Vian

Anyone grow their own vegetables?

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I spent yesterday cleaning up our raised beds to get ready for planting vegetables. I haven't used the raised beds for 2 or 3 years, but I got really excited this year about growing my own vegetables. So far I have planned for multi-colored carrots (white, red, yellow, purple, orange), a red-speckled romaine lettuce, pickling cucumbers, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Last year I did tomato plants in containers, but now that I'm doing AIP, tomatoes are out.

 

I felt so good yesterday after spending 2 hours digging in the dirt, I had so much energy. I plan to finish cleaning out the other two beds next weekend, then I'll have to get some composted manure to add and they'll be all ready.

 

Anyone else have a veggie garden? What do you grow? Any tips or tricks for organic gardening?

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You probably know more than me but here are some things I've picked up from our small little urban side yard plot.  We have planted zucchini, butternut squash, lettuce, carrots, snap peas, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes.  Our first year we planted peppers and eggplant too.  

 

What we plant vs what we get is pretty different though... our lettuce bolted the first year so we planted it in the shade of the tomatoes the following year - except the tomatoes grow too late in the season to offer shade... so we are still working on that.  Lesson: no 8 hours of direct sun for lettuce.

 

Our zucchini and winter squash plants always grow and flower like crazy but we get very low yields (seriously - like 4 fruit).  Not sure why.  I even went out and tried qtip pollinating one year...   My MIL who lives 25 miles away has the same problem each year and my BIL who lives 3 miles away has more zucchini than he knows what to do with...  Our carrots always have great greens and look like they'll be huge - and then they are 2" wide and 1" long... We've made sure to loosen the soil for a whole foot under our carrot seeds.  So no idea why this has happened three years in a row either :)  Its a good thing it isn't 1750!

 

Our eggplant and peppers did well. Our cherry tomatoes are always wonderful - we are overflowing - which is great since we go through them so quick.  Almost everyone I know who plants beefsteak type tomatoes has problems with bugs or rot or something.  The cherry tomatoes never seem to have the same problem.  Our snap peas are ok - they rarely make it from the vine inside.  However many rows you plant try planting them 1 week apart - that way they fruit a week a part rather than all at once.  

 

If you have access to aged manure the plants seem to like that - we always dig the hole for the seedling and fill that with manure instead of soil.  

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I am not an expert gardener but one tip I have is to make sure you have seeds that work in your area. Although I try to plant heirloom seeds, sometimes the yields are not as good as hybrid, so I plant both. If you have a short growing season you may have to make a cover for your garden (kind of like a green house) to grow cold season crops like lettuce. You can also use it at the end of season for your root veggies.

 

Check out the book Plants are Like People. There are a lot of natural sprays that you can use to control pests. Soap and water works great. I use Dr Bronner's Peppermint Soap, the bugs hate it.

 

I grow tomatoes, zucchini, arugula, peas, beans, cucumber, mustard greens, lettuce, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, kale, spinach, carrots, parsnip, beets, radish, potatoes. This year I am going to add sweet potatoes, corn, banana peppers, and onions. It is so great when you see zucchini for $1.00 per lb at the store and you know you have a bunch at home for free. Now I just have to figure out how to preserve all the veggies that I grow.

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We have grown a vegetable garden every year for the past 32 years. We raise green beans, peppers (hot and sweet), cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and asparagus every year. We grow enough to eat fresh and I can, freeze and dehydrate the excess.

 

Best advice I can give is to grow things that do well in your area and that you like eating.

For example we don't grow melons or squash because we don't like them and we don't grow peas, lettuce or spinach because it gets too hot too quickly here so they usually don't do well.

 

We also have 7 laying hens. If your town allows it, I would highly recommend raising a backyard flock along with your veggie garden. We use their composted litter to build up the soil, the girls eat the garden scraps and bugs all summer and they give us eggs in return. It's a win-win situation.

 

All of this is done on a 1/4 acre lot in a subdivision. You don't need alot of land.

