Extra space in the garden... what to plant?

alabamanicole(7b)May 24, 2010

June is almost here and so is the hot weather. I have extra space in the garden and I am pondering ideas for stuff that can get established in the heat and also fruit by the fall here in north AL.

I already have lots of tomatos and peppers (serrano, 2 kinds of sweet and poblanos), enough eggplant, too much summer squash and cukes. I've got two kinds of basil (which is already bolting), parsely, fennel and cilantro. I've also got butternut squash with a generous allotment of space to ramble.

I have a 2'x18' strip of bed next to my peppers, and a section about 10'x10' that can be subdivided however needed. I don't like okra, and corn would cast too much shade on the plants to the north of it. I don't want to add any perennials to this part of the garden.

What do you think I should add?

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Calendula? Nasturtiums? I am thinking edible flowers that also work as companion plants.

What about pole beans? I have grown green and purple podded ones together for a pretty effect - which can be augmented by growing runner beans. I'm not as crazy about the taste of most runner beans, but the (largely) scarlet flowers they produce are great hummingbird and other pollinator attractors.

All that being said, I am speaking from my experience as a MA gardener; I'm new to AL gardening.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:54PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

Bush beans are a good bet for that kind of space. Or blackeyed peas - they taste great when fresh!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:44PM
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I'm not a big snap bean fan, but bush beans are an option. Some of the wax beans like Dragon's Tongue are pretty and tasty. Pole beans would probably cast too much shade. The garden already gets a good dose of afternoon shade.

Someone else mentioned sweet potatoes; I've never grown them before. Or it's probably not too late for another winter squash if I buy a plant.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:06AM
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Why not plant some more yellow squash, tomatoes, bush beans, bush cucumber and give it to a local homeless shelter. You could also plant mustard greens or turnip greens which will grow quickly and harvested quickly.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 10:24PM
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Oh Drippy! My life's dream was to have a lot of nasturtiums like Monet had at Giverny! And down here in Mobile that just doesn't happen....even a hanging basket only lasted a couple of weeks.

But when I started gardening up in Massachusetts after we got married in 2006, I had a chance to grow them. They like cooler weather than what we have here, and it might be fine up in the northern part of the state. The nice thing about them is they climb and sprawl and look gorgeous. I had all colors, and I had so many seeds the first year that I've never had to buy any more. Actually, a big Folgers coffee can of them. I used the flowers as part of green salads, and my granddaughters adored picking them to eat right from the garden. They are very spicy.

But last year toward the end of the season, they became covered with something black and gooey, which the nurseryman said was APHIDS. Yeah, sometimes they even plant nasturtiums to be the bait for aphids so they do not go to other plants. But it was disgusting to me, since they were my favorite bloom in the whole garden.

My DH had his rows of marigolds lined up like soldiers, exactly 6 inches apart, he even popped a string to make sure his rows were straight. Contrast that to my method of poking a finger into the soil and dropping a seed, at random in the space next to those marigolds. It demonstrated better than anything else the difference in our styles (not just gardening styles either), because my nasturtiums grew with RECKLESS ABANDON all over the place.
So if you are ready for that, and not a neat and tidy easy to control plant, then go for the glory of nasturtiums!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 11:21PM
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I went with yellow watermelons, armenian cucumbers and sweet potatoes. They should certainly eat up the extra space!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 4:55PM
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ML, I had a little success with nasturtiums in pots in the Greenville/Spartanburg area of SC last summer, which is pretty much due east (same growing zone) of where I am now. So I am hoping!

Just bought a house here, with over an acre of level land - way too much lawn - can't wait to turn it into garden. :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:25PM
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swjonthebay(8b Alabama)

moccasinlanding, I finally got nasturtiums to bloom for me last fall. Planted them (again...*sigh*) in the summer and nada but they rallied as the weather cooled. Shortlived...maybe a month or so?, but well worth it :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 7:45PM
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