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#1 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 12:45 AM

So, I bought my first house a few months ago. Complete with a pretty nicely sized backyard.

I was thinking about growing some vegetables this year. Nothing extensive. I have zero experience. I was thinking maybe tomatoes, cukes, green beans, eggplant, garlic, basil, spinach, and some peppers.

Researching online, everything sounds really complicated, but a few friends said that its easier than the websites make it sound.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

#2 Ghost of Dwight Drane

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:16 AM

If you like hot peppers, jalapenos are probably the easiest thing in the world to grow.....and they are friggin hot...and the varmint won't eat them.

Too much wildlife in my hood for a nice garden. The neighbor is a huge green thumb and between the groundhogs, rabbits, skunks and foxes, I'm afraid she is going to set off a dirty bomb one day. I think tomatoes and cukes are pretty easy though under normal circumstances.

#3 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:21 AM

Thanks.

I guess one of my initial questions is...when should I start? I was thinking of doing transplants for most of these...

#4 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:33 AM

Wait until the soil is dry enough before you rototill, or double-dig.  To test if the ground is ready, pry up a spade-full of dirt and squeeze a handful of dirt into a ball.  If you can squeeze water out of it, it's still too wet.  

The only thing that you should put in the ground before late May, of the vegetables you mentioned, is the spinach.  You can plant spinach as soon as the garden's dug up. The eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, cukes, basil, and greenbeans usually die in temps below 37.  I'd wait until late May before buying the transplants, but cukes and greenbeans are easy to grow from seed if you wait till June to plant.  Garlic, you'd actually plant the year before, in the fall, 'cause it's a bulb, like a tulip, so you'll have to wait till this fall year to sow that for next year.  

For this year, I'd recommend getting some shallot or onion seed very soon, and filling an aluminum cake tin with store bought "potting soil."  Poke a few holes in the bottom of the tin for drainage.  No need to pack the potting soil in; just drop the tin on the ground from a few inches to settle the soil.    Sprinkle the shallot seed on top, four-ish per inch, in straight rows about an inch between rows. Barely cover the seed with some more potting soil, and keep it moist in a sunny window.  You'll need a gently shower type watering can, or a pump sprayer (like for Roundup) to water these (every day) properly. When they sprout and have grown for a couple weeks, let the soil dry out for a day, and you can lift them out by their necks, roots and all, and then bury the roots in your garden, about 4 inches apart.  Then water them regularly, but gently.

I'd recommend adding as much compost to your soil as you feel that you can comfortably afford, when you dig it up this spring.  Don't overdo it with fertilizers.  I'd also recommend planting some radishes and arugula 'cause they're quick and easy.  If you want a good book on organic gardening, Eliot Coleman's are quite good, or you could just get all the advice you need on Sabrespace for FREE.  

Cool thread.

Edited by Marcellus, 03 April 2014 - 03:35 AM.


#5 weave

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:08 AM

Anything I'd add would be repeating what Marcellus has posted.  Veggie gardening really isn't difficult.  Keep things well watered.  Use good compost each year to add nutrients to the soil.  Let nature take its course.

When the weather cooperates I'm adding a 6' x 50' raised bed garden to our yard.  I've got 7 varieities of hot peppers germinating now.  We'll add the usual to that garden as plants bought at the greenhouse.

Edit-
I'll add, Memorial weekend is usually a safe time to plant most of the vegetables you mention.  Beans can go in the ground earlier though.  Last year we had a cold, wet spell just around Memorial Day and I lost about 1/3 of my pepper plants, but that was unusual.

Edited by weave, 03 April 2014 - 06:07 AM.


#6 PASabreFan

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 07:51 AM

I got a question. I planted some rhubarb in the early summer of 2012. I heard that you shouldn't harvest any in the first couple of years, then just a little, then you can go wild. The timing confuses me. This is the third year — is this the year I can take a few stalks, or pick away with impunity?

Rhubarb pie! Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

#7 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:30 AM

View PostPASabreFan, on 03 April 2014 - 07:51 AM, said:

I got a question. I planted some rhubarb in the early summer of 2012. I heard that you shouldn't harvest any in the first couple of years, then just a little, then you can go wild. The timing confuses me. This is the third year — is this the year I can take a few stalks, or pick away with impunity?

Rhubarb pie! Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

serve it up. nice and hot.

