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dr.tran 10-22-2012 06:44 PM

Anyone here garden?
 
So I am fortunate enough to have a garden at my house but my parents don't really know how to garden. So for the last decade, they have been experimenting growing all kinds of vegetables and this year has been an overwhelming failure. Now I am taking it upon myself to completely take it over and re do the entire thing. I always had a keen intrest in plant biology and this should be a interesting advent. Right now this is just the planning phase but I intend to do a complete vegetable garden with some berries like raspberries and blackberries. The only thing is that its a pretty small garden, 100 sq feet. So I am planning a lot to learn how to make the best use of a small place.

But now I am very curious about gardening. Anyone else here grow and maintain a garden? Anyone willing to share some pictures? Tips? Advice?

mistergreen 10-22-2012 07:11 PM

Replace part of the soil every year with compost or enriched garden soil with composted manure. I have a feeling that's why yours fail. You have to replenish the lost nutrients.


The berry bushes will require lots of nutrients and water. Well, it'll be winter soon so plan for spring.

dr.tran 10-22-2012 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mistergreen (Post 2052511)
Replace part of the soil every year with compost or enriched garden soil with composted manure. I have a feeling that's why yours fail. You have to replenish the lost nutrients.


The berry bushes will require lots of nutrients and water. Well, it'll be winter soon so plan for spring.

Yeah exactly. That and they sowed all their seeds way too late. This weekend I am about to till and replace the top soil. I want a nice fresh start. Thanks for the tip. Just getting my self ready for all the hard work.

Since its fall, I plan to plant the root stock for the berries. But I know I will still have to wait 2 years. Patience in gardening, that is why I chose to have an aquatic garden then a vegetable one. Lol

BTW has anyone here compost? I want to get a red wiggler compost going for the fall and winter. But I have a feeling it will never be enough for an entire garden.

steven p 10-22-2012 08:27 PM

learn to put together a trellis, lots of berries and fruits like the tomato love to climb and will choke each other out if you don't help them out a little.

mistergreen 10-22-2012 09:16 PM

I compost. I don't have that much trash anymore. It's pretty cool.

You'll get all sorts of critters living in the compost. I see lots of black solder fly larvae. I hear they're great big fish fish food but I can't see myself touching them. I'm ok with worms.

With every layer of food scraps, I find it helpful to cover it with a thin layer of soil or compost you get from the bottom. It reduces smells, mold, and speeds up the break down process.

HighDesert 10-22-2012 10:26 PM

Compost is great. It's easy to build a bin (just google DIY compost bin) or dig a hole and throw everything in there and cover with a little soil each time. I am not sure how well that works in your part of the world, but it seems to be okay here in NM. The great thing is, you can put ALL of your vegetable waste in there, along with fish skins/bone, egg shells, uneaten cereal with milk... really anything that doesn't contain meat. You can also get one of those worm bins that are designed for indoor use and keep it going throughout the Winter inside. Just keep the castings in 5 gallon buckets outdoors (freezing won't hurt it), and by Spring you should have some nice quantities to supplement your soil. I would recommend working it into the individual hills and planting holes, rather than trying to augment the entire garden space with it. Have you looked into green manure crops, such as Winter wheat? I'm not sure if it's too late up in your part of the world for a green manure crop, but Winter rye is also really great and gives your soil that boost in the Spring.

GraphicGr8s 10-23-2012 12:43 AM

Tran, I lived up in Yonkers for many years. (OK I was born there) More than likely you have good soil but I would still get it tested at your local AG office. There's got to be one around you someplace. Right now you should be planting winter rye so the soil isn't fallow over the winter. Winter rye is annual and when you turn it in will help the soil a lot. Compost is always good but be careful what yo put in it. No meat. Ever.
You need to start seeds indoors about a month before last frost so you have good transplants. Try to get non GMO seed or heirloom.
You can build a simple compost bin using pallets. 7 of them nailed together to for 3 open front bins.
Bone meal is good as is blood meal.
Tomatoes. Add dolomitic limestone to prevent blossom end rot. They need the calcium
Plant your tomato transplants almost to the very top leaves. They will grow roots along the entire stem and be more drought tolerant and be much sturdier. If you don't want to get to involved with staking them get determinate types like Celebrity.
Cover the soil with black plastic to warm it up faster in the spring.
Mulch. I use hay but straw is better. Less weeds. More importantly it prevents the rain and sprinklers from compacting the soil. I also lay down newspaper first as a weedblock of sorts plus the mulch and paper keep the soil damper. The hay or straw also keeps the dirt from bouncing up onto the leaves of the plant useful for those subject to wilt.
So long as you don't treat your grass I would start a pile of it. The earthworms up there love it and worm castings are great fertilizer.
That's just a start. 2 books I recommend are Carrots love tomatos and Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

The first is on companion gardening and the times I've done it was bountiful. Square Foot Gardening is great for small areas which you have.
I've done pole beans in between corn and the yield was amazing. Certain plantings will minimize pests. Certain crops will reenergize the soil.

dr.tran 10-23-2012 01:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steven p (Post 2052609)
learn to put together a trellis, lots of berries and fruits like the tomato love to climb and will choke each other out if you don't help them out a little.

