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What I've learned this year

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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  countrynaturals on 8/14/2017, 2:11 pm

SwampTroll wrote:

  • Cilantro grows fast.   Either cut and freeze frequently or plant late in season if doing a salsa garden.

Thanks for the reminder, ST. I thought cilantro was a summer plant until I fried them all in our first heatwave. We're still in for another round of triple-digits, then it will be time to plant cilantro again.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  sanderson on 8/15/2017, 1:31 pm

What I have learned this year so far.

1.  Parsley is summer, cilantro is winter.  Got that down pat.

2.  Get the infra-structure for shade cloth up early while it's still cool.  When the heat arrives, the cloths (washed and stored for the winter) can go up in one morning or evening.

3.  Mennonite Sorghum is neat and doesn't lay down like corn tends to do.

4.  Just because one has a good crop of a veggie one year, does NOT mean one will have it the next year. And, visa versa.  Put up (can, dehydrate, blanch/freeze) as much as you can the good year to get you by the next year.  Pharaoh had 7 good years of crops, followed by 7 years of disaster.  Moses got a promotion out of it.

5.  If you try a variety for 4 years with no success, try a different variety the 5th year. Very Happy Sometimes that is all it takes.

6. At the end of one season (I'm 4-seasons here) I need to clean and store equipment as it is no longer needed. Nothing like clean widgets at the start of a season; nothing worse than dirty/ruined widgets at the start of a season.

7. One can never have too many SFG beds, until one has too many SFG beds than homemade compost production. When I first started SFG, I could make a 3'x3'x3' cage of compost whether it was winter or summer. Now I can only turn over a bin in the cold. The new/used 80-gallon Lifetime tumbler is great for year around composting for me at this age, but it only produces 3 cubic feet of compost every month.

8. Table top beds rock! What weeds?? Very Happy The 2 beds I am baby sitting are only off the ground by 3" and fighting spurge is a new battle for me.

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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  countrynaturals on 8/15/2017, 4:38 pm

sanderson wrote:What I have learned this year so far.

1.  Parsley is summer, cilantro is winter.  Got that down pat.
Another lesson I had to learn the hard way. I was certain cilantro would be a summer plant. Rolling Eyes
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  countrynaturals on 8/20/2017, 9:17 pm

I've learned that Walla Walla onions absolutely cannot survive our hot summers, no matter what stage of development they're in. Next year, I'll plant a few in small containers I can bring inside to get them through July and August.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  hammock gal on 8/28/2017, 11:47 am

I've learned that I need to re-configure my SFG. Planting indeterminate tomatoes on two outside rows was just too much. Too jungly. Too shady for the plants on the inside. I'm losing tomatoes because I just can't find them in all that growth. I pull things aside as much as I can, but it's hard to see the ones on the inside, and even harder to get to them. I haven't seen the peppers in ages. It's hard to imagine that they're only 2 feet away, and I can't see them. I'm hoping that they will develop some color soon, and that may lead me to them. Shocked The cucumbers have started climbing the tomato vines, and now, when I'm looking for tomatoes to pick, I'm finding cucumbers, finally, one thing that's helpful. It's hard for me to think of growing fewer tomato plants when I love them so much, but if I grow varieties that I really love, it may be OK. I also grew some varieties that are smaller, so by growing bigger tomatoes, that may make up for it. I'll have to do a lot of hard thinking, and make smart decisions. Things just grew much bigger, and the whole thing became almost impenetrable. A large animal could be nesting in there and I'd never know it.  affraid

So next year, I will try very hard to exercise some restraint. We'll see how that goes. Very Happy
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/28/2017, 5:16 pm

You want a full sun plant to produce you have to put it in full sun - not 3/4 sun or even 4/5 sun - FULL sun.
dangit
Trees grow bigger and shadier every year, A LOT.
veggie fun
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  brianj555 on 8/28/2017, 5:49 pm

hammock gal wrote:I've learned that I need to re-configure my SFG. Planting indeterminate tomatoes on two outside rows was just too much. Too jungly. Too shady for the plants on the inside. I'm losing tomatoes because I just can't find them in all that growth. I pull things aside as much as I can, but it's hard to see the ones on the inside, and even harder to get to them. I haven't seen the peppers in ages. It's hard to imagine that they're only 2 feet away, and I can't see them. I'm hoping that they will develop some color soon, and that may lead me to them. Shocked The cucumbers have started climbing the tomato vines, and now, when I'm looking for tomatoes to pick, I'm finding cucumbers, finally, one thing that's helpful. It's hard for me to think of growing fewer tomato plants when I love them so much, but if I grow varieties that I really love, it may be OK. I also grew some varieties that are smaller, so by growing bigger tomatoes, that may make up for it. I'll have to do a lot of hard thinking, and make smart decisions. Things just grew much bigger, and the whole thing became almost impenetrable. A large animal could be nesting in there and I'd never know it.  affraid

