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Logo of AdAgrA 2021: Hidden Treasure

04 The Backyard Garden Blueprint

Edwin Dysinger Paul Dysinger

Conference

Recorded

  • January 14, 2021
    1:30 PM
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So that's before we're going to talk about seeding and transplanting and this gets into some real practical of what to do in your garden you're going to get our potting soil mix recipe a whole bunch of really really good fun good stuff in here so quick overview is we're going to talk about direct seeding that means seeding directly into the soil that the plant is going to grow in we're going to talk about transplanting that means starting your own starts inside or inside of powers or something like that and then once they've grown for a few weeks transplanting them out into your garden how can you do that in a successful way and why would you choose it to do it with one crop versus another crop Why would you direct seed one versus transplant another one we're going to talk about soil blocks this is something that we have used a lot and there are some real benefits to using soil blocks when transplanting you will receive our potting mix recipe and we'll talk about transplanting successfully what what steps do you take to have successful transplant so let's jump right in and start out with direct seeding. Ok so why direct seed there are some crops where it's just not really practical or this is economical that's more on a farm scale but like on a on homes even it's just not. It's not time efficient really to transplant some plants and examples of those plants are tap root crops like carrots you know you're growing a lot of carrots in a small space right they're not spaced very far apart so it's not really time efficient to try transplanting them so we direct see them and also tempered crops just don't generally transplant as well. Yeah that's that's not a that's a that's a general rule it's not something we always have all of. It's rather. I think we will have some other examples of tap root crops that we do often transplant Yeah we tend. Omo stary thing and we'll tell you why but there are a few things that we don't transplant let me just say All right so Tapper to crops. This was pulled from a presentation that I did and you know when it comes to a home garden when we say low return per square foot crops it's not a political necessarily in a home garden corn Pumpkin's believe it or not we transplant our pumpkins usually actually said that shouldn't even be up there but corn is one that's often direct seeded believe it or not we have started transplanting corn so you can go both ways with some of these and there's a little some little tricks when it comes to transporting we can share some of those with you if you're interested. Peas and beans we do direct seed to those they just say it's more efficient to do it that way again that's. They're not spaced very far apart you usually want to put a lot of them in and it's just it's not efficient transplant and then your fast growing crops like radishes and spin edge we pretty much always directed our radishes spinning we can go both ways we actually transplant Spanish quite a bit you know we do so as you can see some of the is perfect personal preference you know find out what's most efficient for you and what what you like to do the best but some of them we even we who are big proponents of transplanting always direct seed like carrots and peas and beans and radishes so. That's a quick quick overview of direct seeding herbs so here's an interesting thing with herbs herbs can go either way but there are several herbs that are tap rooted herbs like Ceylon Trow and dill believes a tap rooted herb as well and they claim that it's better to direct them because the tap root does not like transplanting as much that being said we have transplanted those as well and it's our experience has been with the with the salon true though I think I think that it turns to. Just didn't do as well and tends to slow likes to bolt quickly and it seems the transplant. Encourages that even more so you don't get a lot of life out of it it seems Yeah so recently we have been direct seeding are our especially a top rated herbs and you know it's like you're all right so when it comes to direct seeding germination percentages for direct seeding are actually lower than what they say on the packet so the packet will probably say 80 percent germination rate right or 90 percent germination rate when your direct seeding into your garden often it will be a lower germination rate than on the packet just because of the environment in the garden so we encourage you to allow what we call a fudge factor of about 50 to 100 percent germination in simple terms that means that if you want a plant every 4 inches plant a seed every 2 inches like double the amount of of seeds that you're going to grow the reason for that is the remove those germination numbers there germinate in them in a very special controlled environment and that's the numbers that you. That's not the situation in your soil and you'll get closer to those numbers if you're starting transplants because you're in a more you know controlled environment for those starts as well. Another thing is like we mentioned in the very 1st session seed is very inexpensive so you can always plant more and then come and thin it out I know that some of us have personalities that just really hate losing anything that's living right and so is just you know you can't throw it away even if it's just a small small thing but honestly when it comes to. You know maybe it's just growing on larger scales or on a farm or something and you get to the point where efficiency matters a little bit more right and it's actually very simple one thing that you can do a little tip is that if you're growing say. Let's say radishes you can plant them thickly let them grow to like a baby stage and then you can thin them and you can actually eat those thinnings So if you don't want to waste of the things you can actually eat them and still feel good about thinning Your than in your garden. And you get a little bit more harvest out of it too. So as a general planting rule you want to cover seeds about 3 or 4 times their diameter For example if you have a p.c. that's about a quarter inch in diameter you want to plant about an inch deep and then any tiny seed like. For example radish seeds are pretty small care of seeds are pretty small all of those yes yeah all of those seeds are pretty small any of those little small seeds you only want to cover them about a quarter inch so that's a that's a general rule of thumb if you're transplanting by the way lettuce seeds tends to germinate better without being covered they're kind of a little exception. To the rule so this is something to keep in mind. In cool or heavy soils you can plant a little shallower and warmer dry Sorrells you can you can plant slightly deeper frankly on a home garden scale you won't necessarily need to pay attention to that much detail so I would just stick with think about about $3.00 to $4.00 times the diameter of the seed itself