05-17-2012, 07:32 AM
#1
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I'm still renting, but I have the good-fortune to live in a house - with a massive yard, and a plot for vegetables. This is the first home I've lived in where I've had this luxury.

I've always wanted to have a vegatable garden, so I started one when I moved into this house (last year). I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to gardening. I'm not originally from here, and some of my ideas of gardening are pretty primitive, but I'm learning on the job.

Last year, we moved in pretty late, so by the time I had the garden cleared of weeds and ready for planting, it was already too late for a lot of crops. So I went with sprouted plants from my local hardware store. Last year's crop was limited -

- Tomatoes (not sure what variety, but they were very large and meaty
- Peppers (mammoth, japlapeno, green bell and another variety)
- Zucchini (lots of these)
- Herbs (Italian parsley, curly parsley, basil and mint)

I tried to start some other things from seed, but they didn't come up.

It wasn't a complete shambles - the zucchini took over large portions of the garden, and I had to resort to forcing my co-workers to take some, the herbs did very well. The peppers grew fine, but they weren't hot. The tomatoes did fine for the most part, but I didn't restrict the plants to one main shoot, and that caused problems later.

Most of these were killed when hurricane Irene came through, but we had a good harvest, given what we put in.

-----------------------

I did some reading in the off-season, and decided to do a combination of in-the-ground planting, and planting in large pots (just in case the weather interfered again). This year, I've got:

- Tomatoes (several varieties, small and large)
- Cucumber (maybe)
- Zucchini
- Eggplant
- Radishes
- Carrots
- Salad Greens (many types)
- Cauliflower
- Cabbage
- Kale, collard, and other cabbage family greens
- Peppers (many types)
- Herbs

Most of these were started from seed. I realized we have a rabbit problem, so some of my carrots are already gone. We have a fenced-in garden, but I rarely closed the entrance off. Now I do close it.

----------------------

I'm mainly into compost and mulching, so I don't add fertilizer. Grass clippings are used as mulch, and my compost heap is pretty productive, so I replenish the soil from there.

I live in the northeast, so the weather does play a role in what can be grown successfully. I'm not sure the cucumbers and eggplant will do well, but I'll give it a go. I wanted to try other things, but didn't want to overcomplicate things.

Weeds are still an issue for me. I'm a solo gardener. My wife and older daughter refuse to have anything to do with it (apart from consuming the produce), and my two year-old daughter likes to help, but that's a mixed blessing. Biggrin

-----------------

So, do you have a garden? Maybe you or your significant other are really into this. Tell us about it, and take some pics over the season.

I'll post some pics of the current state of my garden. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, and someone can point it out before things get to be too crazy.

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 05-17-2012, 08:18 AM
#2
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Yohann

I look forward to seeing some photos of your garden...

It sounds like you are doing a lot! right, learning on the job is half the fun of gardening, at least as far as I'm concerned Smile

Currently we don't grow any vegetables in the garden, during the past few years we have grown some tomatoes, peppers and herbs in pots, but with the heat we get here in July and August growing in pots can be a challenge...

This year I'm taking a year off from gardening, apart from maintaining and enjoying what we currently have. Last year I worked pretty hard on installing a Missouri native garden (50ft x 30ft) in our back garden, photos will be posted sometime next week, as that garden will be 1 year old.

Next year I plan to put in at least a couple of 8ft x 4ft raised beds for growing vegetables, herbs and maybe some fruit...

I do keep my edible gardening hand in, by volunteering when I can at Gateway Greening...

For weed control in the garden I either pull by hand or use a nice sharp hoe.

From May through to September every year I make 5 gallons of compost tea a week, I use the compost tea to "naturally" feed the plants during the main growing season...

I also look after the limited planting we do in our street's common ground areas eg To date I've planted 758 Spring bulbs, a dozen ornamental grasses (3 different varieties of Panicum Virgatum Switchgrass), etc.

Take care, Mike

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 05-17-2012, 08:58 AM
#3
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Yohann, buy a cat to take care of those wabbits. Or you could simply add a portable electric fence. The fencer I bought was only $40 and works great. Just add batteries, stick it in the ground, run the line and wire it up. I have a cat and a .22lr, so our rabbit problems are gone.

