Anybody garden here?

M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
I have personally given up on the gardening. It's just too dang hot in TX for that! Too hot for me to want to work outside that is.

The GF typically maintains a meager garden each year.

I have made my decision--The next time that I pursue gardening, it will be an indoor hydroponics setup! That way I can work in relative comfort. And, hydroponics has the advantages of precisely controlling the light and nutrients to the exact needs of the plants for each stage of growth.

But, my current home is too small to make that a realistic goal, without compromising something else that is higher on my priority list.
Here in FL., it's the cooler months where things flourish. This is per the University of Florida etc. shows as a when and what. Here it's from roughly Sept-May. When the rest of the country is getting started, I am usually wrapping it up. People here from up north here do not realize this and try starting in the spring time where they came from. Here, that's when all the heat and bugs arrive.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
I built a planter on legs for my herbs a couple of years ago, but didn't take the time to do anything with it last year. I used a sheet of 1/4" thick PVC with about five holes in the bottom and it has a payer of landscape fabric under the soil. It worked pretty well. I used a molded concrete pavers that are about 24" x 24" with 4" holes for grass to grow, as a way to keep each plant separate because some like to creep. Looks good, easy to maintain and it keeps the soil cooler.

I was taking with a friend about what would happen if the electrical grid goes out, even for a couple of days- a lot of people will be totally helpless and will have no way of sustaining themselves, other than by receiving, stealing or buying from others. Since they have no skills for many kinds of work, they'll be useless. All someone needs to do is go for a long walk in their area and they'll find all kinds of food that grows wild, even in residential areas. The banked area at the 18th hole of a golf course where I play has Raspberries, Strawberries and lots of different herbs growing right next to the cart path.
When I was a young lad, I lived with a family that the man knew everything about Florida. Was born and raised here. He once made a statement that only a fool could starve in Florida and never understood the need for food stamps etc. Considered that a "city problem." I tend to agree, greatly, for having lived from the land here often, or in which to supplement our existence, just from the bay/ocean alone.

Still, this climate affords a great reduction in the grocery bill most of the year and with the majority of the diet being vegetative. I'm no vegan by any means, but it's these greens and fruits that make all the proteins, wild or otherwise that much better. I tell people that I can stand on a bridge at night with a lantern and a dip net and catch upwards of a hundred dozen shrimp in a night and they look as if I have two heads. Or that I could survive with my cast net alone falls on deaf ears, or sounds perhaps, like two much work.

At least my children have learned.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
Here in FL., it's the cooler months where things flourish. This is per the University of Florida etc. shows as a when and what. Here it's from roughly Sept-May. When the rest of the country is getting started, I am usually wrapping it up. People here from up north here do not realize this and try starting in the spring time where they came from. Here, that's when all the heat and bugs arrive.
Yeah, the FL weather patterns are fairly similar to TX. Of course you tend to get more storms and rain, and of course TX has weather from gulf coast plains to low elevation mountains.

But, in general it's not too different--Hot and Humid!

We had like 1 week of winter weather this season, and even that was not 1 week straight, just a few days here and a few days there. I tend to call winter down here "second spring", because, seriously sometimes it seems that the plants get confused and bloom early! And the weather is just a bit cooler than spring weather too.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
The boxes I use have a water reservoir/aeration screen in the bottom. There's a spendier version of it, but mostly make my own. Look up Earthbox, or Earthtainer.

For a number of years I worked on potable water wells and witnessed a rather sudden decline in the amount of, or quality of our drinking water. This alarmed me to the point where I have an issue with personally wasting it. The other issue was seeing what nutrient runoff was doing to our ecosystem. This semi-closed loop system appealed to me and the results have been promising.

I don't have a lot of time for gardening in the traditional sense. I learned that it takes a lot of work to provide enough food for a family, so this semi-automatic system works for me being that I live in the city. The conservative part makes it to where it doesn't cost me more as much as store bought if I consider my time with labor.

Most importantly, it gets me outdoors and acclimated to where I live, which in turn, saves me tons with climate control, otherwise.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Yeah, the FL weather patterns are fairly similar to TX. Of course you tend to get more storms and rain, and of course TX has weather from gulf coast plains to low elevation mountains.

But, in general it's not too different--Hot and Humid!

We had like 1 week of winter weather this season, and even that was not 1 week straight, just a few days here and a few days there. I tend to call winter down here "second spring", because, seriously sometimes it seems that the plants get confused and bloom early! And the weather is just a bit cooler than spring weather too.
Exactly. And in the event of a random hard freeze, I drag my containers together and cover them so as to protect them from frost. That's probably the most work I would ever have to do. This year, everything flourished.
 
