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Discussion Starter #1
This is the first of a series of articles on basic vegetable gardening for beginners. I chose this topic because growing vegetables is the most frugal kind of gardening there is. Growing your own vegetables is a rewarding pastime that gives you healthy fresh vegetables for your table that you haven’t paid a fortune for at the supermarket. Vegetables start to lose nutrients as soon as they are harvested so it makes good sense to grow your own and cook them the same day. If you have an abundance you can store all that goodness for later by preserving the excess.

So if you’re living anywhere between in the snow covered depths of Alaska to the mild temperatures of southern California, now is the time to start planning. Gardening is about time. Planning is essential.

You’ll need tools, although not as many as the gardening catalogues would have you believe. You will need a rake, shovel, hoe, trowel and a hose or watering can. When you can afford it, add a pair of shears and a garden fork. Don’t buy them new. Scout around yard sales and thrift shops and see what you can pick up. These tools haven’t changed shape dramatically in a very long time, so buying old is a great way to get decent tools without paying big bucks. Look for good quality and buy those with sturdy handles and no damage to the metal work. When you get them home, give them a good clean with soap and water, then apply a coat of linseed oil, if you have some, or shoe polish if you don’t. Old-fashioned shoe polish is a wax, it will protect the handles but remember to reapply on a regular basis (about every second month) or after the handles have been wet. Make sure you rub the polish in well or you'll have brown hands when you use your tools again.

Your tools will last for many years, they’ll last a lifetime if you look after them, so it’s a good investment of your time to have a maintenance plan and stick to it. Spray all metal parts with something like WD40 every couple of months – this prevents rusting.. Never store your tools without removing dirt clumps and seeds etc. Give them a quick wash with the hose, dry and store them out of the weather in a shed or garage.

A RUNDOWN OF WHAT YOUR TOOLS DO
Metal Rake
Select a rake that feels good to you when you hold it. You’ll use this rake for levelling soil after you weed and before you plant. It makes the garden bed nice and smooth and free of big lump. That enables small plants and seedlings to get a flying start without having to push their way through rubbish that shouldn’t be on the garden bed.

Shovel
One of the important tools is a shovel. You use this for digging, turning over soil, moving dirt from one place to another, for edging garden beds and whole lot of other things that you’ll discover when you start gardening. There are many different types of shovels, there are even shovels designed specifically for women. When choosing your shovel, try it and make sure it’s right for you and isn’t too big or heavy.

Hoe
A hoe will help you keep weeds under control. It makes it easier to get into those little spaces between plants. You can also use your hoe to smooth out the soil before planting There are many different types of hoe, you need a common garden hoe but you could also use a Dutch hoe. Both will serve your purpose.

Trowel
A trowel is like a little shovel. It’s used for cultivating around plants, digging small holes for planting and for moving small amounts of soil around. When buying your trowel, make sure the neck is strong and check that the connections are tight.

Fork
A fork will help you cultivate the soil to a fine tilth which will help you grow healthy plants. A fork makes it easier to dig into heavy soil and will break up the dirt enough for you to use a shovel.

Shears
I almost put shears in the must have list but you can do without them for a while. When your plants start growing you’ll need shears for pruning and picking off diseased branches.

Hold on to your gardening hats, girls, tomorrow I’ll write about seeds - how to select, sow, save and store them.
 

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Thanks Rhonda. Even though I am not a beginner gardener. We are starting new this year. And I needed a reminder about how to treat my tools :shame:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
SEEDS :tom: :carrot: :cherry:

When you think about it, a seed is an amazing thing. Given the right conditions, it contains everything necessary to grow into whatever species it happens to be. It’s a dried up hard packet of potential life. How good is that!

The most frugal way of growing vegetables is to grow from seeds. The most frugal seeds are those you save from last year’s harvest or swap with someone in your neighbourhood. But first things first, you can’t save seed until you’ve harvested a crop.

I believe the best seeds to choose are open pollinated types. In the old days all seeds were open pollinated but as a result of pressure from supermarkets several decades ago some seed companies started to hybridise. In effect what they did was to breed vegetables for specific purposes and size. In the case of tomatoes, old fashioned tomatoes were mainly the big beef heart types, these were no good for supermarkets. They had delicate skin that didn’t travel or store well and when trying to weigh a pound of tomatoes, two tomatoes where often well over a pound. So seed companies developed tomatoes with tougher skin that were smaller and generally would weigh up as four to a pound. The problem was that when they were reinventing the tomato wheel, they forget to include the taste factor. When you taste a home grown open pollinated tomato it will taste like tomatoes used to taste like, it’s a hundred times better than a supermarket tomato. Aside from the superior taste, open pollinated vegetables are capable of passing on exactly the same characteristics to each generation. If you use seeds from hybrid vegies, sometimes the seeds will be sterile and sometimes they’ll not grow to type. You might be expecting a medium sized sweet tomato and you’ll get a small bitter one. Hybrid vegies can throw back to any of the types used to create it. So in essence, every year you will need to buy new seeds instead of being able to save the seeds from open pollinated vegies.