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I had thrown in the towel on gardening here in FL because the weeds, bugs and critters did me in.  Then I discovered square foot gardening, and am giving it another shot.  This was a learning year.  I planted 16 different crops in a 4x4 bed, just to see what I could do and what a square foot yields, so I know for next year how many squares of each to plant.  My peppers never thrived, this winter was too hot and the snap peas didn't do well, the zucchini has blossom drop, and the cilantro bolted, but the chard, kale, and bibb lettuces did well, and the carrots and beets are 'okay' but took much longer to get to a useful size than they should have--about a month more.  And although they also took longer than expected, two kinds of heirloom tomatoes and one of cherry tomatoes are fruiting like mad.  My biggest problem now is whatever critters are enjoying them, too.  I can't let them vine ripen because as soon as they get that pink blush, something takes bites out of them.  So I am having to pick them green and ripen on the window sill.  So not the same!

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CRCBN, I actually just rehomed my 2 hens that were too old to lay anymore. I was considering getting more, but then I started the AIP, which means I can't eat eggs, tomatoes, or nuts or seeds anymore.

 

All the crops I'm going to plant are short-season varieties. I have one raised bed that is shaded by a shed mid-day, so that's where I'm putting the lettuce to protect it from the mid-day sun. The first (and only) year I tried to grow vegetables, my lettuce bolted as fast as it could. It was terrible. I also think I started everything too late and I was bad about watering. The yellow squash says it takes 45 days to mature, the zucchini, lettuce and cucumbers are all 55 days. The carrots are the longest at 65-75 days, but are also cool season, so I can plant them even before the average last frost date. I chose the carrots just because they are pretty multicolored ones, but I might go see if I can find a faster maturing one to plant as well.

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I had thrown in the towel on gardening here in FL because the weeds, bugs and critters did me in.  Then I discovered square foot gardening, and am giving it another shot.  This was a learning year.  I planted 16 different crops in a 4x4 bed, just to see what I could do and what a square foot yields, so I know for next year how many squares of each to plant.  My peppers never thrived, this winter was too hot and the snap peas didn't do well, the zucchini has blossom drop, and the cilantro bolted, but the chard, kale, and bibb lettuces did well, and the carrots and beets are 'okay' but took much longer to get to a useful size than they should have--about a month more.  And although they also took longer than expected, two kinds of heirloom tomatoes and one of cherry tomatoes are fruiting like mad.  My biggest problem now is whatever critters are enjoying them, too.  I can't let them vine ripen because as soon as they get that pink blush, something takes bites out of them.  So I am having to pick them green and ripen on the window sill.  So not the same!

Have you tried to cover your tomatoes? It could be birds taking bites out of your tomatoes. Do you spray them with anything? Soap and water works well. You can use children's shampoo, dish soap, or even flea and tick shampoo.  Good Luck!

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Have you tried to cover your tomatoes? It could be birds taking bites out of your tomatoes. Do you spray them with anything? Soap and water works well. You can use children's shampoo, dish soap, or even flea and tick shampoo.  Good Luck!

Thanks, Tina, but I'm almost positive it's palm rats.  They are native to the area and there are clear bite marks.  Cheesecloth or gauze won't work.  And they don't seem to mind soap.  Flea and tick shampoo is not something I would put on organic vegetables.  I wouldn't care if they picked one tomato and ate it all, but they take bites out of all of them and leave the rest.

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I just planted the lettuce and cucumber seeds in a tray indoors. I've still got to get some compost to work into the beds before I can plant anything outside. The lettuce likes lots of nitrogen, so I'll put manure in that bed.

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You probably know more than me but here are some things I've picked up from our small little urban side yard plot.  We have planted zucchini, butternut squash, lettuce, carrots, snap peas, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes.  Our first year we planted peppers and eggplant too.  

 

What we plant vs what we get is pretty different though... our lettuce bolted the first year so we planted it in the shade of the tomatoes the following year - except the tomatoes grow too late in the season to offer shade... so we are still working on that.  Lesson: no 8 hours of direct sun for lettuce.

 

Our zucchini and winter squash plants always grow and flower like crazy but we get very low yields (seriously - like 4 fruit).  Not sure why.  I even went out and tried qtip pollinating one year...   My MIL who lives 25 miles away has the same problem each year and my BIL who lives 3 miles away has more zucchini than he knows what to do with...  Our carrots always have great greens and look like they'll be huge - and then they are 2" wide and 1" long... We've made sure to loosen the soil for a whole foot under our carrot seeds.  So no idea why this has happened three years in a row either :)  Its a good thing it isn't 1750!

