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2014 garden = "C-"

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2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 9:14 am

I've been square foot gardening for 4 years and there's been so much success that I suppose a so-so year was bound to happen and this year is it.

A+  Lettuce, green beans, dill, strawberries
B    cukes good but didn't last long, tomatoes, some really nice tomatoes  but weak plants overall with lower expected harvest
C    very slow growing peppers but there should be some decent ones
D    garlic small harvest, summer carrots lousy, (fall carrots look very promising though)

On the bright side I met a chef who taste tested my surviving nice size garlic and will purchase pretty much all I can grow next year.  That would certainly support my gardening habit and then some.  Placed my order with Filaree this week

 For those looking to buy garlic when I spoke with Filaree Farm they still had 400 pounds of garlic to to sell as of Monday this week.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  camprn on 8/14/2014, 9:41 am

LM are you growing soft or hard neck?

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  herblover on 8/14/2014, 9:50 am

LM,
Are your tomatoes finished? I only grow indeterminate varieties, and while they have been oh so slow to begin ripening in our cooler than normal summer, they are coming on now. Loads of 'sugar Lump' cherries, and the beefsteak varieties are just beginning to ripen ( picked the first 'Dixie Golden Giant' last night).

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Mel's 'trick' to growing carrots

Post  rillgardens on 8/14/2014, 10:48 am

This year my carrots have been amazing!  The best I've ever grown.  Here's the 'trick' I tried.

Using your index finger make a hole in your soil about 2" deep.  Fill that hole with your coarse vermiculite and add one carrot seed.  Water well.  You will need to water daily (or 2X's a day if you're in a hot weather climate).  Be sure to use your cup or a gentle host to drizzle the water on the seedlings to not disturb them.  I know it sounds like a bit of work but you only have to 'babysit' them for a couple weeks then they will take off.

This does two things.  #1  The vermiculite provides constant moisture that carrot seeds need to germinate.  #2  provides the carrot seedling an easy medium to push through.

Try it, it worked really well for me.  Had a 98% germination with this method.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  sanderson on 8/14/2014, 11:02 am

I'll try it with a square. The light colored vermiculite with chopped straw mulch should keep the mix cool in this blazing heat.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 11:37 am

Camp, hardneck, more German Red, but I will spread them around in different boxes to prevent a near total wipeout like this year. 
Herblover, just about all of mine are indeterminate heirlooms -- from seed- supersweet 100's have been coming on strong for the past 2 weeks, black krims are coming now, Big Red is doing well, san marzano and jersey giant paste toms are barely thinking about ripening, weisbehartte (whitish-yellow) are beginning to be harvested, solar flare all green, other varieties are still green too.  I just don't have any 8 foot tall and lush vigorous plants like I enjoyed watching last year.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  Windmere on 8/14/2014, 11:43 am

@rillgardens wrote:This year my carrots have been amazing!  The best I've ever grown.  Here's the 'trick' I tried.

Using your index finger make a hole in your soil about 2" deep.  Fill that hole with your coarse vermiculite and add one carrot seed.  Water well.  You will need to water daily (or 2X's a day if you're in a hot weather climate).  Be sure to use your cup or a gentle host to drizzle the water on the seedlings to not disturb them.  I know it sounds like a bit of work but you only have to 'babysit' them for a couple weeks then they will take off.

This does two things.  #1  The vermiculite provides constant moisture that carrot seeds need to germinate.  #2  provides the carrot seedling an easy medium to push through.

Try it, it worked really well for me.  Had a 98% germination with this method.
Thanks for mentioning this tip rillgardens.  I will be planting carrots quite soon.

LM, I remember your photos of your garlic.  I was still impressed.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 11:54 am

Thanks Windmere, believe me I'm holding onto those whoppers like they were gold.  I gave the chef only about 4 cloves and he knew immediately that the variety was exactly what he wanted for next year.  Another restaurant was interested in purchasing too so it'll be interesting to see how this goes.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/14/2014, 11:58 am

@llama momma wrote:I just don't have any 8 foot tall and lush vigorous plants like I enjoyed watching last year.
I hear ya, sister.  Bad mater year for me also.