Anyway, it's still early here in PA, so nothing much has been planted. I direct seed most things, but try to get an early start on long season things like peppers. I plant after either that last full moon or last new moon in May.

Peppers:
Red & orange Habanero
Scotch Bonnet
Weri Weri
Thai
Super Chili
Cayenne
Anaheim
Pepperoncini
Hungarian
Jalapeno

Veggies:
Snap peas
Green beans
Lima beans
Tomatoes
Potatoes
Onions
Cucumber
Cabbage

Fruits:
Blackberries
Rasberries
Blueberries
Strawberries
Watermelon
Cantilope

Herbs:
Chives
Garlic
Dill
Parsley
Thyme
Sage
Rosemary
Peppermint
Spearmint
Fuzzymint
Lemon balm
Hyssop

There's probably some that I'm missing.
I dry, can and freeze everything. I hang some peppers to dry, the dehydrator does most of the work. I use a coffee grinder to turn them into a powder: wear a mask! LOL

We don't have the space to grow corn, so we buy several boxes of sweet corn from the Amish and spend a few hours husking and hacking away on wooden corn cutters. Bag it, weigh it, freeze it.

I make hot sauce, pickles, hot pickles, apple cinnamon jam (apples from the Amish as well), stewed tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, BBQ sauce and a chile sauce. I also grill a lot, so the pepper powder gets used in a dry rub. I love spending the day smoking a pork shoulder, ribs and my favorite, brisket.

I honestly get sick of canning, but I have 2 water baths and a big pressure cooker that makes it a bit faster. A good bit of the canned foods are given away at Christmas.

I'll update this with pics when everything is up.

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 05-17-2012, 09:45 AM
#4
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Hey John,

We're from the midwest ourselves (Ohio), and since we moved to the East Coast, the one thing we regret leaving behind is the corn. There's nothing like Ohio corn. They have locally grown corn here, but it doesn't come anywhere close to being as sweet as what we could get from the farmers stalls in Ohio.

How do you manage strawberries? I've read that they take two years to produce fruit. I've been wanting to try them.

------

You do have a much larger variety going that I do. I decided to focus on salad greens, as we all like our salads at home, and they keep going through the whole season. This year, I'm planning on doing some indoor growing in the winter. I'll need lights for that.

I've considered canning our produce, but I haven't yet geared up for it.

I may have to see if I can squeeze green beans in anywhere.

------

We do have a cat, but she's useless........scared of her own shadow, and she certainly won't step outside the house. We also have deer in the garden sometimes, and that's a real problem. The fence mostly keeps them out, but the ticks they leave behind are scary....lyme disease is a problem here.

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 05-17-2012, 09:48 AM
#5
  • DLP
  • Active Member
  • Missouri
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Didn't put the garden out this year. promises to be too busy this summer to take proper care of one.

I did put some tomato plants in large pots on the deck.

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 05-17-2012, 10:21 AM
#6
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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You gentlemen are amazing! I congratulate you for jobs well done. Thumbsup

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 05-17-2012, 10:49 AM
#7
  • Persius
  • On the learning curve
  • Reading, England
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We have two allotments (British thing).

We have polytunnel where we have cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines (eggplant), chills, bell peppers, early salad leaves, butternut squash, radish.

Fruit area: raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, grapes, blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrents, redcurrents, apples, quince, japanese wineberries, worcesterberries.

Veggie zone: broad beans, leeks, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflowers, potatoes, jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, carrots, horse-raddish, sweetcorn, courgette (yellow & green), marrow, spinach, chard, pumpkin, (in the brassica cage) peas, fine beans, barlotti beans, purple sprouting broccoli, swede.

There are two of us! Learning is the fun part. The thing I love most in the world is the smell of tomato plants when you pinch out the side shoots. It makes me think that Summer is really on the way when I get that smell, and I am grateful for another year ...

We had our polytunnel vandalised last year - slashed to pieces by some young rogues (must have been young as they couldn't reach very high) - and it broke my heart, but it is fixed now, and this year's plants in situ. We have lovely neighbours up there, and a fab community of growers; it is much like the nook, but for veggies, and happening in real-time.

