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Here comes another question..

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Here comes another question..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/12/2011, 3:09 pm

Well, strateegery, really.

I am looking at calendars, frost dates, even summer planting potential, and trying to formulate some loose idea of what I will be able to do to get 3 seasons of crops in my 48ish squares. Granted, I don't know that I will get all 48 squares all 3 seasons.

The more I looked, the more I noticed, I may not even need 48 squares because I had spinach and broccoli in a square....not thinking about putting other stuff in there when it bolts. I just gave it a square and assigned the other squares to other things.

I also see that the trend in the industry, rightfully so, is to go to slower bolting spring crops. Well, that just delays my planting of summer crops. And, continual harvest beans and such will delay getting my fall stuff in the ground. So, as a chronic overthinker, I have thunk myself into a never-ending circle of confusion.

Can someone help straighten me out?? What should I plan on for broccoli, spinach, early lettuce, etc. And, when can I plan on pulling beans, etc, to prepare for fall if they give me a second crop? (Remember, my tomatoes and peppers are in another garden dedicated to just them.)

Main crops are lettuces, carrots with the other stuff like beans, broccoli, potatoes, and peas sprinkled about.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  walshevak on 1/12/2011, 4:10 pm

Question. Can pole beans be planted in the pea squares a few weeks before the weather is due to heat up enough to do in the pea vines? For a short while you would have pea vines and bean seedlings in the same squares, but the beans would not be ready to climb yet and it might give you an extra couple of weeks of peas. And the trellis would do double duty. Or would the pea vines shadow the beans too much for them to get started? Just wondering.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Squat_Johnson on 1/12/2011, 5:01 pm

Think in 4-D...

Here's what I did last year. Start thinking of the way these plants will grow over time, and work with it.

Example: plant a broccoli in the middle and put lettuce and radishes in the squares adjacent. By the time the broccoli is huge, you have harvested most of the early crops, and the shade might also keep them from bolting in the heat. Do the same thing for something like yellow squash or zucchini and spinach.

I pulled all the peas, beans, cucumbers and melons in July, and put in a fall crop of broccoli, more beans, and several kinds of greens. Again, I planted lettuces in the shady spots, although my timing was off a bit... still too hot I think. I got some salads, but I am still learning.


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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Megan on 1/12/2011, 5:02 pm

I grew both peas and pole beans last year. I grew them in different areas and my peas didn't do well, but I think it's worth a try. My experience was that the pole beans (and I grew two types) wanted UP, immediately, and trampled over anything/everything to get there. (They only started to fluff/fill out once they got up to about 6-7 feet tall.) So while the peas are earlier than the beans, you want to give the beans something easier to climb than the pea plants, because the beans are bigger, stronger, and badder than the peas, and likely to strangle them. (Plus, if you want to eat pea tendrils it will be hard to untangle the mess.) You might have better luck with bushier peas rather than something like the Telegraph peas which also want to climb; they would keep more out of each others' way that way.

I think you can make it work, just make sure there is a trellis really close by the bean sprouts and train them onto it when they are first coming up. They will not wave around once they get the idea, they'll go straight up.

The beans grow REALLY fast, so even before they get big enough to attach to the trellis directly, you might want to get a piece of string or whatever and loop it between the trellis and the sprout. This may help you guide them while you are off at work/etc.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  quiltbea on 1/12/2011, 6:05 pm

I thought I already answered here but I can't find my post so I must not have 'sent' it.

I consider the calendar an aid, but not a bible in growing my garden. Things do not always get harvested by the calendar. Weather and varieties mean changes. Last year my carrots took forever to grow.

When I plan my garden, I plan for the initial crops primarily.
Then when a square becomes available later in the season, I see what I can tuck in there to continue into fall.

This year I plan to stick in arugula, claytonia, mizuna, lettuces, spinach, Mache and other greens that do well into late fall and early winter so they can be tucked into a few open spaces and into my A-frame as well.

As for radishes, lettuce and spinach, I pretty much stick those in among any plants that have the room and can give some shade during the heat of summer. Works for me.

You'll have to learn to be less rigid in your planning and just accept the 2nd crops as bonuses, if and when you get them.

Enjoy gardening. Don't make it a chore.
Good luck.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Megan on 1/12/2011, 6:14 pm

My pole beans took all growing season. Lettuce, you can grow here and there. I dedicated 3 squares to it as I wanted a lot. I didn't do as good of a job of staggering the harvest as I would have liked to, though. I'm with quiltbea--plan as best you can, but then just lean back and take what your garden gives you. It's a wonderful learning process! I got 4 crops out of some squares, and zero out of others. Average was 2-3.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Chopper on 1/12/2011, 6:28 pm

I found that my plants did not give a d*** about my plans. They did not follow the times on their envelopes either. So sometime around midsummer I threw away "plans" and just went with the flow. If a square was empty, I planted it. If I could not find a place for something I waited or looked to see who had really run their course.

It all worked out and was much more efficient once I gave up hope of it fitting into my plans and let it tell me what it wanted to do.

