Spring Garden

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by Davarm, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    Ive been getting ready to get my garden growing for the year and because of the mild winter this year I have a lot of broccoli and collards that are thriving now. I went out today and cut a full garden cart of broccoli tops, I still have to trim them but it looks like I will get quite a bit after the clean up. The parts that are tender but not really suited to store will be boiled and made into a broth and canned - good for cream of broccoli soup. I am going to start tending it again in the hopes of getting a good spring crop from last years plants.

    The collards are thriving, leaves almost as long as your arm. I am going to dehydrate and powder them and store them in 1/2 gallon jars. Good for soups and sauces.

    My volunteer romaine lettuce is starting to head and is mild and sweet, had a salad yesterday. The chard is back up about ankle high and is pretty good(mild and sweet) and had it in the salad too. I left the bed intact for the winter with the intent to let it go to seed this year and store them for next year. Same story with my beet bed, will see if the variety that I have been growing will seed true.

    Am going to plant potatoes, spinach, beets and dill this weekend and get my cabbage, tomatoes, "Ghost Peppers", jalapenos and serano peppers started in planters. I have enough fennel that survived the winter to transplant into a good bed without planting any new seeds.

    With the rain that we have been getting, I think I just may have a good spring garden this year.
     
  2. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...well... I've got 2 months yet till I can think of food production. :rolleyes: :(
     

  3. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    In two months here it may be up to 90 or 100 if it is anything like last year. Last year where I am at in Texas, we had almost a week of near 0 degree weather and snow the middle of Feb(very unusual) and 3 days later it was up to 80 degrees:nuts: and only go hotter until about the middle of October.

    We had 3 months of 110 degree + weather in the summer. The spring winds and thunderstorms have already arrived here(had a tornado watch a few hours ago) so I think the garden season has arrived.

    Im going to get an early start on it this year and if it freezes anything out I will just replant. I want to get my spring stuff going and producing before it gets hot and kills it all out this year.:2thumb:
     
  4. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    Well, I scratched the planting this weekend, the weather went from almost 80 degrees to down in the high 30's -low 40's. I do think that the garden season has started here, but, I like to "enjoy" my work in the dirt.

    I don't much like the cold so I will wait another day or two and I'm sure that the temperature will be back up in my "comfort zone".
     
  5. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    I picked a couple bags of the greens, cut the large center vein out, chopped them and dehydrated them, took about 3 hours on low heat. They were deep dark green and had a fair amount of substance to them so just out of curiosity I popped some into my mouth to check the flavor and I was quite surprised.

    If they had been salted, they would be do-able as a munchy snack straight off the tray. I decided to cook them up and see how they would be, Put the dried chopped leaves in a large bowl and poured boiling water on them and set them set for about 15 minutes. I put a few pats of butter and some salt on them and was amazed how good they were - a definite keeper.

    I have a 60 foot row of big, healthy bushy plants with leaves almost as long as your arm and about 10 inches wide. They are mild and sweet with no bitterness at all. Am going to pick them all and dehydrate them and pack them into 5 gallon buckets to prepare like fresh chopped greens.

    I guess I dont need to plant collards this year, after get all the greens I want I am going to let them go to seed and see what grows. I dont remember if the original seed were hybrid or heirloom but I guess I will find out next year.
     
  6. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    I'll start my cool weather crops around the mid to the end of the month ... I need to get started on my new herb beds. I'll be starting 10 new herbs this year. :D
     
  7. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    St. Patty's Day for our cool weather stuff.
     
  8. timmie

    timmie timmie

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    dh got the tractor in our garden spot[i just love the sight and smell of fresh turned earth] will be getting our taters in the ground in a day or so. also am getting tomato and pepper seeds started today.also will get onions and garlic planted. most everthing else can be planted directly in the ground.
     
  9. lilmissy0740

    lilmissy0740 Well-Known Member

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    Davarm, what kinds of greens did you dehydrate? I have made kale chips beofre in the oven, never thought of dehy. them.

    I am putting a fence around my garden and hopefully keep some critters out. Making the garden that is close to the house bigger. The garden that is at the end of the yard, well lets say my weed eater and sometimes mower helps me weed! So I am hoping I will tend to it more if it is closer.
    If the weather keeps it up here and I get my fence done this week, I am going to plant kale and such outside. I am still picking beets to juice each day. The weather is crazy.
     
  10. AlabamaGal

    AlabamaGal Moderately Doomish

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    I was a weird fall for us. Fall crops that overwinter didn't get a chance to put on enough growth before "winter" arrived (such as it has been), but we've had enough warm days that my broccoli went straight from "look it's starting to head!" to bolting. The cabbage is getting big, though, and the spinach is finally growing up. I still have carrots and kale in the garden but the few remaining turnips I didn't eat at baby size didn't make it through our coldest spell and neither did the mustard or the peas.

