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  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,737 Member Member Posts: 5,737 Member
    Looks helpful!
  • rhaiinrhaiin Member Posts: 713 Member Member Posts: 713 Member
    I bought a house last winter that has a small raised garden in the backyard. I'm not much for gardening, but I'm planning on planting a few things this spring. I'll probably be planting some hot pepper plants (jalepeno and serrano maybe?) and some cucumbers. Maybe some butternut or acorn squash too.

    I grow herbs and bib lettuce in pots on my enclosed porch.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,737 Member Member Posts: 5,737 Member
    Thank you, Ann! (I'm in Chicago, so pretty northern.)
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 22,508 Member Member Posts: 22,508 Member
    Agreeing with boxes when space is limited.

    Tomatoes need more room for their roots so I added another 6" high box to go around the tomato cage.

    (It's really important to match the height of the tomato cage with the type of tomato - indeterminate tomatoes can get really big and need lots of support.)
    edited December 2018
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 22,508 Member Member Posts: 22,508 Member
    @French_Peasant based on your comments in the Mediterranean Diet thread, thought you might like to participate in this one as well.
  • shaumomshaumom Member Posts: 958 Member Member Posts: 958 Member
    If you are in the southwest USA, 'Extreme Gardening' by Owens is a nice gardening book, IMO. Organic methods, but he talks a lot about gardening in alkaline soil, or in areas where there may be drought or a lot of heat, so useful in all the areas getting drought right now, or desert areas.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Member Posts: 1,631 Member Member Posts: 1,631 Member
    Thank you, @kshama2001 and @lemurcat2 for bringing this thread to my attention! Reading through this thread has just been a summery balm for my soul, here in the midst of all the upper Midwest snow! I am up to so many things, my head spins just thinking about organizing them, but I will take a crack at a few highlights.

    --I completed a university-supported Urban Ag course late last year, which involved not just a lot of training and research, but the development of a detailed planning document for my project, which is a garden on a vacant lot at our church/school. It's a very small garden comprised of 8 8 ft. by 8 ft. beds which are planted with a mix of fruit trees, perennials, herbs, and vegetables. This past year I kept detailed records of our food bank donations and we donated $1100 comparable market value in produce off of basically 200 square feet of soil (the 4 veg beds). It was definitely an eye-opening experience...how cheap some foods are, and how expensive others are. We could have donated a lot more, but I need to get some volunteers trained on harvesting and such, which is one of my goals for this year. Herbs always get quickly snapped up at the food bank, and I put together a little ideas flier for how to use them. (@lemurcat, I still haven't mastered fennel!) We also put in a very fine compost dual compost bin and will be putting in a trellis and some hops vines this year (hey, we're Lutherans, we like our hops!).

    --I am considering buying a vacant lot this year so I can do some experimenting with season extension and organic techniques like floating row covers. My kids compete in 4-H, so it would give them a lot more room to grow; currently it's kind of tough for a couple of city kids to compete against all the country kids with the big farms, deep market gardening knowledge, and access to lots of manure from their other 4-H critters. (We have six rabbits and a worm farm.) The lot I am looking at is in a rougher but gentrifying neighborhood, and would be several hundred dollars to purchase; I am currently looking into liabilities with this particular lot before I put the cash on the barrel head. Due to restrictions in the city, it would be gardening with no fences, shed, on-site water source, etc., so a pretty challenging situation, but I am nothing if not tenacious. Also, an aggressive, beautiful, viciously spiked 30-foot Paul's Himalayan Musk Rambler rose makes a pretty fine fence in and of itself!

    --Based on my experience with the school garden, I swear by raised beds, filled with a high quality garden soil and mulched with well-rotted straw. It is SO EASY compared to the in-ground gardening I have done. I have also been taming problem areas in my own garden with layers of cardboard covered with mulch (in the fancier areas) or grass clippings (in the more production-oriented areas).

    --Boy, do I really need a truck.

    --I also need a rhubarb plantation!

    Those are my scattered thoughts for now; let me think about my favorite books and I can make some suggestions. I really love hearing about and seeing everyone's projects!

  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,737 Member Member Posts: 5,737 Member
    Glad you are here! I've container gardened in the past (had a rooftop deck at my last place), but for the first time I have a backyard, so a place for a real garden. Not large, since I'm still in the city, but it gives me more options to experiment with.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Member Posts: 1,631 Member Member Posts: 1,631 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Glad you are here! I've container gardened in the past (had a rooftop deck at my last place), but for the first time I have a backyard, so a place for a real garden. Not large, since I'm still in the city, but it gives me more options to experiment with.

    I am so excited for you! I know you have been pining for more space, and now you have it. I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with it. Let me know if you need a plant or seed delivery made to Chicago! :)
  • ogma6ogma6 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    All my raised beds are 3x6...it works. Try square foot gardening. You plant denser, and get bigger yields.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 22,508 Member Member Posts: 22,508 Member
    @French_Peasant re season extension - I have a taller and shorter one of these that was wonderful for keeping the cabbage worms away from my kale last year. Normally second-year kale produces tiny leaves and I end up tossing the plant as soon as seedlings are available in my garden center. I'm curious to see if over-wintering it under this plus a floating row cover changes anything.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Tierra-Garden-50-5010-Haxnicks-Fleece/dp/B004ZR1PQW/ref=sr_1_7

    3bea6a00-e173-440c-aa14-4b651b2e8fbd_1.5f1f46731ff2f5dedb90a75bdd90896e.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