Another advantage to growing open pollinated seeds is that they will modify themselves to suit your growing conditions. According to the Seed Savers website: “Food plants, grown organically, that have adapted themselves to your garden over generations of seed saving, will perform noticeably better in your kitchen than generalized hybrid plants, grown by chemical methods far away from your region, and subject to transportation and storage.”

I hope this has convinced you to start off with heirloom or open pollinated seeds. Don’t worry if you go the other road but in the future, when you can afford it or when you want to eat food like your grandma had, go the open pollinated route.

BTW, an heirloom seed is an open pollinated one that has been passed down through families or neighbourhoods. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some heirloom seeds or may be able to get some if your family or friends have been gardeners.

Here are two links for buying open pollinated seeds, The first one has other links for many American states and Canadian provinces:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/seeds.htm
http://www.victoryseeds.com/catalog/main_vegies.html

Do you have a list of things you’d like to grow? Don’t be over ambitious in your first few years of gardening. There’ll be a lot to learn and there is work involved in bringing your crops to harvest. Go slow to start off with and add a couple of new vegies every year until you’ve reach your vegetable growing goal.

If you don’t have any idea about what you want to grow but like the idea of gardening, growing your own food, or living organically, then make a list of the vegetables you enjoy eating. Don’t grow what you won’t eat. Your list will probably include tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and beans and if it does, that’s great because they are all easy to grow.

I’m going to concentrate on these four vegetables as they are probably the most commonly grown. I’m also assuming that you will start off your seeds in seed trays and then plant them out when they reach a certain height. Planting seeds in seed trays has distinct advantages as you can have your seedlings ready as soon as the danger of frost is over, you can protect the seeds and emerging seedlings from birds and insects and you can protect them from wind and very cold weather by moving them around.

Pots and containers should be very clean before you plant your seeds. You can prepare your container by cleaning it in one part bleach to nine parts water, Your seeds can be planted in any clean pot or container – yoghurt tubs, milk cartons, cardboard egg cartons are all ok for planting in, so are the plastic seedling tray you buy or find.

TOMATO SEEDS :tom:
Fill your container with good quality soil mix. If you can get some seed raising mix, so much the better. This is not garden soil but a special blend of finely sieved mix that has been sterilised. Make a little dent in the surface and place your seed about 3-5mm deep and cover with the mix. Water them lightly with a plastic spray bottle if possible, or a gentle hose spray. Keep the container in a warm, sheltered, light spot and the seedlings will emerge in around 7 – 14 days. Make sure you label your seeds so you know which ones they are.
If you sow several seeds in the one container, thin them out to give the little seedling space to grow. Don’t let the seedlings dry out. When they are about 8cm tall move out into a sunny spot to continue growing. When they’ve reached 10-12cm high, they are ready to transplant into the garden.

LETTUCE SEEDS :clover:
Fill your container with damp potting mix and make a little dent in the surface. Push in two seeds with your little finger and cover with a small amount of soil mix. Spray mist the tray making sure the soil mix is moist but not soggy. Label with name and date. Do not let the seeds dry out and make sure you spray mist them every day. The seedlings should pop up in around 5 days. When you have your first set of leaves you can water the lettuce with a very weak mixture of organic liquid fertiliser. The rate should be around ¼ strength that is recommended on the bottle. Leafy green vegetables benefit from this application of weak fertiliser, many vegetables do not. In fact if you apply fertilizer to your tomato seedlings, you get huge green bushes and few tomatoes.
When the lettuces come up and you planted a lot of seeds together, thin them out by pulling out the less healthy ones. Continue to water with your spray bottle and use the weak fertiliser once a week. When the lettuce are around 2 weeks old, take them to a warm sunny spot and leave them out to acclimatise before they are planted in the garden. Don’t forget to bring them inside again if there’s a danger of frost.

