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I can't grow actual grass without fertilizer, weeders and grub control. All of those chemicals say don't use in food crops. What's the secret?

Mike
Which chemicals are you talking about and what are you wanting to do or use in the vegetables? Depends on the chemical. I use the chemical fertilizers like almost every farmer uses. There are only certain chemicals non-farmers can buy. Farmers have a license to buy them. They have to take continuing ed. If you, as a non-farmer, can buy it you can use it. Otherwise you can't use most chemicals.
 

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Mike,
Nitrogen is corns best friend. If I were starting a new patch I would till in some triple 12 then plant the corn. Once the plants are about a foot high I would till between the rows and spread buckwheat all over the place. The buckwheat should go to seed around the time your corn is about ready. Till the rows again and pick when it's ready. Mow down the stalks after picking and let the buckwheat take over. At this point you can either just let the buckwheat do its own thing naturally or till it under again once it goes to seed. By the time you are ready to garden again the buckwheat will have popped back up and will make good fertilizer when you till it under to start planting. It will also have broken the soil up pretty well and left a good seed bed.
If you think buckwheat isn't for you, I would still till in the triple 12. Again when the corn is about a foot tall toss some more triple 12 or a nitrogen specific fertilizer down the rows and till down the rows. Then just before the corn is ready till down the rows again.
You have to be careful with fertilizers like that. You can ruin your soil. So you would need to rotate your crops. With the buckwheat I wouldn't be afraid to keep the corn in the same spot for a few years.

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I had been trying to only cut our field every couple of weeks but with all of this rain our chicken coop is a mud pit. I was forced to mow the field in order to use it to line the chicken coop. Works great for a day or two then they trample it down and the mud pit returned.

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I can't grow green peppers to save my life. The plants stay small and I get a handful of small peppers but never anything to brag about.

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I never had much luck with peppers until mixing in that Earthgrow Cow Manure and Organic Compost from WalMart in the dirt. A fairly good amount. In the yellow and white bags. Then using grass for mulch around the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #267
I can't grow green peppers to save my life. The plants stay small and I get a handful of small peppers but never anything to brag about.

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Probably best to have a soil test done this Fall. Go to your County Extension Agents office, and they will give you instructions on how to collect samples, and should have sample bags to put samples in. Soil tests are done there at UK, and you should have results back within a week. Last I had done were $8 ea., for the basic test. There's quite an extensive list for other items to be tested for, with additional cost.

That way, you'll be ready for next Spring, and apply the proper amendments. Depending on your location, I wouldn't think it would be a calcium deficiency, in limestone rich Ky. Could be a magnesium deficiency, or something just locking the nutrients, so the plants can't pick them up. Once you get the report back, your extension agent should be more than happy to go over it with you, and make recommended amendments to get you on track.

Your tax dollars are paying for that service, you may as well get some benefit from it. Our extension agent here is great, and always willing to provide information needed.
 

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The garden was going great guns, and then the critters found it. Two weeks ago I discovered a young rabbit among the plants, and I went on a quest to shore up my defenses. I bought ‘Liquid Fence’ until my chicken wire arrived, and spent the 4th of July and following weekend securing the border. My cheap wire failed (got what I paid for) and the repellent was useless: I went out Friday to water and found the cukes had been chomped and the bunny staring out from under the peppers.

I was all set to buy better fencing (1” chicken wire vs 2”) when I saw another free loader, this time moving through the pumpkins: woodchuck! This explained the vast amount of damage the cukes had sustained. The little sucker (fairly young) struggled his fat body under the fence and waddled off to nearby woods. New wire won’t fix this. I found him in the beans later on and gave him a good scare (actually poked the critter with a pole) and was amazed at how he maneuvered out under the wire as he fled to the other side of the garden.

I won’t kill him (yet): I shot one years ago but it didn’t keep others away. I priced electric fence as my only true option and have piled up and weighted down logs, boards, and metal poles along the weakest sides of the perimeter but haven’t determined all aspects for electrifying the area. I’m also trying to get a refund on my “money back guarantee” for the repellent. At $24 the stuff should have done better.

