Any Organic Veggie Gardeners out there?

JalapenosinDelco

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Hello all,
Getting my seeds ready for starting in a couple of weeks. I was curious to see what everyone else is planting, mainly organic seeds.
I’m looking to expand our garden more this year away from the basics for our “homestead”.
Jalapeños, tomatoes (many varieties and sizes), herbs, squash, eggplant, lettuce, and the cabbages, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts that are always eaten before we get to!
Also: Anyone living up north, we’re in south eastern Pennsylvania, what fruit trees/shrubs are working well for you?
Thanks for reading!
 

flowerbug

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we have about an acre of gardens and decorations here which keeps us busy during the warmer weather.

because the USoAian government has co-opted the word organic i don't use it to describe what i am doing. instead i use the word natural, as in i don't use bug sprays, fungicides or manufactured fertilizers, but instead use worm castings as my amendment/fertilizer for gardens that will get the heaviest feeding plants.

i avoid using herbicides as much as i can but i don't have control of the land owner here or the surrounding fields so stuff happens i'd rather not see (or smell). :( at least the spraying is not going directly on the vegetable gardens here so that is better than what could be happening. compared to what used to happen around here it is an improvement and i hope to keep working on "changing of the ways" as i can.

some bug issues do come about but i try to control them by hand or by planting more resistant plants or growing other things. diversity in plantings, in leaving some perennial refuge plants in patches here and there keeps the beneficial bugs around and gives us control of aphids but we also encourage birds to come around by having birdbaths. we don't feed the birds - we want them to forage in the gardens for bugs and it is working well in that we have a lot of different birds here. i do discourage grackles by hunting them because otherwise they can really take over and they will go after the nests of the other birds.

i think our toughest bug problems are squash bugs, squash borers and japanese beetles. i hand pick the JBs and i plant resistant enough squash and that has worked so far.

we do have some animal problems. fences help and i hunt which is something i don't really want to do but if we didn't we'd be overrun. fences around the vegetable gardens help for some animal control, but not all. unfortunately this site was not set up from the start with gardening in mind so anything i'm doing to improve has to work around what is already in place.

we mostly grow beans, peas, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, squash, peppers and strawberries along with tons of flowers.
 

digitS'

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The climate there in SE Pennsylvania isn't the same as it is here. I suggested that this is the case when I mentioned Brandywine tomatoes the other day. Fruit trees are not annual garden vegetables or fruits. They must stand season after season, year after year, to produce substantial crops. I could only guess about fruit trees for your location (altho I might ask my cousin, who taught at Lehigh University for many years and has a country home ;).)

Organic vegetable gardens: I only use organic pesticides but I do use them in the veggies if I see that the plants are coming under stress from the critters. Ornamental gardens may be treated with conventional pesticides. I'm not eating from those plants.

JalapenosinDelco, being in your location would give me the opportunity to grow some of the tomato varieties that I now avoid: the 80+ days-to-maturity ones. I might have one of those (80 days on the nose ;)) each year but that plant accounts for a small fraction of the lineup. There are others that I rely on. Even in a poorly performing tomato patch, as I had in 2019, there will be plenty of tomatoes but it may take more steps to gather them one year than it does another. There are some unique challenges, like a semi-arid climate and overhead watering that sets up splitting problems with some and not others so much. I have my personal tastes - dog gone it, they may vary by the hour, but I indulge them :). It's a very important reason to be a gardener!

Here's an example in the cherries: I especially like the flavor of Sungold. It splits a little more easily than SunSugar but Sun Sugar has a similar flavor to Sungold. What to do? I have had both in my garden for about 20 years! Why not? :D I have room so additionally, I have Yellow Jellybean. Those are for when I want a yellow cherry with a little more traditional red cherry flavor.

Do I have red cherries? Of course! Sweet 100 do super and have the flavor I like ... but, this doesn't stop me from having something a little different. The Sweet Chelsea has a flavor very similar to Sweet 100, similar genetics. The difference is size - I like those jumbo cherries. And, that's just the cherry tomato patch.

