Vegetables and Fruit forum: My garden history and first post here

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Name: Gene Smith
Greenville, SC (Zone 7b)
Mauldintiger
Feb 8, 2016 7:04 PM CST
I've always had about a 15'x15' garden plot that I mulched in the fall and tilled in the spring, with grass clippings added all summer. 2 1/2 years ago I asked a guy to till up 10' more. He tilled about 40' more that I really did not want to to maintain and till every year. So I started searching the Internet and found several articles about lazy gardening, which led me to a book written by Ruth Stoudt, a proponent of no till sheet mulch. I bit the bullet, bought some straw and went to work, adding grass clippings and leaves in season. I then found websites by Baker Creek and Southern Exposure and was hooked on heirlooms even though I had always been a better boy kind of guy. Along the way I bought an acorn squash to try because my grandmother always had them and I liked them. And guess what: after not tasting them for 20 years, I found a new favorite veggie! Winter squash, and in particular SVB resistant Moschata's !
i tried them as summer squash and they were great.
Then I decided they took up too much room and discovered cattle panels and vertical gardens and how well they work for cukes, squash, beans and tomatoes. And how productive they made my 2500 sq ft! All kind of veggies coming out my ears!
So then we had to buy a canner this year for all the extra production and we relearned that skill. Still have plenty of canned veggies and winter squash to enjoy as of today.
i know I'm OCD, but I sure have enjoyed changing the chore of planting a few plants just to get a few fresh tomatoes into an obsession. Learned a lot over the last two years and I'm looking forward to the knowledge I gain this year.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Feb 8, 2016 7:09 PM CST
Hurray for you and all your efforts and rewards! Gardening is always an experiment to find either vegetables, or trees and shrubs, or plants we love and enjoy. Having a bite of that first tomato and enjoying the juice running down your arm is a pleasure.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 8, 2016 7:23 PM CST
Welcome! Mauldintiger. What a wonderful success story you have shared! Isn't it exciting to learn you can grow food that you love, and what a rewarding effort it can be? Please continue to share stories of your garden with us.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 8, 2016 7:49 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, @Mauldintiger ! As I'm sure you've noticed, there's a lot of the "gardening obsession" thing going on around here... and now that you've broken the ice and made your first post, I hope we'll be seeing you on the forums a lot Smiling
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Feb 9, 2016 1:32 PM CST
Welcome! Mauldintinger, gardening sure is a learning process. I don't think there's a year of gardening that goes by without learning something, and usually lots of things. The good part is you learn from your failures as well as your successes. I guess one could say that about life in general though. Smiling
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Feb 9, 2016 3:37 PM CST
Hi, great first post, Mauldintiger! It's great that you have that much room, to expand into.

Would you say that you like the no-till method after having tried it?

Have you used it long enough to tell whether your soil resists compaction that way?

Have you gone over to some kind of automated irrigation, with your enlarged garden?

>> I then found websites by Baker Creek and Southern Exposure and was hooked on heirlooms

Botanical Interests also has high-quality heirlooms, but no one can beat the quality of Baker Creek's photos.

>> i know I'm OCD, but I sure have enjoyed changing the chore of planting a few plants just to get a few fresh tomatoes into an obsession. Learned a lot over the last two years and I'm looking forward to the knowledge I gain this year.

I call the gardeners' version of OCD "O. Seed D." for "Obsessive Seed Disorder".

ATP should have a chapter of a 12-Step program for O. Seed D., but I think the Steps would include things like "Find more dry storage space for saved seeds" and "start your own nursery".

Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
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Gymgirl
Feb 17, 2016 9:42 AM CST
Mauldintiger,

Yours is a GREAT diary of your gardening evolution! I could see your progression, step by step. I'm still trying to get there in my small backyard garden, making it as productive as it can be.

Please post pictures of your garden progress, as you can. We LOVE pictorials over here!

