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Post  CapeCoddess on 10/29/2018, 3:25 pm

Beautiful!  Well done!  What is the length and width of those beds?
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Post  OhioGardener on 10/29/2018, 6:09 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Beautiful!  Well done!  What is the length and width of those beds?

3.5' x 14' x 18" high
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Post  OhioGardener on 11/16/2018, 3:24 pm

The cover crop Winter Rye (aka Cereal Rye) is poking out of the snow cover on the beds.  It can't wait for spring!  Very Happy
 

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Post  sanderson on 11/17/2018, 3:36 am

I love you

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Post  OhioGardener on 4/5/2019, 7:16 pm

Got a busy weekend planned for the raised beds.  This afternoon I started a 15-gallon brewer of Actively Aerated Compost Tea to use for inoculating two 1 cf ft batches of Biochar. Tomorrow morning I will be cutting off the Winter Rye cover crop on 2 of the beds to prepare it for adding Biochar to the beds.  Then, tomorrow afternoon I will be pouring the compost tea over the Biochar to begin the 24-hour inoculation with compost tea. On Sunday afternoon, I will be blending the the two batches of inoculated Biochar with two separate batches of 1 cu ft of compost, 1/2 cu ft of worm castings (wish I had more!), 5# of gypsum, 2# of Azomite rock dust, and a quart of rolled oats to further inoculate the Biochar and help it develop fungi. After that is fully mixed and moistened, it will be allowed to sit another 24 hours. Then, each inoculated batch  will be spread over a 4'x8' raised beds and turned under in the top 6" of soil to enrich it.

I've read that Biochar can be used as a replacement for Vermiculite or Perlite, but in this case it will be in addition to since the beds already have Vermiculite in them. The Jeff Cox book, Gardening with Biochar, makes a strong argument for adding Biochar to the soil, so I am looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment.

These are two of the beds that will be getting the Winter Rye cut off at soil level to prepare for adding Biochar to the soil.
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Post  has55 on 4/6/2019, 9:42 pm

OG, have you found a good pump for spraying the compost tea out of the container. I using a sump pump which is only ok for short distances, but I need something that can go further. I was looking at this from home depot.
Wayne 1/2 HP Cast Iron, Portable Transfer Utility Pump

Got the idea from this video. 


just found this one. what do you think?
1/2 HP Cast Iron Transfer Utility Pump
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/7/2019, 8:26 am

@has55 wrote:OG, have you found a good pump for spraying the compost tea out of the container.

I put a 1" drain in the bottom of the compost tea tank, so I haven't needed a pump for it. I have a backpack sprayer that I use for spraying the beds and perennials, which works pretty good for my needs.
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/7/2019, 3:15 pm

Two beds done, three to go.  Inoculated the Biochar with compost tea, mixed it with compost, worm castings, Azomite rock dust and gypsum, spread it on the cut down Winter Rye, and turned it under in the top 6" of the soil. Felt really bad about disturbing all of the earthworms that I dug up - there were at least a half dozen worms in every forkful that I turned over - but, I know they'll appreciate their new rich soil even more. Each raised bed is getting a mixture of 1Ft3 Biochar, 1Ft3 compost, 1Ft3 worm castings, 2# Azomite, 5# gypsum, and 1qt rolled oats.  I was going to add some more Coir and Vermiculite, but the beds are completely full without adding them. Biochar is supposed to add the same benefits as vermiculite, so we'll see...   Need to get one section of the beds ready for transplanting Swiss Chard and Kale, so I'm a little behind schedule on that.
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Post  OhioGardener on 5/1/2019, 9:00 am

Yesterday I took soil samples from 3 raised beds to see what the microbial activity looks like after almost a month since incorporating Biochar into them. I diluted the soil samples with distilled water at a 50:1 ratio, then put a drop of water on the microscope slide with a glass cover on it.  Saw a lot of microbial activity with bacteria, amoebae, flagellates, and a few ciliates.  Didn't see a lot of the fungal hyphae, which is probably because it has been less than a month since I turned the soil over with a garden fork to a depth of 6" while incorporating the Biochar into the soil - probably destroyed a lot of hyphae at that time. Overall, I am very satisfied with the quality of soil life in these beds, and they are ready for planting.  I have two new beds, which I just started last fall, that I haven't tested yet - but, they have a lot of good quality home made compost in them, so they should be ready to go too. Looking forward to a great gardening season! Very Happy


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Post  OhioGardener on 8/4/2019, 6:00 pm

