Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
sarger17
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by sarger17 »

Hi All,

New here. In southern New Jersey and looking to start my own home garden. I have a nice size backyard and will likely start with a 10x10 garden. Jersey is known for great tomatoes but other than the obvious vegetables- what are some good things to grow? I'm trying to cut down as much on the grocery bill as possible.

I'm also brand new to gardening. Any recommended books or online videos? Any input is appreciated!

Cheepnis
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Cheepnis »

Got out there this morning and I tilled the beds, added a little fertilizer, and planted some stuff.

I planted
  • 3 rows of snap peas
  • 2 rows crimson giant radishes (made sure I tilled that corner extra good, thanks for the tip @Lemur)
  • 4 rows of spinach
  • 1 row beets
  • 4 rows carrots
I've got high hopes for the spinach and peas because they did great last year. These particular radishes are supposed to come to maturity in only 28 days so I'll see how those do very soon.

I need to get on it and learn how to properly prune tomato plants for this season. Last year was the best year I've had for tomatoes. But with only 12 full size tomatoes across three plants there's definitely room for improvement. There's a place here that sells a huge variety of foot tall tomato starts for 2 bucks each. Last year I got one each of Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, Rutgers, and Sun Gold. The 3 San Marzano that came in were the most delicious tomatoes I've ever had.

George the original one
Posts: 5364
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Finally, finally, my two pear trees and one apple tree and three Columbia Star blackberry vines arrived. I've spent the morning getting them into the espalier orchard & cane berry trellis, respectively. Columbia Star is trailing vine, so trellising happens in the year after the vines grow out, with the first year vines overwintering under a light layer of mulch. Which means next year is the earliest any trellising will happen.

Spring has really sprung in the past two weeks. My overwintered carrots have begun their next growth cycle, the garlic is plumping up, the peas are grabbing their trellis, and I've been autocrossing so much that I've missed two weeks of seeding time.

7Wannabe5
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@George:

What fun! My garden partner has come up with a plan to create thorny fence of espaliered Hardy Orange behind mixed herb bed in front of sidewalk.

I just learned that Crabgrass is also known as Polish Millet, because it has been grown by humans as relatively high protein grain that must be hand-harvested. So, now my permaculture project will auto-magically achieve a great boost towards completion as soon as I make a little sign that clearly identifies this crop!

George the original one
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Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

Frost this morning, apparently just to remind me that May 1 is our average frostfree date. Yesterday I noticed the green onions started under the coldframe have not survived. Seems they are not quite as hardy as I thought.

7Wannabe5
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Image

Still early spring here, and I am not a great photographer, so might be hard to see full extent of project. I think we have at least 65% of the space planted or prepared for planting now. Only harvests thus far this year have been dandelion greens and Japanese knotweed :lol: However, I am hoping for at least 50% achievement of 2022 goal of providing total weight equivalent of annual food intake of 2 humans = .5 X 3.5 X 365 X 2 = approximately 1300 lbs. harvested. I also hope to forage an equivalent amount from public access sites or over-abundant gardens of others in my circle.

Obviously, meeting fat and protein needs will be most tricky. I am having terrible luck with growing small nut trees/shrubs. Sunflower seeds combined with fishing, and/or tedious processing of gathered acorns might be my best bet. My defined goal isn't full food nutrient self-sufficiency, but I enjoy the challenge of heading in that direction. In terms of imagined idealized plate, this year I hope to be able to fill 1/4 of two plates each meal with fruits and vegetables for most of the year. It is likely that preservation for winter into spring hunger gap eating will take at least as much time, energy and organization as growing food.

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Lemur
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur »

I read in gardening book at my library that a fella by the name of Mel Bartholomew recommended this mix in his square foot gardening methodology:

1/3 Compost
1/3 Vermiculite
1/3 Peat Moss

Further Youtubing led me to discover that in some circles peat moss is replaced with coco coir as the latter is more environmentally sustainable. Up until this point, I've basically gardened with 100% compost and just manually tilling my soil with a shovel. Learned some new stuff here.

This year new adventures:

- Started my own compost bin (learned some stuff here too...it isn't suppose to smell :shock: ? So I added in some carbon...(shredded paper and cardboard)
- Continuing to maintain garlic (planed last fall)
- Successful in planting greens for the first time
- I was also successful in sprouting tomatoes and jalapenos but my sister's cat ate them (yes mad haha)
- Built 3 new vegetable beds...just planted squash and hoping to be successful this year (1st year great, 2nd year got swarmed by squash bugs).

7Wannabe5
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Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Lemur:

You can experiment with any number of rough carbon sources available locally. For instance, fill a trash can with brown maple leaves and shred with a whacker. Vermiculite is far too expensive to use in large application.

