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Anyone with a vegetable garden?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by kevinmoelk, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Lamentably, here's what it looks like after a heavy rain.

    I have to keep the stuff that doesn't like wet feet up on the higher parts, until I can do something about the drainage.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Marcia, while I agree that potatoes take room, there is no comparison with store bought. The flavor and texture just isn't there in the average store spud. Maybe it's the variety they grow, but since we started growing our own, it's hard to go back to the store stuff.

    Eric, that is such a sad sight, especially in comparison with the earlier shot. But hopefully this summer it will be sunshine all the way. BTW, how are your tomatoes when they are mature? I never had much luck with tomato cages with the mature plants. Our plants average 5-6 ft tall. For us, the cages have been too small and either became overwhelmed or tipped over due to the weight. Do you prune your tomatoes pretty vigorously?
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It looks a lot worse than it is, BG. Everything stays put and the water drains right out pretty quickly. Usually it only happens in the spring and fall and is submerged for less than a day, but we did get a rain like that last summer when everything was in full bloom, and everybody suvived. Added a few points to my blood pressure, however. Were I retired, or otherwise unemcumbered by a regular job, I'd turn that big lawn in the background into a little truck farm and get a stand at the farmer's market which is about a block down the street on the town square. This was all productive farmland back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

    I don't prune the tomatos as aggressively as I should, and I tend to give them too much compost and worm casting tea, so they get a little leggy and bushy. The regular tomatos will pull the cages over if I don't hold them up with steel fence posts when they start bearing fruit. About half of the tomatos I grow are different varieties of cherries, and they're usually OK. The fridge at work is always full of beans and cherry tomatos in the late summer. That means I don't have to come up with fruitcake around Christmas.

    Thanks for all the compliments, by the way. Seems I'm always trying to make it better, but never quite get it exactly right. One time, years ago, I was in the bank getting a car loan and the loan officer was asking about assets. The first thing that came to mind was the garden--specifically, the soil. It beat out the wood pile!
  4. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I've not heard of trimming tomato plants when mature , not to say it shouldn't be done.
    What i do is buy the 50' rolls of concrete rebar mesh and cut it to 13 squares and roll them and hook them together. Put the roll over the plant when small , place a stake in the ground next to them and zip tie the steak to the cage and as the plant grows you bring up the branches.

    Our tomato plants always get 6' tall and we dont have an issue with plants falling over nor do we have to trim the plants.


    The only pic i could find of just the tomato cages that you can actually see the cages. ( in the snow ) pictured is 16 of the 24 cages.

    Pictured is the tomato plants in the cages ( hard to see ) and the tomato plants are about 60% of total height of mature.

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  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Found another pic of the garden showing the tomato cages.

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  6. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Just wanted to pop in and say thank you to everyone for all the suggestions. I'd write more, but don't have too much to add at this point. Enjoying sitting back, reading and learning.

    -Kevin
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That'll work. Looks great.

    Tomatoes will produce more fruit if the sucker growth is pruned off early and consistently. We have a cooler summers which makes it harder to set tomatoes. So we give them all the help we can. In the late summer, we get night fogs that can really bring on blight and mildew fast. By mid-Sept. we strip the plant down to what is strictly producing fruit. If they make it, we can still be harvesting in late Oct. due to the late frosts. Most years our goal is to still have a few tomatoes from the garden on the table until Christmas. Granted we're eating tomatoes that were picked green and ripened indoors, but it's still a treat. Can't wait to get the greenhouse built. Then I'm shooting for year round cherry tomatoes.
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Yes, very nice, Roo. Standard cages get a little weak in the legs, since they taper down as they near the ground, which makes them tippy. If I didn't have a million old cages laying around (the guy I bought the house from grew nothing but chemical tomatos), I'd do what you're doing.

    I always start out intending to aggresively trim the suckers off my plants, but at some point they start growing so fast--along with everything else in the garden--that I get overwhelmed and give up.

    We can get a frost around here as early as September, so big tomatos can be a crap shoot, but it's always worth the risk. In my experience, what tomatos need to grow mature fruit is hot nights. That's a tough order for Seattle, and hit & miss for upstate NY. My parents in central Wisconsin are sick of eating ripe tomatos by the time mine are ready to eat off the vine. Growing ripe tomatos in a greenhouse is tricker than you might think. You have to crank up the heat at night, which is something I'm not usually willing to do. And I always get thick skins, for some reason--maybe from the cool nights.

