I know there are some gardening threads on here, but has anyone posted material for urban gardening? Those of us with limited resources, time, space and funds - could use info on said topic. I know there is a great selection of books on it, one 'Square Foot Gardening' by Bartholomew
looks great, talks about easy and simple ways to grow food. If anyone else has some info, videos, etc - fele free to share!
I'm an SFG guy. I started with a 4x4 box last summer and I've since added an 8x4 and now about to put in another 4x4. I'm currently growing chives, lettuce, broccoli, mint, red onions, yellow onions, peppers, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil, strawberries, spinach, peas, a couple of bean varieties, chard, and okra. People's eyes always get big when I list all my plants - they must think I've got rows stretching across my yard when really I am using an area of only 48 sq. ft. This has been a great gardening experience for me and while I'm now branching out in other ways (fruit trees, permaculture) I have found this method to be an invaluable foundation for getting started.
You can go to Mel's web site (www.squarefootgardening.com) and see pictures from SFGs as well as youtube videos with him.
Keep in mind that SFG is but one method in a whole family of intensive, raised-bed techniques (i.e., "lasagna" method, sheet mulching). After further reading I modified SFG for my big bed (and gave myself more work, granted) by turning over the grass where the bed would go and putting down newspaper instead of weed cloth. That way, earthworms can make their way up into my soil mix and, as the newspaper biodegrades, I can grow root crops without having to build a taller box.
So, from my experience, let me say it's totally worth it to start with SFG, but once you really get into gardening, expand your reading and your range of practice. Well, unless you're in an apartment or other situation with no soil to work with. In that case, maybe the only area to expand your knowledge would be into self-watering containers...
Is there a way to combine the practice of permaculture with square foot gardening? I would think this would be an easier way to design the permaculture zones in one's yard. In our new house the lot is 5500 square feet. So we still consider it relatively small. Any thoughts?
My initial garden attempt last summer was a disaster of weeds. So then I setup a couple couple raised beds in the Fall right by my doorstep using the SFG method. Great way to keep organized and plant successively and rotate crop families. Almost no weeds at all. The planting schedules in the back of the SFG book are helpful to plan out your garden year. I combined with Eliot Coleman's Fours Season Harvest using cold frames to extend the season here in New England.
Cat and I put in our SFG beds this year and we are having great success so far. We built 8 4' x 4' x 12" high beds and laid them out in the yard where they get the most sun. Invest a little in a good organic compost/dirt mix. We put weed barriers down to kill the grass underneath - I figure if anything grows up through 12" of compost it deserves to live.
You can also take advantage of limited space by planting in large pots. We have several lettuce varieties and a bunch of herbs in pots and it's not much more than a walk out to the patio to snip some herbs or a salad or both.
We'll try to get some pics posted soon.
Hello Gardener Friends,
My wife and I decided about a year ago that we needed to grow some of our own food, to go along with all the other preparations we've been making for difficult times. However, we live in a 55+ condo retirement community and not allowed to do anything except on our own patio. So, we decided to take a chance. We started contacting folks who had vacant land in our area, and found a wonderfully progressive developer who fully supports the community gardening idea. He offered to lease us 1/2 acre, at no charge, for five years until he can get the whole parcel (3.5 acres) converted into a city park that includes our garden. We started out in January with 10 of us. But lots of people wanted to join in, so we finally built 50 raised beds, each one 4' x 16', for 50 families in the neighborhood. So as not to disturb the soil, we used 3-4 layers of cardboard on top of the grass, followed by some good dirt, donated by a local company, followed by 4-5 inches of organic compost. We are all using sq.ft. method. Everybody is so excited and the garden just looks great. The best thing about it, (until we actually start harvesting) is the incredible sense of community that has developed among people, most of whom did not even know each other before. Has it been hard work? You bet, especially for this 73-year-old arthritic body. But the joy I've gotten from it and pure satisfaction of contributing something to my neighbors is beyond description. If you have a little extra time, we highly recommend that you do something similar, even if much smaller. As the old song says: "The two best things in the world are true love, and home grown tomatoes."
