Naked Gardening

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Naked Gardening

Postby natman » Wed May 18, 2011 1:58 pm

This last Saturday, May 14th 2011 was "World Naked Gardening Day". With that in mind and with our desire to get as close to "natural" as possibe, I thought I would create a thread on gardening (naked if possible).

With the economy what it is and with the rise of GMO (genetically modified) and heavily processed foods entering our grocery stores, and with the inspiration of the Urban Homestead website, my wife and I have decided to convert as much of our back and possibly front yards into highly productive fruit and vegetable gardens. Our home sits on about 1/3rd of an acre on a culdesac such that the majority of the yard is in the back, with only a relatively small triangular section in the front.

Based on the "Square-Foot" and "Square-Inch" gardening concepts, we spent last month building three raised-bed gardens which are 4'X24', 4'X20' and 12'X15' approximately. We are anticipating building several more and in utilizing our fences for vertical gardens and some strategically placed arbors to provide both food and additional privacy. (Most of our yard is very private. However there are a few spots, particularly in our current garden that are visible from some second-floor neighbor windows.)

We currently have planted tomatoes (of course), bell peppers, yellow squash, egg plant, onions, water melons, green beans, Chinese pea pods, cucumbers, oregano and parsely and have recently harvested all of the broccoli. We also have planted several blueberry bushes, grape, blackberry and raspberry vines, peach, apricot, fig, pear, lemon and orange (mandarin and satsuma) trees.

In keeping with the "all-natural" theme, we brought in 100% organic soil mix and are using native pine needles for mulch, which appears to work very well as a weed deterent, and have begun composting all organics removed from the garden and kitchen. I would like to get a chipper/shredder so that we could use even more organics. We also have planted marigolds and citronella along the garden edges to naturally ward off many insects. We have also planted Mexican heather throughout the gardens to attract bees which are necessary to cross pollenate many of the fruit trees.

I am working on a new design for a form of "olla" watering, which evenly delivers moisture directly to the roots rather than using surface watering which is wasteful and attracts unwanted insects.

While the majority of the yard is in the sun, we have several large pines and oaks that, while beautiful and majestic, cover some areas in shade or partial shade. Consequently, we are struggling to find fruits and vegetables that will grow well in either shade or partial sun.

The other issue we appear to be having are pests, particularly squirrels, which like to take bites out of our produce before it gets a chance to ripen and before we get a chance to harvest it ourselves. The peach and appricot trees we purchased were covered in fruit. The next day after we planted them, we found all of the fruit sitting under our garden swing, most with only a bite or two taken out of them. We had planed about a hundred germinated stalks of corn, 99 of which they simply bit off at the ground level that same evening without eating a single bite (I don't mind sharing, but I hate destruction and waste). We have an owl decoy that is supposedly "guaranteed" to scare of pests, however, I can almost swear that I have hear the little buggers laughing at the thing while they munched our green tomatoes.... ARRRRGH!!! We have also tried the red pepper technique which only seems to make them sneeze while they laugh.

We have been told that squirrels are essentially lazy, so one of the things we have started doing is leaving any unripened fruit that falls on the ground out in plain sight in the hopes that they will go after that rather than the rest. If that does not work, then we will dig out our recipies for squirrel stew.
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: Naked Gardening

Postby Jon-Marc » Wed May 18, 2011 4:45 pm

I made some squirrel stew once, and it was quite good. As for nude gardening, I despise gardening but have found that it is almost tolerable when done nude. At least it's not as intolerable as it is when having to wear clothes.
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Re: Naked Gardening

Postby Ramblinman » Fri May 20, 2011 12:58 pm

Jon Marc,

One form of "gardening" is simply relaxing in an outdoor chair and admiring the handiwork of those who have created a garden.

There's room in this world for both types.
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Re: Naked Gardening

Postby DaveT » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:47 pm

The naked gardening thing is what got me started investigating things further this year,
cuz I end up doin it every chance I get
Lots of people have a not so comfortable work environment, I wonder how they endure it sometimes, especially those hiway construction workers out there on the blacktop when it's too hot to do anything. I end up just sitting in the shade in front of a fan when it's that hot, unless there's something that just has to be done. They put up with it just to have a job, so I can do it to have good food I guess.
Growing good food is one of those things I most enjoy doing, it is true the way we often have to do it is not all that comfortable, working in the hot sun when the temp is up. I can put up with that without too much strain until it get's over 90. When I have to work all day in the excessive heat I'll have plenty of drinkin water and have some cool water to dump over me occasionally as well. Ideally I should have a spring fed swimmin pool next to the field, and have plans to that effect. It does improve the comfort level some by leaving off the artificial layers, when it's not possible I can at least minimize the weight. I found the tan through fabric to be the lightest coolest kind, since it's made with a screen like cloth and the air moves through it.
The toughest job I ever set up for myself was picking summer squash steady for several weeks, but we had a good flow of cold spring water coming out a pipe next to the field, so that made it easy to keep cool. We made enough money to buy a dozer out of it anyway.
My plans are to grow a couple acres of crops every year of things that arn't greenhouse compatible, and have some good size production greenhouses to grow everything else year round. If I can implement those plans I will have a year round climate controlled place to enjoy gardening in comfort.
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