mech1369dlw
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Location: Junction City Kansas Zone 6a

Gettin' ready to start the growing

Getting close to the start of my first good garden. Last fall, I tilled 2 rows for use this year. They are 16 ft long, 8 in deep and around 15 in wide. In each row, I tilled in 5 of the 1 cu ft bags of compost from Walmart. Miracle Gro Natures Care Really Good Compost is the name of it. I also tilled in all the leaves from our 2 huge maple trees. Was at the Walmart yesterday, they just got in the same compost plus some bags of Cow Manure and Organic Compost. Do I need to till in any more compost this spring before I start the planting? Anything else I should put in the soil to help things out? I get lots of fish in the spring, will fish bodies do some good? Lots of questions.

The rows are 4 ft apart. I plan on putting a 16 ft long, 4 ft high welded wire panel in each row, then attach a strip of 36 in wide smaller wire to each one, making an "A" shape when viewed from the ends. Everything will be held in place with 6 ft posts driven 2 ft into the ground. Gonna put my plants every foot or so, cucumbers on one side and some squash and early silver line melons on the other side. I plan on a few tomato plants and a couple pepper plants in a different area. The boss also wants me to plant some sweet taters along the fence line.

The veggies I think I have control of but have questions on the sweet taters. Would it be OK to just put small golf ball sized whole taters in the ground every 18 inches or so until I get what I want planted or do I need to do the slip thing? I have read lots on the taters and it seems either one works. What do the people on here think? This is going to be my first real garden. Last year, way too late, I just dug a little hole with a hand tool and stuck seeds into the ground. Things grew but I want to try to deo a good job this year and keep the Boss happy. Anything that you fellow dirt diggers can offer to help a guy out sill be greatly appreciated.

I notice that most everyone has a zone listed. How do I determine what zone is me? I am in North Eastern Kansas, Fort Riley/Junction City area to be exact. Thanx David

Taiji
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Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing


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rainbowgardener
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

Here's a site where you can just type in your zip code and it will tell you your cold hardiness zone: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

(edit) oh oops.... note the time stamps The previous response was slipped in, while I was looking mine up. Sorry, otherwise I would not have duplicated.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

PaulF
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

The Arbor Day Foundation has an updated zone map which is more current than the old one from USDA. USDA should be coming out with an updated version taking into account our warming climate. I am currently on the edge of 5B and 6A rather than the old 5A or 5B. https://www.arborday.org/media/zones.cfm
Paul F

Taiji
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

That does seem more realistic with the higher temps, though this year my average extreme minimum lows were still within the range of the previous zone.

I've really noticed too recently that if you live in area with a lot of elevation differences, the zip code isn't really that great of an indicator. For example, we have 2 properties where we garden now, and one property is almost 400 feet higher than the other, though they are both in the same zip code. That 400 feet makes a major difference believe me! I would guess the average temp difference at any given time is around 4 to 6 degrees because of elevation differences. The funny thing is when we want to see what our weather will be on the weather channel, for the higher property, we type in a different zip code entirely, just because we know the weather forecast for that zip code is closer to reality! I'm sure other things factor in as well, closeness to water, heavily wooded area, open grassland etc, though all may be in the same zip.

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jal_ut
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

To me "The Garden" was always a spot out in the field close to the house where Dad planted corn, beans potatoes and squash. Maybe a few other things, but those were what I call the big four. These are the ones that provide the calories we need for energy. The only thing that was ever trellised was the pole beans, and we used to go out along the river and cut bean poles (willow shoots) to push in by the bean plants for them to climb. Everything else was just given room to sprawl on the ground.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

About potatoes: It is good to go to a seed store and buy certified seed potatoes (certified disease free) and cut them to one or two eyes per piece and plant the pieces. Sometimes you can buy the little plugs all ready to plant. I plant in rows spaced 30 inches apart and a plant about every foot in the row.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

mech1369dlw, This is certainly not an area where they are commonly grown and I don't know much about sweet potatoes having only grown them twice without much success.

Two rows 16 ft long, 8 in deep and around 15 in wide doesn't indicate much ground for the leaves of 2 "huge" maple trees. You may have need for additional nitrogen through the growing season. If the ground was fertile before the additions, your plants may be okay.

Yes, fish scraps are a source of plant nutrients, including plenty of nitrogen but at some point, you will have to leave your soil alone and allow some decomposition to take place. There will be little plant food available until the soil microbes have gotten well into that process. Meanwhile, a lot of that nitrogen already there will be "tied up" in the living organisms.

It may be best to purchase a high N fertilizer and stand by through the growing season with plans to add it at a recommended rate if your plants show nitrogen deficiency. That may be a difficult call for a beginning gardener but leaves that do not gain a good green color will be an indication. I think that a purchased bottle of "fish emulsion" fertilizer would be a better choice than anything "fresh." Meanwhile, you could find some high carbon material to mix with those fish scraps and make compost for adding this fall or next year. Best of Luck.

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

andrewfray
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Re: Gettin' ready to start the growing

Hey guys -- I came across this older thread and felt the need to share an awesome new planting zone map that I have found and am amazed by. Its brand new and is easily the best zone map I have ever seen. I think everyone here will benefit from it as much as I have.

https://gilmour.com/planting-zones-hardiness-map

Enjoy

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