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Weedinhoe 02-03-2016 08:47 AM

Weedinhoe's 2016-2020 Garden
Hello! I am a Georgia veggie gardener and, weather permitting, try to have something going in the garden all year long. I don't have enough space to put up masses of any one thing because I grow a lot of different stuff so the aim is to put up what I can and eat seasonally and fresh.

When I retired five years ago I decided to convert the whole garden to 4'x18' raised beds using 2x8's and lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe around the bed perimeters as stakes to hold the sides and end pieces upright. That will allow me to disassemble and move the beds to another location quickly should the need arise. It's also handy in that I can just remove the end pieces, run the tiller through the beds and then replace the end pieces.

Since I am located on a road and the garden is visible from the road, the plan is to move the beds to the back of the property behind the woods if the SHTF. There's a creek back there for water and a pond uphill from which I can siphon water through hoses.

Here are some shots of my garden.

This pic is from last year but is pretty much what the garden looks like right now:

This is the south side of the garden as viewed from the top of the garden:

And this is a view from the other side:

And finally, this is a view from the bottom of the garden:

Weedinhoe 02-03-2016 09:22 AM

Planning for the 2016 garden really began this past fall when I sat down with the garden map and figured out crop rotation among the main plant groups of legumes, brassicas, nightshades and cucurbits. I use Excel spreadsheets to keep my garden records for each year. One spread has a to-scale map of the garden for each year and a sheet for each year where I've listed what has been planted in each bed going back to 2005. It's kind of a puzzle juggling stuff around to maintain a three year rotation on everything.

The real garden itch began back in December when the first seed catalogs started arriving. It’s always like Christmas when they arrive and kind of like Ralphie finding the decoder ring in the mailbox. It helps me to have a pad of paper handy when I look through them so that I can write down new stuff I might want to try or maybe try a different variety of something I already grow to perhaps trial them against "the usual".

Seed orders were sent off the first week of January and came back pretty quickly. While that was happening it was time to figure out how much of each I wanted to grow and then assign them space in the designated bed.

All of that info gets entered in (what else?) another spreadsheet. Columns contain variety names, seed company ordered from, how many plants to start or feet to sow, what date to start, when the seeds came up, date of transplant, date of first picking, and date when plants were pulled up. At the bottom of the page there are three sections for notes: Successes, Failures and For Next Year.

I know all of this sounds like anal record keeping but I enjoy it (I’m a data junkie) and believe that, at least for me, failing to plan is planning to fail. And boy, does that info come in handy when figuring start dates (“when did I start that last year?”) or when the old memory just can’t recall something. After all, I’m not getting any younger!

ebjr1967 02-03-2016 01:05 PM

I am familiar with "the itch". It always starts in my thumb and spreads from there. That looks to be a well established and fine looking plot, a shame to have to move it.

Weedinhoe 02-03-2016 01:13 PM

I sure would hate to have to move it, too! But if the need ever arises, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. If the SHTF I'd harvest most of what was ready and leave some stuff growing right in the ground for trespassers so they'd think they got it all and move on.

The garden tool shed is right next to the garden and in it are a lot of duplicates, like two dirt rakes, two shovels, etc. so in a worst case scenario, I can move most of them and leave a few behind. Or take it all and leave a note saying something like "You're too late. It's already been stolen!" :rolleyes:

Weedinhoe 02-04-2016 04:09 PM

After several days in the 70’s and then 1.8” of rain yesterday, it’s back to mid-upper 50’s to low 30’s. Much more seasonal.

Two years ago I started to make a “production plan” by numbering the weeks and then adding to each week what planting, seed starting, bed turning, etc should be done then. It really helped organize stuff and prevented that “Oh @%&)&, I need to plant x next week and don’t have the bed ready yet” type of scenarios.

The first week of January I started four kale plants. Four is plenty for two people considering all the other greens to follow. I found out last year there really is such a thing as too many greens all ready at once.

The second week of January I started four market packs of onion seed, one each of Australian Brown (bulb), Red Creole (bulb), Barletta (small pickler) and Shimonita (scallion). Each pack will make a lot of plants. There’s already a pack each of Shimonita and Guardsman (another scallion) started in December out on the porch hardening off. The bulbing and pickling varieties are new to me.

Nothing was scheduled for the third week of January.

Last week I crawled under the fence into the neighbor’s cow pasture and collected cow pies for the compost bin and planting hole amending. The guy who owns the field and cows lives elsewhere and lets me fish in the pasture ponds. Yay!

