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Just getting started

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Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/4/2012, 9:28 am

I joined the forum a couple of weeks ago and received a lot of help. I finally have my first garden framed in. I had to keep it pretty for my wife. If left up to me I would probably plow up the whole back yard, lol. I will put Mel's Mix in the bed ASAP, I have it all ready to be mixed, just need the time to do it.

I am not a big veggie eater myself but love to cook. All my recipes start with 50% onion, then add onion to taste. (I'm exaggerating somewhat, but I do use plenty of onions.)

I'm planning to grow strawberries so they will take up a few squares. My wife loves tomatoes but it is late to start them, I will have them for next year though. Corn, melons, shallots, bell peppers, hot peppers for making pepper vinegar, jalapeños for BBQ with venison and cheese, parsley, and open to other suggestions.

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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/4/2012, 1:10 pm

Thanks for visiting the regional forum, Don! We were without a regional host for a while, but now that I'm taking on the job I hope to get folks reporting and chatting about growing in our unique region.

After I replied to your other message I got to thinking; if you visit a GOOD garden center, ie: one that knows how to take care of their plants (as opposed to the centers I have to choose from where all watering is automatic and plants receive no individual care, therefore they're now looking rather sickly), you might be able to get your hands on some healthy tomato and pepper plants already started. The tomatoes might quit producing once the true heat and humidity of high summer hit, but they'll go back to producing when temperatures start going down again and you'll get a good crop before late fall. It's possible that providing them with a shade cloth would help them grow during high heat conditions. There are also varieties out there that can handle more heat, so ask about that, too. At least you wouldn't be starting from seed.

Regarding the onions, you're about like my husband is with his black pepper. I looked into growing that for him, but it's a true tropical plant; I may try to grow one in a pot that can move indoors in the winter, just to see if I can get some pepper corns off it in summer time. Anyway, it sounds like you'll be devoting much of your garden to onions and perhaps some garlic this winter. Wink You should be able to grow some cool weather crops over the winter as well. I'm still researching what will do best in our zone for that. We have the added bonus of growing in MM, which means we may be able to try things most gardeners wouldn't in our area.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/4/2012, 3:06 pm

Thanks for the invite and welcome.

I am going to try to stay away from the shade screens at present. The back yard is sort of a show place. Everyone on the lake keeps everything very neat and most look as good as the front of their homes. I will probably mix some flowers in to keep it looking good at all times. That's why I like this concept (SFG).

My boss told me where he gets his plants. I will look there to see what they have. I almost dropped dead when I saw the prices of veggie plants at the three places I visited already. $5.00 for a tomato plant, awe come on! They even want $3.00 for okra!

Looks like I will be starting many things by seed. I would probably enjoy it more that way. I'm not really in need of the veggies anyway. I am more looking at the enjoyment of the garden, but I will get use out of it.

I'm planning to retire early next year and I need something to do around the house that is enjoyable while my wife is working. She won't retire for a few years. But she works out of the house most if the time.

Can't wait to get started!

Don
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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/4/2012, 4:21 pm

Don, when you're looking at those prices, consider the size of the plant/pot it's in, and consider how many pounds of tomatoes, etc, you'll get from each plant. It might seem ridiculous to pay $5 for a tomato plant at first, but when you figure that you might get 30-50 lbs of tomatoes from said plant, even getting started this late in the season (after all, we have a MUCH longer growing season down here in the Deep South than those poor Northerners do Wink ), and then figure out how much that many tomatoes would cost you at a grocery store or farm stand, you'll have a different attitude. IMO: getting your plants from a trusted source is worth a couple dollars more. You're definitely still okay starting things like okra from seed, but if you select some good, healthy tomato and pepper plants, then start the rest of your crops from seed, you should be good to go.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/4/2012, 7:26 pm

Hey Don, I just found the Louisiana Coop Extension recommended planting dates, available in a high-resolution or low-resolution PDF. It looks like you're good to go on many things you want to plant by seed:

Pub 1980 Vegetable Planting Guide 2012 LOW RES.pdf

Pub 1980 Vegetable Planting Guide 2012 HIGH RES.pdf
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/4/2012, 8:11 pm



Well Mel's Mix is in the bed. Next step the grid. I have an idea I will explore if I can make it to Home Depot after work tommorrow. This evening I will settle down and enjoy my heat stroke. (Just kidding). The temp is close to 90 deg. And humidity must be 220%.

This is like working at the deer camp. A little hard at my age but I enjoy every second of it.

