What to grow?????

This coming season I will be planting my "first ever" garden! And boy, am *I* excited.
Despite the fact that I will be also turning 50 next year, my lifestyle has been such (until now) that I wasn't able to realize my dream of having a garden.
The problem NOW is - Holy smoke! What do I plant? Sadly, I am not a big vegtable eater so after carrots, radishes, peas, corn, tomatoes (for my husband) and pumpkins (for halloween!!!), I am "fresh" out of ideas.
Tell me what YOU grow in your garden to give me some ideas guys, won't you?
Thanks in advance.
Em Be careful what you wish for....
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Well, I have learned to only grow what we really like to eat. If you decide to grow say chard for fun guess what will be the most prolific thing in the garden? Then you are stuck with mountains of the stuff and the neighbors will stop answering the bell when you come with armfulls.
I do grow a variety of herbs. It's really fun to go out and snip chives for the baked potatoes or basil for the spahetti sauce etc. I've had fairly good luck with them and it's nice to be able to cook with fresh ones in season.
I also do strawberries in a couple of pots. We don't get a lot, but enough to nibble on. Do you like berries?
marcella
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Hi, first of all, grow what you (or your husband) like to eat.
Don't start too big. It's easy to think too big and end up with too much for an inexperienced gardener to deal with. It ends up being more work than fun and/or a big weedy mess.
On the other hand, I have seen people dig up a little 8 x 8 foot area and think they can grow everything in that space. I watched my wife's cousin do this and he then decided he must have bad soil or something. What really went wrong was that he had enough planted in there to fill a 20 x 20 foot garden. Everything thing "looked" fine in June but by July the plants were crowded and none of them had the room they needed to produce anything. Follow the spacing recommended on the seed pack or in books and don't stick in extras because you have seeds or plants left over.
Corn is fun but it uses up a lot of space. I grew a garden for several years and claimed I would never grow corn because I didn't have the space. I like corn, and now over half the garden goes to corn. If you grow corn, remember it is a grass and needs lots of nitrogen to do its best. I actually side dress with lawn fertilizer when the plants get a foot tall or so. (Doing that with tomatoes would be a big mistake). I now have a garden in 2 corners of the yard. One garden is just for corn and pumpkins. In that garden I plant the earlier corn and plant it a little sparse so I can plant pumpkins in with it. The early corn is done and drying up when the pumpkins are sizing up and getting ready to ripen. I like the combination.
Steve By the way, say hi to Dorothy and Toto for me.
Auntie Em wrote:

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That sounds like plenty right there, especially if what you have is a typical suburban plot. Do you eat salads? You might want to consider lettuce, too.
I'd also put in parsley, just because it's handy to have it growing for when you need a sprig or two. Parsley is also delicious. I had a friend who thought I was very strange because I would eat the parsley on my plate -- he considered it wholy a garnish. Sadly, he died of colon cancer at a relatively young age, and I wonder if he had eaten more greenery like that, he would have been better off.
--
Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
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Auntie Em,
Geographical location? In GA we have year round gardens. So it depnds on what time of year! If you like salads, do various greens, spinach, lettuce, etc. Cilantro only grows in the winter here.
Soil type? We have clay so any long carrots do not do well.
Sunlight?
I agree with the others on herbs. If you cook, fresh herbs are the key.
Start modestly and expand!
Good Luck! And sorry if you are in Kansas...
John!

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Are you looking for landscaping suggestions, or garden suggestions?
How cold are your winters, how hot and long your summers?
You need to narrow things down for us.
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like parsnips, swede, turnip, which last through the winter. What about beans? Do you have runner beans where you are? They're climbing plants that grow on wigwams, and are excellent for freezing. Alternatives are various bush beans, like yellow wax beans and other string beans. If it's hot where you live you can grow courgettes (zucchini), and aubergines (eggplant), plus a tub of basil to make pesto sauce. Don't know if you can grow cabbage, sounds like where you are might be too warm, but if you can - try Cavolo nero= Italian cabbage. Don't forget the winter squash - much tastier than pumpkin. But you can make pie with the pumpkins :-).
And what about the salad varieties? There are so many: Chinese red mustard, rocket, mizuna, endive, cos lettuce. And peppers, of course, to go in the salad, also cucumbers.
And don't forget the potatoes. They can even be started in a large bucket in the autumn to provide New Potatoes for Christmas.
Broccoli/calabrese?
s.
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someone wrote:

You can make a good pumpkin pie from winter squash. (Most canned pumpkin from the store isn't really from pumpkins anyway.) When I was a teenager, my mother made some pumpkin pies from over mature yellow zucchini. I think I made some too one time. The pies were a little less solid compared to real pumpkin but they had a nice fruity quality to them that I liked. That reminds me... I think I have 2 big yellow zucchinis out in the garage, if they didn't freeze.
I have also been known to use big yellow zucchinis for tall jack-o-lanterns. They never fail to get comments from people.
Steve
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I hear this occassionally. The labels don't seem to bear this out. The ones I buy say "pumpkin" not "butternut squash" or some such. Given that winter squashes and my stomach don't get along but pumpkin is ok, you'd think I would respond to the canned squash masquerading as pumpkin. So, where did you get them impression that "most canned pumpkin isn't really from pumpkins".
marcella
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Marcella Tracy Peek wrote:

Oh, I read it in a gardening magazine many years ago and believed it. I even remember the article saying that the most common squash used in commercial canned pumpkin was the variety "Golden Delicious". I probably only remember that because the name is the same as the apple. It doesn't matter which pumpkin or squash they put in the can. If it is intended for use in making pumpkin pie it will say pumpkin on the label. I wonder if any brands put the truth in the fine print somewhere?
Steve
I wonder if there is anything on the internet that backs up what I once read.... I'll go look......
Yes, but not much:
Goldkeeper
105 days-6 to 12 pounds-pink to brilliant red. Vining habit. This variety was used by the Stokely Canning Company for their canned pumpkin operation until they were bought out by Chiquita and shut down about seven years ago (putting an end to commercial canning-pumpkin farming in our area. Back to corn and soybeans, everyone). It exhibits a fair amount of variability in shape and color but makes excellent pies and is very good in other types of squash dishes as well. Most fruits are similar to Golden Delicious Hubbard, swelling and rounded around the stem, but are not quite so pointed at the blossom end. Thick yellow-orange flesh. $3.00/pkt. LIMITED QUANTITIES ONLY
That was from this site: http://64.233.161.104/search?q che:80SIHDVXxqgJ:www.walkinginplace.org/seeds/cucurbit/maxima02.htm++Canned-pumpkin+%22golden+delicious+%22+-apple&hl=en&client=googlet
Also a little more in the introduction at this site: www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/cgc_reports/squash95.pdf
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Marcella Tracy Peek said:

The typical Halloween pumpkin is a squash in the species Cucurbita pepo (which agrees with the Oxford English Dictionary definition of what a 'pumpkin' is). They tend to be inferior cooked as they have been selected for shape, color, and sturdiness in the face of the carving knife. There other strains of "pie pumpkins" that make better eating.
However...
An acorn squash and a "typical" pumpkin are the same species (C. pepo). So if you have problems with an acorn squash but can eat canned pumpkin, there may be something in the processing that makes the difference.
Also consider that seed catalogs list as 'pumpkins' things that aren't the C. pepo squashes that are the 'true pumpkins.' These include C. maxima types similar to buttercups (including giant and white 'pumpkins.' 'Buckskin' is a type of pumpkinish-looking C. moschata, or butternut, that is touted to farmers who grow for processors because of its deep orange flesh and 'Cheese' (another butternut) is very productive 'pumpkin' for processing. 'Neck pumpkins' or cushaws (C. mixta) are long season squashes popular in the Southern states (though I grew a very beautiful cushaw variety here in Michigan once).
*These last two species have the distinction of being resistant to squash vine borers* a huge advantage compared with 'true pumpkins' in areas where borers are a problem.
In the discussion of pumpkins at the following URL, the varieties mentioned for pie include two pumpkins (C. pepo) and one butternut (Cheese), one buttercup (Rouge Vif d'Etampes), and one cushaw. It also notes that "Cheese and Golden Cushaw do not look like classical pumpkins, but may be easier to find in areas with hotter climates. In general, these are sweeter than the Small Sugar pumpkins, and are MORE OFTEN USED IN COMMERCIAL CANNING." [my emphasis] <http://www.ochef.com/847.htm
This University of Florida extension discussion of pumpkins makes it apparent that the OED definition of 'pumpkin' (strictly limited to a variety of C. pepo) is not the operating definition as far as current cultivation goes. <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_MV116
And it is interesting (to me, anyway) that at this site the *photos* aren't of pumpkins (by the strict definition) but of various squashes! <http://www.pumpkin-patch.com/varieties.html
(The flattened and ridged orange ones are Rouge Vif d'Etampes C. maxima), the white one possibly Lumina (C. maxima) and the flattened tanned ones are Cheese (C. moschata). The ridged green ones look like 'Fairy Tale' which I grew once. It's a C. moschata squash that can take on a some tan and orange color as it matures.]
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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Pat Kiewicz wrote:

Since she specified winter squash as causing her trouble, I assume summer squash is OK. Since summer squash is C. pepo and halloween style pumpkins are C. pepo, I would almost be surprised if she has trouble with acorn squash.
Steve
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zucchinis...marrows. Personally I think they're awful: watery veg not worth growing, but lots of old geezers here love to grow them and enter them in veg. growing competitions in the autumn. As far as I'm concerned, marrows are only good for throwing at cats, dogs and birds.
[Whilst a young person I did once try and make 'rum' using a marrow, injecting it with sugar and hoping it would ferment, etc. Total failure]
Sorry, a bit off-topic.
s.
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someone wrote:

Yeah, few things from the garden are as worthless as over grown zucchinis. I never know what to say when someone brags about growing zucchini 2 feet long. Often it's a non gardener expressing amazement about how good a gardener their neighbor is. These people simply don't have enough sense to pick them when they are still edible. Having said that, I often end up with some giant ones in the fall. By then the other vegetables are all being eaten and we are a little tired of zucchini so, they get let go. My wife used to make good zucchini bread from the big ones. (Throw away all the soft part near the seeds and shred up the firm part near the skin.) I suspect that almost any vegetable could be ground up and used in the recipe and it would be about as good. .... and, as I said, if I grow some of the yellow ones, they also make funny jack-o-lanterns for halloween.
Steve
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Well, here at the Antipodes (Australia) we also would say such large zucchinis are 'marrows' and fit only for display or cattle food. The optimal time to harvest zucchinis is the day the flower opens, or one day later. No later than that. At this young stage they are delicious, eaten steamed and with butter and pepper. You are not sacrificing your crop by picking the fruit when so small--your plants produce much more fruit if you keep it picked before it reaches any large size.
--
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)


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