#8 weave

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:05 AM

View PostPASabreFan, on 03 April 2014 - 07:51 AM, said:

I got a question. I planted some rhubarb in the early summer of 2012. I heard that you shouldn't harvest any in the first couple of years, then just a little, then you can go wild. The timing confuses me. This is the third year — is this the year I can take a few stalks, or pick away with impunity?

Rhubarb pie! Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

No experience growing rhubarb here.  We've got strawberries destined for the new garden so rhubarb may be down the line.

#9 PASabreFan

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:30 AM

View PostGlass Case Of Emotion, on 03 April 2014 - 08:30 AM, said:

serve it up. nice and hot.

I knew someone would get it, besides d4rk, that is. Funny thing is, I haven't listened to Keillor for a couple of years.

#10 rakish

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

I'm in Virginia, so I get to start before many of you.

The things I have learned are:
Tomatoes need a lot of sun.  I have a hard time finding a place with 5 hours of sun.  My girlfriend has issues with tomato plants next to the street, so I have most of my tomatoes in buckets so I can move them into the sun as needed.  I think I'll move them to the neighbors in a month.  My market deli gets hard boiled eggs in buckets, so they give me the bucket when they are done.

Seeds need warmth to germinate.  I put my seeds under a sheet with a lamp on underneath to provide warmth.  My tomatoes are about 3 inches.

Like ghost, I have critters, so I'm trying plastic fencing this year.

#11 Spndnchz

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:43 AM

I use one of those upside down hanging pots for tomatoes.  Besides having to water every day, its awesome. High enough the critters don't get at it. Lettuce is in the window box.

#12 MattPie

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:06 AM

FWIW, I planted one of those "Live Basil" plants you see at the grocery store a couple years ago. By the end of the summer I have a 4 ft. tall basil bush in my next to my front door. It's great if you like Italian food!

#13 weave

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:14 AM

View PostMattPie, on 03 April 2014 - 11:06 AM, said:

FWIW, I planted one of those "Live Basil" plants you see at the grocery store a couple years ago. By the end of the summer I have a 4 ft. tall basil bush in my next to my front door. It's great if you like Italian food!

Before it dies at the end of the season make as much pesto from it as you can.  Pesto freezes really well.

#14 d4rksabre

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

View PostPASabreFan, on 03 April 2014 - 07:51 AM, said:

I got a question. I planted some rhubarb in the early summer of 2012. I heard that you shouldn't harvest any in the first couple of years, then just a little, then you can go wild. The timing confuses me. This is the third year — is this the year I can take a few stalks, or pick away with impunity?

Rhubarb pie! Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

My family's tradition is passing along rhubarb plants. My parents planted one a few years after we moved into our house in the mid 90s. The first few years were kinda weak as far as growth, then suddenly the thing went CRAZY. Our rhubarb plant is a monster. You can harvest it twice in one season it grows so well.

I looked at the tips on this site: http://www.almanac.com/plant/rhubarb

We don't do any of that stuff as far as I know. We planted that sucker so it gets the afternoon sun from the southwest. And it goes nuts. We don't mulch it, we haven't split the roots, we don't fertilize it, we don't even trim the seed stalks. It just grows.

So my advice would be to wait to harvest from it until it looks like it's growing really healthy. Their stalk length estimate seems about right. Make sure you water it in the summer. If it doesn't look like it's doing well it probably needs light, water or maybe fertilizer, but like I said we've never done anything beyond just watering it.

View Postweave, on 03 April 2014 - 11:14 AM, said:

Before it dies at the end of the season make as much pesto from it as you can.  Pesto freezes really well.

And it's DELICIOUS.

#15 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:01 PM

View PostSpndnchz, on 03 April 2014 - 10:43 AM, said:

I use one of those upside down hanging pots for tomatoes.  Besides having to water every day, its awesome. High enough the critters don't get at it. Lettuce is in the window box.

I like your style, but for the uninitiated among us, I want to suggest some varieties of tomatoes that do better than others in a hanging pot, in case someone is starting things from seed.  Some tomatoes are bred for this type of cultivation, particularly Tumblin' Toms.   Those will provide some reliable tomatoes from a hanging basket, as well as many other small cherry, or currant types.  Avoid tomatoes that are advertised as being tall, for your hanging baskets, as these tend to require equivalent root space for their height requirements.  It' the same idea as cannabis ruderalis.

