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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
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    Bumping this thread up because I am planning to put in a new larger vegetable garden in the back yard this year. For the past several years I've had just a small 5' x 18' or so tomato patch in which I stick a few greens and beans as well:

    But this Spring I found i wanted to try growing more things and simply didn't have the room in that patch. I've already planted lettuce seeds and chard and cilantro in every available space that looks empty in the photo. And I can't expand it because it's almost at our property line already.

    So DH and I talked today and mapped out a large rectangular spot in the back lawn that's 18' x 30' for an additional food garden. I know that sounds awfully large but there will be foot paths criss crossing around in it, and I can delegate some parts to squash plants and bean teepees, both of which take up plenty of room.

    Whatever it winds up being, it will have to have a substantial fence to discourage the woodchucks, rabbits, and occasional deer. We have yet to decide whether it will be raised beds or traditional dug.
    Either way I will need the landscaping/excavating guy's help and plenty of topsoil brought in. He helped us with our front grading/backhoeing/landscaping several years ago and we like him a lot, so he's coming over soon to perhaps help us plan it out. I know there is almost no topsoil there, but if there is a lot of dense shale there under the lawn we may have to use raised beds- he can advise us and can hopefully help us make the garden happen.
    It'll be put in too late to plant much this year, but I might be able to get some leaf lettuces and other fast growing greens from it this year, depending on how quickly we can figure it all out.

    Aggie-Ama- did you ever get your veggie garden going from when you started this thread?
    Last edited by BleeckerSt_Girl; 05-16-2009 at 02:53 PM.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  2. #17
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,668
    To the person who said she had a problem with the caterpillars getting into the cabbages/brassicas: here's what I have used on the broccoli that seems to help. Get a few hot peppers, chop them up and put them in a spray bottle (seeds and all). Fill it with hot water, shake it up and let it sit a while. Then you can spray it on the plants (just whatever you do, don't spray upwind) and it seems to repel the bugs. You'll have to reapply it every few days and after rain; keep the bottle in the fridge.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3,867
    Lisa, raised beds are much nicer to use than a flat plot. Your walkways are automatically made when you lay the beds, and you can reach across to do all your weeding, etc., without reaching too far or stepping in mud. If there's a sawmill nearby, you can sometimes get substandard cedar planks for next to nothing to make the beds with. You could also make a groovy cool pattern with the beds that is pleasing to the eye.

    I'd try to make the beds lawnmower-width apart, too.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,600
    just got around to this thread.

    Yes by all means start small. biggest mistake for someone new is starting big. They all get overwhelmed. three 4x4 raised bed is a pretty good start.

    GLC's advice on succession planting is excellent.

    For just the two of you, two tomato plants may be enough. one zucchini plant is plenty. In a humid environment, they tend to turn into giant club overnight.

    Try beans and stake them up a pole (pole beans instead of bush beans) to save space. You can also do this with mellons. Mellons will require a "hammock" to keep the fruit from pulling the vine out of the ground. Cucumber is pretty easy too. There are lots of kind of cucumber so you need to decide what you want to do with them.

    If the summer is hot, save the lettuce for fall and winter and away from direct sun as this will make for a very bitter green.

    Tomato plants can get really big so keep that in mind. Oh if the dirt isn't that deep raised bed, you may want to grow patio tomato. They tolerate limited space for the root better than most other variety.

    Also try some herbs. Basil, parsley, thyme and oregano are relatively easy. Thyme and oregano tends to be very invasive and so you may want to just pot them.

    And enjoy the fruit of your labor.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,600
    Almost too late in season but managed to order three kinds of blueberries, Jubilee, O'Neal and Ozarkblue (in place of Southmoon). These are warm weather variety.

    Also ordered Anne Yellow raspberry, tulameel (sp) raspberry and Ouachita black berry plants. Bit late to get any fruit this year but they should be set for next year.

    Southern California is just too warm for stone fruit so have none. Instead we do have citrus trees.

    We redid most of our garden so nothing looks established. bit strange to look at. Also about 5 years ago my collection of giant dahlia was wiped out. my mistake. and just today picked up three new varieties. Now I'll get to listen to one guy at my office "well my sunflower is much bigger than your dahlia" sheesh. Anyway, one variety of zuccini has set and probably ready to pick in about two more weeks. Green Zebra tomato has fruit set and first tomato should be ready in two to three weeks. Romas also has fruit set. Maybe I'll take a picture tomorrow and post.

    Reading "Made from Scratch" by Jenna Woginrich. I'm just tickled pink by her writing. A young gal in her twenties decided to homestead of sort. Drives an old Subaru, her experience with chicken, bee keeping, three sheep... see coldantlerfarm.blogs.com Another book just for fun is "The Backyard Homestead" Carleen Madigan ed. bought it on advice from Amazon when I bought Made from Scratch. Just lukewarm on the second book.