:) Steve,
who is also envious of your likely more suitable chance to grow nice and various peppers and melons ;)
 

YourRabbitGirl

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Hello all,
Getting my seeds ready for starting in a couple of weeks. I was curious to see what everyone else is planting, mainly organic seeds.
I’m looking to expand our garden more this year away from the basics for our “homestead”.
Jalapeños, tomatoes (many varieties and sizes), herbs, squash, eggplant, lettuce, and the cabbages, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts that are always eaten before we get to!
Also: Anyone living up north, we’re in south eastern Pennsylvania, what fruit trees/shrubs are working well for you?
Thanks for reading!
You just gave me a great and exciting idea. Jalapenos? wow!! I really want to plant that here. I hope you can send me some spare seeds... I would appreciate that very much..
 

JalapenosinDelco

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we have about an acre of gardens and decorations here which keeps us busy during the warmer weather.

because the USoAian government has co-opted the word organic i don't use it to describe what i am doing. instead i use the word natural, as in i don't use bug sprays, fungicides or manufactured fertilizers, but instead use worm castings as my amendment/fertilizer for gardens that will get the heaviest feeding plants.

i avoid using herbicides as much as i can but i don't have control of the land owner here or the surrounding fields so stuff happens i'd rather not see (or smell). :( at least the spraying is not going directly on the vegetable gardens here so that is better than what could be happening. compared to what used to happen around here it is an improvement and i hope to keep working on "changing of the ways" as i can.

some bug issues do come about but i try to control them by hand or by planting more resistant plants or growing other things. diversity in plantings, in leaving some perennial refuge plants in patches here and there keeps the beneficial bugs around and gives us control of aphids but we also encourage birds to come around by having birdbaths. we don't feed the birds - we want them to forage in the gardens for bugs and it is working well in that we have a lot of different birds here. i do discourage grackles by hunting them because otherwise they can really take over and they will go after the nests of the other birds.

i think our toughest bug problems are squash bugs, squash borers and japanese beetles. i hand pick the JBs and i plant resistant enough squash and that has worked so far.

we do have some animal problems. fences help and i hunt which is something i don't really want to do but if we didn't we'd be overrun. fences around the vegetable gardens help for some animal control, but not all. unfortunately this site was not set up from the start with gardening in mind so anything i'm doing to improve has to work around what is already in place.

we mostly grow beans, peas, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, squash, peppers and strawberries along with tons of flowers.
Do you live on government property?
 

JalapenosinDelco

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The climate there in SE Pennsylvania isn't the same as it is here. I suggested that this is the case when I mentioned Brandywine tomatoes the other day. Fruit trees are not annual garden vegetables or fruits. They must stand season after season, year after year, to produce substantial crops. I could only guess about fruit trees for your location (altho I might ask my cousin, who taught at Lehigh University for many years and has a country home ;).)

Organic vegetable gardens: I only use organic pesticides but I do use them in the veggies if I see that the plants are coming under stress from the critters. Ornamental gardens may be treated with conventional pesticides. I'm not eating from those plants.

JalapenosinDelco, being in your location would give me the opportunity to grow some of the tomato varieties that I now avoid: the 80+ days-to-maturity ones. I might have one of those (80 days on the nose ;)) each year but that plant accounts for a small fraction of the lineup. There are others that I rely on. Even in a poorly performing tomato patch, as I had in 2019, there will be plenty of tomatoes but it may take more steps to gather them one year than it does another. There are some unique challenges, like a semi-arid climate and overhead watering that sets up splitting problems with some and not others so much. I have my personal tastes - dog gone it, they may vary by the hour, but I indulge them :). It's a very important reason to be a gardener!

