The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, for the past few years I've tried to have a garden.

I planted tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, and (tried to plant) bush beans.

The tomatoes did great and we had a few ripen. But then we ran into tomato (horn, I think) worms.

The watermelons lived, one flowered, but never came to fruit. They never got larger than 4 inches, either.

The pumpkins died. Not more to say there...

The cucumbers died a few days after planting (they were already started).

The carrots never did much at all and didn't grow too well.

The beans never even sprouted.

So, what should I do this year? I'm thinking I need a soil test and some fertilizers. What do you think? We only had tomatoes grow last year. The year before that we had our bush beans, carrots, and tomatoes grow. But not much else will... :frown2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Where are you in the US? Knowing (and sharing here) your zone will help you get better advice, a lot of success and failure depending on growing the right types of varieties of each kind of vegetable for your specific climate. There can be a wide range of tolerance for humidity, heat, dryness, length of growing season, all that sort of stuff. One type of watermelon may do well for you and another fail because one is meant for growing conditions like yours where another needs something different.

That said, amend your soil. Adding compost, aged manure, worm castings that sort of thing makes a big difference. If you start with good soil half the battle is already won -been trying to convince my aunt of this for 10 years, she still can't figure out why her garden doesn't grow well and mine does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
Where are you located? I will target my answers to San Francisco Bay Area, and try to note why I do things this way.

1) Prepare the beds. If you can outline some beds, and never walk on the soil this will help the roots to get the air and water they need. Compacting the soil by walking on it destroys the pore space, so the air/water exchange slows down. I happen to use recycled lumber, mostly 2 x 6 to make vegetable boxes that are 4' wide by as long as the garden space is. (mine range from 12' to 28' long). Most people can reach out about 2' pretty comfortably, so I work the vegetable beds from both sides, reaching a bit over the center of the bed and do not walk on the soil. 2' wide walkways between the beds will (barely) allow the wheelbarrow between the beds.
I mix lots of organic matter with the soil. (Locally, most of the soils have very little organic matter. If you are in an area with peat soils then check with local experts about soil amendments).
My own soil (per soil tests) is low in N and Ca. Soils around here also bind Fe in a way that plants cannot use it, so I make sure there are trace minerals in some of the fertilizer. I get fertilizers from a local recycling place.
I use a slow release complete fertilizer (NPK + traces) and some extra Ca when I prepare the beds, then use some fertilizer with moderate N through the growing season. A soil test will tell you what your soil has plenty of or needs more of. If you will post the results I can help you figure this out.
Every few years I rototill the beds. Does not need it every year, and can lead to 'plow pan'.

2) I start the seeds of most crops indoors. This protects the seedlings from pests and diseases while they are young. I use a potting mix that I mix up myself and includes compost, perlite, Safe-T-Sorb and some peat moss. This year I am trying some microorganism cultures.

3) The vegetable boxes can have arches attached, and the arches will support a clear plastic tarp (acts like a greenhouse to warm the beds) or shade cloth (in the summer heat some crops like lettuce do not like the full sun), or row covers (keeps out the flying pests that could lay eggs on the crops). The same support system will also hold the posts for a trellis to grow vining crops.

4) When the seedlings are ready to plant out, I dig holes according to the plants:
Tomato can be planted quite deeply, and it will grow more roots along the buried stem. Leave several leaves exposed.
My climate has little or no summer rain, so I tend to plant level with the surrounding soil, or in a bit of a ditch. When I water it does not run off. It soaks into the soil where the plant is. If you are in an area that gets summer rain you may want to plant on mounds with a trench around the mound. That way, when it rains the plants are not standing in water, but some water has a chance to soak in through the trench to benefit the plants. But the mound will also take in air so the roots get the oxygen they need. I do this when I plant individual plants, not in my boxes.
The other plants you mention should not be planted any deeper than they are growing. Do not pile up soil around the stems, or plant so deep that soil falls in around them.

