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Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  efirvin on 3/20/2012, 10:33 pm

You have quite a bit of company converting from row to SFG. Next year, when you look at your squares in the spring, you will be so grateful that you don't have to roto-till or spade/fork your garden. Never again!

Consider throwing out the zone map this year (even tho its changed) and invest in a soil thermometer. Plant according to the soil temp. Just keep a piece of painter's plastic drop cloth handy in case of impending frost. Look into winter gardening for next year.

Hmmm. Thats an idea that is foreign to me but worth pursuing. Once I get my raised beds completed and MM soil into the beds I can start monitoring the temp and consider what to plant. Thanks.
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  Dunkinjean on 3/20/2012, 11:30 pm

Tom

I am totally speechless! You have an amazing garden!! flower

I started with one 4x4 box and now have 3 4x4 boxes and will have 2 more soon that will be 2 x 6 each.

I have the boxes on the side of my house because we have a pool, deck, patio etc. in the backyard. I told hubby once the pool collapses I plan on moving my boxes where the pool is located and will add an arbor, etc.......so it will look as amazing as yours.

Best of luck!
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  GWN on 3/20/2012, 11:44 pm

Last night, I was so psyched about the garden I wanted to go planting at midnight!
go tom go rahrah
Thats what I would do too.
It will be very interesting to see how your tomato seeds do, being left to their own devices. smiles
My fear of a tomato... less summer has me planting about 3 weeks ago, yet not being able to plant for over a month.

LOVE YOUR PICTURES
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Wazzup in 6b/7a on March 22, 2012?

Post  tomperrin on 3/22/2012, 8:29 pm

Garlic – planted the first Monday after Thanksgiving, now
12” + high. New cloves have not yet formed but the stalks look healthy.


Onion sets – planted a week or so ago. Didn’t record the
date. I also have a couple of onions that overwintered
somehow.


Peas – Planted March 7,
now an inch high. A handful of
non-germinators, easily replaced. Peas make us look like genius gardeners! They grow fast, are cold tolerant, taste
great raw or cooked.



Potatoes – Gold &
russet - Planted March 8 from organic store bought spuds bought last fall and
stored overwinter in an unheated garage. Avg storage temp was 45F-55F. It would have been better if I could have controlled the temp at 40F. Yet Another Grand Experiment.




Lettuce – Planted Dec 21 2011 from seed and transplanted.


Spinach – Planted Dec 21 2011 from seed and transplanted.


Tomatoes – Planted from seed March 14. You have to look for these but they are
there. First variety up was an Heirloom German Giant. Haven’t had time to plant more, but I will
soon.



Tomatoes – Planted from seed in window box on Jan 5. I took these outside a couple of weeks ago to
get some real sun and they keeled right over at where the stem meets the soil. I was sure that they were dead, but somehow
they survived. So today I moved them to
the garden, and laid them down in the approved ANSFG manner so that they would
grow strong(er) roots. They have been on
the patio 24/7 for the better par t of the week. They did not take to the move well and are
sulking. The carrots and radishes I had in the same box were left in the box.




Today, planted carrots, swiss chard, beets, cilantro.


Tomorrow – Peppers, both hot and sweet, five varieties, One
4’x4’ square. The square will be
covered with painter’s plastic drop cloth to keep the soil warm overnight, at
least until the plants are well established. Some of the seed dates to
2009. Yet Another Experiment.


From the looks of things, I could have planted a lot more seeds
earlier, but the time has been spent making MM. In my next incarnation, I will
make the new boxes and MM in the fall. That way, they have all winter to get
saturated and will be ready to be planted whenever. Unfortunately, I don’t
think I have much room left for new boxes. And next year we’ll probably have a new
glacier in the Adirondacks which will move south chilling everything in its path. I’m toying with the idea of making a number
of 1 sq ft boxes that can easily be moved around on the patio or elsewhere. My one window box was very successful. Now here’s the $64,000 question. Can I keep those tomato plants going all year
long in the house under our one skylight?
Tom
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Dang that's impressive!

Post  daryl.weaver on 3/22/2012, 8:36 pm

I guess size matters after all.
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/9/2012, 11:10 pm

@daryl.weaver wrote:I guess size matters after all.

Finally...confirmed by a man!

Tom...where are you going to put more boxes? Instead of building 1' boxes, have you considered just using containers?
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  GWN on 4/9/2012, 11:13 pm

Tom
I keep thinking about your front lawn, and what a waste lawn is> Very Happy
You likely have LOTS of room there. cheers
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Lawn space

Post  tomperrin on 4/10/2012, 7:45 am

@GWN wrote:Tom
I keep thinking about your front lawn, and what a waste lawn is> Very Happy
You likely have LOTS of room there. cheers

Room I got. But I also got a leach field and a grove of beech and oak that have pre-empted the front yard. What I have to play with is the back yard. And if were not for SFG, the back yard would be useless for almost anything.

Two maple trees will be coming down this morning, making a cord of firewood each for three families. The tops of the arbor vitaes which block the morning sun will get a haircut. What's cut will be chipped for mulch between the new asparagus and potato bed squares. I'm also making a row of blackberry bushes west of the potato bed. All of this takes place to the south of the fenced garden. To the north, I planted 3 apple trees. I also wanted to plant a couple of pear trees, but I got shot down. In the garden, I planted 3 grape varieties, which, if they grow, will go along the top rail of the fence. One of the strawberry plants I bought to fill a square produced an exquisitely tasting strawberry with a wonderful aftertaste. (Sequoia, from Bonnie). So now of course, I want to put in a new square of just Sequoia strawberries.