That's great news that the chef wants your garlic!  Good for you! 
How's it going selling the llama beans?  I always loved that idea.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 12:20 pm

CC sorry your maters are troubling too.
The llama beans and the worm castings sell every week at the farmers market and it cracks me up too.  Don't expect to sell the same volume as the season winds down.  But if I can make a go of a garlic adventure, I would drop the farmers market poo sales next year and instead approach garden clubs with llama beans and worm castings. 

The current plan is to grow garlic for the chef and farmers market and add home baked goodies.  Been also selling alpaca socks from my husbands clients farm, it's a really nice high quality product with no expiration date  Wink  
 
There is no way manure and food would be sold  No   from the same booth! yuck   affraid

p.s. when I see gourmet cupcakes selling at $2.50 a piece, I feel confident my slices of killer toll house pie and chocolate pecan pie would be a hit too.


Last edited by llama momma on 8/14/2014, 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : last line)

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/14/2014, 1:16 pm

Chocolate pecan pie!  Back in the '70s, I had a recipe that subsequently was lost.

Years later it turned up again, but I haven't made one yet.  Maybe for Thanksgiving....

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  herblover on 8/14/2014, 2:11 pm

@llama momma wrote:Camp, hardneck, more German Red, but I will spread them around in different boxes to prevent a near total wipeout like this year. 
Herblover, just about all of mine are indeterminate heirlooms -- from seed- supersweet 100's have been coming on strong for the past 2 weeks, black krims are coming now, Big Red is doing well, san marzano and jersey giant paste toms are barely thinking about ripening, weisbehartte (whitish-yellow) are beginning to be harvested, solar flare all green, other varieties are still green too.  I just don't have any 8 foot tall and lush vigorous plants like I enjoyed watching last year.

Just wondered; I remember your beauties from last year! My 'Sugar Lump' and 'Dixie Golden Giant' are really huge plants but my others aren't. I still think the slow ripening is weather related; thankfully we still have plenty of growing season left to get a good harvest.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 5:09 pm

I'd like to think so.  It's suppose to go into the high 40's tonight.  That's not going to help toms, eggplant, peppers, beans, or my watermelon.  Sad 
Broccoli and rutabagas will be fine and dandy with that lovely chill.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2014, 5:10 pm

LM, chocolate pecan pie sounds great. Pecan pie isn't as easy to find as the usual pies. That makes it even more of a treat.

I like how you seem to be always on the look-out for a way to turn a buck from your gardening-related efforts. I would love to be able to do that, if only I had enough space, sun, and high-quality soil. I'm surprised you can make any money to speak of with garlic, though -- it's so cheap at the store, and unlike tomatoes, which can yield many, many dollars per square foot, garlic seems capable of yielding only a few at best. It sounds like something a person would need large amounts of land for if she were to make even enough profit to warrant growing more than she would eat herself. I find it hard even to picture how you expect to make money off it, much less seem confident about it. What kind of productivity, especially dollar-wise, do you anticipate per square foot?

Lynn -- great vermiculite tip on the carrots. I've germinated lettuce and chard and mustard in vermiculite and they germinated exceptionally well. I'm sold on germinating in pure vermiculite now. And the watering is so easy and transplanting so easy, since you can easily pull them out with very minimal damage, if any, to the roots. I'm really just sold on vermiculite, especially coarse vermiculite, in general.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 6:43 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:LM, chocolate pecan pie sounds great.  Pecan pie isn't as easy to find as the usual pies.  That makes it even more of a treat.