Monday I will be off and my oldest grandson will be here. I will save the planting of what I can find for that afternoon so he can work with me. Each of my grandsons will have a few squares for there own.

I will look at those links tommorrow . Thanks, it will give me a good direction to go in.

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Re: Just getting started

Post  kbb964 on 5/4/2012, 8:15 pm

I love your back yard overlooking the lake. I adore the beautifully framed bed you have done for your wife too! I look forward to many more pictures Smile
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Re: Just getting started

Post  quiltbea on 5/4/2012, 9:35 pm

What a beautiful view. Yes, a few squares of flowers will make the plot look really good. Color never hurts.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/4/2012, 9:56 pm

That is a fantastic looking garden with a great view.

I would suggest more herbs given that your not too interested in growing a ton of vegetables yet have a serious love of cooking.

Marjoram, Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel, Thyme, Lovage, and Fennel would be nice given the French heritage present in the cuisine of the area...plus as perennials they stay looking nice all year long.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/5/2012, 12:00 am

Don, your new garden looks great, and what a beautiful area! Excellent view I can't wait to see your new sfg planted.

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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/5/2012, 7:02 am

The link to the planting list is exactly what I needed. Many thanks for that. If I can get the grid I'm place I will be planting Monday.

As far as herbs, although I am of mostly French heritage (Acadian), I have almost never used herbs in cooking. A bay leaf now and then, file' in gumbo (ground up dried sassafras leaves), and a little Tyne in BBQ shrimp that will knock your socks off. I will have to learn what I want to use. I guess parsley may be considered an herb (?). I use a lot of that. I am always open to suggestions. I love to cook as well as eat. Lol

Thanks for the compliments on the yard and garden. This site has helped a lot in it's construction.

Don
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That looks a beautiful garden!!

Post  AnnD on 5/5/2012, 7:21 am

Can I ask did you remove the turf before filling with MM??
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/5/2012, 7:38 am

Yes, in order to get 6 full inches of MM I had to did out the entire bottom of the garden. I removed 98% of the grass (estimated). Then leveled it out. Laid down cardboard, then weed blocker. The ground level in my back yard falls going toward the lake so very few of the bricks were just laid on the ground. Most had to but dug into the ground or built up to a higher level by placing soil under them. Then soil was placed on the outside out the bricks to hold things together.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/5/2012, 11:32 am

Oh good, I'm glad that link could help you!

Oregano and marjoram are good herbs to have, because they are used by so many different cultures...though they're especially good in any pasta dish along with garlic and onions. Some garlic and/or onion chives to add some of those flavors when you don't have enough fresh onions or garlic on hand...they're great to chop up on a salad, too. Parsley is perfect for many things and it's good for digestion; also cilantro for salsas and other Southwestern dishes. Cumin is delicious rubbed on red meat before grilling or added to a beef stew.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I love using fresh herbs though, so maybe I'll write up a series of Rookie Topics on growing and using herbs in the near future. Wink
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Re: Just getting started

Post  camprn on 5/5/2012, 12:31 pm

Today being Kentucky Derby Day and the fact that you live where its HOT, I would advocate planting some mint OUTSIDE of the SFG. Nothing like a good frosty Mint Julep on a hot hot day after being in the garden! Or just iced tea with mint or mint chocolate chip ice cream. And mint tea is soothing when one has a head cold. Very Happy

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Re: Just getting started

Post  CindiLou on 5/5/2012, 12:46 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:

That's all I can think of at the moment. I love using fresh herbs though, so maybe I'll write up a series of Rookie Topics on growing and using herbs in the near future. Wink

Great Idea! Please do!

You garden looks like a dream Don! Very well fitting to your community. I don't think anyone will be fussing about it any time in the future!
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/5/2012, 3:28 pm

Okay, I'm an official addict now. I have to get something in the ground. I am at the very end of planting season on what looks like a hot year. Round 1 may not be very successful due to timing. But after looking at the lsu/ag PDF file I have come up with a list.

Plants:
Egg Plant.........3 to 6 plants
Bell Peppers.....3 to 6 plants
Jalapeño Pepper....1 plant
Banana Pepper......3 plants
I don't know the name of the hot pepper I used to make pepper vinegar but if I find it I know it and I will get a couple.
Tomatoes.....3 plants if they look good.

Seeds:
Sweet Corn
Bush beans
Cantaloupe
Cucumber
Okra
Onions

I have the PDF file to show which varieties lsu recommends. Naylor's is where my boss recommended getting the plants at a good price but I will look at the plants to see how good of shape they are in before purchasing there.

I have purchased shallot sets there I'm the past but they didn't make it because the deer said, "first come first serve".

