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Author Topic: General gardening thoughts  (Read 34044 times)

Offline LizR

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General gardening thoughts
« on: March 05, 2010, 02:20:54 PM »
So, I asked for this spot so I might as well start things off!

I love spring. It may sound hopelessly corny, but I really do feel optimistic every spring about all the wonderful things we will grow this season. I eagerly peruse seed catalogs, dig out last year's left over seeds and start them in a warming tray, get excited when they emerge, and spend too much money on impulse vegetable plant purchases. All this, despite the fact that our garden has not been too productive the last few years. Part of it is our three-year old (it is so handy to have a small child to lay blame on!), but part of it is that organic gardening in GA is actually pretty difficult. By mid-august, when the weeds are moving in, insects and/or disease and/or critters have destroyed most everything, and it is so miserably hot I don't want to go out and water, I am inevitably disappointed.

But this year will be different...I'll keep up with weeding, I swear! I'll use all-natural pesticides and fungicides, I'll fertilize the beds, I'll buy disease-resistant varities, I'll be vigilant for the first sign of pests. Good intentions, indeed!

So, what are y'all growing this year?

We are planning on: swiss chard, lettuces, annual herbs, fogo peppers, Thai dragon peppers, cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers, pole beans, some kind of super-resistant tomatoes (any suggestions?), and other stuff.

Offline Beerbitch

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 03:42:20 PM »
I have a raised bed at home where I grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and kitchen herbs.  We planted a pomegranate tree and a bunch of berry bushes which are supposed to produce this year....Hope so.

I'm also a member of our community garden where, sadly, I can't grow any of the above because most likely they will be pilfered.  So, over there, I do more experimental things and underground stuff.  Plus lots of flowers.

This year, we're going to plant some"help yourself" items around the outside of the fence.  Hopefully that will cut down on the pilfering.

Liz -- Have you been over to the new "Gardenhood?"  A little on the dear side but a nice selection.

Offline morebread

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 03:58:00 PM »
We grow the usual tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, peppers (both bell and hot), eggplants, cantaloupes, and watermelons. The latter did the best the last two years.

I've also tried growing Central Asian melons, but they really hate our humidity. Even during the drought. Won't stop me from trying again though. If you ever tasted an Uzbek or Turkmen melon you'll know why. Reportedly they do grow well in places like Arizona.

What are the organic pesticides and fungicides you are using? I'm all for organic, but if need be I'll go all-Sevin to save the hard work.

Offline tansu

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 09:29:44 AM »
I have raised bed in front yard - one foot from street. I lose a lot of stuff but that is where the sun is.
In my seed trays: spinach, mixed lettuce, 2 peppers, 2 cucumbers, eggplants, 7 tomatoes.
If anybody has cherokee purple to swap for japanese, mule team, box car, or black cherry.
Also snow peas and purple beans.
For annual herbs I buy the ones with roots at farmers market and plant.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 11:04:05 AM by tansu »

Offline HaagenDazs

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 09:38:24 AM »
We grow the usual tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, peppers (both bell and hot), eggplants, cantaloupes, and watermelons. The latter did the best the last two years.

I've also tried growing Central Asian melons, but they really hate our humidity. Even during the drought. Won't stop me from trying again though. If you ever tasted an Uzbek or Turkmen melon you'll know why. Reportedly they do grow well in places like Arizona.

What are the organic pesticides and fungicides you are using? I'm all for organic, but if need be I'll go all-Sevin to save the hard work.

Melons are hard to grow here - I'm guessing yours end up getting a fungus and dying?  Pretty common unfortunately.  I use Neem oil for lots of my pest problems but I do the same as you and switch to Sevin if some bugs really piss me off.  Have you tried Daconil for fungus?  It's not organic (as far as I know) but if you only have a couple or 3 melon plants and want to keep them sometimes it's the way to go.

Loundry

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 11:03:02 AM »
I would love to have a garden.  But to really get some yield out of it would require not only the culling of trees in my backyard, but also the culling if trees in my neighbor's backyard.  The south side of my house faces forest.  I simply don't have enough sunlight. :(

If I could teleport those trees away, I would set up an aquaponic greenhouse.


Offline Barnum

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 11:20:33 AM »

Plan to break out last year's topsy-turvy's for the balcony that worked so well.  For the first time we had a lot of decent tomatoes!  Will probably to the same as last year, plant a combination of higher yield and heirloom plants.

Offline LizR

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 08:00:47 PM »
To answer the organic perticide question...

