lala01
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Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangement?

Last year was my first time gardening and I had no idea what I was doing, and I mostly used containers and random, separate spots I dug up in the yard. The yard has now mostly recovered from that. Everything grew well initially and I had small harvests in the very beginning, but my squash, zucchini and cantaloupe were quickly and totally destroyed by pickleworm and melonworm. Every fruit was riddled with holes. I got so desperate that I sprayed AND dusted with Sevin almost daily and it did nothing. My corn was covered in aphids and every single ear had a worm. If it weren’t for my bell peppers, I would never garden again. No problems with them. They survived multiple hurricanes and produced through December. I live on the Gulf Coast.

This year I planned ahead and used a friend’s tiller to make a real garden. The plot is about 12 ft x 10 ft. I added manure and tilled again. Now I’m ready to plant. I bought row tunnel covers that I intend to use for my squash and zucchini to battle the pickleworm and melonworm (I know I’ll have to take them down during the day once I have flowers and put them back at sundown). I also plan to start using BT immediately and often.

I hope an experienced gardener with time to spare will look at this list of seeds I bought and advise me on how to arrange them.

What I’m going to grow:

-Tomatoes
-Cherry tomatoes
-Yellow squash and gray squash
-Zucchini
-Small and regular watermelons
-Cantaloupe
-Corn
-Carrots
-Bell peppers (three types)
-Banana peppers
-Giant sunflowers
-Red and yellow onion bulbs


What I know:

-Corn is supposed to be planted on the North side to keep from blocking sun from other plants

-Sunflowers probably need to be planted with corn for the reason above
-I read that sunflowers can worsen pest problems (the LAST thing I need) so maybe I shouldn’t plant them at all. Thoughts?

-Corn and tomatoes are not supposed to be grown together

-Cantaloupes and watermelon will have to be somewhere on the perimeter so the vines can spread out

-Squash/zucchini need to be on a perimeter so I can do what I was saying with the row covers

Any insight that anyone can provide would be very much appreciated. Thank you

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applestar
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

I have to take my DD to a dentist appointment in 2 minutes so I’m going to come back to this later.

But, wow, I hope the gardener members in the southern regions will be able to advise you about those dratted pickleworms and melonworms. Only time I encountered an infestation was when I tried to grow cucumbers in the house during the fall and managed to help infested fruits nourish the worms to adulthood. I think normally they don’t get up here until late summer/early fall and are killed by frost/freeze.

I’m not positive covering at night will help since the moths might be hiding somewhere in the foliage. I would have to look up at what stage the females lay eggs. BT on the surface won’t help since it needs to be ingested by the caterpillars/worms.

If covering the female flowers as soon as they are pollinated will help. I wonder if disposable footies or other net? bags would work? I’m planning to try covering my tree fruits with disposable footies as well as ziplock bags this year. If you need to cover at flowerbuds stage, it’s not too difficult to hand pollinate, and you could also consider parthenocarpic varieties so you could keep the entire patch covered and protected the entire time.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

lala01
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Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:41 pm
Location: AL zone 8b

Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Thanks so much for the response! I also wondered about bagging them like you mentioned. I wondered this about the corn, too. I’ve read so many conflicting things.

I’ve read that pickleworms are the ones that bore into the fruit while melonworms mostly just eat the foliage. I seem to have had both, based on photos online. I had worms inside the fruits that appeared to be pickleworms, which supposedly start inside the flowers (I also had holes in the flowers) and make their way to the fruit, while I also had worms inside these mesh-looking web things on the back of leaves which apparently are melonworms that cause the lace-like foliage damage, which I also had. I read that pickleworm moths don’t stay on the plant during the day, but the melonworm moths do. Supposedly all worms stop feeding once they ingest BT..? If true, hopefully it would prevent them both from making their way to the fruit..? I really don’t know.

I was hoping that the reason nothing worked last year, even Sevin, was because the problem was too far out of control once I realized what was happening. If so, I hoped using BT and row covers from the beginning could prevent it. I might just have to accept that my area is too hot and too worm-infested to grow cucurbits, sadly.

gumbo2176
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Tomatoes love sun and space. Stake the tomato plants with a sturdy 2x2 or some other type support and make them at least 6 ft. long so after driving them in the ground about a foot, you have 5 ft. above ground. Give them a good bit of room between plants as this helps with keeping down plant diseases and fungal issues, especially with you being in the deep south like me and dealing with summer heat and humidity.

As for peppers, I also stake them and get those metal stakes from Tractor Supply that look a bit like rebar with a triangular metal piece at the bottom. Once in the ground they stand about 4 ft. tall and I tie my pepper plants off to them. Pepper plants will often bend over under heavy rain or high winds, especially if they are producing peppers.

I have had horrible luck with summer squash due to squash vine borers killing them just about the time they are ready to produce, so I don't do them any more.

Cantaloupes and watermelons require a lot of space, but I have grown cantaloupes on a trellis with decent results, but you have to sling the fruit as it matures or it will break off the vine as it gets heavier. I used old pantyhose to make slings for support.

No mention of cucumbers, but if you grow them, they are great on a trellis also, as are pole beans. The trellis keeps the cucumbers off the ground, much cleaner and less prone to pests digging into them.

