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GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

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GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  GrowRunner on 6/12/2016, 1:32 pm

I was going to start a new general thread for anyone to show off garden updates for 2016, both the good and the hardships, but then I discovered this Showcase category where it looks like its better to just do a thread for your own garden...so without further ado, here's mine as of this weekend:

Here's a wide shot of our whole garden plot.


Moving in closer.


This is our largest bed or almost half of our 300+ official squares, and about our third of our overall garden bed space. Currently growing in it are various lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes (two kind), broccoli (3 kind), spinach, peaches & cream corn, spaghetti squash, Kentucky pole beans, kale (3 kind), & celery.  The beds on the back left will be planted with more lettuce seed and spinach seeds this week in hopes of having a good summer harvest of those plants.  Those 4x4 boxes are in shade most of the day with the fence and an apple tree off to the left not seen.


Close up of the lettuce.  It will all be harvested this week before they bolt and go bitter.  We planted out two watermelon plants in opposite corners just to the right but out of frame.  We will just let them fill the void left by the lettuce here. We had been doing some cut and come again from some volunteer lettuce plants further out back, but they've all bolted now and I've removed them to make space for other plants.  



16 squares of Orange Banana maters and 16 squares of Amish Paste.  We like to make lots of our own pizza/pasta sauce to can for winter use.  We're going to the Florida Weave method on all of these.  We also have a few more watermelons around the edges that I'm hoping to just direct the vines around the perimeter to still get enough sun.


At top: 16 squares of spinach that are starting to bolt, so it will all be harvested this week too and replaced with some ruby queen corn.  There are also some volunteer cilantro plants that are bolting now too.  Below are 16 squares of broccoli: Romanesco, Waltham, & De Cicco.


An attempt at a Three Sisters box here.  Spaghetti Squash in the corners, Peaches & Cream corn just now emerging in the middle of each square, and some Kentucky pole beans in each corner of a square, also just now emerging.


Our Kale: Dinosaur, Red Russian, and Blue Curled.  Also at bottom are the celery starts.  A couple have had the leaves eaten clean off, so they probable won't make it.  That happened last year too, and we've yet to figure out what's eating them.  Haven't seen anything on them in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, but we've put some Sluggo Plus around them yesterday in hopes of warding off any possible culprits.  I'm still doing midnight patrols on everything and spraying down earwigs here and there because those have been my worst pest caught massacring many young seedlings.



Our 4x10 bed loaded with some sugar snap peas.  They appear to be done flowering, so we'll let them finish up over the next week, then pull them all out and plant in some Jackpot Hybrid corn in all the squares but the corner squares which currently have some Amish Pie pumpkins recently planted into them.  Just on the outside of the box and to the right out of picture are some raspberry bushes.


One of our 4x8 beds.  Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes in the back ready to go up the trellis, followed by black beans, Golden Sunray tomatoes to be staked and pruned, sweet yellow onions, more beans that have been mostly eaten out by bugs.  We tried starting carrots but they got eaten too, so we'll be redoing those this week too in a couple empty rows. In the back behind the trellis is a 2x2 bed with Rhubarb.



A little 2x2 bed with some Wonder Berry plants we're trying out for the first time this year.


We have 5 beds planted like this along the back fence.  They each have two tomato plants (each bed with a different kind: Abe Lincoln, Brandywine, Better Boy, Cherokee Purple, and German Pink), two Marigolds, two Okra, two Basil, and one kind of summer squash (zucchini, golden zucchini, yellow crookneck).  Not quite staying true to SFG in these beds, but they are oddly shaped so I just do whatever with them. 



A 4x4 bed.  Two baby watermelons in the middle back squares ready to go up the trellis and a bushing variety of mini melons on the back corners called Honeybun.  They're in the cantaloupe family.  2nd row has some green beans.  1st and 3rd rows are empty and will be planted with a couple other kinds of carrots.  Again, our first squares of them earlier in the year didn't make it.


4 x 12 bed.  Ice Cream Machine mini melons in the back, an empty row in front of them, then Lilac purple peppers, eggplants, green beans, Horizon Orange Peppers, more beans, empty squares for more carrots, and cabbage on the front.


Our other 4x8 bed. Minnesota Midget mini melons on the back, then a few rows of black beans and purple beans, empty rows for more carrots, then more green beans on the front.


While not SFG, this is a circular bed that was already in ground when we got the house and we opted to leave it as is and just amend the native soil in it each year.  We're doing another three sisters garden in it with some Giant Indian Flint corn, Scarlet Runner Beans, and Sugar Pie Pumpkins around the outer circle.  Also planted right in the middle is a sunflower and I threw in a couple Best Boy tomato plants on the side, just for fun.