 

Our eggplant and peppers did well. Our cherry tomatoes are always wonderful - we are overflowing - which is great since we go through them so quick.  Almost everyone I know who plants beefsteak type tomatoes has problems with bugs or rot or something.  The cherry tomatoes never seem to have the same problem.  Our snap peas are ok - they rarely make it from the vine inside.  However many rows you plant try planting them 1 week apart - that way they fruit a week a part rather than all at once.  

 

If you have access to aged manure the plants seem to like that - we always dig the hole for the seedling and fill that with manure instead of soil.  

I don't know what your soil is like but I have had good results planting Chantenay red core carrots - they are shorter and stubbier but made for soils that are tougher.

 

Do you have lots of flowering plants to attract pollinators, besides your squash? Even clover counts.

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I have done container gardening for years, but installed 4 raised beds this year.  I planted frost safe plants a few weeks ago (several lettuces, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, chard, asparagus, and cabbage).  I'll plant cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes in another week or so when I'm safe from a frost.  Depending on my space, I'll do a few more cabbages, pumpkins and squash.

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Today I'm going to get some compost to mix into my raised beds and plant the lettuce and cucumbers that I started indoors weeks ago. They are outgrowing the little seedling tray I have them in now! I'll probably still cover them with a tarp at night because there's still a chance of frost until after May 15th.

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You probably know more than me but here are some things I've picked up from our small little urban side yard plot.  We have planted zucchini, butternut squash, lettuce, carrots, snap peas, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes.  Our first year we planted peppers and eggplant too.  

 

What we plant vs what we get is pretty different though... our lettuce bolted the first year so we planted it in the shade of the tomatoes the following year - except the tomatoes grow too late in the season to offer shade... so we are still working on that.  Lesson: no 8 hours of direct sun for lettuce.

 

Our zucchini and winter squash plants always grow and flower like crazy but we get very low yields (seriously - like 4 fruit).  Not sure why.  I even went out and tried qtip pollinating one year...   My MIL who lives 25 miles away has the same problem each year and my BIL who lives 3 miles away has more zucchini than he knows what to do with...  Our carrots always have great greens and look like they'll be huge - and then they are 2" wide and 1" long... We've made sure to loosen the soil for a whole foot under our carrot seeds.  So no idea why this has happened three years in a row either :)  Its a good thing it isn't 1750!

 

Our eggplant and peppers did well. Our cherry tomatoes are always wonderful - we are overflowing - which is great since we go through them so quick.  Almost everyone I know who plants beefsteak type tomatoes has problems with bugs or rot or something.  The cherry tomatoes never seem to have the same problem.  Our snap peas are ok - they rarely make it from the vine inside.  However many rows you plant try planting them 1 week apart - that way they fruit a week a part rather than all at once.  

 

If you have access to aged manure the plants seem to like that - we always dig the hole for the seedling and fill that with manure instead of soil.  

 

It sounds like you might have too much nitrogen in your soil. Excess nitrogen results in lots of greenery but little fruit. Are you using fertilizer? If it contains nitrogen you may want to back off of that.

 

Some additional info:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/organic-fertilizer-and-excess-nitrogen.aspx#axzz31iNP3YYe

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I'd like to breathe some new life into this thread!

It's that time of year and I'm planning to plant my first ever vegetable garden this weekend. My new lifestyle feels great! Also, I moved last autumn into a place with a wee space for a garden.

I plan to plant tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. Was also thinking zucchini, too. Perhaps kale. Any other suggestions?

Anyone else interested in sharing their wisdom and/or updates on your own garden?

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We bought a house last fall with some raised beds, so I am attempting to grow some things. Zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, kale. Trying to have grow some strawberries, basil, parsley, and cilantro as well... I don't have a clue what I'm doing so we'll see. :)

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Totally spoiled over here. My family has a farm where we grow 95% of the vegetables we eat, maybe 15% of the fruit, half of the dairy - goat (when I'm eating it!) all of the eggs (duck and chicken), a handful of different spices (coriander, turmeric, ginger, etc) and a few loaves of bread worth of wheat (again...if/when I'm eating it!). From neighbors, I get 100% of my pork and beef. I get cow milk (and cheese), chicken, olive oil, and another 15% of my fruit from the farmers market with folks more far afield. 

 

I moved from the farm back to the city last year and don't have a garden at home right now. My oldest just started kindergarten and I'm helping them get a veggie garden established there. It doesn't produce much so I still get all my veggies from the farm (which we go to at least once a week). It's totally cheating that I do hardly any of the work and get to take so much home!  :P

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