    I have some other season extenders, but I think I bought them all when I was sharing an Amazon Prime account to which I no longer have access, so can't find them. They do really help when the temperatures fluctuate wildly up and down.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Member Posts: 1,631 Member Member Posts: 1,631 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    @French_Peasant re season extension - I have a taller and shorter one of these that was wonderful for keeping the cabbage worms away from my kale last year. Normally second-year kale produces tiny leaves and I end up tossing the plant as soon as seedlings are available in my garden center. I'm curious to see if over-wintering it under this plus a floating row cover changes anything.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Tierra-Garden-50-5010-Haxnicks-Fleece/dp/B004ZR1PQW/ref=sr_1_7

    3bea6a00-e173-440c-aa14-4b651b2e8fbd_1.5f1f46731ff2f5dedb90a75bdd90896e.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

    I have some other season extenders, but I think I bought them all when I was sharing an Amazon Prime account to which I no longer have access, so can't find them. They do really help when the temperatures fluctuate wildly up and down.

    Yes! We started using row covers on the kids cole crops this past summer, and they were helpful but we have their plants in dribs and drabs around the yard so it’s not very efficient. I have a cold frame over some chard and it seems to be keeping well, but I would love to be doing some low tunnels. I daydream about a green house! An official glass one...I had a cheap plastic one but it collapsed under snow. I needed some leeks this past weekend and can’t access them because they are buried under the snow.
  • carakirkeycarakirkey Member Posts: 171 Member Member Posts: 171 Member
    hesn92 wrote: »

    I never do very well with cucumbers. They always die really early on. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. They always get some sort of disease. Sucks because the cucumbers that I get before the plants die are SO good.

    I discovered a great tip for cucumbers this year from an expert gardener- water cucumbers in the morning. Not the evening. They hate to be cold and wet (they want to be damp and warm). I had a fantastic crop of cucumbers this year

  • carakirkeycarakirkey Member Posts: 171 Member Member Posts: 171 Member
    I have a large plot in a community garden and also help look after the elementary school's plot. I have enough space to grow everything I'd want and add in lots of flowers for interest and the bees. I'm in Southern BC- it gets hot here, but we had a summer of intense forest fire smoke and I think that had a negative effect on the garden. Lack of sun seemed to delay ripening of tomatoes.
    I have good success with greens (spinach, lettuce, chard, arugula) and can usually get a spring, summer and fall crop of those. Also plant tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, squash, potatoes, herbs, zucchini, kolhrabi, beets. I tried yams (sweet potatoes) last year which is quite a process, and got tiny yams from that. Squash I don't think I'll grow again, they just take too much space for what a plant produces. My favorite is the garlic chives I inherited in my plot that are perennial. Milder than garlic, and delicious.
    Goal this year is to try a small raised bed at my house. While the community garden is great, its nice to have something more accessible.
  • TacklewasherTacklewasher Member Posts: 7,131 Member Member Posts: 7,131 Member
    carakirkey wrote: »
    I have a large plot in a community garden and also help look after the elementary school's plot. I have enough space to grow everything I'd want and add in lots of flowers for interest and the bees. I'm in Southern BC- it gets hot here, but we had a summer of intense forest fire smoke and I think that had a negative effect on the garden. Lack of sun seemed to delay ripening of tomatoes.
    I have good success with greens (spinach, lettuce, chard, arugula) and can usually get a spring, summer and fall crop of those. Also plant tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, squash, potatoes, herbs, zucchini, kolhrabi, beets. I tried yams (sweet potatoes) last year which is quite a process, and got tiny yams from that. Squash I don't think I'll grow again, they just take too much space for what a plant produces. My favorite is the garlic chives I inherited in my plot that are perennial. Milder than garlic, and delicious.
    Goal this year is to try a small raised bed at my house. While the community garden is great, its nice to have something more accessible.

    Yeah, last year sucked for this. Here's hoping the province isn't on fire again this year. Camping in Oliver in July (and visiting wineries) so would really like sunny vs smokey.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Member Posts: 1,631 Member Member Posts: 1,631 Member
    I have a lot of garden books on my shelf, but I just wanted to post the one that I go to all the time: it is a big, thick chunk of book that I have annotated extensively and even put in little tabs along the side for easier reference. It covers just about every gardening topic you can think of (and a lot more topics if you are planning to grow fields of grain or raised goats or cattle), and it does it in such a delightfully chatty, interesting way, you will probably even read the sections that you didn't originally think you had any interest in.

    I love how it covers every different kind of fruit and vegetable (most of the US at least--she doesn't get into tropicals and such) in great detail, from how to start your plants, cultivation, harvest, preservation and recipes. It is just an amazing book. As I said, I have a lot of other books that I refer to, but this is the first one I go to.

    https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Country-Living-40th-Anniversary/dp/1570618402/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1547751221&sr=1-1&keywords=encyclopedia+of+country+living
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,737 Member Member Posts: 5,737 Member
    Thanks for the recommendation, that looks great!
  • agbmom556agbmom556 Member Posts: 697 Member Member Posts: 697 Member
  • carakirkeycarakirkey Member Posts: 171 Member Member Posts: 171 Member
    Yeah, last year sucked for this. Here's hoping the province isn't on fire again this year. Camping in Oliver in July (and visiting wineries) so would really like sunny vs smokey.

    I hope for your sake too! Oliver is lovely. So are the wineries! at least can visit wineries in smoky conditions. Usually July is OK. August has been challenging for forest fires for a number of years. Pro Tips- Visit Hidden chapel winery. Great people, small winery but great wines. Best beaches are in that area too- Okanagan Falls on Skaha lake, and Haynes Point in Osoyoos.
    edited January 2019
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