5) Keep the seedlings properly watered. The best way to test the soil is with a freshly sharpened pencil. Stick it into the soil an inch or so for new plants, and deeper for older plants. Right next to a young plant, several inches to a foot away for older plants. If the pencil wood darkens, it is wet enough, do not water. If the wood is blotchy, wet and dry, it may be time to water. If the wood on the pencil is dry, water. If the plant is wilted you should have watered yesterday.
Water enough to thoroughly soak the root zone, then allow the air to enter the root zone before you water again. Some plants want to go drier than others between watering.

6. Pesticide. I use least harmful methods that do the job.
Monitor the crops very carefully and treat at the VERY first hint of a problem so it does not get out of hand. Do not wait until half the plant is missing before treating.
Hand pick. (this can be interesting! I usually use a stick or a tool to move the pest into a bucket, I don't really like handling bugs by hand)(especially slugs)
Bait. Works great for snails and slugs. Less effective for other pests.
Bacillus thuringiensis for caterpillars (Tomato hornworms, Cabbage Moths, others that eat a few bites of leaf so they will take in the B.t. Dipel is one brand name.)

Tomatoes= seed indoors. Plant out after all chance of frost is gone, make greenhouse cover for bed if needed. Tie up to a trellis or use a tomato cage. A large one for most varieties.

Watermelon= My area is too cold. I put clear plastic on the ground to warm it and grow these crops (all the melons) in the warmest spot in the yard. Not much success. I start the seed indoors (warm location). Heat seems to be the key to melons.

Pumpkins = You can start the seed indoors to keep it safe from pests, and keep it warm, but be ready to plant it out or move it into a larger pot very quickly. To plant it out I use the greenhouse tarp if the weather is still cool. It will also start from seed planted directly in the garden. I can grow some pretty nice ones. Not prize winners, but good for Halloween, and for baking, feeding the fish and so on. They thrive in a warm spot, with high fertilizer level. When I can get it, I dig a hole under where I will plant and add a generous shovel of manure such as chicken manure blended with some compost. Then cover with some soil, and plant in that soil. By the time the pumpkin roots hit the manure it has aged a bit. In the summer water often. Lay the hose on the soil surface under the leaves. Pumpkin, squash, melons and cucumbers get various leaf mildews quite easily. Keeping the leaves dry slows the growth of these mildews. If you are in a wet climate you may have to treat for Powdery Milder or Downy Mildew. I see some of these, but not usually enough to cause a problem.

Cucumbers = I grow these on a trellis. Start the seed indoors, and keep it warm. Similar comments to pumpkin, but cucumbers are smaller plants, so while they like water, they are not as demanding as pumpkins.

Carrots = sow seed in a prepared bed every couple of weeks. How many carrots can you eat in a few weeks? Maybe just sow 12" - 24" sections at a time. Seed is small. You might blend it with sand so you do not sow too many.

Beans = I start the seed indoors, but be ready to plant it out very quickly. Sprouts in just a few days, and outgrows the containers just a few days later. You could move it into a larger container if the beds are not quite ready. I grow pole beans and peas, and they start twining around each other and everything they can reach. Best plant out quickly so they will grab the trellis.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Just saw this thread and chuckled. I live in the southeast and have about 500 sq ft of garden space in my backyard. This will be my fourth spring playing in the dirt and reaping the rewards.
I just planted my lettuces, some radishes and scallions this morning. Got my peppers, tomatoes and celery started inside as well. Strawberries are on their way.
I add compost and peat mostly. Depends on your dirt and where you live.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I've never worried about testing soil, getting all fancy about fertilizers, etc. I grew up on a farm. When I was 13 years-old I read How to Have a Green Thumb Without a Breaking Back by Ruth Stout. She was one of the first proponents of growing vegetables and flowers organically with heavy mulching. That's all I've ever done. I'm now 70. I never buy chemical soil amendments or 10/10/30 fertilizer stuff. I just mulch. Every winter I mulch the mulch. Every spring I turn the old mulch under and mulch again and plant in the mulch. The original soil in my current back yard was high desert steppe caliche. If I dig down several feet even the old caliche has been transformed into dark loam. No problem with pests except the occasional rodent that finds so much lush mulch in which to nest. A couple of garden snakes who have moved in take care of those. My neighbors think I'm from another planet, because I'm the only person they know who actually grows tomatoes through the summer into autumn. I live in Las Vegas. It's regularly 110+ during July/August/September. My back yard is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature simply because it's covered with 6" -12" of organic mulch. So, my tomatoes don't "cook" in the heat.

