Carborendum

Victory Garden

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Since I'd been talking about my garden on another thread, I thought I'd share some of my garden with y'all.

Here is my watermelon patch.  These are my two watermelon plants.  If they produce well, then I'm going to expand it to four or five next year.  For scale, those are 4x8x16 concrete blocks between the two plants.

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These are the flowers that have developed.  They are all male flowers.  They're supposed to precede the female flowers by about a week.  It has been two weeks since the first male flower and still no female flowers.  I'm beginning to get worried.

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Here is one of my blueberry bushes.  This is the third growing season.  Producing lots of berries for such a sparse plant.  i need to work on getting the branches to be fuller.

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Here is a shot of the corn bed, the 2nd blueberry bush, and the gourd plant.  The corn bed is 4x8.  The gourd bed is 4x4.

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And here is the cucumber bed (4x8).  We just put up the trellis with cattle panel and T-Posts. On the back end of the bed is a zucchini plant.  You can see the difference in leaves if you look real close.

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Edited by Carborendum

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That's awesome.  I should move there when the watermelons bear fruit. 😃

I have very little space plus a very strict HOA.  So I just have these 2 4x4s plus potatoes in Firehouse Subs buckets and a chicken coop.

This cat is some feral cat who decided to squat on our backyard killing snakes to gift to me.  We're trying to make him understand that we'd rather have the snakes than a cat.... 😂. My son rescued the very hurt snake and short of catching the cat and taking him on a car ride to the other side of the bridge, we're stuck with  the cat.

Edited by anatess2

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3 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

That's awesome.  I should move there when the watermelons bear fruit. 😃

Well, you're welcome to come by if they allow interstate travelling.  But as I said, they don't seem to show signs of the female flowers yet.  I don't know of any plant that does that.  So, I'm getting worried.

3 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

I have very little space plus a very strict HOA.  So I just have these 2 4x4s plus potatoes in Firehouse Subs buckets and a chicken coop.

I forgot to take pictures of our chickens.  We had covenants that prohibited chickens.  But Texas was passing a law that allowed at least 6 chickens provided you had a minimum lot size. Our entire subdivision qualifies.  So, we took the proposed legislation to the POA (slightly different/weaker powers than an HOA) meeting.  They noted that 6 isn't all that bad.  So, they allowed it.

Unfortunately, the stores only sell chicks in groups of four.  So, we had to get 8.  Shhhhh.  don't tell.  I have a feeling we will have 7 soon.  I'm thinking our biggest chicken is getting kind of old.  She may end up going in the oven soon.

We only get three eggs a day now.  The four younger ones are not laying yet.

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Depends on who you ask.  The city boy says "too many", the crazy chicken lady says "not nearly enough".  We also have ducks, a goose, and turkeys.  At our peak when the kids were full-on 4H, it was over 100 feathery bums.

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17 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Depends on who you ask.  The city boy says "too many", the crazy chicken lady says "not nearly enough".  We also have ducks, a goose, and turkeys.  At our peak when the kids were full-on 4H, it was over 100 feathery bums.

Wasn't it you who told me that the answer to the "How many chickens do you have" is "One less than I need to have."?  Or some such.

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43 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Depends on who you ask.  The city boy says "too many", the crazy chicken lady says "not nearly enough".  We also have ducks, a goose, and turkeys.  At our peak when the kids were full-on 4H, it was over 100 feathery bums.

What do you use for chicken feed?

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

We also have ducks, a goose, and turkeys.  At our peak when the kids were full-on 4H, it was over 100 feathery bums.

So we count heads of cattle and butts of poultry. Got it.

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3 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

What do you use for chicken feed?

So Carb... I got this system that worked perfectly last year... we have a black soldier fly bin with the exit ramp leading straight into the coop feeding tube.  We also have a free-for-all feed crumbles in another feeding tube.  Then I throw to the chickens the weeds I pull out of the garden, a lot of which comes from sprouted seeds that drop from the birdfeeders.  They also eat whatever weeds and bugs they scratch out of the chicken run.  I saw them eat a ginormous palmetto cockroach once and I did not eat eggs for a couple weeks - hah hah.  This worked out so well, it took 6 months for them to finish a bag of feed that cost me less than $20.

