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Hello from Tennessee!

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Hello from Tennessee!

Post  Finch on 5/18/2010, 12:24 am

I had to move before the right garden spot finally entered my life. At our old house, I tried 3 different places and never did get it right. It got shady, or it was too far away from the house, or there was no water near by. Ha! I've got it all now: 10 hours of sun in summer and 6-7 hours in winter, a faucet right in the garden, and the kitchen only a few steps away. Only other gardeners would appreciate these basics.

We live on 8 acres of pasture, mature trees, and woods. Not much flat ground, though. We are still working on our house. The yard is mess, the house needs painting, I am embarrassed for anyone to come up the driveway. BUT. I have my garden. First things first!

I've had a SF Gardening book for years but this is the first time I am doing it completely by the book, right down to Mel's Mix for starters. I have 8 4X4 beds surrounding a smaller 3X3 bed in the middle, which is for my 6-year-old daughter. I also have a 2X16 bed in the back for the tall stuff. The beds are made from composite (basically nice-looking plastic) decking from Lowe's. This was a bit of an investment up front, but I had a raised-bed garden rot out from under me once and didn't want to repeat the experience. It was also quite a bit of work, but all three children got out there with my husband and me on two different days for the mixing and filling of the beds. They are ages 6, 11, and 16. It was my birthday and Mother's Day gift.

A note about the composite decking lumber: it is flexible, so using short pieces in small beds are best, we assumed. However, the last bed we built ("we" meaning my husband) is made from full-length 16-ft pieces. They were so warped INWARD when we built the bed that by the time we filled the bed with dirt they staightened out perfectly and have remained so. Nice surprise. Also, hubby said the lumber was easy to work with, the hardest part was three trips to Ace Hardware to get screws that worked with the density of the composite material.

We moved into our new house in December. I had already spent months watching the sunlight and laying out different garden designs. On Valentine's Day my husband started building the beds. I planted seeds in early March. We have been eating lettuce and greens since early April and recently started harvesting beets and carrots. I am anxiously watching the warm-weather stuff grow up. Sometimes I like to go out and just sit in my garden. The paths are mulched with pine straw so everything is very tame. Unlike the rest of the yard! But who cares how long the house takes to be really finished? Home is where your garden grows.


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Re: Hello from Tennessee!

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/18/2010, 10:42 am

Welcome to you Finch....I love the way you write!

Lavender Debs

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Re: Hello from Tennessee!

Post  dixie on 5/18/2010, 12:16 pm

Welcome for another Tennesseean - I'm nearby, in Birchwood.


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Re: Hello from Tennessee!

Post  junequilt on 5/18/2010, 5:33 pm

It sounds like you have a wonderful garden! We also have invested in our garden this year, figuring that we would like to have organic, locally grown veggies for many years to come.

What summer fruits and veggies have you planted? I'm always interested to know what other southeastern gardeners are experimenting with.


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Location : Columbia, SC (Zone 8)

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Re: Hello from Tennessee!

Post  Finch on 5/19/2010, 4:51 pm

Thanks, you guys!

I started with mostly lettuce and greens---LOTS of it. Everything became lush at once, which was really pretty but now all of a sudden I have things going to seed everywhere. But I also have summer stuff on its way.

I thought I would be very clever and plant greens in my okra bed---an okra seed in the middle of each square with a kale or mustard plant in each corner of each square. Nice idea, but the okra took so long to do anything in the the cool spring weather I might as well have waited to plant it. But the greens were great. Just kept cutting and eating, then doing it again a few days later. Sillly things kept shading my non-growing okra babies.

The kale is still hanging in there (not bolting) and so is the swiss chard.
I wish I had planted more beets and carrots; my 6-year-old simply cannot resist pulling them now that htye are getting big enough to eat.


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Re: Hello from Tennessee!

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