tedln
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Climate restricted crops!

I once took a late summer trip around the finger lakes region of upstate New York. The narrow country highways were lined with small, family, produce stalls with vegetables grown in the fields behind the stalls.

I was amazed at the variety of produce fruiting that late in the summer which I can't grow well in Texas in any season. I guess the varieties of Brassica interested me most. Our Brassica season in Texas is short and they always seem to be only half grown when the summer heat hits and kills them.

Which fruit or vegetables would you like to grow in your garden but can't because of your climate or local pests?

Which fruit or vegetables seem to do best in your garden because of your climate?

Ted
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jmoore
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The pest that effects my garden the most is the gardener :D

tedln
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Hi jmoore! Good to see you back. I've found that most of the damage in my garden is caused by me. I guess I agree with you about the worst pest. I sometimes do such ignorant and stupid stuff, I would like to kick myself in the rear; but I can't get my knee to bend that far backwards. I do get some funny looks from my dog when I try. How is your garden doing?

Ted
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jmoore
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tedln wrote:Hi jmoore! Good to see you back. I've found that most of the damage in my garden is caused by me. I guess I agree with you about the worst pest. I sometimes do such ignorant and stupid stuff, I would like to kick myself in the rear; but I can't get my knee to bend that far backwards. I do get some funny looks from my dog when I try. How is your garden doing?

Ted
Take video next time you try and kick your own backside pls. I need to see that :D

Garden is about 50% in and growing. I need to work some compost into a new bed this weekend. Then it will be ready for tomatos I started from seed and maybe pole beans. Everything else looking good so far.

I am moving stuff around from last year to hopefully improve yields. Last year I got lots of foliage and not many veggies. Hoping round 2 does better. I'm going to wait another month or so to put my beans in. I've got green, yellow bush and yard long Asians. I've also got some hot weather black eyed peas, cukes and okra that are slated to take over when my English sweet peas are finished.

I'm nothing if not ambitious for my little plot of land! I really need to take some pics.

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jal_ut
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Here in Northern Utah, we have June, July, and August frost free most years. We often get a little more than that, but I have had no luck with long season tomatoes, and melons. The cole crops do well here, but at 5000 ft elevation, we don't get many days in the upper 90s.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
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But you can always cheat nature with greenhouses and hoophouses. We are growing lettuces and asian greens practically year around now. :D

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applestar
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tedln, wouldn't you grow the overwintering cultivars of brassicas that you plant in fall like you did with the Romain lettuce?

I've considered trying that, but the amount of effort to protect them from the hardest freezes (-5ºF at lowest, and multiple days in single digits and teens) seems like more trouble than it's worth around here. Brussels sprouts DID survive the winter this year, but just barely, and then I missed harvesting (they were tiny -- more like big marbles). I was letting them go to seed, actually, then realized it was an F1 hybrid. So I ended up eating the loose flowerbuds like brocco-raab. I think I needed to start the Brussels a little bit earlier so the plants would be sturdier during the winter.

tedln
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Eric,

Yes, hoop tunnels and greenhouses do provide micro climates which help grow plants which otherwise may not survive the seasonal climate. I may build a small greenhouse for that purpose.

Applestar,

"tedln, wouldn't you grow the overwintering cultivars of brassicas that you plant in fall like you did with the Romain lettuce? "

Yes, I could grow brassicas with a fall planting, but like your Brussels sprouts, their size would be tiny when the early heat hits. I don't think cabbage would even have time to make a head. My fall planted Romaine lettuce sprouted in late summer / early fall of last year. After sprouting, it did almost nothing all winter. In very early spring, it grew very fast. Now in mid April, it is already turning brown from the heat. I will still be able to harvest the Romaine hearts for a while, but it will probably bolt very soon. My spring planted Romaine will not be able to make harvest-able plants before they die. It just seems like a very narrow time frame for a crop. I think next year I will need to find a way to provide shade for the Romaine until the cucumbers are tall enough to shade them.

The nice thing about the Romaine is the fact that after planting the seed, it required no more care from me until I started harvesting some this spring.

