2018 Garden Plans

Beekissed

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2018 Garden Plans

Garden dreamin' yet? I am, even though last year's garden was the worst in our gardening history, I've gotten my second wind and have a renewed hope(that's what gardener's live on, isn't it?)for the next planting season.

I've switched to hay instead of wood chips, so that's something new...easier availability, cheaper, easier for me to spread and maintain. I also used hay bales to construct a narrow raised bed for the growing of root crops and possibly my onions.

I've been studying up on the onions and have found I've been doing it all wrong. Years ago I did it all right, merely on accident, but I so want to repeat that happy accident of the onions.

I plan to seed them into trays this year, then plant them into a raised bed of some type, be it in the haybales or a four inch raised row of composted material/soil. I know now I haven't been feeding them heavy enough, been planting them too deeply, too far apart, and in too shady of places(planting them in among the tomatoes or behind a row of taller things).

I also want to successfully grow carrots this year, particularly for a winter harvest. Last spring I grew such lovely carrots!!!! The tops were lush and over a foot tall...the bottoms were about an inch long and sunburned on top. My clay soil would not allow any root growth whatsoever, despite the depth of the chips overlying the soil.

This year I want to grow them in that raised bed, along with more spuds. I may extend the raised bed so that I can fit all the things I want to plant into it.

I also want to knock together a few of the scrappy looking pallets~make about a 2 ft tall box~ I have up there and start filling them with hay, leaves and chips to make another tater bin.

I'd like to do the same for my son's back yard so they can grow some spuds there too, using his grass clippings and such.

I'm going back to our traditional time of planting, as it did nothing but bad to wait a month later in order to plant.

I'm also going to plant my squash, cukes and pumpkins in trays this year, transplanting them into bigger pots until they are big enough to put in the garden and still withstand bug predation.

I'm also going to use soapy water on the squash bugs this year...watched a vid that showed how quickly they die with that stuff, so I'll use it on every bug I see~stink, squash, JBs, horn worms, soldier worms, etc. May even try it on slugs.

I've also heard a 1:10 solution of ammonia works wonders and doesn't hurt the plants, but adds nitrogen to the soil. Anyone heard that?

But, basically am going to plant much the same things and varieties I have been planting, except along with the Fortex beans this year I'll plant the half runners Mom and others love so much.
 

baymule

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I am excited about my 2018 garden too! I already received my seed orders. The wood chip mulch has made a big difference in the sand we have for soil. We are already working in the garden, getting ready for spring.

We still have tons of wood chip mulch that has been sitting for a year, it is nicely composted now. I cleaned out the sheep shelter today and spread it in the tomato trellis. I need to clean out the chicken hoop coop, it will go in the garden too.

My seed orders are spread on the table. I could warm my hands over the bright pictures on the seed packs!

Waiting on spring!
 

Beekissed

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Got my Fedco catalog today, Bay....it's not colorful and the printing is so small that I'll likely just use their website for shopping instead, but was tickled to get it. It's an interesting publication...it has Fedco Seeds on one side, then it runs into another publication in the middle and you have to turn it upside down and around to read THAT side...and it's called the Organic Grower's Supply & Moose Tubers.

That side of it has so many things of such diversity that it would take a long while to even peruse the catalog~cover crops, sheep needs, soil amendments of all kinds, tools, and tons of misc. to do with gardening, farming, orchards, etc.

I had hoped to use a lot of seed from last year's purchases but Ben got into the garden, picked up my seed container(small plastic box with hinged lid with seeds filed alphabetically) and chewed the top off, scattered all my seed packets all over and then it rained on them. I could have brained that dog if I thought he had one! :somad

I'll be ordering seeds soon too, if you don't get your orders in early you can run into things being sold out, I've found.

I'm loving this hay thus far and can't wait to see what it looks like under there in the spring.
 

buckabucka

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I love the Fedco catalog. It used to be a small company started by old hippies, but gets larger all the time. They are local here, so we can pick up trees or heavier items. I love the poems and other commentary on each seed variety. Back before the internet, you had to fill out the order form with a RED pen. That was all they would accept. Every year I would have to hunt around the house for the red pen. Luckily, it lasted until online ordering arrived.

I wait until my winter vacation so I can really read through the catalogs. This year, we got the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog for the first time. Just peeking inside the cover, it looks like this will be a real treasure to look through.
 

Beekissed

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I save money by planting the seeds and I also get the varieties I want..it's always hit or miss at the nurseries. And, you have to get there pretty early to get some of the things you want...so if you don't want to plant peppers until the soil warms up but you have to buy them early, then you are up a creek...they sit in trays and get root bound or look sickly.
 

Zeedman

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Well, my 2017 garden isn't quite over yet... still have a lot of garlic to peel & dehydrate. The dehydrator is in the garage, I'd like to hope that the VERY strong garlic fumes from the dehydrator will drive out any mice that may have moved in.:th

The 1000 square foot garlic plot has been abandoned; the long-time friends who allowed us to garden there got divorced, and the property changed hands. That happened late in the season, too late to locate another site... so I had to plant what I could on the largest home plot. There was only room for 20 of the 35 garlic varieties that had survived (I lost 3 due to winter kill), so I planted the best 20. Only 10 cloves of each were planted - on December 3rd!!! - in hopes of preserving them until I can find a new site large enough to raise them in quantity.

