Forest Gardening

Brooke Clarke 2010

Background
Animals
    Turkey
    Deer
    Birds
    Squirrel
    Rabbit
    Gofer
    Bear
    Lion
Plants
    Beefsteak Tomato
Garden Hose Hole Drill
Weeds & Weedeater
Raw Gas vs. Gas Mixed with Oil
Irrigation
    Problem with "Y" Fitting
Links

Background

There are a number of factors that make gardening in the forest more challenging than in some other areas.  In my case the wild animals need to be considered.
For a few years we tried to get California poppies to grow along the roadway.  Neighbors have them so you'd think we could grow them. 

Animals

Turkey

It turns out that wild turkeys have an excellent ability to smell seeds, even when buried underground, and dig them out for a tasty treat.  I'm starting this was page because of a new idea.  Start the plants in an enclosed area using starter blocks then move them once rooted.  That way there will be no seeds for the turkeys to eat.

Aug 2010 -A hen stopped on the driveway with about a half dozen little chicks and they just stood there for a number of minutes.  When the other half dozen chicks joined the mother hen they went directly the the patch of ground where I had planted the starts.  It's clear they knew there was something good to eat there.

Rapid Rooter & Seed packs The Rapid Rooter is from the local hydro-phonic grow store and the seeds from the hardware store.  More later when some results are obtained.
RapidRooter
                with seeds
18 Apr 2010 seeds in the Rapid Rooter.
Note this is two trays.  The top tray has 50 pockets and the bottom tray is solid.  You can put about an inch of water in the bottom tray and the pockets dip down into the water and are fed by capillary action.

The Farwell to Spring seeds were placed on the starter block after turning it upside down since they are to be planted very near the surface (not donw the hole like the rest of the seeds).
RapidRooter 24 April 2010 1 week after planting seeds
RapidRooter
                24 April 2010 1 week after planting seeds
2 May 2010 2 weeks after planting seeds
RapidRooter
                2 May 2010 2 weeks after planting seeds
The local junior college horticulture department had a sale that provided the six 6-packs of poppy plants.
8 May 2010 3 weeks after planting seeds
8 May 2010
                3 weeks after planting seeds
16 May 2010 4 weeks after planting seeds (17 May raining)
16 May 2010
                4 weeks after planting seeds

23 May 2010 5 weeks after planting seeds
23 May 2010
                5 weeks after planting seeds
30 May 2010 6 weeks after planting seeds
30 May 2010
                6 weeks after planting seeds

This did not work. Unknown animals dug up all the starts.

Deer

It turns out that deer have three kinks of plant eating habits:
A neighbor tried all kinds of things to keep the deer away from some plants near his house and finally found that the IR triggered rain bird type sprinklers worked.  Not sure if it's the noise or the bursts of water that makes them effective.

A "people" fence that's six feet high will not keep out deer.  They can easily take a bouncing step over it.  To keep deer out the fence needs to be ten or twelve feet high or it needs to enclose a small area.  Deer will not jump into an area if it would be difficult to jump out.  Note they need to have a small amount of forward momentum to jump a fence, i.e. they can not jump a fence from a standing start.

Here's a web page with an idea for a reasonably low cost deer (and other creatures) electric fence:
Deer, Dog, Cat, Mother-in-law, and Other Varmint Repellents and Barriers
I haven't tried it, but it looks like it would work.

Birds

I expect that if you try to grow fruit one or more of the large number of species of birds will eat it.  They now eat the wild berries.
Some neighbors have built large frames over trees and covered them with netting.

Squirrel

I expect if you try to grow any nuts they will steal them.

Rabbit

I expect if you try to grow a plant that has leaf near the ground they will eat them.

Gofer

For a number of years didn't see any signs of gofers near the house, but after installing a drain line from the gutters to lower ground they started to appear.  The trench acted like a super highway for them.
The landscape architect that did the plans for a prior house said a gofer always goes back into the hole he came from so an fence that's underground about two feet and breaks the surface and continues upward will keep them out.

Bear

I've heard their sense of smell is orders of magnitude better than a dog.  The main problem I've had is having the garbage can dragged and emptied on the ground.  Not sure if they eat garden plants.

Lion

Hunt other animals and so probably are not a problem for the garden.

Plants

The existing plants are mainly trees: Oak, Pacific Madrone (Wiki) and Pine.  The problem is that they make shadow and so where you locate a garden needs to take that into account.

Of course the other type of plant that effects a garden are the weeds.
April 2010 Poppy in fenced area grown from prior year
April 2010
                Poppy in fenced area grown from prior year

Beefsteak Tomato

June 2012 - got a couple of these each in a 5 gallon pot.  There's already some fruit on them.
Beefsteak
                  Tomato in 5 Gallon pot

Garden Hose Hole Drill

My mother had a couple of these that were commercial products a long time ago, but I couldn't find them at any of the local hardware stores so am making my own.
Shopping Receipt items:
Photo
Description
$
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
Hose Adapter
3/4" female Hose to
1/2" female pipe
5.00
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
1/2" x 8" nipple
2.40
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
1/2" f-f valve
6.27
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
1/2" x 6" nipple 1.78
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
1/2" 90 1.19
Garden Hose
                Hole Drill
1/2" x 56" pipe
8.23
Garden Hose Hole Drill flatened end
                of pipe
Smash bottom end of pipe

Need one pipe wrench & Teflon tape for assembly.
Garden Hose Hole Drill in use down
                a couple of feet
Garden Hose Hole Drill in use down a couple of feet.

