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Author Topic: Growing Food  (Read 13996 times)

NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2008, 08:20:20 am »

Well everything is planted here in NJ...almost. At the last minute I decided to add a few new things and am still waiting for the seeds to arrive. I am tinkering around with some short season crops this year that I can move north with me when I go. I am also growing potatoes this year which I haven't tried in the past. Through recycling we have greatly reduced the number of outside garbage cans we need so I cleaned two of them out real well and planted the potatoes in those. Supposedly you can get quite a yield that way. We'll see.

I've harvested the rhubarb for the first time this season. It looks like one of the rhubarb plants is going to flower and have seeds this year. That has only ever happened once before since I've had them ( I inherited them from my aunt in 1991.) I am going to divide them after this season, if I don't move this year, and move them to a different location that might be better suited to them.

As it stands right now, I have three types of tomatoes planted, three types of peppers, two types of green beans, snap peas, spinach, beets (I try a root crop every year knowing it will fail miserably, but at least I can eat the greens), kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, yellow zucchini, white eggplant, and broccoli raab. As a history project for my daughter (we homeschool) a fisherman friend of mine is bringing me back a couple of menhaden to use as fertilizer and we will be planting a patch of corn, beans, and squash, the way the Pilgrims and Indians did in Massachusetts.

I am still waiting on seeds for cucumbers, two types of melons, and two fruits, ground cherries and huckleberries.

So we shall see what happens. The weather has been very friendly so far this year.

It looks like I will run short of relish this year, but otherwise have enough canned and frozen vegetables to make it until the harvest. I have too many pickles though. My cucumbers went wild last year and I put up more batches of pickles than I normally would have. If worst comes to worst I can give them away. I also ended up with more grape jelly this year than we need, but that will keep just fine.

I have inherited a rabbit hutch, so I may try raising meat rabbits and see how that goes. I'm not sure how it will sit with my 6 year old. She is fine with hunting, and gardening, we'll see how she is when it comes time to harvest the rabbits. Any advice on types of rabbits that are best? I'm not looking to sell the meat, just raise some to offset the high cost of meat. 93% hamburger was $5.49 per lb. here yesterday...guess what George didn't buy  ;)

That's it for now. I hope things have warmed up a bit for you all up north.

George
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margomaps

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2008, 09:41:44 am »

Thanks for the report, George.  I must admit I'm a bit envious.  I'm planning my first garden this year, and I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the choices of what to grow, where the best site is in my yard, etc.  You clearly have a "system" of sorts in place, and it sounds like you get quite a bountiful harvest each year.  I hope you can adapt to the shorter growing season (and probably poorer soil) in NH!  I see a whole lot of farming and gardening going on here in the Seacoast area, and there's always fresh produce available at farmer's markets and roadside stands during the summer and fall.  So it's obviously not impossible to grow stuff here.  :)

Yesterday I was driving around Lee and I saw the vines at the Flag Hill Winery (http://www.flaghill.com/).  Someone was out tending to them, so I guess grape season is underway.  Just about a week or so ago we had a cold spell with nighttime temps in the upper 20's to low 30's.  I'm glad I didn't plant my tomatoes already.

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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2008, 10:38:20 am »

I assume it can be done since someone was growing the food to feed the population there before the age of refrigerated transport. I suspect NH in the 1700's and 1800's had a lot of farms and produced their own food. We can do it again. It is just as matter of learning how. If you have any questions at all let me know. Most of what I have learned came from listening to my grandmother and aunts when I was kid. Gardening was their domain, the men didn't contribute much else other than turning over the soil each spring. We kids were the manual labor for weeding, pruning, harvesting, etc.

George
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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2008, 09:14:07 am »

Thanks for the report, George.  I must admit I'm a bit envious.  I'm planning my first garden this year, and I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the choices of what to grow, where the best site is in my yard, etc.  You clearly have a "system" of sorts in place, and it sounds like you get quite a bountiful harvest each year.  I hope you can adapt to the shorter growing season (and probably poorer soil) in NH!

The best thing you can do with your garden is start small. It is much easier to learn, and a lot less risk of frustration, if you start with a smaller garden. Plant a few of the things you really love to eat and maybe one thing that you just think sounds neat and give it a whirl.