Dan

Dan

Senior Audioholic
I used to grow tomatoes, herbs, cukes. The deer netting I had to put up was more effective at keeping me out of the garden than the deer. One of these years I'm gonna get a crossbow, plant a bunch of cucumbers and spend the night on the deck with a flashlight. A venison garden!
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Another issue was having time to prepare full meals. I work the later shift. So if I have to eat something a little less involved, I can juice much of what I grow and be sure to still get the vegetables in. Still, I manage to consume enough plant matter, one way or the other. Often times, it ends up more like a dessert than a vegetable. A lot of spinach will grow in a small place. Possibly the best green to grow for nutritional value.

 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
When I was a young lad, I lived with a family that the man knew everything about Florida. Was born and raised here. He once made a statement that only a fool could starve in Florida and never understood the need for food stamps etc. Considered that a "city problem." I tend to agree, greatly, for having lived from the land here often, or in which to supplement our existence, just from the bay/ocean alone.

Still, this climate affords a great reduction in the grocery bill most of the year and with the majority of the diet being vegetative. I'm no vegan by any means, but it's these greens and fruits that make all the proteins, wild or otherwise that much better. I tell people that I can stand on a bridge at night with a lantern and a dip net and catch upwards of a hundred dozen shrimp in a night and they look as if I have two heads. Or that I could survive with my cast net alone falls on deaf ears, or sounds perhaps, like two much work.

At least my children have learned.
I'm, not planning to stay here much longer and depending on where I go, that will determine what I do for growing food. If I go to someplace in the near South/Central US, I plan to have a greenhouse. I might even think about installing some kind of condensing tubing to collect moisture from the air for irrigation or I could collect the condensate from the AC system. I would also consider a cistern to collect gray water and use that.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
I'm, not planning to stay here much longer and depending on where I go, that will determine what I do for growing food. If I go to someplace in the near South/Central US, I plan to have a greenhouse. I might even think about installing some kind of condensing tubing to collect moisture from the air for irrigation or I could collect the condensate from the AC system. I would also consider a cistern to collect gray water and use that.
I have since modified the containers to collect rainwater without disturbing the fertilizer. The reservoir has an overflow so they can't flood. Anything to conserve water is a good plan. A greenhouse is a great plan too. Just too hot for one here, really. Our area has perhaps 350 cold (45 F or below) hours per year on a cold year.

Here's a single container I made a cage system out of bamboo for Asian long beans. I call it the Mean Green Bean Machine. :D

The kids and their friends eat these raw. They're sweet when right from the plant.


I have friends that wonder when I find time for this with all the other projects I get involved in. As it is, after 8 years into it, I spend maybe 2-3 hrs week at it after the initial setup.

Can see the hydro setup in the back. I use that for a nursery more than anything else.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Another part of this edible landscape project is 5-20ft vines of different muscadine grapes. Mostly bronze varieties. Can almost set one's watch to their ripening in September. The grandkids (me too) love them. As do the possums. Every year it's me against the pole cats. Last season I managed to get my share. A neighbor made some sparkly wine from them that was actually quite good. A handful left in a jar of 'shine' is pretty darned good too!

 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Good stuff. Two, two cu. ft. planters, 12 strawberry plants. Every 3-4 days brings this.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for the food porn pics! Definitely good encouragement! Perhaps I'll be able to pull off a short, fall, garden if I can get the back deck built in time. Planter boxes with be used as fencing and even have benches attached. Not much need for over priced patio furniture that just turns yellow in GA, anyway!
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
It's cheap entertainment with returns. It used to irk me to fertilize my yard and water it with perfectly good drinking water just so I could have more work to do on weekends in exchange for curb appeal. Then there is concerns with nutrient runoff and other ecological impacts. I'm no tree hugger by any stretch. It's the logic associated with ornamental yard treatments that irk me somehow. I pay so much/month to own this place. The grounds should pay me back, even if pennies, compared to the alternative.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Since the advent of high performance LED lights, I can afford to garden thru the summer but indoors, while taking some lessons from the indoor pot industry and applying it to food. I have it figured down to where my salads average about .85 per. I get to eat what amounts to prize quality produce.

