325. I want this garden to work for me and not me work for it |Patti Armbrister Garden | WiseGrowerGuru.com
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Saturday, July 18th, 2020, it’s only $37 and you will get a seat. You will get a copy of the replay. You will get to pick her brain question in the answers. We’re just gonna rock the composting, how to do composting the most efficient, effective, and best way to improve the results in your garden today. Yeah, there we go.
All right. Welcome to the GREEN Organic Garden Podcast. It is Friday, June 26, 2020, and Patti Armbrister talked me into doing a video live. So here we are doing video, but she’s going to do some screen share and I’m going to turn it over to her so she can tell us all her amazing golden seeds. So welcome to the show. Patti, welcome back to the show Patti.
Well, yes, thank you, Jackie. I just see later that we are going to get to have a conversation to share and listeners posted about coming to visit.
I haven’t posted the advice you gave me, but I talked about, well, maybe I recorded it.It was one we met with Robin in Whitefish. Actually I recorded it on the way home. So I haven’t done an episode about you coming to visit. So I guess listeners you’ll hear that soon, but in the meantime, what are we going to talk about today?
Yeah, they’ll be good. Oh, we’re going to talk about all kinds of stuff for one thing. It’s here in Eastern Montana. It is like the most phenomenal growing season you’ve ever seen or I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been here since 1990 to give you an idea that then every single season has been different, right? But this year, this spring is just unbelievable. The plants can’t ask for anything more than what they’ve received this year.
So they’re just looking amazing and producing!
So, yeah, I’m pretty excited that I’ve been able to eat kale out of my garden for the month!
Previous to that, I was eating out of the passive solar greenhouse as a school.
My goal is to eat kale year round, growing in Montana.
So that’s what I want to be doing. So I’m getting closer and closer to it. I would just keep trying to tweak it, figure it out. When do I need to plan it? Where does it need to be in the wintertime and how to get it done? But we’re getting really close.
I had a plant at the school garden in the passive solar green house this year and that plant, I was harvesting it in March,
I was wondering if you were eating it? When did you plant it?
The little kids and I planted it in September, right in September.
And so we I planted a seedling and then they transplanted it into these containers, which we tried five different varieties when we did that. And we only had the one variety, make it all the way through and be where that I could harvest it. I do have another variety, which is the red Russian that is, I’m still producing right now, but I wasn’t able to harvest it for the three or four months that I was harbored minus this curly kale, that type.
So there’s more of a cold Hardy kale. So the ones with the real crinkly leaves not to dinosaur kale, but the real crinkly leaves are in, you know, and they’re, they’re kind of the curve celled plants. So they, they, they really it’s done really well. Now it’s produced them seed. So I’ll be collecting seeds, hopefully sharing them down the road with the Good Seed Company.
I planted seeds with my students on like March 2nd. Cause it was like right before school, we had to go home and I did send her home with the kids that I took home that I planted a container didn’t really grow any faster. That whole time to the ones that I ended up putting in the ground outside. And then those ones took off. They both, like, I just felt like maybe it was too soon or trying to plant them in the container. I don’t know what I did wrong. They didn’t do very well.
Well, sometimes it’s just timing. And sometimes it’s the depth of the container.
Like these are in a pot that’s probably 20 inches deep. These, these kale were, so it was kinda mimicing and we play another plants in with them.
So in the beginning it was a poly planting, which I promote, right. Diversity all the way around as much diversity as you can put in.
And so they had diversity through the fall, but then when it got really cold, those, those guys got fall out of the system. But yeah, it makes a big difference. I think that the plants really know how many daylight hours is going on out there. And so they, they are triggered by that.
They’re doing all kinds of communication that we have just barely, barely starting to learn a little bit about. And so that’s what I’ve been honing in on, especially when it comes to some of the pests in the garden.
Like for example,our favorite friends are slugs, which I’ve been really working on dramatically the last couple of years to try to figure out how, how do we live with them?
Because they are one of the key decomposers, right? So it doesn’t like we want to anialate them. What I want to do is figure out how I can get imbalanced to live with them. And so anything that finishes out it, so life cycle and soil, which they do, I think can be controlled in the soil. So that’s where I’ve been attacking them. Along with our flea beetles.
And so my population of slugs this year is like hardly nothing compared to what it was a year ago with just time. And so I know I’m gaining, but I’m going at it in multiple, multiple ways, not just the nematodes, but the nematodes I think, are really helping to keep the population reduced.
So, and those plants, so, you know, we’ll have one plant right side by side or another in one plant is viciously getting attacked and it looks fine.
It doesn’t look any different than the one next to it. The one next to it is not getting attacked. And so that plant that’s getting ate is sending out signals to come eat me.
We’ve got to figure out, okay, how do we get this plant to be happier or healthier? Which I think a lot of times it’s healthier to not send those signals because if it sends those signals. It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m not going to be able to stop the attack.
I’ve been trying to use like, I’ll break the lower leaves off of, especially the cabbages they’ve they just love cabbage.
So break the lower leaves off the cabbages, especially the ones that are touching the ground. They’re already getting hammered by either slugs or other pests. The seconds, those plants are not attached to the plant. They’re sending signals to usually through chemical signals that they need eight and decompose.
And so decomposers come in, which is the slug is going to be the first responder. And so they’re going to go get out of those leaves. So I just take a bucket with a little bit of water in it, take those leaves and dump them into the bucket.
And for some reason in nature, or God did not allow a slug to swim, right? Most, every creature on earth swims, but not a slug, they cannot do that. So it’s a quick, easy way to get rid of them. They’re dead. There was be a few tries to crawl out of the bucket. I just give them a good little swirl in there they’re out of there.
And so that’s been working really well versus, you know, handpicking them or whatever, but so yeah, I know.
Awesome! So that’s one of the questions I get over and over what do I do about pests and bugs and especially slugs!
