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I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...
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Discussion Starter #21
So, life has gotten in the way (I will start a thread on that later).

It may be another week or so before I can get my plants in the ground. I have carrots, peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach and onion started in the house. Should I put the starters outside now (in the peatpots) or just wait until I can get them in the ground?
 

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My potatoes are going in the ground today. :)
I'll also be putting in seed for beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas and carrots.
 

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My potatoes are going in the ground today. :)
I'll also be putting in seed for beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas and carrots.
Potatoes are about 2" high, Kennebec, Yukon Gold and Reds. Bean and pickling cucs up and attem. Planting zucs, green melon, cantaloupe, butternut, and hubbard seedling today.
 

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Hello everyone,

I noticed some of you will have summer squash in your gardens this year. Has anyone had any success with long term storage of squash? In the past I have canned some and last year I did finally learn how to freeze whole or sliced squash without it turning to mush. This year I hope can/freeze a portion of what I harvest from the garden but want to do more long term storage.
 

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I have a few hubbards still sitting in the garden, firm and ok to eat. If you take acorn, butternut, hubbard or most "winter squash" and put them in a cool dark spot they will keep for months. I just par-boil the pieces of squash still slightly firm, freeze them on a cookie sheet, then once frozen vacuum bag them and store in freezer. You can't tell they have been frozen when heated up in oven.
 

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That's how I froze my squash last year. I did both slices and whole squash, both turned out very well baked in the oven and fried. I'll keep in mind storing the other varieties in the garden. Have not been able to plant anything so far. The ground has been too wet and woke up this morning to snow again.
 

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Proverbs31Woman
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Raised Beds, Berries, Vertical gardens and such

I love growing veggies in raised beds. Can't beat them for getting a lot of produce in a little space. They also save my old knees from too much bending. I use the Square Foot method and love the results!

A large part of my garden is set up for vertical growing. "If it vines, it climbs" is my growing motto! I also make fence sections with T-posts and wire them up to hang pots of strawberries on. You can grow a LOT of strawberries in a little space this way. I started doing this when I only had a postage stamp size plot to grow on. It worked great and still do it with plants that are happy to produce in a gallon sized container.

5 gallon buckets are great too grow veggies also. Drill a few holes in the bottom, add a couple inches of small rocks or packing peanuts, dirt and you've got yourself a pot that will grow most anything you put in it. I once saw someone do this on the patio behind their apartment. I was amazed at how well the plants produced and how easy it was to maintain. No weeds or mud and the plants were elevated for easier tending/picking. When garden season was over she pulled the plants, put the lids on the buckets and stacked them up along the dividing wall for the following year. Oh, the buckets were FREE too! She asked friends that worked at restaurants to save them for her. I do this myself and have a nice selection of them. All it cost me was asking for them and going to pick them up.

Heirloom seed is the only seed I use. No "FrankenSeed" at our homestead! Natural seed is the ONLY type of seed that the plants adapt to YOUR soil. That right...they adapt and do it quickly too! Save the seed from your best plants and you will see it for yourself. For example: Tomatoes are known to be tropical plants...they also grow in the Ukraine! Survival of the species always prevails. Try a variety of seed and see what works for you. Make sure you keep similar heirlooms in separate areas of your garden or they can cross pollinate into something unlike the parent plants. Also consider that using nonhybrid seed keeps those types of produce from extinction. You are contributing to keeping our food supply varied and natural plant genetics intact in the food chain.

We have fruit trees but, are focusing our fruit production on berries. We made this decision for several reasons: Berry bushes are easier to manage, take less space, produce within the second year after planting and have a higher nutritional value for their size. They also attract wildlife and we enjoy a steady supply of venison in the freezer.

We also eat weeds. Yep, I personally love Dandylion greens and wouldn't think of spraying them with anything but a little vinegar and salt on my plate. Poke and Cress are pretty good too. I've discovered a host of goodies while walking our property and many of them are edible and medicinal.

Considering what this country will be facing and possible food shortages, everyone needs to grow food regardless of the size of their yard. If you have any spot that gets 6 hours of sunlight you can grow something edible. Home sown, home grown, helps you take care of your own!
 