I like how you seem to be always on the look-out for a way to turn a buck from your gardening-related efforts.  I would love to be able to do that, if only I had enough space, sun, and high-quality soil.  I'm surprised you can make any money to speak of with garlic, though -- it's so cheap at the store, and unlike tomatoes, which can yield many, many dollars per square foot, garlic seems capable of yielding only a few at best.  It sounds like something a person would need large amounts of land for if she were to make even enough profit to warrant growing more than she would eat herself.  I find it hard even to picture how you expect to make money off it, much less seem confident about it.  What kind of productivity, especially dollar-wise, do you anticipate per square foot?

Lynn -- great vermiculite tip on the carrots.  I've germinated lettuce and chard and mustard in vermiculite and they germinated exceptionally well.  I'm sold on germinating in pure vermiculite now.  And the watering is so easy and transplanting so easy, since you can easily pull them out with very minimal damage, if any, to the roots.  I'm really just sold on vermiculite, especially coarse vermiculite, in general.  

Homemade chocolate pecan pie is one of those things that when I see the look on people's faces, its hands down a winner so I'm going to give it a shot at the market next year. 

The garlic in the supermarket is not considered high quality or gourmet quality, but much better than nothing.   I suppose the chef knew by looking and smelling the few cloves I gave him that it was just what he wanted. It was kinda sweet when he opened up a clove to smell and his face flushed and he rolled his eyes and wanted to deal. I was grinning.
Garlic is running roughly 30 dollars a pound my cost for about big 5 bulbs and includes shipping. After that I replant the cloves the following year of course without the purchase price or shipping.  The chef is willing to pay 20 dollars a pound for 5 bulbs. His first purchase would pay for 2/3 of my cost.  But remember when I plant those 5 bulbs worth of cloves I should harvest about 45 or 50 or so Brand New Bulbs from the original 5. That's in a good growing season. He keeps right on paying another 20 dollars for the next 5 bulbs.   Shoot I could still have 40 or more bulbs to sell to him.  He says he'll buy all of it.  I asked him why he doesn't grow his own, says he's tried and doesn't have good soil. I also suppose he'd rather cook than grow stuff.  He's resorted at times to minced garlic from a jar and is unhappy with the quality.  So perhaps again next year I'll make a little 'mad money' as my grandmother would call it.  I'm out in the garden anyway I might as well put some effort into putting cash in my pocket.  My market booth is half price due to co-op funds from the insurance co. my husband works for.  So next year my husband will be there again   making insurance contacts while I sell pie, alpaca socks, maybe extra garden harvests and whatever else I can dream up.  I won't get rich off this stuff but I like making guilt free money to spend in the garden or any old way I want.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 6:49 pm

Geewhiz, poor Marc!  ...would've been nice if I just answered your question !!! 
Should make 16 dollars a square at four cloves planted per square
Wonder if anybody else sells their stuff and what profit it makes them, per square???

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2014, 7:10 pm

@llama momma wrote:
Homemade chocolate pecan pie is one of those things that when I see the look on people's faces, its hands down a winner so I'm going to give it a shot at the market next year. 

I'm not a sweets guy. I favor savory (more garlic, please!) more than sweet, and tend to like the European "less sweet" level of sugar as opposed to the American "Pile it on!" level of sugar, so most sweets are easy for me to pass by. But pecan pie is one of the few that will make me think twice about passing it by, if I ever even find it.

The garlic in the supermarket is not considered high quality or gourmet quality, but much better than nothing.   I suppose the chef knew by looking and smelling the few cloves I gave him that it was just what he wanted. It was kinda sweet when he opened up a clove to smell and his face flushed and he rolled his eyes and wanted to deal. I was grinning.

That must have been a nice feeling! Smile


Garlic is running roughly 30 dollars a pound my cost for about big 5 bulbs and includes shipping. After that I replant the cloves the following year of course without the purchase price or shipping. 


Here at our local grange they sell planting bulbs from Irish Eyes farms. You get a few bulbs for five bucks. Your costs are unfortunately high. I bet you can get good garlic elsewhere for a better price.

At our supermarket, bulbs are 50 cents each. But that's a huge disease risk, and some of course are treated so they won't germinate.

