Hi from West Seattle

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cheyenne
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Hi from West Seattle

Post: # 26941Post cheyenne »

Here in the southwest corner of Seattle it's often sunny while you can see clouds all around, as if we poke up through to the sky. As a result I have to water more often but it's worth it!

My duck killed my banty hen several weeks ago. Apparently he thought she was a threat to his 'family' (an americauna hen I bought when he was a duckling and she a mottled chick). Also no eggs have been found since May.

Two thoughts here: don't keep a drake with your hens....and don't let your dog and poultry share a yard, even on an alternating basis. When our poodle (known in France as a "duck dog"!!!) needs to 'go', we put the birds in the coop and let the dog out into the yard. Once we get the fence between the vegetable area and the yard, we'll put a coop and small chicken yard inside the veggie fence (to protect the veggies from the birds).

On growing potatoes and other root crops, we get lots of hairy carrots, bumpy potatoes and leafy green tomato plants. Apparently the soil is clayey and fine with not enough sand and too much nitrogen. Our two new beds will have more sand and rotted leaves, for the roots, but what do I do about too much nitrogen without adding chemicals? Any help greatly appreciated!
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Chickpea
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Post: # 26956Post Chickpea »

Hi Cheyenne. Sorry to hear about your hens, that must have been upsetting.

As for too much nitrogen in your soil - how about growing nitrogen-loving plants. I haven't looked it up but as I recollect that's green leafy brassicas, and especially lettuce will suck the nitrogen out of the soil. Check out what plants love nitrogen and consider growing them exclusively for a season or two. Hope you love lettuce!

Adding sand and rotted leaves will help break down the heavy clayey stucture of the soil, but you'll need to dig in LOTS and you'll need to add it year after year and eventually you'll have nice textured soil, it's not a quick fix. I know because our soil around here is terribly clay-ey. On the plus side it's nice and fertile and it only loses heat slowly so your growing season can be somewhat extended in autumn compared to people with sandy or loamy soils. The flip side of that is it's slow to warm up in spring, so start as many plants off indoors as you can, and use cloches or little polytunnels to warm the soil up for a week or two when the sun starts shining before you plant your baby plants outside.

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Post: # 26968Post Andy Hamilton »

Don't plant any beans or peas!

Welcome to the forum mate and thank you for the insight on the pitfalls of keeping animals. Are you somewhat of a rareity in Seattle being someone who is trying to live off the land. We have a smittering of Americans who visit this site, but not many and none really who stay. I wonder if that is because Americans don't tend to grow much?
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Post: # 26972Post Shirley »

Hi Cheyenne....

Welcome to the site :cheers:
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Don't forget to check out the Ish gallery on Flickr - and add your own photos there too. http://www.flickr.com/groups/selfsufficientish/

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Millymollymandy
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Post: # 27043Post Millymollymandy »

Hi Cheyenne and welcome.

I have quite nitrogen rich soil - I think - because I have stinging nettles everywhere. It's supposed to be a sign of lots of nitrogen in the soil.

Surely if you fertilise with the other things the soil needs it will balance it out? (I'm just thinking out loud here, because I don't actually know the answer!) My veg grows well and I add general purpose fertiliser which is higher in potassium (potash) than nitrogen or phosphorus.

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cheyenne
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nitrogen love, cloches, lettuce

Post: # 27122Post cheyenne »

Great idea about the lettuce. Florescing brassicas not so much, and the leafy brassicas just take off and overwhelm the place!! I love chard and it loves my dirt. So I guess more chard and lettuce...maybe I'll even try iceberg! Oh and spinach. Thanks, chickpea!

The sand and leaves sounds easy enough and there's an endless supply of both. Every fall I fill the truck with leaves from all the street maples and sweet gums.

There are people here who are into organic, kitchen gardening, but we are outstripped by the flower & landscape gardeners. In Seattle the climate is like parts of France and southern England, often cloudy and quite temperate. So advice from Brits most welcome here! 8) Would woodashes provide any potassium? The 50-year old seven-trunk dogwood from the front yard is lying in stacks by the door ready to burn. The neighbor got frisky with the Round-up on my comfrey, right through the chain-link fence, and it drifted fifty feet and killed the tree (insert expletives here).

Sympatico people and websites are fewish and far between, so I'm sticking around. Also we can use all the cooking recipes and low-tech enviro friendly articles here. We're trying to go vegetarian and as green as possible. --cheyenne
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Millymollymandy
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Post: # 27186Post Millymollymandy »

Yes, save your wood ash to sprinkle round plants that like lots of potassium - flowering and fruiting plants like roses, tomatoes, strawberries etc.

I sieve out all the charcoal bits first as I read you shouldn't put that on the soil (not sure why not). It's a grubby job sieving ash though!!! Also best done when it is not too windy!

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Post: # 27188Post Wombat »

G'Day Cheyenne,

If your pH is OK try gypsum or dolomite to help break down your clay and give you a nice soil structure. If you do have high nitrogen you could try planting leaf crops, or heavy feeders like corn or you could try digging high carbon materials like straw through and then letting the bugs even things out for you. :mrgreen:

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Post: # 27215Post ina »

Hi Cheyenne

Wombat beat me to it - I was going to suggest sweetcorn, too. And all kinds of pumpkins, squashes etc - they all like lots of N. Anyway, as long as you don't add any masses of nitrogen over the next few years, you should be ok soon enough!
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