First Garden since childhood!

TanyaMoon(7)May 6, 2012

Hello all!

Brand new to the forum, wanted to say hello and brag/ get tips all at the same time.

I think I'm in Z7b (A stones throw away from the Chilton County line in Alabama)now.

As a child, I lived with my Grandparents in Lincoln, Al on a huge farm. I laugh and say, "If we ate it- we either grew it or fed it until it fed us." We literally went to the grocery store for staples and cleaning supplies.

Naturally, as a "young adult" I couldn't wait to get far away and forget "all that crap."

Now, as an older and I hope wiser "mature" adult, I wish I could remember more than how to pull an onion or hoe a row...

At any rate, right now in my garden (for 2 adults with some to share) I have three varieties of sweet corn, Silver Queen (because I remembered the name) a very early sweet 63 days the package said, and another later (80 days) variety. All three are up and about 6-8 inches high. I don't know why, but because I remembered doing it as a child, today I went out and "hilled up" the corn- basically the walking path between the plants, with the blade of the hoe "turning" the soil back towards the plants. Is there a term for that? I didn't remember something wrong did I? lol

I have 3 varieties of Tomato (Goliath, Roma, and some cherries)in the ground and caged. They were about 12 inches tall with stems... about the size of a good "whopping hickory" when I planted out- to the top set of leaves, and they are all back to original height and trying to set blooms! I did add a scant tablespoon of just a 10-10-10 to the soil ... that's my first question- isn't it a little early for them to be blooming? I've seen the little stumpy set tomatoes on the Wally- World tomatoes- probably grown in a greenhouse. But geesh, it's just the beginning of May!

I also have 3 hills of crook neck squash- a "real hill" with one plant per side (total of 12 plants).

I've got sweet peas vining (I'm afraid I planted these to late- will they produce before it gets to hot for them?), and bush beans about 5-6 inches high. I think they might be a little close to each other, but they are in a raised bed with good old black crumbly dirt. Will that hurt them if I don't thin them?

I've got 2 different kinds of okra, the one with a red stalk- forgive me, I forget the name, and another "dwarf" variety that I put between the tall ones (hoping this will help when I go to cut the okra lol). Both seem to be doing fine- also a good 6-8 inches high.

I have leaf lettuce- that I almost know I waited to late to plant- it's about half the size it needs to be before snipping... do I have a chance? I already know I'll probably at least have to shade it.

I have EXCELLANT strawberry plants! Started with two, now have about 6- all making gorgeous sweet, big berries- me and the cheese cloth finally won the fight with the birds!

I've still got some onions in the ground- I think they are about to "go to seed." The greens on some have the little ... "balls" for lack of a better word, forming at the tips. I THINK I remember letting some do that as a kid for next year maybe???

Pulled some Danvers half short (?) carrots several weeks ago. Tasted heavenly with the onions in a roast :-)

I'm waiting on S.O. to till some more for a variety of other beans & peas & peppers & to set out more corn.

We don't "Square Foot Garden" per se, nor do we do old fashioned 3ft between the row gardening. It's sort of a combination of both.

He tills it up, I pull out the visible grass, roots, weeds, etc. from the first till, then later he tills again and we "very scientifically" add bags of composted manure, peat moss, as he's tilling. (and in the old plastic swimming pool I reclaimed as a flower bed, we even added some vermiculite.)

The neighbor beside us where I grew up had commercial chicken houses, we always "turned in" a truckload of their "by product" along with the cow patties produced by the cows that were "put up to sweet feed and keep off the wild onions" that somehow magically transformed into Sears & Roebuck's biggest freezer (bought with S&H Green stamps if I remember correctly) full of Steak and Hamburger and roast and ...etcetcetc.

If I could only remember half of what I've forgotten- I could probably feed the whole neighborhood!

At any rate, hello forums- Glad to be here!

Tanya from Shelby

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Hi! Welcome from another gardener-in-my-youth-and-now-again.

Despite my current location, I grew up in California and spent most of my life in New England and the Midwest, and in those places sweet peas are grown for flowers only: the pods aren't edible. Forgive me if Southerners use "sweet peas" as a synonym for sugar peas or something similar.

Gotta go move the sprinkler....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 6:46PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

12 crooknecked squash????? For 2 people???????
We have 1 zucchini and 1 yellow crooknecked squash for 2 people and we still give it away! Have Fun!!! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:48PM
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TanyaMoon(7)

Everyone I know eats lots of squash, and we love it- so I planted enough for everyone :-) I like it just about any way you can think of: raw, boiled, fried, casseroled, you name it!
For instance, tonight we were called to dinner at the BF's mothers house: she had stewed squash, field peas with snaps :-) sliced tomatoes, onions & cucumbers "quick pickled" (sliced & put in a bowl of vinegar & water in the fridge while the rest of dinner was cooked) I think she had some sort of meat and dessert... but I had so much of the vege's that I didn't have room for anything else!!!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:09PM
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elisa_z5

hi Tanya -- welcome, and sounds like you remembered a whole lot about gardening!
Perfect on hilling the corn. I'd say don't thin the beans -- I plant them one inch apart in wide rows, and they shade out the weeds that way. Time will tell with the lettuce.

Sounds like you've got a rollicking garden!

I've heard people say the first year in a new patch of ground is the best, when you till and so much oxygen goes into the soil and so much nutrition becomes available to the plants. The way to keep your garden getting better and better is to keep on feeding your soil year to year in ways that will sustain its health. Lots of threads around here (and the organic gardening forum, and the soil and compost forum) that will let you know ways to do that. Also I love the book "Teaming With Microbes" -- great winter reading :)

Happy gardening! (and eating :) )

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:21AM
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