Dear Colleagues in Dirt,
I'm beginning to think about my garden and what's going to be growing in
it in 2007.
I believe it would be instructive for all of us, especially for us
newbies, if we could share ideas on garden prep and maybe advocate for
some less well known plants who have ingratiated themselves to the
cultivators who cared for them.
I'm trying the wide beds approach with plants that compliment each
other. Previously, I've grown my garden in clay, lightly amended clay,
and lately in heavily amended clay (I was impressed with the
difference.). That amending was at the expense of some $, a lot
of shoveling, and wheel barrowing. This year I'm trying green manure.
I'm already on a terrace, so I haven't thought much about raising beds.
So, as I said, I'm trying green manure this year with the thought in
mind that I may have to still add some amendments (sand, manure, etc.).
Two years ago I planted two zucchini and one crook-neck and was
overwhelmed with squash, Last year I planted one and one and the
production was pitiful.
Last year was the first time that I tried to grow late harvest tomatoes
(heirloom) because of the situation of my garden, vis--vis the Sun, but
I am a believer now. I will still grow some ²Juliets² and ³Early Girls².
They just seem to be more resilient.
Basil in pots work for me. Maybe the clay soil just doesn't get warm
enough. Same spot, one basil in the ground, the other in a pot, the one
in the ground struggles to survive. The Basil in the pot grows thick and
dense into a bush (in the non-pejorative sense).
I'll probably cut back on the winter squash and replace the pumpkin with
This year I will work on my timing for the peas (plant for cool
weather) and beans (plant for hot weather).
I also need to work on tagging the herbs that I start from seed, so that
I will know which is what.
Anyone else care to throw-in their two cents worth?
Coloribus, gustibus non disputatum
As in real estate, the three most important things are location, location, and
location. More specifically, what part of the world are you in: how much sun do
you get, how much rain & when, and what kind of temperatures. (It's helpful
to know about soil but that is more easily altered).
You should talk to other gardeners in your area.
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 19:26:48 +0000 (UTC), email@example.com (Frank
...but, there are gardeners from a lot of areas that post here.
So, while knowing the zone or growing conditions of Bill's garden is
important information, it doesn't mean we can't learn or contribute by
discussing it here.
Now that my company is gone, I've been happily fondling my seed
catalogs, but I've not made any real decisions about what to grow this
year yet. We had a long, warmish fall, and it wasn't until the second
week of December that a freeze killed everything. I still have fresh
peppers ripening on the counter.
You have proven yourself to be the most malicious,
classless person that I've encountered in years.
It seems we can all grow pretty much the same things, even if our
"windows of opportunity" are different. I had a very nice note from Pat
Kiewicz from Michigan in September. I'm from California, yet we were
able to discuss variations in textures and tastes in tomatoes that we
I'm not trying to fine tune my garden, I'm looking for new ideas about
what to plant and how to eat it.If anybody wants to recommend a
vegetable or a fruit, I'll be more than happy to sit up and pay
We'er all just all looking for a good time, and good food, no?
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum
Zone 5 and until I did a recent soil test, would've bet the farm the
garden was 100% clay.
Now I now it's only a little clay, but you could hurt yourself in the
middle of summer if you try to dig out there!
I have recently found the best thing I can do for my garden is to
compost in-place. The two beds I did that to are now almost
potting-soil consistency. Really good stuff.
Adding peat, adding sand, adding leaves tilled in in the fall, manure
overwinter, green manure, bringing in topsoil, digging, cultivation..
none of this work can match whatever the compost does.
Raised beds, 2.5-3 feet wide. Currently have 3 beds with 2.5 feet of
rough compost on them, 8-9 inches of straw and aged manure on it over
asparagus beds, back corner where weeds got ahead of me this year.
2 cold frames, one is empty the other has sorry looking lettuce
remnants that if I'm lucky will go to seed this spring in another 7-8
Hoophouse looking forlorn with the 40-50 degree temps lately and
nothing planted in there..