the main and then the main thing that you do want to pay attention to is you do want to keep that soil moist and tell they germinate so make sure it stays moist keep it watered and tell those seeds or germinating and coming up and for you know a week or 2 especially as they are growing their 1st you know when the seed is small it's had its most vulnerable point of life right so you want to make sure and baby those little babies as they are just start growing let me just say won't share with you one trick you can do to keep your ground Maurice to specially if you live in a very hot dry place. We're going to talk about floating row covers in the season extension that will be or less than. This is another use for floating row covers you can you can just cover your You're recently seated area and then water it the water goes through the floating row cover but it. Helps to conserve the moisture in the soil. That's the next best thing to having a mulch on but you know like if you've directly seeded something. Is not really what you want on top of it remember helps to prevent things from growing so you don't want that but a floating row cover does work so if you are directing into a mulch what you can do is kind of separate the mulch in your little row where you're going to plant those seeds leave it separated and tell they establish themselves and then you can mulch back around those plants so you can still do it with a mulch it just takes a little bit separation. There are Cedars direct cedars on a home scale if you're doing a larger garden you would call you would probably want to look into the earth way Cedar is one of the little less expensive direct Cedars so you're welcome to write that down if you're interested in those and then nice way to keep nice rows in your garden is to string a string tightly down your bed and then just seed alongside it and that makes a nice row in your garden they also come Cedars also often come with a roll marker arm on the side of the cedar that will mark the following row so you keep your rows even so that's kind of fun and nice just to keep an even nice looking row it's more than just cosmetics if you're you know if you don't have a mulch on the soil and you're going to need to cultivate or like if you're growing in a in a compost. Mulch you know if you've laid compost on the surface and you're in you're growing in that you may have a few weeds come up and cultivation is so much easier if you have St Rose Yeah just so I can tell you yeah as much as you can fit your little cultivating tool just right between the rows right you know. All right and then direct seeding by hand this is what a lot of people will do on a home scale say hand seating is often used for larger seeds like lagoons and corn and frankly I do it on our Even on our larger home scale which we so we in teaching we grow our own large garden right and we use as a demonstration garden and every month we do an update for our members on what's happening in our garden and frankly we have been seeding by hand even our carrots and stuff like that right so you just take the seeds and sprinkle them out into your beds but for the larger seeds these are often you can often hand see these as well like lagoons and corn being peas corn. All of those All right so let's talk about that that is direct seeding that's where you take the cd plant it right where it's going to grow to maturity in your garden let's talk about transplanting real quick transplanting What are the advantages of transplanting Why would you want to transplant why why do we try and transplant as many things as we can right number one transplanting is more reliable overall you have better plant care and cost efficiency because you are starting those starts in a more controlled environment so you can take care of them a little better than if they're just right outside in your garden just say something why why is it more reliable because. What you transplant is most likely going to survive out in the field you know your your we we've mentioned already you you have a fair bit of loss when you direct seed but. You know even if your seed in your transplants they may not all come up but you're not going to put those ones that didn't come up out in the field. You know you're putting the ones that are there are good out there so you have a much more reliable efficient stand of stuff in the field because you're just putting out there yeah that already and remember we said that you know at the at the plants when it's this when the plant is just germinate is really small it's not as most vulnerable stage and so when the transplant you've gotten past that most vulnerable sort stage is 234 weeks old now and it's ready to go out which means that you have a pretty high likelihood that it's going to survive and bear your fruit probably above 80 percent it would be generous I would say or you know ours is probably 95 percent you know or or maybe even a little higher. Is it almost sure harvest that's just what we were talking about. Green manure productivity I don't even remember what why I put that in there we'll skip over that it is easier to deal with the weeds I think the green manure productivity is that so green manures are the same as this as another term for cover crops where you grow a crop for you know healthy soil and. When you transplant I think you can you can transplant into late. If you're killing that green manure into the into the ground you can transplant into it sooner than you would direct seed into it or you can just knock the cover crop down. And then transplant into it as a mulch Yeah yeah you can do that you. It's easier to deal with weeds with transplants because they already have a $34.00 week head start on any weeds that are there right so they're already ahead of the game so it's going to be easier to deal with the weeds and they will grow and fill up that garden bed space much faster meaning they all shade out any weeds that are that are wanting to come up it increases the effectiveness of succession planting like we were talking about before because when you harvest one plant you already have a 4 week old plant that's ready to plant in its place and that just means you get a lot more harvest a lot faster out of your garden than if you direct seeded into its place. And then shelter gives a head start just having in that sheltered environment so there's many advantages Let's talk about how to start your starts number one is germination temperatures so there's basically 3 things that you need for it to have good starts. Well I should say there's 3 factors 2 seeds sprouting Well temperature more Easter and light temperature moisture and light on germination temperatures the ideal temperature for most crops is between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 to 24 Celsius if you like to use Celsius. Ideal temperature for asparagus cucumber eggplant melon peppers and squash is actually a little bit hotter even 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit 24 to 27 Celsius. You'll be fine in the $70.00 to $75.00 range we so sometimes these numbers come out and they seem real specific frankly there