    Here's what the garden looked like yesterday morning. Below zero here today.

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  9. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Too tired to read all the way through this thread, lol. Has anyone every grown sweet potatoes?

    -Kevin
  10. Bushfire

    Bushfire Member

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    Here in CT we've tried sweet potatoes once. Won't try again. Although I love them, I don't think we really have the climate to get good results. We got tubers, but they were small and few and far between. I do grow the ornamental ones every year in pots as they are great foliage plants that spill over the edge of pots and give a great display.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Beautiful winter shots. When I was in mid-NY a few weeks ago, it was shirtsleeve weather and we were in the deep-freeze. Well we are in a run of sunny days in the 50's so I'm not complaining, except that this is our false spring which means that I need to get pruning and domant spray going.

    You are so right about the nightime heat. Maybe I should build a black, cement block wall behind our tomatoes. Hmmm, that's a thought.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I was going through some old pics and came across this view of the garden from the opposite side. I like the snow, but this pic jogged my memory about why I love the warm weather so much. Some of those carrots are still in the ground. I've gotta run out and dig a few up before it gets dark!

    This is a raised-bed garden, but I put sawdust into the walkways so that we can hang around there in our bare feet. The sawdust also helps retain moisture, harbors worms (for some reason), and most importantly--gives me a place to stash the sawdust from my various wood-processing operations. Back when I used to buy loads of logs and cut firewood in my yard, I'd add compost to the beds every year and sawdust to the walkways, and the garden elevation would increase accordingly. The wooden bed frames are just pallet lumber nailed to stakes, so as the rest of the garden grows in height, you just pull the frames up as needed with a pliers. The only downside is that eventually the fence will get buried.

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  13. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    Sweet potatoes - I grew them once, but it was when I was living in Puerto Rico, so that probably isn't comparable to where you live. They grow really well in PR, but you have to water them a lot since it is so hot hot hot there all the time. I just stuck tubers I had that were trying to grow in the pantry into the ground. Worked out fine.
  14. cottonwoodsteve

    cottonwoodsteve Member

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    Plant same thing at different times a few weeks apart.
    That way you don't have droughts and floods of vegetable.
    This may prevent you having to drop bags of Zucinni on the neighbors door steps in the middle of the night
    This may not work is some short seasons. Also some things that may do well in early summer may not do well in mid summer.
    So basically staggered planting will even harvest out but not as well as you would think.

    As far as potatoes I am going to try them in buckets this year. I planted them in the ground last year and damage to much of my meger crop trying to dig them up.

    Try Spaghetti Squash if they do well in your area
    They are very hard and normal kitchen knives have a hard time splitting them in half. Bake them in the oven until the edges start burning.
    Then you take something that was hard as a rock and now scrape out spaghetti noodles. Goes well with spaghetti sauce and beef stroganough sauce.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I love these old garden threads especially this time of year. Less than 2 months and it will be prep time.
  16. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Amen to that! I was circling items in the Baker Creek catalogue yesterday. With the non-winter we are having, I've been starting to clean up some beds that didn't get cleaned up in the Fall due to excessive rainfall.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yep. It looks like we may be able to get an early start this year too. We've just had a string of nice 55+ °F days. Last year we didn't see these temps until mid-March.
  18. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    We'll hit almost 50F here and it's sunny - I live in NEOhio, at least, that's what I've been told ....

    I'm hoping that this odd weather is not indicative of a weird, overly-wet spring.
  19. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    It has been very unseasonably nice here but even my drier-than-average yard isn't dry enough for me to work the soil in any garden beds. i'll get them ready as soon as conditions permit in case we have another rainy spring.
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Yep...old thread, but gonna post anyway.

    Planted some left-over lettuce and pea seeds last weekend, just to see what will happen. Starting the 'maters this weekend, and peppers soon to follow. Got the itch for sure.

    Have a bunch of fruit trees, grapes, and asparugus on order. Gonna be busy this spring.
  21. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    We grow much of our food. Last year we built a greenhouse. Our main home is in the mountains at 6800ft, nights can be cold. It, the greenhouse, supplied all our greens for a family of 4.
    We grew many things that would never fruit or ripen up here without the greenhouse. We had bellpeppere, wax peppers, tomatos, peas, beans, lettice, beets and many other things.

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  22. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

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    The gardens in your pictures are beautiful, good for you. We will be planting at our other ranch this year. The temp is hot in the summer, we are looking forward to it.

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