I have never moved anywhere yet where the soil was any good to start. The soil here is too sandy and rocky...at my last house it was very heavy clay. The solution to most garden soil problems is to add as much organic material as you can get your hands on. I apply a few inches of compost to each of my garden beds in the spring, then mulch them heavily during the summer. At the end of the year I rake that all into the soil so it can rot over the winter, and in the spring I do it all over again. This morning I was out again making a new garden bed for some melons. I'm out of compost, so I raked in as much rotted manure as I had on hand and we'll see how it goes. I have a lot of trouble with frost heaving rocks in my gardens. Every year it seems there are new ones to be found.

One other thing to remember with your garden, many plants grow just beautifully vertically! My beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peas, all go straight up in the air or run up teepees of bamboo poles. You can get a lot more out of your space if you buy the vining types and take the time to train them vertically, than you can if you buy the bush types For instance, my squash plants usually run underneath and around my beans. The beans are up in the air and don't seem to mind the squash at their feet, and the squashes' huge leaves effectively "mulch" under the beans and keep me from having to weed over there. Right now I have spinach planted under the beans as well. That will be grown and harvested before the squash need the space. It'll make more sense as you go along.

Gotta run off to work now.

George
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cathleeninnh

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2008, 12:01:02 pm »

I have heard about the upside down tomato growing. It looked pretty easy, but I can't figure out what the benefit is. You could even more easily keep the container upright and still grow a tomato plant, right?

I also want to declare to all those who told me it was possible to grow things in a window sill without direct sun that you all are full of it. The best I have been able to do is get green onions to keep sprouting, but I can only get three or four inch tops, before they start looking needy.

Cathleen
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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2008, 09:25:50 pm »

Those hanging basket things are more of a novelty item than a serious gardening idea. You are right, if you have the space for hanging baskets you usually have the space for containers.

While you do not need direct sun for many plants, you still need indirect sun for most. Onions, and indeed most summer vegetables, need a fair amount of direct sun. The cooler weather crops like lettuces, spinach, some of the brassica family, and many herbs, can be grown without direct sun. The trouble then becomes how large a plant can you realistically have on your window sill.

The only thing I bring inside in the winter is my rosemary. Everything else is either harvested and put up or stored. The rosemary seems to do fine during the winter with no direct sunlight at all. In the spring back out it goes.

George
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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2008, 10:53:59 am »

Just one other note for you all who are about to get started gardening. You do not need many tools to garden. Nearly all of my gardening is done with a spade, a large metal rake, a small metal rake, and a fork, a good garden hose, a sprinkler, and a sprayer. A good wheel barrow is a help, but I gardened for many years with a recycled 5 gallon bucket to haul things around in. If you are going to raise fruits, then a good pair of loppers and hand pruners are needed. That's pretty much it. You can bet if Billy Mays is hawking it on TV then you don't need it.

My advice is to buy the best quality items you can find. If you buy inexpensive tools you will invariably break them over time. You can often get good deals on garden tools at estate sales or garage sales. On a few occasions I have gotten some nice tools for free just by asking folks with an old barn if they have any old tools laying around that they don't want.

George
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MaineShark

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2008, 02:04:55 pm »

Well, we put in some beach plums and some hazelnuts, and they all seem to be doing well, except for one hazelnut that was eaten by deer or something.

Thinking of putting in some aronia (also known as black chokeberry) and some rowan (also known as mountain ash).

Both should do well here, and both produce useful berries.

We also have some extra grape vine cuttings available, if anyone is interested...

Joe
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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2008, 11:39:05 am »

Well I dug in another garden bed this week. With the one from a week or two ago that adds another 100 square feet of space give or take. It doesn't sound like much, but you can grow an awful lot of produce in that amount of space. For instance, in one half of the new bed, a little less than 25 square feet, I have 101 bush beans (green snap and yellow wax) interplanted among 42 stalks of a variety of early sweet corn. The other half of that bed will have another 42 stalks of a later variety of sweet corn, as well as acorn squash.

I should get between 40 and 50 pounds of beans from this plot (not counting my pole beans), well over 100 ears of corn, and a dozen or more squash for this winter. Once the beans come out I will probably replace them with a short season garden pea, so I will get peas from that bed as well. The other new bed has cucumbers which I will train up poles, as well as small muskmelons, also running up poles. I am having a crack at okra this year, which is down in the new bed, as well as two other types of melons which will run along the ground. I am going to dig another small bed, probably 4x4 feet and see if I can successfully train acorn squash up poles as well.