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I figured we could put the tall /viney things along the back to grow on the fence.
I am really liking your garden plans. One thing I found out in my garden, that may have an effect on yours....I planted my peas about a foot and a half from a fence, with trellis for climbing, not taking account of the heat here and the amount of direct sunlight. The heat reflecting off of the fence pretty much cooked my pea plants, they did not produce well, most of the plant, even with consistent watering, browned up and pretty much died. You may have better luck with a cooler climate, but just a word to the wise. Don't place your plants too close to a fence.:(
 

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I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...
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Discussion Starter #29
I have been busy with my Dad the last few weeks and aside from watering my seeds they have been very neglected. I put them outside today but I will not get them in the ground for a few more days. I fear my early crops will be a bust. The only things that still look healthy are the peas and onions.

I'll update when I can.
 

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I have been busy with my Dad the last few weeks and aside from watering my seeds they have been very neglected. I put them outside today but I will not get them in the ground for a few more days. I fear my early crops will be a bust. The only things that still look healthy are the peas and onions.

I'll update when I can.
That is just 'life' ... do what you can, when you can.:) Look forward to your up dates. <hugs>
 

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I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...
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Discussion Starter #31
My husband finally finished the raised beds. I am sad to say that nothing was viable to go in the ground. I started everything over again from seed. If any of the early crops actually comes up, great. If not we still have the summer and fall. I am getting the next batch of seeds (for the summer) started now.
 

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My husband and I are very limited on space. We choose hanging baskets for our tomatoes and then made an archway into the garden/planter area and on that archway, planted Blue Lake and Kentucky Wonder green beans on each side which worked wonderfully! Try this for saving space! :)

I am planning my garden and would like some suggestions.

I have a very small yard and 1/2 of it is a steep hill. That leaves me with very few options. My husband and I finally made it out to the yard to measure for garden space. I will have 4 sectrions to grow in. They are oddly shaped (we live in a townhouse) :

8'X2'
5'X2'
12'X2'
8'X3'

for a total of 62 square feet. I know, it is small.

The 8X3 is in the front of the house so I plan to use that for herbs for cooking and medicinal uses (I'll start a different thread on that for suggestions).

How do you suggest I use the left over 38 sq ft to get the most out of such a small space.

We would like to grow (the number after the food is the number of plants of each you can grow in 1 sq ft of space-according to the book):

tomatoes-1
lettuce-4
spinach-9
carrots-16
peppers (bell type)-1
greenbeans (bush)-9
peas-8
summer squash-1
eggplant-1
cabbage-1
cucumber (for pickling)-1

We do NOT expect to feed our family on the space we have, but would like to have some things we can eat in season and maybe enough to dehyrdrate some things for later use.

I need to get my seeds started this week on somethings, so any suggestions would be helpful.
 

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The wanderer
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Greywolf, you asked about storing summer squash, here's what we did. We grew yellow summer squash and spaghetti squash, and when we harvested them we wrapped them individually in old towels (regular towels, not huge bath towels) and stored them on the bottom two shelves in a cool far-from-the-woodstove bedroom. (Our root cellar is too cool and damp for squash). That was last Fall, and now in Mid-May we still have a few left and they are in good shape. I cooked one up a few days ago and made a "pumpkin" pie.

I've also dehydrated squash with great success. I cut up the squash, boil it, let it drain a while in a strainer basket, then "squash" it up with my fingers as I spread it on the dryer racks. I have a Nesco electric dehydrator, and I fun it through on 135 degrees. It takes about 3 or 4 hours. Then I store it in jars. The nice thing about dehydrating food is that you can use non-canning jars, like glass juice jars, mayo or pickle jars, or any (preferably glass) jar with a lid, and you can re-use lids you've already used once for canning. Another plus is that you don't have to worry about storing them where they won't freeze.

When you go to use the squash, let it sit in a bowl of luke-warm water for half an hour or so, drain off excess water, and use like fresh squash.
 

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I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...
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Discussion Starter #34
Lessons learned from this years garden:

I have a brown thumb :cry:

As you may remember ALL of my plants that I started died before I could get them in the ground (I neglected them while taking care of my Dad before he died). So, out of sheer frustration I took my seed packets out to the yard sprinkled them in the raised beds, watered and hoped for the best.

