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What Are Your Garden Plans

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 February 2012 at 10:38

Have you started planning your gardens yet?

It looks like I'll be running the historic gardens at Fort Boonesborough again this year, and have just finished my paper plan.

I’ve got the main garden divided into 23 demonstration plots. Counting companions and succession plantings there will be 32 plants in all. A fair percentage of them are actual 18- or early 19th century varieties. Considering that 80% of 18th century varieties are considered to be extinct, I’m rather pleased with the proportion of them I’ll be growing.

The garden area consists of three large raised beds (5 x 40 feet), enclosed by a worm fence. There are 3 V patches formed on each of the long sides, by the fence, a rectangle at the back, and a straight fence at the front. I’m not growing anything on the front fence. The back rectangle will have upper ground sweet potato squash.

On the left I’ll have Virginia Gourdseed Corn in all three Vs, with Cherokee Cornfield Beans growing up the corn. More than likely I’ll have gourds grow on the actual fence. The right will have Orinoco Tobacco in all three Vs, with Jimmy’s White Cucumber growing on the actual fence.

Each of the raised beds is divided into 8 five-foot patches, some of which are adapted up- or down-wards to accommodate the specific plants. Here’s the complete list. Those in parenthesis are follow-up plants.

Bed #1: Chives, Cosmic Purple Carrots interplanted with French Breakfast Radish, Catskill Brussels Sprouts, Turga Parsnips interplanted with Rat Tail Radish, Cardoon, Mahon Sweet Potatoes, seed turnips, Forellenschluss Lettuce (Cayenne).

Bed #2: Fife Creek Okra, Large Red Tomato interplanted with Basil, Carolina Black Peanuts, Calabresse Broccoli, Windsor Broad Beans, Black Kale (Cylindra Beets), Spanish Onions (Whippoorwill Cowpeas).

Bed #3: Bullnose Peppers, Yellow Crookneck Squash (Black Spanish Round Radish), Kennebec Potatoes (Amber Globe Turnips), Jacobs Cattle Beans, Late Flat Dutch Cabbage, Rosa Bianca Eggplant.

In addition to the main garden I’ll be growing vining plants up the sidewalls of some of the cabins. This will include: Corsican Gourds, Sugar Pea, Scarlet Runner Beans, Snap Peas, and Clabbord Beans.

Plus I’ll have the various herb beds (one large culinary and one large medicinal) and other plantings, such as dye plants by the spinning and weaving cabins.

So, all in all, it’ll be a busy gardening season.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 February 2012 at 13:29
say, brook - looks like you've got some great plans for this year.
 
for myself i always start with some really ambitious plans, but time constraints and mother nature seem to work against me. our growing season is very short here, so it is always a challenge to get some things in the ground. last year i was all set to go with a lot of great things, but was unable to plant until june, which eliminated many of my plans. this year, i am hoping to have better luck and build some skill and experience.
 
most of what i plan on growing are staples that can be used for many dishes. tomatoes always seem to do well, and i try to get a good mix of slicers, cherry tomatoes and roma-type tomatoes. this year i am going to try the san marzano again, and hope for better results. Also, i'm planning to do 2 or three different kinds of onions, and perhaps a few hungarian-type peppers. also on the list are potatoes, peas, cabbage, beets, zucchini and maybe eggplant. and,  if possible, watermelon and pumpkin for my youngest son, who is going to help me.
 
i always manage to get too complicated and want to avoid that this year. might switch a few out or drop a few but that's my basic goal, which seems do-able.
 
as for herbs, i plant them separately in pots, and they seem to do well at the beginning but always peter out, except for two or three. the only one i really have a LOT trouble with is french tarragon, which i can't start from seed. the rest, i plant fairly early and take good care of them, but they always seem to wither out before i can really use them. i think i plant too many seeds in the pot to begin with, and then fail to thin them out - will take a better effort with that this year.
 
also, since chinook is home to the "sugarbeeters:"
 
 
i might plant a few sugarbeets and see if i can do anything with them for the sugarbeet festival later this year. i do have a couple of OLD recipes, including pickled sugarbeets, that might be interesting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 February 2012 at 13:47
The first secret, Ron, is to choose varieties that will ripen within your growing season---which generally can be defined as average last frost to average first frost.
 
For example, my favorite pumpkin has a 115-125 days to maturity season. So it probably wouldn't work by you.
 
And it always helps to work with hardy plants, like cabbage, which can be planted before the last frost. Many of the greens fall into that category as well.
 
