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our first vegetable garden


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#21 August West

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:06 PM

As for the veggie garden,
I'm thinking about growing artichokes (cause they kick ass)
Anyone have any experience with them,
or have any idea how big the plants can get/how much space the need?

:weedpoke:


I love artichokes man. Thier flowers are sweet too (to look at). They get about 3-4 feet tall and maybe a 6' diameter. If you have the room, I'd plant them about 4-6' apart. This time of year, you'll need to be putting in ones that have already been started. They like full sun and well-draining soil. Water them frequently in warm weather...don't forget the melted butter :teeth:

too fast for me bev.

Edited by August West, 25 March 2010 - 09:07 PM.
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#22 mydarling

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:08 PM

wow that's big! can you prune them to keep them as small as you have space for? or do they have to grow large, in order to produce the artichokes?

speaking of "well drained soil" - how necessary is this, really??? and besides living on the side of a cliff, what qualifies something as "well drained"? i've been reading that squash and cucumbers need well drained soil too, but we don't have any hills or anything. the space we're working with is totally flat, flanked on both ends by other plants. is this going to be a problem for us? :(

#23 lysergic

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:09 PM

The plants can get pretty big and bushy and they are spiny, so you want to put them somewhere you won't be in danger of brushing up against them. Depending on the cultivar, they can get about chest height and maybe 4-5 feet in diameter. The artichoke capitol of the world, Castroville is close to the coast and has poor, sandy well draining soil.


I love artichokes man. Thier flowers are sweet too (to look at). They get about 3-4 feet tall and maybe a 6' diameter. If you have the room, I'd plant them about 4-6' apart. This time of year, you'll need to be putting in ones that have already been started. They like full sun and well-draining soil. Water them frequently in warm weather...don't forget the melted butter :teeth:

too fast for me bev.



Ooh thanks guys :)


Any chance I might be able to get away with one in large pot?

#24 mydarling

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:14 PM

As far as when to plant, I know you can do things like carrots, onions, lettuce, cabbage, kale and the likes now. These type plants fair better in cooler weather than blazing heat. I learned the hard way and planted my lettuce near end of May and going into the summer it never made a head and just shot out a long 3 foot seed pod, it may have helped to have a little more shade too which I didn't have and our summers get ridiculously hot. But now I try these type veggies starting in the spring and harvest in summer or starting in summer and harvest in fall. But of course alot of this depends on your location too and I'm in the south zone 7. Oh and tomatoes, peppers, corn, okra and the likes love the hot summer and not cool weather.


thanks for the advice. :bow: i just looked it up and we are in zone 8b. since carrots and lettuce prefer cooler weather, does this mean we should only expect to have harvests in early summer? or will just providing enough shade allow them to grow later as well? summers here don't get outrageously hot, but who knows what this summer will bring. last summer was relatively mild (didn't go above 85 very often), but the summer before that was scorching hot and dry (100+ on many occasions)

i think i will def wait to plant the peppers and tomatoes until it gets warmer, but i think i'm gonna try to germinate some seeds indoors soon and grow them into little spouts before transplanting outdoors.

#25 mydarling

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:24 PM

If you have the time and space, it's nice to sprout your spuds indoors before putting them in the ground - they seem to do better ime. Something you may also be interested in, is building a cold-frame. We use one to grow our salad greens. It's kind of like a mini-greenhouse. Here's a link I found about them (http://midwestpermac...16248:Group:466). I didn't really read it thoroughly but it seemed to have some pics and a little building explanation...you can get creative. Basically, our cold-frames allow us to extend our 'greens' about two weeks either side of the growing season. We plant salad mix in there 'cause we don't really need too much space for that. We've also had success with basil and cilantro in there.


thanks for the link, august!
did you build yours the same way as the one in those pics? i don't really know where we'd get spare windows, or pieces of glass. can you use plexiglass? how did you build your frame? do you just place it directly over the soil in which your plants are growing?