It would be handy to paint rings every 6" and mark them.

Weeds

In the past I've used the heavy duty Husqvarna weed eater that has a straight shaft and will accept metal blades.  It does a great job on all weeds as small scrub brush.  The problem is it's a back breaker.

The FL25C is very light, uses a curved shaft and only works with a small size plastic string.  It cam broken down so as to fit into a small box.
x

Raw Gas vs. Gas Mixed with Oil

I had a couple of containers of "gas" in the garage, but didn't know which was  raw gas and which was a gas oil mix.

Raw Gas is clear and not slippery.
Gas mixed with oil
Gas mixed with oil has greenish color and is slipery between the thumb and finger
Gas only


Irrigation

The house came with an irrigation controller in the garage and two underground vaults each with 4 valve positions.  But two of the Torro valves developed leaks that either allowed water to flow full force out the pipe or allowed water to leak into the valve vault.  For more see What Goes Wrong.

The battery powered hose bib timer that I was using for the bird and deer water system has a small hard to read LCD and a number of small buttons that drive a menu system, not at all user friendly.

To water the roses I got an Orbit hose bib irrigation timer that has a large LCD and a menu dial so is very easy to use.  I'm thinking about replacing the underground system with a bunch of these. 

Orbit 62056 - 1 Dial Hose Faucet Timer with Brass Swivel
If you press manual while in AUTO mode it comes up with 10 minutes to go, but that can be changed using the + or - buttons.

Patent 7637475 Solenoid, Orbit Irrigation Products, Dec 29, 2009, - uses a moving permanent magnet latching between two poles so only a pulse of energy is used to change state.

Note:  There are different sizes of drip tubing.  Using 1/4" tubing is a bad idea.  It tends to break or the connections open.  A much better approach is to place the drip emitters directly on the larger diameter tubing, as shown here.  This is what's called 1/2" tubing that has an outside diameter of 0.620" (i.e. 5/8").  There are other tubing sizes that are larger than 1/4" so you need to be sure the connectors you get match the tubing.  In this case the connectors have a green band.  For my small garden the 1/2" tubing is more than adequate, but for large projects a larger diameter tubing may be better.

I'm starting with 1 Gallon per day on the roses so got 2 GPH drippers and have the timer set for 30 minutes/day.

This larger tubing is more springy than the 1/4" tube so needs to be held in position.  For that I'm using 12 gauge fence wire cut into 8" lengths and folded in two.

Do not use a make shift hole punch.  It's important that the hole be the correct diameter so that it will firmly grip the emitter or coupling.  If the hole is too big it's easier to have a leak or worse have the emitter or coupling come out.

Main house shutoff valve
House pressure regulator
Hose bib
Vacuum breaker
Brass Y hose fitting
Garden hose on closed side
Orbit 62056 on open side
3/4" Hose Thread Swivel to 1/2" Hose Adapter Raindrip R320C
also called a compression fitting (Green band)
Orbit 62056 - 1
                  Dial Hose Faucet Timer with Brass Swivel
2 GPH Button Dripper Model 108025 (25 pack)
Orbit 62056 - 1 Dial Hose Faucet Timer with
                Brass Swivel

Orbit 62056 - 1 Dial Hose Faucet Timer with
                Brass Swivel

Orbit 62056 Hose Bib Irrigation Timer
1/2" Compression Hose End Plug Raindrip R303C
end cap compression fitting (green band).

When the cap is unscrewed you can flush the line
or connect a garden hose or more drip line.

These can be reused by cutting the tube and pulling
the stub of tubing out the end. 

Most other compression fittings can not be reused.

Orbit 62056 - 1 Dial Hose Faucet Timer with
                Brass Swivel
Drip Emitter Hole Punch
(marked 32129 IRM 40012)
x
Don't use a make shift tool.

Problem with "Y" Fitting

When someone wants to use the garden hose they open the valve on the "Y" which provides full flow to the hose (assuming the timer is off). . .  .
BUT . . .  when they are done they may turn off the hose bib instead of closing the "Y" valve.  This turns off the timer! (guess how I know this)

A possible fix is to install another hose bib just for the hose.  The requires these parts:

Using a second hose bib with a "Y" and
                  timer to solve the problem of someone turning off the
                  main hose bib which also turns off the timer.
Aug 2016
A combination of very hot weather,
extremely high water pressure and
poor design of the house input plumbing
has lead to an underground water leak.
The 90 deg glue type elbow cracked.

The fix included adding a couple of threaded elbows
so that with thermal expansion and contraction the
parts will not break.
House water
                  entrance strain relief


Links

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