OT: Anyone doing vegtable gardens... what's in your garden.

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Submitted by UCGal on June 19, 2010 - 12:04pm

I remember a year or two ago there was a thread where people talked about what food they were growing... Since I just came in from my first harvest of the season... it's on my mind.

Here's what we've got going.
- Tomatos... big ones and lots of cherry/grape size ones. The first of the grape tomotoes have ripened and are getting eaten by the kids as quick as they turn orange. The bigger ones are still green.
- Sugar snap peas. Just harvested enough to serve for our fathers day dinner tomorrow. They're super sweet and yummy.
- pole green beans... they seem to be struggling. I just planted another area, this time with more compost mixed in with the crappy soil.
- bush green beans... again, not doing as well as last year.
- yellow wax beans (aka butter beans)... they were put in later so I'm still waiting.
- several varieties of peppers.
- watermelon
- summer squash.
- plus the usual fruit trees - naval orange, blood orange, lime, lemon, apricot, nectarine, peach.

What's in your garden?

Submitted by jpinpb on June 19, 2010 - 12:58pm.

First, I want to say I'm jealous of your yard. While I like the townhouse we're renting w/the ocean view, I miss having a yard.

But I'm making do. On my balcony I've managed to squeeze in a lot of plants (many dwarf). I've got:

one grape tomato producing about 7 tomatoes
two different blueberry bushes bearing fruit
a dwarf meyer lemon - only one lemon, but lots of buds
himrod grapes growing in a big tub that actually has 5 bunches
my cabernet grape is too young to produce
a dwarf nectarine bearing 7 fruit
a dwarf peach w/some buds
a bears lime w/one lime, but some buds.
a dwarf red apple that doesn't like the pot and doesn't want to produce yet (though not in season, I don't think, but flowering)
an olive plant, but quite nascient. I don't expect anything for quite a while.
And some herbs: rosemary, oregano, lemon thyme and lavendar.

I love sugar snap peas and green beens. That's so cool that you can just go to your yard and grab them for dinner. Wish I could grow them. I just don't have the space. I'm at capacity on my balcony :( I have not had much luck w/peppers.

I'd like to try to get a fig, but those like being in the ground.

Submitted by mike92104 on June 19, 2010 - 1:34pm.

We haven't started the garden yet, but we have started a worm box. Hopefully we'll get some pretty decent soil from it.

Submitted by Blogstar on June 19, 2010 - 1:49pm.

Hi UGgal,

I started building a garden last father's day and haven't stopped since.We grew corn and pumpkins only.following that I had my first fall/winter garden ever. The learning curve kicked my butt. There were some good results with many cool season crops once I got the hang of things. The soil is becoming excellent and I have lots of compost/ fertilizer reserves.

We are just finishing harvesting cool season produce. The fennel bulbs are just now swelling.

At 2000 feet I am a ways behind you with the summer annual vegetatbles. It's been a cold spring and an earwig infestation out there set me back too. Overall though, I am pleased.Some off the crops I am going to list will "underperform" due to inexperience with them.As you know, stuff happens. I am just working on the timing and cultural practices.

I am practicing with lettuce in the shade.
Stawberries, (Much easier than I thought)
Tomatos( variety)
eggplant
peppers,
corn,4 staggered stands so far
pumpkins,Including some that can get pretty big.
Watermelon (3 kinds)
beets
Basil (harvest plenty and will keep planting)
Summer squash
Butternut squash(winter)
Honeydew
Cantaloupe
cucumbers
runner beans (just enough to practice/study with)

I very much want this delicious lettuce we have been getting to be available with ripe homegrown tomatos. We will see.

My other medium sized project has been starting blackberries. So far they are going gangbusters.

I think I am not much of an orchardist but there are some stone fruit trees and a few apples, that have been out there in the yard about 4 years now doing better than ever. Citrus planted at the same time is producing great oranges every winter through spring with the number of fruit increasing each year. Next year there should be a thousand oranges and grapefruits or more, some of which are something like gift quality.

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 19, 2010 - 2:04pm.