If I could choose, I'd go with wood chips or straw for mulching rather than plastic. Aside from weed supression, chips and straw add organic matter to the soil as they break down.


at our local dumpster here, they grind up all the tree waste into wood chips, and it's free! but i don't know if they keep all the tree species separate (actually i really doubt they do). does it matter a lot what kind of wood chips you use?

also, i have read that using organic mulches like wood chips and straw has a cooling effect on the soil. i'm concerned that the soil would become too waterlogged with organic mulch, especially since we don't exactly have "well drained" soil :( plastic has the opposite effect in that it heats up the soil, which i'm thinking is a good thing in our case. what do you think about that?

I'm guessing you could be planting your carrots and potatoes already.


i thought that potatoes prefer hot weather and that i should wait a few more months to plant them? how long does it take them to mature?

#26 August West

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:26 PM

wow that's big! can you prune them to keep them as small as you have space for? or do they have to grow large, in order to produce the artichokes?

speaking of "well drained soil" - how necessary is this, really??? and besides living on the side of a cliff, what qualifies something as "well drained"? i've been reading that squash and cucumbers need well drained soil too, but we don't have any hills or anything. the space we're working with is totally flat, flanked on both ends by other plants. is this going to be a problem for us? :(


Not too sure about pruning per se. but we occasionally harvest foliage and it doesn't seem to stop the fruitings. We also harvest the flowers and that doesn't stop them from continuing to produce either. I can't really speak towards trying to manage their size though.

I'm guessing your soil is fine. You just don't want water pooling around the plant really. And, if you're truly on a cliff, you probably have no drainage problems.

Lys, as far as potting up an artichoke, I can't say I've ever seen it done. You could possibly search for a plant that has been bred to grow small though - sort of a dwarf artichoke. You'd definitely want a big-ass pot though. Their roots like to sprawl a bit.

#27 mydarling

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

I'm guessing your soil is fine. You just don't want water pooling around the plant really. And, if you're truly on a cliff, you probably have no drainage problems.


hahah we don't actually live on a cliff, that was just the only place i could think of that would be obviously "well drained" :lol: we have lots of neat cliffs here, but we're a couple miles inland from the coast... :)

ok, so if i don't over-water the soil and i keep it nicely aerated - this should be alright?

#28 mydarling

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:31 PM

thanks to everyone who has posted so far, i'm so stoked you're all into this as much as i am! i love my backyard, and i can't wait to eat some homegrown veggies!!! :teeth:

I do know that you should be nice to the earthworms tho he he (they love fish emulsion) as they will aerate the soil:rasta:


yeah mang i am REALLY happy to see the worms. in fact, every day we've been going out there to till and water the soil, and i've noticed that the worms are branching out. they used to reside only in the spot right next to the water spigot, but now i am finding them up to 8 or 9 feet away from that. they seem to be liking our work :D

What zone are you in? I'm in 7b and just finished planting peas, beats, lettuce, collards and poppies.

I've got close to 60 tomato and pepper plants in my veggie cab itching to get out!

HINT- Things like peas, cucumbers, beans, etc. would do well on a trellis in either of those spots. Peas will be done and gone in time for warm season crops and beans like to climb corn plants.


we're in 8b! i think the time is right to get some lettuce, carrots, and herbs going!

yeah i also read that cucumbers and other squashes need a LOT of space to grow, so i will definitely get another trellis for those. but a flat one, not the round one like we got for the tomatoes. then, we can prop it right up against the house. :headbang:

Very nice backyard MD! Looks like a great place to chill out and relax.

I have just finished a year long total backyard make over, but unfortunately there is no room for veggies, its been totally planted out with cacti. :D


haha, a garden full of cactus! nice! i've noticed you've been posting a lot of cactus stuff lately, which is awesome, so thanks for sharing that with us :bow: you are a cactus master!

and yeah, i LOVE this back yard. i haven't had a real backyard since i was 11, when we moved out of my childhood house. i didn't realize how much i missed having grass, until i got some again :heart: it's a great place to chill after work. you can see we have a few nice teak patio chairs, but i still want to get a big table and umbrella, so we can have people over for a barbeque :)

Edited by mydarling, 25 March 2010 - 09:39 PM.