are a lot of crops that will germinate even at 60 degrees right there are greens Let us and stuff like that that will germinate at 50 degrees it doesn't this isn't like a hard and fast rule but in general you'll get the best germination rates at this level because that makes sense so I don't want you to go away feeling like you have to have a temperature controlled environment you know just precisely exactly. This is just what to shoot for and you'll do better you'll have better germination rates if you have the ability to start your starts inside your house that's the ideal temperature right there and yeah I mean most people keep their house it was 7072 if you're a real conservative maybe 6065 now. It's getting pretty cold. Use something that you can do is you can use a heat mat these are not too expensive I don't believe you can just purchase a heat mat that goes underneath your starts as you're starting them just plugs into the wall and that can keep them warm as they're germinating in particular. Plant tomatoes and peppers. Might be helped with the heat that you know. They really like it warm those warm across. So there are 3 stages to transplanting 3 stages one is starting your starts that's actually seeding them getting them to germinate etc The 2nd stage is an optional one and that is potting on we'll tell you a little bit more about what that is and what's that's about it's optional we don't do it with everything that we transplant and then the 3rd is setting out or actually transplanting that crop into your garden space so let's start with starting starts seeds are sewn in some sort of bed or container which usually holds a special soil mix or potting soil in it the soil mix that we use for starting our starts is different from garden soil we don't just go take garden soil and start our starts with. Extra organic matter and drainage material in it this helps the seedlings thrive despite the confined conditions when you're starting your starts and then I controlled environment like we just talked about in your home greenhouse cold frame is used to enhance the growing conditions for young seedlings when you're starting starts so there are different types of containers that you can start seedlings then you can do individual pots you know like you go to the store and you buy a tomato in a pot right you can you can start your start in those pots if you want to you can do plug trays that's something that is fair used quite regularly they have individual cells that you start each plant in or you can use soil blocks we're going to tell you a little bit more about soil blocks because there are some advantages to them we preferred using soil blocks for most of our seedlings versus using plug trays and individual pots. And then the 2nd part here is once you have your start started putting on is when you transfer a seedling from its initial container into a larger one so let's say you wanted to get some really early tomatoes so you would start those tomatoes but let's say you started it in a small container and it outgrew that container before is ready to plant outside so you can actually transplant that little star into a larger container for it to grow a little bit longer so that when it's ready to go outside it will it will be a good place for going outside so this is something. That you would want to pay attention to especially for crops that are that your wanting to get an early start on them tomatoes is a good example that's why a prop that brought it up and it's also something that you may want to pay attention to for example in a scenario where you planted your tomato where it should be at the right time to transplant out but let's say you look at your weather forecast and there's 2 weeks extra of cold weather that you wasn't expected right you're getting some late frosts this is a way that you can help that tomato not get stressed because if it stays in its container too long it will outgrow it and get stressed and it will stunt its growth so this is a way that you can prevent that by putting it on into a larger container. All right covered that then the 3rd one setting out is planting your young starts into the field or greenhouse where they will grow or out in your garden space the more efficiently this is the strands for is done the more effective and the less work transplanting is so let's talk about what our soil blocks because I mentioned to you that we like to use soil blocks how many of you have you soil blocks or know what sort of blocks are Ok there's a few of you all right so what our soil blocks and. So oil blocks is a block made out of a lightly compressed potting soil and it serves both as the container and the growing medium for that transplant Ok both the container and the growing medium the blocks are pressed out by a form and the air space between the blocks serve as little walls between them it's not much air space I mean there blocks are just the there frankly almost touching each other but it does make a little air gap wall in between the blocks what happens is the roots grow inside the soil block and when they reach the edge and find air they stop it's called Air pruning they just stop there if you're growing in and. You know in cells or in some sort of a pot when the when the roots reach the edge of the pot they just start circling around and then you get a ball and. You know it's not as healthy but this way they just stop at the edge stop growing that direction yeah continue their group of other words they. If you get a transplant that has started that circling where there's actually a term for as called a root balland where that plant when you transplanted out it'll be root down because all those roots that they don't know where to go right they've just been circling and it's going to take it takes a little while for that plant to start figuring out where to start sending roots afterwards so. Even with us well block if you leave the plant in too long eventually that root will jump to the next block but the cool thing is that even in that case you can pull them apart and those roots are still all pointing out words so when you transplant it immediately are ready to keep growing outwards in the soil. Another thing with soil block is the roots of the seedlings quickly fill the soil block holding it together so it kind of binds the soil block together. So it's not you know you might think that this is just a block of soils it's going to fall apart but there actually once the plant has grown in it for a little while it's actually quite firm and handles pretty well it's not too fragile. There are a nice thing about them is that you don't have these plastic plots or plug trays to deal with you will want to have some type of tray that you are putting your soil blocks in the thing about plug trays as often they tear by the end of the season or when you're pushing the plants out if you're really careful you can reuse them but they tear pretty easily and then you're constantly buying new trays and with soil blocks you can have just tray that is reusable over and over again that you start your seeds in and then blocks can be made in various sizes to meet your