Monday, June 22, 2009

Gahden Update

Well figured I'd post about what has been going on with my little garden. In some ways it has been doing a lot better than I thought it would, and in others I am very disappointed with the results.

My first mistake was planting too early. I lost my cabbage and onions from planting them too early. I lost both crops. I lost 3/4 of my lettuce crop in transplanting. Setting up the garden took a lot of work, and I'm using pre-made soil. I could only imagine the amount of back-breaking labor to get a plot of lawn ready for planting. I am also disappointed with some of the heirloom plants. My tomatoes grew sideways for a full month, my cayenne peppers are still growing sideways. Very frustrating. Another frustrating aspect is that many, many seeds are not germinating. I planted 3 beans per hole, and out of 36 holes, only 7 have plants. Same with the failed onions, carrots, etc.

Because of the loss of crops I bought several "regular" plants to transplant in the garden. I bought six jalapeno plants and a dozen onion plants, along with dill, basil, and oregano.
My tomatoes are starting to get small flowers which is good. Likewise the store-bought onions and peppers are thriving. The garlic is going crazy, I cannot wait for it this fall. Yummy!

I need to start planning when crops will rotate out, so I can try for a winter crop of some kind. I am pleasantly surprised how little weeding I need to do. I spend 10 minutes a week weeding! ha! The other garden maintenance is also very easy. That aspect of the SFG method is very, very nice.

So far I have learned a lot about growing your own food. I wonder if I should plant wheat for a winter crop? that will be interesting. Maybe just a few squares at least. I realize that if I was dropped onto an island that growing and procuring my own food would take about 60% of my time. that number varies during the seasons, like planting and harvest, but that doesn't leave a lot of time for training, working on a better shelter, preserving the food, etc. Very eye opening.

If you didn't plant a garden this year, you are crazy. Next year you better, even if it's a few tomato plants on the fire escape. No excuses! These skills might make the difference between malnutrition and thriving during these economic tough times. If the poop hits the fan, they might mean the difference between living and dying.


Adam said...

Sorry to hear some of your heirloom's are growing sideways. Don't know what could cause that... Did you collect the heirloom seeds that you planted yourself last year, or are the mail orders? Sometimes a small goof up on seed drying and/or prep when saving seeds can cause low germination rates. Hope your garden really starts to EXPLODE soon!

You care if I put a link to your blog up on mine?

western mass. man said...

Your not alone Nat.
The weather up here in the NE has been terrible to say the least. The south is roasting and we are chilly. I planted my flower boxes mid May. Kept them inside at night and outside in the day and today they are MAYBE 1" high now. I planted the garden a month ago. I bought heirloom tomatoes from Gurney's. Not a 1 made it in 1 piece. I resorted to go to the local garden shop for my tomatoes and peppers. Needless to say, the heirlooms were pretty much gone. Bought what variety they had left. Planted them last month also. They just sitting there doing nothing. I planted melons that haven't even sprouted yet. Grrrrr. I know they are warm weather plants which need an over 70 deg. soil temp. to sprout and grow. Last Friday we got hit with a nasty T-storm. Dropped 1/2 in of hail. Alot of stem and leaf damage from it. Looks like my son went hog wild with a BB gun on what sprouted. Been a terrible spring to say the least.

Dianeax00 said...

Hey Nat. I really enjoy reading your blog..and you've got me hooked on your story. If you're doing 4x4 blocks for square foot you can use 1/2 inch pvc as frame for plastic. 2 ten foot pieces..diagonal corners so they cross at the top and then I tie wrap mine to give it some stability and cover with plastic. Keeps excess rain off and if its cool traps heat.

Mayberry said...

If I had planted anything here at the house, it'd all be dead due to lack of rain, so count yerself lucky! Hopefully the well situation will get sorted out soon at my "secret garden", and I can plant there soon. And as an old saying goes, I expect to plant "one for the gopher, one for the crow, and one for myself"....

hotdogjam said...

Incredible how much there is to learn and how much you can learn in a short time.

It's been a real tough June for us in Mass.

Re: heirloom - that's why people like hybrids. Hybrids are super plants that have been bred to get rid of bad traits and promote good traits.

You may want to think about storing some hybrid seeds. They last a very long time in cool, dry conditions.

I plant all of my hers from seeds except for perennial herbs like oregano, sage, chives and so forth. All of the annual herbs like basal, dill, cilantro and parsley I grow from seed right in the garden.

I also plant lettuce right in the garden. No muss, no fuss with transplanting.

I planted winter wheat one time, but it was as a green manure not for eating. It was okay, but tough to turn over the following spring and slow to decompose.

Your soil will also get better every year so you'll get better results.

A tip - to get larger fruit - peppers and tomatoes - you can pick off some of the flowers so the plant will put more energy into developing the remaining fruit. Then come the end of the season like the beginning of September pick off all the flowers that haven't fruited so the plant will work on maturing what's hanging on the plant.

Keep up the good work!!