Oh, I forgot to say that worms like to eat the cardboard, and you know how good worms are for your garden. We also got some coffee grounds from local Starbucks, and added them. Our neighbors laugh and say we will have the only bed that is growing expresso. :>)
We are starting SFG this year and we live on 15 acres! I am not a gardener so I wanted something that would have the best chance of success. It had to be easy to deal with and didn't take a bunch of machinery and work. Because we have deer and rabbits all over I wanted something compact so we could fence it off. SFG fit all these criteria. We have several things poking up already and no weeds so far!
Are you going to try out the "chicken moat" Becca talked about at Lowesville?
Good luck with your SFG.
Cat and I have been eating daily salads that are literally minutes old. Sometimes we feel like expecting parents - run out each morning to see what new veggie is coming up.
The blueberries and strawberries are ripening, the black currant and white currant have lots of green berries, the thornless blackberry has one fruit, several flowers and lots of unopened buds. The grape tomatoes are coming along well and the beets and carrots would be doing fine if I could keep the dog out of the beds.
Dogs and I built three more boxes for our square foot garden this past weekend. That is how well the new garden is working, so far.... Of course we have yet to see the final results.
That chicken moat is a great idea, but I'm a ways off from getting chickens. I think it was Cat mentioning SFG in the agriculture thread a month or so ago that that got me started on this. Thanks! A friend gave us some strawberry plants and we have some berries forming. I may become a gardener after all!
On a side note, a neighbor is letting a farmer use part of his field to grow organic vegetables. He needed to use my other neighbor's tractor to plow, but a hydraulic line blew out. I came in and fixed it, so I think I'm in line to reap some vegetative benefits. Kinda neat to have some community action spring up just after coming back from Lowesville! My neighbor is going " hate to have you work on this" and I'm going "no, no this is what it's all about". I got a fried chicken dinner out of it too!
Great replies! This is truly enjoyable and heartening to hear all your stories on SFG! I went out and got the book and will start tomorrow!
Since potatoes are the most caloric dense food we can grow - I wanted to add them (I'm Irish too so its in my genes. lol) - Do I need seeds or can I just plant some supermarket potatoes?
Peace & Blessings!
The simple answer is "Yes". Square Foot, Biointensive, Raised Bed, and Permaculture all have the same basic tenets... grow as much as can in the least amount of space, with as much natural biodiversity as possible, interplanting compatible species as much as possible in a layering effect as you would find in nature. All the different techniques are completely secondary... and, from my own experience, entirely dependent on your climate, needs and resources. For instance, the raised beds I work are themselves smaller versions of permaculture layers (short in front, tall in back; sun-lovers in the front facing south, shade lovers in the understory), incorporating various SFG and Biointensive techniques depending on what's planted... each bed has several densely planted clusters companion and succession planted with other compatible plants. Annuals get rotated, while perrenials and bushes/trees stay put. In the end, it's all about management - knowing what grows well together in your area, what shouldn't be planted together, and what things need to be planted and rotated (and on which schedule) in order to maximize production and reduce disease/pests.
I've never grown potatoes so I hope you get better answers, but I think you sprout them and cut out a section around each 'eye' and plant those. You will need a deeper box (standard SFG garden box is 6"). There are some good ideas on the Definitive Agriculture thread about this too. I do know fresh potatoes are really good.
Potatos can be grown in two ways. From actual potato seeds produced by the plant flowers and by planting "seed potatoes" which are just chunks of potatoes that have eyes on them. By far, seed potatos are the most successful and easiest to grow. They also are genetic clones, so you pretty much know exactly what you're getting. Potatos seeds are not usually as successful or easy to grow plants from and the first year usually have horrible yields. Also, potatoes do not breed true from seed... so even if you have perfect potatos one year, you can't guarantee that you'll get the same result the next year, even if you do manage to collect and preserve the seed pods (which is a PITA!).