potting needs they have forms everywhere from 3 quarters of an inch to one and a half to $3.00 and $4.00 inches so the the little tiny ones of the red ones up there those are specifically for germinate in the seeds that you're going to grow in a heap so that you can have more seeds on the heap at once. That's the reason for those and then the those as soon as they're germinated you have to pot them onto a larger pot it's not big enough to grow in at all so so for most home gardeners we would see just the one and a half or the 2 inch block size so that's what I would go for and these are larger soil blocks forms you can get a simple hand form that is just one row of soil blocks and that's really all that most home gardeners will need for doing a smaller size garden you know. All right so who How would you like to know our secret potting mix recipe now as it's not actually secret but. It is a potting mix Reza p. that we have used over the years that has been very successful and we'd like to give it to you I guess it is secret if you don't know it yet. Potting mix recipe so I'm going to give you 3. A full recipe and then I've done the math for you to do a half recipe or quarter recipe the reason is our full recipe is what we used to do on the farm so that makes a lot of soil blocks so it might be a little overkill for you right so depending on how many starts you want to start you might want to cut it in half or even cut it in a quarter. And here's the recipe so number one whoops is peat moss and you can see the numbers up there for well just go let's just go for our example here will do the half the half recipe Ok so we'll talk about the half recipe so you're going to use 3 gallons of peat moss you're going to use 3 gallons of compost so those are equal peat moss and compost you're going to use one gallon of course per light one gallon of course perlite the perlite is those little white granules if you've ever seen a potting mix even once the you buy from the store the little starts are started in the little white granules and those help with drainage and soil retention in in a pot in mix and then you'll use one cup of a fertiliser mix. A little note here is that a 2 gallon bucket works well for measuring. Or even a one gallon just a little bucket you can find them at your local hardware store so it's very simple recipe and I will tell you about the fertilizer mix in just a 2nd but like it like you see here Pete mosse compost perlite and fertilizer very simple very easy to mix together. You can we have not we do not have experience with this personally but you could if you wanted to replace the peat moss with a coconut core coconut core is basically ground up coconut hulls and it's very similar in texture and to last so you could you could do that if you wanted to all right a fertilizer mix we used to mix our own fertilizer mix together but frankly it would be a lot easier for you to use this vegan mix on this is down to earth a vegan mix and we've used it very successfully. It is an organic on relisted fertilizer mix that's 100 percent plant based now we are not as you may have guessed from our previous prevent presentations we are not 100 percent against using animal sources in our garden right because we believe that God did create a natural and natural cycles in nature that includes animals the issue with fertilizers is that often for example when it comes to blood meal feather meal. Coleman Your That's bad Cal manure that's bagged a lot of these come from cathodes which are large centralized to feeding lots of animals and frankly they pump up those animals with all kinds of antibiotics all kinds of who knows what immunizations you know the list can go on and on probably of what ends up in those animals and we don't necessarily. We don't know you know what's going to end up coming back into our garden and we so we just generally try and shy away from and plus we don't we don't really want to support those industries so it's kind of a double double edged thing there so that's why this is kind of nice in that it's a 100 percent plant placed it has an excellent balance of nutrients in include soybean meal canola meal alfalfa meal rock phosphate Elaine be a night greensand kelp meal and humid acids all mixed together so those are all very natural sources of nutrients that your plants can take up all right and I would just say again this well we did with our our original fertilizer mix use blood meal. So you know that that's one animal source you can use you're not going to use common or in here. Blood meal is a good nitrogen source but. This this fertilizer mix makes it really easy to to excrete using them if you want to. And by the way it is readily available online it may or may not be at your local garden center they often times down to earth does have some of their products at local nurseries and garden centers and stuff like that but this particular product may or may not be but it is very easily readily available online you can get it shipped straight to your door and it's really not that expensive All right so this isn't the only recipe there are other you know other people have mixes that work well as well but this is one that has worked well for us over the years and. So that's I mean that's what I would I would start with if it if it works why try and figure out a new one right. Moist then what you want to do is after you more mixed it together you mix it dry that ingredients dry then you want to moisten it with water. By adding an approximate ratio of about one part water to 3 parts of the dry mix and really this is. By feel you're going to what it down it's it's better in the end for your small blocks to be a little bit more wet than dry and you can always add like if it gets too wet you can always add a little more compost add a little more dry peat moss to dry it out a little bit as you're doing it. In the end it should be like a wrung out sponge that's the moisture level that you want so when you pick up a handful of it and you squeeze it together you might get a few drops that drip down but it's not going to just be like seeping water right so moist like a wrung out sponge then you're going to use your soil block or you push it down quickly and kind of twist it around just jamming the mix up into those forms and you can push it as hard as you want they will not over compact because of the Pete Moss and the structure of the compost in the piece together with the perlite it will not over pack so you can mash it as hard as you want and you just want to. Fill those forms then you scrape off any excess that is on the bottom of the form and then you can adjust those blocks into a tray or a flat as you can see in the picture here. It is an option you can rinse your little form in water between each use. That can sometimes help with just keeping keeping good uniform blocks although frankly in my experience I have done it many times without rinsing it between each use if it starts getting stuck if you're a little your form starts getting stuck and not ejecting them very well and it would be a good idea to rinse it out the main thing is that you want to rinse and clean