Here's an example in the cherries: I especially like the flavor of Sungold. It splits a little more easily than SunSugar but Sun Sugar has a similar flavor to Sungold. What to do? I have had both in my garden for about 20 years! Why not? :D I have room so additionally, I have Yellow Jellybean. Those are for when I want a yellow cherry with a little more traditional red cherry flavor.

Do I have red cherries? Of course! Sweet 100 do super and have the flavor I like ... but, this doesn't stop me from having something a little different. The Sweet Chelsea has a flavor very similar to Sweet 100, similar genetics. The difference is size - I like those jumbo cherries. And, that's just the cherry tomato patch.

:) Steve,
who is also envious of your likely more suitable chance to grow nice and various peppers and melons ;)
I’d love a cherry tree! I’m not sure there are any in this area, aside from the ornamental variety, because as you say they must survive winters.
I think apples are the PA standard. We do have plentiful amounts of wild raspberry and wine berry buses all around which we forage in the summer from out state park. Difficult to plant as they need lots of space.
We have a dwarf lemon tree that winters inside, hoping to get some lemons this year... should have gone for Fig or something more substantial.
Melons take up way too much real estate to worry about growing here. We tried a few years ago, around the same time we planted our own pumpkins. The vegetable garden was overrun with vines even into the neighbors yard giving them their own jack o lanterns.
Even though our vegetable garden is large for our neck of the woods, if it were up to me, I’d fill in our pool and turn the remaining sunny spots into many more edible delights.
NEED MORE SPACE!!!!!!
 

JalapenosinDelco

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You just gave me a great and exciting idea. Jalapenos? wow!! I really want to plant that here. I hope you can send me some spare seeds... I would appreciate that very much..
I bought them at Home Depot, they’re the organic open pollinated variety as that’s what I tend to grow exclusively in my garden.
Unfortunately I have them all planted as starts for the years. But honestly they may have been $2.75 for around 30 seeds. I’m sure you can find them around. What part of the country are in in?
 

ninnymary

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My garden is all organic. I've been working on the soil for about 5 years now adding compost, horse manure, hay, leaves, and rabbit manure. It sure has changed from the sandy soil on this little Island.

My yard is small but I pack as much into it as I can. I have about 8 fruit trees that I keep to about 6-8' tall. Only have space for 6 tomatoes. One is always a cherry one and the other 5 are heirlooms. Our climate is on the cool side but last year I found a melon from Baker's Creek that did really well. I saved seed and will be planting it again this year.

Started my seeds a couple weeks ago of tomatoes, 6 jalapenos, 3 shi ****o, 1 fushimi, 1 cascabel and 1 rocoto. peppers Also some zinnias and sunflowers. Oh and asian greens. I wish I could start more flowers and veggies from seeds but I don't have any more room under my grow lights.

Critters such as rats and squirrels are a problem. This fall they ate all of my cauliflower which they've left alone in the past. Squirrels usually get to my apples but they didn't last year.

Mary
 

digitS'

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Cherry trees seem to do just fine here. So do apples - Washington State is the number one apple producing state. There are commercial plum orchards in the southern part of Idaho but Dad's French prunes were the best in his little orchard.

His peach tree died after a few years. The first peach I had was in such sad shape that I took it out. The jury is still out on the second peach - last year was the first that it had fruit. And yet, I know of apricot trees in vacant lots that produce a crop every year. No irrigation, no pruning!

It is probably the case that there are some local orchards with easily available fruit and you may want something different. I really wish that I had done some research before planting the two peach trees. Probably there are suitable varieties but that really should be local research. And ... DW might not have been as pleased but it really looks like apricots, cherries, plums, or apples would have been much more of a sure thing, here on our 50'x120' home lot.

Steve
 

baymule

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My Daddy gardened organically, I was raised that way. Retired now, I have always used natural means in my garden. We have chickens, horses and sheep to contribute to the compost. We moved here 5 years ago, our soil is sand, like at the beach, but no ocean. The garden is finally looking pretty good.
 

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