The downside? It ruins you from buying anything that is a day or more from fresh at the grocery, or even shops that specialize in produce. Upside being is that it is unquestionably organic and pesticide free and very fresh quality. As it is, I can keep this going year-round. Quality of life goes way up. The other day, I saw a single, and rather poor in comparison, head of bibb lettuce at the grocery store for $4. I also share with friends. It's nice to be able to give them living food in a cup that they can keep for a good while before using. One friend called to tell me that there is a deceptively large amount of greens in one cup.

I built a 3 shelf (the floor under it is lit too) grow unit approx. 4 ft long, and 4 ft high. with two LED (daylight spectrum) shop lights per shelf. The .85 cost per meal? Includes climate control for the room and a dehumidifier that also allows me to set pretty much any climate I want. I also grow microgreens with the lettuce, beets, collard greens, cabbage and spinach. Any overages that are not eaten are juiced. No waste. It is all sized to use Solo cups, and recycled 24oz cottage cheese type containers.

Bibb lettuce and microgreens.

Some loose leaf types.

Pea sprouts.


These are all heirloom types. You just basically go to it and build a salad by just taking a little from each. Just the maintenance alone builds meals. If it's there like this, I will eat it.
 
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M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
This bowl, which is large for me, doesn't even dent the crop. I pretty much have to eat salad every day to keep up with the growth from just this unit. It could feed a non-vegan family of 4, a 3 times a week.

All soil is recycled continuously. I don't need chem fertilizer because the organic/compost based mix is enough to feed these plants for the short term. When done, I put all the used soil to the weather in large pots to compost any roots and such that may be leftover. Once it's all clear, I amend and start over.

Once the soil gets too broken down or begins to get 'swampy', I use it for outdoor container projects such as sweet potatoes, and other veggies with low fertility requirements.



This is the time of year I used to have to completely shut down my outdoor garden for the bugs and humidity. I would basically stop eating enough vegetables because of the comparative let-down with shipped in produce. Fruit not yet ripe on the outside, but rotten at it's core, from being harvested way too early. Wilted beets, and greens, with the exposed parts being pretty much waste. Then, the worry with what poisons are on, or worse in the commercial offerings.

It's nice not to have to wash anything. I give it a rinse and spin and that's it. This is very easy (foolproof, really) to do. I offset the cost of electricity by turning off everything else like the water heater. My electric bill has not gone up very much. I would otherwise spend $60-80/wk on produce if trying to buy organic.
 
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M

Midwesthonky

Audioholic General
This bowl, which is large for me, doesn't even dent the crop. I pretty much have to eat salad every day to keep up with the growth from just this unit. It could feed a non-vegan family of 4, a 3 times a week.

All soil is recycled continuously. I don't need chem fertilizer because the organic/compost based mix is enough to feed these plants for the short term. When done, I put all the used soil to the weather in large pots to compost any roots and such that may be leftover. Once it's all clear, I amend and start over.

Once the soil gets too broken down or begins to get 'swampy', I use it for outdoor container projects such as sweet potatoes, and other veggies with low fertility requirements.



This is the time of year I used to have to completely shut down my outdoor garden for the bugs and humidity. I would basically stop eating enough vegetables because of the comparative let-down with shipped in produce. Fruit not yet ripe on the outside, but rotten at it's core, from being harvested way too early. Wilted beets, and greens, with the exposed parts being pretty much waste. Then, the worry with what poisons are on, or worse in the commercial offerings.

It's nice not to have to wash anything. I give it a rinse and spin and that's it. This is very easy (foolproof, really) to do. I offset the cost of electricity by turning off everything else like the water heater. My electric bill has not gone up very much. I would otherwise spend $60-80/wk on produce if trying to buy organic.

Are you using standard LED lights in the outdoor spectrum? You got me thinking of doing this in my basement. After the stroke last year, my diet has changed drastically and I eat a ton of greens now. Keeping fresh greens throughout the year would be nice and cut down on the grocery bill. Better for the planet and less plastic waste too.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Are you using standard LED lights in the outdoor spectrum? You got me thinking of doing this in my basement. After the stroke last year, my diet has changed drastically and I eat a ton of greens now. Keeping fresh greens throughout the year would be nice and cut down on the grocery bill. Better for the planet and less plastic waste too.
Yes. A 6 pack bundle of 5-6000k LED shop lights. I too have changed my diet to mostly veg. 80% veg, 15% meat and carbs when I feel like it during my more active days at work. Almost all refined sugar gone. Just a few #s away from my suggested BMI now and have felt a lot better. Nails and hair grow twice as fast! Also live barefoot and grounded to earth as much as possible but that's been a habit for years.
 
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