P.S. What City/State & growing Zone are you in? That helps trendously when we're comparing seasons. As a newbie, I was forever confused when someone said they were starting seeds for tomatoes in May, and I was transplanting my seedlings in mid-February, LOL!!! Confused Confused Confused

Then, I learned about growing zones!!! Rolling my eyes.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 17, 2016 6:45 PM CST
BTW, with a plot as large as your new one (40' long?) you could use "drip tape" which is cheaper than drip line, and much more efficient WRT water loss than sprayers or sprinklers.

Drip tape prefers to be laid down in a straight line and then not messed with a lot. "Under the mulch" is also good.

Name: Gene Smith
Greenville, SC (Zone 7b)
Mauldintiger
Mar 19, 2016 6:56 AM CST
Been pretty busy in the garden and with life in general, but the monthly newsletter reminded me to check in here.
In response to Rick, I keep the garden heavily mulched, and it has really become a great habitat for the worms and other soil organisms. They really help with compaction as they move through the soil and their castings provide fertilizer for the plants. It's hard not find a worm if you pull the mulch back.
An added benefit is less work, no tilling or weeding. Only garden work I do is continuously mulch (got to put leaves and grass somewhere, so no extra work), plant, and harvest. I have also started using coffee grounds from a local shop, I usually get about 10 gallons per week, it's a great source of nitrogen, free, and on my way to work.
And finally the mulch keeps the soil very moist, I only watered 3 times last year. I used very little fertilizer, just a handful of worm casting when I planted and a side dressing around heavy feeders mid season. Here's a pic of some of my veggies, and a late season pic of the very lush garden.
Thumb of 2016-03-19/Mauldintiger/0f4fa5
Thumb of 2016-03-19/Mauldintiger/bd7243

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 19, 2016 8:34 AM CST
A great-looking harvest, Gene. Well done.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 19, 2016 11:38 AM CST
You know the garden is happy when there are lots of worms!

Gene, what is that long-necked thing in the photo -- some kind of squash? or a gourd?
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
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MaryE
Mar 19, 2016 12:32 PM CST
Ruth Stout also inspired me! She has been gone for decades now but her books and ideas live on in gardens across this whole country and probably around the world. She questioned the accepted ways of doing things, for instance, if the seed packet says plant one seed every 6 inches in rows 2 ft apart, she wondered why the seed would care if it had neighbors 6 inches away in two directions and nothing the other way for 24 inches. So she experimented and learned that the seeds didn't care. Oh yes, she got a lot of flack from other gardeners, and then they saw the results of her crazy methods and started questioning their own.

Drip tape, yes! I use it. It saves a lot of water and once set up, it is easy and efficient. I have to replace the tape every year because we have so much lime in our water.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Mar 19, 2016 6:25 PM CST
What a beautiful harvest, Gene. Love to hear how well your soil has been enriched--what a wonderful accomplishment! Sounds like you are having wonderful success with your garden.
Name: Gene Smith
Greenville, SC (Zone 7b)
Mauldintiger
Mar 19, 2016 7:21 PM CST
It's a Moschata squash, Tromboncino or Zucchini Rampicante. Most eat It as a summer squash and it's delicious, many eat it at 12-18" but that one was about 40", still delicious.
Some let it cure to a tan butternut color and use it as a winter squash, but I have not tried it that way.
It will definitely be back in the garden this summer. I'm also trying Tatume, a Mexican pepo, commonly eaten as a summer squash, but reportedly good as a winter squash and very pest resistant here.
Our big problems are SVB in Pepo's, Downey mildew in late July, and worst of all, Pickle Worms!
Thumb of 2016-03-20/Mauldintiger/07a066
The moths arrive in late July and lay eggs, the caterpillars bore into cucurbit fruits. If ripe, you can eat around them by cutting them out, but it you miss them, the fruit rots. I'm going to try covering the fruits with agribon 19 this year that has been soaked in Bt. And being more diligent with my spraying. Also planting early for a good harvest before they get here.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 19, 2016 8:08 PM CST
Oh boy -- I have some tromboncino seeds, had no idea the necks get that long! Definitely need to grow those on the trellis this year nodding
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 21, 2016 12:04 PM CST
Gene, it sounds like you have a great system going. Nice harvest photo!

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