Time for another field trip to home depot! lol

Quote:

Originally Posted by mistergreen (Post 2052662)
I compost. I don't have that much trash anymore. It's pretty cool.

You'll get all sorts of critters living in the compost. I see lots of black solder fly larvae. I hear they're great big fish fish food but I can't see myself touching them. I'm ok with worms.

With every layer of food scraps, I find it helpful to cover it with a thin layer of soil or compost you get from the bottom. It reduces smells, mold, and speeds up the break down process.

Sounds pretty interesting. I plan on doing a hot compost for now. I hope its not too late.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HighDesert (Post 2052727)
Compost is great. It's easy to build a bin (just google DIY compost bin) or dig a hole and throw everything in there and cover with a little soil each time. I am not sure how well that works in your part of the world, but it seems to be okay here in NM. The great thing is, you can put ALL of your vegetable waste in there, along with fish skins/bone, egg shells, uneaten cereal with milk... really anything that doesn't contain meat. You can also get one of those worm bins that are designed for indoor use and keep it going throughout the Winter inside. Just keep the castings in 5 gallon buckets outdoors (freezing won't hurt it), and by Spring you should have some nice quantities to supplement your soil. I would recommend working it into the individual hills and planting holes, rather than trying to augment the entire garden space with it. Have you looked into green manure crops, such as Winter wheat? I'm not sure if it's too late up in your part of the world for a green manure crop, but Winter rye is also really great and gives your soil that boost in the Spring.

Yeah I am trying to decide which cover crop to use. I was thinking wheat because I still have something to harvest. But I think it might be pretty close to being to late for me. And cool, the only thing that would break the idea is if the worm bins smell.

dr.tran 10-23-2012 01:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s (Post 2052910)
Tran, I lived up in Yonkers for many years. (OK I was born there) More than likely you have good soil but I would still get it tested at your local AG office. There's got to be one around you someplace. Right now you should be planting winter rye so the soil isn't fallow over the winter. Winter rye is annual and when you turn it in will help the soil a lot. Compost is always good but be careful what yo put in it. No meat. Ever.
You need to start seeds indoors about a month before last frost so you have good transplants. Try to get non GMO seed or heirloom.
You can build a simple compost bin using pallets. 7 of them nailed together to for 3 open front bins.
Bone meal is good as is blood meal.
Tomatoes. Add dolomitic limestone to prevent blossom end rot. They need the calcium
Plant your tomato transplants almost to the very top leaves. They will grow roots along the entire stem and be more drought tolerant and be much sturdier. If you don't want to get to involved with staking them get determinate types like Celebrity.
Cover the soil with black plastic to warm it up faster in the spring.
Mulch. I use hay but straw is better. Less weeds. More importantly it prevents the rain and sprinklers from compacting the soil. I also lay down newspaper first as a weedblock of sorts plus the mulch and paper keep the soil damper. The hay or straw also keeps the dirt from bouncing up onto the leaves of the plant useful for those subject to wilt.
So long as you don't treat your grass I would start a pile of it. The earthworms up there love it and worm castings are great fertilizer.
That's just a start. 2 books I recommend are Carrots love tomatos and Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

The first is on companion gardening and the times I've done it was bountiful. Square Foot Gardening is great for small areas which you have.
I've done pole beans in between corn and the yield was amazing. Certain plantings will minimize pests. Certain crops will reenergize the soil.

Hey fellow New Yorker,

Ok I'm going to get my soil tested. I was going to buy the kit myself since it looks pretty cheap on ebay

Personally I am not against GMO but I couldn't even buy it if I wanted, they aren't for private sale. But I am going for all heirlooms due to the taste. Instead of getting something like celebrity, I am going to get a rootstock and graft it. Something like maxfort. Should give me the best of both worlds.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough space for the 3 bin compost. I have to figure that one out.

Wow I just bought tomatoes love carrots and I will look into the other book.