Edited by Marcellus, 09 April 2014 - 08:14 PM.


#16 rakish

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:03 PM

marcellus, what about tomatoes into soil, what do you recommend?

#17 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:45 PM

For cherry tomatoes, I would recommend Sungold, which are worth the taste, and you could order them now from whomever and plant them after the last frost.  Same rules apply for my favorite full-sized tomato, Cosmonaut Volkov.  I've tried a lot, and that's my favorite all-purpose tomato.  I wouldn't recommend growing for sauce, because those tomatoes aren't as good fresh, but for making sauce, it's worth buying tomato past to quicken the process.  My favorite company is Fedco, for seeds.  They are unique, and if you're just looking for a few seeds, there's easier.  There's a lot of other good tomatoes.  I hate to say it, but the Russians are good at breeding 'our climate' tomatoes, so that's something to look for.

Grass clippings are good mulch, once you get your tomatoes planted.  It can be applied up to 6" thick, and will keep any weeds down, while feeding the worms that will fertilize the garden.  If you've got a bagger on your mower, you are sitting in marinara.

#18 Heimdall

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:01 AM

I think most of you are overlooking one vital part of growing your own food, check the contamination level of your soil first.
Alot of Soil is actually unhealthy for growing any kind of food in it, don't want any extra chemicals in your food.

#19 Spndnchz

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:52 AM

View PostHeimdall, on 10 April 2014 - 12:01 AM, said:

I think most of you are overlooking one vital part of growing your own food, check the contamination level of your soil first.
Alot of Soil is actually unhealthy for growing any kind of food in it, don't want any extra chemicals in your food.

So having a garden anywhere near Tonawanda Coke would be an issue?

#20 Heimdall

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:14 PM

Wouldn't know where that is, but i know few people know what kind of chemicals there are in their own soil.

#21 Spndnchz

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:30 PM

View PostHeimdall, on 10 April 2014 - 12:14 PM, said:

Wouldn't know where that is, but i know few people know what kind of chemicals there are in their own soil.

http://www.justice.g...14-crm-288.html

#22 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 01:52 AM

View PostHeimdall, on 10 April 2014 - 12:01 AM, said:

I think most of you are overlooking one vital part of growing your own food, check the contamination level of your soil first.
Alot of Soil is actually unhealthy for growing any kind of food in it, don't want any extra chemicals in your food.

Dammit, Kodak!

#23 MattPie

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 02:54 PM

I saw a talk about "Urban Farming" awhile back, and a large part of it dealt with pants that will or won't pull things from the soil. I forget all the details, but I do remember that mustard greens do a great job of pulling toxins and whatnot from the soil. Might be worth a bit of research, since I believe that after a number of crops the soil would be sufficiently clean to grow other stuff.

#24 Eleven

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 06:57 PM

I will confess that I am not a good gardener.  That said, about four years ago, I planted a piece of steak.  I'm hoping it grows into a steak tree.  Last year, I finally saw some shoots, with obvious evidence of veal.  I'm not going to harvest the veal--that's cruel, and I want the steak, anyway--but how long do I need to wait?  And at what point is it safe to stop watering and start with the salt, pepper, and olive oil?

#25 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 07:02 PM

View PostEleven, on 11 April 2014 - 06:57 PM, said:

I will confess that I am not a good gardener.  That said, about four years ago, I planted a piece of steak.  I'm hoping it grows into a steak tree.  Last year, I finally saw some shoots, with obvious evidence of veal.  I'm not going to harvest the veal--that's cruel, and I want the steak, anyway--but how long do I need to wait?  And at what point is it safe to stop watering and start with the salt, pepper, and olive oil?

I once stayed for a night with a family in Oregon that raised black angus in their back yard. We had steak and eggs for breakfast and the 8-year-old introduced the meal with, "This is Annie, she's the most delicious one yet."

#26 weave

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 08:43 PM

View PostGlass Case Of Emotion, on 11 April 2014 - 07:02 PM, said:

I once stayed for a night with a family in Oregon that raised black angus in their back yard. We had steak and eggs for breakfast and the 8-year-old introduced the meal with, "This is Annie, she's the most delicious one yet."

LOL

We buy a pig every year. We have no imagination.  We name them all Wilbur.  They are all delicious.