Since I have the hoops built for the squash beds, I may cover them with plastic in the fall and see if I can grow lettuce under the plastic this winter. I may have a crop under the plastic for early harvest and a crop in the cucumber bed for later harvest.

It's interesting, but the curly leaf, multi colored brassicas people plant in flower beds here as decorative winter plants do very well. The few gardeners I know who have tried to grow brassicas for their head or buds don't seem to have good luck.

Ted
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applestar
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I'm still trying to figure out the fall planting thing.
According to my research, I'm supposed to start brassica seeds in mid-June to plant out by mid-July. Brussels Sprouts, I'm start mid-May and plant out by mid-June. This is for fall HARVESTING, mind you.

But mid-July is when we're hitting the high notes. I can't see how planting them out then could possibly work. I dithered and dallied last summer and missed my chance. I think that using shade cloth and watering well must be the key, and I'll try again. But I need a bed dedicated to short stature plants -- brassicas, lettuce, and spinach, maybe (I like to plant more than one kind of plant to confuse the bugs, etc.) because the bed is going to HAVE to be covered with insect barrier. July~frost is prime time for the White Cabbage butterflies and I had some trouble with Cabbage loopers last summer as well. :evil: Hmm... mid-July... maybe they can go in after the potatoes are harvested... :idea:

In your case, if I'm reading it right, you're supposed to grow them to ALMOST mature size in fall (like you'd harvest in 2 weeks or so), then let them overwinter to stay dormant and do nothing. So, for heading brassicas, I imagine you'd want them to attain full height and width, just before starting to bud/form heads. All conjecture here, as obviously, I haven't done this myself. :wink:

tedln
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I'm pretty sure you have an optimal planting/growing period for the brassicas. Your climate should be very similar to the upstate New York climate where I saw them doing so well. The farmers/gardeners would allow the Brussels sprouts to grow between three and four feet in height. They would pull the plant by the roots and sell the entire plant with the sprouts still attached. The sprouts were really large. I think selling the plant with the roots attached prevented the sprouts from drying out quickly.

One thing I am not considering is the fact that the finger lakes region may be a micro climate due to the lakes temperature remaining cool to cold all summer. That would effect the average air temps on the land between the lakes. You may have a totally different climate than the finger lakes area.

I believe like you, we have a huge insect problem with cabbage. I don't think it gets cold enough / long enough to impact their population so they happily feed all winter.

Ted
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Ozark Lady
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Cool season crops are tough to grow here.

Even some warm season crops are a challenge. Often the year is divided into before July and after August.

I could probably come close to year round gardening, with a bit of tunnels for winter protection, and shading for July and August.

Problem is: Enthusiasm is easy in the spring, but by summer, you have to push a bit, and on it goes, by the end of November, I want the garden to go to sleep and leave me alone! Then along about February I miss the garden.... I just really need at least 2 months to hibernate, recuperate, and get back into the right frame of mind to garden again.
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TZ -OH6
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I wish that I could grow some subtropicals such as merlitons/chayotes, and artichokes, but the season is not long enough.

tedln
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What would you do with the merlitons/chayotes? When we lived in Louisiana, the Cajuns grew them as a normal compliment to their gardens. They called them Cajun pears. I've never tasted one since I really don't know how to use them. My friends told me their texture is similar to a potato.

If a vegetable is just like a potato when cooked, I'll just keep eating potatoes. If a meat tastes just like chicken, I'll just keep eating chicken. If something doesn't have a taste or texture different than common items, I will just continue eating or using the common items. I've only eaten artichoke once and wasn't impressed. It takes a lot of work to prep an artichoke for cooking and then by the time you finally have something to eat, it doesn't really stand out.

Ted
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tedln
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Ozark Lady,

Like you, I get a little tired of the constant care a good garden requires and always look forward to putting it to bed for the winter if it has been a good gardening year. If it hasn't been a good year, I just want to cover the whole thing with a big tarp and forget about it until spring.