Yup. Yup. And so I think planning a lot of diversity really helps. Like I have kale planted kind of in pods right now where there’s three and four, maybe five plants together for the cabbages, kale, beets, stuff like that. So that I’ve got other plants in there amongst them flowering plants. I’ve noticed that the, none of the slugs like anything to do with the garlic or onions and they seem to stay away from those beds better than the others.
And so I think figuring out some combinations of what to be planting is going to be helpful for gardeners instead of when we plant one straight row of something and, that plant sending a signal for the pest to come in, there’s nothing a gardner’s going to be able to do outside of using chemicals that act actually is just a bandaid. It didn’t fix the problem. It might’ve stopped a problem for that right then, but it’s not gonna solve the issue. You’re just asking for it!
So we got to start thinking, okay, how do we do this different? Okay. If I plant, I plant a few kale here, a few cabbages and other locations, the slugs love the radishes. So does a flee beetles.
So I use the radish and the mustards as a trap crop, plant them far away from where you want to put your key cabbages and kale.
I haven’t noticed them on a kholarabi, which is funny, cause it kind of same family, but, but anyhow, plant that trap crop way away from them, which you draw those pests to those other plants.
Especially if you water, if you’re going to water overhead, you water your trap crop overhead, do not water the rest of the plants overhead.
That’s going to really pull the slugs over in that direction. Cause they just love a damp, wet environment even when they can’t swim. So that will pull them that way though, in a way from your, your target crop.
But I just really think a lot of gardeners need to get to the three year Mark with their no till and regenerative practices.
Because when you do, it’s like the tipping point. When you get to that point, your plants are so healthy and so strong and sending out positive signals and they have a defenses of microbes all around them that you don’t have any pests.
And so we got to get to that point.
And so a lot of people maybe like for instance, I had a gardener that was going on the no till they were going pretty good there in a year and a half of no till and something went wrong with their clover, their clover winter killed.
So they had Clover in their walkways. And so they decided to till it, instead of just receded and when they did, they just opened up the box to start over again, because now the flea beetles have come in and just literally wiped out their whole garden!
Even green beans and all because they had the serve, the predator that was going to eat the flea beetles, eggs in the soil!
So when we, till or disturbed that soil we’re killing out beneficials, that would have helped us with most of these past that if they live out their life cycle in the soil.
So that would be our slugs or flea beetles, which are our two biggest enemies in Montana that I’ve discovered for gardeners is those. So if we can not disturb that soil and figure out ways that we can do it, like I’ve been buying these nematodes, right. I’m creating nematodes in my compost, but I buy these nematodes that are beneficial nematodes online that will eat flea beetle eggs.
Right? So that’s, that’s what I’ve been doing. And then I put them out twice a year becaue your flea beetles have 2 seasons, because a lot of people don’t understand that either. So they did this year and then they go lay their eggs. They, they reproduced now you have massive numbers of flea beetles come from that first for the places like where he was going to plant the <inaudible> early in the spring and keep those numbers down.
And then, you know, green beans and we get that summer match really will come into the numbers down. Like right now I have goals in mind to just go a little garden, which you couldn’t do anything you’d have to really growing in there from last winter. Usually be an idea here. I can show you a picture we end up having to dig up. So I thought that worked awesome this year.
I’ll tell you I scored a billboard tarp, and they were taking it down and I said can you give that to me. and Mike did half the minifarm in tarps this year and it was just awesome!
And so you were doing it to suffocate out the plants so that you Solarize?
He did it for like places where he was gonna plant the green beans after frost. Things that can’t go in till later, usually those places are full of weeds and just a huge ordeal, everything else growing from March till June, this year it seemed early, but to be able to just pull those tarps off and just maybe turn it with the broadfork a little but to not have anything growing there was so much labor intensive. Usually in the spring he would usually have to clean up.
Yeah. And that works really, really well for both market gardens and small gardens. If a small gardener knows, okay, I’m having grass invade in this garden or whatever, man, get it tarpped in. I’d like to tarp it when that plant, that grass is still growing, right?
So if you tarp it in the fall, but when the plant is still doing photosynthesis, it’s still trying to grow up above andgather sunlight. And so you tarp at them, it’s going to really knock things back really, really hard.
So, yeah, that’s a good idea.
So IDK Can you see, this is, this is some of the kale, kholaRabi and broccoli. And then of course it’s inner inner planted withPhacelia, which is called <bee friend> is its nickname and the bees just love it.
And then in a way background, there is a puny back there, but on the fence is a honey crisp Apple that I’m going to be training to go flat across that fence.
So it won’t, won’t be taking the sunlight up from these beds, but this bed is a four foot by 16 bed and it’s got a whole row of celery on the backside of it.
And it’s already produce a lot of food in it.
Doesn’t have any Pests, no pests of any kind whatsoever going on in there because of it.
Ît looks super healthy
Yeah, because of the diversity and, and you know, people think in, you know, all of my lifetime of up until the last 10 years! I was always thought in my grandparents, parents, myself, always thought, okay, the plants are competing thatI need to have just broccoli here or just kale here.
But that’s just really false. That is so far from true!
And I’m like, Oh my gosh, the plants are helping each other.
And the more diverse of plants you have, the more they help each other. They’re not only helping each other with pests, but they’re helping each other with nutrients and water!And so they’re sharing through the roots and the fungi and organic matter that it’s just, amazing!
I was just can’t stress enough we need to plant morediversity.
So this is another sorry for the sunlight. I took these right before we got on the computer here, but I have some perennial plants in here. Oh, this is perennial grasses are two different kinds of grasses that are in front of the screen. One is our blue bunch wheat grass, which is our state grass, just awesome grass, but really getting to be hard to find out on the range because we overgrazed it in the next grass to it
The taller one is actually a native grass too. And it’s on basin based on ryegrass. And so both grasses are benefiting the bees. The bees spend quite a bit of time in grass, which I don’t know exactly why, but I think they do go after the pollen when, when the, when the flowers are blooming, we don’t always yes.
