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2013 Backyard Garden

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 April 2013 at 10:04
Well, here I go again ~ last year, the weeds defeated me, but this year, I've got some ideas about that.
 
I bought one of those "garden starters" that look like this:
 
 
My garden space is an estimated 18 feet by 30-something feet (I always treat it as if it is 36 feet, but it is probably a bit shorter). I want to leave enough space between the rows and (possibly) the larger individual plants (tomatoes etc) to run a roto-tiller to help with the weeding, so I am assuming 6 large plants per row. For smaller things, such as any carrots, radishes, beets, onions etc that I might plant. I'll just run a full row.
 
I'm going to attempt a "matrix" here, looking at the garden from the east:
 
(TOP)
W

 

C H A I N  -  L I N K    F E N C E

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

(LEFT) S     25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36   N (RIGHT)

37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

 

E

(BOTTOM)
 
In the past, I would always just run "top-to-bottom" rows of something, perhaps splitting one or two rows in half. but when it came time to get things done, it always seems that I would run into trouble, so this year I will see about organising the space into "blocks." This way, I can have things I want in an area, and not be limited to the confines of strict rows; also, perhaps it will help for those things that need pollination - who knows. It can't be any worse than what I've been doing in the past, and might help; if it doesn't work, there's always next year!
 
My 3 sisters patch last year was too big for me to manage, so this year, I intend to cut it down from a 6x6 plot to 4x3, in the hopes that I can keep up with it. The 4x3 assumes 12 corn plants with 12 bean plants running up the corn and 6 winter squash-type/pumpkin mounds interspaced, probably in the southwest corner of the matrix (45, 46, 47, 48, 57, 58, 59, 60, 69, 70, 71 and 72).
 
Running north from that point, I'd like to run a short "horizontal" row (33, 34, 35 and 36) of some Spanish (or Possibly Italian) peppers I have - I believe called "sheepnose" peppers; the package shows them as fairly roundish and they look to be of small-to medium size - they are red and slightly wrinkly-looking; perhaps some kind of cherry pepper - and the label says "peperone piccante a cuore."
 
Above that (21, 22, 23 and 24), I'll do a short row of Spanish peppers; the label only says "pimiento cereza grande."
 
Above that, I'd like a longer row of 6 cucumber plants (7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12) for Hungarian sun pickles and our house-recipe kosher dill pickles; I intend to use the chain-link fence as a trellis.
 
Below the "south" end of the cucumbers, there will be space for two rows of 5 plants each (19, 20, 31, 32, 43, 44, 55, 56, 67 and 68). This should be a great place for some green peas.
 
Okay, that covers half the garden (the north half)....
 
I'll use some space at the "top" along the chain link fence for 3 zucchini plants (1, 2 and 3), using the fence as a trellis, if needed.
 
The three corresponding spots at the "bottom (61, 62 and 63) will be mounds for watermelon, honeydew melon and cantaloupe/muskmelon, respectively.
 
Tomatoes - the whole reason I love to garden, and the main reason I keep trying! Starting at the south, "left" end, I'll run a verticle line of cherry tomatoes (13, 25, 37 and 49); next, a line of Cherokee purple tomatoes and/or some other similarly-sized tomato, depending on what I can get (14, 26, 38 and 50); I may do a little mixing and matching here. Then, I'll run a line of San Marzanos (15, 27, 39 and 51). Finally, I'll also plant some yellow pear tomatoes (4, 16 and 28), since the Beautiful Mrs. Tas likes them.
 
A friend sent some Hungarian Pepper seeds; the kind that are used to make paprika, so I will be giving these a try, as well this year. I'll plant six (5, 6, 17, 18, 29 and 30) and see how they do.
 
I "think" I still have some Anasazi beans; if so, I'll plant three (42, 54 and 56) and see if I can make them grow.; if I don't have any more, I'll get some Jacob's cattle beans and give them a shot.
 
Somewhere, interspaced between some rows or perhaps somewhere along the perimetre, I'll transplant the onions that seem to pop up every year, and will most likely add more. Another thing we will try is kohlrabi, and I might also try some other "root" crops or green, leafy lettuce-type things.
 