    Oh already pulled up two garlic heads, dried and cured. Need to start on heirloom variety of melons, and snow peas. Soo late.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    I use non-enclosed raised beds. Every year I till the whole patch, then dig out trenches/pile up soil in the beds.

    It makes for a lot of work at the beginning of each season, but it allows me to till and amend the whole plot all at once and makes crop rotation easier. The way my yard drains, raised beds of one sort or another are a necessity.

    I'm getting to a dilemma. I've put it off one more year but I'm going to need to make a decision. I've worked hard over the years to transform my plot from rocky clay to good loose topsoil. In the meantime, a nearby black cherry has worked just as hard to grow taller and taller and it's now shading a good third of my plot for most of the afternoons.

    Move the plot? Or cut down the tree?

    (Also, I set my tomatoes and peppers out yesterday, and now they've changed the weather forecast to call for patchy frost tonight. I wasn't planning on rolling out the row covers already. )



    ETA: Lisa, after several frustrating years, I found the only thing that keeps groundhogs (aka woodchucks) out is electric fence. A small four-volt solar charger is plenty and not too expensive. One strand about three inches off the ground, one strand about eight inches above that with a ground wire between in case the raccoons try to climb it.

    Eight feet of light poly netting with a string of twine on top is usually enough to keep the deer out.

    You'd think these animals were starving, instead of having thousands of acres of pasture, woodlands and farm to graze. But no, they need my beans, tomatoes, greens, parsley and squash. All of them, if they can get them, and there have been years when they did.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 05-17-2009 at 03:41 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,295
    I started very small with some patio tomatoes and have several larger tomatoes. I hope the ripen soon!
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    We have both raised beds (SFG) and a row garden area. The idea is to be able to compare the yields of each, so we have some things planted in both places. We have one large area of raised beds with a new gravel walkway between them (the grass walkway idea from previous years was a disaster) and a large 'row garden' area that we are not actually planting in rows. It'll be more of a patchwork. So far, we've got tomatoes in both locations, beans in both locations, all the spring veggies in the beds (they were the first to warm up a bit), all the potatoes (sweet & regular) in the 'row' area and a small patch of garlic also in the row area. This coming weekend, we'll be planting more beans, corn, zuchini, cukes, amaranth, quinoa (probably a bit late but we'll give it a shot), more carrots, more parsnips and more greens in both locations.

    I am also working on planting herbs (perennial) in various locations around our yard and in a few spots in the garden area (for annuals like basil, cilantro and parsley).

    Lisa - even if you get a late start, plant anyway. You never know what you'll get and it's worth 'wasting' a few seeds for the learning experience. We planted mid-July last year due to our move, and we still got squash, cukes, beans and corn from seed. We also threw in a few tomato plant starts from the farmers market and were even able to harvest some late tomatoes (and a ton of green ones right before our first frost).

    Things that didn't work? Carrots (too small - but tasty!), parsnips, peppers, melons and most herbs (besides basil). The season was just too short for these things. We also failed to plant the fall items early enough, so we got no harvest on those items either (except the random over-wintered chard!).



    This was taken a couple of weeks ago. To the right of this photo is the row garden area. In the back - you can see where our grape arbors are (to the right of the tiny greenhouse). The garbage cans behind the greenhouse contain potato plants. And then behind me as I took this photo are our blueberry bushes and blackberry/loganberry brambles...
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,203
    Lisa, your 5'x18' patch is actually pretty big, but that path takes up way too much growing room. I have five raised beds, each 6'x3', totaling 90 SF, same as your current patch. But my 90SF is all growing room. I don't count the paths--my setup is like a mini-GLC setup in the photo above. Right now I have radishes, carrots, zucchini, beans, and sunflowers (and a stray collard) in one, peas and watermelon in another, lettuce and onions in another, potatoes in another, and tomatoes in the last one. I grow my herbs separately, closer to the kitchen. I'll soon put in some melons and winter squash as well.

    Mine's kindof based on the Square Foot Gardening book, but I'm not nearly as neat and tidy (and obsessive) as Mel Bartholemew is (the author).

    I bet you could rearrange your current setup and it would be more efficient.
    Last edited by tulip; 05-20-2009 at 10:30 AM.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Lisa, your 5'x18' patch is actually pretty big, but that path takes up way too much growing room. I have five raised beds, each 6'x3', totaling 90 SF, same as your current patch. But my 90SF is all growing room. I don't count the paths--my setup is like a mini-GLC setup in the photo above....
    I bet you could rearrange your current setup and it would be more efficient.
    Well then mine is smaller than yours if I don't count a path either.

    I have to have a path in my patch- how else can I get in and garden? the fence determines the area for now, and the fence is essential to keep the varmints out. True I have been planning to turn the slate stones so that they are narrower end to end and a couple will then be eliminated. I'll do that soon, but that'll only give me an extra 6 inch strip of earth or so. It's hard for me to maneuver around in there without at least a foot wide path. I used to have NO path, and it was really hard to move in there then.