CARROT SEEDS :carrot:
Carrots need good deep soil to grow in and don’t like growing in seedling trays. They are tiny seeds that are difficult to deal with but you can sow them directly into the garden bed using the following method:
Take a cup full of lukewarm water and add a teaspoon of cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is thickish. Add the carrot seeds to this mixture and fill a clean, plastic squeezer bottle with the mixture. You can use this bottle to squeeze in a line of carrot seeds into your prepared garden bed. More about soil preparation later.

BEAN SEEDS :rcloud:
Beans are best sown directly into their growing spot but if you want to be prepared with beans ahead of time, sow them in trays along with your other seedlings. Prepare you trays just like before and fill with soil mix, but this time make sure the soil is moist. Plant one bean per space or several over the top of a larger container. Press them into the soil slightly and cover with soil and spray with the spray bottle of water. Do not let them dry out. The seedlings will emerge in about 7 – 10 days and should be hardened off in a warm sunny position for about a week before you plant them into the garden bed.

ALL SEEDS
If it’s very cold, covering the seed trays with a plastic bag will help germination. Certain vegetables such as beans and tomatoes, as well as others, need to be supported as they grow. I’ll deal with this when I talk about soil preparation in my next article.

I’ll write about saving and storing seeds in a later article. This one is getting too big.

Girls, if you have any questions about any of the above, or if there is a vegie that you want to grow that I haven’t written about, PM me and I’ll include your request for you and the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
FEED THE SOIL, NOT THE PLANT

One of the main principles of organic gardening is to build healthy soil that enables plants to grow and bear fruit. If you build up your soil and keep increasing the amount of organic matter you add to it each year, it will reward you with a bountiful harvest year after year.

You don’t really need to know what type of soil you have because it will all benefit from having compost added to it. If you have sandy soil, the solution is to add compost and as much organic matter to increase the water holding capabilities and structure of the soil. If your soil is clay, the solution is to add compost to help break up the thick glug that doesn’t allow adequate aeration of plant roots. Actually, clay soil is full of nutrients, it’s just that it’s trapped in a structure that is so sticky that it can’t be accessed by plants. If you’re blessed with good loamy soil, you guessed it, it will be greatly improved by adding organic matter.

Organic matter is basically anything that was once alive. There is one exception to this rule though, don’t add meat or anything that will attract rodents or other wandering wildlife. :paw: The usual things that are added to soil to build it up are:
grass clippings
newspaper
shredded computer paper
ripped up cardboard – not coloured cardboard
fruit and vegetable peelings
crushed egg shells
straw and hay.
Other not so usual things, but still valuable additions are:
hair - animal or human
the contents of your vacuum cleaner
tea bags, loose tea leaves, coffee grounds and coffee filters
saw dust and untreated wood shavings
wool and cotton clothing
seaweed
poultry manure and manure from non-meat eating animals. It’s a good idea to avoid using manure from meat eating animals as it contains dangerous pathogens. :purpcat:

Theoretically you could bury all the above onto your garden bed and it would eventually rot down. A far better way it to make compost – nature’s fertiliser.

Composting takes place when various plant matter, cuttings, paper, peels, lawn clippings and whatever else you use is broken down by worms, bugs, good bacteria and fungi. All these little creatures process your waste materials and mix it all together so that what was once a pile of lawn clippings, cabbage leaves and apple cores turns into dark brown, sweet smelling compost that will make your plants grow like the dickens. The smart side benefit of this, apart from all the goodness in your garden, is that you’ll be cutting down on what you throw out in your garbage each week that would have once gone to the ever growing pile of landfill.

The principle of composting is to add things that are mainly dry and carbon-based – paper, straw etc to things that are wet and nitrogen based – vegetable peelings and lawn clippings etc. You mix all this together with some manure, give it moisture and air, by mxing it with a fork, and voila! :hocus: Compost.

You can make compost on the open ground or in a container. A compost bin uses the same materials as an open pile and has the advantage of being smaller and out of sight.

Spring is the best time to start a compost pile. You’ll have plenty of grass clippings and other material then. Start collecting newspaper and cardboard now. In the past, newspaper and computer print was toxic. Now, most print is okay to use except for coloured print and photos. So never use coloured segments from newspapers and don’t use magazines.

The more you fiddle around with your compost pile by turning it over and keeping it moist, the quicker your compost will mature. Try to get into the habit of turning it once a fortnight. If you just heap it up and leave it there, it will eventually turn into compost, but it will take a very long time. So be proactive and help the pile along, it will reward you.