after you're finished. Because if you are you don't own little corrode very quickly yeah they will rust rust rust over time all right so now you have your start to use started them you got their little soil blocks Let's talk about transplanting them out into the field transplanting successfully there is a process with transplanting called hardening off this is because when you start your starts inside they're in a protected environment and outside it's an unprotected environment so they haven't experienced when they haven't experienced harsh sunlight right. So you want to get your seedlings accustomed to the outdoors Otherwise they can experience what's called transplant shock where they've just been planted out in a new environment and they've got all these other things going on so hardening off is the process of gradually exposing yourself seedlings to the outside elements there's a very simple way to do this that we've had really good success with there are some people that kind of prolong this process but frankly we've had very success very good success with what I'm going to share with you today which is much shorter and simpler than some hardening off methods on day one you're going to place your starts that are inside. Place them out in mid afternoon and leave them out until mid-morning the next day so they're not left you don't place them out in the middle of day when it's the harshest sunlight but wait tell us mid-afternoon it's still kind of a media harshness of sunlight right and leave them out all night and tell mid-morning the next morning and then on day 2 you're going to bring them inside at mid-morning leave them in over the middle of did the harshest part of the day the middle of the day and then you will transplant them out that evening on day 2 and we've we've frankly had very good success with this with far starts this way evening is the nicest time to transplant as well because it gives them the night to kind of subtle and get adjusted and when the next day comes they're there a little bit more ready for them if you plant them mid-morning for example and then they're faced with the heat of the day. They just got in and they don't do they don't like that very well yeah. All right so a couple other tips with transplanting successfully is you do want to water them well it's important that the seedlings be watered well before transplanting you want them to be very moist Well when you're transporting them out it's also important to water them immediately after transplanting the moist ground helps that transplant to take root faster and become established in its new environment so water water water water before and after you transplant them into the ground water them again watering it also will help the soil to settle in around them so that they have better contact you know sometimes if you're especially you know when we're trying to transplant a lot of transplants and do it quickly they don't always get settled in as nicely as they could but watering over had a good amount of water helps to settle the soil in the woods and. Then avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible many plants I mean frankly it's just it's a. What would you call it it's a good idea to avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible I'm just remembering many times that we transplant you know we're not sitting we're not standing there like o.c.d. about you know you've got to be just beavers so very careful and very carefully place the plant in and don't move anything. You know you can do that if you want to but many plants will handle a little bit of disturbance as you're moving in and transplanting it in they're going to be Ok right they want to they want to grow just be sensitive and and try not to disturb them as much as possible. You're less likely to disturb the roots of a seedling grown in a soil block because the roots are air pruned than one that has been in a plate train the roots of been circling for quite some time you know as Paul said those soil blocks really hold together by the time you're ready to transplant. We have. You don't take in a tree of transplants and we mark out the ground where we want to transplant them so we got markings on the ground I know we're going to go and you can you can actually take a block and drop it onto the ground were supposed to be they don't fall they stay together yeah hold together yeah yeah and we're as a plug. Necessarily do that I wouldn't trust the plug so well. One exception to this is if you have a very root balance plant that has been grown in a pot or a plug tray that has circ like the roots of circles around a lot and you pull it out it is actually a little bit better to break up those roots a little bit you know and when you put it in it will help them to to grow out better. All right soil contact you want to just dig a little hole with a trial place the soil block lightly but firmly in the ground avoid air pockets and uncovered edges even if a corner you really want to you an important little step here is that when you transplanted and you want to cover that soil block or even the same would hold true with if you're transplanting from the plug tray or another pot you want to cover it with soil cover the whole thing with oil. If that if the top of the soil block or whatever your plan has been growing in is left out that potting mix can dry out very quickly and very easily so covering it with soil helps to just keep that moisture in and then of course if you're mulching around that that's going to be helping as well. All right proper spacing by a properly spacing your transplants we're making an optimum use of your of the land area and we're going to give you in the resource is what we call our ultimate garden cheat sheet it's basically a list of common crops that you grow in the garden and we list on there are suggested plants spacings for you so you could just take that and use that for optimum spacing in your garden. Weeding and cultivating is more efficiently when your plants are properly spaced like we talked about with the direct seeding right transplanting is going to be a similar scenario if you're going to be doing that one way that you can easily mark out your beds as with a marker rake. This is probably the one of the easiest ways you get a rake like on the right hand side here this is an example of a tool that is made for a 30 inch wide bed it's one of the lightest weight rakes that you will probably find and don't confuse it with a landscape or a regatta landscape or nobody wants to use that this is very light and so easy to use Yeah you can swing it around with one hand Johnnie's sells these That's the only place I know you can buy them and what you do here is see these little red markers we just cut a little sections of Pex pipe Do we have any builders around here. Tex pipe is this a very is a plastic pipe that is used in hardware for water lines in the house and stuff like that you can find at any hardware store example slightly flexible it's sold in rolls and you just cut little sections of it a little longer than your tines you know maybe 5 inches. Or set up and then you just push them