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Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

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Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  kiwirose on Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:02 am

I know I have learned more about the garden in the last few months than I have in my entire life, in no small part to all your contributions.

I learned that I need to have harvested all my beans before the japanese beatles get to the leaves

I learned that nylon fencing is no challenge for deer (but welded wire is fine)

I learned that deer have long tounges, but I can live with the lesser damage that tounges through welded wire do than feet and entire mouths

I learned the MM and sfg grows tomatoes on steroids - need to learn better staking methods

I learned that a broken heart (from deer munched gardens) can be mended by seeing a very new born fawn

I learned that I need to fear the rabbit at the bottom of my yard (and that my cat might be useful afterall)

I learned that almost anything is eadible

I learned children like growing and picking veges even if they don't like certain ones Smile

I learned that my garden has an unbelievable amound of wildlife in it - more than I have ever seen before

I learned that none of us seem to be alone, and no matter what our gardening woes - someone here has shared it, can help it, or at the very least, can sympathise (or laugh along with you depending on the issue)

Thanks for enriching my garden heart!!!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  milaneyjane on Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:10 am

I have learned that you really do need 5 types of compost

I have learned that taller is better for the beds.

I have learned that once all the hardwork of building the beds, mixing the mix and filling is done, there really isn't much to do but sit back and watch.

I have learned that this forum is addictive, LOL!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:23 am

I've learned to harvest the spring brassicas before the flea beetles come out in June. (Or leave them, but expect them to become a trap crop.)

I've learned to build my trellises higher than I thought I needed to.

I learned that putting in an irrigation system by myself was much cheaper and easier than I dreamed...and it is one of my new favorite toys.

I learned to stake or tie down plants BEFORE the wind breaks them!! Evil or Very Mad

I learned that starting seed in-ground is often slower, but plants seem to be healthier when you do...and they seem to catch up later.

I learned to put NO manure in my potato box.

I learned I can score free straw at our local feed store any time I ask, just bring a lawn/leaf bag, ask for loose/spoiled straw, and be prepared to hand-gather it out of a tractor trailer bed or off the ground.

I learned my veggie-hating hubby likes the garden and the harvests we have had so far.

I learned that sharing plants (and gardens) is great fun.

And, I learned what a wonderful community this forum is.... thank you all, so very much.

Megan

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  dixie on Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:54 pm

I learned:
Don't even think about an early cabbage crop. Cabbage loopers made lace of them. They were so bad I don't think even B.t. would have helped.

Don't plant carrots in adjacent squares around squash. They were too shaded and foilage rotted.

Heirloom tomatoes grow REALLY tall. Buy taller fence posts for staking next year. I thought about topping some of them, but I just couldn't cut off all those blooms. So far they are gracefully curving back toward the ground, I don't they will break when the fruit gets larger.

My cucumber trellises are 6' high. Cukes are 12+ feet long. They have grown up the trellis, across the top, back down & out into the path. They will get trimmed tonight. But I've made a bunch of pickles.

Roma bush beans are more like a half-runner bean, at least in the Mel's mix. I won't plant them as close next year. The center ones didn't get enough sun & didn't produce much.

Don't alternate squares with tomato/pepper/tomato..... I'll leave one blank square between each tomato & plant peppers side by side in another section.

I love not having to weed. Even with composted manure from a dairy, I have had very few weeds & it's wonderful.

I'll put in a drip irrigation system before next season. It has been horribly hot here & I have to water daily & with the plants so big it does take a while to get it all finished.

I planted one entire 4 x 12 bed with October beans (a dried bean, aka Horticultural bean) that you plant & leave all season til they dry up before picking. Now I've thought of other things I would like to have put there & it seems such a waste of space. I'll just buy them from the grocery store next year.

Plant cilantro every other week. Even with cutting it daily it still bolted.

I'll never go back to row gardening.

The forum is addictive & I love it.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  chocolatepop on Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:42 pm

dont use a heat lamp

plan out your garden layout before you plant to maximize space

store my seeds better

thin root seedlings quicker or end up with some wonky carrots!

get the kid involved. even if it means ended up with a 16sf area with random plantings of beans, carrots, radishes, peas....

ANYTHING can be used in a garden if you are creative. I find my self garbage hunting for things like crib side rails, ladders, fencing...

put in drip irrigation/soaker hose before planting

i can build boxes with a cast on

tulle works great to protect against cabbage moth larvae

love to purchase compost by the yard

in 85% heat, beans sprout in 2 days

seed exchanging is FUN

potatoes are crazy and will grow anywhere

always look for volunteer tomatoes

turnip leaves can get huge and grow faster than beets so dont put them in adjacent squares

peas are a grumpy crop sometimes

home grown lettuce ROCKS

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  1chichi on Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:28 pm

Keep better track of labeling seedlings,
some of my tomato plants are not what I labeled them.

