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efduncan 06-27-2010 11:58 AM

Home garden
 
Lots of talk on here about organic food. I love to grow my own. It is amazing how much fun and reward you can get from a very small investment and a very small patch of dirt. I have invested about $25 this spring in my mini garden.
I think my little garden (about 200 square foot) is at its peak right now. I have 2 of the cherry tomato plants giving about 20 salad tomatoes a day. I have 9 "Better-boys" tomatoes thats just started producing, about 2-3 a day (love a tomato sandwich). 3 kinds of squash we have been enjoying for weeks. 2 kind of cucumbers and giving 2 or 3 a day. 3 kinds of peppers that are just going wild and I cannot eat fast enough. Hitting wally-world later today for some canning supplies to pickle some peppers for the winter.
The squash is starting to slow down so may take them out soon and add some late season tomatoes.
Best part of it is it's all good for you as well as your waist line.

almeeker 06-27-2010 04:00 PM

I love our garden too, although I live much farther north, so ours is just getting started. It's also not a "small" patch by any means. My mom and I share a pair of gardens, one is for seasonal veggies it's maybe 1.5 acres, the other is an half acre perennial garden with strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, asparagus and rhubarb. We're hoping to add some blueberry bushes to the property next spring, but those will likely be planted around the swamp back in the woods. Dad and I also have discussed planting some dwarf fruit trees up north of the veggie garden, but first we'll have to find a way to keep the deer out of them. YIKES!!!

Yesterday we picked raspberries, red ones from the perennial garden and wild black ones from the lane. Yummmm, there is almost nothing tastier than black raspberry pie. And hopefully I won't come down with poison ivy from that little jaunt, but I might that nasty stuff was EVERYWHERE! Ugh.

If you're interested in canning, you might want to buy a copy of the Ball Canning Book, it's well worth the $7 price tag, you can find it pretty much wherever canning products are sold. I've been canning my whole life and still pull it out at the beginning of every canning season to double check the processing requirements.

Lizzycritter 06-27-2010 05:06 PM

Not even sure I can call mine a garden, but there's a cherry tomato plant, a "regular" tomato plant, and a striped tomato. I usually plant a yellow but couldn't find one this year. My daugter planted a strawberry plant last year, it's going gangbusters but the ants keep stealing the berries ><. There's also wild blackberries along our back fence that are going nuts, picked about 2 quarts yesterday and will probably be able to pick that many more today if the rain would quit. Gonna try my hand at blackberry crumble tonight :D

mstaff4564 06-27-2010 05:41 PM

I would love to have a garden of my own, but my parents have a really good-sized one that I end up mooching off of. Plus, they have a solar electric fence surrounding it, which helps keep the critters out.

I'm really grateful for that garden right now. I want to eat healthier, but we are really struggling to pay bills and it's hard to fight for fresh fruit when we can barely afford food for meals that week. I try to buy seasonal, but I still find myself having to cut out fruits I really want because of the price.

Fortunately I have a lot of vegetables to choose from thanks to my parents garden. Lettuce, squash, cucumbers...and I think the first batch of tomatoes will be ready next weekend (my favorite). I think the broccoli is starting to come in too. By the time growing season is over, I hope to be in a better position financially where I can at least afford some fresh or frozen veggies & fruits to see me through the winter.

Next year I might consider a berry garden, with some strawberries, blueberries, etc. That would be a good way to get inexpensive fruits as well :)

alice6065 06-27-2010 06:18 PM

At this point my garden doesn't give me food, but it definitely gives me exercise: weeding, pruning, digging, mowing, moving pots around. I love it. I do have one tomato plant and a pot of chives - would like to do an herb garden.

efduncan 06-27-2010 06:23 PM

My Mom and Dad always had about 1/4 ac. garden when they were younger and my my mom is my source for canning. She is a GREAT cook. (Had to be to keep a son my size full) I'll check with her, would almost bet she would have one on the Ball canning books.
Think I have enough peppers for 2-3 pints this afternoon.

efduncan 06-27-2010 09:13 PM

almeeker, just read your stats, your amazing! Your are kicking big time weight loss butt!
Proud of you and I know your feeling great about it!

KristynBond 07-06-2010 02:46 PM

My husband and I just moved into a new house a week and a half ago, and one of the first things I did was start a garden. I'd never gardened before, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Of course, it's very late in the planting year, so I bought already growing plants and planted them in the garden. Next year I'm going to start in the spring and plant tons of seeds. For this year I have two blueberry bushes, two raspberry bushes (they're not going to make it), and 1 blackberry bush (that one's not going to make it either). I also have 9 tomato plants, 5 jalapeno plants, two zucchini squash plants, a red pepper plant, green pepper plant, two cucumber plants (again...not going to make it), cantaloupe, watermelon (this one's pretty iffy), oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
I'm really enjoying gardening so far...although it's only been a little over a week. I'm excited for things to start to grow, even though I know I won't get much this year because it's so hot already. Of course since I planted everything it's been about 95 degrees here a day, with no rain, and it's going to be about 100 degrees all week this week.
Any gardening tips/suggestions for a newbie gardener would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

almeeker 07-06-2010 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by efduncan (Post 14554)
My Mom and Dad always had about 1/4 ac. garden when they were younger and my my mom is my source for canning. She is a GREAT cook. (Had to be to keep a son my size full) I'll check with her, would almost bet she would have one on the Ball canning books.
Think I have enough peppers for 2-3 pints this afternoon.