HOW TO MAKE COMPOST
Choose a site that is fairly close to your kitchen door and also close to your proposed garden. If it is next to the garden or in it, that’s ideal. The site should be well drained and level. If you can support three sides of the compost pile so much the better. You can use hay bales, bricks, wire or untreated wood to support the compost.

:apple: :ban: :cherry: :carrot: :tom: :toast:
Lay a base of lawn clippings, straw or shredded paper about 15cms (six inches) high over an area of around 1 metre (3 feet) square. You are aiming for maximum internal area with a minimum external area so try to keep the sides rising up as vertically as possible. Add a layer of manure and kitchen scraps or any of your saved green waste. Don’t add anything that clumps up. Try to fluff up everything that you add to allow maximum aeration of the pile. This helps with decomposition. Depending on what you have to add to the pile, you want to add layers of alternating green or wet waste – kitchen scraps/lawn clippings etc to brown or dry waste – straw, newspaper etc. Every so often you need a layer of manure, dried poultry manure pellets or comfrey to activate the pile and keep it decomposing. Keep your hose close by so that you can moisten each layer. Ideally you’ll build a pile that’s a metre tall, but you probably won’t have enough material to complete your pile unless you’ve been out collecting like a mad woman.

When you run out of material, water the pile so that it’s moist but not soggy. Never let the pile dry out and this slows down the rate of decomposition.

Now you have the beginnings of your compost. Stand back and marvel at this pile of pure gold.

Over the following days, save everything you can to add to your pile. Decluttering? Add old, ratty pure wool jackets and pants or anything cotton to the pile. Cut them into little pieces first. Any old books? :read: Rip up the non-coloured pages and add them to your mix. All your kitchen waste, old letters, crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, whatever you can lay your hands on. The list is endless. Just remember when you’ve added a layer of dry, add a layer of wet and an activator such as comfrey or manure. In no time you’ll have your compost ready to go. Don’t forget to turn it to help it along.

You’ll notice that the compost pile will keep getting smaller as it decomposes. This is a good sign as it means all the bugs and bacteria are doing their best to turn your rubbish into compost. Keep adding your layers, keep collecting and keep turning.

I can’t tell you a definitive time that it will take to make compost as it depends so much on weather conditions, how much you turn it and what’s in the pile. However, a good pile that’s looked after in warmish weather should be ready to use in 6 – 8 weeks.

FEEDING THE SOIL
Mark out the garden beds where you’ll plant your vegetables and dig them over, removing all weeds as you go.

When your compost is ready to use it can be used in two ways. One is to apply it to your garden beds and dig it in, the other it to use it in the planting holes you make for each of your plants. The better way, I think, is to apply it to your garden bed. You’ll use more compost but you need to build up your soil as much as possible.

Each year at the end of your growing season your soil’s fertility should have improved over the previous year. :pumpkin: All the vegetables you grow will take nutrients from the soil but if you keep up your composting you’ll easily replace this, plus some. Some plants, such as legumes – beans, peas, peanuts etc will actually add nitrogen to your soil so they are great to grow.

It’s a good idea to put your vegetable garden to bed for the winter with a blanket of hay or straw. It will protect the soil from the winter cold and will break down and add to the soil and be ready for new compost in the following year.

I was going to include a section on plant rotation here but, as usual, the length of the article is a problem. I’ll add it at a later date.
 

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Thank you Rhonda for posting this. I was curious about starting a compost and I think you have answered my questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
CROP ROTATION
Plants take and add different elements to the soil so it’s a good idea to use the principles of crop rotation when vegetable gardening. Crop rotation is very effective because diseases and pests cannot establish due to the annual movement of the beds. Insects and disease can over-winter in the soil and wait for that same vegetable to reappear and continue their life cycle. We are too smart for that. We rotate. :)

This form of crop rotation uses six garden beds, they don’t have to be big. If you intend growing potatoes at some point, you’ll need another bed. So in your first year we’ll start off with tomatoes and peppers in the same bed – bed one.

Bed two is the onion family – onions, leeks, garlic, spring onions, chives. They like alkaline soil, so before planting out onions, apply lime to the soil – it’s organic, so don’t think you’re applying poison.

Bed three will be occupied by legumes - peas and beans. Legumes will fill the soil with nitrogen because they grow little nitrogen nodules on their roots.

Bed four is for vegetables that love nitrogen - cabbages, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuces and silver beet.

Bed five is for the root crops - carrots, parsnips and beetroot that don’t need much manure.

