Victory garden

Posted by: TeacherRO

Victory garden - 04/08/09 05:24 PM

First seedlings have sprouted, next set getting planted. Mostly growing veggies and some herbs -- most 40-90 days to harvest.
Posted by: Blast

Re: Victory garden - 04/08/09 06:42 PM

Already harvesting radishes and spinach. Corn is about 8" tall which means I'm late in getting bean/squash planted. Cabbages are doing nicely but the turnips and beets are failing. I'll tear those out and replant with okra. Tomatoes plants are looking a bit scraggly but with plenty of flowers and small fruits. Loquats are done for the year but my blackberries are covered with blossoms. Not sure what the carrots are doing, I need to check them.

Posted by: CAP613

Re: Victory garden - 04/08/09 06:50 PM

We still have snow.
Posted by: Lon

Re: Victory garden - 04/09/09 12:00 AM

I feel really "late" with just about everything in my garden this year... we've seen more rain this Spring (in my area) than I can remember in a long time.
With the clay soil that I've got; there's not a lot you can do when it's too wet.

I recently helped a neighbor replace the glass double-doors on the back of his house; and I made a pretty nice (if I say so myself) Cold Frame with his old doors. I have been able to get quite a few flats started in there.

Too bad some of this rain couldn't have waited until August!; that's when we usually hit a bad dry spell.
Posted by: scafool

Re: Victory garden - 04/09/09 12:16 AM

Originally Posted By: CAP613
We still have snow.

And will have snow for at least another month here too.
Posted by: jaywalke

Re: Victory garden - 04/09/09 10:42 AM

I've paid my local CSA for a full share, and the check has cleared. So far, we've gotten some spinach!

(This is my version of a victory garden. I grew up on a farm, and worked it since I was old enough to walk. It's the reason I went to college: so that I would *never* have to farm. :-] My wife occassionally talks about putting in a garden, and my reply is, "You have fun with that.")


Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 04/09/09 03:05 PM

Starting more seedlings so the harvest is staggered...
Posted by: kyle82

Re: Victory garden - 04/09/09 04:30 PM

oh 40 to 90 days before harvesting. Id probably plant a lot in my area. anyway i have a big backyard and im really planning to plant those vegetables Id like to eat often. thanks for the advices.
Posted by: Meadowlark

Re: Victory garden - 04/10/09 01:55 PM

Here's a useful technique for those with short growing seasons and limited space for starting seeds indoors:

It's still snowing here, and I already have lettuce and spinach seedlings coming up. smile

Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 04/10/09 01:57 PM

The key is to plant sun loving things in the sun, shade lovers n the shade, etc. And remember to water often.
Posted by: ZechariahStover

Re: Victory garden - 04/14/09 09:04 PM

It's still too cold here to plant anything out yet. The other night it got down to 25 degrees and most mornings there is ice in the water buckets. We do have spinach, radishes and lettuce in a little green house along the side of the house and there is enough heat coming off of the foundation for them to grow. Here in the house we also have a shelf along the south facing patio doors and we have started tomatoes, peppers and several different types of brassicas. They are about 3 inches tall and looking pretty healthy at this point. Hopefully it will warm up soon so we can get them planted out.
It is time to start pruning in the orchard so we will probably spend most of this Saturday doing that. Once it dries a little we will also need to get in the garden to till.
Posted by: scafool

Re: Victory garden - 04/14/09 09:23 PM

It is still snowing here. frown
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 05/02/09 05:12 AM

I`m still taking the mobile garden in and out of the house each day... we got snow last week, and rain now. Freezing temps sometimes still. Broccoli is in the ground and covered at night.

Giving away our corn... about 8" right now but no room in our garden this year.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Victory garden - 05/04/09 08:29 PM

Late to this thread, but our garden was a massive chore to get going. Last year, I knew I wanted a garden, problem was we're on a HEAVILY wooded lot, with mostly clay and VERY rocky soil. So first my son and I had to fell about 20 trees and clear some land. We started last July and, because he was only 9, and I'm getting a little creaky at 44, it took us most of the summer to clear out all the wood (I don't own a tractor so all the wood needs to be cut up and ax split and hauled in a wheelbarrow to the woodpile). In early fall, I had a buddy come over with a backhoe and I borrowed another backhoe and we pulled up the stumps and tore into the ground to pull out the largest of the rocks (many about the size of a large watermelon, a few the size of a full grown pig)as well as the larger roots. Into that space I pushed a bunch of topsoil that had rotted down from woodchips over the course of 5 years as well as a lot of composted henhouse wood shavings. The PH was all wrong, so all winter I'd put some wood ash in there and mix in whatever compost I could. On warmer days, we let the chickens free-range in the garden area. By spring I had a fair bed of soil to start, still too rocky, so I raked and raked and finally got a few rows of workable soil. Then I built a nice deer fence to keep those annoying critters out.

