Been a while....Still gardening!

crystabel(9)April 21, 2009

Hi all :) . I haven't been around for about 6 months, but I'm still alive and kicking :) . Last year when I started gardening I wasn't sure how I would like it, and I started with 5 boxes. Well I love it!!!!!

I added a 6th "box" that I made out of concrete block that I had sitting around and used it to plant potatoes. I also stuck a few pepper plants in with them and then in each hole of the cinder block I planted herbs around the whole thing. But that wasn't enough. I added 4 more boxes this winter! Winter is a big planting season here in FL so I was out of space and I needed to try corn again this year. Unfortunately my husband had recently been laid off so we didn't have much money. I used gift cards from my bday to buy the lumber and some compost, but couldn't afford to make Mel's mix. I used some compost (store and homemade) and then just whatever soil I had. Hey, you use what you have!! Things are growing, so that is good.

I've learned so much in the last 10 months of gardening and I think you just have to TRY things and see how they do, and learn where to go from there. I had some great harvests.

Carrots - great! (I have 12" deep boxes, they took advantage of it!)

Lettuce of various kinds - awesome!

Broccoli - more broc than I knew what to do with. I let one go to seed and I am watching the pods now for them to be ready to take for next planting season.

Corn - didn't grow well. I'm planting less per square and composting and watering more this time. Got a late start though. I will have corn though!

Spinach - couldn't stop it from growing and growing and growing no matter how many baby leaves I'd take.

Green onions - they were monstrous!

Pumpkin - only one, and it was tiny

Watermelon - didn't happen. Why couldn't the watermelon just at least grow one? It was my son's crop and he was a bit disappointed. We're trying again.

Squash - I got eager and harvested the only one I got too early. Oh well.

Radishes - they're easy. When I want to feel like I have accomplished growing something in the garden I throw in radishes even though I don't like to eat them LOL.

Sweet potatoes - yummy! They have their own box this year as they are out of control.

Peppers - the heat got to them and every single flower dropped. Or sometimes it would tease me and grow a little and then fall off.

Strawberries - the animals keep getting them. I'm building a cage to cover them next time around.

Tomatoes (vining)- not so good. I don't think I was thinning them out properly. This time I'm just letting the whole thing grow wild so I can see from experience just how they are growing and know where to clip them next time around.

Herbs: Basil, cilantro, savory - I couldn't stop them from growing! I finally pulled some out and cut some right before they flowered and will replant again.

I thought that I would be disappointed if things didn't grow after waiting so long, but really I wasn't. It has been so much fun to learn as I go and figure out what to do the next time around. My season is almost up here. In May-Aug there's only sweet potatoes and bush beans pretty much to grow. So I will soon harvest what I've started earlier this year and then get ready for fall.

Any thoughts on how to prepare my boxes for next planting season? I haven't had a non-season yet where my boxes sat empty.

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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

Up here chopped up leaves works great! It really draws the earthworms. They love the stuff. I heard chopped leaves described as "worm crack". I was a bit skeptical myself about that type of result for worms, but you can't argue with results. I have gotten so many worms in my beds that I covered late last fall with leaves (and black plastic to keep them from blowing away) that I can't dig a single trowel full of soil without SEEING at least 3 or 4 good sized worms. Some are HUGE, others are tiny (babies, I guess). Anyway, that works well for me.
(I would assume that some grass clippings would work very similarly for you.) I turned the leaves into the soil with a shovel in the middle of March, to help incorporate it, about a month before planting.

Other options would be a cover crop (or green manure) of some kind (obviously it would have to be a very heat tolerant variety, but don't know what to recommend).

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 1:23PM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Welcome back! I'm glad you had a successful growing season, and also built more boxes!!!

EG

Here is a link that might be useful: EG's Garden Blog

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 1:42PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Welcome back! Your results are almost identical to mine so I call it a rousing success! Glad you enjoy gardening. Addictive isn't it?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:59PM
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ribbit32004

Good to see you again!! Don't have much advice, but My girlfriend has a heck of a time getting squash to grow in FL as well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:01PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

crystabel-thats great! Did you grow your spinach all summer? Where are you located? I hope you took some good pictures...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 6:58PM
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crystabel(9)

Eagle... thanks for the advice about the chopped leaves. I'm going to try it as I have tons of dead leaves from winter.

EG - thanks for the welcome back :) .

Sinfonian - I feel that's a great compliment coming from you, knowing how well your garden does! BTW, I saw an article you wrote in Patti the garden girl's newsletter... cool :) .

ribbit - thanks. I'm going to keep trying with those squash. I'm sure I'll learn something out if it!

snibb - I grew my spinach all winter. I still have a few plants that I keep taking more leaves from but others got a bit wilty once the heat kicked up. I'm in FL so my growing season is in the fall, winter and early spring. May through July is prep time for me :) .

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 10:18PM
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Melissa Houser

Crystabel! Howdy! I just saw you were here while reading through a couple of weeks of posts. As you might have missed, I moved, so had to start over on my SFG about a month ago. I need to post new pics, and I sure wish DH wasn't being a putz, I'd post pics of how that garden is growing as well. I had it all planted when the decision to move was made somewhat quickly!

I'll post pics in the next couple of days to show the new garden and it's progress, but wanted to say hello to you! :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:57AM
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crystabel(9)

Hi Lissa! I can't wait to see your new garden pics. I really need to update my garden album as well!!!
Thanks for the hello :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:38PM
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