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pswiderski

Gluten Free Gardening

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I'm in the process of pulling together my fall garden. Many organic gardeners are suggesting I mix in straw to help with my very hard (clay) soil.

Most of the places that sale straw list it as wheat straw.

Would the proteins I have come to hate be carried over from the wheat straw, into the soil, and into my vegetables?

What is an alternative?

Thanks

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I'm in the process of pulling together my fall garden. Many organic gardeners are suggesting I mix in straw to help with my very hard (clay) soil.

Most of the places that sale straw list it as wheat straw.

Would the proteins I have come to hate be carried over from the wheat straw, into the soil, and into my vegetables?

What is an alternative?

Thanks

I would not use wheat straw. I have hard clay soil as well, and I'm amending with peat and composted manure (both cow and horse.) I'm not sure if it the straw would contaminate your produce or not, but even if not, do you really want to be handling it? Spreading it, digging it in, dealing with it every time you weed and pick?

Next year, or maybe later this year, I hope to begin a composting system, which is also wonderful soil amendment.

-Sarah


-Sarah

--Son, Lucas, age 7. Gluten-free since May 2007

--Son, Ezra, age 5. Gluten-free 10/13/07. Bipolar tendencies, massively improved on gluten-free diet! He's also allergic to a jillion antibiotics.

--My mother has Celiac Disease, dx'ed by Positive Blood Tests and Biopsy. Diagnosed Sarcoidosis 6/08.

--Myself, Gluten-free since 8/07

Time heals all hurt of heart... but time must be won.

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I second what Ridgewalker suggests. That's best.

And another problem of straw is that it is baled in the field, which means that you get weeds along with the straw, and you'll get a crop of imported weeds in your garden the next season.

If your own yard isn't is weedy, you also can till in some yard leaves this fall, the same leaves that you'd want to compost. It'll take all fall and winter, but they will be pretty well broken down by springtime. Not oak leaves, though...they're like leather.

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*shudder* The year before I was diagnosed I bought a bale of hay to grow potatoes in. Long story, but it's actually a really neat way to grow them. Anyway, that fall after I harvested the potatoes I broke the bale down and spread it over the front and back garden to protect the wintering over herbs and bulbs and the roses. I was diagnosed that December. When I went to clean up the straw in the front garden in Spring I had a bad gluten attack. It was terrible. I didn't realize straw was wheat. DUH. After sitting there all winter there was a lot of dust involved. After that I bought a mask with respirator to clean up the back garden.

So, from my perspective straw is not a good thing to have around, particularly if it's sat and decompossed for a while.

Violet


"My mother always told me, it's okay to play with a man's mind

as long as you put it back where you got it when you're done with it."

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I visited the Natural Gardener on my lunch hour today and this is what they sold me...

A mix of humus, cow and turkey manure compost, ground rice hulls, decomposed granite, humate and sulfur. They said it is ideal for loosening heavy soils and doesn't contain wheat.

(snow pea seeds can be purchased at any garden center - big box retailer or mom & pop)

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Well, I do alot of "mulching" and love to make my own dirt, and must admit I have gotten pretty good at it....

simple to construct, easy to use and you just cant mess it up........

I live where we get lots of wind so rather than use the "chicken wire" outside wall I started using cement blocks and make mine 3 sided with a little part wall in the front, i do turn a couple of the blocks sideways to get a bit of air flow but its not nessasary.

what do you add to it? Almost anything.... coffee ground, egg shells, scraps of veggies from the table, grass clippings from mowing the lawn, branches, leaves, weeds the list is endless.

depending on where you live also you may need to add water, I am in drought stricken Nebraska so I add water daily my grammie lives in maine she barely adds any water

NEVER EVER add meat

Use a shovel or fork or anything to turn it or mix it up on a regular basis, add earth worms if you like this will speed up the process.

I also have made a 1/4 inch screen that fits my wheelbarrow that I use to sift it, the branches take a bit longer to break down so I sift out the big pieces then throw them back into the "mix"

Point to note:

using just grass or just leaves doesn't make the best dirt, just like a person variety is best to get all your vitamins etc ya know

A neighbor of mine once made one out of a 55 gallon drum, put it on legs and gave it a handle and a door that rather than turn with a shovel he just used the handle to give it a turn or two every once in a while. When it was "ready" he put his wheelbarrow underneath it and a screen in the door and just kept spinning it until it was empty or he had what he needed.

It was small but a nice idea anyways.


Just my .00000002 cents worth

If I knew what I was doing years ago I would have half a clue today!

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Loco ladi,

So glad to read your post. How often do you turn it? And do you tend it during the very cold weather, or just let it be?

Where would I find that 1/4" chicken wire, only in a farm store, or would I find it in some home improvement place, too, do you think?

I could sure use some to sift soil....I bought a 50 year old house whose owner told me that he had "replaced the lawn" and put new yard grass in in the front...I've discovered that there are 3" of sand, then only about 1" of soil all over the front.

No wonder my grass in the front is punk! I couldn't figure out why I could never water it enough, and why it inhaled fertilizer but never looked like much. Even bermuda grass needs SOME soil to grow in.

Anyway, I'm thinking to SIFT more soil over the already existing lawn, and that 1/4" chicken wire would be perfect.

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Where would I find that 1/4" chicken wire, only in a farm store, or would I find it in some home improvement place, too, do you think?

I got mine at home depot but any hardware store or home center should carry it, its not chicken wire exactly its 1/4 wire mesh more like, sorta, cant remember the exact wording for it, but its got 1/4 square holes in the wire where chicken wire has like 1 inch octogons. If I think of it tomorrow I will take a picture of mine and post a link to the picture

How often do you turn it? And do you tend it during the very cold weather, or just let it be?
I turn mine here in nebraska every couple days in the summer if I keep watering it, in the winter I slow down to about 1 per month unless it gets really warm. In the colder climates I wouldn't turn it much if at all, it will most likely be frozen and wouldn't be able to move it anyhow, lol

I bought a 50 year old house whose owner told me that he had "replaced the lawn" and put new yard grass in in the front...I've discovered that there are 3" of sand, then only about 1" of soil all over the front.
I also just bought a house, that had been left unattended for over 1 year, and they never watered the lawn during that time, and if you haven't heard nebraska is in the midst of a very large drought, yeah um..... my lawn needs something too, lol Not sure if the lilac trees are going to make it, and most of the mums are dead, only have a few of the iris's remaining and it lost alot of the trees. :(

Just my .00000002 cents worth

If I knew what I was doing years ago I would have half a clue today!

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Hi, loco ladi

You and I are going to have to talk gardening from time to time. All best, and thank you for the tip on the 1/4" chicken wire. Irises are pretty sturdy aren't they? Will they re-colonize?

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