This year, unfortunately, my black soldier fly bin fizzled out.  I'm not sure what I did wrong and I'm still trying to get them back naturally without succumbing to buying worms.  They're going through the crumbles much much faster.

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

So Carb... I got this system that worked perfectly last year... we have a black soldier fly bin with the exit ramp leading straight into the coop feeding tube.  We also have a free-for-all feed crumbles in another feeding tube.  Then I throw to the chickens the weeds I pull out of the garden, a lot of which comes from sprouted seeds that drop from the birdfeeders.  They also eat whatever weeds and bugs they scratch out of the chicken run.  I saw them eat a ginormous palmetto cockroach once and I did not eat eggs for a couple weeks - hah hah.  This worked out so well, it took 6 months for them to finish a bag of feed that cost me less than $20.

This year, unfortunately, my black soldier fly bin fizzled out.  I'm not sure what I did wrong and I'm still trying to get them back naturally without succumbing to buying worms.  They're going through the crumbles much much faster.

My FIL used soldier fly larvae.  He stopped for some reason.  I'll have to ask him why.  I never asked.  Frankly I didn't care.  Here's why.

Garbage ---> Soldier Fly Larve ---> Chickens.  Each stage decreases the overall energy.

Garbage --->  Chickens.  Remove one step of the process, overall energy is increased ten fold.

So, I can't think of a free source of food that I have in such abundance that I can freely feed soldier fly larvae forever that chickens won't eat.

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13 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

So, I can't think of a free source of food that I have in such abundance that I can freely feed soldier fly larvae forever that chickens won't eat.

If you have food that is spoiled or otherwise unfit for chickens, you might be able to make edible flies and/or maggots out of it.

When I was in high school, I got hold of like 200 pounds of spoiled powdered milk. I fed it to my hogs, thinking I had scored a great coup. Problem was that the hogs didn't like the spoiled milk powder much more than people would have. I ended up having spoiled milk powder in the hog feeder until I took them to market. Hogs are not picky eaters, but they have their limits.

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20 minutes ago, Vort said:

If you have food that is spoiled or otherwise unfit for chickens, you might be able to make edible flies and/or maggots out of it.

When I was in high school, I got hold of like 200 pounds of spoiled powdered milk. I fed it to my hogs, thinking I had scored a great coup. Problem was that the hogs didn't like the spoiled milk powder much more than people would have. I ended up having spoiled milk powder in the hog feeder until I took them to market. Hogs are not picky eaters, but they have their limits.

So far we haven't found anything we have a lot of that the chickens won't eat. 

Lately, I've had a lot of fun weeding the garden.  If I'm weeding just to save my plants, it's tedious work.  If I'm weeding to send the weeds to the chickens it's an act of vengance!!!

Oh yeah, baby!!!

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16 hours ago, Carborendum said:

My FIL used soldier fly larvae.  He stopped for some reason.  I'll have to ask him why.  I never asked.  Frankly I didn't care.  Here's why.

Garbage ---> Soldier Fly Larve ---> Chickens.  Each stage decreases the overall energy.

Garbage --->  Chickens.  Remove one step of the process, overall energy is increased ten fold.

So, I can't think of a free source of food that I have in such abundance that I can freely feed soldier fly larvae forever that chickens won't eat.

Lots of things BSFs eat that are not good to give to chickens.  For example - my cousin's coffee grounds.  And, of course, BSF has an awesome protein profile whereas what they eat may not.  And, if you have an aquaponic system (I have a small lettuce garden using the bottom of a 55-gallon drum), BSF feeds the fish.  My garbage is divided between the fly bin, the compost for the sfg, and the pets.

Edited by anatess2

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I finally saw a couple of female flowers.  I saw two on the same plant.  I hope I only missed some on the other plant. 

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For now I would like a minimum of one full sized watermelon so we can get a real idea of the flavor and preserve some seeds.  I can hope for 8 to 10 from each plant.  But I doubt I'll get it.

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So, the latest growth shows a bunch more female flowers.  Some of them have already dropped the floral top and are developing into melons.