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3 season gardening

Post  ander217 on 1/12/2011, 8:17 pm

I had a mental plan for all three seasons, but like Chopper I kind of went with the flow and everything seemed to get planted somehow. Most squares do a two-crop rotation in my garden, but occasionally I can squeeze a third one in.

All spring crops are replanted with either summer or fall crops, and occasionally both. Things like tomatoes, peppers, okra, and pole beans produce until frost so there is no third crop with them, but bush beans and field peas mature quickly and then they're outta there to make way for fall plantings.

Onions and carrots are planted in spring but mature in summer, and there usually isn't time to get a summer crop in their square, so they lay open until time for fall planting.

There are so many variables, it's difficult to make a solid plan and stick to it. I'm planning on putting in late squash and cucumbers this year to try to miss the first hatchings of squash bugs, so I plan to put them in the onion bed and try for a late summer harvest. That's pretty much the extent of my extended plans, other than I intend to plant fall crops wherever they will fit the best.


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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/12/2011, 11:42 pm

I sound more rigid than I really am. I am just overthinking because it's 15F outside and I have nothing better to do at the moment....lol.

I will be staggering plantings this year instead of planting in mass like I've always done. That alone ought to be enough to occupy a guy for a season. Lettuce and carrots, two different varieties each, will be the staggering crops. I plan to fire up some broccoli, radishes, and spinach as spring crops and drop bush beans in there when they are spent.

What I guess I was really wondering was what to do with early lettuce and carrots when done. I suppose more beans. But, beans didn't go over well in the house last year, which is a shame because they are easy and super nutritious. Beans may have been tough because we let them get so big, too. I plan to pick them much earlier this time around. And, I still may end up feeding beans to the neighborhood.

Lettuce seemed to never bolt last year; it just wore out. So, I don't know if I will get a summer crop in the spring squares. I may just drop some fall carrots or broccoli in there when they finally exhaust themselves. And, carrots, I see what you mean about taking all summer to mature. My goodness, mine did, too. I thought something was wrong because I was still pulling uber-babies at 90 days. Granted, I planted a seed strip and didn't thin it, so that likely contributed heavily. Biggest carrot we got was maybe 3 inches and it was I wanna say a Nantes, not a Little Finger....so should have been a little bigger.

The more I think of it, the more I will have plenty to worry about.

However, I would like to keep hearing what you all have done in the past. It's the only way I am learning right now. So, thanks for helping in this way.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  ribsyhuggins on 1/13/2011, 12:02 am

proper planning of garden even a square foot one takes bit experience.
As for broccoli i plant mine out on April 15 I usaully expect to get crop
between July 15 and August 1.
which is 91 days and 108 days
which 13 weeks and 15.5 weeks
and that is not counting the side shoots i harvest for the next 8 weeks
so broccoli has 1 square for whole season. But 1 4ft x4ft usaully only hold 9 plants due to the size of plants.



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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Megan on 1/13/2011, 5:04 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
What I guess I was really wondering was what to do with early lettuce and carrots when done. I suppose more beans. But, beans didn't go over well in the house last year, which is a shame because they are easy and super nutritious. Beans may have been tough because we let them get so big, too. I plan to pick them much earlier this time around. And, I still may end up feeding beans to the neighborhood.

My beans were very tasty, but they got REALLY stringy/tough if I let them get too big. It was hard to pick them at a good size to eat as pods and get enough. I think this is because they were pole beans and produced continuously rather than one big crop. I came to the conclusion that they (at least my variety, anyway!) are meant to be used as shelly or dry beans. But I did get several big messes of fresh beans and a batch of dilly beans on top of several cups of dry beans.

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Beans

Post  ander217 on 1/14/2011, 8:25 am

BBG, I was already thinking about shelly beans before Megan posted. Does your family like fresh shell beans? If you like dried beans, then you should like the fresh shelled version even better. You might try planting something like Improved Horticulture, Great Northern, black turtle, or pinto beans in your lettuce squares. Let the pods fill out, but pick them before they dry. They are SO good when cooked at that stage.

Do you like field peas? Purple hulls, blackeyed peas, zipper cream, whippoorwill, - there are many varieties to choose from but Purple hull peas are probably the most popular. Pick them in the fresh shelly stage and boil with a little ham, and pass plenty of cornbread when you serve them.

Other crops that do well in the heat include okra, melons, squash, pumpkins, peppers, corn, and cucumbers.

You can always plant those squares with early fall crops, too, such as leeks or rutabagas. Or you can leave the squares fallow until time for the later fall crops. You can plant a fall crop of potatoes when the temps cool a bit, but you'll probably have to buy extra seed potatoes in spring and hold them over. Potatoes don't do well in hot Missouri summers but if the weather cooperates you can get a late fall crop. Pretty much anything that was planted in spring can be planted again in fall.

Don't forget summer flowers and herbs, too. Zinnias do well in the heat, and attract pollinating butterflies and bees. Basil does well in the heat, too, and you can always plant extra to make enough pesto to freeze. I make extra sowings of cilantro because it bolts quickly in hot weather. (I never liked cilantro but after growing my own from a free packet I'm starting to develop a taste for it in some dishes.)