So next year, I will try very hard to exercise some restraint. We'll see how that goes. Very Happy
Do you have any suggestions for what should be planted where in a box or do you have a link you can share?  You mentioned the cucumbers are climbing the tomato plants. Mine are just starting to do the same.  Is that bad?  Should they be separated?  I'm also noticing that my corn plants are getting shaded by the tomato plants ect.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/28/2017, 8:30 pm

hammock gal wrote:I've learned that I need to re-configure my SFG. Planting indeterminate tomatoes on two outside rows was just too much. Too jungly. Too shady for the plants on the inside. I'm losing tomatoes because I just can't find them in all that growth. I pull things aside as much as I can, but it's hard to see the ones on the inside, and even harder to get to them. I haven't seen the peppers in ages. It's hard to imagine that they're only 2 feet away, and I can't see them. I'm hoping that they will develop some color soon, and that may lead me to them. Shocked The cucumbers have started climbing the tomato vines, and now, when I'm looking for tomatoes to pick, I'm finding cucumbers, finally, one thing that's helpful. It's hard for me to think of growing fewer tomato plants when I love them so much, but if I grow varieties that I really love, it may be OK. I also grew some varieties that are smaller, so by growing bigger tomatoes, that may make up for it. I'll have to do a lot of hard thinking, and make smart decisions. Things just grew much bigger, and the whole thing became almost impenetrable. A large animal could be nesting in there and I'd never know it.  affraid

So next year, I will try very hard to exercise some restraint. We'll see how that goes. Very Happy
hahaha!  This was me last year with my first actual 4x4!!!!  All ridiculous foliage.  I was almost relieved when a plant failed or got dug up by a critter!  

Live, learn, take DETAILED notes about spacing, placement, varieties, timing, etc.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  CitizenKate on 8/28/2017, 9:55 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
hammock gal wrote:I've learned that I need to re-configure my SFG. Planting indeterminate tomatoes on two outside rows was just too much. Too jungly. Too shady for the plants on the inside. I'm losing tomatoes because I just can't find them in all that growth. I pull things aside as much as I can, but it's hard to see the ones on the inside, and even harder to get to them. I haven't seen the peppers in ages. It's hard to imagine that they're only 2 feet away, and I can't see them. I'm hoping that they will develop some color soon, and that may lead me to them. Shocked The cucumbers have started climbing the tomato vines, and now, when I'm looking for tomatoes to pick, I'm finding cucumbers, finally, one thing that's helpful. It's hard for me to think of growing fewer tomato plants when I love them so much, but if I grow varieties that I really love, it may be OK. I also grew some varieties that are smaller, so by growing bigger tomatoes, that may make up for it. I'll have to do a lot of hard thinking, and make smart decisions. Things just grew much bigger, and the whole thing became almost impenetrable. A large animal could be nesting in there and I'd never know it.  affraid

So next year, I will try very hard to exercise some restraint. We'll see how that goes. Very Happy
hahaha!  This was me last year with my first actual 4x4!!!!  All ridiculous foliage.  I was almost relieved when a plant failed or got dug up by a critter!  

Live, learn, take DETAILED notes about spacing, placement, varieties, timing, etc.
That was me, last year, too. One vine tomato plant to a square was just too much. I ended up cutting them all down in August because it was such a useless, frustrating mess.

This year, I planted them 9 to a full bed. No, that's not in the book, but it just made more sense to me after my experience from last year, and that has worked beautifully. All the plants are doing great, and there's enough space to reach in for harvesting and pruning, not to mention better air circulation.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  hammock gal on 8/29/2017, 9:00 am

SR and CK, it makes me feel a little better to know that I'm not alone. We may make plans, but our plants have plans of their own! Very Happy
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/29/2017, 2:48 pm

brianj555 wrote:
Do you have any suggestions for what should be planted where in a box ...?  

Brian, do you have the ANSFG book? Mel listed spacing recommendations under each veggie. He also discusses the placement of tall plants in relation to other plants - something like tall in the back on the north side, shorter plants in middle and then shortest plants in front/south side.
study
If you don't have the book yet, your library may have it. That's where I started out.
What a Face
CC
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  brianj555 on 8/29/2017, 6:26 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:
brianj555 wrote:
Do you have any suggestions for what should be planted where in a box ...?  

Brian, do you have the ANSFG book?  Mel listed spacing recommendations under each veggie.  He also discusses the placement of tall plants in relation to other plants - something like tall in the back on the north side, shorter plants in middle and then shortest plants in front/south side.
study
If you don't have the book yet, your library may have it. That's where I started out.
What a Face
CC
No.  I know I should probably get one, if for nothing else to support the cause, but I will be honest, when it comes to questions, I would rather get my suggestions from people on here with experience than from any book.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/29/2017, 8:12 pm

brianj555 wrote:
CapeCoddess wrote:
brianj555 wrote:
Do you have any suggestions for what should be planted where in a box ...?  

Brian, do you have the ANSFG book?  Mel listed spacing recommendations under each veggie.  He also discusses the placement of tall plants in relation to other plants - something like tall in the back on the north side, shorter plants in middle and then shortest plants in front/south side.
study
If you don't have the book yet, your library may have it. That's where I started out.
What a Face
CC
No.  I know I should probably get one, if for nothing else to support the cause, but I will be honest, when it comes to questions, I would rather get my suggestions from people on here with experience than from any book.
Brian, I highly recommend reading the ANSFG even if you might tweak the real life situation based on what you read on here, like most of us have honestly.  We all have differing conditions, compost, sunlight, weather, etc.  