Some of the manure (halfway composted) then got dug into planting holes where the broccoli and summer squash will be going and I marked the hole locations. I still need to amend the future pepper, eggplant, etc holes.

This week I forked up two beds. One will have beets in one half, turnips in the other half, eventually onions down each side and a trellis for cukes on the end of the bed.
The other bed will have spinach in one half, collards and kale in the other half, onions down the edges.

Next week I will sow some spinach, maybe a third of the total amount so I can get some sucession planting going. It will also be the week to start the broccoli, collards, cabbages and Napa cabbage plants.

Note to self: stop by the Egg Lady’s house and pick up some chicken manure.

The season is almost ready to take off. ☺

Weedinhoe 02-04-2016 05:19 PM

Fortunately yesterday's rain dump only left a few puddles at the bottom of the garden. This is what it looked like after we got 7" of rain during the last two weeks of December.

That last bed on the right had the overwintering carrots ('Autumn King', 'Bolero' and 'Nelson') down each side and some were ready to pick. But when pulled up, the whole lower halves of the carrots had rotted off. Fortunately the remaining cabbages in the bed above the carrots were in very soggy soil but ok. Such is life...

Offrink 02-05-2016 10:41 AM

Here in SW Michigan all we can do is dream about a garden like that this time of year! It's a steady snow here as I type.

Weedinhoe 02-05-2016 03:19 PM

The green you see isn't grass; just winter weeds. But the green of weeds, pines and cedars takes the bleak edge off of winter. I'm originally from up north and so remember the absolute bareness and brown of naked hardwoods.
And snow. :)

Stay warm and reread those seed catalogs. There's always something you missed the first three times through. LOL!

citykittyatheart 02-07-2016 09:54 AM

Dreaming is a good thing-helps us plan for next year! One thing good about living in this kind of weather I suppose. I'd like to say that the hood rats don't like it much either.

Have you tried vertical gardening to increase available space? That's almost mandatory in an urban setting.

Weedinhoe 02-07-2016 11:02 AM


Originally Posted by citykittyatheart (Post 8455057)
Have you tried vertical gardening to increase available space? That's almost mandatory in an urban setting.

I have some trellises (four last year) at the ends of a few beds. They are 4' wide and about 6-7' tall. One had a 'Eureka' cukes, one had "Christmas' lima that was all vine and no bean, one had 'Spacemaster cukes (deer ate it) and one was snow peas. That trellis made more snow peas than I could eat and a lot were given away. 'Red Noodle' yard long beans were fantastic on a trellis and produced tons!

Here's a shot of trellises from last spring. I use scrap 2x2's that I get free from where I worked. Then I hang two 4' wide panels of field fence from nails and tie guy lines to steady them against the prevailing winds that come across that pasture. Haven't had one blow down yet.

Snow pea trellis from last year. They eventually got to the top of the trellis.

Weedinhoe 02-07-2016 11:20 AM

I have one cherry tomato plant from a seed germination test I did in December. It's just plain old Ferry Morse "Large Cherry Tomato' from seed I bought on a whim at WalMart in 2011. Seed still viable! Anyway, I couldn't throw it out and potted it up to a 6" pot. Well, it has outgrown the lights so today I potted it up to a bigger pot. Now what? A mini greenhouse, I guess.

There happened to be a piece of 6 mil plastic in the garden shed (have I mentioned I'm a pack rat?) just big enough to wrap around a tomato cage so I played with that this morning. There's also a thermometer hanging inside. I make my tomato cages from 10' of the 40" tall field fence with the 6"x6" mesh.

This will be an experiment. It's 54 degrees out there with a 15 mph north wind but it's 65 in the sun on the front porch plant table and 70 inside the wrapped cage. So I guess the tomato will be happy enough today. I will bring it inside tonight and monitor internal cage temp tonight and tomorrow morning just before sunrise.

Tuesday it will get down to 28 with a high of 39 so I guess Miss Tomato will have to stay inside for a few days. That means I need to rig some kind of lamp over it somewhere in here so she doesn't stretch. Time to MacGuyver something else.

Here's the cage and plant sitting on the porch plant stand.

Here's the cage with the tomato inside and secured by good old baling twine looped around it so that the wind doesn't blow the thing over. Duct tape and baling twine... two of the most useful things out there. :thumb:

inMichigan 02-07-2016 03:10 PM

Nice to see green outdoors...

