DW Garden 2020

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by ditch witch, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Took some pics of our garden today. It's a mess. I had a couple of years where I didn't mess with it due to personal crap that sucked the life out of me, so this year has been a lot of cleaning up and rebuilding.

    We lost 3 of the grapevines last summer, not entirely sure what happened but they were never very healthy ones to begin with so no loss. Got a lot of grapes coming on now. Don't ask me the varieties. Front row is white, back row is black and red. Tags got lost a long time ago. That big tree in the back is an apricot, there's a peach to it's left that's still pretty young.

    This is a mix of banana, habanero, and jalapeno peppers with an oregano in the front corner there. I have to prison fence it because my idiot Doberman will jump in the tub and dig it up to bury his toys and bones.

    This is the bluegill tank. It's kind of an aquaponic setup but more entertainment value than anything right now since I had to take down most of the beds to redo them. I have sweet potato cuttings stuck in the media bed and sump just to get them rooted. Media bed also has mint, some sad looking cucumbers, and some boston ferns I got from walmart for $3 each because they'd almost killed them. There's 50ish bluegill in the big tank. I did have catfish last few years but we ate them all. Fish truck back in the area in a few weeks, deciding if I want to try to get a couple more tanks cycled in for them. My sump is not "correct" I suppose, in that I set it up like a bog/lake. The filter drains into a gravel bog, then flows over into the "lake" which has freshwater clams to act as filters, snails for algae control (and to feed the bluegill when they make too many of themselves), and a couple black mollies who deal with the mosquitoes. The fish tank water is crystal clear and tests perfect so it works.

    Strawberry tub. It's set up as a wicking bed. That pipe sticking up is the fill tube. There's a water reservoir in the bottom 1/4 made out of some old drainage pipe and an overturned cement mixing tub. Drain is hooked into the tub's original bottom drain. Tomatoes and peppers behind it.
    Looking down the garden. The IBC to the left is a chicken waterer, has a line tapped into it with little sippy cups running along it. Holds a year's worth of water for the biddies. On the right are wicking beds. Peppers, next one had onions but we just pulled them all so only has rosemary and thyme and a crummy cherry tomato that I will never plant again in it. Then more peppers, plus a couple sugar baby watermelons that I'm pulling through the pallet fence to grow along it on the other side.

    We ripped out the old pallet decking and are putting in pavers. Tomatoes on the right, chicken house to the left.
    Corn, pumpkins in the back there. These wicking beds at the front of the pic were just put in this year and the hubs didn't understand how much the dirt would settle so he planted as soon as we made them. Dirt settled A LOT and the plants have been crappy since they're like 3" off the sand base. There's some San Marzano (sp?) tomatoes in this closest one that may come on though, and I planted some zucchini and butternut there on the side last week. Think I have enough time left in the season for them to produce. There's another wicking bed around the corner with okra in it. That corn in the back there, the one in the dirt on the left was planted 4 weeks earlier than the ones in the beds. It's an Indian corn I just grow for decoration and the chickens. The two wicking beds are sweet corn.

    After seeing some videos where they used sand instead of gravel in their wicking beds I decided to give it a try, but meh. Still have more beds to install, think I'm going back to gravel.

    If you're scratching your head wondering what a wicking bed is, this is a post I did a few years back about making them.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  2. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Nice job DW!!!
    We moved last fall and have a lot of work to get our new garden going.
    Great advice on your tips and tricks!!
  3. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    lovely! do u use the ICB's because of the crab grass in your area? Or do you just like wicking beds because you water less?
  4. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Both. The bermuda grass is invasive and immortal and I have better things to do than argue with it. Also the wicking beds let us go away for up to a week without worrying everything is gonna die when the temp starts hitting 3 digits.
    chelloveck, SB21, Dunerunner and 3 others like this.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    That tomato plant is huge @ditch witch, are you using chick poo to make them grow so well? How high are they? 4 feet?

    Also- what kind of peppers are you growing?
    chelloveck, SB21, Dunerunner and 2 others like this.
  6. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    The tomatoes are an eyesore lol. Believe it or not I've pruned the hell out of them but they respond by adding three suckers for every one I cut off. It's some kind of italian with a name I can't spell. They're producing so I'm not complaining. I had started Jersey Devils too but the seedlings were all spindly and weak so I tossed them. That bed has been around a while and was the dumping ground for the chicken coop and rabbit cages so anything in it grows like a weed.