onto the tines the spacing that you want and you can use it to mark your bed and then you you can mark a grid pattern in your bed so we will mark how many rows we want in that bed and then we'll come back and mark a grid with it and then we can easily plant arced our plants out at the right spacing if you if you don't have x. pipeline around it's probably not worth it to invest in a role just to get these Johnnies seeds does sell little precut ones yes do they if you can find a 5 foot section that's probably the cheap because those yes those ones that Johnny sells somebody is making good money you know they'll be much cheaper to get a 5 foot section at your hardware store Yeah absolutely. All right so we you know talk about Ok you know. So. We're going to talk now about if you're wanting to try a no till approach how do you transition from from one crop to the next you know this was a big question in my mind when I 1st started thinking about this took me a while to wrap my mind around it so we're talking about how do you transition for example from a cover crop to your vegetables or even how do you transition from 11 kind of vegetable to another you know as you're making your rotations. How can we do that without digging without filling our soil is this. Should be going. Ok so the 1st thing the 1st thing that you can do. Each of these steps will not be necessary every time but you know every situation is a little bit different so these are things that you can just kind of keep in the back of your mind and think about. If you have weeds growing in that space that you want to put a crop in. That have seed heads or are nearly to go to seed. The best thing you can do is take them out by hand Ok you do not want your weeds going to seed in your in your bed by the way like for example there is a week called pigweed I don't know if any of you are familiar with take we need. A single plant a pig we can have like 30000 seeds on it so if you don't want weeds in your garden you want to be proactive to keep that weed from going to seed. Ok the next step once you've once you've made sure you've taken out any any potential weeds that are going to seed. Is to knock down or cut the established crop. So if you have a cover crop. As you can see in the picture here this is our this is the cover crop we talked about. Earlier this morning that we had growing last winter in some of the beds in our who posts wheat and peas and I'm using a side of there to cut it down I didn't want to use a mower. Because I don't want it all blown out and. I wanted to try a scythe too. To be honest some of these old technologies have have their place I think still the even now so I cut it down with a scythe. It could all you could also knock it down but if you knock it down you need to figure out a way to crimp it. We've mentioned you know the big farmers use what they call a roller crimp or they'll run over it with out. On a small scale 11 way that you can crimp it is to take a t. post you know what a t. post is a metal fence post and. It's going to be a 2 man job but but you just tie 2 ropes on the tee post and you know each $11.00 person holds one rope on one side and one person holds a rope on the other side and you take that post and set it down and then you both stomp on it and then you lift it up with the rope and move it forward like a foot or 2 and set it down and then you both stomp on it so that it'll it'll crimp you know the stuff that you're laying down in the bed in front of you. Well also share with you any. Easier way though it might take a little bit longer to knock it down and kill it as well yes you know. So you can Ok so you can knock down or or or cut the established crop using these methods one is a flail mower Now most of us as home gardeners are not going to use a flail more it's it's a implement that. Has has blades that are spinning this way they're actually little flails on a chain and they're rotating this way a number of them on a bar and and it's one description I read said it's a it's a chopper shredder on wheels that's a nice description you can you can run a flail mower over a cover crop 6 or 8 feet tall and it just shreds it into little pieces that's very very nice but again you'd need to have at least. A walking tractor to wield like a B.C.'s walking tractor or something like that you can get flail mowers that go on them it's quite an investment for the home gardener and I don't think you need to do that yeah it's not really realistic you can use your mower your lawn more if you have a lot more that has a mulching attachment so that it drops the the cuttings down instead of throwing them out I would recommend that. I don't like the you know you're not wanting to throw the. Cuttings out if you have a lot more that collects your cuttings than that that's another option that you are good to yeah you can use a scythe like I did or you can. Use a a roller crimp or and again I think the roller crimpers kind of hard on the on the home scale where you can use the crimper like I just described. If you're. If you're you have several options then once you've cut it down you can either take it out and compost it or you can leave it as a mulch on your bed Ok. I took that one out and composted it here you can see I've got some old round bales that are. Rotted and so I just I just lay my. My cover crop down in a layer and then I layed. Old hay on top of it in a layer and then cover crop in a layer back and forth and I also throw a little bit of soil I put the the hay bale down and then the cover crop throw a little bit of soil on and I had some compost that had weeds growing on it I just took the weeds in the soil the compost and threw that on the the layer and then put my next layer of hay down and build that about this high this high something like that and and then let it compost You also want to with each layer that you put down you want to what it down with it with a hose to get it nice. As you're building that compost pile. Yeah it doesn't work dry. The key a real quick here since we don't have a specific session on composting with you all the key to composting is to get those layers of what we call Brown in green so the fresh cover crop that my dad was putting on would be a green layer it hasn't dried out yet and it's going to be higher in one. Of the oldest straw hay bale is a brown layer it's been dried out for you know who knows how many months and you want to layer those you want to layer those together and actually have probably about 2 parts Dr Brown to one part of the wet green you don't get that confuse you do want to wet your whole compost pile down with water and just describing the 2 yes you know. The other thing the other thing that you can do is is use a tarp a silo tarp Oh. You know want to do this especially if if cutting is not going to kill the crop that was there so for example we had the wheat growing and grasses aren't normally killed by cutting and so we we covered it on those beds with a solid tarp after we took the compost off and. We left them that way for about 3 weeks then they were killed we transplanted into them asylums tarp is basically a thick plastic tarp and