    The tomatoes are kept well pruned and staked, but even with that they get big and overhang the path by mid-summer.

    What I am doing is planting green and red leaf lettuce seed in the areas that will be overgrown by the tomatoes later on- thus getting double duty from those spots. The leaf lettuces can grow, produce, and get yanked by the time those areas are filled in by the other growing plants like the stringbeans and tomatoes.
    I've actually planted way more stuff in there this year than ever before....it used to be just a strip of tomatoes only, with a dinky deer netting fence. After both a red squirrel and a bird got tangled in the netting and died , I decided I had to to get rid of the netting and replace it with metal fencing.

    Maybe I will go turn those stones lengthwise more this afternoon!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Hi Tulip,
    Well I pulled 4 of the widest stones out of there and rearranged the path stones lengthwise.
    That now gives me a 1 foot wide path instead of a 1 1/2 foot wide path....so I got another 6" strip all down the length of the plot by doing that- allowing for one additional 18 foot row of greens that is 6 inches wide. That's as much planting space as I can squeeze out of it! Thanks for your comment which spurred me into doing what I was thinking I needed to do.

    Still, not counting the 1 foot wide path down almost the entire length of my plot, that leaves 4' x 18' actual planting space, which equals 72 feet square- still substantially smaller than your your 90 ft. square planting space.

    But I am looking forward to putting in my new big garden this summer! (Now if only I can get those two different landscapers to call me back.)

    UPDATE: One landscaper called me back and might come over tomorrow! he's the guy that has done work for us before, so we like him.
    Last edited by BleeckerSt_Girl; 05-20-2009 at 07:39 PM.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    steuben county new york
    Posts
    626
    LIsa, my Dad plants a majority of his garden from seed. He purchases onion sets and potato sets though. He plants his seeds sometimes as late as July. He staggers his lettuce (he does loose leaf-much better luck than with head lettuce) and spinach. That way it's not all ready at the same time. He's been buying his tomato plants over the past few years, there doesn't seem to be good growing weather for them.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Thanks Shelly.

    Yes, i created a whole extra 6" row in my patch just by re-arranging the path stones yesterday. I planted more leaf lettuce and a new six foot row of radishes. Radishes and leaf lettuce grow quickly and easily (as long as you keep the rabbits and woodchucks out!). I do stagger my lettuce and radish seed plantings.
    I too have to buy tomato plants unless I were to start the seed a month earlier in my basement with lights (which i do NOT want to do!). This week is the first week we can put in tomato plants safely with little threat of frost. I cheated when I put them in about 10 days ago, and was lucky. We've had two nights of 34F degrees since then, but were just barely spared a real frost and the plants were fine.

    I'm excited- our lanscape/backhoe guy might be coming this evening and he says he could perhaps get our garden dug and filled within 2-3 weeks! Unfortunately he does not do fencing, so I'll have to get someone else to come in for that. The fencing is a bigger project than we want to do ourselves.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3,867
    We can get away with a lot earlier planting down here, even if it's before the last frost, because our frosts are rarely to the level of a freeze (we did have a good late frost this year, with snow in April, though). But I use these to protect my 'maters until it warms up.

    http://www.planetnatural.com/site/im...ku=wallo-water

    Usually when there is a late frost, all our shrubs have set blooms already and we all rush out at dusk to cover them with every spare sheet and towel in the house until the morning. I'm not sure that would help up Nawth.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,516
    I just got my vege garden planted this year. Some of you are lucky and can amend your soil and grow great gardens. I would have to amend my soil for the rest of my life before it would be good enough to grow a tomato! I live in the rocky, forested woods area of Northern Arizona. We have a super short season - high altitude and weird really hot sun, kind of cold nights weather. Suffice it to say, it is a challenge to garden here!

    I have 3 raised beds in the backyard. I added some compost already earlier this year and yesterday I got to plant. I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, zuccini (green and yellow crook neck); eggplant, green bean seeds, some marigolds, chard, sweet bell peppers. I have all kinds of herbs mixed in with my perennials in the front yard and some vege plants as well. I have planned to try some tomatoes, eggplant, bellpepper, herbs etc in pots this year as well. I have not done this before here in the mountains but decided to try this year.

    Now, I was jumping the gun a bit on this planting since we can freeze up till June 15th. Remember the short growing season, but I figure I will cover if we get freezing temps this year. Our driest months are end of May and June. Sometimes, we get absolutely no rain until mid July when the monsoons start. But, what a wonderful surprise I got yesterday after I planted my raised beds. About an hour after I planted, it started raining and rained for quite a while. It is also supposed to rain a bit for the next few days which is wonderful. It is almost like the Pacific Northwest here this week! How Weird.

    I'll try to take a picture of my beds so you can all see my new little garden.

    spoke

 

 

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