UCGal, you have succeeded admirably in making me feel both hungry and inadequate. However, I'll get over it (the feeling of inadequacy, anyway), and enthusiastically applaud you. I am soooo impressed!

I don't like gardening, but I engage in it because I like the results. Last summer, I turned about 200 square feet of concrete-hard rural Virginia pastureland into a perennial garden surrounding the porch of our house there. The ground is so hard that you need a full-size farm tractor to turn the earth and break it up (most of it is solid clay) - a rototiller can't begin to do the job. Unfortunately, a full-size farm tractor can't get close enough to the house, so it involved several weeks of really intense labor (sending my bulging spinal discs into full ruptured status), lots of mud, and the likelihood of future skin cancer.

However, I had almost instant gratification. The plants I put in grew and bloomed rapidly, and really made a difference. We can sit on the porch, in view of the Blue Ridge, and watch the visiting butterflies and hummingbirds. The best part is that they all came back this year, much larger than last, and I didn't have to lift a finger.

Once I'm down there full-time, I hope to expand into vegetable and fruit
gardening. We have decent acreage, so we won't have to evict the cows. However, if they ever legalize pot, all bets are off. I'm not hopeful that Social Security will be around to help with expenses, so I will have to use my assets wisely.

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 19, 2010 - 2:09pm.

Russell wrote:
Hi UGgal,

I am practicing with lettuce in the shade.
Stawberries, (Much easier than I thought)
Tomatos( variety)
eggplant
peppers,
corn,4 staggered stands so far
pumpkins,Including some that can get pretty big.
Watermelon (3 kinds)
beets
Basil (harvest plenty and will keep planting)
Summer squash
Butternut squash(winter)
Honeydew
Cantaloupe
cucumbers
runner beans (just enough to practice/study with)

I very much want this delicious lettuce we have been getting to be available with ripe homegrown tomatos. We will see.

My other medium sized project has been starting blackberries. So far they are going gangbusters.

I think I am not much of an orchardist but there are some stone fruit trees and a few apples, that have been out there in the yard about 4 years now doing better than ever. Citrus planted at the same time is producing great oranges every winter through spring with the number of fruit increasing each year. Next year there should be a thousand oranges and grapefruits or more, some of which are something like gift quality.

Awesome, Russell!! As for your final line, my address is......

Submitted by Eugene on June 19, 2010 - 2:19pm.

- Twelve valencia orange trees. Most of them weren't very fruitful last season (they ripen around January), I hope to improve that this year.
- A 1000 sq. ft. or so pomegranate grove. Ripening in October. Basically neglected last year, they managed to yield around 120 to 150 fruit. This winter I came around to routing some irrigation to the grove, there are lots and lots of flowers.
- Grapes. Two big vines inherited from former owners, around twenty were planted earlier this year, so they are just starting to grow.
- An avocado tree and an apple tree, also planted this year, about 4 feet tall. The apple tree looks like it might have four or five fruit this year, the avocado tree might have one.

Now, on to vegetables. From the first batch that I planted directly into the ground in April, only the pumpkins survived. They have four foot long vines with fruit the size of my fist. Since then, I came to two realizations: one, that my soil is very poor and its organic content is nearly zero; two, that my location has too much sun and not enough humidity for most veggies. Even pumpkins, though well established, tend to wilt to some degree around midday.

So, my new approach is to use a lot of compost, start everything indoors, in commercial potting mix in plastic cups, transplant into the ground after the second or third pair of leaves, and use cardboard planting sleeves to protect the most sensitive plants from the sun.

In this manner, I managed to start three different kinds of peppers, eggplants, squashes (a dozen of each), and four watermelons. Still awaiting transplantation: a row of tomatoes and a row of armenian cucumbers. Out of curiosity, I also got a package of "big max" pumpkin seeds. Those are supposed to be inedible (or at least not particularly tasty), but able to grow to 100 lbs.

June is not a very good time of year to plant things here, but at least there's no danger of frost. Plants that don't die young should be able to grow till November.

Submitted by Arraya on June 19, 2010 - 2:21pm.