Quite seriously, if you can find a copy of Ruth Stout's book from the early 1960s I suggest everyone read it. Despite what people thought and still think, she wasn't crazy. In fact, she was a damn smart person. Even my ancient grandfather started mulching when he saw my first attempt at growing watermelons exceed his efforts. I doubt anyone reading this has worse soil than I started with. It's not rocket science. Heavy mulching is just common sense. Good luck. :)

Bump: I've never worried about testing soil, getting all fancy about fertilizers, etc. I grew up on a farm. When I was 13 years-old I read How to Have a Green Thumb Without a Breaking Back by Ruth Stout. She was one of the first proponents of growing vegetables and flowers organically with heavy mulching. That's all I've ever done. I'm now 70. I never buy chemical soil amendments or 10/10/30 fertilizer stuff. I just mulch. Every winter I mulch the mulch. Every spring I turn the old mulch under and mulch again and plant in the mulch. The original soil in my current back yard was high desert steppe caliche. If I dig down several feet even the old caliche has been transformed into dark loam. No problem with pests except the occasional rodent that finds so much lush mulch in which to nest. A couple of garden snakes who have moved in take care of those. My neighbors think I'm from another planet, because I'm the only person they know who actually grows tomatoes through the summer into autumn. I live in Las Vegas. It's regularly 110+ during July/August/September. My back yard is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature simply because it's covered with 6" -12" of organic mulch. So, my tomatoes don't "cook" in the heat.

Quite seriously, if you can find a copy of Ruth Stout's book from the early 1960s I suggest everyone read it. Despite what people thought and still think, she wasn't crazy. In fact, she was a damn smart person. Even my ancient grandfather started mulching when he saw my first attempt at growing watermelons exceed his efforts. I doubt anyone reading this has worse soil than I started with. It's not rocket science. Heavy mulching is just common sense. Good luck. :)
 

·
Pixel Prestidigitator
Joined
·
4,343 Posts
I've never worried about testing soil, getting all fancy about fertilizers, etc. I grew up on a farm. When I was 13 years-old I read How to Have a Green Thumb Without a Breaking Back by Ruth Stout. She was one of the first proponents of growing vegetables and flowers organically with heavy mulching. That's all I've ever done. I'm now 70. I never buy chemical soil amendments or 10/10/30 fertilizer stuff. I just mulch. Every winter I mulch the mulch. Every spring I turn the old mulch under and mulch again and plant in the mulch. The original soil in my current back yard was high desert steppe caliche. If I dig down several feet even the old caliche has been transformed into dark loam. No problem with pests except the occasional rodent that finds so much lush mulch in which to nest. A couple of garden snakes who have moved in take care of those. My neighbors think I'm from another planet, because I'm the only person they know who actually grows tomatoes through the summer into autumn. I live in Las Vegas. It's regularly 110+ during July/August/September. My back yard is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature simply because it's covered with 6" -12" of organic mulch. So, my tomatoes don't "cook" in the heat.
I'm in Florida. Here we've never seen 100. No veggies grow here in the summer save maybe cherry tomatoes. I've literally dumped tons of horse manure into my garden. My neighbors have horses and they dump the manure on my side. The hill is generally 8' tall and about that wide around. I've taken his loader and put the entire pile into the garden. I dig down 1/8" and I still have sand.

J.I. Rodale was the first to coin the term organic gardening and founded Rodale Inc. in 1930. I subscribed to OG for years until they started adding their political agenda into the magazine.