Bed six is for tender vegies that like fertilizer, so you’ll have to add some of your fabulous compost or well rotted manure. This bed will grow sweet corn, pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini, they will live happily together in one bed.

Year two
Every crop moves to the next bed, so bed six moves to bed one, bed two moves to bed three and so forth. Every year, each crop moves one bed.

Tomorrow we’ll pretend it’s early spring and I’ll write about planting out your vegetables.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
PLANTING OUT :tom:
It’s early Spring and you can feel that it’s beginning to warm up. Now is the time to harden off your seedlings and plant them out into your prepared garden beds.

When all possibility of frost is gone, take your seedlings outside to harden off in the sun. You can put them, still in their containers, directly onto the garden bed they’ll be planted into or you can put them all together along a fence where they’ll get full sun during the day. Play it by ear and if you think it’ll be too cold for them at night, take them all in again to a protected area. The aim here is to get them slowly used to the outdoors so that by the time they are planted, they’ll be strong enough to withstand it. If they stay outside, check them everyday and water them gently. Don’t allow them to dry out.

All seedlings need to be handled with care. They are baby plants, they are easy to kill. I use an old grapefruit knife that helps me ease a plant from the seedling tray, see if you can find a narrow tool like a knife of some sort. You want the blade to be bendable. There are lots of things in the house that can help you with gardening, they don’t need to be “proper” tools.

Just a quick word on tomato seedlings. They can be transplanted to larger pots if they outgrow their seedling tray. In fact, doing this is beneficial to the plants. You don’t want your seedlings to be long and lanky when you plant them out. If you transplant the tomatoes to their own small pot, they will continue to thrive until they are planted and will be much stronger than if left in the tray. When you plant them into a pot, bury the stem a little deeper into the potting mix. Tomatoes can send out roots anywhere along their stems so if you do this it will result in stronger plants with more fruit.

PREPARING THE SOIL
All your vegetables will need to be planted in full sun. At least a week or two before you plant out, prepare your garden beds for the seedlings. Mark out your beds, cut along the edges or frame them with untreated timber or bricks. Don’t dig too deeply, just dig over a shovel depth and turn it over, breaking up the clumps. Remove all weeds, rake it and apply your compost. Gently work the compost into the soil with your rake or shovel. Water the bed gently and leave it until you plant out.

PLANTING OUT
Before you do anything, water all your seedlings so they’ll have enough water in their system to withstand transplanting.

Tomatoes :tom::tom:
Requirements
Seedlings, bucket full of compost, garden stakes, trowel, watering can, sulphate of potash, sea weed extract, hose.

Get enough garden stakes for the number of tomato plants you have and hammer the stakes in the ground where you will plant the tomatoes. You’ll need about three feet between your plants. At the base of each of the stakes, dig a hole about six inches wide and six inches deep and put in a handful of compost. Gently tap the tomato out of its pot and without disturbing any roots, plant it in the hole, burying ¾ of the stem. You just want the top ¼ of the plant poking out of the ground as this will encourage many more roots to form and will accelerate growth. You won’t need to tie the plant to the stake yet, but as soon as it grows enough, gently secure each tomato to its stake. You’ll have to monitor the tomatoes as they grow and retie them as they require more support. Apply a small amount of sulphate of potash (organic) to promote flowers and an application of seaweed extract. Never apply nitrogen fertilizer to tomatoes as it encourages green growth but no flowers. There will be enough goodness in the compost to make them grow strong and healthy.

Beans
Requirements
Seeds or seedlings, bucket full of compost, climbing frames or tee pees, trowel, watering can, sulphate of potash, hose.

Beans are best sown directly as seeds into the garden bed, but if you’ve already started them in seedling trays, make sure they’re hardened off and be careful not to disturb their roots when transplanting.

Fix your climbing frame in place – this can be two garden stakes with chicken wire between them or four bamboo stakes tied together at the top, tee pee style, you’ll need a few of these. If you’re using a wire frame prepare the soil with a layer of compost and poke a bean seed one inch deep in the soil along the base of the frame, about 12 inches apart. If you’re using a tee pee, poke a seed one inch deep into the soil at the base of each bamboo pole. Beans don’t need much fertilizing so just water them in. When they start to grow, the bean will slowly climb up their supports, they don’t have to be tied. In a week or two they’ll need an application of sulphate of potash to encourage flowers.

Lettuce :clover: :clover:
Requirements
Seedlings, bucket full of compost, trowel, watering can, liquid organic compost, hose.