On a 5X20' patio on the 12th floor:

Basil
Rosemary
Thyme
Oregano

Tomatoes
Cucumber
Red and Green Peppers
Jalapenos
Lettuce
Onion

Submitted by UCGal on June 19, 2010 - 3:54pm.

Russell - like you I'm facing a learning curve...

And Eugene - like you we're having to augment the soil a lot... Fortunately, we've got a lot of good worms in our compost bin - so I've got good soil to amend with.

Our yard is a lot smaller than it used to be - what with the companion unit taking up a good chunk... we carved out spots to put the plants... we've got a ramp (handicap accessible) to get down to the companion unit... and the gap in the switchback is full of beans, peas and tomatos. We've got peppers under the fruit trees. We don't have the room for corn and other space intensive veggies.

Submitted by Blogstar on June 19, 2010 - 5:11pm.

[/quote]

Awesome, Russell!! As for your final line, my address is......[/quote]

Thanks, The oranges are so good and are actually one of the easiest things to care for. When they are blooming massively, walking in the pefume and watching the bee show can be pleasantly intoxicating...and it's legal.

Submitted by briansd1 on June 19, 2010 - 5:54pm.

There was a thread on SDlookup.
rwsinmissionshills recommended this book which I got as gifts for my relatives.

Gardening in Southern California is different from other places. You need to prepare the soil in advance of planting.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811822...

I do think that gardening is a lost art. People find it easier to to go the supermarket.

I recently visited my cousin outside NYC. They have they most amazing garden with all kinds of veggies. It rains a lot there and the soil is good. But unfortunately for them, the growing season is not year-round like in So. Cal.

http://www.sdlookup.com/Forums/General/t...

I have friends who have some acreage with chickens. Does anyone have egg producing chickens in a regular surburban house?

I live in an apartment so I'm no gardener.... Perhaps in my old age I will pickup gardening.

Submitted by LesBaer45 on June 19, 2010 - 8:24pm.

What's in my garden?

Damn Deer.

Wascally Wabbits.

Mischievous Moles.

Raucous Raccoons.

Dang little left for me. :-(

Submitted by Eugene on June 19, 2010 - 8:30pm.

UCGal wrote:
And Eugene - like you we're having to augment the soil a lot... Fortunately, we've got a lot of good worms in our compost bin - so I've got good soil to amend with.

A compost bin would certainly help, but, for a project of any scale, it would be a drop in the bucket. To take grapes as an example, if you want to turn our SoCal sand into something half-decent, you need at least 10 cubic feet of compost per vine. Your standard compost bin is what, 2-3 cubic feet?

I've been buying a lot of manure at HD and making occasional trips to the landfill.

Submitted by Aecetia on June 20, 2010 - 1:12am.

Speaking of chickens-
The UT listed a class coming up on Wednesday called a Beginners Guide to Backyard Chickens 4070 Jackdaw St. San Diego. Admission is $10. 619-260-8312. It will cover the pros and cons of keeping chickens in urban areas.

ChickensChickens

Submitted by flu on June 19, 2010 - 10:07pm.

Well, I could tell you if you don't call the narcotics division....I'm just kidding.....

I plant rosemary, chives, green onions, pumpkin (it's still too small), Kumquat tree, tomato, and an avocado tree I'm trying to grow from a seed, lol, and two to three Eriobotrya japonica (loquat) trees I've been growing from a seed for the past 7 years (they are drawf plants right now)...Should be fruit bearing soon :)..The loquat trees have been pretty well traveled, and moved with me.. I couldn't take the cherry tree with me from north cal. :(...
The pumpkin started from a few seeds my daughter chunked all over the backyard....

I want to try grapes,but I doubt it would work in Carmel Valley climate...I think I'll need to move to Santee for that :) I wish I could grow bing cherry tree. I miss my old cherry tree I had in the bay area. Though, it would be better if I could grow yellow cherries. Those things are sweet and when not on sales, incredibly expensive...Like $6/pound. Time for a house with a a bigger lot:)

Submitted by CBad on June 19, 2010 - 11:57pm.