I think you would also gain an understanding about Mel and what he did for gardening.  Any of his books will give you this.  It truly was and still is a revolutionary way of thinking and growing food! Not to mention, I had never in my life had a successful carrot crop until The Box!!!!  study


Last edited by sanderson on 8/30/2017, 3:36 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : yeah)
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  countrynaturals on 9/1/2017, 12:13 pm

I've learned that it definitely takes 3 years to be successful, even when you think you know stuff going in, make a full-time commitment, enjoy great resources (including this forum), and have a supportive, hard-working, talented spouse for encouragement.

It takes 3 years to get the mix just right (if you're using soil -- maybe not with MM).

It takes 3 years to really learn your micro-climates (I have a whole area that produces on the south side, but not on the north side -- haven't figured that one out, yet. Rolling Eyes)

It takes 3 years to experiment with different veggies/varieties to see what works.

I give myself a D- for 2016 and a C+ for 2017. Next year should be awesome!
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  brianj555 on 9/1/2017, 5:18 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
brianj555 wrote:
CapeCoddess wrote:
brianj555 wrote:
Do you have any suggestions for what should be planted where in a box ...?  

Brian, do you have the ANSFG book?  Mel listed spacing recommendations under each veggie.  He also discusses the placement of tall plants in relation to other plants - something like tall in the back on the north side, shorter plants in middle and then shortest plants in front/south side.
study
If you don't have the book yet, your library may have it. That's where I started out.
What a Face
CC
No.  I know I should probably get one, if for nothing else to support the cause, but I will be honest, when it comes to questions, I would rather get my suggestions from people on here with experience than from any book.
Brian, I highly recommend reading the ANSFG even if you might tweak the real life situation based on what you read on here, like most of us have honestly.  We all have differing conditions, compost, sunlight, weather, etc.  

I think you would also gain an understanding about Mel and what he did for gardening.  Any of his books will give you this.  It truly was and still is a revolutionary way of thinking and growing food! Not to mention, I had never in my life had a successful carrot crop until The Box!!!!  study
I went to the Library excited to check out and read Mel's book, only to be disappointed by the fact that they didn't have it. I didn't want to wait, so I bought the ebook.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/1/2017, 9:01 pm

Brian, you will not be disappointed.  If you are please let me know because it would be a first!cheers
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  sanderson on 9/2/2017, 3:39 am

brianj555 wrote:
I went to the Library excited to check out and read Mel's book, only to be disappointed by the fact that they didn't have it. I didn't want to wait, so I bought the ebook.
Happy reading! study

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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  brianj555 on 9/2/2017, 10:59 am

I have learned a lot about different types and varieties of tomatoes and what I think I can improve on in regard to selection for next year.  Indeterminate as opposed to determinate ect.  I still might plant a couple determinates for an earlier quicker harvest and will replant that square when they give out. Then I will plant 18 or so more indeterminate for the gift that keeps on giving all year long . In march I should have 80 squares ready to go.  I started out with 40 this year.  I will probably plant a mixture of hybrid and heirloom, while I learn more about the care for the more difficult heirlooms.   I have also learned that I have a lot more to learn about which crops to plant where , so they compliment each other and don't shade out those crops that don't need that. If I remember what I read correctly, the taller the plant gets, the further to the north and west I should plant them in my beds???  Is that right??  I am curious though if shading from other structures could change that??

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I took this pic this morning at 9:30 am my time. (40 days from seeding transplant) US Central.  I am standing on the east side.  The bed planted is on the north side.  The wooden fence is on the west side. I was thinking about planting cukes in the far west squares and tomatoes in the 2 far north sections, working my way south (left on the pic) the shorter the crop.
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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  trolleydriver on 9/2/2017, 2:34 pm

What I've learned (I may be repeating myself):

1. No matter how much planning I do, I never know in advance how much the weather is going to affect my SFG plans.

2. I need to grow more yellow wax beans so that Mrs TD can put some away for the winter.

3. I need to grow more carrots.

4. I need to reduce the number of squares dedicated to "experimental crops" (e.g., Okra) and overabundant crops (e.g., cukes and tomatillos) in order to provide space for items 2 and 3 above.

Items 2 and 3 are suggestions from Mrs TD and she is right ... always right!  Very Happy

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Re: What I've learned this year

Post  Mimi2 on 9/2/2017, 2:57 pm

This year I have learned that: 

I should grow a variety if grows that do well under different weather conditions (as a bit of an insurance policy against draught and extensive rain.)

I should grow more of the crops that our famiy enjoys (including tomatoes, sweet peas, lettuce, cucumbers, etc)

I need to learn how to lable my tomatoe seedlings better so that I plant the kinds that we love the best. And avoid seed mixes. 

I need to plan better for succession crops for quick crops such as lettuce ( and have new plants ready to go)

I need to add more compost to my SFGs.
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