I've learned to use lime and epson salt when you prepare the beds, so tomatoes aren't loss due to blossom end rot.

Space tomato plants much further apart, as Mel's Mix makes them shoot up like rockets.
Next year, only 2 tomato plants will be in my sfg...at opposite ends.

Tomatoes need shade down here, as it hits and holds around 100 degrees very early.

Pinch, pinch, pinch suckers on tomato plants.

Have trellis system in place when I plant.

The squash borer was impossible to defeat organically, next year all squash will be enclosed w/ netting or something.

I'm crazy about row cover.

I just love to see corn stalks in the garden, even if I only have 2 ears of dry corn from 16 plants.

Have soaker hoses set in beds by early spring.

Now, I can squish bugs and not be grossed out so much.

I no longer run from bees, they can buzz all around me and I just ignore them as long as they stay focused on the flowers. MOST AMAZING.

I must garden. It's part of who I am.

I can grow something year round. Who knew?

Stay tuned in to this forum.

Make way more Mel's Mix.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  dmpower on Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:58 pm

Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable, so I should have worried when the bunnies were nibbling the leaves off

The first fuzzy things out of my corn are not silk, but are tassel - who knew
The tassel is not covered in little worms that need to be removed and squished. Just because they look like all the other little worms.

If you sit your container of leeks on the soil while deciding where to plant them, they will plant themselves - container and all.

Rabbits are far more destructive than deer, and no matter what they do to my garden, they are still pretty darn cute!

You have to visit your garden every day to find out what it is telling you.

Everything out of the garden, even the poc marked vegetables, are tastier than from the grocery store!!

Yes, bees are wonderful, I've even built a home for the native bees out of bamboo. Honey bees next??

A day without visiting my garden is not a complete day

Sleep well my lovelies

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Chopper on Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:07 pm

A garden hath charms to soothe the savage breast and is cheaper than a shrink - but just barely the first year.

Tomatoes let no light through so be very aware of what is being planted around them.

Snails don't care about your problems.

The smell of good compost is irresistible to a dog and they need to dig it up to see what's in there.

Six inches of rich soil can work wonders.

A lunch of a few beets and some carrots and beans with a little butter can be very satisfying.

A fresh potato cannot be beat. And you will never find beans as tender as the garden beans.

Vines can get much taller than you would think. Need to plan for it.

Compost happens.

Luxury is having your own herb garden.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  new2this on Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:20 am

Nest year I will plant my spinach up front where it is more reaily reached/cut.

I will plant carrots (the garden-sloth) in the back where I won't have to reach around it.

Brussel Sprout plants are HUGE!

What an adventure; I love gardening with the SFG method!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  LaFee on Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:33 am

One 4' x 8' box was okay to run a trial, but it isn't really enough...enough to keep us in a few veg through the summer, but another 4x8 will be built this fall/next spring.

My border stakes aren't strong enough to make a really good box. It's not bad, but I'll built a box this fall (and my new box at the same time!)

Carrots are really, really slow, and will be planted in the middle because they're just hogging the up-front space.

Radishes are fun because they grow overnight, it seems.

I forgot how much I love the smell of tomato vines.

Cutworms are my mortal enemy.

Starting an SFG gave me the spark to dig up a forlorn, neglected flower bed and fill it full of pretty things. (It's not an SFG, but it's actually thriving...even the glads I never thought would sprout.)

Playing in my garden is a lot more fun than Farmville (but I'll keep FV for the winter when I can't go out and play in the soil.)

My husband never thought he'd hear me ask for a greenhouse for my birthday...but I want one so I can grow stuff into the winter.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:06 pm

I learned that if I had to buy rebar for my trellises again, I wouldn't have bothered to cut 4 foot lengths of rebar in half. I would have pounded in the 4-ft lengths as deeply as I could, and then just let it be.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  martha on Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:49 pm

every person that posted has hit at least one of my nails on the head!

I will go with, primarily, I also need to do a much better job of labeling my tomatoes. I have at least 10 plants that I'll find out what they are (I hope) when the tomatoes finish ripening.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  quiltbea on Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:19 pm

Toothpicks to foil cutworms is easier than wrapping with collars of paper. Just place one on each side of a stem and bury into the ground halfway, leaving half above the soil level. The cutworms cannot curl around the stems.