Lovely to know there are other veg growers we can chew the fat with here too!

Really impressed with what you lot are up to BTW!

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 05-17-2012, 06:52 PM
#8
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(05-17-2012, 09:45 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: Hey John,

We're from the midwest ourselves (Ohio), and since we moved to the East Coast, the one thing we regret leaving behind is the corn. There's nothing like Ohio corn. They have locally grown corn here, but it doesn't come anywhere close to being as sweet as what we could get from the farmers stalls in Ohio.

How do you manage strawberries? I've read that they take two years to produce fruit. I've been wanting to try them.

The sweet corn here is awesome, even after months in the freezer they taste like corn on the cob.
Strawberries don't require much work, depending how you grow them. I use a long mound and snip off the runners so they don't spread all over the place. It took about a year for them produce a good yeild, but I started with small plants.

Quote:You do have a much larger variety going that I do. I decided to focus on salad greens, as we all like our salads at home, and they keep going through the whole season. This year, I'm planning on doing some indoor growing in the winter. I'll need lights for that.


I would love to keep a few peppers growing just because they will grow into a large bush, but peppers hate this climate and are difficult to keep alive. It really sucks waiting until August to start harvesting them--August gets really busy around here.

Quote:I've considered canning our produce, but I haven't yet geared up for it.
I may have to see if I can squeeze green beans in anywhere.

Canning can be ok if you have help. Jams really need 2 people because of the constant stirring and needing the jars ready. It can get messy. Pickles are very easy and I love doing them. For my hot pickles all I do is add 1 habanero. The rule is, whoever eats the last pickle has to eat the pepper. I've been lucky, my youngest nephew wasn't and my fiance chickened out.

Green beans are nice to grow. Harvesting them is easy and lasts a few weeks. I blanch them then bag, weigh and put them in the freezer. Last year we had 12 to 15 bags at 1lb each.

Quote:
We do have a cat, but she's useless........scared of her own shadow, and she certainly won't step outside the house. We also have deer in the garden sometimes, and that's a real problem. The fence mostly keeps them out, but the ticks they leave behind are scary....lyme disease is a problem here.

I've seen all types of tricks for keeping animals out of the garden. Hair from a brush, fake birds, fences... What has worked for me, a few white plastic bags tied to a few stakes. They make noise and move with only a little breeze.

Lyme disease is bad around here as well. My Bassett Hound has it and so does my mother. I got bit 3 years ago and I went straight to the doctor. The bite mark was about 5" around and itched like crazy. That was the first time I've ever seen a deer tick and I couldn't believe how small it was. I set it on a piece of paper to look at with my loop and it was as big as a line on the paper.

I don't know what type of yard you have, but my neighbor told me the only reason he has chickens is to keep the tick population down. He just lets them wander the yard. I don't know why he bought a rooster, that thing has brain damage or something, it crows about 1am. LOL

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 05-17-2012, 07:26 PM
#9
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
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Do herbs in pots count? Being cooks, my wife and I love snipping our own...

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 05-18-2012, 06:10 AM
#10
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Billy -

Of course, herbs count! Smile

_________

Went out in the garden yesterday, and noticed that something (insect, almost certainly) has been eating my cabbage leaves. Couldn't locate any caterpillars, but I'd better get on top of this or I'll have nothing left.

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 05-24-2012, 06:40 AM
#11
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Harvested my first batch of Mesclun Mix today. Smile

I realized a few things about my greens:

1) I planted way too little Mesclun Mix. It took them all to provide enough greens for one salad. Luckily they're a 'cut and come again' green, so they'll be back.
2) I planted them way too far apart. I used the 8" suggested on the packaging, but I've seen pics of people's gardens with the stuff, and it looks like they're closely packed.
3) My lettuce is too far in the open. That's probably fine at the moment, but soon it will get hot, and they won't be shaded enough. I'll have to plant more of 'em around the tomatoes and peppers.
....
4) I have a slug problem in the garden, and not enough birds to eat 'em. They got to my mesclun mix, and they're getting to my cabbage plants (which are doing rather well).