Best advice for ease is to plant a chunk (seed potato) of known-good potato that has 3-5 eyes on it. You will need a deep bed since the potatos grow underground on the roots which are usually the same depth/length as the aboveground plant. Many people have been successful growing potatoes in crates, barrels or stacks of used tires filled with soil or straw. Potatos are pretty easy to grow in almost all climates if you get the right varieties for your region (check with your local cooperative extension), but they can be really prone to disease (scab, blight, mildew) and pests (root maggots, wireworms, beetles) so need to be properly rotated and interplanted, etc.
A little on white potatos vs sweet potatos since many people are under the impression that sweet potatos are automatically healthier for you::
7-ounce white potato with skin: 220 calories, 5g protein, 51g carbs, 20mg calcium, 115mg phosphorus, 2.8mg iron, 16mg sodium, 844mg potassium, 4g fiber, .22mg thiamin, .07mg riboflavin, 3.3mg niacin, 16mg vitamin C
7-ounce sweet potato with skin: 208 calories, 3.5g protein, 49g carbs, 56mg calcium, 110mg phosphorus, 1mg iron, 20mg sodium, 693mg potassium, 5g fiber, 4350 RE vitamin A, .14mg thiamin, .13mg riboflavin, 1.2mg niacin, 49mg vitamin C.
So, white potatos have 12 more calories, 2g more carbs, more protein, more potassium, more niacin and more iron.. but no vitamin a at all. While sweet potatoes have vitamin a, more calcium and more vitamin C. Otherwise they are pretty much equal... except sweet potatos are MUCh harder to grow and require warmer soils. If you need the vitamin A... eat some carrots, they grow just about everywhere a potato will grow
I started the SFG this year as well and have had great success thus far. I will say that if you're trying to use the SFG Corp. units you may be disappointed in the customer service and the actual product that they will send. I've heard horror stories. They've gotten too busy too fast to keep up and the actual boxes are not good. Build your own and you'll be happy. Myself, I have 3 12'x12'x12" boxes that have 20 individual boxes in each. Half on one box is dedicated to Corn and it's going nuts. Broccoli, Califlower, Tomatoes, Cu cs, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Chives/Green Onion, Beets, Carrots, Zucs, Yellow Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Oregano, Cabbage (red and green), I can't remember the rest. EVERYTHING is growing outstanding. If you do this make sure you use trellis for both peas, beans, cucs and anything else that vines and isn't too heavy. You gain a huge amount of space by doing this. It's really a great idea and enjoyable to watch the work go to good use. Can't wait to start harvest and canning.
Yep, started SFG this year. Finally got all our Summer plants in the ground last weekend. We have 6 4x4 beds. They are lined up like 2 long beds of 4x12. We surrounded it all with a nice fence of deer netting held up by some scavenged bamboo poles. Weed cloth is under the whole thing. We still need to put in some cheap mulch to walk on between the beds.
We have a bunch of things like squash, pumpkin, strawberries, zuch, all over the yard in traditional beds - old flower beds actually. In the SFG we are growing lots of types of beans, tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash, helper plants, herbs, eggplants, mustard greens, chard, etc. Some are still looking kind of puny right now but we're crossing our fingers.
We're renting right now but we're going to ask our landlady if we can put in a couple of rain-barrels to help out the garden. I'm already starting to plan the fall crop. Need to get busy looking for canning supplies also!
Good luck to everyone on their gardening projects!
Given the nature of square foot gardening, growing different plants in very close proximity to each other I thought this article was helpful.
Michigan State University Extension
Through the years gardeners have observed that some plants
grow well together, while others do not. This list presents
traditional companions (plants that have compatible growth
habits and share space well), allies (plants that enhance growth
and ward off insects), and enemies (plants that deter good
growth). As you plan the garden, try some of the beneficial
pairings and see if they bring you good results.