I add dolomite to my soil because of blossom end rot. Also add blood meal, bone meal and when I find it alfalfa meal. I mulch with straw or hay after a layer of newspaper goes down as a weed block.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've never worried about testing soil, getting all fancy about fertilizers, etc. I grew up on a farm. When I was 13 years-old I read How to Have a Green Thumb Without a Breaking Back by Ruth Stout. She was one of the first proponents of growing vegetables and flowers organically with heavy mulching. That's all I've ever done. I'm now 70. I never buy chemical soil amendments or 10/10/30 fertilizer stuff. I just mulch. Every winter I mulch the mulch. Every spring I turn the old mulch under and mulch again and plant in the mulch. The original soil in my current back yard was high desert steppe caliche. If I dig down several feet even the old caliche has been transformed into dark loam. No problem with pests except the occasional rodent that finds so much lush mulch in which to nest. A couple of garden snakes who have moved in take care of those. My neighbors think I'm from another planet, because I'm the only person they know who actually grows tomatoes through the summer into autumn. I live in Las Vegas. It's regularly 110+ during July/August/September. My back yard is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature simply because it's covered with 6" -12" of organic mulch. So, my tomatoes don't "cook" in the heat.

Quite seriously, if you can find a copy of Ruth Stout's book from the early 1960s I suggest everyone read it. Despite what people thought and still think, she wasn't crazy. In fact, she was a damn smart person. Even my ancient grandfather started mulching when he saw my first attempt at growing watermelons exceed his efforts. I doubt anyone reading this has worse soil than I started with. It's not rocket science. Heavy mulching is just common sense. Good luck. :)

Bump: I've never worried about testing soil, getting all fancy about fertilizers, etc. I grew up on a farm. When I was 13 years-old I read How to Have a Green Thumb Without a Breaking Back by Ruth Stout. She was one of the first proponents of growing vegetables and flowers organically with heavy mulching. That's all I've ever done. I'm now 70. I never buy chemical soil amendments or 10/10/30 fertilizer stuff. I just mulch. Every winter I mulch the mulch. Every spring I turn the old mulch under and mulch again and plant in the mulch. The original soil in my current back yard was high desert steppe caliche. If I dig down several feet even the old caliche has been transformed into dark loam. No problem with pests except the occasional rodent that finds so much lush mulch in which to nest. A couple of garden snakes who have moved in take care of those. My neighbors think I'm from another planet, because I'm the only person they know who actually grows tomatoes through the summer into autumn. I live in Las Vegas. It's regularly 110+ during July/August/September. My back yard is consistently 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature simply because it's covered with 6" -12" of organic mulch. So, my tomatoes don't "cook" in the heat.

Quite seriously, if you can find a copy of Ruth Stout's book from the early 1960s I suggest everyone read it. Despite what people thought and still think, she wasn't crazy. In fact, she was a damn smart person. Even my ancient grandfather started mulching when he saw my first attempt at growing watermelons exceed his efforts. I doubt anyone reading this has worse soil than I started with. It's not rocket science. Heavy mulching is just common sense. Good luck. :)
So... Let me see what I understand here.

With mulch, I would use straw, grass clippings, wood shavings, and things like that?

Since my soil seems to be pretty bad off right now could some manure hurt if I tilled it in?

And with the mulch: Do I cover the whole garden? Just the walkways? Just the rows? What about where the plants are? I've heard that you don't want mulch touching the seeds.

Should the seeds be planted in the soil below the mulch? Or in the mulch itself? What about watering? From what I've gathered by looking up the book, you shouldn't have to water...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I'm in Florida. Here we've never seen 100. No veggies grow here in the summer save maybe cherry tomatoes. I've literally dumped tons of horse manure into my garden. My neighbors have horses and they dump the manure on my side. The hill is generally 8' tall and about that wide around. I've taken his loader and put the entire pile into the garden. I dig down 1/8" and I still have sand.