Î was just out in the mini farm and it was like a wave of smoke, I walked by this tall grass!
Yup, yup. Yeah. Yup. The grasses are being very happy right now, but they also are a perennial plants.
So they’re putting out root exudates which feed the soil microbes. And so the more photosynthesis this plant could do, the more food there is going into the soil to feed soil food web.
And so it just makes an incredible positive circle, you know, and if I had been, if I’d seen this picture when I was young, no I would have thought, Oh, those grasses are taking a up all the energy and all the water, but that’s not really, that’s not true.
These are, bunchgrasses, it’s very important that you put bunchgrasses in your yard and don’t put rhino was ones that are going to trail with their root system. Those are the ones that are our enemies and we’re trying to fight out. We don’t want those kinds.
Those would be brome, smooth brome and Western wheat grass and our favorite Friend, crab, grass, those plants, those grasses, you definitely don’t want in a garden! nor do you want Crested wheat grass. But, but these two grasses and I’ve got a few other bunchgrasses that are native that I get at the native plant center.
They’re in Whitefish that are fantastic.
And they make a nice screen to, I’m trying to make it look like there’s different rooms.
And so I got a couple of these based on ryegrasses over there beyond that first trellis, that kind of make a compartment. So it kind of changes what’s behind the door, you know? So when we give a garden tour, it’s going to look pretty cool.
cool! What a great idea? Is that a sunflower right there?
Yes, that is a sunflower.
And I plant branching sunflowers. Cause they, they, they give, you know, a lot more flowers and as we pick them, they kind of pick them to come so that we get more and more flowers off of them. But each sunflower is however many seeds is in that sunflower. Those are all flower reps.
So more blooms?
So each one of those need to be pollinated. And there’s literally hundreds of pollinators on a sunflower that we can hardly even see without a microscope or at least a handheld one to see, Oh my gosh, there’s all kinds of life inside the head of this sunflower!
And so when you just plant branching sunflowers you are giving all kinds of insects, a place to live that wouldn’t be there without that flowers. So yeah, I’ve got kind of stationed around the yard.
This is on my East, the East side in my yard, which is the majority of my yard. But on my North and the West side of the yard is extremely hot and dry in Montana. Brutal hot, which is dry compared to the rest branching sunflowers in groups of two and three to create sunscreen for other plants.
So all the way through that West side of the garden, there’s these different little breaks of sunflowers that will help the plants to the East from that West sun of coming in there and beating, just beating those plants to death and drying out the soil and everything else.
So those sunflowers has really helped with that.
So is that afternoon sun that’s so hot coming from the west?
The afternoon sun and you know, on a seed packet where it says full sun, people think that means full sun. It really means that plant needs eight hours of sun a day.
And so unfortunately on this West side of my house, they’re getting full sun all but about two hours Yeah. Yeah. We have had a lot of rain in Montana this year.
And in Montana, we were just at June 26, it’s probably like 16 hours of sun right after the longest day of the year.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it’s just literally isn’t too much. And so those plants, some of those plans, depending on what the plant is over there will start to look like they’re wilting in the afternoon.
They’re now wilting for water. They’re just shutting down to cool off and to save themselves. So a lot of gardeners will go out there and water when the plant does that. And that, that is really almost the last thing you should ever think about doing.
Those plants are, are taking care of their own self. And the last thing they need is water. They just need some time. And if you could give them all a little bit of shade, it would really help them out a lot. And so this garden is only been watered twice this year.
Rain Water/Deep Watering
Now, granted, we have a lot of just rain water. We’ve had a lot of nice rains, but what’s happened is that
I’m five, six years into this, no dig garden in this part of the garden in the organic matter is I sent a test in this year, which I’ve never done before I sent a test. And it was 5.6 organic matter in the garden. So yeah, so it’s like a sponge.
It is holding moisture. So I bought a moisture meter. You just kind of, it’s a probe, you just stick in the ground. And so I’m relying on that to tell me if I need to water or not.
Because even my flower pots I’ll stick that meter in. Cause I do deep watering. When I water so, I gave everything a really good watering when I do water. And so I stick that meter in for at least a week.
I don’t have to water even in a 24 inch pots I’m not having a water because I deep watered and we need to, we just seem to surface water. So when we surface water, we’re causing surface roots and we’re also causing that plant to be reliant on us, to give it a little shot of water every day.
And so when you don’t do that and you deep water, right?
If I was a dig a hole in this garden, I would find moisture all the way down. And then when I do water, I water for a couple hours, it’s going to get an inch or more rain or sprinkler or whatever, make sure that much water goes down so that you got deep water so that that’s causing these roots of these plants to go super deep in the ground instead of being shallow puny.
So my theory is I want this garden to work for me and not me work for it.
And so that’s what I’m trying to do. And so far it’s it’s working well.
Of course it is all mulched too, right? That’s one of the principles of regenerative agriculture is mulching. And so everything is mulched
What are you mulching with?
diff stuff. This, this four bed got a wood mulch, which I’m not going to do that again.
It was, it was a mulch that I got from a guy that he’s been making compost, but it’s super fine
Does that make it blow away?
and it doesn’t blow, but it, it, it also, it repels water. So the soils can, soils and wood can get hydrophobic, hydro, meaning water, but, scared. So it’s actually a waxy coat that the bacteria have put on the plant material or getting material or soil to hold themselves in place.
And so when it gets hydrophobic it repels and you can’t get water to go in, it takes several waterings to get the water to flow in again. So I don’t like that at all.
And also this very front one that we can see, those are carrots in there. I’ll be taking some of that material back off this fall and putting my own compost back on, and then I’ll mulch it with alfalfa hay. So I like alfalfa hay, cause most, most farmers are trying to harvest alfalfa hay for high protein.