At the moment....

sugar snap peas (just ate the last of them tonight)
strawberries
lettuce
tomatoes
basil
oregano
cilantro
rosemary
zucchini
wild raspberries (or blackberries, I'm really not sure, they volunteered years ago and do pretty well)

The star of the yard is the apple tree. It is a CRAZY producer and the apples are delicious. I also have an awesome kumquat tree that produces a tremendous amount of very good kumquats but that's not really anything to brag about! And one decent orange tree. I'm on my 3rd avocado tree and was about to pull this one out and buy the 4th but there is one tiny avocado on it right now!

Even better is that we have generous neighbors and friends and always get fresh oranges, loquats, plums, grapes, apricots, spinach, and tangerines depending on the season and how well they did.

Submitted by DWCAP on June 20, 2010 - 12:28am.

CBad wrote:

I'm on my 3rd avocado tree and was about to pull this one out and buy the 4th but there is one tiny avocado on it right now!

Any avacado tree will take between 3-4 years to start producing fruit. Even then, it will take 2-4 years after that to get any real yeild. That is assuming you have the correct soil/water for it.

Tough little buggers.

Submitted by Eugene on June 20, 2010 - 3:56am.

Quote:
I want to try grapes,but I doubt it would work in Carmel Valley climate...I think I'll need to move to Santee for that :)

They'll do fine. As far as grapes are concerned, Carmel Valley climate is like Bordeaux (but a lot drier), and Santee is more like coastal Spain or Portugal.

Submitted by Blogstar on June 20, 2010 - 8:55am.

Are you fellow pigg gardeners getting enough bees? If not, remember to hand pollinate those pumpkins and melons. The melon flowers are so small and if there are plenty of other flowers around the bees might skip them. It is probably best to hand pollinate any hoped for giant pumpkins.

I didn't see many bees and was worried. Recently the numbers gradually started to increase. These bees could be both wild living colonies and from neighbors who keep hives. Last year there were so many hungry bees that they were crawling all over the corn tassles.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 20, 2010 - 10:21am.

flu wrote:

I want to try grapes,but I doubt it would work in Carmel Valley climate...I think I'll need to move to Santee for that :)

flu - I am in Bay Park and I've got Himrod grapes growing in a big bucket. It is bearing fruit (5 bunches). When I had my house in Carmel Valley, I transplanted my grape from my previous house (much warmer climate) and was able to grow my grape plant, but it did not bear fruit. But I did not really take proper care of the soil and fertilize it enough.

I think if you try the grapes and give it proper care, you can do it in Carmel Valley. Heck, even my Cabernet grape is growing. Just too young to bear any fruit.

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 20, 2010 - 7:06pm.

Russell wrote:

Awesome, Russell!! As for your final line, my address is......[/quote]

Thanks, The oranges are so good and are actually one of the easiest things to care for. When they are blooming massively, walking in the pefume and watching the bee show can be pleasantly intoxicating...and it's legal.[/quote]

Many years ago, I resided in the San Joaquin Valley for about 16 months. We rented a suburban tract house with a teensy back yard, but the owner had made the most of it with creative landscaping. Large patio covered with a lovely grape arbor, and small (5" x 5") patches filled with flowing shrubs, fruit trees, and a variety of gorgeous roses. I was constantly pruning (something I only have to do 2x/yr here).

We had a wonderful hybrid lemon tree. The fruit was huge (navel orange size) and a very deep yellow color. Had a tangerine aroma, and made the best lemonade. I'd have hundreds on the tree, primarily November through February, and didn't have to lift a finger except to pick them. I used to pack a suitcasefull when I'd return to Philly to visit my family. Almost makes me cry when I think of that tree when I have to buy lemons here - 75 cents or a buck for a puny flavorless yellow Nerfball.

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 20, 2010 - 7:17pm.

briansd1 wrote:

Gardening in Southern California is different from other places. You need to prepare the soil in advance of planting.

Brian, I've lived in at least 10 different states in a wide variety of regions. I had to prepare the soil in every one of them. I've had friends in some places who claimed that they didn't have to, and three months later they were complaining about the quality of their produce, or the lack of late summer blooms on their flowering plants.

briansd1 wrote:
I do think that gardening is a lost art. People find it easier to to go the supermarket.