Now we've got peppers, tomatoes, peas, lettuce, kale and greenbeans in, as well as a lot of herbs and spices. At 60x100, the garden is way too small, so after this season, I'm going to do it the easy way - I'm going to burn off some more of the yard where I want the garden, drop another 10 trees, build a nice surround of stone walls and order two dump trucks of ready-to-go soil. I want to garden next year, not excavate.

We also participate in Community Supported Agriculture - and hopefully next year, we can order our grain locally.
Posted by: Lon

Re: Victory garden - 05/04/09 10:02 PM

martin, sounds like you've put some serious effort into turning some of your "woods" into garden space. Looks like you had a good plan... and I'm glad to hear that your efforts are starting to pay off with some useable land for gardening.

I was curious about your statement that the 60x100 [feet?] plot was "way too small"? That seems (to me) like a fairly large plot for a home garden.
Of course, if you're going to be selling your produce through the CSA program, that's another story.

But, if it's a "home" garden only, you might explore various techniques like wide-row, trellis, and raised-bed gardening to maximize the use of the space that you've already made.
That might save you a lot of time and effort (and money) in working to make the space bigger.
By incorporating some space-saving techniques; you might find that you don't need as much garden area as you think.

You may be hip to all that already; so my apologies if I'm re-hashing stuff that you're already into.

Posted by: DaveT

Re: Victory garden - 05/05/09 03:37 PM

This is year two of my garden. Last year was breaking ground/rototilling, surrounding it with deer fence (28x19 feet for the plot). Just after breaking ground, I also took on a trencher project, and ended up with about 6 or so wheelbarrows of extra dirt from the yard that became a mound in the garden space. I was late for creating the garden and planting (mid June) so it was all plants from nurseries, except for the corn. I added two feet of chicken wire to keep out the squirrels/small rabbits, which were making their way in through the wire gaps.

This year, I added a foot of chicken wire below the ground along the perimeter. I made two raised beds with landscaping timbers - four tiers high, 12 feet by 4 feet, so about 10-11 inches depth of soil. I was able to fill the beds with the mound of dirt that was left over, and that opened up level space for more planting. I added about 2/3 a wheelbarrow of aged manure to about 2/3 of the remaining bed space that I got from my cousin, who has a small working farm. I put about 15 asparagus roots into the raised beds, and in one corner of the fence I added five rhubarb root starts, and outside the garden I added 6 blueberries. So, all of those should be producing in another year or two. About half the asparagus have broken through the surface, and the rhubarb has started spreading out some green leaves.

I started a lot from seed this year in Jiffy peat pellet starters...about 6 or 7 varieties of heirloom tomato, zucchini and summer squash, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, red peppers and jalapenos. I'm also trying green beans and some hard beans like Jacob's Cattle and Soldier bean, carrots, a couple kinds of beets. However, I started the seeds in early April/late March, and we didn't get into good, warm weather until about a week ago. Lots of the starts became overtall and wispy - unable to support themselves. Also, as I was doing a couple days worth of tempering outside during daylight hours, a windy day wind-whipped a lot of them - so I have some very healthy things in the ground and some that haven't made it, and I've had to restart a bunch of things because they won't make it.

So, hopefully this second batch of starts will be able to take off in a lot better shape.

I used black fabric "mulch" cover a bit last year, and this year I reused it over each row, two layers thick, cutting X's for each plant. THAT was a huge drag, and after I'd done it, I think I came up with a better idea - next year, I'll cover each row (the fabric's 3 feet wide) with a layer of fabric, then cut parallel lines at one feet and two feet, then cut a shorter perpendicular line at the end of each row to make it a tall, skinny capital I. Then, I can fold under the fabric as it goes along the row, and plant within that folded-back space as closely or as widely spaced as needed, with little worry about weed growth.

Anyway, should be interesting.

Posted by: Lon

Re: Victory garden - 05/06/09 09:52 PM

My favorite things for weed control are mulch (mostly wood chips and/or grass clippings), and cardboard.
The mulch is nice because you can turn that into the soil after it has rotted down, and that adds good organic matter to your dirt.
And I find that cardboard makes a great "expedient mulch". It's super quick to place that where you need it, and a rock is usually all that's needed to keep it in place.