J.I. Rodale was the first to coin the term organic gardening and founded Rodale Inc. in 1930. I subscribed to OG for years until they started adding their political agenda into the magazine.

I add dolomite to my soil because of blossom end rot. Also add blood meal, bone meal and when I find it alfalfa meal. I mulch with straw or hay after a layer of newspaper goes down as a weed block.
We have a 1/4 acre lot with a stucco and cement block wall completelly surrounding the property. The street view is xeriscaped. Saguaros, chollas, golden barrel cactus, occotillos, etc. And a few volunteer "mexican" palm trees that come up like weeds. I'm always chinking them out of the gravel (whole front yard is covered in native crushed rock). The Palo Verde we have is attractive, but leaves major messy cover of dead blossoms that need to be cleaned up.

But the rest of the property (the back yard) is completely enclosed. The minute I purchased the house I called the city forester and the power company asking for them to dump all their chipped tree trimmings in my driveway. They still show up with a load of shredded palms and pine trees once or twice a year. Twenty years of turning truckloads of wood chips into the caliche has changed it forever. Every time I go to our ranch I pick up a trailer load of straw. Neighbors bring me all of the manure from their rabbit operation. I get free chicken manure from a young couple who raise "artesnal" organic eggs. When I was a kid, we just called them eggs. LOL. And my neighbors are very good at leaving clean bush and tree trimmings from their yards. Saves them a trip to the dump or hiring someone to carry it away. My shredder loves it all. I keep a compost pile going, but just about all organic stuff is immediately put down as mulch. In June it will look a bit high, maybe two feet above the current level. By September it magically disappears, compacting to regular ground level. I put tomatoes in around Feb 1. The vegetables get netting strung over them when it gets to 100 degrees and stays over them until the end of September. The zucchini and yellow squash get a little stressed, but they recover. By the end of July the watermelons are through for the season. But every native desert gecco for miles around has found our yard and do a good job of keeping the place insect-free. The only reason we have a slightly higher water bill than most is because I insist upon keeping the pool going year round. Gotta have a pool if you live out here in the Mojave Desert. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
So... Let me see what I understand here.

With mulch, I would use straw, grass clippings, wood shavings, and things like that?

Since my soil seems to be pretty bad off right now could some manure hurt if I tilled it in?

And with the mulch: Do I cover the whole garden? Just the walkways? Just the rows? What about where the plants are? I've heard that you don't want mulch touching the seeds.

Should the seeds be planted in the soil below the mulch? Or in the mulch itself? What about watering? From what I've gathered by looking up the book, you shouldn't have to water...
By all means till in all the organic fertilizers as deeply as possible, but you can also add manure as a top dressing on the mulch. I mulch the entire area, just like wall-to-wall carpeting. When I plant, I clear enough for a row, plant seeds, as they sprout I pull the mulch up close, but not completely covering them. Same with tomatoes, potatoes (we grow those little blue and gold finger potatoes), squash and melons are planted in deeply turned circles (about 2 feet in diameter) with lots of composted manure at the bottom of their holes. As they grow I gather straw, pine needles, wood chips, whatever is available around them leaving enough space they don't suffocate. Strawberries more or less take care of themselves. We keep a large patch and just stake new runners into the soil as they appear. They produce giant berries for the next year.

There are serious nurserymen who insist that mulching with straw or wood chips sucks too much nitrogen from the soil. Well, it does to a point, but everything decomposing underneath the mulch provides more nitrogen. It's a simple balance of just continuously adding lots and lots of mulch. And it smells good, too. I will admit to having added crushed gypsum now and then, just scattering it lightly over the whole yard (potassium can be in short supply), but that's it. Seriously, get a copy of Ruth Stout's first gardening book. There's a lot of wisdom in those pages. And good luck. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks a lot everyone for your help so far.

Just thought that I should point out that, although we have been having very warm weather this year, I still do live in a cold area (Northern lower Michigan). My planting times are limited. It doesn't really get over 100 here, but can get to -40 in the winter (as it did back in the 2014 and 2015 winter). Of course, right now we have been averaging around 25 to 30 at night and 50 to 60 during the day. Pretty sure we're forecasted to get snow next week again, though.