I've been using a similar charger like this https://www.thehardwarecity.com/products/PG-50-PET-GARD-Electric-Fencer/0002850?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIg6X6nYy84wIVkJOzCh3pjwaOEAQYByABEgICrvD_BwE for years. They have a continuous voltage, and no pulsating. I have some wooden stakes I drive in, with insulators set at approx. 6" & 12" off the ground, to keep small critters out of the garden. Some got bad over the years, so I replaced them with the round fiberglass one's from TSC, or Rural King. For Deer, I'd suggest the taller steel T-posts. TSC, or Rural King generally run them on sale a couple times a year. When they did, I'd buy a couple bundles of 5. Fair warning on using a charger, you'll probably kill a few birds over the season. I'll find an occasional Robin, where apparently they were picking a bug off a wire, and it gets them. 4-5 years ago, I also got a Hummingbird. 3 years ago, a 'Possum got underneath it, and apparently locked it up, and it literally reduced it to a smelly gob of yuck in 2 days, as I'd just cultivated, and hoed that area 3 days before. I caught wind of it, and went to investigate, thinking it was maybe road kill, and found it. Yuck....

Today, I'm going to start putting some up. I have a Doe Deer eating everything in the garden. My pole beans are nothing but vines, with a few leaves, she ate over half my cucumber plants, tops the tomatoes, which are normally by now 12" to 18" above the cages pruned down to about 24" to 30", that are in cages. I've been dusting with hydrated lime to keep her from eating it, but with the rain, I have to do it quite often. She ate my Snap Peas back 5 times, eating new growth before I got it dusted, and pulled 3/4 of the vines out when she did. What was left. died when our monsoon season went to 90º + temps. And I was really hoping to put some in the freezer for this winter.

She's even topped most of the Sunflowers I planted to make a hedge fence to keep Deer out, which has always worked in the past. Deer would occasionally browse on a very few, but nothing like this girl. So, I'll put the fence up outside the Sunflowers, hoping they will grow,and block her view, IF they will continue to grow. I planted a row of pole beans yesterday where the peas were, utilizing the trellis already in place.

I'm going to try using the poly rope I've had for a while for the horse pasture, instead of the wire. Using the wire is OK, but gets to be a PIA, when taking it down, and putting up the following year, as it can get tangled, unless you have some sort of means to wrap/roll it up on something. I've got some MIG wire empty rollsI'll wrap it back up on, just hoping it will work.
 

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I've been using a similar charger like this https://www.thehardwarecity.com/products/PG-50-PET-GARD-Electric-Fencer/0002850?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIg6X6nYy84wIVkJOzCh3pjwaOEAQYByABEgICrvD_BwE for years. They have a continuous voltage, and no pulsating. I have some wooden stakes I drive in, with insulators set at approx. 6" & 12" off the ground, to keep small critters out of the garden. Some got bad over the years, so I replaced them with the round fiberglass one's from TSC, or Rural King. For Deer, I'd suggest the taller steel T-posts. TSC, or Rural King generally run them on sale a couple times a year. When they did, I'd buy a couple bundles of 5. Fair warning on using a charger, you'll probably kill a few birds over the season. I'll find an occasional Robin, where apparently they were picking a bug off a wire, and it gets them. 4-5 years ago, I also got a Hummingbird. 3 years ago, a 'Possum got underneath it, and apparently locked it up, and it literally reduced it to a smelly gob of yuck in 2 days, as I'd just cultivated, and hoed that area 3 days before. I caught wind of it, and went to investigate, thinking it was maybe road kill, and found it. Yuck....

Today, I'm going to start putting some up. I have a Doe Deer eating everything in the garden. My pole beans are nothing but vines, with a few leaves, she ate over half my cucumber plants, tops the tomatoes, which are normally by now 12" to 18" above the cages pruned down to about 24" to 30", that are in cages. I've been dusting with hydrated lime to keep her from eating it, but with the rain, I have to do it quite often. She ate my Snap Peas back 5 times, eating new growth before I got it dusted, and pulled 3/4 of the vines out when she did. What was left. died when our monsoon season went to 90º + temps. And I was really hoping to put some in the freezer for this winter.