Count how many lettuces you have to plant and make the appropriate number of holes about three inches deep and 20 inches apart. Place a handful of compost in each hold. Carefully take all your well watered lettuce seedlings from their growing tray and place them into the prepared hole. Make sure you plant them at the same level they were at in their seedling tray, so the base of the lettuce is level with the garden bed. Burying lettuces deep in the soil like you did with the tomatoes will kill them. Water the plants in gently and then apply a ½ strength application of liquid organic fertilizer. Green leafy vegetables love nitrogen and applying it at half strength on a weekly basis will help them grow fast. Lettuces are almost all water, make sure you keep them well watered so they grow fast. When lettuces grow slowly, and when they are old, they develop a bitter taste. Push them along with weak organic fertilizer and water and they won’t look back.

Successive plantings of lettuce seedlings, 14 days apart, will give you a constant supply of lettuce to eat and share.

CARROTS
Requirements
Seedlings, bucket full of compost, trowel, watering can, liquid organic compost, hose.

Using your trowel, dig narrow drills one inch deep and about eight inches apart. Sprinkle a layer of compost along the drill. Make up your carrot seed mixture in a squeeze bottle (see instructions on carrot seed section above) and walk along the drill squirting a line of the carrot seed mix into the drill. Backfill with soil, covering the seeds with a thin layer of soil.

When the carrots start growing you might need to thin them out. Do this late in the day when carrot fly is not about. These tiny flies lay their eggs in loose soil near the carrot. Crowded carrots will be disfigured and small. Put the thinned out carrots in your compost, they are not good to replant.

Carrots don’t need much in the way of fertilizer, the compost you applied should be enough for them.
 

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Rhonda, I've just re-read this about the composting ---- it hadn't sunk in before that you can add paper to the compost heap! Wow! Now I have a place for all my junk envelopes! I'm guessing no glossy paper (ie slick ads from junk mail) should go in since it says no magazines. And cut up cloth?!?! What a great idea!

I'm getting ready to ask my co-workers for their grass clippings. Our mower does not have a grass catcher and even though it would be great for my waistline, I don't think I want to rake my yard to gather them up. So if I can find bagged clippings from these folks at work, then I will use those.

And I've been saving the Wall Street Journal we get daily at the office.

Thanks for the info!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jean, you shouldn't add any coloured paper to your compost as the dyes are toxic. I never add glossy paper either, although some people say it's ok, generally it's coloured anyway and I think it's not a good addition.

As a rule of thumb, you can add anything that was previously alive so paper, cotton, linen are all fine.

If you get grass clippings you'll notice a big difference in how quickly your compost will decompose. It heats up the compost and accelerates the decomposition incredibly. Don't forget to layer the grass clippings as if you add it all in one blob, it will just sit there and matt up, not allowing the rain or hose water to enter the heap. So add a thick layer of clippings, then a layer of vegetable peelings and paper etc.

Good luck with your compost. :)
 

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Thanks for all this info!, I am hoping that the area in our garden I've allotted as a veg garden will be ready to strat planting next spring.
 

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This is a response to an old post, but wanted to say Thanks Rhonda for teaching me about the best seeds to use, and why, along with crop rotation info. I've been building my compost piles all last year and this Spring will put in my six planting beds. Your info was just what I needed. Thanks again!!
 

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Thanks! I need this level of instruction!
 

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ohhhh cool!

thanks so much for pushing this back to the top!!

:D
 

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Thanks for the updates.
 

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This is perfect - it is exactly the information I needed, since I have been wondering where to start.

I am wondering, can my 6 beds be raised beds? My yard has lots of rocks in it, so I was thinking to build raised beds for gardening. What are your tips for raised bed gardening? Do you start out the exact same way, and what kind of soil should I purchase to mix with my compost?
 

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Daisygirl, if you have rocks raised beds would be best. I like having the raised beds because I turn my soil over (we have lots of rocks also). You might check with local gardening clubs on soil.. We purchased ours through one and it was a mix of soil and compost. It was very rich and the plants grew huge last year.
 

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this thread is so informative! I am a begginer at gardening, though as a child we always had a vegetable garden-I am planning a garden for the spring! thank you-

patty
 

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Desire to Garden

My parents always had a tremendous garden. Many times I think I am too busy to devote time to planting and tending to a garden. However, as I look back I realized how hard my parents worked at other jobs and still found time to grow a wonderful garden. I believe they found therapy in gardening in addition to saving money and having tasty food during the winter months......
nurseliz......:nurse:
 
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