How did you keep your lettuce from getting bitter when the temperatures rose? That's always my problem with later-planted lettuce.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/16/2011, 11:47 pm

Wow, Ander, I have never heard, let alone tried, any of what you mentioned. I don't know a shelled pea/bean from a regular one I bought. That cornbread with ham and beans reminds me so much of some meals I had as a kid. We'll see if I have the guts to try it myself, as I was never really fond of Gramma's version....and she was a great cook. She could make lima beans so tender they would almost make you cry with surprise.

Please elaborate on the differences so I can learn.

As for the lettuce, I don't know any secrets. I just harvested frequently and watered quite a bit. My garden spot was also dappled with shade in late afternoon. It got plenty of sun, but I didn't have a truely full blazing sun spot because of all the mature trees in the neighborhood. (It actually made picking a garden spot last spring really easy because it was the only place one could go.)

I don't know if any of this helps with getting good tasting lettuce into the summer months, but that's all I did. I will tell you I grew Simpson's Elite both years, too, and don't plan to change from what worked so well. I may add a variety or two this year, but Simpson's Elite has been fabulous for us. Actually, I do plan to add a romaine variety for my Caesar's salads and the Buttercrunch variety.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  LaFee on 1/17/2011, 12:16 am

cornbread with ham and beans? What part of Indiana are you from?

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Doesn't everyone?

Post  ander217 on 1/17/2011, 9:34 am

LOL, LaFee. Doesn't everyone eat cornbread with ham 'n' beans?

I'm always amazed to discover the differences in regional cooking. Chatting with Megan and Camprn last night I was surprised to learn that not everyone eats relish with their ham 'n' beans. Camprn in New Hampshire didn't know about snow cream. I used to envy people who lived in areas of heavy snow because I assumed they made snow cream all winter. Then again, I've never eaten sugar on snow as Camprn explained it.

BBG, regarding shelly/shellie beans and field peas, we had a thread about these several months ago if you want to search for it. Most people know about green beans, and most people know about dried beans which you soak before cooking, but some people have never heard that you can cook beans in the "between" stage of shelly beans. That is when the seed in the pod swells to full size, but before it begins to dry out. Some varieties are even better at this stage than when dried. (Others aren't as tasty - personally I'm not as fond of green beans when they reach the shelly stage - I think the best ones are the varieties we normally think of as dried beans.) Just boil them with a little bacon grease or olive oil and salt. Very tasty. Improved Horticulture are similar to pinto beans, only larger and more flavorful IMO. They are similar in appearance to Dragon's Tongue beans. I think they may have been developed from the old Wren's Egg beans.

IMO all the field pea varieties are better in the fresh shelly stage. Are you familiar with blackeyed peas? Purple hulls are similar only larger and I think they have a sweeter, less starchy taste. Cream peas are similar too, but they are light in color with a milder, creamier flavor. They all grow on fairly tall plants, - a little taller than bush beans - and most put out pairs of long, narrow green or purple pods on stems at the top of the plants. They are very easy to grow and to pick. If you don't like them boiled, you can always make them into salads. Follow any recipe for blackeyed pea salad and substitute any of the other field pea varieties. There are also crowder pea varieties which are similar. The seeds are more blocky in shape from being jammed into each other in the pods.

If you've never tried okra, you might give it a whirl. If you cook whole pods, leave some stem on and don't cut into the seed cavity or it will get slimy as it cooks. Or you can slice it and roll it in cornmeal and fry it. You can also add a few cut slices to soups or gumbos for a natural thickener. You can get varieties that grow anywhere from two or three feet to seven or eight feet tall. Most average around five feet or so.

If you have the room, try something new in your summer squares. You might find something your family likes. If not, then trade your seed for something else to try next year.

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Odd Duck on 1/17/2011, 9:58 am

Relish on ham and beans, what?! Shocked Everyone knows you eat ham and beans on cornbread! Laughing


I think I might have to try some shelly beans this year. I've really got to get my plans firmed up a little more! Smile

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Re: Here comes another question..

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/17/2011, 10:25 am

@ander217 wrote:BBG, I was already thinking about shelly beans before Megan posted. ...snip... Let the pods fill out, but pick them before they dry. They are SO good when cooked at that stage….
In 30 years I have never tried these, they are not big in the PNW (Norwegians are not big bean eaters). This year I am trying both cranberry and another type of shelly bean. PLUS I am getting over my fear of Hannibal Lector and trying two kinds of Fava Beans so your post is timely for me!

snip... Do you like field peas? Purple hulls, blackeyed peas, zipper cream, whippoorwill, - there are many varieties to choose from but Purple hull peas are probably the most popular. Pick them in the fresh shelly stage and boil with a little ham, and pass plenty of cornbread when you serve them….
Oh you southern girls, you do know how to get the juices flowing!

Deborah….wondering what ander means by “heat” and bitter lettuce? Is that when you only need a long-sleeved Tee and a sweater instead of a parka?

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Re: Here comes another question..

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