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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

But in my scheme of things, pumpkins are way at the top of the list of things that are just not worth growing. Pumpkin vines get HUGE; one vine could easily cover 100 sq ft. And they are very hungry and thirsty, need tons of water and tons of soil fertility. Definitely do NOT grow pumpkins if you are in a drought stricken area! And for all that you maybe get two pumpkins. And who even eats pumpkins any way?
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Kalak
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

Thank you all so much for your great replies. This forum is excellent -- I'm doing a lot of reading here and learning a good deal, though my head is just about exploding from all the information.

I guess most 'success' comes from trial and error -- and gaining knowledge of various relevant factors related to your garden situation and the limitations of that. In my case, I probably approached it all wrong. I announced I was going to 'grow things' and not only bought a load of random seeds, but my family did too. So ended up with products that may not be entirely suitable, given the variables here.

So far, all I've got in terms of edibles are tomatoes, lettuce and beans (first red tomatoes today, but eaten fast by a family member, so didn't get a taste).

Things possibly not 'worth it' for me are the potatoes, corn, onions. Jury is out on beans, but only because of the extended cooking time. Also kale and cabbage, but only due to the fact the slugs will just not leave it alone.

Grew everything from seed. So far peppers 14 inches high, but no sign of actual peppers. Have one cucumber -- 2 inches. Very few female flowers.

Someone -- Applestar? -- said about the process being more important and I agree with that. Can't wait to get in the garden to see what is new (in my case usually more slug destruction). Can't keep a basil plant to save my life -- something eats them every time. Still love it, though -- the gardening.

imafan26
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

I have to agree with the pumpkins and watermelons, two or three are about the yield you will get from a 50 ft vine. That is why I plant three or four vines in a hill and they grow on top of each other. Gourds are way more productive for the space they take. I can get up to 20 gourds on a vine, and long squash is something that most people here know how to eat. As for sweet potatoes, they actually are productive in a small patch. I keep them in a container because they don't stay in a small patch for long. Getting leaves and tubers (double cropping) makes them much more worthwhile to grow than pumpkin vines. Although I do admit that I also harvest leaf tips from chayote, beans and peas so there is a double crop there too as well as a way to keep the vines more compact.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Taiji
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

For me, generally speaking, anything that is an experiment (something I've never tried before) is not worth the effort, since I am limited for space at the present time. Otherwise, I would like to try new things once in a while. But for now, I like to stick with tried and true varieties that I know will give me good yield. If I try something new and it doesn't work out, that was wasted time and especially space.

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digitS'
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

Of course, grow what you like to eat - or, what your family and neighbors like. Being popular is worth striving for ;).

Storage veggies are cheap in the stores. They can be shipped and held for weeks (months :? ). That doesn't mean that they are not worth growing. We like having a number of different sweet onions to choose from and green & growing is better than those in bins for weeks (months :? ).

I have had lots of room but didn't grow potatoes for years and years. Early on, I wasn't too enthusiastic about all the work, planting and harvesting. So, I decided to try them under a heavy mulch. Disaster! Voles moved in and set up a rodent city! That was IT for me ... twenty years passed and I became curious about all the new varieties. I'm glad I went back and grew some of those :). I'm enthusiastic about my 100 sqft of potatoes, each season!

Fresh is best. More so with salad veggies than about anything. They are expensive at the soopermarket! Gardening has changed my diet. I eat lots of stir-fry vegetables. Fresh is best.

This arid climate makes growing tender veggies a little challenging but I've worked at it, and worked out some schemes. The easiest is to sow seeds and set out plants almost continuously. Saving some seed can save some money Sprinkling a few seeds once and relying on them is risky. Different locations and different weeks, even different varieties, hedge my bets on a productive garden.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Peter1142
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

I have ample space, so pumpkins are no problem for me. Melons on the other hand, especially cantaloupes, need a very long successful season and are hit or miss so I won't grow them again. Pumpkins are much more likely to be successful.
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imafan26
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

It may be different now with the skyrocketing costs of food at the market, but I figured out and also read somewhere that if you take into account your inputs: land, water, fertilizer, amendments (compost, manure, peat moss, sand, vermiculite, perlite, coir, topsoil, etc), seeds, plants, seed starting supplies and set up, electricity, garden equipment and tools, time weeding, pest and disease control, waste disposal, etc and your time and opportunity cost if you chose to go skiiing instead, or use the land or room for something else, then you really don't save that much money growing your own. Unless, like James you have a lot of land; have established what grows best and efficiently; a clientelle and market to grow and sell large quantities of produce, you may just manage to break even.

Especially, when starting out, you may actually spend more than you would if you buy the produce, because you have start up costs for building the garden; seeds and plants; figuring out what grows well; amending the soil which might mean getting a soil test to see what you have; tools (tools can last for years but in year 1, you might have to buy a lot. Where tools are concerned it pays to buy quality so it does the job and lasts for years); seed starting set up racks, lights, grow trays, soil or blocks for soil trays; and a lot more hours just putting it all together. When you start out you may also not know where to get the best seeds, or where the agricultural suppliers are. If you buy in large enough quantities, you can get an account and save up to 20%. Most home gardeners are paying retail at the big box stores, and that is fine for small start up gardens and containers but it is also what raises production costs. The price of seeds now has more than doubled, so I am glad that I can save some of my seeds and for seed exchanges on the forum and with my circle of friends.

The reward for preserverence though is the feeling of accomplishment and really enjoying the fruits of your labors and knowing what really fresh produce is supposed to taste like. No more limp cucumbers, wilted greens, if you are lucky you will find a great tomato, but if not, you know there has to be one out there that is better than what is available in the market.

It is great to share your bounty with friends and family, although I admit, there can be too many chayote. Making friends with other gardeners who can share their experience; seeds; produce; and fellowship.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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kayjay
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

rainbowgardener wrote:And who even eats pumpkins any way?
Me!! ;) I'm one of those Atkins diet low-carb types for the last 12 years. Pumpkin is unique among winter squash for having a very low starch content. Canned pumpkin has gotten ridiculously expensive here over the last few years. Fresh pumpkins aren't often available outside of Halloween season, and anything other than a little pie pumpkin is too heavy for me to carry on the bus.

Pumpkin's a staple for me over the winter. Pumpkin baked goods, pumpkin soups, and it's nice overall for thickening soups. :cool:
KayJay
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digitS'
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

Pumpkins are worth using in the kitchen!

Pumpkin muffins, cookies, pancakes, yeast breads, and that pumpkin soup - it's all good.

Have you ever eaten the fresh, tender tendrils and flowers? They taste like pumpkin!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Farseeker
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

I eat a lot of pumpkin - soups, curries, stir fries, roasted - it's all good! It's thought of as a savoury thing more so here though than sweet. The only real exception to that is pumpkin scones. I'm hoping that if I get a few Jack Be Littles and Golden Nuggets I'll be able to give some sweet recipes a go though!

So far I've found everything to be worth the effort - even things that I haven't gotten anything from, because I've learned something along the way (usually what I've been doing wrong, haha).

mabell
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Re: Are some vegetables just not worth the effort?

iTS USUALLY NOT ABOUT THE MONEY commercial ag can do it so cheap but the satisfaction from growiing something you truly enjoy priceless

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