I gave up on using any of the plastic or fabric materials... those always seemed to put up too much of a fight with me!
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Victory garden - 05/07/09 12:46 AM

Martin, have you looked into biochar? Especially suited to acidic soils, enhances fertility and sequesters carbon to boot. Just came across it, and the possibilities are huge; the top of my head just about blew off. You can even generate syngas as a useful byproduct. Seriously, give it a Google.
Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 05/14/09 03:41 AM

Charcoal Agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth - Terra Preta

Here's a long thread with lots of sites and info at the Aussie Permie site:

There's so much info that I haven't been able to keep up with it.

DaveT: Use organic mulch. Mulch retains soil moisture, prevents weed seeds from sprouting, breaks down into soil nutrients, prevents soil from splashing onto leaves and fruit.

Buy several bales of straw. If you have any chickens, give it to them first, and they'll clean out most of the seeds. Put it down kind of thin around small plants, and build it up as they grow, to about 8" or so. It's easier to handle if you run it through a chipper/shredder first, but you don't have to. Putting it on top of cardboard works well to kill weeds without digging them up. When putting your garden to bed in fall, cover the beds with a thick straw mulch for the winter. In spring, just rake back the mulch and plant -- usually no need to dig, weed, till, plow, etc, as the earthworms have been doing it for you all winter and it looks like chocolate cake.

Posted by: benjammin

Re: Victory garden - 05/14/09 02:21 PM

One small caution about using mulch. We found that it can deteriorate the amount of nitrogen in the soil. A little amendment now and then will help.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Victory garden - 05/14/09 05:09 PM

Mulch - I actually need to do that - I have TOO MUCH nitrogen!
Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 05/14/09 06:14 PM

"One small caution about using mulch. We found that it can deteriorate the amount of nitrogen in the soil. A little amendment now and then will help."

Yes, organic matter freshly incorporated (mixed) into the soil will use all the available nitrogen that it can find for the process of breaking down into humus. For instance, green matter (cover crop) tilled into the soil will take about three weeks to deteriorate into a usable form for new plants.

However, organic matter just laid on top of the soil will only bind with available nitrogen where they meet, usually at the surface of the soil. The mulch is not able to 'draw' nitrogen from lower in the soil, so all available nitrogen below that level will still be available to roots.

Just remember that nitrogen is not stable in the soil -- it can be washed out by rain and melting snow, and escape into the air with plowing and tilling.

All this gardening stuff is more complicated than just putting some seeds in the soil and standing back, I'm learning....

Posted by: benjammin

Re: Victory garden - 05/14/09 08:51 PM

Yep, I agree. Back in the PNW, any well cultivated soil that we mulched typically got the mulch worked into it due to the soggy conditions and constant foot traffic. Up next to the plants it wasn't so bad, but we had one field of strawberries go yellow one season from too much mulch getting worked into the soil too many consecutive years. Rain and people moving through the field pushed the mulch down from the surface and not only spirged the nitrogen, but also created an impermeable layer that the bushes choked on. We ended up having to deep till the field and fallow it for a year.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Victory garden - 05/15/09 02:12 AM

The Nitrogen Challenge I face is that this property is heavily wooded and the area I cleared was mostly clay infused earth with a LOT of rotting leaves on top and a LOT of rotted wood chips too. Then I have a hen yard with several years of wood shavings that have been mucked out of the henhouse and tossed into the hen yard, that gets raked into piles and then I've got 5 yards of horse poop...well, suffice it to say that my composting process is more like a chemistry lab - not to mention the Ph levels, which tend to the strongly acidic and I have to move the levels with some wood ash as needed.

So far this year, the peas and lettuce are moving well, the broccolli is going to be late, the tomatoes and peppers are going to have a hard time (I should have dropped those last 10 trees, the sun isn't really coming around to the clearing early enough) but we did OK with them last year in a worse place. The lettuce, kale and spinach are just fantastic, already harvesting that.

Green beans will be another tricky crop. I don't think it's possible to NOT grow zuchinni.

We will try - for the 3rd year - strawberries - but it seems that each year we have critters eat them.

This year's wild raspberry crop looks like it will be MASSIVE so we'll make that into jams in late July.

In all honesty, this year's garden is really a prototype, if I get 50% of what I hope to get harvested, I'll call it a success. But next year's garden is already in planning.

We need a LOT of land work to get a good garden and as much as I hate to do it, at the end of this season I think I'm going to really need to knuckle under and spend a whole winter dropping a bunch of trees and then coming in with the backhoe to really tear things up, pull out the stumps and make a nice clear area and then drop 25 or 30 yards of decent top soil into it. Since I have free use of a backhoe and a neighbor who is a tree guy who will drop certain trees for free if he can keep the wood to sell as firewood, and he also has a massive chipper, I think it will work out. I do like having the garden where it is - out front of the house - but it needs much more work.

Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 05/17/09 11:02 PM

First lost plants - My tomatoes did not adapt to being moved outside. I was supposed to bring them out during the day and in overnight to get them used to the weather....
Posted by: thseng

Re: Victory garden - 05/18/09 12:21 AM

You need to try my patented "transplant into the garden just before a thunder storm hardening-off method" At least that's what I did this weekend.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 06/25/09 04:12 PM

Update - peppers going strong, tomatoes all but dead. moving seedlings up to full size pots. Should be harvesting in Sept.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 07/08/09 03:27 PM

Watering everyday as the plants grow; will go to every day watering soon (and adding a rain barrel.)
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 07/12/09 04:23 PM

Wild Blackberries are coming in now! Finally.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 09/08/09 07:37 PM

First peppers of the season! Tomatoes soon...
Posted by: DaveT

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 01:16 AM

I've had good luck/output with kale, Tuscan kale and Swiss chard. My cherry tomato varietals have been producing very well. My larger tomatoes have had rather sparse output - it's been a cool summer. The zucchinis and summer squash have just about run their course for the year.
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 01:45 AM

We've gotten <10 tomatoes... but in a couple days depending on the weather we may get 20-40 tomatoes!

We got a few peppers but have about 10 more on the plants that will be ready in a week or so!

The corn was a bust! Each stalk had 2 but they were tiny, and the corn kernals were VERY TINY.

Zucchini has been producing steadily in the bed, the planter ones had about 1 or 2 each early in the season then STOPPED frown They never grew it was odd. In a day or so we`ll have about 3 - 5 from our one huge plant! And then many more soon after too.

Some new pics on the blog, but a lot more coming.
Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 02:13 AM

Todd, did you plant the corn in long lines or in rectangular blocks?

Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 02:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Susan
Todd, did you plant the corn in long lines or in rectangular blocks?


We only were able to transplant 3 from seeds, one I pulled early on. Thus they were in a line, next to the tomatoes. Spaced out probably more than needed too but they were only 2-4" from the side of our raised bed which may have prevented proper root formation.

Posted by: Blast

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 12:20 PM

Giving okra away to neighbors, fig tree is loaded with fruit.

Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 04:44 PM

Todd, the reason I asked is because corn is wind-pollinated, not by insects. Just a few plants, or plants in one or two long lines usually don't get pollinated very well. If you try it again next year, try planting in blocks, 5x5 plants or more.

Posted by: Paul810

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 06:10 PM

My apples, tomatoes, and cherries were quite poor this year. Strangely, the cucumbers did quite well and the pumpkin plant that started growing in my front yard has nearly taken over the place. If it keeps it up I won't have to go pumpkin-picking this year. grin
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 09/09/09 08:47 PM

Thanks Susan for the info!
Posted by: thseng

Re: Victory garden - 09/10/09 01:53 AM

By unpopular demand, here's my little SFG at it's peak:
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 09/12/09 03:41 AM

Nice garden - Next year I'm adding various kinds of lettuce...about 12 plants
Posted by: Todd W

Re: Victory garden - 09/12/09 03:47 AM

Harvested tomatoes tonight, pics soon.

Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Victory garden - 10/01/09 04:53 AM

I am new to the board, but i also garden. It was a good year for tomatoes, we were giving away peck baskets until most were sick of them. Our cucumbers did very poorly, producing only a hand-full that were short, stunted, and sickly. The strawberries exploded! We were not even supposed to get a harvest this year, but they are still bearing and setting on runners! The peppers were decent, as well as the radishes. The green beans (the half that came up) was pretty sad. The sweet corn was saved from raccoons by your truly (and my electric fence) The ornamental corn did well (what the deer left) I just got the last of the potatoes out of the ground, the last hundred pounds. The previous harvests yielded around about fifty pounds or so. Potatoes did very very well. I say that it was a success.

I have two 100' x 50 beds, four raised 5 x 8 beds, one 20x50 strawberry patch, three 10x4 berry patches, about 30 1-5 year old apples, peaches, and cherry trees.

Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Victory garden - 10/01/09 02:03 PM

Well done. We're harvesting now and planning for next year...
Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 10/01/09 03:56 PM

You might want to get your garden beds ready to start immediately in spring by making some preparations now. You can weed them, level them, and cover with a thick mulch of straw or leaves, etc, or plant a winter-hardy cover crop suitable to your area.

In the spring, a mulched area will just have to have the leftover mulch raked aside, and you can add some fertilizer and get right to planting.