Here are two 2x2 boxes. One has 3 Tengergreen Burpless cukes, to be trellised on the fence above, and a Wonder Berry, and the other has 3 Straight Eight cukes and another Wonder Berry.  Also, another 2x2 with another Rhubarb behind and a volunteer sunflower.  The tree trunk is an old prune tree that we hacked off this year to open up the garden to more sun and keep the garden cleaner from all the sticky plums that would drop in years past.  We'll probably cut down more of the trunk and put some bird feeder/house thing on it at some point in the near future.


Finally, we have three 4x6 beds with 3 different kinds of strawberries bridged by two 2x3 boxes.  Three kinds of grapes (green, red, & concord) run along the back side of it.


2x3 growing Baker Creek Rocky Top lettuce mix.


Other 2x3 with two Big Red tomato plants, a golden zucchini, and okra on either side, and some stray weeds.


And there we are...everything seems to be getting well established for the most part and starting to take off and catch up with everyone else.  We didn't do much last year with all the space because of less effective drip irrigation system that needed to be revised and maintenanced big time, but we're going all out this year with all the new drip lines I recently installed and other fixes to the system I was able to do.  cheers rock on carrot

GrowRunner

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/12/2016, 3:46 pm

Shocked WOW! Your garden is beautiful, amazing and huge! I'd love to know more about your drip system when you get a chance. Do you start everything from seed? Also, are the grapes growing in Mel's mix and on an SFG type trellis? I never thought of doing that.

CC

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  yolos on 6/12/2016, 3:57 pm

Big garden and very well maintained and lush looking.

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  countrynaturals on 6/12/2016, 4:09 pm

FABULOUS!   How long has your garden been established? How many folks do you feed with all that produce? What is your absolute favorite plant to grow?

In the 4th pic from the bottom, the one with the tree stump and 2x2 beds, what is the big plant in the upper left? It looks like my mystery volunteer. Pumpkin? Spaghetti squash? Is that rhubarb? If so, that's not it. Mine is huge like that with an oval green fruit that just came in yesterday. It's the biggest, healthiest plant I have and I can't wait to find out what it is.

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  GrowRunner on 6/13/2016, 11:32 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Shocked  WOW!  Your garden is beautiful, amazing and huge! I'd love to know more about your drip system when you get a chance. Do you start everything from seed? Also, are the grapes growing in Mel's mix and on an SFG type trellis? I never thought of doing that.

CC

For my irrigation, I only have municipal water out of my house, so I have a 2 way splitter hooked up to our back tap.  On that I have a timer and then a 100 foot hose.  That runs around the side of the yard out to a garden bib I cemented in a few years ago.  On there I have another 2 way splitter with a hose and watering wand hooked up to one side that I use for manual watering.  On the other side is a drip irrigation filter that then feeds a short little hose that connects into an array of 1/2 inch PVC pipe I've laid out all around my beds.  I then added some PVC risers to most the beds that then feed a strip of 1/2 inch drip distribution tubing and from there I installed two lengths of 1/4 inch tubing with 6 inch emitters, down each square row of my rectangular beds.  For my smaller beds, in ground circle, and so on, I've just run some additional distribution tubing to all of them that then feeds some other emitters and drip lines strategically placed.  Fortunately, I have just enough water pressure to make that system work.  With summer in full swing now, I have the timer set to run every day for 10 minutes at 7 am and 7 pm.  That seems to be getting sufficient moisture to all the plants.  

I do typically start just about everything from seed.  The only plants in my garden beds that haven't been started from seed this year are the onions, marigolds, and basil.  I would have started the onions from seed myself, but by the time I got around to getting into seed starting mode, I had realized I was too late for the onions, so I just bought some starts from a local nursery.  I had started a bunch of marigolds and basil plants in a flat outside right before going on a trip, so I had put a ventilated dome over them in hopes of holding in enough moisture so they wouldn't dry out.  Well, the moisture stayed in, but apparently there wasn't enough ventilation because when we got back a few days later, just about all the new seedlings had been cooked.  So, I just went out to Home Depot and picked up some transplants last week.

And finally, the grapes (and the raspberries) are not in any Mel's mix, or any beds for that matter.  They are just planted in ground in the native soil along the outside margins around the beds.  They are trellised with fencing wire run between some T-posts hammered into the ground.

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  GrowRunner on 6/13/2016, 11:36 pm

@yolos wrote:Big garden and very well maintained and lush looking.

