Got a Garden?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by RustyStuff, May 31, 2015.

  1. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    In our climate, most squash once fully ripe will keep until at least early spring as they are.

    We picked ours about a month ago, and they have been hardening off in the green house. Used mostly for soup or roasting.

    We see the grey "potimarron" in the fields in the south of France in autumn being carefully turned to get the hard skin.
    #81
  2. miguelitro

    miguelitro I like the ads, in fact, give me more ads.

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    garden boxes.jpg garden bed.JPG
    I'm working on one...

    Mike
    #82
  3. josjor

    josjor Long timer

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    We have a dog that is a helluva frisbee addict (her uncle is the three time world champion frisbee dog) so I've been reluctant to take up a bit of yard for a garden. Still, I wanted fresh stuff. I ended up doing a bunch of containers using big feed tubs I got for free from our recycling center. Drilled some holes in the bottom, put big chunks of styrofoam in the bottom so I wouldn't need so much dirt, and filled them up. Spinach, radishes, carrots, and beans were the main fair all summer and it was great.

    The only loser seems to be brussell sprouts. When I got those plants I had no idea that the commitment would be longer than most Hollywood marriages.:lol3
    #83
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  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    There are quite a few veggies that fit in that category. The bigger brassicas having the most variety - winter cabbage, the sprous you mentioned. In our climate, kales and Purple Sprouting Broccolli can be tricky because they grow too fast in summer and they are not really something I want when up to my armpits in tomatoes and cumcumbers.
    Parsnips are another long term committment, also fussy germinators sometimes, and really don't like being transplanted, unlike most brassicas.
    Leeks also take a long time, but you can easily transplant them after starting them off in a small pot until they are pencil sized. We drop a whole seed packet on the compost in a 6" pot and leave them outside on our trestle.

    This season we have have the best production of carrots. I laid down a thin dressing of spent compost over our normal homemade (and usually quite coarse) compost, well wetted. The seeds were sown into very shallow drills - maybe 1/2". Then using a sieve, another thin layer of spent compost on top. Using a fine sprinkler, the area was again redrenched, and covered with fleece. Germination was pretty quick - it was high summer. We now have two very full rows, Amsterdam Forcing and Autumn King.
    Once we start getting frost forecasts they will be protected with fleece again. Our winters here have been mostly mild, coldest has been about -5C, but only for a day or two. Average long term is 4C in January, so fine, roots not frozen in.
    #84
  5. MNdirt

    MNdirt less than 1% juice

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    I haven't had much luck storing buttercup squash uncooked. Mold normally ruins them in a month or so. I'll be the first to admit I may not be storing them properly.

    I really like them twice baked, anyways. First, I bake them for around three hours at 350 degrees. At this point I turn the oven off and leave them until the pans are cool enough to go straight into the fridge where I let them sit overnight. With a careful hand, the halves can normally be peeled, eliminating the need to scoop them out.

    When I'm hungry for some, I'll take a quart bag out of the freezer and let it thaw or nuke it just long enough to soften it up. Then it goes on a lightly oiled or buttered double walled pan and into the oven at 350 for another hour. Very good eating with nothing more than a generous pat of butter and maybe a little salt.
    #85
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  6. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    As well as noting the men and women in the fields in the south of France naturally air drying pumpkins, I saw the pros in the rejuveated walled kitchen gardens of English "stately homes" utilising the under used in early autumn glasshouses for hardening off the skins and giving a final ripen to all sorts of squash and pumpkins.
    This year our japanese squash are sitting on the trestles waiting to be brought in, having spent about a month in our nice warm glasshouse.

    The gulf stream which brings mild winters and allows us to grow stuff up here north of the 52 parallel also brings humidity. Through the summer, we had many days of 80%+ and quite a few with 90%+. This makes it hard to dry our alliums. This year, the garlic and shallots preceded the squashes in the greenhouse.