it's just solid plastic. It's white on one side black on the other the main thing is that what you're covering with cannot let any light through and it kills by local Taishan is what they call it. You know the plant has to have life light to live in and by being covered it doesn't get the light so you may wonder like can I use just a regular tarp from the store well it's going to depend on if it allows light through some of those tarps from the store if you listen but I'm up to the sun you can see the light coming through right so that's not going to work as well you may be able to find a tarp from the store the is completely solid but that's just the main consideration yes. Tarping will not work on plants that have deep tap roots or better perennials. We have Johnson grass and if you know what Johnson Gross is. It's you have big runner runners down 2 feet deep. It's terrible so. Several years ago I had a lot about in a place I wanted to grow on I left the tarp on it for about 3 months and that seemed to take care of it. But you know that's it's a long process. Someone was asking earlier about dealing with grasses and I said I was going to share a short story my uncle. Uncle Rob Neal he has a garden and he had a real problem with nut grass I don't know if any of you have no grass where you are but it's a very invasive grass. And he took half of his garden any covered it with a tarp for an entire season for like all summer long and then he grew in the other half and then he swapped the next season and he said that he probably cut down his not grass by 80 percent so there's it it really was very effective so if you have an invasive invasive grasses like that that is an option that you can look into it does take time because you're going to have to just let it sit there because they're so persistent in coming up but give it long enough it will eventually kill what's underneath. We have a question Merik. You know you know the disadvantage is that you don't have roots in the ground you have a it's like a bear or a fellow and so that's not going to be as good for your soil health yeah the the flip side advantage is that it does keep your soil moist like a mulch so like it would be best to have roots in the ground like a living thing in the ground but the next best option is to keep your soil covered with the mulch and the tarp similar to mulch so the life in the soil can continue to grow and you know it's not going to grow like it would with roots in the soil but it will it's not going to die off as much it keeps that moist environment where they can still grow and thrive. So I'm just going to repeat the question so that people listening later the question was would it be best to throw mulch on there 1st and then cover it with a tarp and actually when we're talking about for example let's say you have that cover crop and then you're wanting to prepare it to plant into you you can just knock that cover crop down and throw that tarp on top of it and let it kill off that cover crop and that cover crop acts as a mulch underneath so that would be a very very effective way and another one is like with the well we did it with the with that cover crop but then I was thinking about our strawberries but I guess you just covered that you just end up having that I've We are making some new beds you know my wife and I have been gardening with pollen Natasha down near their place in our house is about half a mile away where we're wanting to establish some gardens at our house you know and we just bought some mushroom compost and we laid it about 4 inches thick on top of our lawn just straight off and on the grass now I wasn't convinced. It would. Kill the grass underneath and and so we decided to tarp it and. We have looked under the tarp in fact we had the tarp we used was was old and it was falling apart so we replaced it and when we replaced it we could see grass was already trying to grow up through the through the mulch but tarp was you know the idea with tarping was to kill make sure we killed whatever was underneath one thing my wife Natasha and I are planning to do for this next spring as we're going to take we have several more of those old hay bales out there we're planning to multiply we want to put our garden with that hay but we know that it has a lot of weed seeds in it so we're going to mulch it probably early spring and then tarpit let some of those weight seeds grow and sprout but under the tarp so that it kills those off and then when we're ready to plant our transplant our garden into it will just pull the top off and transplant into the mulch. One thing I need to say when whenever you're using the tarp you want to make sure that it's very wet underneath before you put the tarp down because you're wanting to encourage whatever is there to try its best to grow because that that's the way that you'll be able to kill it is if it tries to grow if you know if you if it's not wet and so the seeds aren't germinate you know the weeds aren't trying to germinate and things aren't trying to grow. Your tarp is going to be much less effective. Ok so the next part here is is actually preparing your beds. If you you know once you've taken care of whatever was growing there 1st and we mainly talked about cover crops but if you had vegetables or something growing in you it you can cut them down take out the residue put it on your compost pile. Like I said I really like the idea of leaving my roots in the ground so I you know I cut off the the lettuce or the the. Kale or tomatoes or whatever I'm using Clippers to cut them off and leaving my roots in the ground and putting the residue on the compost pile and then and then if it's something that is going to want to regrow then then we tarp it but. Widely spaced transplants don't need any cleaning you can have residue in your bed if you have if you're going to transplant into it like if you're going to transplant tomatoes you're going to put them you know one to 2 feet apart and then say you can you can how you can just go through the mulch and make a hole for them and transplant them into it. But if you're if you're having more closely spaced things it's not really practical just to make individual holes in the mall it's easier to clear it all the way off and put those in the ground. And then if you're direct seeding Paul already said one way if you have a mulch on the ground and you're wanting to direct seed you can just pull it apart and seed into that but if you're wanting to do something like a bed of baby lettuce or a bed of carrots where where you have a number of rows not too far apart that's not really practical either it's probably just going to be easier to skip the mulch altogether and do it straight in the ground. The removed plant material can be put on the compost pile so then then the next step would be to if you're going to do any amending you can do it here that means if you're going to add any more compost onto your bad or if you have any natural nutrient right you know rock powders or whatever that you want to add to your bed that would be an amendment that you would out on yeah. So at this stage once you've you've cleaned the