#29 TastyBeverage

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:49 PM

Any chance I might be able to get away with one in large pot?


That would probably work, but you need a big ass pot and don't prune it, except for any dead or wilting leaves at the bottom. Well draining just means the soil does not have a high clay content so that the water stays in it. If chokes sit in damp clay rich soil too long they will get root rot. If you have high clay content soil, you'll have to supplement with sand and other soil additives where you want to grow the chokes or go the big pot route.

Who doesn't like the big pot route? :teeth:

Edited by TastyBeverage, 25 March 2010 - 09:55 PM.


#30 TastyBeverage

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:52 PM

Oh btw, sqashes and cucumbers are very sensitive to powdery mildew on their leaves. Make sure you water them early in the day so any water on the leaves get a chance to dry, and there isn't damp soil underneath the leaves when night falls.

#31 August West

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:57 PM

thanks for the link, august!
did you build yours the same way as the one in those pics? i don't really know where we'd get spare windows, or pieces of glass. can you use plexiglass? how did you build your frame? do you just place it directly over the soil in which your plants are growing?



at our local dumpster here, they grind up all the tree waste into wood chips, and it's free! but i don't know if they keep all the tree species separate (actually i really doubt they do). does it matter a lot what kind of wood chips you use?

also, i have read that using organic mulches like wood chips and straw has a cooling effect on the soil. i'm concerned that the soil would become too waterlogged with organic mulch, especially since we don't exactly have "well drained" soil :( plastic has the opposite effect in that it heats up the soil, which i'm thinking is a good thing in our case. what do you think about that?



i thought that potatoes prefer hot weather and that i should wait a few more months to plant them? how long does it take them to mature?


Mine is a little different. I just used some framing timber I had lying around. I stacked two 2x12's on edge to make a rectangle. Then I cut a little bit of an angle off the top edge creating a sort of, slope downwards so that plants in the front of the box wouldn't be shaded out by the box itself. I scored a couple of double-pane windows from my mom that I just hinged to the back. There are often 're-stores' around that stock used windows too. Plexiglass would work fine as well, In fact, I think I'll be replacing one of my cracked windows with plexiglass. The thicker your material, the earlier you can plant. However, my double-panes make a pretty damn heavy lid.

I put the frames wherever I want to use them - setting them on top of plastic for weed suppression. Then I just bring in some native soil mixed with potting soil and compost/worm castings and fill the box up. You only fill it as far up as you need in order to be able to close the lid, which will depend on what you plant into them. However, once warm weather arrives, you don't really close the lid anymore anyway. There really just a big planter box with a lid. They can also be used for doing starts. Sow your seeds into them and then transplant into the ground. It's all handy having your cold-frame right by your garden.

That wood chip deal sounds like a score to me. I'd prolly use it. There is some sense to the idea that things like cedar aren't a good idea because of an amount of phytotoxicity. We've mulched with it though and it doesn't seem to do too much to the plants we're mulching. Wood chips keep the weeds down better than anything I've used. I mean, plastic probably does a good job, but, it's plastic. I try to limit my use of it. You can also obtain a corn starch mulch that looks like plastic but is biodegradable - pretty sure it's expensive and I don't know if you can buy it in small quantities though.

I wouldn't worry too much about soil temps. I think temp change with wood chips and straw would only be negligible. However, something like squash love heat so you could lay plastic or corn starch over the beds where your planting squash, slit holes in it and put the squash into the holes. Then they get heat and mulch.

I'm a full zone cooler than you and we already have spuds in the ground. You're looking at anywhere from 2.5-4 months probably before you harvest depending on the weather. So you could feasibly plant again in May or June and get a second crop. There are so many varieties too. Some are better 'keepers' than others. As in, how long they last after harvest. Make sure you mound up the soil real well for planting the spuds into, 'cause they'll want to grow downward a lot.