So they’re cutting it when it’s in early bud stage and has lots of leaves on it. And so super high protein. It’s got a lot of nutrients in that. Hay, you know, in fact humans take alfalfa for vitamins. We don’t even know it, but a lot of vitamins we consume have alfalfa in it.
And so alfalfa’s fantastic for the garden. And so I’ve been mulching with that in most, all these beds had alfalfa on them during the winter,
I think Mike has been putting alfalfa meal, when he digs the hole to put the tomato plant or eggplant whatever in the ground.
He’s almost got that whole one side of the mini farm done.
Nitrogen and your potassium both will be boost with the, with alfalfa.
So it’s a good amendment, but this is feeding. This is story like feeding the microbes for them to take those nutrients in the soil and get them solvable and ready for plants. And so I’m letting those microbes do that converting for us.
And then if there’s too much mulch in the spring, then they’ll pick up that hay and I’ll use it around the potatoes. So the potatoes are mulched with alfalfa hay. And then as they get taller than, I’ll put more of it up around the, the branches of the plant to make it sturdier. And you didn’t want to grow more leaves.
Mike was mulching his potatoes today. He almost has the whole Minifarm mulched
Almost every garden I’ve been too has a lot more food growing. That’s great we need to be responding.
This is west looking back southeast! Those are grapes.
There’s three plants there and it’s on a cattle panel trellis that was a 16 foot panel. And then we bent, my son and I bet in, into this arbor, he drove steel stakes in the ground floor. And so this, this is King of the North and it is just loaded with grapes every single year. And yeah, it’s a super happy this year!
So does that take a lot of water. Mike tried to grow grapes over where we were sitting. I feel like we don’t water enough. That’s amazing. Do you do the deep watering?
Well, I don’t water it. Yeah. I took this this morning or right before 11 o’clock right before I only do do deep watering. And, but I’m, I’m giving everything in the whole garden. I’ll give them some warm castings and some homemade compost and some kelp and fish emulssions if they need. Right. So a lot of my plants right now are showing any nitrogen needs.
There’s no reason to put the portion then, but if they do need nitrogen, which early in the spring, I do write soils. It hasn’t gotten where it solvable the plants yet. So you do need it that early in the spring. It always but deficient. But this time of year, I’m not needing to put the fish in.
And so I use that. I just put it on with a watering can cause I, you can backpack or spray it on, but I have trouble with it. Always plug it up. Cause my, my compost have a lot of nematodes in it.
And so, and micro-arthropods, all kinds of really cool stuff. So I it’s easier to just drench it on. So I just been using a watering cans. That means that these leaves haven’t been getting it, but they’d probably be better off if I did put it on leaves too, but I’m drenching it on the soil, in the lower part of the plants and stuff when I put it on and I do that once a week.
With the fish emulsions? Did I miss something?
So no, the, the worm castings in the kelp.
Yup. And then I use the fish if the plant show nitrogen, right? So if the plants are being stunted or if they got any yellowing to their leaves, then I give them fish or early in the spring, you need the nitrogen early spring.
You know, the old timers would say, Oh, we’re we are not getting any plans to grow. And we need a good lightning storm inner like lightning storm. What does that got to do it with plants?
Tthe lightning actually causes the, bonds, the chemical bonds to break and release the nitrogen in the soil.
And so, and it happens with warmer soil, temperatures too. And so when your soils are cold, then you need to probably be thinking, I need to be putting some Fish or alfalfa on cotton seed meal, stuff like that. That was high protein to be able to get that nitrogen boost, those plants are needing, but the soil biology will do that for us when they get woke up too. So I’ve got enough biology in my soil that they don’t, I don’t think I’m in any need of nitrogen,
What else did I take?
I took this picture. We already looked at that.
These other pictures are gonna go over the Buffalo. So I just come back from here.
This is aregenerative greenhouse.
And so these guys were going to put in an organic greenhouse and they couldn’t get any helpthe from the normal extension in our area and stuff as a how and what to do.
So they got help from met me and we got together and decided that we would do it more regeneratively
And so that means we’re trying not to have any inputs. Right? We, we made their soil onsite. They had cow manure, and cattails and woodchips and they put that together.
They are on a lake. They have a lot of fishermen. So I says, you get all your fishermen buddies to put fish in this pile. And so they added a lot of fish to that pile when we made our compost and then they use that for their soils.
So these beds really don’t even have soil in them. We did put wood in the bottom of the planters. So like firewood in long branches in the bottom of these planters, because that’s the, yeah. It’s like a Hugel culture, but is in a bed. And it works like a Hugelkulture.
It’s so pretty? How tall are those? Hip high?
Yeah. We don’t have to water near, as often as you would in a traditional greenhouse, they did add a Red Wigler worms to every bed and soul They’re they’re just over knee high.
So 24 inches maybe. Yeah. About 24 inches. The beds are Yeah. Yeah. They are blue flowers. Those are Borage yup.
It was taller than my head today. I like, I should just take a picture of this board’s plan. I mean, it was just <beautiful> we got them in there just for the beneficials smelling. This is the first year we’ve tried to do it without buying bees, you know, in the they’ve been buying bumblebees to be able to make sure that we can get cucumbers etc to pollinate, but this year we’re going cold Turkey.
They planted two full beds and nothing but flowers. And I’ve got few flowers in other beds too, but yeah, everything’s getting pollinated extremely well and it’s been highly productive.
So, and those are some other shots here.
This is from <the first year of the green house running. I was up in the rafters on the right hand side here, that’s trying to pick tomatoes when I decided I’m going to take the picture of this.
It’s the only place I’ve ever worked, that you have to have a extension ladder to be able to harvest tomatoes and cucumbers from,
It looks so lush reminds me of a botanical garden!
but Right. Yes. Yes.