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This one is around 2-1/2 to 3 inches long.  Both plants have grown so much It has gone beyond the bed boundaries (10' x 20' for two plants) and the whole bed is pretty densely populated with leaves.  So, I found this one and a few others on the sidewalk.

By the end of next week, they should be ready for culling.  Or I may want to keep them smaller.  I don't want to carry a 30 pound melon off the ground.  If it is 20 pounds, that will be fine by me.  Most larger melons at the store are around the 10 to 20 pound range.

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Wow! Your watermelon patch is really coming along, as are your other veggies. I’m rather envious. I really would like to be a great gardner,  But, alas, I try every year, and it’s hit or miss.  I’ve switched to container gardening. It’s about all I can handle now.  Next year I will have to figure out where and how to plant my Bradford watermelon seeds. I’ve got enough land, about 1/2 acre, but the soil is rocky and not the best. I will have to get it ready. I really want to try those seeds.

We just cut up a watermelon we got at the grocery store. It’s not sweet, and as usual lately with any watermelon we buy, disappointing!

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So apparently I missed a few big ones.  This was one that was just a few feet away from that 3 inch one I posted the other day.  It was hidden by weeds.  I also found another one that was about the same size but it was in a deeply leaved area.  I couldn't get close enough without endangering the plant.

Scale: That is an 8x16 block.

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Here is a slightly smaller one.  Perspective makes it appear smaller than it is.  It is actually around 4 or 5 inches.

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Edited by Carborendum

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11 hours ago, classylady said:

Wow! Your watermelon patch is really coming along, as are your other veggies. I’m rather envious. I really would like to be a great gardner,  But, alas, I try every year, and it’s hit or miss.  I’ve switched to container gardening. It’s about all I can handle now.  Next year I will have to figure out where and how to plant my Bradford watermelon seeds. I’ve got enough land, about 1/2 acre, but the soil is rocky and not the best. I will have to get it ready. I really want to try those seeds.

We just cut up a watermelon we got at the grocery store. It’s not sweet, and as usual lately with any watermelon we buy, disappointing!

Thanks for the compliment.  Unfortunately, I can't take as much credit as I'd like to.  A lot of it has to do with the soil, the rain, climate, etc.  That I can't control much.

  • We are in the 500 year floodplain, so we naturally get lots of mineral deposits all the time. 
  • It is very sandy surface layer with a clay lower layer that allows lots of moisture retention and good drainage at the same time.
  • The weather this year has been perfect. 
    • Hot days, cool nights.
    • Rain several days in a row, then several sunny days.  Sometimes it rained plenty at night and sunny days.  PERFECT!!!

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Duuude... your watermelons GREW FAST!

Okay... so interestingly, my experiment this year is growing a watermelon in a square foot garden.  I don't know anything about watermelons.  I planted the watermelon seedling with only 3 leaves on it on May 13.  This is what it looks like today:

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It's that little vine in the corner.  I'm making it spill to the side so the watermelon spreads outside the box instead of taking up space in the box and getting blocked by the zucchini.  As you can see, it has grown a bit but it's still small.

Here's the rest of my tiny garden.  I don't have much space because my small urban backyard is divided into the party area, the chicken run, and the dog run.  That blue bin on the side of the pond there is the remnant of my aquaponic lettuce garden that I'm redesigning... I might get that going this summer, if not it will have to wait for next year.  

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This is the chicken coop which is my very first construction project:

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This is my office that displays my blooming orchids.  The red cups on the shelf on the back have avocado seeds I've been trying to grow (no success yet) and the rest of the shelf holds my starter seeds that are going to be planted in the garden.  The red bins on the side by the fence (I think only one is visible in the picture) are my potatoes - I basically just grow them in the bins for a few months and when the plant dies off I dump the bucket onto a tarp and get potatoes and start over.

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And this is my orchid corner that is strategically placed in the dog run to discourage squirrels (they eat the blooms!).  One of my dogs is a squirrel chaser.

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One of these days, I'm gonna move out of this urban setting and have a proper homestead with my tiny house... dream dream dream...

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