Putting seedlings in air-pruning pots made from 2-litre soda bottles makes it easy to transplant into the garden. I just water, then slide them out. Roots are not disturbed and there is no girdling or root-bound seedlings because the roots won't grow past the air slits.

Using Heavy row cover in spring can protect my seedlings down to 28* so helps me start crops earlier and in the fall it will make my crops last longer as well.

Using light row cover (insect barrier) foils many insects and protects my plants. I only have to remove the cover when they blossom so they can pollinate, but if I use Q-tips to pollinate them myself, every day for a few days, I can cover them back up against insect pests.

Coming here is a pleasure to learn new tricks and tips from others having the same problems and learning by trial and error like myself. I check in every day to see how my gardening 'friends' are doing.

The pictures posted here are worth a thousand words.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  janefss2002 on Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:59 pm

I am so glad I started SFG out last year in the fall here in the DFW area. Our SFG last fall grew so successfully.

With this year's spring into summer it became a different matter. Bugs, heat, bugs, heat. My goodness!

We recently had a break in our weather last week (dropped to the 80s, like the fall here) and our garden went into overdrive.

I would have been so discouraged if I had started out in a Spring like this year and not have had some successes. I knew the best was yet to come for our region this fall.

So I learned we need to "go with the flow" and the best may be yet to come.

Jane

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:05 am

I've learned that catnip is slow growing and if planted too close to fast growing beans, won't do well.

Eggplants spread. Next year I stake or cage.

Carrots and onions are sloooooow growing.

Not having to weed is fantastic!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  jtwenting on Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:25 am

I've learned that weeds survive everything, including everything that kills everything else (like extreme heat, drought, torrential rains, etc.).

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  kimbertangleknot on Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:15 pm

I learned that all the hoopla about upside down tomato hangers are not for me. I do not like them one bit.

I learned to not let the hubby put stakes in my containers, as I will end up with the "pointy" end up in the air, and hence my tomato plant will have a "gangsta" lean.

I learned not to plant deter tomatoes and inter tomatoes in the same box.

I learned that used coffee beans are my new best friend for giving and instant boost to plants that need it, allowing me then take more time to fix the problem for long term.

I learned that four string beans plants do not make enough beans for a bean hungry husband. I shall be trying seven new bean plants next year to find out the favorites and stick to 2-4.

I learned that peas really do love the cooler weather.

I learned what romaine lettuce looks and tastes like when it's getting ready to bolt, and how to help fix the bitterness so it's not a complete waste.

I learned that the marigold plants I planted in the middle of my beds only take up space for something better I could eat.

I learned that everything, and I mean everything in my garden, needs some kind of support and I will have to be better about that next year.

I learned that knowing how to prune the suckers and being okay will pruning what has to be pruned on tomato plants makes for a happier me and more tomato production.

I learned that melon plants need a little bit more support and more room for their roots to grow than a 12x12 inch container.

I learned that radishes are so fun to watch grow.

I learned that carrots are to be direct sown and not transplanted.

I learned that I am a tomato... snob and that I can never ever have enough tomatoes to make me happy.

I learned that in North Carolina heat, that spending money on either soaker hoses or an irrigation system will make me, my plants, and me a much happier gardener next year.

I learned that advice is great, but in the long run you have to try it for yourself to see how things work for you and your situation. And trial and error is the best teacher there is.

I learned that I may have found out about SFG in a different manner and way than most people here, but knowing that we're all reaping the benefits of it are awesome.

I too learned that this place is addicting, and try as I might to stay away I can't help but check out new posts at least three times a day, but not on weekends... that is time spent with the hubsters.

And finally, I learned that I will be tripling the size of my garden next year. Yet somehow I still am only going to be growing the same amount of tomato plants but growing seven times the amount of beans, and that ratio makes me laugh.

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Loved your post

Post  ander217 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:39 pm

You said it all, Kimbertangleknot. Loved your post.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  kimbertangleknot on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:07 pm

@ander217 wrote:You said it all, Kimbertangleknot. Loved your post.

:o I try, and it's all true!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  middlemamma on Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:01 pm

I have learned that frost dates are really important.

That fish emulsion, while making my plants VERY happy, SMELLS TERRIBLE.

That I desperately needed gardening in my life.

That watching something go from a seed to a gift giving plant is a miracle EVERY time I see it, and it never lessens or gets old.

That somewhere inside of me is a little child that just wants to jump and down at every little step forward my plants make.

That I DEFINETLY need more boxes.

That some people wouldn’t plant a blackberry bush if their life depended on it.