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Lemur
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:00 pm
@Lemur:

You can experiment with any number of rough carbon sources available locally. For instance, fill a trash can with brown maple leaves and shred with a whacker. Vermiculite is far too expensive to use in large application.
Yep. There is plenty of brown leaves around me to use. I live right in front of a woods area.

Any good substitution for vermiculite (if required at all)?

George the original one
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Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one »

"Horticultural Vermiculite has the excellent property of improving soil aeration while retaining the moisture and nutrients necessary to feed roots, cuttings, and seeds for faster growth. Like perlite, horticultural vermiculite is permanent, clean, odorless, non-toxic and sterile."

In other words, using wood chips as a decaying mulch would serve a similar purpose. Where a wood chip mulch is inappropriate, you can also work compost & sand into the soil, though use caution with sand in clay soil as the crust is like cement.

7Wannabe5
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Lemur wrote:Any good substitution for vermiculite (if required at all)?
It tends towards aeration, lightening and retention of water. It's never strictly necessary, but I do like to use it in small potting situations. The Bartholomew method, which I do think is excellent for beginning gardeners, kind of treats each square ft. of the veggie patch as if it is a separate pot. So, pretty much intensive opposite of extensively managed giant field of mono-crop.

Currently, my beds are 4 ft wide heaped up compost with trenches dug round. I compost and green manure (inputs are mainly neighbors' lawn clippings in my urban setting) fertilize in place, so just throw stuff either directly on top of the beds around the plants or into the trenches, to be dumped back on top after it decomposes. Any empty space is covered with straw or kept planted with something, preferably legume, which is just chopped down and dropped where it grew with roots left to decompose below surface.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@bigato:

Thanks. The project is not quite as far along as I anticipated being at this point. Life intruded. But, we are hitting our stride, and some of the permanent plantings are starting to pop. Focus will be on vines and mid-layer perennials this year.

EdithKeeler
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by EdithKeeler »

Obviously, meeting fat and protein needs will be most tricky. I am having terrible luck with growing small nut trees/shrubs. Sunflower seeds combined with fishing....
Are you growing amaranth? It’s got a ton of protein (complete protein, btw), and is also tasty. And native to the americas. It’s pretty easy to grow, and some varieties actually come up as “weeds.”

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-gr ... rain-month

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.garden ... ranth/amp/

7Wannabe5
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Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Edith:

I've grown Love Lies Bleeding as an ornamental, but I haven't attempted amaranth as a crop. Good idea.

I am on a bit of a spring buying and planting spree, so I just ordered some Virginia Groundnut as a perennial protein option, as well as some perpetual seed-grown rhubarb.

Cheepnis
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Cheepnis »

Been eating salads with spinach and radishes from the garden. Radishes didn't get quite as big as they're supposed to, but they're delicious. Peas are climbing their trellises nicely. Only around half the length of carrots rows I sowed sprouted, so that's a bummer, but the tops of those that did are 6" tall now. Getting ready to pull the spinach and plant beans, cucumbers, and zucchini soon.

Kriegsspiel
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by Kriegsspiel »

My corn is starting to come up, and I just pulled some of my radishes. My garlic is really tall and looks good. I like the idea of growing amaranth, good call Edith. I might plant some of that this year and see what happens.

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Lemur
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur »

I got salad greens and tomato plants growing for the first time this year but the ground hogs got em :/

I hope ground hogs don't like squash plants...those are my favorite.

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jennypenny
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Location: Stepford USA

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

Well, the garden is mostly a bust this year. We put in some tomato plants but most of the beds are sitting unused. Maybe the break will be good because I'm already sorry I didn't put more effort into it (absence makes the heart grow fonder etc). The one thing I really miss is herb gardening. It's my first love. Some are perennials and have come up again this year and I'll use those. I think I would miss the herbs more than anything so I'll focus on that. I might even try to get more of those going even though it's late May.

I really love herbs ... for their scent, for their beauty, for their ease, for cooking, for medicinal teas ... and they are the only plants I've always had great luck with. Maybe I was a witch in a previous life.

I need to figure out a system that I can handle on my own though. I find that I can put my first big burst of energy of the day into the garden or into exercising. I can't seem to manage both. I'm not sure what the solution to that is ... do an every other day thing? or exercise when it's not gardening season but put all my energy into the garden for a few months every year. Not sure.

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jennypenny
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Location: Stepford USA

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny »

I think gardening is good for not being too sedentary, but I don't think it's really exercise. Unless I'm hauling something from the truck or digging I don't break a sweat. It does keep me more more flexible (squatting, etc) so I don't feel like I need yoga or anything when I'm gardening.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Yeah, I have had the same problem with either/or devotion of morning energy to gardening vs. exercise. Obviously, exercise is meant to be efficient method of physical conditioning, so trade-off is maybe 1 hour exercise vs. 4 hours mixed gardening activities = same amount of overall conditioning.

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