And those were wave petunia. So there was only two plants there in that. Yeah. And then the nasturtiaums, I didn’t take a picture of an nasturtiaum, but I sh I should have took pictures today. There was some double nasturtiums in there in one plant covers the whole and of a planter with not any problems, just unbelievable amount of flowers and
<I feel like I keep hearing nasturtiums and marigolds, nasturtuiums and marigolds for companion plants>
Yes. And I like trailing the, so I, unless I’m planning a border and don’t have room for a trailing assertion, I plant trailing and assertions, and there used to be two varieties. I’ve been having trouble finding, but one variety lately.
And so we are going to try to start saving some seed from the ones we are growing because some of them will trail a good seven, eight foot long trail on the nasturtium.
So I thought it would be really cool if we put them in a planter, but I, I won’t do that because they would need to be watered every day in, if we put one in the rafter, you know, and had a trail down that that would be cool but would require a lot more water.
So we haven’t done that, but they do sprout, root along the trail
in a, in a greenhouse. We run them alongside the bed is a, we had them go underneath some tomatoes last year. And, and they, they just root along all on thetrail that like, wow. And they self seed.
So we don’t have to, we’ve not had to buy any, we’re not having to buy any Borage or the bee friend, the phacelia, it’s self seeding,
And so as long as we don’t disturb that soil, we get these
Plants to be back. Or if we put in too much mulch, then we, we will take them out that way. We’ve been trying to only put it into, to a mulching in the fall or winter. The greenhouse.
That looks like a really sturdy greenhouse with lots of braces on it.
Yeah. They bought it used in it is, it is a real greenhouse. It isn’t a high tunnel. It’s a real greenhouse.
All of those are rafters are real rafters and not just braces. And so, yeah, we can trellis those tomatoes.
<inaudible> horrible about those baby watermelons. It takes me so long to get back to my bed when I’m first starting.
But I like to show people what a regenerative garden, a regenerative garden could look like.
You know, that’s, that’s more, it’s outdoors. It’s in Montana, it’s in the Eastern Montana.
I love the walkways, are they clover?
And really those are white Dutch Clover. Yeah. And this is celery in the foreground. Right. So, yeah, it’s, it’s as tall as a kale in some places and then her carrots. So the next bed over there where the flowers are, but the next one over and yeah.
So the key is not disturbing this soil and keeping a mulch on the ground.
And planting something within 24 hours of when you take something out? Right I’m horrible at that!
Yes, exactly. Yes. Yup. But today we took out, we’re taking out some beds and the guys are going to replant carrots and we’ll continue to plant carrots in there for the next month or so maybe even two months, because we can go so long and there into the fall.
And those fall carrots are going to be way sweeter than that a spring carrot can, could ever be because of the carrots, when it starts getting cold, start storing the sugars in a root.
And so that’s why you shouldn’t harvest your carrots other than when you’re in greenhouse and you have to, you shouldn’t harvest them until it gets cold. And then they start setting sugars into the root.
But yeah, so diversity.
You know, it’s really up to the gardener. What they want it to look like. You almost get to be the person with the paintbrush and all this. What do I want to look like this year?
Where, where do I want to put what you know?
You have to have so much vision, you and Mike can do that, but I struggle with that because I can’t see what it’s gonna look at.
Well, you can put these, these, these blue KLM anywhere and red kale put them in anywhere and you can’t go wrong. You put them next to another flower as those are married goals. I’m here in this situation, this and next in assertion.
Wow. And you told them, they look fantastic. <inaudible> was, but there’s three different kinds of tests on them to see which one we liked better. Cause I’m trying to get them to go without water, extra water, trailing nasturtium in between each one oil in the fall. And all my gosh, the trailing nasturtium hasn’t even gotten big yet. And it already looks amazing. Cause it’s going to trail up right out in the walkway and are all around us!
These are summer squash. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.
I put some winter squash on top of the Hugel bed and didn’t take picture of that. Cause the sun was wrong too, but on top of the Hugel bed and I’m going to train it to go up into the trees because there’s other plants out on the ground on the sides of the Hugel.
And so I’m wanting to go get it sun from the tree side. And so I’m going to be pinning some of them up into the trees as soon as they get to vining
You told me to put winter squash where nothings growing, just to help the soil and there will be all that organic matter there…
Yup. I like, yup. It’ll help us. Yup. Yup. And they do a lot of photosynthesis. So they’re feeding the microbes to, and in a, in a true corner where it’s just a really pain in most gardens, we got a really tight corner or something. And I like to put comfrey, I didn’t take a picture of the comfrey plant, but I’ve been harvesting comfrey lately where I haven’t harvested lately and it’s getting up to my elbows are higher.
You can’t never have enough comfrey because either you can use it and turn it into a cream, that’s going to be healing. You, we do use it all the time on my hands. I use it on my face and it’s nicknames called “bone net” where it can actually heal bones.
And so it’s a plant that you want to be harvesting and utilizing that way. But it’s also a plant that’s fantastic for the, for the compost!
That’s a tomato, I’ll cut it and take it and lay it next to the, any plants that need to any extra nutritional help or if they just need more mulch and use them as a green mulch. And so I’ll plant that right. In these two corners. That’s what’s in this regenerative garden, they’ve got in the true corner where I’m talking about where it comes to a real corner where
You were saying that would be good down in our orchard right? I keep thinking we need to make it more into a food forest.
Yes. Yeah. Definitely repair them.
Yes. Yeah, yes. Yeah. Winter squash. You could train to go up those trees. Yup. Yup. But definitely pair comfrey with any fruit tree. And I did take a picture of fruit tree, but I didn’t, I don’t think I put it on here today. Nope. This is a tomato from.
That’s a tomato! There huge!
Yeah! This was what I thought was the most productive tomato I’ve ever seen in my life. And we grew them the first year, net regenerative, greenhouse, they taste just like a regular red tomato. We pick them fast and they also didn’t know what to do with them because we couldn’t get the local people to understand that this green tomato was ripe.
Cause these are, these are green zebras and they turn the lemon color in that lighter green color when they’re ripe.