The remaining 15 varieties had to be dropped, and will be eaten. :( That was a difficult decision, I had invested a lot in building up the collection, and they were all worth growing.

While I will be extending one of the gardens near my home (which has been an ongoing process) the gardens being cultivated will be substantially reduced overall. All of my gardens are on low, poorly-drained soil - which given the very wet Springs we have had recently, has caused a lot of seed to rot in the ground. The lowest 1/3 of my rural plot never did dry out last summer & was over-taken by weeds... so that portion will be abandoned, and returned to grass. I will be bringing in several loads of sandy topsoil to the remaining 2/3, to raise the soil level & increase drainage. That plot is located on some friends' property, they are incredibly gracious in permitting me to alter their soil level.

At this point, I am contemplating a lot of long-term changes in the way I garden. One of those is to start a program to add a lot of organic matter to all the gardens. I've been adding fallen leaves, grass clippings, and hay mulch to the gardens near my home, and the soil has been improving every year. My rural plot, though is 6600 square feet; and while I mulch much of that with hay, I could never find a way to bring in - and spread - large amounts. I've been thinking about buying a Yard Vacuum for several years, and plan on buying one in 2018. With attachments, it will not only pick up leaves - it can be reversed, to blow them out. I plan to mount the system on my trailer; since everyone in the city rakes their leaves to the curb in Fall, I could easily pick up enough shredded leaves to cover the entire garden.

Cowpeas & yardlong beans have always done well for me - until this year. I've always used the nitrogen inoculant for cowpeas, but thought I'd go without it in 2017. With only one exception, all varieties did poorly; and while the cool, cloudy summer probably was a factor, I will go back to using inoculant in 2018.

I love looking at some of the seed catalogs, but most stopped sending them, because I never order. :idunno Over 90% of what I grow is from saved seed. There are a few things I can't grow seed for (such as chard, sweet corn, and Moringa), but I usually order enough to last 3-4 years, and keep the seeds refrigerated.

My garden planning really starts when the SSE Yearbook comes out, usually in early February. At that point, I can search for things on my 'want', list, look for what others are offering, and plan my trials & preservation grow outs accordingly. This year may prove interesting, since - if I read their email correctly - they will, for the first time ever, be allowing non-SSE members to request seed from their online Exchange. That is a major departure from their previous "members only" ordering policy. It remains to be seen what impact that will have on the organization, and on the members (like myself) who offer their seeds through SSE.
 

baymule

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That's too bad about the garlic @Zeedman Is there nowhere you could grow at least a few of the many varieties that you have? Tuck a few here and there in corners, flowerbeds, neighbor's flowerbeds? I hate to see you lose them.
 

Ridgerunner

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I've already got three seed catalogs, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Totally Tomatoes, and Vermont Bean Seed Company. I have no idea how many others I will get during the season, some will send two or three different copies. The shame is I order nothing from the catalogs, if I want something specific I'll go online and search for it. I wish they would save their money and stop filling up my mailbox.

I've pretty much already ordered and received the seed I want this year. That was from SESE before the catalog arrived. That was for Tromboncini squash. I don't trust saving squash seed because they cross-pollinate so easily. Tromboncino squash seems to resist squash bugs really well so I get squash through most of the season. Zucchini or Yellow Squash get killed out pretty quickly. While I was there I also got some basil seeds, sort of an impulse purchase. I like the large leaf Italian types so I got a two different ones to try. I only need two or three basil plants of each variety to get a few quarts of dehydrated basil plus plenty for fresh use (my sister-in-law loves it for pesto and I use a lot). So I now have enough seed for about five years in the freezer.

I'm still looking for a few cotton seeds, a white Gossypium Barbadense. That's often called Sea Island, Pima, or Egyptian. That's a long-fibered dense cotton that is easy to spin. My wife found a friend with a small cotton gin so cleaning the seeds out isn't a huge limiting factor. I can find colored seeds but not white. I only need a dozen or so for this year but am drawing a total blank. She may have to do some posting on one of her forums.

The only other thing I'll order is some live plants from a lady up in New Jersey. Chiliplants.com I've gotten paprika and cayenne peppers from her the last couple of years. Not exactly sure what I'll get this year but she ships when I want her to and I have access to a huge variety of plants. Everything else I either save my own seeds or get locally. Yeah, Bee there is some hit and miss but it's manageable. The Mom 'n Pop I get most of my seeds and starts from carry pretty much the same thing every year. If I really want something I'll get the plants early and repot them a few times waiting until it's time to plant them because sometimes they do run out.

The big change for me is that I got rid of my chickens. It has been a struggle finding someone to take care of them when I travel. It finally got to the point I had to decide between Christmas with my grandkids or keep the chickens. It wasn't that hard of a choice as much as I liked having the chickens. I'm going to miss the meat, eggs, and hatching and raising chicks plus a major component of my compost but it was just time.
 

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