Tomatoes went crazy. They are huge, lots of flowers, but sadly just a few actual tomatoes.:rolleyes:

Cabbages were eaten by some bug. Never got to eat any of it myself.:cry:

Cucumber vines have traveled EVERYWHERE!!! They strangled my hot peppers and eggplant. It has been a constant fight to keep them off of the neighbors heat pump. Again, lots of flowers but few actual cucumbers.

Yellow summer squash. They took over a corner of the yard. They were great producers. I had so many that I could give some away.:D

Green beans, I am sad to report I only got about 4 beans off of the plants. The neighbor had some kind of vining plant that overtook the beans and killed it.

Lettuce was doing beautifully, until the dog decided that was his new favorite pee spot:eek:. We may eat him next year!

Nothing else "took". But that is okay. I did not expect to be a farmer after reading a few books and websites. I intend to spend the winter planning for next year. My husband and I are already planning on where to move the vining plants and such. And we have started composting to help with next years crop.

So even though we did not produce much food, we certainly learned what NOT to do next time.
 

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Some suggestions md...

Look for dwarf or bush varieties of the some of the plants you are looking for and grow them on homemade trellises. This year I grew snow peas, cucumbers, pie pumpkins and pole beans on the cages that I made from small saplings growing in the woods near my home. It worked great. When you do not have a lot of space to grow out, you can always grow up! :D

Also, maybe you should try to buy plants from your local garden club of some of the more difficult varieties. Not ideal, and a bit more expensive, but starting out, it makes the care much easier. Tomatos, peppers, squash, eggplant, tomatillos, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cucumbers should all be easily had for about $1 or $2 per 4 pack if you look hard enough. Just make sure you plant the warm weather crops after your last frost date. When in doubt ask whoever you are buying off of. Last tip: avoid the big box stores like the plague for plants and seeds. Not only are they grossly overpriced, I got 10x the diseases from those plants as local sourced plants.

Last last tip: Every garden has successes and failures every year. Accepting this going in will make you sleep easier. Revel in your successes and learn from your failures, but don't quit. There is nothing as satisfying to me as that first sun-ripened tomato, the sweetness of a fall cabbage that has been hit with a mild frost, or the crispness of some homegrown lettuce.
 

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The wanderer
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My garden is different every year. Some of it is affected by that year's weather, some by how much I watered, mulched, or weeded, sometimes affected by the type and quality of the seeds and plants I used. Some times there's no explanation for why something does really good one year and not the next.

But it's always interesting and it's good practice in case our lives ever depend on what we can grow.

Kinda scary to think of all the people who flippantly say "oh, if things get bad I'll just plant a garden"! Riiigggghhhhtttttt....

Congratulations, mdprepper, on all that you learned this year in your garden, and for already planning for next year's, and just for DOING IT!
 

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YourAdministrator, eh?
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Last last tip: Every garden has successes and failures every year. Accepting this going in will make you sleep easier. Revel in your successes and learn from your failures, but don't quit. There is nothing as satisfying to me as that first sun-ripened tomato, the sweetness of a fall cabbage that has been hit with a mild frost, or the crispness of some homegrown lettuce.
Great bit of advice. A friend of mine who is an amazing gardener told me that if she had to rely on her 1-acre garden for food for the year, she would probably starve. Some years it does well and she can do her canning and freezing. Other years, no matter what she tries, she can't get anything to produce food - only leaves and flowers.

I was really excited to have fresh rhubarb from my backyard this year. I kept watching and tending my plant - it was growing beautifully, better than any of the 5 years previously and then one day there was nothing but saggy-stalks and leaves turning brown.

I haven't figured out why it didn't grow to harvest ... I trimmed off the three flowers as I was told to and it grew better and stronger, but, the stalks never turned red .. stayed green right till the last day with very small hints of red at the base of the stalks ..
 

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Woodchuck
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Part of the fun in gardening is never knowing what you will have an abundance of, or lack of. I plant a good variety of seasonal crops and some years, well... some years seasons are better than others. This spring began early, hot and wet. Not so good for cool weather crops but the beans, squash, cukes and all did fantastic! Heck, I’m still having them for dinner a couple times a week.