But they’re really right. When that happens, where you for farmer’s markets, you’d pick them with them, just starting to turn a little yellow at the bottom of the tomato and pick them and market them then because they’re going to, they’re going to turn on their own really fast. But they’re, they’re a fantastic tomato and the pounds of these plants produce.!
So this year we only planted two of them. I put one at the sleep in Buffalo and one at my high tunnel in my house because we’re like, okay, we, we know how productive they can be.
And they are shown pear tree so fast. Like there’ll be one of the first Manos that has tomatoes on it. They don’t, they, they taste like a regular tomato, but they’re more, it’s hard to describe, but I would say more kind of minty flavor. Two of them they’re definitely don’t taste anything like a green tomato. They, they got a little zestier flavor to them than some tomatoes.
You know how some tomatoes tastes watery. Well, these guys don’t do that. They, these guys have got flavor all throughout of them,
But I was going to show you my Apple,
but I apparently didn’t put it on the slide deck. So the Apple, I just went in yesterday and took off all of the apples that were touching each other.
So if there was a cluster of five, then I took the two out that was in the middle. So I have now three fruit instead of five and they won’t be, they won’t be bruising each other and they won’t knock against each other in the wind.
They’ll get bigger and the tree will be healthier. And the tree now is just put its energy to these three fruit instead of these five. And I’m gonna, I’m talking about on one cluster because this tree is full of fruit, but now that energy is just going to those three.
So I actually dropped the production on the tree by a third about and the tree should be able to produce every single year instead of when it has that huge load has taken all these reserves from the tree and all this energy to put into that whole mode of fruit that it probably can’t get all the way to ripe anyhow.
Some of the last flower blooms on this tree, the apples were really little yet. You know, where the others are this big in these little tiny, I took all of those off right away, all the little ones off, soit didn’t have to put energy into those that probably won’t make it anyhow.
And the tree will be healthier. The fruit will be healthier. We’ll have less pests because when we get those fruit banging together, then we’re going to get some scars on there and then were gonna get Insects into those, into that fruit.
But the discarded fruit I gave back to the tree, I put it all around the, where it would naturally fall off the tree
I put it on the ground.
And I kind of learned this from the guy that in Three Forks down in Southern Montana. He uses about half the fruit around the tree.
That’ doesn’t bring in critterS?
has the greenhouse squirrels and chipmunks or something. They like went in and like pooped on like Southern Georgia and moved to the next one and took another bite and moved to the next one and both stalls.
We had these squirrels or chipmunks or something came in and ate our best crop of broccoli in Mike’s mini farm one year. Someone suggested that maybe they were drinking the dew it was during a really bad drought.
This is another year on that regenerative garden.
The pollinator planting that goes all the way. Right. When I go to the strip all the way around the garden, if there was a Polynesian on their West side where they have a lot of wind or you’ve got tall branching sunflowers on that side.
. They bring in all kinds of beetles and spiders and stuff that are going to take care of other insects and other pests, you know? So as long as you’ve got a place for insects to live, they’ve pretty well take care of their own world. They just need us to give them a place and get out of their way and not disturb them and not go running through it with weed eater or whatever, you know? So
I always feel like if you don’t want to grow a vegetable garden, you maybe have access to fresh food but if you plant a pollinator border. The first place I saw one was at the Brooklyn Grange up on the roof. I think it would be so much better then so much lawn I see.
I had a person contact me yesterday cause I’m doing this coaching business, you know, coaching gardeners and farmers and stuff, and look how dark that they were a farmer and they wanted to put in a pollinator strip all the way around her couple of big hayfields.
And so I’m like, yeah, I was wondering about that, got a program where it can really help uniform, but at least similar we’ll put in all kinds of edibles. I was at one the other day that the guy put a border all the way around his property and they were border edibles
Have like American plum and elderberry, raspberries, blackberries, current goose berries that you don’t have to think that it needs to be an annual flower. It can take care of itself and do some really good things. And so, yeah. Fantastic stuff.
So I want to show you this Jackie though, so that this was my latest compost.
Yeah. And I’ve noticed that there are different colors in different batches, you know? So it’s just a matter of when this is, this is screened, so it’s completely ready to go right out. Right? Yeah. We all went through a half inch hardware cloth as a screen and then, then I’m going to use it in my compost extract and or Tea, but I I’ve been just extracting of this as a tea, but is see the bag down in the bucket with the air bubbler.
And so I’ll put the compost in that bag and then just, I like using rainwater. If he can’t use rain water, then you can use water, just de-clorinate the water. He usually just pour the bucket and let it gas off for a few hours before you use it. Or some people even put a vitamin C tablet in the water to get rid of the chlorine, but so you don’t want to chlorine cause they were going to kill the microbes. I put that bag down into the water and just massage that bag and you’ll just see the <humic acids come up that get blacker and blacker the microbes come off is what it turns into this flat what we call a Tea.
But even though a Tea Tea means that we would actually feed those microbes in increase the populations of them. We’re not doing that. I’m just extracting them off my composts that I made. And then, then I use that as this drench out onto the, onto the beds, usually about once a week or every two weeks along with my worm casting in any kelp. So your kelps feeding your fungi in your ear worm castings are just full of biology.
So, so is this extract, so it’s just putting lots more microbes out there in the garden and down in the soil.
One thing I keep wondering after talking to you and robin is how do you get teh worm castings out of the bin?
Yes. Simple things like that. Right.
But so we’ve learned that it’s best. If you just think ahead, let the worm bin dry out a little bit and then put your food on one end or in one end, depending on type of your, your worm bin is and water where the food went, guess what the worms are all going to go to that food and that water. And then you can pick them up and put them into a different container or another bed or another bin.
And then, then you have their worm castings.
So you just put it through a screen. I’m going to make a tumbler one. But right now I just spend using hardware cloth to screen er. You’re going to screen it a lot finer than I do that compost. So it’d be a quarter inch, maybe even down to eighth inch screen on it.