bed ready for for things then you can put the amendments on and again using a no till approach we're just putting them on the surface and we're we're relying on the the life of the soil to mix it in and take advantage of it and it will do that the earthworms in and other things they they mix it all up. I think that's the that's the and so ready to plant so we talked about we talk about mulching with a whole bunch of different mulches likes you know strong witches and stuff like that if you want to just garden in the most. If you want to do no till gardening but the closest to just regular gardening with all these mulches then I would just point you back to where we talked about using a compost mulch you know you will have to purchase larger amounts of compost because you're going to use that compost as a mulch and you need it to be $34.00 maybe even 5 inches thick on your bench to act effectively as a good mulch to help keep that we pressure down but then with that compost mulch you can see directly into it you can transplant to and into it very quickly you don't have to be pulling mulch apart to put your transplants in because you can just do it directly into the compost if you use the compost as a mulch so that's probably one of the easiest ways to do a no till garden on a home scale without dealing with trying to cover crops and stuff like that just mulch it with the with with compost you know all right so it is $236.00 we will start again at $245.00 do we want to just grab a couple questions Is there anyone that has a couple questions. Yes Ok So are there any charts for watering so you know not over water or under water but specifically overwatering in this case. I don't know. As far as I can tell. You know unless you have of moisture meters and things like that watering is really an art that you have to learn So let's let's try and make it as simple as possible right when you're starting your starts your transplants I'll tell you what we do we generally water them once or maybe twice a day if it's real hot. One simple way that you can do is you can go to your transplant the little that it's really nice with soil blocks because you can actually touch them you know when it's in a plug tray you can't really see underneath that plug tray you know what how how is it really dry under there or not you know it's a little bit harder but with a soil block you can literally just pick up the Slovak you can feel how moist it is and if it's starting to feel like it's drying out you can you water it if it feels really wet you know that you don't need to water it right and same thing once they are planted in the ground literally you can just go and push your finger down into the ground and feel it does this is does the ground feel moist if it feels more ice then wait a day to water if it feels like it's starting to dry out you know water it so you know it is it is to a certain extent an art that's learned but there are simple things that you can do to try and sure I engage if it's getting too much water on or if you need to wait any advice on out a magic watering systems. No we have not used them but I know that there is a young man here by the name of Caleb Whiting who is who is developing one. I haven't talked to him recently so I don't know exactly what stage but he's developing one you know I don't know it would be a significant investment for a home gardener it's more for small farms the nice thing about his is that the house I'm waster meter so it's only going to water when the moisture get level gets to most automatic watering systems that are out there right now especially like on a home scale it's just when you put you know you put on the hose and you say water 30 minutes every day if your garden is outside and it gets a bunch of rain then you don't really need to be watering it those 30 minutes right and you may it may get too much water etc so that those are some of the complications that you face with automatic watering or is it a problem to use shower water pipe it out to the garden again you know the watering is is an something where you need to really be aware of your context you know there are situations where that would probably work very well in other situations where it wouldn't so you know it's hard to give broad advice on watering and it's not just the. You know that the season also for example in our we our environment stays pretty much all winter long and and so we hardly ever water in the winter we do need to keep an eye on it in the Who palace but even the Who pounds as we we very rarely water because moisture just sits in the ground in the summer it's a different story so you know you have to keep those kind of the seasonality things in mind as well you have to be really attuned to to temperature evaporation and you know what's going on in the bigger world out there that's going to be affecting my soil I will say this when it comes to shower water specifically is that most so kill biology We'll talk about that when we talk about pests because you can actually use soap as a natural insecticide you know it's a direct contact one but so you know if you have a bunch of soap residue necessarily want that running into your garden. Yes it is yeah eggshells good for accomplice Yeah absolutely a great source of calcium for your garden we have one over here the more crushed up the better of course Yes Yeah well the those squares that you saw in the tray come out of that machine those were those were the soil blocker machines we were doing it in a in a long tray you know like they sell at the hardware store for for mixing mud you know oh yeah yeah so these these are you know for the home gardener these are pretty expensive they're pretty pricey Well these large ones you know they're over $200.00 and you're making more blocks than you're going to really need you know for your home garden at one time but like we said they they sell hand blockers that will just be one row here. And yeah yeah and that's that's the size here and there are those are those are in your price range and there there are you know making an amount that's that's very reasonable for you to use Yeah we have one I need to get a picture of it so I can do on it and I think I think my brother actually borrowed ours to bring here. So you might find him and look at it yeah it would be a similar principle Yeah I think it's going to be very similar I don't have a lot of experience with those Yeah I yeah we don't have experience with how effective like compared to our potting mix recipe the people is I don't know what nutrients they have in them already or if they have nutrients in them so there's those things that we don't know but the same principle would be what I will say we compared soil blocks to plug trees one time we use the same potting mix the same seeds from the same packet in soil blocks and plug trees seeded all at the same time and within 2 weeks there was a very visible difference in the size of the plants growing in each one the soil blocks were much more much bigger and more vigorous than in the plug tree and so that convinced us were you know. 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