She's even topped most of the Sunflowers I planted to make a hedge fence to keep Deer out, which has always worked in the past. Deer would occasionally browse on a very few, but nothing like this girl. So, I'll put the fence up outside the Sunflowers, hoping they will grow,and block her view, IF they will continue to grow. I planted a row of pole beans yesterday where the peas were, utilizing the trellis already in place.

I'm going to try using the poly rope I've had for a while for the horse pasture, instead of the wire. Using the wire is OK, but gets to be a PIA, when taking it down, and putting up the following year, as it can get tangled, unless you have some sort of means to wrap/roll it up on something. I've got some MIG wire empty rollsI'll wrap it back up on, just hoping it will work.
It’s been discouraging, watching my cukes get leveled and wondering what the woodchuck will get next. Ive mixed up a batch of cayenne to spray and it’s steeping while the rains run through. The young woodchuck got ‘through’ the fence, through the 2x4” heavier wire, and was struggling to get out a different spot when it heard me. It got its head stuck in the chicken wire, temporarily, before exiting elsewhere. I say young because I saw one in the dog’s yard yesterday that looked bigger!

Thank you for the fence info. How do you ground yours? I’ve been reading (too much) on how to ground a fence. One side of the garden perimeter has a barren and dry surface (I took out a lot of weeds there when putting up my useless chicken wire) and I’m worried how I’ll run this. Also, I keep seeing pulse chargers are considered better for grassy or weedy runs like two sides of the fence. I liked the thought of ploy rope but some reviews mention it melts where zapped during use.

Sorry to hear of your deer pest. I’m fortunate they haven’t tried jumping the 4’ fence here to explore...
 

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Discussion Starter #271
I made a protective box to put the charger in. I mounted it to an old sign post, I got in a pile of T-posts I got at a consignment auction. I found a stainless steel bolt in the misc. bolt bin, and tack welded it to the post for a positive connection. Then, just wrapped the ground wire around it, with nuts & washers either side of it. It's an "all in one" unit. I mounted the box about 16" below the top of the post, so I could hold it, while I drive the post in with a sledge.

The old one, I found a piece of 1/4" chrome plated brass pipe in the scrap, and attached the ground wire to it, with a regular electrical ground clamp. Just unhook it from the charger at the end of the season, and store it with the rest of it. But, any small pipe, or piece of rod will work. When it turns dry, I'll pour water around it to keep a good ground, since the ground rod/stake isn't in the earth very deep.

I'll keep that in mind with the poly rope. Reckon' I can just tie in a new piece if that happens. Sounds easier than fighting a tangled roll of wire installing, or taking it down. I normally check it every day anyway, unless weather deems otherwise.
 

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I hear that. I did the the last 2 years I had a garden and it worked awesome. Mow the yard and collect the grass, dump it in the garden. Till it up at the end of the year and you have compost. :tango_face_grin:

Last time I grew a garden, I tried for the first time to grow Cauliflower and Broccoli. It was the best I have ever eaten! So My old 40x 20 garden may get bigger so I can grow more of it. :tango_face_wink:
It is great doing it that way. Throw down some fertilize of some kind, and organic matter if wanted, till, plant seeds or put plants in, mulch with grass, when seeds are up of course, and water now and then if even needed or liquid fertilizer like Miracle Grow, or similar. I don't even cage or stake tomatoes when I use grass for mulch. Just let them grow however they want. Just need the space. I am going to, for the first time, mulch my recent plantings of late corn if the grass ever grows enough.
 

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Probably best to have a soil test done this Fall. Go to your County Extension Agents office, and they will give you instructions on how to collect samples, and should have sample bags to put samples in. Soil tests are done there at UK, and you should have results back within a week. Last I had done were $8 ea., for the basic test. There's quite an extensive list for other items to be tested for, with additional cost.