[quote]The chef is willing to pay 20 dollars a pound for 5 bulbs.[quote]

Since that's two different ways of measuring how to pay you, it sounds like that means he wants bulbs of at least a certain minimal size. Fair enough; it's his money.

His first purchase would pay for 2/3 of my cost.  But remember when I plant those 5 bulbs worth of cloves I should harvest about 45 or 50 or so Brand New Bulbs from the original 5. That's in a good growing season. He keeps right on paying another 20 dollars for the next 5 bulbs.   Shoot I could still have 40 or more bulbs to sell to him.  He says he'll buy all of it.  I asked him why he doesn't grow his own, says he's tried and doesn't have good soil.

I know the feeling!


I also suppose he'd rather cook than grow stuff.  He's resorted at times to minced garlic from a jar and is unhappy with the quality.  So perhaps again next year I'll make a little 'mad money' as my grandmother would call it.  I'm out in the garden anyway I might as well put some effort into putting cash in my pocket.  My market booth is half price due to co-op funds from the insurance co. my husband works for.  So next year my husband will be there again   making insurance contacts while I sell pie, alpaca socks, maybe extra garden harvests and whatever else I can dream up.  I won't get rich off this stuff but I like making guilt free money to spend in the garden or any old way I want.

What do you mean by co-op funds and a half-price booth? I'm a little lost there.

How many square feet do you figure you'll devote to growing garlic, and what do you think would be a reasonable expected profit in total and per square foot?

I ask not just out of curiosity, but wondering if I could swing anything like that locally, should I ever be able to get enough good soil and space and conditions together.

I've already thought about selling stuff like chutney or other foodstuffs at the local farmers market, but around here you cannot sell prepared foods at the farmers market unless it comes from a certified commercial kitchen. You can rent those, but they're not free of course, and you need a food handling license first. Which isn't expensive. But it means you have to make things all at once to be economical, and it's a fair few steps and costs more than going from home to market.

I think the fact that we have dogs in the house, also, is among the things that would make it impossible for our home kitchen to ever be certified for commercial work.

Nevertheless, I'm interested in putting some sort of commercial venture together at some point. I could certainly use the money, and it would be nice to take some in as a result of my gardening efforts rather than always putting it out -- the joy of eating an occasional good harvest notwithstanding, of course.

Anyway, I remain curious and appreciate what responses you can give. There are lots of farmers around here, but coming up with something unique is always a possibility.



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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 8:15 pm

European sweets, I hear you.  I went to a bakery in Sidney Australia, I was so pumped up to try out the excessively yummy stuff in the sidewalk window.  Went inside mde the purchase, came outside and sunk my face into it and was horrified.  No sweetness. Lol. My introduction to European type sweets.  Same thing in Japan desserts too.  Arrrgh.

Ok back to business.   Co-op money is when a large business gives you money to offset the vendor expense of having a booth or a table at an event. You are there selling their products so they  help out with the event booth or table charge. For us it worked out to be a 1/2 price booth for the whole season, May to October.  

I would say hypothetically I could devote 32 squares to garlic, nothing earth shattering.  Put 4 cloves per square to maximize bulb size, other people will tell you put in more per square.  The Filaree farm book by Ron Englund says 6 inches apart so I have been going with that.  Each square hypothetically then produces 16 dollars per square.  Or 512 dollars total from 32 squares.  Again hypothetically.   Now it gets fun cause half the garlic I'm going to plant this Fall are my own bulbs I harvested this year that were freebies I planted from bulbs the prior year.  Now I have to sit and think how the math works, but if all of those grow successfully then the 512 dollars is increased by I don't know how much off the top of my head.... but more than 512! 

My supermarket garlic here in central ohio is also 50 cents a piece but are little things.

Yeah the 20 dollars for 5 bulbs is something he said but I want to clarify it to be based on weight in order to be completely fair to both of us.  