That is true. But I also think that there's a large number of Americans who don't incorporate fruits and vegetables in their diets.

It can be extraordinarily time-consuming. Also, it is very labor-intensive, and people seem to be less willing to do it here in the east because we don't have the growing season y'all do in CA.

Submitted by flu on June 20, 2010 - 9:31pm.

jpinpb wrote:
flu wrote:

I want to try grapes,but I doubt it would work in Carmel Valley climate...I think I'll need to move to Santee for that :)

flu - I am in Bay Park and I've got Himrod grapes growing in a big bucket. It is bearing fruit (5 bunches). When I had my house in Carmel Valley, I transplanted my grape from my previous house (much warmer climate) and was able to grow my grape plant, but it did not bear fruit. But I did not really take proper care of the soil and fertilize it enough.

I think if you try the grapes and give it proper care, you can do it in Carmel Valley. Heck, even my Cabernet grape is growing. Just too young to bear any fruit.

Oh, really? I gotta try this then...

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 20, 2010 - 9:32pm.

eavesdropper wrote:
UCGal, you have succeeded admirably in making me feel both hungry and inadequate. However, I'll get over it (the feeling of inadequacy, anyway), and enthusiastically applaud you. I am soooo impressed!

I don't like gardening, but I engage in it because I like the results. Last summer, I turned about 200 square feet of concrete-hard rural Virginia pastureland into a perennial garden surrounding the porch of our house there. The ground is so hard that you need a full-size farm tractor to turn the earth and break it up (most of it is solid clay) - a rototiller can't begin to do the job. Unfortunately, a full-size farm tractor can't get close enough to the house, so it involved several weeks of really intense labor (sending my bulging spinal discs into full ruptured status), lots of mud, and the likelihood of future skin cancer.

However, I had almost instant gratification. The plants I put in grew and bloomed rapidly, and really made a difference. We can sit on the porch, in view of the Blue Ridge, and watch the visiting butterflies and hummingbirds. The best part is that they all came back this year, much larger than last, and I didn't have to lift a finger.

Once I'm down there full-time, I hope to expand into vegetable and fruit
gardening. We have decent acreage, so we won't have to evict the cows. However, if they ever legalize pot, all bets are off. I'm not hopeful that Social Security will be around to help with expenses, so I will have to use my assets wisely.

LOL, eavesdropper, I, too, have been attempting to break up hard clay today, with #50 sunscreen on and aggravating my carpal tunnel syndrome in effort to plant more water-storing succulents.

I'm not a pot user but have considered trying to get a pot-growing license, for medicinal use, to supplement my income. Given our current powers-that-be, I'm probably located in the wrong county for that - LOL!!

I'm not counting on SS either, and am most likely in your same demographic. It's sad, because we've already put so much $$ into SS on our own behalf!!

Your environment sounds bucolic to me!

Submitted by Eugene on June 20, 2010 - 9:58pm.

Quote:
I, too, have been attempting to break up hard clay today, with #50 sunscreen on and aggravating my carpal tunnel syndrome in effort to plant more water-storing succulents.

How did you manage to find clay in San Diego?

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 20, 2010 - 10:04pm.

Eugene wrote:
How did you manage to find clay in San Diego?

Eugene, we have very hard clay in central Chula Vista, with naturally growing 2' long bermuda grasses that take 14 Roundup treatments to get rid of!

Submitted by Eugene on June 20, 2010 - 10:10pm.

Quote:
Eugene, we have very hard clay in central Chula Vista, with naturally growing 2' long bermuda grasses that take 14 Roundup treatments to get rid of!

Strange. I'll check the soil map when it comes back online. Here in Escondido, we have something called "Fallbrook sandy loam", and, despite the name, all my tests so far indicate that it's basically 90% sand. Maybe it's just my location. I guess I shouldn't complain. Sand can be amended to make decent soil, it just takes enormous amounts of organic matter. (Bought 6 more bags of manure today.) Not much you can do with clay.

