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If you could start over- what would you do differently?

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seed storage and germination

Post  sbeach on 4/30/2010, 9:24 am

To cherriesjubilee and anyone else interested:

Has anyone tried using regular black tea or chamomile tea to help with germination?

Somewhere (maybe in these forums?) someone mentioned using a solution of cooled chamomile tea mixed with water to spray on seedlings or to moisten peat or seed-starting medium to prevent dampening off.

What I discovered after spraying this solution on everything is that it also helped some of my 4 year old seeds germinate just when I was about to give up on them.

I've also used warm black tea to soak sweet pea seeds before planting, after my first batch didn't germinate well. Not only are many of the seedlings almost a foot tall in less than 2 weeks, but when I sprayed the leftover tea solution on some of the previous batch from over a month ago, they started to germinate as well.

Maybe it was a coincidence, but I hope this helps anyone with old seeds!

Sharon

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  quiltbea on 4/30/2010, 11:16 am

sbeach....Yes, I've used green tea to start my seeds and they did much better than those sprinkled with plain water. I experimented. I will always use green tea in the future.

As to what I'd do differently:

1) I'd build my plots only 3 feet wide and maybe 6 feet long with cinder block so they are 2 ft high, maybe more. When one gets older one likes to be closer to the soil without bending over too much.

2) I'd have more of them.

3) I'd fence in the area against deer.

4) I'd have a small seating area to sit with a glass of iced tea and admire my garden.

PS...I saved seed from last year, 2009, (and some given me the year before I even started my garden) in a glass jar, tightly sealed, in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator. The germination this year was a hundred percent when I used the green tea mixture but only about 70 percent with water.


Last edited by quiltbea on 4/30/2010, 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add blogspot)
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Gilligan on 4/30/2010, 3:11 pm

This is a great topic, I just wish it had started before I put my boxes in.
For me, I wish I would have spent a little more time leveling out the ground before I filled the boxes. It's not too bad but it doesn't sit exactly flat.

Keep the responses coming!
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  LupinFarm on 4/30/2010, 10:54 pm

1. Use Cedar for my beds
2. Plan out my bed set-up



Wink I have a potager garden in front of the kitchen door (which is just off our front porch/eating porch) and its a raised bed made out of limestone blocks from our own property and its triangular to fit in a the corner of the lawn.

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/1/2010, 8:23 am

Another thing I would have done is kept better records on the type of compost used in each bed as one bed isn't doing as well as the others. I used different composts as I could find them for each bed, so all are not exactly the same.

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  jerzyjen on 5/1/2010, 9:14 am

great topic! last year I planned everything out and made 2 4 x 6 beds but after i finished the beds I decided i wanted a whole new fancy white fence around the garden area (since its the first thing you see when you pull up to my house). I added boxes and now my layout is sorta cluttered and its making me crazy. So what i would have done differently is planned out the fencing area FIRST then figured out how to do my boxes. I'll be redoing my boxes next year. I like that potager idea. As much as i love the sfg concept, there is something to be said about the astetetics of the garden. I like the look of the old english gardens so maybe ill try to make my sfg prettier next year.

All that being said, the ease of tending to a table top is quite appealing to me, but not sure how to combine the old fashioned look i want and a TT. PLus i'm scared about trying to build one that is structurally sound.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  MsMinchin on 5/1/2010, 5:31 pm

Great stuff!
I'm glad I read this today because I was just about to soak some sweet pea seeds for planting tomorrow. Now I know to try warm green or black tea! My first planting only produced a few seedlings (which I planted a month ago with no pre-soaking), so I'm giving it another try.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  aspiegardner on 5/1/2010, 10:20 pm

after spending 2 hours pulling weeds and leaves and yuck from my sfg along with fluffing them up. I will definitely be putting something over the boxes to prevent it this year.

My neighbor also agreed to build me a sturdy fence for the back yard it sits on the alley and I'd rather not have cars trying to run over the boxes.

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/2/2010, 10:30 am

What would I do differently. Well first I wish I had found out about SFG before my first gardens. But my lack of planning and being tired from all the work in the row garden kept me from starting my seeds or anything this year. Then came March and the Dollar General where I found an edited edition of SFG. We were going on vacation and I needed reading material for the drive. I was sold in the first few pages !!! I was so excited about getting home and starting the new garden. Things were even better that we were moving our garden from the previous site to the permanent one. I do wish I had read about companion planting ahead of time. But with with living in zone 8 I figure it's never too late to start !! Will be adding more carrot seeds around those tomato plants, among other things I will be adding as companions.
My joy of gardening has been revived .

Happy to be gardening again
Ha-v-v
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Mirjam on 5/8/2010, 2:15 pm

I'm only SFG'ing since november, but I already found out that it's smarter not to plant peas and sugarsnaps in adjacent squares.... They're growing like crazy, and I have no idea which plant is which... I hope I can see the difference when it's time to harvest!
I thought it would be a good idea, as they both are supposed to grow to the same height and it would be easier to support them... I guess they agree on that, as they're climbing together
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  carolintexas on 5/29/2010, 1:44 pm

1. I would make every box a tabletop. Next year I will be redoing all my boxes.

2. I would buy the garden wagon I wanted this year but didn't think it was worth the $70 or whatever because next year I wouldn't need to haul all those bags of compost, etc. My driveway is 90 feet from my garden. I have lost count of how many bags I have carried back there but my back did not appreciate it. On the plus side for a 56yr old woman I have pretty good biceps!