The second secret is to start as much as possible indoors, and put plants, rather than seeds, in the garden. One thing we've been learning, over the past decade or so, is that many "non-transplantable" plants really are. You just have to take steps to eliminate, or minimize, root shock.
 
You can find several sites, on-line, that provide both the frost dates for your area, and how long before the frost date you should be setting seed.
 
Don't know exactly what you herb problem is. Overcrowding might contribute, but isn't the whole story. The two biggest problems with herbs are over-watering them, and over-feeding. Give some thought to it: most of the common herbs we grow are native to the arid, non-fertile hills of the Med. So, basically, you don't want to water them until the soil is actually dry. And you shouldn't feed them at all.
 
Many herbs, including tarragon, can be started from cuttings. So you might consider that route instead of seeds. And you should learn which ones are annuals (such as basil), which biennials (like parsley), and which perennials (like tarragon, as it happens), because that can affect how they work out.  
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 February 2012 at 13:59
regarding the garden - sounds like a good plan. i tried that to a small extent last year, but our crazy "spring" unfortunately interfered and i was nearly a month late with everything. i ended up doing fairly well with some shorter-growing things, but it kind of set a bad tone for the whole thing. one thing i forgot to mention up there was that i will also try a row of carrots ~
 
as for the herbs, i think you might have hit on something with the watering. i do tend to water them quite a bit, and that might be part of the problem. the perennials i have (tarragon, chives and also oregano and marjoram, if i remember correctly), should come up again - will see.
 
with both the garden and the herbs, i plan a whole re-set of the situation and hope to learn enough to really start taking it seriously. i've got a roto-tiller that my mother-in-law gave us - it just needs to have the engine rebuilt, so this will help. also, my yougest son talked me into buying a few of those upside-down planters for tomatoes and peppers (and also strawberries, i think), and i'll give those a try, just to see how they do.
 
speaking of strawberries, i planted a few of them in various little nooks and crannies about 3 years ago, and they are starting to pay off a bit as of last year. we also have rhubarb, which i really like, growing in various corners. this goes off on another related tangent: i'd like to get some raspberry and other similar things growing in the corners and along the property lines - my dad has some "sand cherry" plants (not sure what the official name is) and i'll try them, too ~ eventually, i'd like to get an apple and cherry tree going, but in our "zone," this will truly be a challenge.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 February 2012 at 08:37
A trick for your carrots, Ron.
 
Carrots are very slow to germinate, taking as much as 21 days. So, in order to keep track of where you planted them, put a row of radishes next to the carrot row. Radishes are fast germinating and fast growing. By the time you've harvested them, the carrots should have sprouted.
 
I sometimes take this a step further and interplant lettuce on one side of the carrots and radishes on the other. The lettuce lasts a little longer than the radishes. By the time the lettuce is done (it's not particularly heat tolerant) the carrots will need thinning.
 
If the radishes should get away from you, no problem. Let them bolt, then harvest and pickle the seed pods. Use them just the way you'd use capers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2012 at 17:50

Rhubarb traditionally grows well here in south-east Alaska and ours is already trying to sprout so I covered it with snow.   Between the weather and my heavily shaded garden plot not much will grow well except potatoes.  My wife did manage to start a lavender bed last year though.  I strongly support heirloom seeds but not many grow well here. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2012 at 18:10
I always thought of you having a short but intense growing season, Karl. All those pics of giant cabbages and the like.
 
Surely you can do hardy greens?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2012 at 12:36
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I always thought of you having a short but intense growing season, Karl. All those pics of giant cabbages and the like.
 
Surely you can do hardy greens?




The giant cabbages are more up in the Anchorage bowl.  Here we are surrounded by very tall trees and mountains so we do not enjoy all of the benefits of long summer days.  Remember that there is no "high noon" at this latitude, the sun just sort of goes around the horizon.  We have overcast skies maybe 6 days each week with some form of participation up to 5 days each week.  It is very green and lush but not many domestic crops are suited to this.  Zukes are sort of the "cut off" plant that depending on your direct light either whither or grow huge and fast even for zukes.  There are much better gardeners than myself around though.  One lady in my church does well with a variety of green beans. 

The towns of Gustavus and Skagway are much ebtter for gardening due to their microclimates and sun exposure.  During the gold rush era they were the bread basket for south-east Alaska. 

Salmon berries, blue berries, and thimble berries among other species thrive here.  In the spring we also have spruce buds, fern fiddleheads, and devil's club buds in the spring. 
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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 2012 at 04:16
Just bumping this because the timing is better to discuss garden plans.
 
