by, 04-09-2011 at 06:03 AM (515 Views)
Do use Heirloom seeds-and not hybrids. You can then save the seeds for the next year. Share with friends too. Google heirloom seeds or heirloom tomatoes-fun finds! Seedsavers.org is good too.
i have 2 raised beds and love them. make sure you rotate where you plant things, especially plants prone to virus diseases like tomatoes.
i used tomato cages as a support for sugar snap peas. just planted peas in a circle around the cages.
herbs, peppers, cauliflower and snap dragons are up inside. Will probably start tomatoes this weekend.
uncovered the garlic bed yesterday, they were sprouting thought the leaf cover.
And I'm also making my own seed tape. I used to think seed tape was stupid until I planted a 15' row of perfectly spaced carrots and radishes. Not only did it take two hours to do it was cold and it started to rain halfway through...and I was determined to get them planted so I stayed out there freezing until I was finished. Takes me about the same time to mark and glue seeds to a long strip of newspaper, but at least that time isn't going to be spent out in the cold or being wet.
If you purchase 2-3 year old asparagus roots, it doesn't take as long, our first year after planting was so so, but they got better every year!
We also ust the various "bags" that places like Gardeners Supply have been advertising. We started with potato bags and had such good luck with them, that this year we added carrot and pepper bags..
Love my raised beds. Have 3 - 4x8' each - lots of veggies for the table and sharing with neighbors. I could live outside playing in the dirt!My husband did square foot gardening when we lived in Sacramento, CA. it worked out great. It was easy to work in and to keep the weeds out which will always be there. You have to work at it to make it productive. He is now in the process of making square foot gardening in our back yard here, although he is making it a lot taller so he doesn't have to bend over as much. Using cement blocks to surround the area, sort of like a tall waist high fence. Using dirt from our really far back yard to fill them up.
If you do seed start next year I suggest water your seedlings with chamomile tea. I tried seed starting before my gardening job in '09 and they kept dying as soon as they woul sprout...later figured out during my summer job they were getting infected with a fungus called "damping off". Once seedlings get it they are doomed. When I started seed starting last year I read somewhere chamomile tea is a mild fungcide so I used it on my plants. I think it worked because the seeds that did sprout didn't die. This year I got a cheap 12 cup coffee pot and that's made it a lot easier to make tea (I do one tea bag per pot). So the tea helps in addition to good air circulation, watering from the bottom, and using sterile starting mix.
I grew up tending huge gardens and have always had them in every state we've lived in. Had to learn what would grow where with different soils, climates, etc. I always start my plants inside and never buy the expensive gismos. I roll my own pots from newspaper and use egg cartons and cans, mix soil and perlite, save boxes and plastic bags for greenhouses, hang a shop lamp over the seedlings for light and warmth, and enjoy it greatly when its cold outside. Then I can't wait for spring planting time. DH tills up about an acre in a lower field for me. Toward the road we plant sunflowers all along, then pumpkins and squash and then beans, tomaotes, peppers, etc. Corn just seems to invite all the racoons in the county despite a fence and dogs. One year the broccoli was just about perfect so I left it overnight and the next morning it was gone! Some hungry animals has harvested it off like a lawn mower. Still for this old farm girl there is nothing like digging in the dirt, watching the flowers and veggies grow, canning and freezing the goodies, sharing with others, and enjoying the beauty. I read where gardening helps troubled teens and stops violence. I really believe if everyone grew a garden our world would be more peaceful.