Yeah.  It can actually feel a bit overwhelming at times.  Not in the day to day maintenance of it, but since I start most everything from seed, it can be a lot to track and tend to and ensure all the seedlings get the TLC they need and then transplanted within a reasonable time frame.

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  GrowRunner on 6/14/2016, 12:08 am

@countrynaturals wrote:FABULOUS!   How long has your garden been established? How many folks do you feed with all that produce? What is your absolute favorite plant to grow?

In the 4th pic from the bottom, the one with the tree stump and 2x2 beds, what is the big plant in the upper left? It looks like my mystery volunteer. Pumpkin? Spaghetti squash? Is that rhubarb? If so, that's not it. Mine is huge like that with an oval green fruit that just came in yesterday. It's the biggest, healthiest plant I have and I can't wait to find out what it is.

Thanks Country! When we bought our place 4 years ago, we started with just a 4x4, 4x8, and 4x12 and 100% Mel's Mix that I compiled.  All the stuff to make that much MM turned out to be very expensive. Not only that, but it was quite the hunt to find local suppliers that would sell me that much vermiculite. Home Depot had some 2 CF bags, but that was not an economical route at all, so I started inquiring with some nurseries and farmer suppliers and got them to sell me a couple of huge bags of it.  They thought I was nuts and wondered what I was going to do with all of it.  rofl

Over the years, I've built out a few more beds to capitalize on all the unused garden space, to make all the space more functional.  Unfortunately, to make more Mel's Mix for all the new beds would have been terribly expensive and a lot of work to mix, so I've just been buying pre-mixed raised bed mixes that are composed of a blend of various composted products, peat, vermiculite, and perlite, and then mixing that that in with some native soil and adding more as money would permit and so far, it all seems to be working out ok.  I know, it's not by the book, but I'd rather cheat a bit on that and still get all the other benefits of SFG, than not do it at all in those spaces. Wink

I'm mainly growing for my own family which consists of my wife and our 5 young children with hopes of supplying most all of our vegetable produce for the summer and fall and more to freeze and can for use over the winter.  We're hoping this all helps slash our grocery bills a good bit.  We also plan to invite some neighbors and family members over to have their pick at some stuff as they come over to visit.

Favorite plant to grow?  Man...That's a tough question. I like so many with all the different colors and textures they give the garden and how the SFG method can mix them all up. I seriously don't know if I can name just one, because it seems like whatever is producing a harvest at the time becomes my favorite.  I will say my favorite things to eat from it are sugar snap peas, strawberries, melons, sweet corn, and a few different types of tomatoes. Thinking about it some more though, I'm going to say my favorite things to grow are that which grow in a different color than you commonly find at the store, such as yellow tomatoes, purple beans, purple carrots, blue potatoes, etc.

Lastly, that mystery volunteer I think you're referring to, is a sunflower.  To the left of that is in fact a Rhubarb plant that we put in there a couple years ago.

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  countrynaturals on 6/14/2016, 11:15 am

Thanks for the detailed reply, GrowRunner. You've done a LOT in 4 years.  My mystery plant will have to stay a mystery for a little bit longer -- it's not rhubarb or a sunflower. I'm still leaning toward spaghetti squash, but it's so big! Could still be a pumpkin, too. Time will tell. Rolling Eyes

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  Windmere on 6/14/2016, 11:40 am

Wow, very impressive. You've done a lot.  Yeah, MM can be very expensive at the start.  On your grand scale, well, I feel your wallet pain!  My very first tomato that I gave to my wife:  "Here.  A free tomato!"  Her response:  "No, that tomato cost $600!"

About the kale.  If you notice worm holes, you might want to think about using BT Thuricide.  I had a very good photo of a large kale plant where you could clearly see when I started using it.  Lower leaves full of holes, and upper leaves unscathed.  I can't find the photo here, but I did post it in a review I wrote on Amazon.  Click on the thumbnail photo, and you might be able to make out the image.  You can see my review here:

https://smile.amazon.com/review/R2A99S6RDQQXE8/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B004CZ2YBW&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=2972638011&store=lawn-garden#wasThisHelpful

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Re: GrowRunner's Garden - 2016

Post  sanderson on 6/15/2016, 5:44 am

@Windmere wrote:Yeah, MM can be very expensive at the start.  On your grand scale, well, I feel your wallet pain!  My very first tomato that I gave to my wife:  "Here.  A free tomato!"  Her response:  "No, that tomato cost $600!"
My first tomato in 2013, when I showed my husband, I told him it only cost $500. And that was with scavenged free scrap lumber at a housing development!

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