Here is the "key" to the matrix....
  1. Zucchini
  2. Zucchini
  3. Zucchini
  4. Yellow pear tomato
  5. Hungarian pepper
  6. Hungarian pepper
  7. Cucumber
  8. Cucumber
  9. Cucumber
  10. Cucumber
  11. Cucumber
  12. Cucumber
  13. Cherry tomato
  14. Cherokee purple or similar tomato
  15. San Marzano tomato
  16. Yellow pear tomato
  17. Hungarian pepper
  18. Hungarian pepper
  19. Peas
  20. Peas
  21. Pimiento cereza grande
  22. Pimiento cereza grande
  23. Pimiento cereza grande
  24. Pimiento cereza grande
  25. Cherry tomato
  26. Cherokee purple or similar tomato
  27. San Marzano tomato
  28. Yellow pear tomato
  29. Hungarian pepper
  30. Hungarian pepper
  31. Peas
  32. Peas
  33. Peperone piccante a cuore
  34. Peperone piccante a cuore
  35. Peperone piccante a cuore
  36. Peperone piccante a cuore
  37. Cherry tomato
  38. Cherokee purple or similar tomato
  39. San Marzano tomato
  40. Green beans
  41. Green Beans
  42. Anasazi or Jacob's cattle bean
  43. Peas
  44. Peas
  45. 3 Sisters
  46. 3 Sisters
  47. 3 Sisters
  48. 3 Sisters
  49. Cherry tomato
  50. Cherokee purple or similar tomato
  51. San Marzano tomato
  52. Green beans
  53. Green beans
  54. Anasazi or Jacob's cattle bean
  55. Peas
  56. Peas
  57. 3 Sisters
  58. 3 Sisters
  59. 3 Sisters
  60. 3 Sisters
  61. Watermelon
  62. Honey-dew melon
  63. Cantaloupe
  64. Green Beans 
  65. Green Beans 
  66. Anasazi or Jacob's cattle bean
  67. Peas
  68. Peas
  69. 3 Sisters
  70. 3 Sisters
  71. 3 Sisters
  72. 3 Sisters
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2013 at 10:48
Let us know how those peat buttons work out for you, Ron. Most serious gardeners who have tried them, despise them.

Among other problems: The mesh netting that holds them together is not biodegradable. So, often, plant roots cannot grow through it at all. And even when they can, the mesh gets left behind.

I recommend that when you transplant you slash the net once or twice on the sides, and once on the bottom, to give the roots a break.

I also have to take you to task, my friend. You keep describing your garden space as small. Considering that the typical home garden is 200 square feet or less, yours is gigantic. We're talking more than twice the space typically used.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2013 at 10:53
Okay, no more complaints about a small garden! Wink
 
I've used the peat buttons before, and find them to be an "adequate" way to get started - I like peat pots a little better, but Melissa got me this, so it will be alright. We usually rip the bottoms out of these and also the peat pots, but I'll be sure to also slit the sides as well ~ might even remove the mesh altogether, since I usually try to transplant the seedlings into peat pots when they get a little bigger ~  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2013 at 13:53

Note -

In addition to the backyard garden, I'm also drawing up plans for a planter garden, which will include herbs and a few other things.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2013 at 15:48
ok, I think I have it all laid out, with changes made. The matrix above is the stuff I will start in the starter kit, but As noted I will also be planting between some rows and/or around the perimetre, including onions, kohlrabi and possibly some other root vegetables and/or leafy-green lettuce-type stuff.
 
Looking forward to it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2013 at 19:05
   It's all looking good, Ron!

  Good job planning!
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2013 at 09:00
Thanks, Dan - every year it seems as if my plans are pretty good, but my execution is awful. We get some really good tomatoes and a few other things, but I'm pretty sure it's probably only about 10% or less of what we COULD get.
 
I'm hoping to improve this year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 13:58
Some important dates will be catalogued here; my dad gave them to me, based on about 40 years of gardening in our area of north-central Montana:
 
Peppers and Tomatoes - start these by about March 20th; my dad's birthday is 19 March, so that's a good way to remember.
 
Cucumbers, squash, watermelons, and most other vegetables: Start right around may 1st; my youngest son's birthday is 28 April, and that's a good way to remember.
 
I'll add to this list as I learn more; keep in mind this is for my area only, and it probably doesn't take too much change in latitude for those dates to change.
 
Also, I'm making a couple of minor alterations to the matrix above - more this evening or tomorrow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 14:09
Whatever works in your area is the correct way, Ron. Something much of the garden literature misses.

FWIW, we use the word "start" when talking about setting seed indoors for later transplant. Otherwise we use the term "direct sowing."

Tomatoes are started 6-8 weeks before the average last frost in your area. Peppers are started 8-10 weeks.

Cucurbits are, traditionally, direct sown as soon as all danger of frost is past. However, they have joined the ranks of veggies which, in the past, were not started ahead of time because they suffer severe root stock. Many root veggies are also being started, nowadays, whereas in the past they weren't.

Generally speaking, when I pre-start things like cucurbits I do so in either newspaper (preferred) or peat pots, so that the whole pot gets transplanted. This reduces root shock. And I start them no more than three weeks before transplant.