We start work at the Fort today, two weeks later than normal. So I've really got my work cut out for me, getting everything in.
 
One addition to the above: I was told about a dwarf cherry tomato called Red Robin. It only grows to a foot tall, and is very happy in an 8-inch pot. So I started a bunch of them, and will give the seedlings to youngsters visiting the fort, so they can have their own gardening experience.
 
What's everybody else doing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2012 at 11:47
I'd love to see pictures of the garden at the Fort! Sounds like a great plan. We've actually grown many of those varieties (we do a lot of heirlooms).

My family farm has a garden year round, so that has been going strong. But I've just put a garden back in at my house after a 3 year hiatus (to work on the farm of course). It's just about finished. So far we have tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, and cucumber already growing. Seed that have been planted and are just starting to germinate are green beans, okra, summer squash, winter squash and cantaloupe. I have yet to plan my corn (I'm late!), cowpeas, sweet potatoes and watermelons.

Here's the garden as of yesterday (the "big" plants in the front are tomatillos):


The garden is 10 rows, each 50 feet long. I'm just doing 'single' rows for this part of the garden as it's going to be the main summer crop area where wide rows don't really matter. We are preparing another area for the fall that will have 3 foot wide rows for things like beets, carrots, lettuce, etc.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 21:26
Is nobody else gardening 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: 08 May 2012 at 21:33
i gotta admit, i've been a little lax, but hopefully not for long.
 
the actual growing season, due to chance of frost, doesn't really start until the middle of may, here. i've got a few various varieties of tomatoes started, and also i think a few chili peppers, even though i never have luck with them. we'll also try a few other things - one i really want to get growing is anasazi beans. i'm considering experimenting with growing them up corn stalks, a la pilgrim settlers, but this is only in the "hey, that sounds like a cool idea" stage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 21:45
Ron, anasazi are a bush type bean, not a climbing pole bean. So that won't work.
 
For interplanting you want one of the so-called cornfield beans. Although many pole beans will work, the hallmark of the cornfield types is that they're more shade tolerant, and do better mixed in with the corn's foliage. I'll get a sample pack of a cornfield bean out to you tomorrow.
 
If you're going that route, why not go whole hog and put in a Three Sisters patch, in which your corn, beans, and pumpkins are interplanted in a perfect synergistic relationship?  According to Cornel, which did a study of them, a Three Sisters patch produces 35% more usable biomass than the same three varieties planted separately.
 
There are two models for Three Sisters plantings; the Algonquian and the Missourian. If you're interested let me know, and I'll explain the differences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 22:14
many thanks for the bean seeds, brook - i do appreciate them and will give them a try.
 
i am intrigued by the idea of three sisters patch, but will admit i have only the very vaguest, sketchy idea of what you're talking about. not sure which model would be best for this climate/growing zone, but would love to give it a try. the only hang-up i see might be the pumpkins (insert mental image of the beautiful mrs. tas giving a frustrated shake of her pretty head here). could the "pumpkin" part of the equation perhaps include other squash-type plants, say, zucchini or, well squash?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2012 at 02:43
AngryUnfortunately, the height of my neighbors untrimmed trees make it and excercise in futility for me to till the earth any longer. Whatever I grow is now in pots surrounding my deckCry
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2012 at 04:38

When I was a kid, Dave, we lived in a small apartment. Mom always kept a couple of pots out on the fire escape. Far as I'm concerned, that was a garden.

More and more people are container gardening, for various reasons. So, while you may not be able to maintain a big plot in the ground, you are still gardening IMO.
 
Ron: I will start a separate thread about Three Sisters gardening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 10:51
We're still plugging along. The cucumbers have started to produce but that's about it. I've got a lot of stuff either blooming (peppers, eggplant, green beans, summer squash) or setting fruit (tomatoes, tomatillos) but haven't started pulling in much!


The garden at the family farm is still producing an incredible assortment of goodies. Here's what went out in the CSA baskets last week:


That's Swiss Chard, White Lady turnips, beets, radicchio, blackberries, green beans and a white onion.
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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 2012 at 10:56
looking good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 12:00
My plans? I have none. For me it's cheaper to buy local produce when it's in season, than to grow it my self. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 13:35
Ah, but gardening isn't about cheaper! You should read The $64 TomatoTongue

For me, I could even get all my produce for "free" from my family farm (I do slave away out there and do some admin business stuff) but it's so much fun to have your own garden! It's a real experience. Of course, if you have the time and inclination - obviously not for everyone!
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