And then your screen and off they’re bedding, that’s not broke down. And then you end up with just the word castings and of course you want to let them dry out.
And so you’ve let your bin dry out slowly, right? Your slowly putting your soil microbes to sleep. If you let it dry it out super fast, then you’re, you’re just killing your microbes.
So we want it to go through a slowdown of drying out. So that’s why you just kind of reduce the water in your band. And then pretty soon you’re not, you have no many extra moisture to get those that biology to, to, to go to sleep really in the worm casting.
And then you wake it up when you put it in your water. So you don’t even need the teabag to get the microbes out of the worm casting. Cause it just is going to completely dissolve into fertilizer and microbes when you put those warm castings in your water and stir it up.
Yeah. So on your stackable Bin though your bottom bin is full of warm castings. You just take that Bin in, in, in your stackable situation and you don’t even have to clean them. You just take them right out there.
We’re gonna learn how to make a stackable bin?
No, people buy them.
We’re not going to learn how to do that on this webinar. But on this webinar, I do plan to teach them three different ways to compost. One making like really, really great composts. Like we saw on my picture with the black compost that we can turn into an extractor, a T and then just making good compost with less work, not as much churning or maybe no turning.
And then a third method that is takes more time, but you just let mother nature do it passively. You just, you’re just kind of set the table to make mother nature, make you more compost. And so we’re going to learn those three ways. Do it during the webinar, because compost seems to be the key, especially for a market gardener or anybody starting out in,
even for myself, I’m still adding these microbes every so often to my beds and in the fall when the plants are breaking down and winter’s getting ready to come on and I may put an inch or so of compost on top of my beds before I mulch it for the winter, or just let the plant mature, it will mulch itself. I didn’t clean my garden, take down the sunflowers or anything.
And they started breaking down when they did, then I just crumpled them up, put them on a walkway.
So some of my walk ways, is kale and sunflower stocks, which are breaking down really fast because I got so many microbes in soil. So when you have those two plants and they’re not breaking down and they’re touching the sole surface, you just don’t have no microbes that you need to get more microbes working in your system as they do,
- there’s going to soften your soil.
- They’re going to hold moisture.
- They’re going to transfer nutrients to your plants.
We’re going to do all kinds of beneficial things. We just got to not destroy them. So we’ve got to help them help us. So we don’t tell, and we keep a mulch on top of the soil surface and it can be a live plant or it can be a real mulch
It makes it easier on your too! Less work for you to do!
Yes. Yeah, exactly. Like you seen in my pictures out there in the garden, I don’t weed. There’s nothing to weed. There’s no space. And the soil’s not been disturbed and it’s been mulched, right?
So the weed seeds can’t germinate for one, they need sun to trigger them to Germinate. So when you tell, you’re just throwing the triggers out there, say have at it start growing.
And so when you are doing no till and you’re mulching, you’re never getting that trigger to cause that weed seed to grow. The weed seeds are still there.
I probably got just as many weed seeds as everybody else, but they’re not germinating.
Another thing that’s going on is with communications with plants is there’s nothing to, to communicate to that plant that it needs to grow. So it’s an annual weed is getting told to grow usually by the soil microbes or the lack of microbes in your soil to heal the soil.
So if I till what am I going to get? annual weeds by the millions! Right?
So they’re going to come in. Their job is to flower and put out thousands. If not millions of seeds, as fast as they can! Drop their leaves in their plant material on surface to start building up the microbes in the soil is preparing the soils for the next generations of plants.
When people go in there and disturb it again, we’ve just asked for more annual weeds. If we stop disturbing it, then we go through this called plant succession, where that we go from the annual weeds to our braccis, families our kale and our broccoli, our radishes, they come next. So if you see mustard growing in your garden, they’re part of that plant family. You’re already moving in the right directions toward not having weeds when you have mustard growing, but people panic and see mustard growing and like, Oh, I need to till they go right back!
They start to clock right back over it at ground zero with annual weeds again.
So they’re actually farming for the annual weeds, right?
If you just quit doing all that and the mustards won’t come in until year two, sometimes year three, depending on how bad your soils are. And if you have not got a leaf litter on the soil surface. So that’s why you mulch. You want to have plant material on the surface.
And then once those mustards start growing, they lay down their leaf systems. They put sulfur into the soil, make it plenty available to the next generation of plants. And then we can start growing our grasses and our tomatoes and our, all of the plants that a gardener really wants to grow are all going to grow naturally because that’s, what’s getting told to grow in a system. And that’s where we want to live is in that situation. And so in, in that situation, in my garden last year, my weed was a tree, right?
So that that’s the next secession. Our raspberries sand our smaller trees will start growing. Raspberries like you harvest the small trees will start growing, right? So as soon as I seen, I had trees sprout in my yard or garden, I knew that I needed to go back to the soil microbes that was living with my tomatoes and my grasses that met. I needed to have more bacteria in my compost. So the next compost I make, I made a bacterial compost instead of a fungal compost.
And then I rebalance so balance back. Now, now I’m not having any weeds in my soil and very few trees because I, I keep trying to work, trying to stay right in this sweet spot of growing vegetables with the soil microbes and the plants. And so that’s what we’re accomplished. And so, yeah, I, if I wanted to go add weeds to my compost, I’d have to go to somebody else’s garden to get them.
<So if you never cut, you harvest the kale and let was left there, you put a kale seed next to that plant?>
Oh, well I do crop rotation, right? So your kale, your kale in broccoli family will heal most fungal diseases. So your tomatoes have a lot of fungal problems. And so I like to follow my tomatoes with kale and that family.
So the only place I don’t get that accomplished very well is in the high tunnel because I don’t have that very many beds in the high tunnel. And I really, really want to be growing tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers in the high tunnel. So it makes it a little bit harder, but I, I will put them in for a fall succession, right underneath the tomatoes, tomatoes are still growing. So I’ll start tucking in arugula, and radishes and stuff like that for the fall.