In my area, last frost is May 10, and I date everything from that date.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 14:17
>>>FWIW, we use the word "start" when talking about setting seed indoors for later transplant. Otherwise we use the term "direct sowing."<<<
 
Yep! Thumbs Up
 
From what I've seen, our last frost seems to be around 15 May, give or take.
 
I'm going to be investing in a few peat pots - I have some left over frm last year ~ or, my son can help me make newspaper pots. I'm sure instructions for these are easy and widely avaialble, but it would be nice to have them here at FotW, too!
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 15:49
Newspaper pots are easy to make, and cost nothing.

I've started a new thread with instructions for those interested.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 19:39
thanks, brook!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 22:39
Well, because of the dates posted above, the future of the matrix is hanging in the balance this year ~ no worries, though, because we are moving forward here ~
 
I started some tomatoes (9 yellow pear, 12 sweet cherry, 6 Cherokee Purple, 3 Brandywine and 9 San Marzano) and peppers (3 Italian, 3 Spanish and 9 Hungarian) with my sons Micheal and Roger this evening. We had a few peat pots left over from last year, and we also made some newspaper pots as described by Brook. We planted 3 seeds in each pot, on the theory that at least one will sprout and if all do, we can transplant to more newspaper pots. I still have some Phillipine peppers to plant that I got from Rod, but I want to set up a special area for those.
 
I realise this is a little late to start for our area (according to the dates provided by dad, 20 March would probably have been better to start), but it's been a long month as we had to re-arrange our schedules etc. Does anyone have any ideas to help them out as they get started so that they have a better chance to thrive? I don't have a heating pad or special lights, so those options are out.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2013 at 06:34
You don't need special lights for seed starting, Ron. Plain, cold-white flourescents will do. As the plants emerge, keep the lights no more than an inch or two from their tops. If you don't have one, get a cheap timer for the lights---you want them to stay on about 16 hours.

So long as the seed trays are warmish you should be ok. Technically, peppers like it around 85F to germinate. But they'll do fine lower than that---it just takes them longer to get going. I keep my seed-starting room at about 70F.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2013 at 07:05
Tas and Brook,

Very interesting thread gents.

What is a " sister " ? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2013 at 08:04
We planted 3 seeds in each pot, on the theory that at least one will sprout

We used to say, about seedlings, "one for the Goddess, one for the critters, and one to grow." So would set three times the seed we needed.

But the fact is, the idea of planting three seeds was originated by the seed companies in order to sell more seed. There's really no reason for it.

Commercial seed has to meet federal germination standards. They vary by veggie type, but the lowest is something like 73%. And it's rare that germination is as low as the standard.

With properly home-saved seed, germination should average around 90%.

So, basically, if you set 10-15% more seed than you need, you should get the number of plants you want. Any more than that and you usually wind up giving, or throwing away, the extras.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2013 at 08:28
Thank you Brook ... Interesting philosophy ... One for the Diosa = Goddess, one for the Fauna, and one to grow !!!  

Very nice idiom or saying ! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2013 at 08:30
Hey, Brook ~ that's good information to know, about the germination etc. Thanks ~  
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2013 at 08:37
Well, the matrix is out, for this year. Incorporating different types of plants that start at different times was the folly of my first attempt. I'll know next year to do it a little differently! Thumbs Up
 
However, last night, my youngest son and I got our 'melon- and squash-type" plants started. We used the starter "greenhouse" kit above, and started 12 rows. This worked out well, since we had 12 different species of plants to start. I don't remember all of the specific species/varieties, but we planted small and large pumpkins, small and large watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, zucchini, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, cushaw (?) green-striped squash, cucumbers and (our long-shot plant) eggplant, which should have been planted with the tomatoes/peppers. We'll see how it goes.
 
We watered and expanded the "peat disks" and planted 2 seeds in each one, except for the large pumpkin seeds, which only got one seed in each disk. I'm hoping all disks germinate, and we'll put at least three or four of everything in the ground, giving any extras to my dad.
 
When actual planting time comes, the tomatoes, peppers and the ones we planted last night will go into the ground, along with corn, beans, peas, opnions, and (if I remember correcly) brussels sprouts. we might also try some root vegetables such as carrots, beets etc. as well as some leafy green stuff such as cabbage and some type of lettuce.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2013 at 09:16
Ron, do not attempt saving seed from all those squash. They will sure to be crossed.

I've often said that peppers are the sluts of the garden; they'll cross if you even look at them cockeyed. Squash runs them a close second, though.

You can get away with planting different species of squash. Those won't cross with each other. But squash of the same species will. I'll have to look up the others, but, off the top of my head, I know that the zucchini and acorn squash are the same species.

As to the other veggies, the two watermelons will cross. So, too, will the cantaloupe and honeydew.
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