Link to PDF file, www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/item_id.207798/workspace_id.-30/OC0237%20Companion%20Planting.pdf/
Thanks for the link, Cat. I have several lists of companion plants, but there were a few on this list that I didn't know and will have to try! Sometimes I forget that companion pairings aren't just about disease control, pest control, or soil enrichment... sometimes they can be about improved flavor and yields, too!
great thread, had to tag. thanks guys
As of late, it seems the site has been focusing heavily on financials, so I thought I'd try to kick up some dirty talk - garden dirt that is.
So how are the gardens doing everyone? Successes/failures?
I had my first real attempt at a garden this year and the engineer in me gravitated towards SFG. We planted heirloom varieties and had some good luck! By far the greatest success was the Contender Bush Beans, they have been producing for probably two months straight and at least half of that was in pretty poor soil conditions (we ended up adding some fertilizer midway through summer). The oakleaf lettuce stayed small but kept on going until it got too bitter. Zuccinis (of course) are doing well. We started the tomatoes from seed and they were stuck at two inches and two leaves for well over a month, but finally took off and we are just getting tomotoes in (they are good!). Have about 5 cantalopes just about ready - I keep tugging but they haren't ready to give up yet. On the other side, edname beans didn't do much, eggplant fizzled (which I don't like anyway - it was for my wife), and spinach never got going.
Anyway - here's a shot - see the 'lopes in the forground?
The funny thing here at home is that the garden has been therapy . This is our first real attempt to try and feed the family plus have some to share . Everyday we are busy preserving something . Right now we got 6 bushel of spaghetti squash that we were not ready for and need to get shelving built .The tomatoes bring in a bushel a week . ( Good thing they are easy to can !) , Need to get the potatoes dug and the carrots but the beans don't quit and the weeds are getting ahead of us!!!!
We put the horses out on pasture for the summer , threw some pumpkin seeds out in the coral and now we have a jungle . I should have thrown some corn in there too because the ditch-weed is twenty foot high and we had to whack out a path to get back to the bucket calves for their feedings .
We ended up ordering canning lids by the case and going to every auction to buy more jars . Yes our efforts have been blessed and doing something feels better than sitting around worrying about things it seems we have no power to change.
Two weeks ago we put in the fall garden . It is all up now! I think we will be ready for the winter rest time .
My garden has been a lot of work not only with normal duties but the initial building of fences, beds, gates etc. this year plus building a coop for the chickens. But I'm enjoying top quality veggies now with zero need to buy any at the store, just enjoying what is in season and having more fun too and so are my kids. I focused on building up great soil with lots of compost and keeping things organized, and tried a bunch of different things in different places around the yard.
Dug out last of red potatoes (Dark Red Norlands) planted end of April, after tops wilted, best potatoes I've ever tasted. Got a couple rows of Gold Rush to dig up sometime, but it's so warm now I wonder if they're better stored in the ground for the moment until my basement cools down in the fall. Will have enough to get through most of winter, and am saving small ones for seed. Potatoes were so easy I can't believe this is the first year I've ever done them.
Good crop spring peas, though missed a bunch that got overripe all at once, got a fall crop started now.
Got lots of carrots, but finding taste isn't as fabulous as it is in spring or fall during cooler weather. Next year I would plant more in the spring and fall and less in the middle of summer. Some got left in ground too long.
Tomatoes finally taking off now with warmer weather. I slice up a few with fresh basil leaves over pasta, avoiding the cost of canned sauce. The heirloom bush type (first Light) seem to be doing a lot better than the indeterminant vine ones.
Blueberries, peaches etc. not doing great this year but picking what I can.
I planted a ton of squash and pumpkins that are starting to spread out all over, even plant out front by the road instead of flower beds. I like squash because it tastes good, has lots of carbs and vitamins, and stores well.
Cukes, peppers, onions growing well also. Broccoli tasted good but only got a small amount despite huge plants.