Between the llama manure, home made compost, and worm castings, and if the weather cooperates I think there could be nice results.  Hope I answered everything.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2014, 8:40 pm

@llama momma wrote:European sweets, I hear you.  I went to a bakery in Sidney Australia, I was so pumped up to try out the excessively yummy stuff in the sidewalk window.  Went inside mde the purchase, came outside and sunk my face into it and was horrified.  No sweetness. Lol. My introduction to European type sweets.  Same thing in Japan desserts too.  Arrrgh.

Definitely a different taste. In much of Europe, the sweetness is part of the flavor; in America, it tends more to BE the flavor. Often I can detect little else, and can't finish a dessert.

A good example is lemon drops. When I was a kid, they were actually sour and lemony. The good ones would pucker up your face, and even the mediocre ones had a bit of that lemony aroma and taste. Now they just taste like sugar. I tried some supposedly especially good raspberry drops the other day; what a disappointment. Couldn't taste more than a hint of raspberry that immediately vanished; it tasted just like the lemon drops that don't taste like lemons. Another example is some southern foods. I tried a pickled watermelon rind recipe, for instance, and even using less sugar than the recipe called for, it was cloyingly, inedibly sweet. Nobody liked it, and it went into the garbage.

It's also cheaper and easier to create things with one flavor (SWEEET!) and little nuance than it is to bring out or layer more complex flavors. We Americans might have developed a reliance on such simple flavors as large doses of sugar and salt from eating so many prepared foods, which tend to have heart-stopping doses of both.


Ok back to business.   Co-op money is when a large business gives you money to offset the vendor expense of having a booth or a table at an event. You are there selling their products so they  help out with the event booth or table charge. For us it worked out to be a 1/2 price booth for the whole season, May to October.  

Wow, very different from what we have here. They wouldn't allow an insurance booth, or half an insurance booth. Additionally, you can only sell products you've made/grown yourself; no resales.

I would say hypothetically I could devote 32 squares to garlic ... [b]etween the llama manure, home made compost, and worm castings, and if the weather cooperates I think there could be nice results.  Hope I answered everything.

Yeah, I guess so, thanks. Do you need a food-handling license and certified commercial kitchen to sell your pies?

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/14/2014, 9:30 pm

Nope, and the only type of inspection would occur if I was proclaiming to sell organic food, then someone comes out to look things over.  Looks like there is a small town mentality in the village where I sell, making it easier to do business.  I figure maybe there hasn't been abuses in the past so there aren't lots of rules-- for now.
 idk  sfg smile

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2014, 10:11 pm

@llama momma wrote:Nope, and the only type of inspection would occur if I was proclaiming to sell organic food, then someone comes out to look things over.  Looks like there is a small town mentality in the village where I sell, making it easier to do business.  I figure maybe there hasn't been abuses in the past so there aren't lots of rules-- for now.
 idk  sfg smile

How nice!

We've had abuses in the past, I suppose. I know they used to let dogs accompany their masters at the farmers market, but too many problems arose. People would let their dogs wander around on long leads and tangle and trip people up, and at least one dogfight occurred. So now, no more dogs there. Too bad, it's a wonderful Saturday morning outing and a great place to exercise and socialize your dog so it's better around people and other dogs. But there's always somebody to be irresponsible and screw it up for everybody else, I guess.

Marc Iverson

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  southern gardener on 8/15/2014, 12:55 am

I'm sorry your garden didn't do as well this year. I know last year was a good one for you...best of luck next year!!

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  llama momma on 8/15/2014, 4:05 pm

Thanks and hope all is good for you too!  Smile

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  landarch on 8/15/2014, 6:03 pm

I'm just glad I have yet to see a single cucumber beetle this year...my vines don't look great but they have not succumbed to wilt yet.

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

Post  southern gardener on 8/15/2014, 7:14 pm

@llama momma wrote:Thanks and hope all is good for you too!  Smile
it is! best garden we've ever had! have my fall stuff ready to transplant here soon, but the summer garden is still hogging the garden! lol! Only thing I can't get going are taters....I'm wondering if CA is just not tater country??

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Re: 2014 garden = "C-"

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