The 2 new beds worked great this summer as the home for all of the squash and cucumbers, and they have produced much more than I ever expected.  But, the soil level in both beds has dropped almost 4" since they were set up last fall.  So, this fall after all of the plants are out I am going to have to find a way to fill them back to the top. With the size of those beds, having 4" to fill means that I need about 12Ft3 of new soil for each bed just to bring them back to the top. Since I won't have 8Ft3 of my own compost, that probably means I will be buying so. I have plenty of coarse vermiculite and coconut coir, but less than half that amount of compost. I guess over the next month or so I'll be looking for some good deals on compost.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/5/2019, 7:02 am

OG, you don't need to add any more coir or vermiculite. Just the compost. And dropping 4" is pretty typical.

You'll probly need to add coir/vermiculite in about 5 years.....
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Post  mollyhespra on 8/5/2019, 10:59 pm

OG, your new beds look AWESOME!!! Where did you get those? My cedar beds are now 7 years old and while they're holding up better than some pine ones I put in 4 years ago, they're starting to show their age. Those ones look like a really good alternative and I like that they're taller, too. Good thing for aging backs, lol!
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/6/2019, 9:18 am

@mollyhespra wrote:OG, your new beds look AWESOME!!!  Where did you get those?  My cedar beds are now 7 years old and while they're holding up better than some pine ones I put in 4 years ago, they're starting to show their age.  Those ones look like a really good alternative and I like that they're taller, too.  Good thing for aging backs, lol!

Yes, they are very nice for my aging mid-70's back!  Very Happy 

Those beds are from https://www.metalgardenbeds.com. I have 5 of them in various sizes -- 3 Fresa, 1 Largo, and 1 U-Shaped -- and love them.  They are easy to assemble, and are very durable. They have free shipping, which is good for heavy items such as these.

FWIW, I filled the first foot of the beds with topsoil, and then completed the fill with a modified Mel's Mix. This greatly reduced the cost of filling the beds.
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Post  mollyhespra on 8/6/2019, 9:57 am

Thanks, OG!  I'll browse around that site later today.   In the meantime, do you happen to know the estimated lifetime of those?  They look like my old hurricane shutters turned into planters, in which case the metal should be of a thick enough gauge to be long lasting. And iirc, the zinc in the galvanized coating doesn't really leach into the soil in any amounts as to be concerning,  so they're definitely on my list for when I need to replace my current beds. Woot! Thanks again!  Future OGSFG - Page 2 3170584802
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/6/2019, 10:35 am

I would guess the lifetime would be in excess of 20 years.  I have an old hay barn from when I used to raise cattle which is made of the same metal, and I built 38 years ago. That barn is still in very good condition, and still in use. But, since the barn does not have soil against it like the inside of these beds do, I would guess that would shorten the lifespan of the metal somewhat - that's why I guessed 20 years, but since my oldest bin is just 5 years old it is just a best guess...
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Post  OhioGardener on 9/8/2019, 7:26 pm

Yesterday there was a freshly prepared bed, sowed with Winter Rye and Hairy Vetch seeds for the winter cover crop.
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Today, the Winter Rye is already up and growing. Don't think I have ever seen it sprout so soon - 4days after it was planted it is already about 2" tall. The Hairy Vetch hasn't sprouted yet, though.
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The squash plants on the end is story of its own - those are Zucchini plants.  The original plants had started dying from the squash borer drilling into the stems, so I cut them off at the ground and left the roots. They apparently weren't done yet, and sent up new shoots from the roots. They already have small Zucchini Squash on them, too.
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Post  sanderson on 9/11/2019, 3:28 am

Happy story about the zucchini. Very Happy Is it now past the squash borer time so these have a chance?

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Post  OhioGardener on 9/11/2019, 8:58 am

@sanderson wrote:Happy story about the zucchini. Very Happy Is it now past the squash borer time so these have a chance?

Yes, it is past time for the squash borer now.  Normally if we plant the squash & cucumber after July 1st we do not have any problem with the borer.  This year, though, I tried a new experiment, and it failed.  I usually direct sow the seeds around the first week of July, and they usually do really good.  But, this year, I decided to start the seeds indoors and transplant them in the garden in early July, thinking I would get a head start on getting squash and cucumbers to pick. Unfortunately, the extra time we get waiting on the seeds to germinate in the ground wasn't there, and the squash bugs were ready for the plants as soon as they went in the ground. So, we'll write that experiment off to experience.

As Will Rogers said, "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."
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Post  sanderson on 9/12/2019, 4:47 pm

A failed experiment often teaches more than a success.

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