As for containers, I have had mixed results. Onions, lettuce have done well. Tomatoes not so much. Blackberries will do better in the ground, which is where they will go once the trees are down. Nevertheless, I will be experimenting with some determinate tomatoes in some large pots I got on sale last winter. These will go out on the patio. I like my home made cedar boxes because I think they repel bugs, but can not say that with any definitive authority.

So far, the last month has been cold, notwithstanding our high 60's and low 70's we saw in March. Our last average frost date is April 14th I think, and hopefully we can get the rest of the squares planted soon. I've been mixing dirt since January, and I'm still not finished. The double deep asparagus squares have been time consuming. I tried to put my original Trex squares one on top of the other but could not get screws in that stuff even with an impact drill. I'll have to find another use for them.

Peas are growing about an inch a day, even in the cold wind. Cabbage is thriving. Chives are ready to cut.

Life is good.

Tom
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  RUTBUSTER on 4/10/2012, 8:34 am

Tom, that is an impressive garden to say the least. This is my first year of SFG and I have built 4 4x4x6" boxes so far and want to build a couple of more. Everything is an experiment this year, and if all goes well I plan on expanding next year. Keep the pics coming so we can see the progress. Weather here has turned cold again and is holding me back from planting.
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More sun for the garden

Post  tomperrin on 4/12/2012, 9:16 am

As previously reported, we had some trees that needed to be cut down. While we are tree lovers & huggers, some of ours were either in the way, needed a haircut, or were storm damaged. So some management was indicated.


Above is the before picture. The arbor vitaes (aka white cedar) had never been trimmed. They, and the tall silver maple behind them, shaded the garden and cast long shadows over the pool in the early afternoon. At issue was the large number of resident birds (mostly cardinals) in the arbor vitaes. We did not want to destroy their habitat.

Here is the after picture.


The trees have been trimmed at the top and shaped at the sides. They should fill out nicely over the next couple of years, providing even more protection for our bird population. I estimate that we have gained at least 1 to 2 hours of full sun on both pool and garden.

Here's a photo of our insurance against $200 bbl oil prices.


Here is a photo of the backside of the garden area. Cutting down these two maples opened up the clearing, giving us room for garden expansion between the pails and the fence.


The chipped wood came from two trees across the street donated by my arborist. The chips will be laid down between the new squares being built on the backside. At some point, I will rent a Bobcat and level this part of the backside and turn it into something more presentable.

This is a view of the garden from the side, showing the trimmed arbor vitaes in the background, and our new apple whips surrounding the yet to be elevated birdhouse.


As you can see, the lawn sports a nice weed collection. I just have not had the time to manage it properly. Maybe in a year or two.

More room for expansion Very Happy


And here is why we can't expand to the front yard. We're surrounded by trees, and the trees across the road we can't cut.



Tom
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Good Advice

Post  CharlesB on 4/12/2012, 9:24 am

@tomperrin wrote:Consider throwing out the zone map this year (even tho its changed) and invest in a soil thermometer.

I totally agree. Only thing to worry about is frost, soil temp drives the rest. Here on the East Coast (Philly) I put plastic domes over many items that wintered just fine, cabbage, carrots, etc. Then my Swiss Chard and New Zealand spinach was uncovered and lived through this winter, eating it already.

With the boxes we get to cheat the soil temps a bit because they warm up quicker in the spring.
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/12/2012, 9:50 am

Hey Tom......

That's a very beautiful property.

How much do you charge for tours??
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How much to charge?

Post  tomperrin on 4/12/2012, 10:16 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Hey Tom......

That's a very beautiful property.

How much do you charge for tours??

One dark chocolate coated espresso bean.
Tom
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  RUTBUSTER on 4/12/2012, 10:24 am

Looks great Tom. I'm chomping at the bit to get mine started. Just waiting for a little warmer weather. Keep up the good work.
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Re: Transitioning to 2012 - 2nd year garden.

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/13/2012, 12:43 am

Soil thermometer? You mean the oven instant read I keep in my garden bag?

LOVELY place Tom! NJ has some beautiful places.

Ava
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After the storm

Post  tomperrin on 4/23/2012, 4:04 pm

After more than two inches of rain yesterday, the MM in the boxes is thoroughly damp. The ground outside the garden is saturated and soggy, not fit for planting. A testimony to MM!

These two photos show the expansion of the garden beyond the fence. This is as far as I dare go this year. Embarassed



Blackberries, potatoes in the background. The double squares in the middle are asparagus. The first of these came up 4 days after planting. I'm really pleased with the rhubarb along the fence line. These grew very fast, and I'm trying to grow more from seed. The squares behind the trellis will be for melons, squash and pumpkin. The squares in the foreground are also earmarked for potatoes.



I'm just about done making MM. I've done so much of it this year I think it's permanently embedded in the pores of my skin. Beloved Spouse and I are looking forward to cleanup and making everything look neat and tidy.

Almost all the fence line should have some vertical growth by the time we are done this year. In addition to the two blackberry plants on the back fence, I've started three grape vines between the squares.

So far all the nursery starter plants have done well. I did have one stunted Brussell Sprouts, and that was because there were two plants competing with each other that I failed to notice when I was transplanting. One square of heirloom tomatoes has sprouted, and I'm looking forward to seeing some growth in the others. Garlic and onions doing well. I've put mint (in its own container) in each square that has cabbage or sprouts and there are a few other companion plantings as well.

I have not kept track of costs or quantities of bagged compost consumed. But it looks like we've gone through more than a dozen bales of peat moss, and about 30 bags of vermiculite. We've bought most supplies in bulk, on sale or at some kind of discount. A lot of supplies were things we had on hand, and which could have ended up at our next yard sale had they not been diverted to garden use. The issue was not how much the garden was going to cost. We intended to eat anyway, and the choice was to eat food of our own growing or something grown and packaged by someone else.

Tom
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