That way, you'll be ready for next Spring, and apply the proper amendments. Depending on your location, I wouldn't think it would be a calcium deficiency, in limestone rich Ky. Could be a magnesium deficiency, or something just locking the nutrients, so the plants can't pick them up. Once you get the report back, your extension agent should be more than happy to go over it with you, and make recommended amendments to get you on track.

Your tax dollars are paying for that service, you may as well get some benefit from it. Our extension agent here is great, and always willing to provide information needed.
I had our soil tested last Fall over at UConn ((URI, our aggie school, has us go there) and after following their recommendations for amendments I have some impressive plants! The plants are so prolific that I needed to have spaced them further apart and supported them better because I have a jungle of tomatoes encroaching on my peppers from one side, and huge squash plants on the other. I didn’t thin the plants as I was supposed to, either, because they’ve never grown so big. We haven’t had much yield yet due to this growth: some squash, lots of peas, some beans, and a few cukes. The peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are still developing fruits, and the gourds and pumpkins are spreading vines.

I made a protective box to put the charger in. I mounted it to an old sign post, I got in a pile of T-posts I got at a consignment auction. I found a stainless steel bolt in the misc. bolt bin, and tack welded it to the post for a positive connection. Then, just wrapped the ground wire around it, with nuts & washers either side of it. It's an "all in one" unit. I mounted the box about 16" below the top of the post, so I could hold it, while I drive the post in with a sledge.

The old one, I found a piece of 1/4" chrome plated brass pipe in the scrap, and attached the ground wire to it, with a regular electrical ground clamp. Just unhook it from the charger at the end of the season, and store it with the rest of it. But, any small pipe, or piece of rod will work. When it turns dry, I'll pour water around it to keep a good ground, since the ground rod/stake isn't in the earth very deep.

I'll keep that in mind with the poly rope. Reckon' I can just tie in a new piece if that happens. Sounds easier than fighting a tangled roll of wire installing, or taking it down. I normally check it every day anyway, unless weather deems otherwise.
Thanks for this information. There are so many ‘scholarly’ articles out there that it’s good to hear first hand experience that doesn’t follow their pattern yet gives good results.

The Jungle
 

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I had our soil tested last Fall over at UConn ((URI, our aggie school, has us go there) and after following their recommendations for amendments I have some impressive plants! The plants are so prolific that I needed to have spaced them further apart and supported them better because I have a jungle of tomatoes encroaching on my peppers from one side, and huge squash plants on the other. I didn’t thin the plants as I was supposed to, either, because they’ve never grown so big. We haven’t had much yield yet due to this growth: some squash, lots of peas, some beans, and a few cukes. The peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are still developing fruits, and the gourds and pumpkins are spreading vines.



Thanks for this information. There are so many ‘scholarly’ articles out there that it’s good to hear first hand experience that doesn’t follow their pattern yet gives good results.

The Jungle
You have some neat garden pics. I bought a tow behind 36" tiller. I've pulled it with my Troy Bilt 7 speed Pony tractor and a JD GT 245 tractor. No work on the tractors at all in the least.
 

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Discussion Starter #275
Something else I've done in the past, and not so much rain, is make Compost Tea. Just a simple version using 35 gal plastic trash cans, filling with water. Take an old pillow case, and fill 3/4 full with either composted leaves, or Mushroom compost, from a big box store. A 50 lb. bag was $5.00 last I bought. Tie a string (I used twine), and tie it to the trash can handle. Make it long enough the pillow case can rest on the bottom.

I usually start the batch in the evening, then every morning when I get done with the chores, I'll walk by, and pull it up, and let it settle 5-6 times, like dunking a tea bag, then let settle to the bottom again. I'll do this for 3 mornings, then use it that 3rd evening. I'll start another batch, when I'm done, rinsing out the can, so it don't turn anaerobic. I have enough garden, I go in rotation, so every plants gets a shot every 6-9 days. Once the corn got too tall to walk down between rows, I just used it on everything else. It's just something you have to try, and see the difference. You can do part of the plants, and compare. I can say, I had some pretty impressive results. There are a lot of recipe's out there for it, but had great results with just leaves, or the mushroom compost.