I also plant a plot really early, just in case. For example, in late February/early March we can put radishes, carrots, peas, lettuce and spinach in. I always start a few plots of them in late January/early February. If it gets too cold for them it’s all good as I have only lost a few seeds, if they make it I am blessed with an early crop. I also plant late crops for the same reason. I might be able to get away with a late harvest and only need to cover them one or two nights.

By plot I mean kind of a square foot thing. I designate ‘rows’ in my garden, some 2’ wide some 1’ wide. In the 2’ wide ones I plant radishes, spinach and such using a checkerboard spacing. For a first early planting I will do 1 running foot of radishes (so a 2’ x 1’ plot), the next foot of carrots, then spinach… On the next planting I repeat from where I left off going down the row. If an early one does not make it, or even does and I harvest it, I can re-plant it again for a second late crop. Just hand till the spot and add a dash of compost before seeding.

For the narrow rows (which are 15’ long) I’ll plant maybe 5’ of pole peas really early double spacing them. Meaning 6” apart on either side of the support. A week later I’ll plant another 5’ and so on. This also helps me to have an extended harvest as I do not have 30’ of anything needing harvesting at once.
 

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Naekid, some rhubarb is naturally very red, others are green clear through. As long as you have a good stalk, go ahead and harvest it, regardless of its color. What happened is that your rhubarb was ready to harvest, didn't get harvested, and eventually just died back. Not all bad, though, as it had that much more time to put energy into the root system for next year. Give it a good heavy layer of manure or compost now and next year you should have big, healthy rhubarb, even if it is green instead of red. If it really bothers you, there's always red food coloring. ;)

I made the switch to raised beds this year, and even though it was a horrid garden season in our area (PNW), I am very pleased with how well the raised beds worked. I'll continue to build more of them over the winter in prep for next year. I also plan to add lightweight frames with curtain sheers, tulle, or row cover stapled to them to set over the berries (bird protection) and cole crops (cabbage moth barrier), as well as hoops over the tomatoes and other hot weather crops (protection against both cold and rain, which brings on late blight). This year I lost nearly my whole tomato crop to late blight in Sept when the rains hit. I don't want that to happen again.

My raised beds are all different sizes, depending on what building supplies I had available at the time. Construction sites and businesses that put out their used pallets for free firewood are great sources for raised bed building supplies. You not only get a lot of lumber, but if you are careful pulling the nails out and straightening them, you even have the means to fasten your boxes together! I even got some of my lumber from the mark down racks at Lowes - got a couple of 2x10x12 boards that had a split down most of the board for a a total of $5. Put a little wood glue in the split, clamped it until dry, and added ends on the boards for a very nice raised bed. Have my Egyption walking onions and garlic in that bed.

I dig down to the subsoil between beds, throwing the top soil into the beds, then put down heavy layers of cardboard or feedsacks on the pathways for weed suppression. There are chip trucks that dump their extra chips in piles near here, so I go down there with my pickup and a scoop shovel and bring home all I want for the paths. I use soaker hoses throughout the beds and mulch with straw to keep down weeds and water evaporation.

Even though I had lousy fruit set on the cucurbits and tomatoes (too cold at night), the plants were lush and healthy, with lots of blossoms - they were happy with the beds, just not the weather. Green beans, both bush and pole, were very late, a lot of the seeds never germinated, and they didn't start setting beans until Sept. Corn was not in raised beds, plants were stunted and yield was almost nil. Potatoes were also not in raised beds and something burrowed under the roots (most likely moles looking for earthworms and grubs), killing the plants before I realized what happened. Next year they will be in a raised bed with hardware cloth on the bottom! Really, the only plants that really produced well were strawberries, raspberries, onions, garlic, peas and broccoli. However, I do believe we gardeners are the consummate optimists - as "next year" will always be better! :)

Right now I have a garden and orchard space fenced in that is about 78'x100', and have completed the raised beds in about 1/3 of it, if that, so it's going to be an ongoing project for quite a while. Gives me great exercise to do all the digging involved with getting the beds in shape, while saving me a ton of work weeding and watering the finished beds.
 
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