BTW, this thread inspired me to start a new 200 sq. ft. vegetable bed. I'll plant sweet corn and artichokes. Corn seems to go well with the kids. I'm not quite sure what to do with artichokes, I've never even seen those before I came to this country. I tried to cook them once and it was a failure, and I don't try any more because they are fairly expensive. Free backyard artichokes will allow me to practice.

Submitted by bearishgurl on June 20, 2010 - 10:13pm.

You can add numerous bags of gypsum to clay and work it in, little by little.

Your vegetable bed plans sound interesting, Eugene. I love artichokes too, but don't buy them very often. Good luck with your garden!

Submitted by Blogstar on June 20, 2010 - 10:30pm.

Eavesdropper,

If I understand your situation, you have land and are really into good produce and a garden enviornment but not so much the work to have it?

If the acreage in Virgina is not too far from an urban area I think you could enlist some help in exchange for sharing the land and produce grown? Does that sound like it could work?

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 20, 2010 - 10:31pm.

bearishgurl wrote:
LOL, eavesdropper, I, too, have been attempting to break up hard clay today, with #50 sunscreen on and aggravating my carpal tunnel syndrome in effort to plant more water-storing succulents.

I'm not a pot user but have considered trying to get a pot-growing license, for medicinal use, to supplement my income. Given our current powers-that-be, I'm probably located in the wrong county for that - LOL!!

I'm not counting on SS either, and am most likely in your same demographic. It's sad, because we've already put so much $$ into SS on our own behalf!!

Your environment sounds bucolic to me!

The funny thing is that our place in central Virginia is in a county that is famous for some of the finest quality pot out there. It is a big agricultural area, and if you treat the soil properly, it can produce some amazing stuff. Lots of apple and peach orchards. Lots of grapes - all different varieties - some for local wineries. We can get grass-fed beef and free-range chicken from neighbors, and incredible cheeses from other farmers. The rivers come right out of the mountains, and are stocked with trout, rockfish, and bass. There's a strong local movement to buy and eat what the county's farmers produce, and to patronize restaurants and stores that sell it. I really like that.

It IS incredibly bucolic there. 3 hours from DC, and I'm in a completely different world and mindset. Unfortunately, I only get down there once or twice a month for a couple days. Last summer, I was lucky enough to be able to spend 10 days there. That's when I put the perennial garden in.

It's just a little 1,000 sf farmhouse where we'd like to be able to retire to one day. In the meantime, I treasure every hour that I manage to spend there. The nice thing about living in the crazy DC suburbs is that I really value the time when I can escape.

As for the clay, I've lived all over, and NEVER come across anything like this soil. Unbelieveable!! A geologist would probably love it, though. Lots of mineral deposits.

Submitted by eavesdropper on June 20, 2010 - 10:49pm.

Russell wrote:
Eavesdropper,

If I understand your situation, you have land and are really into good produce and a garden enviornment but not so much the work to have it?

If the acreage in Virgina is not too far from an urban area I think you could enlist some help in exchange for sharing the land and produce grown? Does that sound like it could work?

We're in an resort/ agricultural area. The people who live in the resort area just want to play bridge and golf, and get landscapers to cut their fifth of an acre of grass.

The other residents are farmers or else folks who have enough land of their own to garden. We're close enough to an urban area for it to be convenient when serious health care is required, or we want a little culture, or when we're forced to patronize a big-box store, but not nearly close enough for city residents to come and work our land.

What we've been doing is allowing the neighboring rancher to graze his cattle there (We keep about two acres for the homesite, and that's plenty). I don't charge him to use the land. It would be a hardship for us to have to mow it and care for it, and we don't need it for anything right now. I figure cooperation is a good thing, and it's worked out well. We had record-breaking snows in Virginia and Maryland this year, and I never had to pay to have my road to the house plowed out. He sent some of his farmhands over to help with the digging last year, and he's helped out with a couple other things.

The work of a vegetable garden doesn't bother me so much, but, since we only get down there every other weekend at the most, I'd need help with the watering, picking, and pest control in between. But you've given me an idea: I have a couple neighbors who are about our age. They do a lot of flower gardening, and their lot is gorgeous. I'm going to see if they'd be interested in a cooperative veggie garden on either their lot or mine. Cool beans. Thanks, Russell!

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