The best thing, you can't give the plants too much. I can't help but thinking, with mulching with leaves, every time it rains, everything is getting a shot of weak compost tea. If the rains slack off here, I'll start making some. We've been lucky to go 3 days without decent amount of rain. I've been very lucky here, and have missed 90% of the torrential downpours, that have fallen within just a few miles.
 

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You have some neat garden pics. I bought a tow behind 36" tiller. I've pulled it with my Troy Bilt 7 speed Pony tractor and a JD GT 245 tractor. No work on the tractors at all in the least.
Thanks! The pics are my phenological record, in a way; I look back to see what was happening when to see how I’m doing and what I should change (like my spacing, and maybe I have too much nitrogen after side-dressing with some 10-10-10). And it’s just fun to see progress (hopefully).

I love my little Pony rear-tine tiller. I could never get a tractor-drawn one in my little garden.

These are plants last July 19th- such a difference! We had already picked one pepper by then: we still have little buttons at the moment but at least they look healthy. I need to stake them this year.
 

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Something else I've done in the past, and not so much rain, is make Compost Tea. Just a simple version using 35 gal plastic trash cans, filling with water. Take an old pillow case, and fill 3/4 full with either composted leaves, or Mushroom compost, from a big box store. A 50 lb. bag was $5.00 last I bought. Tie a string (I used twine), and tie it to the trash can handle. Make it long enough the pillow case can rest on the bottom.

I usually start the batch in the evening, then every morning when I get done with the chores, I'll walk by, and pull it up, and let it settle 5-6 times, like dunking a tea bag, then let settle to the bottom again. I'll do this for 3 mornings, then use it that 3rd evening. I'll start another batch, when I'm done, rinsing out the can, so it don't turn anaerobic. I have enough garden, I go in rotation, so every plants gets a shot every 6-9 days. Once the corn got too tall to walk down between rows, I just used it on everything else. It's just something you have to try, and see the difference. You can do part of the plants, and compare. I can say, I had some pretty impressive results. There are a lot of recipe's out there for it, but had great results with just leaves, or the mushroom compost.

The best thing, you can't give the plants too much. I can't help but thinking, with mulching with leaves, every time it rains, everything is getting a shot of weak compost tea. If the rains slack off here, I'll start making some. We've been lucky to go 3 days without decent amount of rain. I've been very lucky here, and have missed 90% of the torrential downpours, that have fallen within just a few miles.
I do about the same thing except I use cow manure from the neighbor and pour it slowly around the plant and try not to splash it on the plant.
 

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Thanks! The pics are my phenological record, in a way; I look back to see what was happening when to see how I’m doing and what I should change (like my spacing, and maybe I have too much nitrogen after side-dressing with some 10-10-10). And it’s just fun to see progress (hopefully).

I love my little Pony rear-tine tiller. I could never get a tractor-drawn one in my little garden.

These are plants last July 19th- such a difference! We had already picked one pepper by then: we still have little buttons at the moment but at least they look healthy. I need to stake them this year.
Good idea with the pics. Yes, you do have to have space to turn with a tow behind. I have a Troy Bilt Tuffy 3 horsepower rear tine tiller. I think it's 14". I have not seen many of them.
 

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I do about the same thing except I use cow manure from the neighbor and pour it slowly around the plant and try not to splash it on the plant.
I like the compost tea idea. Been thinking of trying it. Good to her it works well for both of you.
 

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You have some neat garden pics. I bought a tow behind 36" tiller. I've pulled it with my Troy Bilt 7 speed Pony tractor and a JD GT 245 tractor. No work on the tractors at all in the least.
Thanks! The pics are my phenological record, in a way; I look back to see what was happening when to see how I’m doing and what I should change (like my spacing, and maybe I have too much nitrogen after side-dressing with some 10-10-10). And it’s just fun to see progress (hopefully).

I love my little Pony rear-tine tiller. I could never get a tractor-drawn one in my little garden.

These are plants last July 19th- such a difference! We had already picked one pepper by then: we still have little buttons at the moment but at least they look healthy. I need to stake them this year.
Nice-looking garden, what are the big plants to the bottom left with the big leaves
 
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