I appreciate all the information you just typed, I will try to put them into good use

GraphicGr8s 10-23-2012 01:17 AM

The value of an AG test is they can give recommendations as to what course to take. If you don't have the room for a 3 bin just lay it on the ground and turn it every so often. It won't get as hot but it does work. IMEO grafting tomatoes isn't worth the effort. There's too many varieties out there that will meet your needs. One of my favorites is grape tomatoes something like Joliet and cherry like Supersweet 100.

dr.tran 10-23-2012 01:28 AM

Really? OK I haven't heard anything bad about grafting except that it can be expensive. But I will look into more varieties then.

The other reason I wanted to graft is because I have so little garden space, I wanted to graft different varieties onto the same plant so I can have something like cherry tomatoes and brandywine on one plant. Or even better, watermelon and squash from one plant.

When I was a kid, I use to see a lot of the tomato potato plant. Maybe just for fun I'll try making one

GraphicGr8s 10-23-2012 02:51 AM

Grafting isn't really expensive. You are growing two or more plants to get certain characteristics for a rootstock and to combine varieties. Really can't see a reason to graft tomatoes though. Things like citrus are more often than not grafted but there are a couple of good reasons for it. First would be the rootstock. Mainly sour orange is the rootstock used because it grows best in Florida sand. Seed won't breed true so the only way to get "Valencia" is by grafting a scion into the rootstock. Sure, you could put it on its own root, and I have a couple of trees like that but they don't last as long most times.
Sure it might be nice to have 2 varieties of maters on one plant. But like most things it's a compromise and you won't get the true flavor of either.
Being organic it's really nice while your reaping the bounty being able to pop a cherry tomato without worrying about having to wash it off first. And they just taste so much better right off the vine instead of waiting for store fruit that was picked green to ripen and it still has no real flavor. Or getting all the fixin's for salad and how sweet fresh picked broccoli is.

dr.tran 10-23-2012 03:13 AM

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/fruitveg/...einhenz_09.pdf

According to this, grafting tomatoes will increase the yield. Also disease resistance but I don't have to worry about that much here in NYC. Maxiford seeds can be expensive though. But growing something like heirlooms which may not be as hardy as my old hybrid strains, I think it might be worth it.

Organically or not, I will always wash my fruits and vegs. As a former microbiology lab tech, I can tell you there are some things in soil that can be down right terrifying. Although small, I will never take that chance

GraphicGr8s 10-23-2012 03:55 AM

Even in NY you'll have bouts with fusarium wilt, early blight, late blight among many others. I couldn't get the pdf to open due to problems on my end but I've seen the studies before. If you garden long enough and talk to commercial farmers and small urban community farms you learn that it appears great under controlled conditions but in real world scenarios it fails miserably. If it were practical every farm would do it. And I know of none that do. At least here.
Heirlooms are great. They seem to have a better flavor than many of the hybrids. The hybrids seem to have the subtle tones bred out. Don't get me wrong, I plant many hybrids. But I've also planted heirlooms.
As for the microbial activity. In my experience when you're out there working in the dirt you seem to build up a resistance to it. i don't know about your childhood but I seem to remember playing in dirt. And I would venture I probably ate more than my share whether voluntarily or not. All my son ever wants to do is "Play Dirt". Of course now I seem to be a little OCD on certain things. You should have seen how many napkins I use to use feeding my son. (I have cut it down. But not much. And it's almost worse now that he feeds himself. I just want to keep cleaning his face.) Can't even count how many times I've been working on a car and grabbed a sandwich with greasy hands.
I'll pick a cherry tomato and rub it on my pant leg or shirt and wolf it down. No pesticides.

My season down here is opposite yours. In fact I have two seasons. I've got tomatoes, squash, cukes, corn, pole and bush beans down. Next month cold crops go in. Lettuces, Broccoli, radishes, carrots, etc. Come January it's time to start tomato seed again along with eggplant and peppers. etc.

dr.tran 10-23-2012 04:12 AM

I live far from Yonkers where gardens is few and far in between so in terms of virus, I have seen very few mostly because there isn't enough tomato plants here to sustain them for long. I have never seen any tomato disease in my garden and I sure hope I never will.

There may in fact be times where there are microbes in the soil that is extremely dangerous, toxoplasmosis because of stray cats, but its more because just about any microbe can be pathogenetic. Although I have no data on weither or not its just an old wives take about building up immunity to pathogens as we are exposed to it, I tend to believe it. But even with that resistance, never underestimate the power of microbes. Especially antibiotic resistant ones. Very common things like serratia marcescens, which is found in just about any soil sample, can cause problems. Some very graphic problems. These things are rare but I rather not chance it anymore. Its not that I never played in the dirt, but after seeing and realizing what can happen, I just rather not play that lottery.

Anyway back to the topic. Do you think its to late for a cover crop out here in NYC? I can't decide one which plant to use.


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