The potatoes I planted in the garbage cans are doing well, though the ones in soil are about two weeks ahead of the ones in leaf mold. It will be interesting to see if there is much difference in yield at the end of the year.  I have been having a horrible time getting summer squash seeds to germinate this year. Ordinarily you can't kill the damned things. This year they are germinating at about a 25% rate, go figure. The broccoli raab is growing very well so I planted some more of that here and there. As an added bonus this year it looks like the dill from last year self seeded throughout the main garden. I thought I had harvested all the seed heads, but some must have escaped. Now I have little dill plants all over the place, which isn't a bad thing.

It looks like a bad year for cherries and apples. I see little fruit setting on the tree. I am thinking it has to do with the almost complete lack of honeybees seen this spring. On the other hand the rhubarb has been great so far, it looks like it will be a great year for the grapes, and the raspberries look good so far as well. I have ordered some new varieties of currants and gooseberries to be delivered to my sister's house in PA, since they can't be shipped directly to me here.

George

 
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MaineShark

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2008, 02:14:00 pm »

Cool.  Just put in twelve rowan trees today.  The neighbor uses the corner of my property to turn his lawn tractor around, and didn't notice the little yellow flags I had put in, so now we only have nine.  C'est la vie, I guess.

Have 25 aronia bushes to go in, currently sitting in my sun porch.  They will go in tomorrow, or maybe later today if I get very motivated.

Apples have mostly lost their flowers and the pears lost them weeks ago.  I guess we'll keep an eye out and see how much fruit they seem to be setting.

Currants and gooseberries aren't allowed in NJ either, huh?

Joe
« Last Edit: May 29, 2008, 04:24:19 pm by MaineShark »
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"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

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NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2008, 03:49:08 pm »

My landlord almost mowed down my Russian strawberries this year. I had staked them as well, but I guess he didn't see them. I stopped him right before he ran them over. The last two beds I dug are flanking the strawberries so that won't happen again.

I am hoping to get the currants and gooseberries and propogate them so I can have plenty to bring north with me. Some of them are coming from Canada so they should be fine up north. I hope.

Too bad about your trees. My father did that to me one year with raspberries. He accidentally ran over a new patch of them with the garden tractor.

George
 
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MaineShark

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2008, 04:25:37 pm »

I run over the strawberries every year.  Half the lawn is infested with wild strawberries.  Not much I can do to avoid them!

If anyone wants wild strawberries, feel free to come by and dig some up :)

Joe
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"An armed society is a polite society" - this does not mean that we are polite because we fear each other.

We are not civilized because we are armed; we are armed because we are civilized..

NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2008, 06:38:05 am »

There are a ton of wild strawberries here in the fields as well. I have some of them in my in iris beds as well. I wish they were bigger, or that I could cross their intense flavor and scent over to the bigger strawberries that are planted over in the beds. I do have some hope though. In the midst of my wild strawberries there are a couple plants with a slightly different flower on them and a significantly larger berry. We'll see when the berries ripen if they still taste like their wild cousins or not. If they do then I will move them to their own bed and propagate them. My Russian strawberries are not doing as well this year as I had hoped, but it is their first year after transplanting so I guess I can't expect too much from them.

How is your gardening going margomaps?

George
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2008, 11:30:44 am »

That's why I don't mow.  8)
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

NJLiberty

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Re: Growing Food
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2008, 08:29:04 am »

Well the strawberries and cherries have come and gone. The last week of June brings the black raspberries with it, so we have been enjoying those for almost two weeks now. The red raspberries will be coming along in another week or two.

The spinach, kohlrabi, and first plantings of broccoli raab are all gone now. We have been picking peas for a while now and picked our first tomato yesterday. Everything else is coming along nicely at this point.

I did lose one of my potato plants. It looks like the last bit of dirt that my daughter used to top off the garbage can it is growing in must have had a cutworm or something similar in it, because the following morning the plant was laying flat on the dirt, cut off right at the dirt. Too bad. The other potato has grown very well so far.

I posted a few pictures to a MySpace account, www.myspace.com/njliberty,  if any of you are interested. I'll be adding more as the season goes along.

George
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