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Picking up where someone left off

Thread starter #1
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San Antonio, tx
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i recently moved into a house, (renting) and the prior tenant had kale growin in the backyard, just need advice to keep it going. I haven’t watered it or anything. I don’t really know much about gardening but I am mostly vegetarian and I wanna turn this into a full blown garden for me and my family.
 

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w_r_ranch

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Kale is a cool season annual (grown during the winter months in the south). Grow it, eat it & enjoy it while it lasts... because the plants will eventually bolt (producing yellow flowers) in spring, signaling that it’s time to remove them & make room for other crops. You can reseed them next fall or buy transplants.
 

Waite

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SE Michigan
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Kale is a 'cut and come again' green, meaning you can cut the leaves and they will regenerate, just leave enough for them to convert the sun to energy. The more you cut the longer it will take for them to bolt, but it will happen eventually. Cut baby ones from the middle for tender greens, or the outside for larger ones. About a handful per plant at a time.

Kale likes cooler weather and gets sweeter after a frost, but frost will do them in sooner or later.

Welcome to the forums!
 

Mr_Yan

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Frost to light freeze won't hurt most kales. My neighbor had kale growing two summers ago and about 20% of it over wintered and flowered the next spring. While it wasn't a hard winter by any means we did hit 15 to 20 below 0 F.

What are your plans or wants to expand this garden? As a renter you probably don't want to put too much (expense / investment wise) into the garden.
 
Thread starter #6
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I’m not too sure exactly what I wanna do. I’m posting a couple more pics of what’s going on back here. There’s these rows of grow area, I’m clueless as to if it’s all good soil, or the same type of soil as the kale, or maybe it’s just dirt. I have 0 gardening experience other than I’ve been messing around with aquaponics for a while but mostly for the fish keeping aspect. I’m also an expert saltwater reef expert. Not trying to toot my own horn, but anyway...I also have all this wood left over so I’m wondering if I can use for like raised grow beds so I can fill with soil. My brother is a chef at a mostly vegan restaurant and tells me I should grow stuff for him but I just need to get something consistent going. And yeah ur right, I’m renting so I can’t get too crazy. 78FA348C-7E70-4F45-A757-F5BE44477655.jpeg 5BE23948-3AB9-42B6-89E1-1589195A940D.jpeg B417A17B-C5E5-4A81-A0A9-7FDC12B9B986.jpeg
 

Waite

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6A
The wood is landscape timbers, and appear to have already been raised beds. I'd be willing to bet if you started laying them out they'd fit some of those planting areas. Soil can be amended easily enough. You could do it the easy (but expensive) way and add some premade stuff, or get some composted manure and other additives and DIY. I prefer the latter.
 
Thread starter #8
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San Antonio, tx
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So if I Can get this wood to fit around the planting areas I can just fill the boxes with soil? Or am I ok with like redoing the soil that’s in the ground just to make sure it’s fertile? I’d like to grow things like sweet potatoes, peppers, herbs...maybe garlic and onions.
 

Waite

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Well, I can only see the pictures. If it were me I'd amend the soil that's there by mixing a little composted manure in the top, maybe put the borders around them and fill them in with with some kind of a raised bed soil and mix it all together. There are a ton of tutorials out there on how to mix your own for a lot less money than buying bagged. Of course everyone has their own idea of what's best, but everyone agrees that organics like peat are required. Loose is also a key.

That kale looks pretty healthy, I'd have to believe the soil isn't in too bad of shape.

Maybe someone else will chime in with some ideas.
 

Mr_Yan

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@OrigamiJiuJitsu I am a fan of raised beds except for where it doesn't make sense like corn, long vine squash and melons, or potatoes. If you put the timbers in place again you could just add garden soil or amendments on top and work that in to the existing a little. Then I would add a mulch over the top (I am a big fan of some type of mulch). Lately my favorite mulch is shredded fall leafs, the guy in the cube next to me at work loves grass clippings. The internet is awash in wood chip lovers based on the "back to eden" style of gardening but I found problems with woodchips. The thinking with mulch will help keep moisture in the soil and help prevent compaction or crusting. The mulch will also break down overtime and add organic matter to the soil.

There is usually no reason to try to isolate the garden soil from the native soil. The only reason I know to isolate is if you have contamination in the site soil. Some people put wire mesh under their raised beds to prevent groundhogs or similar but that is different.

Remember Waite and I are much farther north than you and some things we suggest (timing and plant selection mainly) will need traslation to your zone. There are several Texans around here - w_r_ranch is a wealth of info check out his spring garden threads.

The aquaponics you mentioned got my attention though. I have played with hydroponics for a few years and am building a new system right now. I love the aquaponic idea but have only read about them at this point. Would you have the resources (time, money, space, skill...) to put in a 100 to 200 gallon growout tank and then connect it to a deep water raft bed and or an ebb&flow media bed? I'd love to do that but don't have the time and space right now.
 

Mr_Yan

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@OrigamiJiuJitsu also remember this is just gardening there is no single way to go about it. What works for me may not work for w_r_ranch or Waite but that doesn't make me right and them wrong. Don't be afraid of failure. A fail here will cost much less than on one of your reef tanks.
 

w_r_ranch

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@OrigamiJiuJitsu, it would be helpful to both you & the rest of us if you'd fill in your location in your profile. There is a huge difference between zone 8b in Texas & say the west coast. While we may share the same zone for 'cold hardiness', we may not share the same growing season temperatures or precipitation.
 

ksk

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Started my first above the ground garden with 16 boxes [2x10x8] this time last year.I added 17 more this month.With a lot of advice from Ranch and a brother,my Spring,Summer and Fall gardens were[In my opinion] successful for a first year guy.I buy garden soil [truck load] from a local soil company and mix 13x13x13 in my boxes.Last Spring I planted potatoes,carrots,tomatoes,eggplant,beans,jalapenos,cucumbers,bell peppers and corn.This year I'm adding tomatillios, green peas,and black eye peas.I also planted thornless blackberries last May and hopefully they will produce this year.The corn I planted was Hybrid Gotta Have It sweet corn from Gurney's.It is the sweetest corn I have ever eaten.I am in planting zone 8b not to far from Ranch.
 
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Thread starter #14
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Location
San Antonio, tx
Planting Zone
8b
Ok nice. I live in San Antonio, I’m gonna update my profile now. I’m today I am going to attempt to get the boxes built on at least one grow area. I appreciate your help guys. And @Mr_Yan i am planning on building a small aquaponics set up back here too, I’ll probably start a separate thread though, just gotta get a few things together, I just been focusing on the soil garden cuz it’s already growing kale. I’m thinking I’ll leave one grow area unboxed just for growing peppers though.
 
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