Spinach and lettuce didn't do much this spring, hoping for better this fall. Chard grew well but seemed bitter.
Next year I'll do more beets; taste great and store well.
Four 80' rows of corn starting to grow ears now. I'll have way too much at once, so will need to figure out how to save or use for chicken feed.
Fall garden needs to go in and cold frames need to be built before it's gets too late!
Mistakes: didn't get netting rigged up in time for squash in raised bed; it's all the ground now. Started too many seeds indoors too early, and plants were oversized by the time of transplant. Squash, cukes, lettuce, beets, broccoli, spinach, onions I won't bother with transplanting next year; direct seed did as well or better. Will only start tomatoes, peppers, and cantelope indoors and just direct seed everything else.
I ordered a food dedydrator to try. Feel like I have no time for canning. Eventually I'll build a solar food dryer that needs no electricity.
Cat asked me to type up a synopsis of our SFG endeavor this year. Here goes - I think she is getting some pics ready.
This was a lot of fun and a lot of work. We had done some token gardening in the past, a couple of tomato plants, a few peppers, etc. with limited success.
We decided to go all in with SFG this year and so we did. Building the boxes, placing the boxes, estimating sun coverage, etc. was all part of the equation. (Note to potential SF Gardeners who are married to Interior Designers, just surrender up front and put the damn boxes where she says to)
We had a pretty ambitious mix of plantings and used the companion planting guide outlined in Mel Bartholomew's book as far as herbs and flowers and other hoo hahs.
Good mulch/dirt is key. If I had to do it over again, I would buy a few thousand red wriggler worms and chuck them in before we started planting.
We had Green and Red Bell peppers, Black Beauties, Sweet and Hot Banana peppers, Jalapeno and Anaheims. We lost a few plants but once the hot, nasty July-August SE Virginia weax set in, they really started producing. We planted some of the peppers a little early, but overall I give us a B+ on peppers.
Beans - we planted Green Pole beans, Wax beans and Purple Beuaty bush beans. Great success with the Purple Beauties and Wax beans, not so much with the green beans, although it wasn't too bad.
Tomatoes - (I have no idea what we planted) - Grapes, Cherry, Celebrity, Big/Better Boy, Sweet 100s, some kind of purple stripey thingie tomato. We learned a lot here - we got some splitting of the fruits because of too much watering too fast, but are really getting a lot of good 'maters now. SE Virginia had a bad outbreak of Early and Late blight and septoria. We had a touch of early blight/septoria and aggressively treated the plants with copper soap solution and won that battle - be forewarned, the copper solution is expensive at ~$20.00 per treatment and we needed three treatments. Had a brief fling with tomato worms, but fortunately the Virginia state bird is the cardinal and cardinals love tomato worms. We were first cued to the fact that we had tomato worms when we saw a bunch of cardinals hopping around the plants - thinking they were eating the tomatoes, we investigated, and found some very large worms - aparently the cardinals get spooked by a worm as long as your thumb and left them alone. I did not get spooked and I cut them (the worms) in half and left the body parts out for the birds who happily took me up on my offerings. We are having a huge late (I think) crop similar to what Steve talked about in his post, but it may be a SE Virginia thing.
Lettuce - Arugula, Mesclun, others. Great success - we have been eating our lettuce since May.
Nasturtium - these are cool. You can eat the whole thing, leaf, flower and all. They are spicy and are great in salads. The dried up flowers can be crushed and used as a pepper substitute. They are easy to grow and spread like wildfire.
Herbs - no description of mine will do it justice. Cat's herbs are masterpieces of landscaping, planting, gardening, visual and culinary architecture. Thai basil, African Blue basil, Sweet basil, Dill, Marjoram, Lavendar, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Chive, four kinds of thyme, Stevia, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Cilantro, and some other stuff I've never heard of - the whole backyard smells like an Italian Grandmother's kitchen after she finishes cutting herbs.