The robins have arrived! For some of you, that doesn't seem significant but for us living this far north, robins are the sure sign of spring. (They are our State bird, as well). It always makes me happy to see the first of them in the spring.

And, (just to point out how out of whack this year has been for us):
I have a "spring" cactus and a "Christmas" cactus.

They both flower either in the spring or in the winter, respectively.

But, this year, the "Spring" cactus flowered in early January and the Christmas cactus is flowering now, in March. Yes, I'm sure I haven't confused them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
You've got some great advice here already. I'm going into my ninth year of vegetable gardening now and still have stuff to learn, but here's what I can add:

Make compost. It can be simple and reduces what you put out to trash. I have to ammend my soil a lot because we have naturally heavy red clay, but after several years of adding compost the soil is nice and dark and crumbly. All summer I mulch the garden with grass clippings, they dry in a day or two and looks like straw, I replenish steadily as it decays into the soil. Reduces watering a lot, because moisture is held in. I wait to mulch until the plants are bigger though (not seedling size) because the slugs do live under the mulch and then chomp the tender plants.

I bait slugs with cheap beer- poured into empty catfood cans set in a hollow in the soil- and just pour them out into the trash in mornings. Go out at night w/a flashlight to see what pests are on your plants. Go out early in the morning to pick pest insects off the plants- most of them are slowed down by the cold. If you see a tomato hornworm that looks like this, leave it be. The eggs are parasitic wasps that will eat other pests in your garden, and this hornworm will die while hosting them.

I have a trick for getting carrots to germinate- sprinkle the seed on the soil and then pour boiling water over the row. It helps the seed casings open. I've had much better success w/carrots since I started doing that. Carrots need loose deep soil, if they run into rocks they get crooked, so that part of the garden I always till well- other areas I am starting to just leave alone, adding compost and mulch on top and letting the worms work it all in.

My last idea: find a seed supplier online that grows the plants for seed production in your state. Then the plants will be conditioned already for your climate. When I get seeds as gifts for my mother who lives in WA I use Uprising Seed, they develop seed in WA. When I buy seed for myself I use Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, because technically I'm in the south. Read catalog descriptions to find varieties that will do well with your soil type, harvesting needs or microclimate.

When it's really hot water your plants early morning or at night so it doesn't evaporate quickly, and water at soil level, don't get all the foliage wet or you can get mildew (at least, I have this problem). A soaker hose can be great (I don't have one yet).

When you get some plants doing well, you can save your own seed and grow them again next year- then you've already got something you know works well in your garden. As long as the seed you bought wasn't hybrid. I've saved my own seed many years now, and have some packets in my fridge still germinate for me after 5+ years.

Sorry if that was overkill info, but I hope some of it helps. I love gardening, probably a bit more than I love keeping an aquarium! You can check out my gardening blog here -look thru the plant list in right column for what I've had experience with- and see if any more ideas might be helpful- I write a lot about my mistakes! (to learn from them): greenjeane.blogspot.com
Someday I think I'll join a gardening forum, but for some reason it's more fun for me to read/talk about fish and aquascaping online than gardening...

Bump: I wish I could add horse manure to my garden. There are lots of horse farms around here that give truckloads away free. But my husband protests that the smell would bother the neighbors- even if the odor was just for a few days. He won't let me do it :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,577 Posts
You've got some great advice here already. I'm going into my ninth year of vegetable gardening now and still have stuff to learn, but here's what I can add:

Make compost. It can be simple and reduces what you put out to trash. I have to ammend my soil a lot because we have naturally heavy red clay, but after several years of adding compost the soil is nice and dark and crumbly. All summer I mulch the garden with grass clippings, they dry in a day or two and looks like straw, I replenish steadily as it decays into the soil. Reduces watering a lot, because moisture is held in. I wait to mulch until the plants are bigger though (not seedling size) because the slugs do live under the mulch and then chomp the tender plants.