    As well as commonly using any sort of squash in a tray of roast veg, I like the butternut baked.
    Cut in half lengthways and seeds removed. Score with a sharp knife almost down to the skin in a criss cross manner, about 1/2 to 3/4" apart. Fill the seed cavity with butter and push into the butter as many cloves of garlic as you fancy - remembering that it goes sweeter and milder with long cooking. Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper.
    Bake until tender, moderate oven.

    Just come in from turning the compost, in fact, two lots. Feeling knackered, but the tomato sandwich and hot cup of tea was brilliant.
    #86
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  7. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Dang, that's a great setup. I haven't found much natural Korean food I don't enjoy. I'd love to have some of those fruit trees here!
    #87
  8. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    So, drying and storing of squash and squash-like things ... How do you do yours? Preferred method, including time, location, sun, temps, humidity, etc? I'd love to get better at it .... Here in NC we have humidity to contend with, and it's wreaked havoc on many a produce item in our house....
    #88
  9. ehatcher

    ehatcher Hello? Is this thing on? Supporter

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    Built this for the wife early this spring. Its right behind the house and I wanted something nice looking. 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, the beds are 50 inches wide. Bought a couple yards of an organic mix that a place near us sells - I think that really boosted the amount of veggies we wound up with.
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    She had been waiting for a couple of years and for other projects to get completed. She was REALLY excited. We eat a LOT of veggies so I figured this thing would eventually pay for itself.
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    She was out there pretty much every day, planting, checking, watering etc. She would often sit out there with her coffee early in the morning.
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    I put in a water sprinkler system that you just turn the timer on for how long you want it to run - that worked great and saved her a ton of time. To my complete surprise - the watering system actually improved growth. I put in sprinklers on one side to try it out - in two weeks everything on that side had grown much faster than the other side. What I found was that on really hot days - the side watered by sprinklers the night before seemed to stay wet the whole day while the side my wife had watered by hand dried out by mid afternoon. I guess the fine spray and longer watering time lets the soil really absorb the water - and when watering by hand a lot of the water just runs off or through the soil.
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    In no time at all that garden was cranking out tomatoes, peas, radishes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatillos, and onions. Peppers and carrots failed (we never figured out why.)

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    We are hooked. We love fresh stuff from the garden. We made about twenty jars of pickles - and we already ate about half of them. We froze what we could and are going to try drying next year and do more canning. I designed some cold frames that have hinged openings and will fold flat for storage - but I haven't had time to build them yet.

    Probably going to add another pair of raised beds next spring. It would be nice to have a wider bed for the zucchini and we would like to try some melons too. Haven't settled on a design yet, probably simpler than this one but with a similar construction details so it matches.
    #89
  10. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

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    Lots of online growers can supply you with "Large Korean" bare root fruit trees for planting. They will start bearing fruit in about 5 years. The two best times for planting a fruit tree? Twenty years ago, and today.
    #90
  11. miguelitro

    miguelitro I like the ads, in fact, give me more ads.

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    Boxes done, trench for foundation for chicken coop dug...

    Mike
    #91
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  12. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Looks fantastic, not only decorative, but functional too. But of course, however big, its never quite enough is it?

    We have had a great good crop of carrots this year, after very spasmodic germination in the past. We used a more or less no dig regime this year, so the layer of compost goes over the roots of the previous crop and left alone.
    I can't be bothered to sieve my compost so it can be a bit lumpy. This year I have covered the raised beds with the homemade compost as they become empty (hoping for a late holiday), about three wheelbarrows full per 5'x12' bed. Supposed to protect the soil underneath and the frost, rain and earthworms all help to break up the lumps over winter, ready for a spring sowing with little further work.
    Carrots like a fine tilth, so I laid another layer of spent potting compost over the well watered ground. Then watered again, followed by a very shallow drill, no more than 1/2" deep. VERY thinly sprinkled the seed - I have heard that mixing with dry sand helps keep the spacings better. Then use a sieve to just top off with spent compost, an water again - carrots won't germinate if allowed to get dry, at all. I covered with fleece to slow evaporation and put clumps of chives at each end of the row to help keep carrot root fly away.