Zucchini/Squash - this part was painful. We had beatiful heirloom seed plants for both. We lost all of our squash plants to squash bugs and half of our zukes. I hate those little sap-sucking bas...., er, critters, and took great pleasure in squishing them (hence their name I suppose?) since there is no insecticidal treatment that works. We are getting great zukes now, but only got one yellow crookneck before the bugs got the plants. We also lost all four of our spaghetti squash. Lesson learned - when you see what looks like a stink bug on your squash, grab it, squeeze it and go over every leaf looking for eggs. They lay eggs on the underside of the leaves, close to the center or along a large vein. I took a sharp knife and cut the whole section of leaf out. Another sign that the bugs are sucking sap out of the plant is when they have a droopy or wilt appearance. At first we thought they needed watering, but in hindsight it was due to squash bugs and we probably could have saved most of the plants. Next year is mine - I have declared a GWOSqB - Global War On Squash Bugs.
Cukes - we planted Lemon cukes, Armenian cukes and regular old cukes. We lost the regular cukes to squash bugs and wilt, but the Armenian and Lemon cukes are doing well. Didn't have any trouble with cucumber beetles, but I did find more than a few squash bugs on our cukes. The Lemon cukes are the best tasting cukes I have ever had and are going to be a centerpiece in next year's garden.
Ichiban Eggplant - these were so freakin cool. Once we got them in the right box for sun exposure they went nuts - they are slender eggplants, similar in shape and size to a curved armenian cuke and are very tasty. Cat did up a killer eggplant-beef-rice dish.
Carrots/Radishes - we planted them too close and didn't thin them out enough, but what we did get was tasty and we know what to do next time around.
Beets, cabbage, brussells sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli - we learned that these are fall plantings in Virginia. Had a lot of trouble with cabbage loopers - buy BT and wage biological warfare on them. We have nursed the surviving plants along through the summer and they are starting to really take off. Should be cutting some brussells sprouts in the next few weeks. Also have one softball sized cabbage on our only surviving cabbage plant. Our fall garden plantings of broccoli, b. sprouts, cauliflower are sprouting inside in growing cups and we should be doing our fall planting in 3-4 weeks. Or whenever Cat tells me to.
Wonderberry - Cat covered this in an earlier post of hers somewhere. These guys are cool - very tasty when cooked, (87 cups of sugar might have something to do with it). Very low maintenance too - lots of berries, impervious to bugs and the birds stay away from the berries. A word of caution - the Wonderberry is in the same family as Black and Deadly Nightshade and the green berries are poisonous raw. They have glycoalkaloids in them that are hallucinogenic. Atropine and Scopolamine are derived from the Nightshade berries and if eaten in sufficient quantity can kill you. One source said 10-20 berries of the Deadly Nightshade can kill an adult and 2-5 berries can kill a child. So don't eat green Wonderberries and everything's good.
Sweet potatoes - they are growing all over the backyard, spilling out of the boxes and climbing the fence, azaleas and wisteria and we expect a pretty good yield.
Thornless Apache Blackberries - no thorns, very heavily fruited and boy does it grow. Check online for pruning tips. Huge fruits and very tasty. You will compete with the birds for these guys.
Strawberries - they are weeds in the part of Virginia where we live and grow everywhere. We get enough each spring and with all the local growers, it really is more cost efficient to go out and pick your own. At the same time we will keep our plantings going just in case.
Blueberries - we have three, two-year old plants, and got a few berries this year, left most for the birds, but are expecting lots of berries next season.
Black Currants, White Currants - these were experiments this year. We got a lot of fruits from each, but had some issues with spotting and blight. There is a lot of new growth so I am hopeful that they will recover and will be even more productive next year.
I am sure I forgot something - Cat will correct me.
Overall it was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and we learned a lot. Cat and I have a nice routine where we take morning and evening walks through the backyard to check on "the kids". When we see a new zuke, cuke or bean or whatever coming in, it's almost like being a new parent except we know that the Lemon cukes aren't going to poop in a diaper.