Is there anywhere in this forum that states how many of each plants go in 1 sf? I couldn't find it.

I also made a list of the herbs recommended on this thread and will see which I can plant at this time of the year and availability. Then I will learn how to use them.

"A mind is like a parachute, it doesn't do you any good unless it is open."
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/5/2012, 8:56 pm




Okay, The grid is in. All I need to do is cut the tie wraps, but it started to rain so I quit for the day.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/5/2012, 9:35 pm

@ CindiLou: You got it! Stay tuned...

@ Don: That grid is perfect!

Cayenne, serrano and Thai hot peppers are all great for hot pepper vinegars.

As for planting space, I think most things you're planning to plant are listed in the ANSFG book, though the book is lacking in many herbs. Anything not listed in the book, check the recommended planting space on seed packets or tag; that's going to give you the approximate spacing information you need from center of one plant to center of the next. Pay attention to whether you're getting determinate or indeterminate tomatoes; you don't want to think you're getting a bush-type and wind up (like me) accidentally getting one that will vine taller and taller...and taller!
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/5/2012, 9:44 pm

@Don T wrote:The link to the planting list is exactly what I needed. Many thanks for that. If I can get the grid I'm place I will be planting Monday.

As far as herbs, although I am of mostly French heritage (Acadian), I have almost never used herbs in cooking. A bay leaf now and then, file' in gumbo (ground up dried sassafras leaves), and a little Tyne in BBQ shrimp that will knock your socks off. I will have to learn what I want to use. I guess parsley may be considered an herb (?). I use a lot of that. I am always open to suggestions. I love to cook as well as eat. Lol

Thanks for the compliments on the yard and garden. This site has helped a lot in it's construction.

Don

I would recommended starting with one of Stephen Raichlens cookbooks...The Barbecue Bible, Barbeque USA, and Planet Barbecue in particular are excellent.

http://www.barbecuebible.com/store/

I agree with on the cooking part Don T....nothing is better to me then spending a lazy summer day outside, grill fired up and raring to go,with a cold beer in my hand.

Though growing some the food I plan to putting on that grill comes in a close second!
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/7/2012, 1:55 pm

I just got back from picking up the plants and seeds.

Here is a list of what I have:
2 Strawberry Plants (already had, plan to divide them not produce next year.
4 Sunflowers (my oldest grandson planted some seeds and 4 came up and are now ready to transplant
Purchased today:
Sweet corn seeds
Snap bean seeds
okra seeds
4 Thai pepper plants
4 Tobasco pepper plants
4 banana pepper plants
3 different varieties of bell pepper plants
3 Black Beauty eggplant plants
2 cherry tomato plants

I am planning to plant a lot of beans and corn.
There will be some areas that I may pull up the beans in order to plant something else but right now I am satisfied with what goes where.

The herbs will come in time.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  givvmistamps on 5/7/2012, 3:42 pm

That looks like a nice list of plants to start with!

Check what the heights of these plants will be at maturity; you'll want the tall stuff in the northern part of your garden, and the shorter in the south part. If you've already planted, don't worry, you can still fix it if needed...I had to do this and my peppers survived the move from one square to another after a week just fine. Embarassed
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/7/2012, 3:56 pm

I'm in the car pool line waiting to pick up my grandson now. When we get home we will start planting the plants. The seeds I will wait for my other grandsons to plant next week when they come over. I have to give all three a chance at planting. I will take pics as each stage is finished.
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Re: Just getting started

Post  Don T on 5/7/2012, 6:17 pm




Austin going over the garden plan. All the plants are in the ground and some of the corn. I have to leave the rest for the other two to plant.

Must be a good sign. As soon as we finished planting we got a light rain.

Row 1: Cherry Tom.;5 empties, 2 Strwberries
Row 2: Cherry Tom.;Thai HP; Chocolate Bell P; Cajun Bell P; MAndarin Bell P; 2 Banana P; Empty
Row 3: EggP; Thai; EggP; Tobasco P; EggP; Tobasco P; Banana P Empty
Row 4: 2 Thai; 3 Tobasco P; Banana P; Empty
Row 5: Empty
Row 6 to 10: Empty; 2 corn; Empty
Row 11: Empty; 2 Sunflowers with beans; Empty
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how wonderful!!

Post  AnnD on 5/7/2012, 6:23 pm

He looks so thoroughly absorbed by it all!! hope the other enjoy it as much and yes, the rain is surely a good omen, what a wonderful start!! I must learn how to post pictures, it is fantastic to see other peoples gardens.
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