    Carrot root fly pick up the strong smell of carrot if the roots are disturbed. They then lay the eggs round the base and the maggots eat through the root. Planting thinly means you don't have to thin, so no smell. Doing it at night when the adults aren't active helps. Or having an enviromesh screen around - it only needs to be about 18" high as they don't fly very high. They have a couple of hot seasons per year.
    This year we seem to have missed the bastard. They also go for parsnips.
    Assuming you have this pest in the US.
    We planted two rows in a comparative trial. Amsterdam Forcing and Autumn King. The Amsterdam have produced bigger roots, but we are hoping the smaller Autumn King will stand through most of the winter under fleece covering and give us the nice sweet carrots.
    I'm suspecting water, or lack of it in the early stages.

    Our peppers have also done us proud this year. No idea on the varieties. But 4 distinct varieties, regular green ones, grown both in the greenhouse and against the hot south facing fence. Good production and flavour.
    A green patio variety, ie smaller. All grown outside, did very well too with little to no attention outside.
    The final two were another patio variety one chocolate and one yellow. Even smaller, just the right size for stuffing with goat cheese or feta with a piece of anchovy or chilli on top, great with a glass of decent white wine after a hard day growing stuff. Both grown inside the green house. All peppers are considered a tender crop here above Lat 52N.

    Canning, pickling and drying are things we really must do more of next year. I have oodles of frozen broad beans and tomato sauce.
    Also we are going to make more jam from the fruit, our raspberries produce more than we can eat, along with the blackcurrants. Our plum tree should be in full production too - that makes a nice jam.
    We can get tons of apples from our neighbour - their house used to be an orchard - as well as canned apfelmuss and freezing slices for pies and crumbles, Bramleys (a famous English cooker) will store till next spring if stored right.
    We experimented with drying apples. Washed and cored, then sliced on a mandolin. Cram as many racks in the oven as possible, on low - very low - for as long as it takes to get them to a leathery to dry texture. Then store in an air tight tin. Great snacking.
    My German BiL dries plums, not quite the same as prunes, but nice and refreshingly sharp. Much the same as dried tomatoes and will save a lot of freezer space.
    My sister makes sauerkraut which is delicious, I must get the recipe. She also makes lots of different sweetmeats, pastes, jams and leathers, out of the vast supply of quince she has - our tree is pathetic.

    Good gardening all.
    #92
  13. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Been here awhile

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    Moved into our current house just before new years last year. Been working inside the house so I haven't set much up outdoors yet. But I put in 2 raised beds this fall for fall veggies and garlic. Will probably add another 8-10 next year to fill up the front area.

    [​IMG]

    The tree in the photo is an old plum that came with the property. There's a european pear just to the right of the wheelbarrow that came with it as well.

    And in the spring I planted 7 fruit trees out back. I plan on having at least 20 trees within the next couple years.

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    Property came with some awesome old Rhododendrons as well. Probably the same age as the house

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    #93
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  14. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Wow, looks nice. Especially those raised beds.

    If rhododendrons do that well, your soil could well be on the acid side and many vegetables and some fruit prefer more towards the neutral or higher pH.
    Raspberries* like an acid soil - at least ours do. We made what turned out to be a mistake and built raised beds for them, but being shallow rooted and suckering, they sprout out all over. We should have just made a bed with posts at the corners and strung 3x wire for support, then we could have just mowed/strimmed the shoots at mowing time. Did I say they sprout and sucker - give them plenty of space.
    *Autumn fruiting - we have 10 of each spread over two 12'x2' beds, Joan J and Autumn Bliss. The latter tastes much nicer for me, but comes in about a fortnight later, continuing until the frosts. We have been picking around a pound a day since mid/late July. The excess can be pureed and frozen or made into jam.
    They do start to look a bit tatty by this time of year.
    We got the autumn fruiting because all you need to do is cut them down to the ground in winter and mulch. No selecting stems or tying in.
    #94
  15. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Persimon... I was given some fruits by a fellow local gardener today... Can I save seeds and plant? I've never even seen the things, let alone eaten them ...
    #95
  16. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Me neither.
    I gather there are several species, and I have heard they can be sour when unripe.
    All the ones in the shops here come from regions of Spain with a climate similar to California.