Weedinhoe 02-08-2016 07:07 AM

Yesterday I got a tip from a Canadian gardening friend of mine that might solve the lighting quandry for the tomato. She said that she has hung a shop light vertically before to overwinter some things. You have to keep the plant turned but it worked.

As I have an extra shoplight for my seed starting stand, I used an s-hook to hang it from the edge of a plant stand shelf and will see how that works. Today I need to add more soil to the pot and maybe bring in half a cinderblock or something to raise the plant up some more.

In the pic those are onion sets growing on the top shelf and lower down a few pepper plants that were also leftover from the December seed germination tests.

citykittyatheart 02-09-2016 09:02 AM

Trellises are wonderful things, aren't they? I made mine by stapling chicken wire to the side of my garage and securing the bottom with some stakes. I got more vine than melon one year, but a Ton of cucumbers! I'm not a huge bean person but what I do grow, grows well there.

dealfinder500 02-09-2016 05:42 PM

Very nice, Weedinhoe! Can't wait to see more.

I'm jealous of the nice, flat land! Those raised beds look great!

Weedinhoe 02-11-2016 07:46 PM

Today I started the first seeds for this year's garden. Woo hoo!

Cabbage, 'Charleston Wakefield' (small, pointy, 70 days)
Cabbage, 'Stonehead' (somewhat small, round, dense, 50-60 days)
Cabbage, Napa (Chinese type, rather barrel shaped)
Cabbage, 'Michilli' (Chinese type, more open shape)
Collards, 'Flash' (55 days)
Collards, 'Alabama Blue' (75 days)
Broccoli, 'Packman' (50 days)

Since I can get 12 cabbages down the side of a bed, I did three each of the Charleston and Stonehead and will start three more of each in four weeks. That will hopefully give a steady supply without getting inundated.

I grew the Charleston last spring and again in the fall and they did well. They were tried because they were supposed to have been bred for the warmer South but they’re more for fresh eating and not kraut. Not real tight or dense. I’m trying the Stonehead hoping to have an early kraut cabbage before the weather gets hot.

The Napa and Michilli were grown last spring and I made kimchi with the Napa. The Michilli was a more open plant suitable for stirfry. They were freebie seeds. I’m just growing one of each and will have each in a pot up here at the house to cook outer leaves and then let them go to seed for seed collection.

Only three of each collard were started as six collard plants will provide all the collards two can eat plus some to can or give away. I had been doing just the Flash but last year tried the Alabama Blue next to it just to see if it was better. I haven't decided so will be growing it again this spring. Sure do love the Flash though, but the Blue is pretty with gray-green leaves and a touch of red to leaf veins.

I started a six pack of the broccoli and will start another one in four weeks. That succession planting worked out pretty good last spring. Last year they produced more side shoots than they ever had. The broccoli will take up the other side of the bed the cabbages will be in.

It felt good to play with potting soil again!

Weedinhoe 02-11-2016 07:58 PM

Thank you, kev, for the sticky!

citykittyatheart 02-12-2016 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by Weedinhoe (Post 8524529)

I started a six pack of the broccoli and will start another one in four weeks. That succession planting worked out pretty good last spring. Last year they produced more side shoots than they ever had. The broccoli will take up the other side of the bed the cabbages will be in.

It felt good to play with potting soil again!

Doesn't your variety of broccoli produce florets all summer? Mine does, Calabrese Green. After taking the big head, side shoots form all summer. The plants are big enough to resist rabbit predation, which is kind of a trade off because obviously the side shoots are smaller than the main head.

Weedinhoe 02-13-2016 09:28 AM

I sure wish the broccoli would go all summer but it gets too danged hot here and the broccoli plants just can't take it. The collards and kale hang in there but they're not as tasty.

Thinking about all of you folks up north in dangerous temps today! Be careful if you go out. Our "cold spell" will consist of 26 low, 46 high and wind for a few days before getting back up to the usual mid 30's-mid 50's range.

The parsley and arugula boxes have been inside for three days so this morning they went back outside for a day of sunshine. The parsley can probably take lower 20's at night but that's pretty borderline for the arugula. The front porch does provide a few degrees of protection but I'd rather have nice salad additions than wilty gunk. :)

citykittyatheart 02-13-2016 10:03 AM

Not to worry :D: We stay home on days like this. I feel for the homeless, both human and animal, however!

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