Okay, well, apparently I needed to pen a small novel there. Sorry about that. I'm not gonna proofread it either...Hopefully my cold frame description wasn't too lousy. If you want a pic of mine, I'll try to remember to take one. You guys could build one no problem though. Also, I have some good seed sources if you're interested, just pm me.

Good luck

#32 Burger

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 11:12 PM

speaking of 'well drained soil' - how necessary is this, really???


MD, if your soil does have a high clay content and needs better drainage you should consider adding agricultural Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate - CaSO4).

It's main purpose is to penetrate clay particles in heavy soils and create air and moisture slots that will loosen and break-up the soil structure.

Poor soil structure is a major limiting factor in crop yield.

The bottom line to the many benefits of gypsum is higher yield at a minimum cost.

Gypsum-treated soil has a lower bulk density compared with untreated soil. Organics can even decrease it more when both are used.

The softer soil is easier to till, and crops like it better. A liberal application of gypsum is a good procedure for starting a piece of land into no-till soil management or pasture.

Improved soil aggregation and permeability will persist for years and surface-applied fertilizers will more easily penetrate as result of the gypsum.

Gypsum can decrease and prevent the crust formation on soil surfaces which result from rain drops or from sprinkler irrigation on unstable soil. Prevention of crust formation means more seed emergence, more rapid seed emergence, and easily a few days sooner to harvest. Seed emergence has been increased often by 50 to 100 percent.

Calcium, which is supplied in gypsum, is essential to the biochemical mechanisms by which most plant nutrients are absorbed by roots. Without adequate calcium, uptake mechanisms would fail. Calcium improves the uptake of nitrogen by plant roots especially when the plants are young.

Be aware that gypsum does not contain any major plant nutrients, so continue a regular fertilizing program even though it contains calcium and sulfur which is needed for plant growth.


Edited by Burger, 25 March 2010 - 11:20 PM.


#33 tenjin

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:39 AM

thanks for the advice. :bow: i just looked it up and we are in zone 8b. since carrots and lettuce prefer cooler weather, does this mean we should only expect to have harvests in early summer? or will just providing enough shade allow them to grow later as well? summers here don't get outrageously hot, but who knows what this summer will bring. last summer was relatively mild (didn't go above 85 very often), but the summer before that was scorching hot and dry (100+ on many occasions)

i think i will def wait to plant the peppers and tomatoes until it gets warmer, but i think i'm gonna try to germinate some seeds indoors soon and grow them into little spouts before transplanting outdoors.


Hi MD
Your zone is similar to mine, so has about the same guidelines on when to plant. Usually its the leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage that benefit from cool weather and things like eggplant, squash, corn, pepper and cucumbers like the summer heat. Heres a thread I posted a while back of a friends garden he did in the fall with cold tolerant plants.

This is a great guide here that I also use, except in that link is zone8 vegetable planting- when to start seeds, transplant outdoors, growing time frame and when to harvest by using the color codes on the chart. That should give you a good idea of when to plant/harvest, this is also a handy link for anyone else too, as it has other zones too just click the Next button at the bottom to find your particular zone.

Then in this link is the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and you can get a pdf of your state sectioned into all the cities that will give you the first/last freeze/frost data and the temps of your specific area.

Good luck :)

attached is the zone8 chart from that link

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#34 Ben Dover

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 10:54 AM

How did I miss this thread :)

Sweet map tenjin! The frost free zone is different but thats cool.

Although it is a bit early to plant tomatoes, peppers, and such outside, it's a great time to get them started inside to have a early crop. This is what my friends and I like to do. Some of them are the first ones to the farmers market and sell everything they have in an hour. Not that you're going to sell them but you can get some early harvest.

It's a great time for cole weather crops as mentioned. Cabbage, lettuce, any type of greens, beets, radish, brussel sprouts, pak choi, broccoli, cauliflower.