    My sister had a thing a few decades ago about raising plants from the seeds she found in fruit. She mostly got a plant, but rarely fruit. Some things take decades to get to fruition and somethings are hybrids which will only produce more fruiting plants from cuttings, not seeds.
    A neighbour found out this year they have a walnut tree - been there since before they moved in 20+yrs ago, and found the first fruit a month or two ago.

    Always interesting, not always productive. Except in knowledge.

    Good luck.
    #96
  17. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Been here awhile

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    Can't hurt to try it and see what happens. I'm going to try and save seeds from blueberries and get some free plants out of it. Worst case scenario, I'm out about half of a pint.
    #97
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  18. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Well here we are, nearing the end of October and the sun is HOT outside.
    Nice to be able to get on with structural stuff in the warm.

    Currently we have winter cabbage, curly kale, carrots and leeks which will be fine outside over winter - at least until I put them in a cooking pot.
    We have the celery which surprised us with how well it has grown. Have to harvest soon, it's not frost hardy at all - quite common to get good frosts here come early November.
    Its relation celeriac, which I prefer, should stand though our winter

    First thing I turned the fresh compost made earlier in the week - it was getting a bit hot, almost 70C. Once that was done, the wood chip man arrived with a few tons of chips. Took the rest of the AM spreading those along the paths round the growing plot. Still lots more of that to do.

    We have at last decided to make a couple more beds. A 30" wide raised bed for salads and maybe a nursery bed I even have material on hand for that. The 30" width will make it easier to cover and protect leaves grown for winter salad. I am compiling a list of plants to try. One definite so far is American Land Cress, really nice and peppery like English watercress but much easier to grow.
    We are hoping that we will be able to fit a larger bed, 12'x12', which will this coming year be for maincrop potatoes.

    After hefting and decision making I'm knackered. Just had a bacon sandwich and expecting my mug of tea. I'll have a read, then consider if it is still warm enough to have a beer in the garden afterwards.
    #98
  19. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Mosquito bait

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    Any of y'all in colder climates use greenhouses? I just made a raised bed garden out of scrap lumber, and filled it with yard compost and seaweed to start off next spring, but am wondering if I can plant anything over the winter? Start them off inside until we see sprouts and then plant outside with some sort of small greenhouse cover. I've seen small ones made of conduit formed into half circles and then covered with plastic.
    #99
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We have a small green house with glass.
    Winter is much milder here compared to the northern states over there, despite us being at LatN52+. Our major problems are the cold wet, and the wind. We can grow quite a few crops through the winter, but keeping them from wind damage is a lot of work. Only plants which can survive the cold wet soil make it.
    Garlic, leeks, spring onions/scallions/green onions. Quite a few roots, carrots, parsnip, beetroot, kohlrabi, celeriac. Brassicas of course, all the kales, all the brussel sprouts, all the winter cabbage and many of the spring ones too, sprouting broccoli, calabrese. Probably more I can't think of. But all outside and enjoying it.

    I read Elliot Coleman's Winter Harvest book last winter and am going to try to replicate some of his successes. He works in Maine, and both his book and utube videos show the amount of winter snow.

    He reckons that a simple layer of fleece covering is worth about I US climate zone. A mini cloche/wire supported plastic row cover another climate zone.
    He explains that the lack of day length is the major growth determinant in what he calls the Persephone months of greater hours of darkness than daylight. Most plants won't grow, but can easily survive. The trick is to plant early enough to have usable sized crops before they stop growing.
    There are some other plants that can be easily grown for salad green and happily deal with -10C or -15C like mashe/corn salad/lambs lettuce. I am compiling a list for trials next season.
    On a winter walking holiday with my sister in Germany, we were exploring some vinyards (my BiL has a vinyard) and came across wild mashe thriving at -20C. The vintner said it was OK to take as much as we wanted.
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