race, I am satisfied with the process. (In a strange way, my stainless steel hand hoe reminds me of Buffalo Bird Woman's hoe, made from a deer scapula. It uses persuasion, rather than brute force.)

    I know this all sounds pretty soppy, but I love my hand hoe.

    Bob
    That's great Bob. Although I can be classified as a young buck, I've really enjoyed the pace this year so far. I've had a number of short work nights. I come home as the sun is coming up, go outside with my spade and a beer and gradually turned every inch, added my amendments, and turned it all a second time. I have all these memories of sunrises, but also a stronger feel for what's going on in the different parts of the garden.
    This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I'd be nothing, a ship without a rudder. - Linus

  4. #274
    Senior Member Planter's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by deluxestogie View Post
    It was a considerable effort for me to remove (by hand, over a period of 6 weeks) all the grass and weeds and their entire root systems from their winter growth in these previously cleared beds. Then, after waiting for new season weed and grass seed to germinate, I torched the surfaces with a propane garden torch.
    I'm concerning myself with (soil improving) cover crops these days. Some spots have been worked on for years, yet again and again the ground hardens to a bricklike consistency. But a notable difference is made by compost heaps. Over the course of a year or two the soil underneath a compost pile becomes workable and crumbly, and not just on the surface. So I started to build composts in locations of future beds. Into the current ones I'm going to seed sunflowers, Phacelia, buckwheat and flax after the harvest. A couple of really useless spots are already covered by such seedlings, so I hope to get an idea of the potential results quite soon.

  5. #275
    Senior Member greenmonster714's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Torch...yeahhhh. fire!!!!! Love that idea. So you just tie a small tank to a stick n go?

    My soil has so may colors. Since starting this project I've dug up toy guns, bike kickstand, old sewer pipe, tin roof, wrenches, sockets, a truck mirror, and numerous other unidentifiable items. Every time it rain I have new stuff show up. Other than the unusual items I think the soil is okay.

  6. #276
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Tobacco is In the Ground!



    Well, there it is. All done. Almost. I'll wait a few more days on the ravaged Prancak N-1 to see what is truly dead, then place the remaining 6 plants.



    The Besuki comparison isn't exactly as I had initially planned. I had hoped to transplant 6 each of Besuki Kesilir and Besuki Ambulu, with 4 Besuki tabakanbau, but adjusted the numbers based on the seedlings that were ready. So 4 each from Indonesia, and 8 from Germany.

    Each transplant gets 2 cups of water, to settle the soil around the roots, and tide them over until it rains. I marked a 5 gallon bucket with marks at 2 gallons. This is 2 cups each for 16 plants (a full bed). For each bed, I filled the bucket to 2 gallons, then added 3 ounces of the "Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control" formula, which is a special dilution of imidacloprid. Two cup of this potion was then used for each transplant. It is a single dose for the season, to control aphids, earwigs, flea beetles and any other early season bugs. It does not prevent hornworms.

    I'll hand-pick the hornworms. Just prior to bagging the blossoms, I spray the bud head with permethrin, to kill any bud worms that manage to emerge within the bag (from eggs laid before bagging).



    The Vuelta Abajo has been assigned to my peculiar bed alongside the house. It gets about a half day of sun, but that includes reflection from the white siding--a double dose for every half day of sun. This is the bed that grew my 14-foot-tall Colombian Garcia two years ago.



    Since all the transplants have been clipped many times, they are transplanted with stubs for leaves. This reduces the water stress on the new transplants. In the past, a comparison with unclipped transplants demonstrated that the clipped ones catch up in about 3 weeks, and are indistinguishable by the time the plants mature.

    This evening, I'll cover two newly planted beds with Agribon AG-15. I have learned not to cover the bed beside the house, since that particular bed gets chewed to pieces by bugs and slugs (even with slug bait) if it is covered. So I leave that one to fend for itself.

    Lest forum members worry that the rectangles of Agribon are just smoke and mirrors, hiding empty beds, I've included the photo below--proof of life.



    Quote Originally Posted by greenmonster714 View Post
    Torch...yeahhhh. fire!!!!! Love that idea. So you just tie a small tank to a stick n go?
    Search the big box sites for "garden torch."

    Bob

  7. #277
    Senior Member Brown Thumb's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Lest forum members worry that the rectangles of Agribon are just smoke and mirrors, hiding empty beds, I've included the photo below--proof of life.
    Who needs Proof.
    I wish I could lay in the grass and pick away at the dirt for a month or so.
    Too freaking hot up here to even water the little ones.

  8. #278
    Senior Member greenmonster714's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Nice pic. That clears things up.

  9. #279
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Good work Bob ! As always
    I wonder, don't you give the seedlings some fertilization when you put them in the ground ?

  10. #280
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Charly View Post
    ...don't you give the seedlings some fertilization when you put them in the ground ?
    Prior to transplanting, I provided each 60 ft2 bed with 1-1/2 cups of low-chlorine 10:10:10 fertilizer (which is the recommend application rate for tomatoes).

    In the past, I used Black Kow composted cow manure, which is rated at 0.5: 0.5: 0.5. Each bed received 2 bags (50 pounds per bag) of Black Kow. I no longer use this, since the cost comes to $12 per 60 ft2 bed. In comparing the N:P:K application rates between the two different approaches to fertilizer, the 1-1/2 cups of 10:10:10 is roughly the same as only 1/2 bag of Black Kow. But the low-chlorine 10:10:10 significantly outperformed the 2 bag application of Black Kow to each bed.

    The composted manure definitely improves the structure of the soil, but the cost of Black Kow for all ~900 ft2 of my garden beds was over $160 per year, or, excluding the vegetable beds, ~$120 per year. (That comes to an alarming $3 fertilizer cost per pound of cured tobacco!) The low-chlorine 10:10:10 vegetable fertilizer cost me about $6 per year (less than $0.15 per pound of cured tobacco).

    So the warm and fuzzy "natural" fertilizer (the Black Kow) has lost the competition, mostly due to cost. Another issue for an old guy like me is the physical effort required to purchase, load, unload, position, and disperse so many 50 pound bags of stuff--about 3/4 ton.

    Bob

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