Over the past 20-or-so years I have tried: home-made garlic spray, complanion planting, home-made red pepper spray, neem oil, diatomaceous earth, fish fertilizer, earthworm "casings", chicken fertilizer,  (last three to supposedly make my plants more disease-resistant), "Safer " brand products, picking off mexican bean beetles and Japanese beetles by hand, cutting out squash vine borers, and probably a bunch more.

The only thing that I have seen work really well for most applications is the neem oil, but you have to get there before the problem gets bad.

Growing up in Western NY, we always had a garden and we NEVER had any problems with bugs. Never. There were so many zucchini that, like the cliche, we gave them away like crazy. My mom grew peppers, tomatoes, beans, horseradish, asparagus, beets, potatoes, edible flowers, rhubarb, pumpkins - one was at least 100 lbs-, peanuts, and other things, and we never sprayed them. When I moved south I thought that it would be easier to grow things, not harder, but it is harder.

This year I may be tempted to the dark side of better living through chemicals. But I really don't want to hurt any bees.

Barnum, you have inspired me with your Topsy Turvey success. Did you use determinate or indeterminate plants? I can't remeber from AC.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 08:49:26 PM by LizR »

Offline HaagenDazs

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 08:51:10 AM »

Plan to break out last year's topsy-turvy's for the balcony that worked so well.  For the first time we had a lot of decent tomatoes!  Will probably to the same as last year, plant a combination of higher yield and heirloom plants.

"Heirloom" (perhaps this term goes into the overused foodie words category) does not necessarily equal low yield.  There are certainly some plants that aren't as productive as others, but I know of several from first hand experience that offer huge yields.

Offline Barnum

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2010, 09:08:22 AM »

Plan to break out last year's topsy-turvy's for the balcony that worked so well.  For the first time we had a lot of decent tomatoes!  Will probably to the same as last year, plant a combination of higher yield and heirloom plants.

"Heirloom" (perhaps this term goes into the overused foodie words category) does not necessarily equal low yield.  There are certainly some plants that aren't as productive as others, but I know of several from first hand experience that offer huge yields.


I think both that I planted last year were indeterminate, which did cause a little issue as they got huge and at least one branch tore off under it's own weight (they want to grow/branch "up" and you still end up with a weak branch/junction tearing down under it's own weight).

and as far as my casual use of the word "heirloom", please do not read too much into that.  I simply bought plants at HD that said "heirloom variety" that I expected to taste better and look worse.  Not sure that was the case.

Offline HaagenDazs

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2010, 09:23:08 AM »
Got it.  ;) If you're at all interested check out these guys below.  You'll probably be happier with this stuff compared to what you can (or can't) find at Home Depot.  They are just over the border in Alabama and the plants that I have gotten from them over the years have always been outstanding.  Shipping isn't costly and if you do order, only choose the regular ground shipping - being so close the regular UPS ground gets here overnight.  They have fairly good descriptions about what to expect in terms of yield, pay attention to their rating system.

http://www.tastefulgarden.com/index.asp

Oh, and the "tomato" cages that they sell at Home Depot are a joke.  They do well supporting eggplant or larger pepper plants but you'll need a very large (6, 7+ feet tall) or a sturdy trellis system for GA grown tomatoes.

Offline Jmolinari

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2010, 10:01:44 AM »
Oh, and the "tomato" cages that they sell at Home Depot are a joke.  They do well supporting eggplant or larger pepper plants but you'll need a very large (6, 7+ feet tall) or a sturdy trellis system for GA grown tomatoes.

Yah, which is why this year i'm planting dwarf indeterminate varieties...i just couldn't keep up with the indeterminate ones, they got too huge.,

Offline HaagenDazs

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2010, 10:05:44 AM »
I'm going to try my hand at a 2x4 and wire trellis system this year.  After my 5 foot homemade cages were dwarfed by the monstrous vines last summer I need something different.

Offline LizR

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2010, 07:04:36 PM »
Thanks for the Alanama link, HD. What varieties of tomatoes do well for you? Do you have wilts in your soil?

Offline HaagenDazs

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Re: General gardening thoughts
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2010, 08:10:06 AM »
I think we all have wilt and dozens of other pesky & pesty things in our soil.   ;)  It's just a matter of how to prevent it for as long as possible and then when something does creep up, how you are able to deal with it.  Sometimes there's nothing you can do, other times some neem oil or calcium spray will do the trick.

I've had great luck with most of the cherry/small fruits.  Perhaps it's the fact that they are so prolific anyway, but they always outperform the others where we live.  That's part of it too, you're specific garden might have better light in a better time of the day... who knows.  Sun Gold is my favorite.  They have started creeping into farmer's markets around here and elsewhere and they are a powerhouse of tomato flavor.  Carmello has done well in the past, and black pear was a good one last year.

 

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