I forget who mentioned it here on the site, but one of the regulars here told us that our garden was going to be an experiment and sometimes your experiment gets eaten by somebody else.
So it was, but we are one year wiser and are looking forward to our fall planting and next spring. Hopefully in the time it took me to compose this post Cat got our pics up - if not, we'll get them up soon.
Wow, sounds like some great successes out there!
I see a couple of you planted spaghetti squash - do they keep pretty well? I like them and thought about it too late this year.
We will not have much to can/freeze/dry this year, but I'm happy just to be getting a few 'real-time' meals out of it!
BTW a local magazine had an article about the White House garden - from the pictures it looks like they had at least a few SFG type beds. I didn't realize how much the organic nature of the garden riled the pesticide/fertilzer lobby groups. They sponsored letter writing campaigns against it and spouted off a lot of propoganda; I especially liked one quote where they mentioned how home grown and local produce would produce obesity and starvation in the same sentence. It shows how even the most benign effort can be twisted around to look bad.
Re post #24
Some pictures from the Dogs and Cat garden... If you wish, more can be seen at my photostream at Flickr, just search,"garden."
Cat and Dogs...
Great work and thanks for sharing. You have a beautiful garden.There truly is not a better feeling than growing your own food (at least for this urbanite). This weekend, I will be done harvesting my New Mexican Green Chiles, and will immediately proceed to making my annual green chile sauce and stocking up the freezer with it for the year. Its a two-day ordeal because I have a lot of roasting, peeling, deseeding, chopping and cooking to do. Typically, the skin on my hands, and any other body part that I foolishly touch during the process, burns for days afterward.
I'll share some pics of the process after I recover.
Thank you, the garden has been a joy. Strangely enough, I am also enjoying cooking more... I know it is due to the fresh veggies straight from the garden.
I remember a previous post about your salsa recipe, I know you posted the recipe somewhere. Would you please repost in the, Recipes for Food and Drink Thread?
Amazingly the grandchildren that were picky eaters will eat anything that thethemselves planted and harvested . They are close to the ground and see those beans a lot better too . There is so much they can learn at a young age that they will be able to use .
The son -in-laws are another story I guess they will eat if they get hungry enough .
Anyone know of the best place to get pantyhose to store the onions in ? They hang so nicely that way and with the knot between each one they do not spoil .
My kids are trying new veggies too that they pick for themselves, that they wouldn't eat otherwise.
Carrots, radishes: I've found easiest for me is plant 16 seeds per square foot (4 x 4), being careful to do just one seed per spot so I don't have to thin later. Pelletized carrot seeds may be worth the slight extra cost for the ease of effort compared to handling tiny carrot seeds. Napoli carrots from Johnnysseeds.com do great for me in cooler New England weather.
Beets: One seed is actually a cluster that becomes several seedlings. I periodically thin the greens for salads, ending up with one plant per sot for root crop.
Onions: I thinned these earlier in the summer and on a whim stuck the thinnings in an open raised bed; it worked, these all grew into onions too!
Mulch/weed prevention: past gardens have been total weed disasters. I used to use hay for mulch but it seems to just contribute more weed seeds. I've had good luck using very well composted soil on top with minimal weed production, and the weeds that do sprout are easy to pull out. I put down a few layers of newspapers on some raised beds and that worked well too. Also, the SFG method of organization helps you tell your veggie plants from the weeds. A little bit a daily maintenance is more fun than catching up on weeding once per month.
Chard, spinach, lettuce, parsely etc.: I just clip the largest leaves nightly as desired for salads and fresh new leaved grow back quickly. Let the garden bed be your storage spot, not the refridgerator and not the supermarket.
Time constraints? Since my available time window is often after dark, a high power LED headlamp is very useful to get gardening chores done. Nicer way to spend your evening anyway than in front of a computer or TV.
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