Posted by: Kona1

Re: Victory garden - 10/01/09 04:24 PM

Did you can, dry or freeze any of your surplus bounty? If so what and why?
Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Victory garden - 10/04/09 02:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Kona1
Did you can, dry or freeze any of your surplus bounty? If so what and why?
We freezed a lot of tomatoes juice. (Stewed, paste, sauce) We had an overabundance this year, rather than see them go to waste we now can use them through most of the winter. These things go quickly in my home and do not warrant canning. We could not get enough quanity of berries at one time to really put up. (they came a little at a time for a long time) The potatoes are in the basement, or long storage, for the winter. we will eat them until next spring and still have seed potatoes left. Most of our bounty here was pretty much spread amongst us and our family/friends as most of them are old or unable to garden themselves.
Posted by: Kona1

Re: Victory garden - 10/04/09 05:24 AM

thanks for the info Jim, I had wondered if you had dried any or were preparing any for long term use.
Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Victory garden - 10/04/09 11:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Kona1
thanks for the info Jim, I had wondered if you had dried any or were preparing any for long term use.

Other than the peppers that we dried, not really. Little red peppers, held together on a piece of fishing line, are decorative and are great for chili, salsa, and other spicy stuff. as long as they stay dry they will be ok, even if they turn white from the sun. Most of what we grew is not really good for long term use but if we have a good harvest next year we will can again. grin
Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Victory garden - 04/02/10 04:11 PM

turned over about a 1/4 of the garden today, got the onions, radishes, peas, potatoes in. burned off the whole garden yesterday. figure we should leave the crust intact until ready to plant the rest. btw, spring is finally here!
Posted by: Susan

Re: Victory garden - 04/02/10 08:37 PM

Spring may be THERE, but it's sure dragging it's feet HERE!

My pre-sprouted peas (they were a few years old -- no point in wasting space on duds) are sitting in a bowl covered with a damp paper towel, waiting for the rain and wind to go away for a while.

I've already got some bush sugar snap peas, lettuce and bunching onions planted. On nice days, I'm working all day; on wild wet days, I get part of those off.

Posted by: Teslinhiker

Re: Victory garden - 04/03/10 12:26 AM

Susan: I take it that Washington state is getting the same wind and rain storm that is pummeling the west coast of Canada right now? Our lights have flickered a few times and we are prepared for a power outage that may also put our hike in jeopardy tomorrow...

I now just had to go out and rescue the potted spinach and swiss chard plants starts and put them under safe cover. Not too much damage done and all the plants should recover..

Posted by: Byrd_Huntr

Re: Victory garden - 04/03/10 12:02 PM

A lot has changed since this thread started. I was out looking at seeds on the rack this week. My knowledge of non-hybrid seeds is somewhat limited, even though I have had some fabulous gardens in places where I formerly lived. I wasn't worried about economic survival in those days, just wanted fresh vegetables. My concern now is what seeds can I store that would be the basis of an emergency garden that was 'defensible'. By that I mean, even though I love leafy greens, tomatoes and melons as much as the next person, how would I prevent that type of crop from being stolen by those who didn't plan ahead for economic strife? Greens, and tomatoes have no shelf life without canning, so some starchy staple crop would be necessary. During the depression, people lived on turnips, rutabegas, fat carrots, onions and potatoes. I'm thinking that these root crops may be harder to identify from the road and steal than tomatoes, squash, melons, etc. They would also keep well into the winter, and parsnips can overwinter in the ground to harvest in the spring. How do you identfy and store non-hybid seeds of the starchy root crops for a potential lawn-garden?
Posted by: scafool

Re: Victory garden - 04/03/10 07:08 PM

A defensible crop might include some resistance to hungry insects and other more furry food thieves like raccoons and deer.
Posted by: LED

Re: Victory garden - 04/03/10 11:22 PM

Garlic grows extremely fast and stinks nicely. Could that work as a type of repellent for bugs/critters?
Posted by: EchoingLaugh

Re: Victory garden - 04/05/10 03:31 PM

I have found that my biggest losses are to furry 4 legged theives. I have a solar powered electric fence . Works like a charm, I actually harvested sweet corn last year. to repel critters, there is all kind of things. Put hair from a barbershop around your garden, piepans on a string, streamers, netting, fences, 12 gauge, pee along the borders, dogs and so on. animals do not understand fences, to them its just a barrier to cross.

IMO good fencing combined with an electric fence, regular inspection and presence are the best.

For starchy tubers, I like potatoes. they are easy to grow, did not have a problem with pests, and produce! That and most people do not know what they look like in the ground. They store well in cool dry areas, and you can plant what you had left over from the previous season to grow a new crop.