That I know so little about gardening that it will take me 5 years to feel like I have a clue.

That WORMS are good!!! Who would have ever known!

That when the neighbor’s dog walks around in my SFG and leaves her bug mangy paw prints an my MM and tramples my little plants a raging lunatic comes out of me from the depths of which I had no idea I possessed. This leads me to the fact that I also learned that the sprays you can buy to REPEL dogs stink as bad as fish emulsion, and when you spray them both the same night...well let’s just say you might not feel like eating dinner.

I have learned that a lot of things are lost on my generation that I hope to somehow rope back into my life, like gardening, and the things like canning etc that go along with it.

That you can do everything by the book but if the sun never comes out in June you just have to live with it, take what you get and plan for fall.

That I am addicted after already one season...and seed catalogs are my new bedtime reading.

That potatoes are just an awesome plant...

That there is an invisible force field around me when i am in my garden....and peace comes to me easier than outside of it.

I don't know JACK about tomatoes and I need to figure it out before next year.

I definitely want to grow corn next year.

I have also learned that I want a whole 4X4 box of nothing but purple flowers, all different kinds of purple flowers.

I have learned Home Depot is not the devil.

I have learned that someone needs to write a BEGINNER TERMINOLIGY book for expressions like "putting up", "hardening off", "dampening off", "node", "DE", "sucker", "scape", "potato berries", and a hundred others.


I have learned....that I will still be learning years to come..AND LOVING IT.

AND THE FORUM IS DEFINETLY ADDICTIVE!!!

Jennie

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RE: What I've learned.......

Post  trustinhart on Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:36 pm

Never give up on a ragged, leggy, 1/2 price plant. Given enough of the right stuff, they, like people will blossom and grow.

Remebered why hubby and I loved gardening before. We're reconnected at a certain level in the 4 x 4.

People really know when you truly care about something.

Powdered milk is an excellent source of calcium for plants (and kids!)

I have never REALLY enjoyed ANY hobby as much as this, (can hobbies become obsessions?) More boxes please!!!!

Relationshhips and friendship can be brought on by the funniest things!

I'll learn more about the actual plant stuff later.

Kari

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  boffer on Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:12 pm

@trustinhart wrote:Relationshhips and friendship can be brought on by the funniest things!

I'll learn more about the actual plant stuff later.

Kari


good job!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  martha on Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:16 pm

this is a great thread!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Ha-v-v on Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:29 am

Ok Ive learned not to plant Scarlet runner bean near bush beans, (didnt realize they were bush until I reread package) and honey dew in the same area!!!! I have a jungle.

Tomatoes and bell peppers if planted together, the tomato plants have to be pruned or will shade out the peppers. One Pepper plant to a square foot and if they werent shaded they would be as big as the tomato bush variety. I have never had this much success with tomatoes, two things new, sfg and spraying for blight. The mix is so nice to see them grow in and I know that has helped and the spray for sure, I had no leaves on my plants due to blight the last two years. ( I didnt read much before on gardening forums and a good friend told me he lived through last years blight in the north east with spray).

Herbs (some herbs) need their own stakes, I forgot this from last year really. Last nights rain was so long and heavy a few of my basils were laying down, all salvaged Im so glad !! Those too are bushes.

I love SFG, I have to re think my planting for next spring thats for sure. The peppers and tomatoes will have their own beds !!! Herbs will have more sq ft. per some plants. I am really thinking of going with something different for my herb garden when the house is nearly finished. I cant do anything until the log walls are up and roof is on to work in the back yard. I am thinking I want a free shaped raised bed for the herbs in my back yard. I definitely want my herbs closer to the house.

Oh and when I plant the 3 sisters I will definitely do more trellises, I can barely get to the bed where the potatoes corn and squashes are. I had to leave for a couple weeks and came back and there was no way I could think of getting the squashes trained. I will take the produce anyway I can get it though!! I am happy to have 6 butternut harvested, not sure what Im doing with them yet, I want them mashed like tatoes I think for this first time I dont know yet.

Ok Im sure I will re visit this thread, I will think of more Smile What I have learned !!
Ha-v-v

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:34 am

@Ha-v-v wrote:I am happy to have 6 butternut harvested, not sure what Im doing with them yet, I want them mashed like tatoes I think for this first time I dont know yet.

If you have extra, try butternut ravioli! Wonton wrappers are a great timesaver in placing of making your own pasta, and the raviolis freeze well too; just lay them out (uncooked) on waxed paper on a cookie sheet until frozen solid, then put them in a zip top bag and back in the freezer.

Megan

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

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