    The peppers are jalapeno and habanero for the heat, then sweet banana, jimmy nardello and ajvarski. The Jimmys are awesome, heavy producers all summer long and sweet enough to eat raw off the vine. This is my first year for the ajvarski and so far so good, all loaded up with nice big peppers and no issues but they're still green so IDK on taste yet. If it's good it will replace the marconis.
    chelloveck, SB21, Dunerunner and 3 others like this.
  7. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Hi DW!
    I'm REALLY interested in your beds (the last photo). Out of what did you make those beds or did you purchase them?
    I've never seen them before and they really look nice!
  8. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    @Bandit99 they are IBC totes that I cut in half, and they are used in a lot of applications, everything from deicing fluid at airports to syrup, etc etc. Most common is the 275 gallon tanks, but I've managed to score a few 330 gallon ones over the years. In my area you can't go ten feet without tripping over a pile of them, mostly byproducts of ag spraying. Brand new from the manufacturer they can run over a thousand bucks, but used you can usually find them anywhere from free to $40, at least around here. If you want some that are "food grade" you can spend up to $150.... though I've sniffed more than a few that were supposed to be food grade and smelled herbicide so if you're going to shell out that kind of money make sure it's legit.

    This is what they look like.
  9. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    @ditch witch, have you covered the details of your fish tank in more detail in other posts? I like the idea and wonder how adaptable it would be to more urban settings, like an apartment rooftop. Being renewable, silent and odorless it's a stealthy way to augment chickens and rabbits...or the hogs that my neighbors have running around their house like big pink dogs. Roving bands of hungry travelers wouldn't give a giant fish tank a second glance. (tag it with a big SEPTIC TANK sign if in doubt)

    I can walk to good fresh or salt water fishing sites in a few minutes, but if everybody else is fishing for their supper it'd sure be nice to have fresh fish without leaving home. Bluegill and small catfish are perfect meal size. :)
    chelloveck, SB21, Gator 45/70 and 2 others like this.
  10. Wildbilly

    Wildbilly Monkey+++

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The next time anyone says anything about my backyard being ..."cluttered" I'll show them yours!:) I like your ideas on raising fish. I have a pond that contains catfish, bass, blue gill, minnows, a couple of grass carp, lots of frogs and a few turtles. I know people that raise fish in above-ground pools. I also recall that "Preppers" showed a family that had converted an old, leaky backyard pool into a greenhouse/fish pond/chicken coop, simply by covering it with plastic sheeting.
    The best way to fish in a SHTF situation is to do it at home. The next best way is to stun the fish in a local body of water, dip out what you want with a net, and haul ass! I got preps for that!
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  11. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    @hot diggity I haven't ever mentioned my fish much on here. Mostly because there's just too much to explain.

    Imma tell y'all now, raising fish in your yard is a lot harder than a lot of the Youtube videos will lead you to believe, especially if you're going the aquaponics route. Despite what some videos claim you can't raise 50 catfish in a 55 gallon barrel. I have 50 bluegill in a 275 gallon tank and that's really too many once they get a little size to them. Fish are sensitive to things like pH and ammonia and O2 levels and if you aren't paying attention you can go out to a tank full of corpses that were looking fine the day before. If I had a swimming pool to work with that'd be pretty sweet, but with size comes additional headaches so for now the IBC tanks are what I use.

    I don't bother with tilapia because my region of Texas goes to the teens in the winter and over 100 in the summer, which means my fish tank will range from 33F to 80F over the course of a year. That will kill tilapia and trout. Bass, perch, crappie, and bream won't eat floating food and I'm not raising minnows to feed them. That leaves channel cats and bluegills. Of the two, the bluegills are far more hardy. I killed a lot of cats the first few years. The only thing that ever killed my bluegills was a stray cat who knocked the water line loose and drained the tank in the dead of winter.

    I'll take pics when we get to putting the newest tank together. I'm waiting on UPS to bring me my uniseals. The current fish tank is just temporary until this one gets done.
    Dark Wolf, chelloveck, SB21 and 3 others like this.
  12. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Took some pics this morning while checking on everything. Some stuff makes me happy, some not so much.