I may not get to harvest them, but they’re helping heal the soil if there was any fungal problems, but you and I detect diseases in the tomato, I take the tomato out, pull the whole plant root and take it to the dump. So I don’t compost it or anything. Put some other plant is place, right. Beets are great for that work because the beets will help peel soil and they’re fast and I can eat the greens if nothing else.
So from last year where I’m taking out stuff right now, I’m putting in beets or carrots. So like I’m taking out spinach right now. And then I’ll just, I’ll put a new planting of beets. Even if the beets don’t make it, I still got beat greens. I still have something growing right in the soil.
I’ll put in a lot of radishes. I usually wait. Cause they tend to bolt in the heat. Thanks for sharing July fall radishes that I can, I can use those to pickle, pickle them or whatever.
I was surprised that I love sauteing radishes just like beets!
So throughout the winter, so everybody sign up. It’s going to be yeah. Yeah. They taste. Yeah. The purple ones I love is called Bravo in. Wow. Are they fantastic? And they’ll store through the whole year. I just took some out of my refrigerator now that was put in there last fall. Yeah. That’s awesome.
And still just as good as could be. And so I pickled it with some red ones, so it was really pretty, it was red and purple and whiteness in the jar. So I’ll take those pickled ones out and I’ll throw them in a stir fry to just put them in the end and not really cook them too much, but yeah. Good stuff. Yeah. Yeah.
Thaks for sharing with us today! And we’ll see you on July 18th.
Yes, really good stuff, easy compost and then lazy. I won’t call it lazy, but let’s call it where we don’t have to turn it at all compost. So, but if anybody needs any help in the meantime, they can get ahold of me with the WiseGrowerGuru.com and I do a coaching service to help people. It’s been, yeah, it’s been a crazy ride as far as you never know.
I found more clients in my backyard than I have on the web, for some reason that it’s crazy, that word of mouth starts going and things happen. But yeah, all kinds of things from composting to a Gardner, that’s never, ever gardened before to two lots of gardeners with flea beetle problems!
So, and it takes time, right? So these nematodes are not a one year fix. It’s going to take a couple of years.
Where do we order those?
I just yep. Nematodes, beneficial nematodes.
I just put in beneficial nematodes on the web in there’ll be two or three different suppliers. You can always find them on Amazon if you wanted. But what I do is I get a package of them and I’ll split the package into one or two or three different. Oh, good to know this. So I’m going to put out the package at three different times instead of once, instead of all at once.
So like when a greenhouse gets ’em in, they’re putting them out, they’re going to put them out. Sometimes they put them out every couple of weeks, to fix their problems.
And so it’s a maintenance thing for them for the day always are putting out fresh nematodes. So they won’t put the whole package out at once. They’ll just kind of scattered out throughout the whole summer.
So I do the same thing. You just store them in the refrigerator. They’re usually coming to this dry powder and you mix that powder with some water. And then I dilute that with some more rainwater and then put it out in a drench can. So I’m not spraying them out.
You can spray them. But I figure if I’m spraying them, I’m probably harming some of them. So I just use a watering, can dredge them right out and then water again, like pre water. I like to do it right after a rain.
And I always do it in evening. Right. Cause they, they need time to get down into the soil and they’re sunlight sensitive. You don’t want to have them out there during the sunlight. So with all the microbes, all the compost drives, worm, castings, whatever. I put them out on the evening or really early in the morning.
And if it is in the morning, I like to have it on the cloudier day. Right. That just ensures that you’re getting way more microbes living and doing what you want them to do for you. Then if you went, put them up there at 10 o’clock in the morning, you’re pretty well wasted your time.
So yeah. Yup. Make sure you’re kind of doing this and get out of routine. I just pick out a day of the week. I kind of like, Wednesday. So I tend to do by on Wednesday, evening, less, less a perfect environmental day comes along. Then I’ll do them then, or right ahead of a trip.
If I gotta be on the road for three or four days, then I’ll put them up before I go. So yeah. Let them work for you. You want to have nutrient dense foods. There’s more nutrients in its upper part of the plant, which you’re going to eat and your garden.
If you just had a pageant plant, anybody out there who’s gardening, but also you are growing and there’s tons of stuff to do and near image or something you’re going to help us make that should be healthier for you. So don’t be afraid. And I like that deep watering thing that you were talking about more, it’s making me wonder if I’m not doing enough watering.
Youre garden will thrive! It’s a booming year, there’s tons of stuff to do.
Remember plants need to breathe so if you are watering make sure
I wonder if I shouldd mre deep reaingin.
If I’m not like maybe I should get one area more each day, instead of just trying to do every area a little tiny bit. Yes. Lots of questions and answers. Yes.
That’s amazing because it’s not getting any rain in the high tunnel. Right? Yeah. And remember that soil has got to breathe. So if it’s been raining, it’s used do not add water. Right. The last thing you want to do is water. When you had a lot of rain or even yup.
Yeah. Like I’ll flood irrigate in my title in that regenerative garden is all flood irrigated. And every 10 days, California is the shortest amount of time. Thank you so much. I guess, between watering .
Right now, I’m going on my third week without having a water in the high tunnel.
Right. Because yeah, because if you want Patty to do a personal consultation, but it does, what is it wise grower group watered in.
It’s just a little bit of a grade. And so when it does rain, it’s getting some from the outside that will gravity flow through the soil profile. But in the soil profile, we have so much organic matter and microbes work on it and I’m getting ready to add bio char to it this fall. Like I bet next year I can probably go toward a month without having a water in that high tunnel. So once you, once you start understanding how to get that stuff, working for you, you can let it work for you. And so you work for it.
I’ll bet those people in California are like awesome!
Yeah. Yeah. You are more than welcome Jackie and I hope everybody has a fantastic season growing the healthiest food possible and you’re going to grow healthy. Yup.
If you want patti to do a personal consultation connect with patti at
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