Fortunately for me, growing a garden is only 50% of gardening. I also enjoy the planning, building, and rearranging that is required. That is a year round job and takes care of any potential boredom in the winter. Sometimes I think I would be happy just building and planting gardens and let someone else take care of the plant maintanence, growing, and harvesting that is required.

I look forward to winter because I can get started with the real work.

Ted
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Ozark Lady
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I absolutely adore artichokes. I could eat them 3 meals per day!
Okay, maybe 2 with brussels for my 3rd meal! ha ha

I bet I would tire of them, but they are so expensive, that we seldom have them. My husband isn't fond of them, he gripes that he could starve before he gets one ate. So, I have them for lunch, and don't torture the poor man.

On another forum, there are folks growing them in Canada. Wow, thinks I, if they can do that, I can surely do that here.

I have my seeds... hmm, now to get them to germinate!

Is anyone experienced in growing them? They are perennials in Texas, even grow wild there... I can do this! But, where to start?
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TZ -OH6
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Merlitons/Chayotes have a very nice mild flavor that resemble broccoli stems more than anything else I can think of. When cooked they are fairly soft. I peel, halve them, take out the seed and then slice about 3/8 thick and steam with butter garlic powder and salt.

tedln
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Ozark Lady,

I'm not aware of any artichoke production in Texas. The USDA ran some tests in 2007 to see if any variety of artichoke could be a commercial success in the Rio Grande Valley, but I don't think any commercial production exists.

Most of the artichokes sold in the United States are grown near Castroville, California. Castroville is located near the top of some high hills separating the Central Valley of California in the East from the Pacific coast of California. With the warm dry air of the valley on the East side and the cool moist air of the ocean on the west side, Castroville normally has warm sunny days and cool foggy or moist nights. This happens to be the ideal climate for growing artichokes. No other location in the United States can duplicate the climatic conditions which exist near Castroville.

I understand the USDA tests in Texas were successful testing about five varieties of artichokes. The problem seems to be in the hot dry climate of the Rio Grande valley, the artichoke simply requires to much water to be a commercial success. Gardeners in that area can probably grow them in their gardens for personal use or possibly for sale in Farmers Markets, but not on a large scale.

You must be a very, very patient lady to actually enjoy eating them. I think they must surely be a caloric negative vegetable considering the amount of energy expended to receive the amount of energy available.

Ted
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applestar
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If I remember correctly, artichoke is high in some essential nutrients. If your body is deficient in one or more of these, I believe there is a tendency for the brain to recognize the nutrient in what you are eating, and trigger a craving.

I find that on the rare occasions that I eat artichokes, I, too, can't stop eating them. There are some other foods that have a similar effect on me: watermelons, lobsters, and avocados to name a few. There are probably others.

tedln
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When our kids were children, we had some friends with two children of similar ages to ours. Our friends would go out to a restaurant for a meal. The parents would order steaks with baked potatoes and all the trimmings. The two kids would order large salads with no salad dressing. While most kids would microwave some popcorn for an evening snack, those kids would cook artichokes and eat them for an evening snack. I think your right about the body recognizing nutritional deficiencies and simply craving foods that will supply the needed nutrients.

Ted
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Joyfirst
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What about shade cloth to beat the heat a bit?

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!potatoes!
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now, now, ted, 'texture similar to a potato' doesn't mean 'this vegetable is just like a potato', flavor counts for something too, doesn't it?

tedln
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Joyfirst wrote:What about shade cloth to beat the heat a bit?
In my case, I think the shade cloth will work for the lettuce. I have green frost protection blankets that I am thinking of laying over the cucumber trellis until the cucumbers grow tall enough to shade the lettuce.

Potatoes,

Since store bought potatoes have almost no flavor to me, why trade one flavorless vegetable for another flavorless vegetable. I eat potatoes by adding salt, pepper, butter, cheese, and a variety of other seasonings depending on my mood. I don't grow potatoes, but I have eaten home grown potatoes and they are a whole different ball game. Home grown potatoes actually have taste. Since I am open minded :clap:, I will buy some Chayote and try them. :D

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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