3. Keep a garden journal. I meant to...but other than writing down my first planting I haven't written down a thing. Next year I am going to write down everything. I wish I knew how much I spent on everything, when I planted things after that first planting, where I bought the plants that are doing the best. I have tomatoes, same kind in the same box, and some are doing much better than others. I'd like to know where I bought them, what the name of the supplier/grower/company was, etc. I bought bedding plants in every store I have been to that has veggies so I have no idea where I got the better plants.

4. Buy Mel's book! I am a librarian so I seldom buy books. I have read Mel's new book 3 times and had to be on a waiting list each time because our multiple copies are always checked out. I can't tell you how many times I wished I had it to check on something.

5. Start early! I could have made a compost bin last fall when I moved here. I could have built my boxes last winter and bought manure, compost etc a bag every now and then instead of the expense all at once. I could have had a spring lettuce garden (I didn't know you don't grow lettuce in the hot summer.)

6. I would do more research. I bought corn seeds and then found out on the forum that each stalk produces ONLY 1 or 2 ears!?! Not enough produce for the expense of the mix I don't think.

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  milaneyjane on 5/29/2010, 4:59 pm

Made all the beds 16 inches tall---three are 8 inches tall and two are 16 inches. I will be adding another"layer" next year to make them all 16 inches (I have the kits from Sam's Club)

Other than that, nothing else right now since it has only been a month, LOL!
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  1chichi on 5/29/2010, 6:49 pm

1. I would not put a 4' wide bed up against a fence. Even w/ the keyhole for access, it's tough to negotiate to the center.

2. I would not plant 5 tomato plants in my 4'x7' bed. I skipped squares between them, but they have already taken over almost all the square footage and choked out everyhing else.

3. I would have a irrigation and trellis setup in place, before I plant my vegetables.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Paintedlady on 5/29/2010, 10:34 pm

I've only been at this for a couple months so I've lots to learn, but so far I know I should've covered my boxes once I put the Mel's mix in. Every seed from every tree in the neighborhood fell/flew into my box and every day I must pick out a million tiny trees. Of course, if I didn't have those, what would I do with myself out there?
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  plb on 5/30/2010, 9:54 am

I'd put more planning into the planting. I set aside some squares for things such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, and left them empty while I was raising the plants indoors. Now I realize that I could have had at least one harvest of a fast growing crop such as lettuce, spinach or bok choy before the weather would be warm enough to get the summer crop plants there... I think that next year I'll be able to get much more out of my boxes!

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Chopper on 5/30/2010, 3:50 pm

@plb wrote:I'd put more planning into the planting. I set aside some
squares for things such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, and left
them empty while I was raising the plants indoors. Now I realize that I
could have had at least one harvest of a fast growing crop such as
lettuce, spinach or bok choy before the weather would be warm enough to
get the summer crop plants there... I think that next year I'll be able
to get much more out of my boxes!

One of the things I did right was to take time to find out what could be planted when in my zone. It has been a wonderful guide and keeps my stress level lower. I made an excel doc and then cut and pasted that into a word doc b/c it worked better for me for adding other info to it. Example below showing first few rows of the grid for May:































MAY



MAY



Beans,
Bush


























Beans,
Pole


























Beets

























Cantaloupe

























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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  boffer on 5/30/2010, 10:15 pm

Chopper

A few members have become stymied when they wanted to post files from excel or word since we can't upload files. Can you write a how-to do the conversion so their tables can be posted? If so, I'll put it in the how-to forum.

Thanks
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/31/2010, 9:09 am

I have been enjoying my toy box of a garden. It and her sisters are just how I want thim. But after two and a half weeks of rain there is one thing I want a do over on. I would ......

Move to California!
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Dunkinjean on 5/31/2010, 8:15 pm

I would have started many years before this year!

I love it!

Happy Gardening.......
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  chocolatepop on 5/31/2010, 9:46 pm

I'd put in drip irrigation BEFORE my plants are huge
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  Ha-v-v on 5/31/2010, 9:50 pm

I'd put in drip irrigation BEFORE my plants are huge


Oh yes ! I was thinking.. I could weave soaker hose in there... lolololol I wish I had read someones post how they put their soaker hosers buried in the boxes ! I thought that was cool. Soooo I will do what I do until I figure this out Smile

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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  chocolatepop on 5/31/2010, 10:01 pm

YES, the weaving method is NOT easy.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  squaredeal on 9/21/2011, 10:56 am

I tried too many things this year. Next year, I will keep to fewer veggies but more plantings of them. One box devoted to root veggies. Four squares for radishes - plant a square a week. One box for self-pollinating/non-pollinating veggies to use bridal netting over the entire box. Plant at least one determinant tomato so I have some for canning. More vertical crops.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  sherryeo on 9/21/2011, 9:37 pm

Absolutely, positively, it would be to be more careful with my Mel's Mix. I think I goofed and didn't get the mix right. I think I ended up, in desparation of finding 5 different composts, buying something that was probably potting soil with "soil conditioners." Mel shows a pic in the book of something called "soil builder" and I think I just goofed up and got the wrong thing.

I still had better success in my garden than ever did row gardening, but my snap beans and peppers didn't do too well. I think it was because of my mix.

I've put in 3 new beds for fall, though, and have been very careful both buying and mixing, so I'm looking forward to seeing if it makes a big difference!
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 9/22/2011, 12:22 am

Wished I'd built a long narrow bed for my tomato plants. Will probably do this next year.
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Re: If you could start over- what would you do differently?

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