I bait slugs with cheap beer- poured into empty catfood cans set in a hollow in the soil- and just pour them out into the trash in mornings. Go out at night w/a flashlight to see what pests are on your plants. Go out early in the morning to pick pest insects off the plants- most of them are slowed down by the cold. If you see a tomato hornworm that looks like this, leave it be. The eggs are parasitic wasps that will eat other pests in your garden, and this hornworm will die while hosting them.

I have a trick for getting carrots to germinate- sprinkle the seed on the soil and then pour boiling water over the row. It helps the seed casings open. I've had much better success w/carrots since I started doing that. Carrots need loose deep soil, if they run into rocks they get crooked, so that part of the garden I always till well- other areas I am starting to just leave alone, adding compost and mulch on top and letting the worms work it all in.

My last idea: find a seed supplier online that grows the plants for seed production in your state. Then the plants will be conditioned already for your climate. When I get seeds as gifts for my mother who lives in WA I use Uprising Seed, they develop seed in WA. When I buy seed for myself I use Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, because technically I'm in the south. Read catalog descriptions to find varieties that will do well with your soil type, harvesting needs or microclimate.

When it's really hot water your plants early morning or at night so it doesn't evaporate quickly, and water at soil level, don't get all the foliage wet or you can get mildew (at least, I have this problem). A soaker hose can be great (I don't have one yet).

When you get some plants doing well, you can save your own seed and grow them again next year- then you've already got something you know works well in your garden. As long as the seed you bought wasn't hybrid. I've saved my own seed many years now, and have some packets in my fridge still germinate for me after 5+ years.

Sorry if that was overkill info, but I hope some of it helps. I love gardening, probably a bit more than I love keeping an aquarium! You can check out my gardening blog here -look thru the plant list in right column for what I've had experience with- and see if any more ideas might be helpful- I write a lot about my mistakes! (to learn from them): greenjeane.blogspot.com
Someday I think I'll join a gardening forum, but for some reason it's more fun for me to read/talk about fish and aquascaping online than gardening...

Bump: I wish I could add horse manure to my garden. There are lots of horse farms around here that give truckloads away free. But my husband protests that the smell would bother the neighbors- even if the odor was just for a few days. He won't let me do it :(
Where did you get the parasitic wasps and do you have any idea if they would work on cabbage worms too?

Aside from the odor, you may want to steer clear of the horse manure as a mulch. Horses pass a lot of the seeds they eat and can cause more weed problems than it solves as a mulch. I would compost it well and that would temper the odor to some degree.

To the OP: it's all about Location, Location, Location. Not just where you live but where the garden is located on your property. No sense fertilizing a shaded garden. Your list is pretty ambitious for a new gardener. But don't give up on them. Focus on the needs of one or two things on your list every year until you get it right. Then there's always the uncooperative weather that needs no explanation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,577 Posts
For tomatos I can really recommend you make your own earthbox. Don't skimp on the plant support above because it grows HUGE plants.
Science Behind the EarthBox EarthBox® - Homegrown Vegetables Without A Garden®
Similarly, a new friend walked me through his garden this past summer and he grows his tomatoes in the largest black plastic pots he could find. The type that landscape plants are sold in and just adds some perforations to the bottom. SO much more economical to fertilize, the pots drain exceptionally preventing tomatoes from becoming water bags, and best of all the black material absorbs warmth from the sun and distributes it to the roots much better than when they sit in the ground. If you're in the Northeast, the last one is a big deal. Such a simple solution to several issues.

Bump:
It showed up on the caterpillar. Wild insect. I don't know if you can acquire them anywhere.
Thanks. I'm pretty sure they can actually be purchased as egg masses. Hornworms are pretty easy to pick off, but cabbage worms are just a tough case. They rendered my Collards patch inedible last year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,577 Posts
The comments were interesting. While they do indeed attack cabbage worms, it's not necessarily a lock that the eggs will hatch.
Hmmmmm.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top