My grandmother is a GREAT cook too, and she cans everything from memory. I could probably do that too, but I like the double check with the canning book, just to make sure my process is solid. You know it's one of those things you only do for part of the year, and it's just nice to have that book to back up what my brain is already 90% sure of. Besides if I wanted to poison someone I would use something that didn't require quite so much effort as a batch of canned goods. I do call mom and grans if I have a specific questions about one of their recipes. BTW peppers (all kinds) freeze pretty well. Okay they freeze well if you're going to cook them later, they are much softer after they've been frozen, but I like to use them for pizza, sweet & sour chicken, fajitas, etc etc. And usually I bag up enough to use all winter. It saves a lot of money. I also like to throw hot peppers into my food dehydrator and once they're dry put them through the blender to make my own "red pepper flakes". DH loves them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by efduncan (Post 14566)
almeeker, just read your stats, your amazing! Your are kicking big time weight loss butt!
Proud of you and I know your feeling great about it!

Thanks. Although admittedly this past holiday weekend was something of a disaster calorie-wise, on the flip side I had a ton of fun and if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. You just gotta have beer at an Eric Clapton concert, it's a law or something.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KristynBond (Post 15154)
My husband and I just moved into a new house a week and a half ago, and one of the first things I did was start a garden. I'd never gardened before, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Of course, it's very late in the planting year, so I bought already growing plants and planted them in the garden. Next year I'm going to start in the spring and plant tons of seeds. For this year I have two blueberry bushes, two raspberry bushes (they're not going to make it), and 1 blackberry bush (that one's not going to make it either). I also have 9 tomato plants, 5 jalapeno plants, two zucchini squash plants, a red pepper plant, green pepper plant, two cucumber plants (again...not going to make it), cantaloupe, watermelon (this one's pretty iffy), oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
I'm really enjoying gardening so far...although it's only been a little over a week. I'm excited for things to start to grow, even though I know I won't get much this year because it's so hot already. Of course since I planted everything it's been about 95 degrees here a day, with no rain, and it's going to be about 100 degrees all week this week.
Any gardening tips/suggestions for a newbie gardener would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

Don't be so quick to write off the raspberries, they are bi-annual canes. Basically the first year you get a plain cane and the second year they fruit and shoot. Which means they have no berries the first year and transplants look very much like dying sticks, but the second year they produce berries and send off roots that make new bare canes. Sometimes a cane will fruit for 2 years, but not always. Sometimes if a cane is very stressed as it is in a transplant situation it will send off roots the first year. So very possibly you will have new canes and fruiting canes next year, or if the weather is terrible, just some new canes. It takes a while to get an established raspberry bush.

Most varieties of blueberries need acidic soil, so if you don't have such then get some plant food for acid loving plants, Miracle Grow makes it. You can also dig out some of the dirt around the blueberries and fill it in with peat moss and used coffee grounds. Frequently blueberries are planted in old bog areas, well at least around here all the best ones are. Blackberries usually need some cow poo, but not fresh poo - aged, or a weekly dribble of compost tea.

Your cucumbers probably have what my mother and I call "the scourge". It's got a longer name, several actually, but it's vicious no matter what you call it. It's actually caused by diseased bugs, spotted cucumber beetles, stripped cucumber beetles and squash bugs. We use organic DE (diametatious earth, not sure on the spelling of it, ask for it with the acronym), you can also use stuff called "Sevin", which is DE with pesticide in it. Cucumbers are prone to bacterial and fungal infections, the best way to treat them is to buy plants and seeds that are disease resistant. Sounds like you don't have that kind of cucumber though (neither do we). Anyhow, you have to keep the plants dusted 24-7, just about from the first moment they show their pretty leaves to the sun; immediately following any rain you gotta go back out with the dust. Remember to wear your mask, or at the very least stand up wind of the dust. Same treatment for the watermelon although they are usually much more disease resistant (although not always). You also might want to invest in some water-on fertilizer or some compost. Usually if you've recently dug up a corner of the yard which has been grass for the last 80 years, the soil has a ton of nitrogen, but little else. Guaranteed if your garden is a complete disaster this year, you heap your compost (leaves, yard waste, veggy peels, table scraps, egg shells etc) on it all winter and till it up next Spring with all that good compost and you'll be amazed at how great everything will grow next year. Sorry to go on and on, but when it comes to gardening I've made almost every mistake, had every failure and success possible, but yet I love it love it love it, year after year.

efduncan 07-06-2010 07:18 PM

almeeker, I saw Eric Clapton a couple months ago near Atlanta (Roger Daltrey opened the show). He was great and yes, I had a couple beers during the concert too. It's Okay to cheat sometimes. It was a fun night.No bigger EC fan than me.
My pickled peppers and dills turned out looking great. Can't wait to try them in a few weeks. Still getting too many tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers but with family and friends, none going to waste.


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