    So now spring is pretty much here. I've been watching the soil temp and it says I should have planted the earliest spring crops weeks ago, but I've been chicken. The birds and such certainly have declared spring has arrived. President's Day is only two weeks away so I think I'll get a few things in the ground and hope they don't rot in the non-stop rain. I was just reviewing my maps for this years' rotation and deciding on a planting schedule.

    lilmissy, I think you will be happy with the fence. I suggest getting saome 36" chicken wire and making an "L" down the fence and going outward for half the width. It confuses most diggers that aren't too bright, like rabbits. Rats are not fooled, but they can climb over anyway and don't cause nearly the same damage.

    I tried dehydrated kale chips. Major ick for me, even the ones with hot sauce or vinegar. But if you really, really like kale you will love them. They taste like kale x10.

    Timmie -- after years of transplanting most everything, I experimented last year with direct seeding everything and the tomatoes and peppers did the best by far, except the few that got munched by early hornworms. Curiously, the directed seeded bell peppers slept all summer and then went crazy productive in the late summer and fall. Can I ask why you start those and not other things? We're close enough that your experience might be relevant to my garden, too.
     
  11. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    Collard greens, my oldest daughter told me about Kale Chips but she has never tried them. Most of the greens I dehydrate, get ground up(after drying), sifted and get set aside for soups and the such. The dried powdered spinach is very good on baked potatoes when mixed with sour cream.

    For the critter problem, I put several light fixtures in my garden with motion sensors on them and put a radio playing night talk shows next to them and that seems to have solved my deer and bunny problem. They get close enough to trip a sensor and get rewarded with bight lights a a talk show host yelling at them.

    For help with those weeds, Monsanto can help with a little Round-Up.:D:D
     
  12. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    If I dont get my peppers started early enough, thats what they do. If I get them producing well before the weather gets hot they will produce through the heat of summer, otherwise I have to wait til the fall.
     
  13. mpguy18

    mpguy18 Well-Known Member

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    All.
    Would like some advice please. Am planting the first garden at our new house. the rolling land is a challenge, but will use 2x6x24' boards this year for boxes until we can get it terraced (don't have a tractor yet)

    Have picked up 30 yds of compost and will start to till it in shortly.

    Question, what would be the best crops to start in a new garden that is coming from scratch ground?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  14. timmie

    timmie timmie

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    dh and i had trouble with deer eating our peas for about 3 years. i don't mind feeding the wildlife some but not all. far the last couple of years we have put electric fencing around the garden[white fiberglass?] anyway we have not had deer since, but when we get through with the peas we take it down and they come right back in.this works much better for us ,a little extra work but at least we get peas.
     
  15. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    If you have 30 yards of "good" compost to work with, unless you are planting a absolutely huge garden you should have enough to build the soil to the point that it wouldn't be thought of as "scratch".

    Anyhu, some soil builders are your legumes - peas, beans, peanuts..., they are always good for the soil as nitrogen fixers. Things like corn deplete the soil but the chopped stalks, shucks and cobbs will add valuable material to loosen it up when tilled back in.

    Summer squash are not real demanding and produce alot of compost to till back in. Many herbs grown in marginal or poor soil will have more of the volatile oils that contain the herbs flavor.

    Potatoes are always good, will grow in poor soil and the tops add the soil lightening material when tilled back in. If you are going to do potatoes, better get started with them soon.

    Thats my input, sure that others will chime in with more.
     
  16. AlabamaGal

    AlabamaGal Moderately Doomish

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    MPGuy, are you trying to eat out of your garden this year, or want crops to build soil and tilth? If you want to eat out of your garden, plant the stuff you want to eat and see what works for you. Other than dealing with weeds on a new property, the first year tends to be great if the soil is decent. (3rd year... another story.) Eventually you can improve your soil to it's best potential, but some things are just not going to do well for you and others will do great. You find these out by making lots of mistakes and there's no time like the present to start. :)

    Davearm, thanks for the pepper input. I've never been able to get them going before summer heat -- our springs are very short -- but maybe I'll try it both ways this year and compare.
     
  17. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    Do you have a recipe for the kale chips? Am game to try it when I get some kale coming in.
     
  18. partdeux

    partdeux Senior Member

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    my fall planted carrots are still growing. I'm assuming the parsnips are still growing, but haven't looked lately. I would have never thought that carrots would continue to grow over the winter, but learn something everyday :)
     
  19. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    I was out getting some of my plots ready to plant and I found a lot of Fennel, Cilantro, Dill, Lettuce, and even some Spinach popping up. I am going to have to rethink some of the things I am going to plant in my fall garden.

    According to the new zone map we went from zone 7 to 8a, guess I can thank Al Gore for that.
     
  20. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

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    While I was out tilling, I just couldn't bring myself to turn under all the volunteer goodies I found so out came the 5 gallon buckets. I loaded 4 up with small heads of romaine and butter crunch lettuce heads, mustard greens, collard greens, chard, fennel, dill, cilantro and onions.

    We have a large wash basin that perfectly fits on a shelf in the fridge, am going to make a big salad in the basin, put it in the fridge and give the rest away. Giving garden "stuff" away is one way we try to maintain good relations with our neighbors.

    The basin of salad MAY last to the weekend, with 4 of us eating it.