As I said, I'm learning on the job. Biggrin

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 05-24-2012, 11:00 AM
#12
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Well, yes, we absolutely do have a garden every year.

Our land heats us and feeds us throughout the year. Most of the land is sun collector and I harvest a few cords of the collector (you'd call them trees) to heat us through the Maine winter, but you asked about the garden, not the silvaculture.

This year we'll plant half a dozen thereabout varieties of tomatoes, mostly heirloom. Celeriac, fingerling potatoes, lotsa corn, fennel, 2 types of lettuce, snap peas, 3 types of radish including huge black spanish radishes, carrots, onions, kale (Hybrid and dinosaur), jalapenos, cabbage, stringbeans, broccoli, mustard greens, beets, Kabocha and Delicata winter (storage) squash and a few summer squash. Probably some other stuff that I'm not remembering. Yeah some more..., parsley, basil, maybe a few more when I remember them.

Pictures? Not yet. I don't plant until the 2nd week of June most years. I might plant a little early this year, but we can still get frost past Memorial day, so I resist the temptation. There's nothing but seedlings to look at now. They're still quite small and the onions (in the styrofoam cells) still haven't emerged since they were planted just 3 days ago. On the wall of the cold frame you can see the control for the homemade heat mat I built.

[Image: DSC03648.jpg]

After and during the harvest we can most of the storage produce, but freeze some also since frozen tastes so good. We eat from the garden all year long. Even the dogs eat from the garden all year long also since I make the majority of their dog food.

Not only we and the dogs eat from the garden, but the chickens do too. They get the weeds and whatever goes by. Typically I'll miss a few summer squash and they love 'em if I cut 'em open. Then we eat the chickens and their eggs. We also can the chicken meat and pickle the eggs. Right now we have over 12 dozen eggs sitting in the shop refrigerator aging so that we can boil them and peel them (Can't peel fresh eggs).

We also have a few blueberry bushes. Last year we got approx. 12 gallons of cleaned and screened berries. That was after sharing with the neighbors, the Guinea fowl and the wild birds. Oh, the chickens get some of those also and love them. This year we've already gotten at least 50 or more GH eggs for ourselves and friends, and right now have a G' hen sitting on a nest of 30 or so eggs. As long as the keets don't get wet in the first few days maybe we'll have Guinea meat, or sell the youngsters to help other folks control their ticks. Pretty cool, they eat grass and insects (ticks too)and give us eggs and maybe meat.

It's a circle, and the poultry contribute a few hundred pounds of high quality high nitrogen fertilizer to the garden every year. Probably 500 pounds or so.

If it's a good apple year and if we have time, last year we didn't, we harvest the wild apples and make apple jack or cider vinegar. I add some corn sugar to it to goose the alcohol and some lactose to sweeten it.

You didn't ask, but if you get your seeds from Johnnies Selected Seeds in Winslow ME they are proven for the northern climate. If they grow in Maine for me, they'll grow for you. Their test farm is maybe 20 miles from us (Albion). In years past we'd drive out there and look the test crops over for the next years seeds. Most everyone at Johnnies is a grower and they're all friendly folks. That includes the folks taking the orders over the phone. If you have questions, just ask. Lots of growing tips in their catalog. If you don't have one, go online and request one.

The only pictures I have of last year are of a portion of the blueberry harvest. The rake takes alot of stuff that isn't what we want. Then we sit inside where it's comfortable and sort and wash the berries.
[Image: DSC03372.jpg]

The hurricane came through last year and laid our corn flat. But I left it alone and we still had more than enough for fresh eating and canning and freezing. We were preserving corn for a few days. No pics.

There are a few more pictures at the KFBR website.

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 05-26-2012, 02:43 AM
#13
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Wow Brian, that's a great setup. Also, thanks for the tip on Johnnies Selected Seeds. I looked them up, and I wish I'd bought seeds from them.

I'm all set with seeds for this year now, but there'll be other years.