    PEPPERS! These are the ajvarski. Some are starting to change color. Can't wait to try them! Also turns out some of the California Wonders I started made it into the beds. Long story there... I started a lot of stuff back in February, half of it never germinated, I got pissed and just threw seeds in the cells without paying attention to what variety was going where.

    Some Romas getting big. I'm itching for some fried green tomatoes so they may not survive to red. That poor basil is completely buried.

    Had to put a shade over the bathtub peppers. The bananas just can't take the heat and sun when it goes to 3 digits, and the other peppers will sunscald. That vine coming through the pallet fence is sugar baby watermelons. I got them planted really late but I think there's time for them to produce.

    Tomatoes, and the shade cloth in the back for the strawberries. I had to order another one for the greenhouse that's getting built so if this heatwave continues I may put them over the....

    PUMPKINS! Although this Dark Knight pumpkin seems to love the heat. Everything else heat wilts midday, except for this.

    Indian corn isn't fazed by the heat either. I planted these from 5 year old seed I'd left sitting in an open mason jar on a shelf so I didn't expect any of it to germinate but almost all of it did.

    Grapes are doing ok. We've had 1 great year with grapes and a lot of crap years, mostly due to operator error. I should have just planted mustang grapes and called it good. These wine grapes don't really like it up here.

    OK WTF is wrong with my Okra? I *think* it got some 2-4-D drift that got sprayed on the other side of the fence but if this looks familiar to anyone, speak up.
    20200710_082107. 20200710_082104.

    So a year or two ago I joked with a friend that if the zombie apocalypse came I was going to eat the bazillion dove that live in our back yard trees. I counted the ones on the high line above our yard once and got to 48 before something spooked them and they flew up. This spring a pair decided to start nesting in one of the long empty rabbit cages in the rabbit room. This is the second hatch. I go in and talk to them every day lol so they are totally tame. When I'm working outside, the two from the last hatch (I guess it's them IDK they all look the same) will come sit on the fence or coop within a few feet of me and watch.

    This media bed is part of why we have so many dove. A constant supply of fresh running water. I made a little pool by the drain so they get in there and take a bath as well as get a drink. That's zucchini, Tahiti melon (big honking butternut), sweet mint, and cucumbers in there that I started last month. Lot of sweet potato vine starts too, just using this to get their roots going.
    So underneath that bed is a sump that I set up to work like a bog filter although my cattails never took off so now I'm using potato vine to suck up nutrients out of the water. I stuck a solar light in it to attract bugs because there's frogs living in here now. I have no clue where they came from. I never saw tadpoles and I'm miles and miles from any body of water. 20200710_084027.
    There were 5 in here last time I checked.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
    TnAndy, techsar, Yard Dart and 4 others like this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    tadpoles from no where ![LMAO] soon you will have spontaneous fish and a whole eco system. Life has a way of happening when we aren't looking

    Your garden looks great!
    techsar, chelloveck, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  14. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    That's the crazy part though! There's some black mollies in there to eat mosquitoes and I feed them twice a day and I've never seen tadpoles. Where did these guys come from? I'm happy to have them though because to the right of the sump is that stinking hugelkulture (spelled wrong) bed that's nothing more than a roach motel. I gotta rip that thing out as soon as the weather cools. The roaches go to the water at night and the frogs will eat them, heh.
  15. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    My money is on birds eating frogs eggs and taking (harump) a dump over your tank. Fish can also move around that way, as anyone that every constructed a pond on property where there never was one before will tell you.
    techsar, chelloveck, SB21 and 2 others like this.
  16. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Mmm..Doves and Cajun smoked sausage make one very fine Most Bonn Gumbo!
  17. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    That going to be my guess on the tadpoles,, bird poop ,,,
    Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Eggs CAN NOT be eaten and then hatch .
    I had raw eggs and next week my septic tank had chickens coming out !!
    Can water birds get to your water pond under wing ?
    Eggs on the wing !!!
    Any bull frogs in your area ? if so , watch out , them american BF will eat you out !! Over night !!

    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  19. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    In fact, birds tend to swallow things whole, and often stuff isn't digested, passes right thru.
    Gator 45/70 and chelloveck like this.
  20. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Got a 10x20 40% shade cloth up over the peppers. Supposed to hit 109 today.

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