Yeah. Last weekend, I broke a hoe while tilling a new area. The
*metal* part of the hoe. It didn't even bend; just snapped.
Sometimes, there's a, "cla-unk!" sound, as if I had hit solid
rock, because of being so compacted (previously neglected back
yard.) I gotta soak the ground with more water when doing this
in the future.
I'm still working at that. I dump my kitchen scrap bucket (which
also gets some paper) right on the beds, and lightly cover using
a small angled fork.
Maybe it is about bigger chunks helping the drainage more?
William, if I remember correctly you are in Zone 8 in Northern
California. That means you can have a winter garden because the soil
does not freeze. In my opinion, in no other season the garden gives so
much and no improvement to the garden is more important. The vegetables
are more nutritious that the summer ones, pests and diseases are gone,
you don't need to water, and there are two winter vegetables which I no
longer plant because they reseed themselves (arugula and mache). The
vegetables support you during the more stressful season of the year, at
a time when the quality of storebought produce is at a seasonal low. If
your beds drain well enough (which you may have now, given the heavy
amendment) nothing quite compares to winter vegetables.
Further, there are a number of greens that you can, for example, plant
under the tomatoes in the summer. Once the tomatoes are pulled (cut the
plant, leave the roots is the best way), they will mature through the
fall. If i were living in Zone 8, I could get 3 crops in a year by
planting lettuce, interplanting tomatoes amongst the lettuces, cut the
lettuces in July, and plant carrots, kale, bok choi or radicchio under
Preface: We live in zone 7, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Mountains in North Carolina. The garden area is about 1/2 acre. We
are retired and moved here in 2004. This part of NC is known for its
I have been going through my stock of seeds and deciding what to plant
this year. Last year I had way too many tomatoes. I stopped counting
in late August at over 700 pounds. We gave away lots and I spent the
month of August in the kitchen. We tried a large number of different
varieties, especially cherry types. This year I am down to 7
varieties and about 1/2 as many plants. I may add a couple of old
varieties to see if they do better than my present selection. This
year I am planting Viva Italia, Carmello, Better Boy, Brandy Boy,
Jelly Bean, San Marzano,and Hard Rock. The first 3 are my standbys, I
have been planting them for at least 10 years in two different
locations. Brandy Boy is a nice hybrid Brandywine, Jelly Bean is a
prolific grape tomato with a good flavor, San Marzano is good for
sauces and drying and Hard Rock is a very meaty tomato. Since I
preserve tomatoes in many forms I plant primarily cooking types. We
also like to eat fresh tomatoes and do share with others.
We will also plant beets, broccoli, rapini, cabbage, chard and a
couple of varieties of peas early in the season. Later will we will
be adding or replacing with peppers, summer squash, beans (green and
shell), watermelon and cantaloupe, winter squash and pumpkin, and
I am still working on the garden layout. I need to make and save the
dimensions of the garden so I do not have to go out and measure or
walk the plots each year.
This year I am going to get rid of seeds. I think I will take them to
the gym and see who wants them. I have had a bad habit of buying too
many at one time. Yes they are sometimes cheaper, but a couple of
years worth is probably sufficient.
I have found a nice way to keep the seed packets. I saw in one of the
gardening catalogs a notebook with plastic sleeves the right size for
the packets. If you are interested, here is the URL for the site.
I bought a binder and found plastic inserts that are made for 4" x 6"
photographs. The binder was about $5.00 and the inserts were $1.44
for a package of 10. The larger seeds do well in plastic shoe boxes
or a tool box. I was keeping the packets in a 3.5" disk holder.
I use a program named "Seed Planner." http://www.seedplanner.com/ It
has not been updated in a while, but still works for me. I need to
work on a process for plants from other than seeds. We have
asparagus, strawberries, muscadine grapes, blueberries and several
fruit trees. I really need to start tracking these much better. I
use a spread sheet for tracking the tomatoes. Maybe I will use the
same layout as I do for my preserving, a word processor document.
Will be interested in how others garden and keep track.
"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
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