---------------

Got my first harvest of mixed greens done a couple of days ago. Fresh salad - mostly from my garden (it's too early for several things). Biggrin Wow! it was pretty tasty. I know homegrown veggies always taste better, but the fact that you grew them yourself also adds some flavour to the dish.

Even my 14 year-old daughter commented on how tasty everything was, and how flavourful the greens were. I even got her to do some weeding last weekend. Let's see if I can keep her involved.

Still more work to be done with planting.

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 06-08-2012, 04:08 AM
#14
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Pics of the garden as it stands today.

Sprouting some greens:

[Image: IMG_20120608_075003.jpg]

The garden. Small, but it's what we've got.

[Image: IMG_20120608_075017.jpg]

Kale and Broccoli

[Image: IMG_20120608_075025.jpg]

Lettuce and other greens

[Image: IMG_20120608_075030.jpg]

Tomatoes and peppers

[Image: IMG_20120608_075036.jpg]

Cabbages and cauliflower

[Image: IMG_20120608_075046.jpg]

I'm trying some stuff in pots too.

[Image: IMG_20120608_074943.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20120608_074954.jpg]

There are more tomatoes that need to get into the ground. The squash cannot be seen here and the cucumbers still need to be planted. I just caged some of the tomatoes (after this pic).

We've already had several salads with lettuce and mesclun mix from the garden. Some of the peppers are beginning to flower.

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 06-08-2012, 06:33 AM
#15
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(06-08-2012, 04:08 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: Pics of the garden as it stands today.

Hi Yohann

Looking very! good Thumbsup

Have you looked into companion planting?

If no, may I suggest you look at planting some Marigolds around the perimeter of your veggie garden...

Take care, Mike

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 06-08-2012, 06:39 AM
#16
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Mike -

No, I have not. In fact, until you mentioned it, I'd never heard of it. Smile

I think I know what you mean, though. I'll look into it. Too many weeds in the garden, though I still haven't put down the layer of dried grass that I intended to. It takes time, and I have to find a way to make enough of that.

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 06-08-2012, 07:00 AM
#17
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(06-08-2012, 06:39 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: No, I have not. In fact, until you mentioned it, I'd never heard of it. Smile

I think I know what you mean, though. I'll look into it. Too many weeds in the garden, though I still haven't put down the layer of dried grass that I intended to. It takes time, and I have to find a way to make enough of that.

Hi Yohann

Marigolds (and other companion planting) will add a nice bit of colour, but more importantly they will draw in a lot! of pollinators, beneficial insects, etc plus they also give pests something to eat other than your veggies.

Gardening is most definitely a never ending journey...

Check within your local area for community mulch, compost, etc locations. Also local farms, house stables, etc generally have good stuff for the garden that they make available free of charge (if you load and haul away yourself).

Take care, Mike

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 06-08-2012, 09:09 AM
#18
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Mike,

I had some last year, but needed the space this time. I'll certainly try and ring my garden with some flowering plants.

Luckily , I have a lot of birds that take care of the larger pests. Smile

I do my own compost, but I'll look for other stuff. I'm a little limited by the fact that I get around by bicycle, but I can carry quite a lot, so that may not be much of an issue.

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 06-08-2012, 09:20 AM
#19
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(06-08-2012, 09:09 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I do my own compost, but I'll look for other stuff. I'm a little limited by the fact that I get around by bicycle, but I can carry quite a lot, so that may not be much of an issue.

Hi Yohann

I also have my own compost compile, but twice a year (early Spring and early Autumn/Fall) I need to bring in larger amounts (3 cubic yards each time) than I can produce... I don't have a truck or trailer, nor do I spend the money on the ridiculous delivery fees most places try to charge, instead I have a very! nice neighbour who lets me borrow his truck and trailer on those couple of occasions...

Take care, Mike

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 06-08-2012, 10:59 AM
#20
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I did a 16' x 20' garden this year.

I planted:

Bhut Jolokia Peppers(2)
Tangerine Dream Peppers (2)
Jalapeno (1)
Big Jim II (3)
Bush pickles
Syrian pickles
German Johnson Tomatoes
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes
Oxheart Tomatoes
Straight Neck Yellow Squash

I have pics from just after planting at home and will add some later.

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