Here's some great info on cole crops http://www.ncsu.edu/...es/c09cole.html

As you can see those plants won't grow when it's 80F or more and will keep growing down to 40F. That's why they can grow a 70lbs, 5' head of cabbage in Alaska! :amazed:

If you, or anyone, need any seeds pm me.

Good luck, keep us posted!

#35 mydarling

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:34 PM

thanks once again for your input, everyone! i appreciate your time & effort in sharing your knowledge with us all.

i have used the information posted here, in combo w/ a bunch of research i did this week, and i really got the ball rolling on this garden. seeds have been planted in the earth!! :) i will post some more pics & a proper update soon. i thnk we need some more eye candy, cause this thread is becoming more of an encyclopedia than a photo log :teeth: lol

#36 shadesofgrey212

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 10:24 PM

thanks once again for your input, everyone! i appreciate your time & effort in sharing your knowledge with us all.

i have used the information posted here, in combo w/ a bunch of research i did this week, and i really got the ball rolling on this garden. seeds have been planted in the earth!! :) i will post some more pics & a proper update soon. i thnk we need some more eye candy, cause this thread is becoming more of an encyclopedia than a photo log :teeth: lol


Good Luck! Can't wait to see the results. SF and I are in the process of starting our own lil garden. He's teaching me as we go but I'm still a lil clueless. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. :greenboun

Edited by shadesofgrey212, 29 March 2010 - 01:47 AM.


#37 mydarling

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:05 AM

more springtime shots:

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well, i apologize in advance if i am being too detailed with this. :special: it's just in my nature to be overly thorough. of course, you'll know this if you've ever read one of my growlogs in the archives :lol: so, i'll split it up between several posts!

new supplies acquired for veggie garden project:

- to aerate the soil and increase acidity: granulated gypsum w/ calcium and sulfur (10 lbs.) -- thank you burger for this tip! :bow:
- to increase volume of soil without providing too many additional nutes, since that's taken care of w/ the compost and worm castings: organic top soil (2 bags, 1 cu ft per bag)
- to prevent birds and rodents from infiltrating the garden and eating my shiznit: garden netting & 10 steel poles for supports
- for indoor germination of the tomato and pepper seeds: 72-well seedling tray and organic seed starting mix (12 qts)

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we decided to grow everything from seed instead of buying sprouts. so, we purchased the following types of seeds:

thyme; cilantro; genovese basil; penang lemon basil; chives; evergreen bunching onions (scallions); romaine lettuce; prizehead lettuce; carrots; red cherry tomatoes; yellow cherry tomatoes; elite hybrid zucchini; straight eight cucumber; lemon cucumber; hot thai chilis; italian roasting peppers; summer sweetness strawberries; black beauty eggplant

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and, some heavenly blue morning glory seeds, to plant all along the back fence :teeth:

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we also have some red potatoes that have been sprouting in the pantry for a couple weeks, so those will be cut up and planted in the garden as well.

more details will be posted tomorrow!

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Edited by mydarling, 29 March 2010 - 02:12 AM.
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#38 Sidestreet

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:51 AM

Everything sounds delicious. You're really putting some work into your soil. I'll be you aren't disappointed.

I'm jealous that everything where you are already looks so beautiful! My last frost comes late April/early May.

Are your indoor starts going to be under a flourescent, or do they get enough sun in the window?

#39 ggod

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:06 AM

Hey MD.... check this out for your potato's ......http://tipnut.com/grow-potatoes/

I put 3 of these in our back yard. One for russets, one for sweet potato's, and one for a red or gold of some sort. When deciding what type of potato to plant, you want mid to late season. Early season will only produce in the bottom section, but mid and late fruiter's will produce constantly and give you enough to last the winter. (this is for hills as well as towers)

ggod

#40 ggod

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:03 AM

I forgot to mention..... if you want to grow chilli's (peppers), I have 6 different varieties.... and could send you some seeds to get started. Nothing special, just some packet seeds I got and will not use all in the next 5 years. Let me know and i can make some small zip-style bags and slap a stamp on them.

ggod




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