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What I've Learned So Far This Year

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What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 8:24 am

My husband and I were just talking about what we've learned so far this year, our first year gardening EVER, and what we're going to do different next year.

1. Squash needs a lot of room to grow. For some reason I thought I could plant 1 squash plant per square foot. What was I thinking? We are getting squash, but I think our yields would be much greater if they had a lot more room. They are going crazy taking over my other squares of stuff like green beans, etc.

2. Tomato plants will be planted every other square also. They are much too crowded and it is making it hard to pull off suckers, etc. We also built our tomato cages too short.

3. Lettuce will have it's own bed. In fact a lot of things will have their own beds. I think because we are new at this, we had no idea that certain plants are really taller than we thought, and they are hiding the sun from other plants. For instance, I thought bush beans were small and compact. They are taller than I thought, and are covering my lettuce, which is not doing well now. It did great and we got several yields for a while, but not so much now.

4. I need to get better at trimming tomato plants. I need to really keep up with them every day so that they are more "single stalk", than branching out everywhere.

I know all this stuff is pretty basic with you experienced gardeners, but I thought maybe some newbies my benefit from our observations. I guess some of you are in zones that are just starting your garden, but here in zone 8b, we are way into all of this. Despite our mistakes, it sure is fun !!! albino Here is a pic of the garden and back yard. We are getting some incredible rain this week, and this was taken yesterday while raining:
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  littlesapphire on 5/9/2012, 9:40 am

Your garden looks great so far! I can't wait until mine looks like that, too Smile Those first couple of years gardening are the hardest, let me tell you! Just make sure to keep records so you don't make the same mistake twice Very Happy
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 10:49 am

@littlesapphire wrote:Your garden looks great so far! I can't wait until mine looks like that, too Smile Those first couple of years gardening are the hardest, let me tell you! Just make sure to keep records so you don't make the same mistake twice Very Happy

yes, keeping lots of notes on everything. We planted so many different heirloom tomato plants, can't wait for some of the fruit to ripen so we can taste which ones we like best.

I'm hoping to triple the size of my garden (at least) next year. There are 2 vacant wooded lots next to us, and at one point they were for sale, but never sold. Hoping to buy them and have them fenced in by next year (deer are crazy here), so that we will have a small farm..lol

I've also recently developed an interest in growing mushrooms, but that is a whole different forum. Laughing
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  givvmistamps on 5/9/2012, 6:32 pm

Terry, are you sure the lettuce isn't doing poorly because of the heat? It's pretty hot for lettuce now, so I've been told that giving lettuce morning sun but afternoon shade, or using a shade cloth over your lettuce, is better. I'm definitely with you on all the other stuff...including wanting to at least triple the growing space next year! Very Happy

I love your garden!
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  camprn on 5/9/2012, 6:56 pm

Terry, I love, love LOVE YOUR GARDEN!!!! What a fabulous space. You ARE A GARDENER! cheers

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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 8:22 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:Terry, are you sure the lettuce isn't doing poorly because of the heat? It's pretty hot for lettuce now, so I've been told that giving lettuce morning sun but afternoon shade, or using a shade cloth over your lettuce, is better. I'm definitely with you on all the other stuff...including wanting to at least triple the growing space next year! Very Happy

I love your garden!

you're probably right about the lettuce and heat issue. But it is also buried now under squash vines. I totally goofed on the squash plants and spacing... Rolling Eyes Thanks for "loving" my garden..
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 8:24 pm

@camprn wrote:Terry, I love, love LOVE YOUR GARDEN!!!! What a fabulous space. You ARE A GARDENER! cheers

WOW, thanks for being excited about my garden! I LOVE LOVE LOVE you !! I love you
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  BetsyC on 5/9/2012, 11:25 pm

Your garden is incredible! I wish you continued success!
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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  Chopper on 5/10/2012, 3:33 am

When I heard Mel speak recently he kind of chuckled that people still treat SFGs like row gardens. There is no need to have separate beds for lettuce or any other single crop. Just remember the general heights and plan accordingly. That said, I do have the zucchini in a pot next to the main bed. They are just crazy.

All the plants look so sweet when they are seedlings - it is shocking how bug they get, huh?

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Re: What I've Learned So Far This Year

Post  TejasTerry on 5/10/2012, 8:30 am

@Chopper wrote:When I heard Mel speak recently he kind of chuckled that people still treat SFGs like row gardens. There is no need to have separate beds for lettuce or any other single crop. Just remember the general heights and plan accordingly. That said, I do have the zucchini in a pot next to the main bed. They are just crazy.

All the plants look so sweet when they are seedlings - it is shocking how bug they get, huh?

I have never had row gardens, or any garden for that matter, prior to this one. I planned it like he said in the book, with different plants mixed in together as you see. I think I don't have the experience level to know the general heights yet, as you mentioned. So for me, having boxes with lettuce, boxes with squash, etc., will be a little easier at this skill level. No doubt I will have a few things mixed in with those that I know will be ok and not overshadow or get overshadowed by the main plant in that bed. Yes it IS shocking how big they get. Most of my plants I raised under lights as seedlings, and had no clue how they would look a few months later...
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