DarrenP
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Obviously I can't help with your particular bug problem, but have you considered using something like guinea fowls in and around your veggies? They are great bug finders. Also consider planting other plants in and around your veggies that attract so-called predator bugs, that will eat the your pests.
If you plant the squash around the corn, and perhaps beans as well, will that help prevent the bugs?

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Gary350
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

lala01 wrote:Last year was my first time gardening and I had no idea what I was doing, and I mostly used containers and random, separate spots I dug up in the yard. The yard has now mostly recovered from that. Everything grew well initially and I had small harvests in the very beginning, but my squash, zucchini and cantaloupe were quickly and totally destroyed by pickleworm and melonworm. Every fruit was riddled with holes. I got so desperate that I sprayed AND dusted with Sevin almost daily and it did nothing. My corn was covered in aphids and every single ear had a worm. If it weren’t for my bell peppers, I would never garden again. No problems with them. They survived multiple hurricanes and produced through December. I live on the Gulf Coast.

This year I planned ahead and used a friend’s tiller to make a real garden. The plot is about 12 ft x 10 ft. I added manure and tilled again. Now I’m ready to plant. I bought row tunnel covers that I intend to use for my squash and zucchini to battle the pickleworm and melonworm (I know I’ll have to take them down during the day once I have flowers and put them back at sundown). I also plan to start using BT immediately and often.

I hope an experienced gardener with time to spare will look at this list of seeds I bought and advise me on how to arrange them.

What I’m going to grow:

-Tomatoes
-Cherry tomatoes
-Yellow squash and gray squash
-Zucchini
-Small and regular watermelons
-Cantaloupe
-Corn
-Carrots
-Bell peppers (three types)
-Banana peppers
-Giant sunflowers
-Red and yellow onion bulbs


What I know:

-Corn is supposed to be planted on the North side to keep from blocking sun from other plants

-Sunflowers probably need to be planted with corn for the reason above
-I read that sunflowers can worsen pest problems (the LAST thing I need) so maybe I shouldn’t plant them at all. Thoughts?

-Corn and tomatoes are not supposed to be grown together

-Cantaloupes and watermelon will have to be somewhere on the perimeter so the vines can spread out

-Squash/zucchini need to be on a perimeter so I can do what I was saying with the row covers

Any insight that anyone can provide would be very much appreciated. Thank you
With a garden 10'x12' a lot of what you grow depends on how much of each you want? This is what I would do if I was doing it for ME. I would plant 4 rows 3 ft apart with 4 plants in each row.

Row 1 I suggest a 10' row for tomatoes with 4 plants in cages. 2 Big Beef tomato plant and 2 cherry tomato plants. Cherry tomatoes do better in hot weather than other tomatoes. Tomatoes do not like not weather. Cherry tomatoes do better in 100 degree weather than regular tomatoes. Plant tomatoes on the east side of a large shade tree so the plants get full sun all morning then shade from 12 noon until dark. In 100 degree heat you will not get many tomatoes if plants live until Sept you will get tomatoes again in cooler weather. Tomato plants will grow 6 ft tall.

You can not expect a small corn crop to have any corn to eat you need 100 plants to get a good crop of corn. You can plant 100 corn plants in 10x12 but nothing else.

You can put 4 peppers in the 2nd row. You have room for 3 bell peppers and 1 banana pepper.

You can put all your squash in row 3 you have room for 4 plants.

Row 4 Melons need a lot of room 1 plant could use the whole 10'x12' garden space to grow. Try planting 4 melons in row 4 with 1 seed every 2ft. Make the vine grow in a circle all the way around the outside edge of the whole garden.

I think it is too late for carrots it is a cool weather crop but you can try sprinkle seeds in the same row as the tomatoes. Sprinkle seeds between the tomato plants.

You can plant onions in the same row as your peppers plant them in between the pepper plants.

Plant a sun flower at the end of each of the 4 rows. You could even grow 1 sun flower between each of the melon plants. Summer heat will kill the squash probably by July, plant something between the squash so when squash are gone the other plants will still be there. Sometimes I plant squash in pots every other week when garden squash die I have plants in pots to replace them. I do the same thing with tomatoes I plant seeds in the garden plants are 6" tall by the time sometime dies then I replace the dead plants with tomatoes, onions, potatoes or something else.

That is my idea maybe someone else has an idea too?

lala01
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Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:41 pm
Location: AL zone 8b

Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Thank you Darren and Gumbo for your replies! Very helpful info and ideas!

Gumbo, I hate to hear that you gave up on the squash. That seems to be the general consensus from everyone I've spoken to in the area-- that it's just too hard. I hate that because it's my favorite vegetable. :( I'm definitely going to get the kind of supports that you suggested. I staked my peppers last year with some flimsy plastic supports that I bought off Amazon and kept having to add more pieces as they were bowing under the weight of the peppers. I did use a trellis for my cantaloupes and did the pantyhose thing you suggested but the melonworms/pickleworms made the whole endeavor pointless. Every day there were eggs all over the new leaves no matter how much insecticide I used until eventually the plants were leafless, dry and brown before a single melon had fully ripened. Very disappointing.

lala01
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Posts: 21
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Location: AL zone 8b

Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Gary350 wrote:
That is my idea maybe someone else has an idea too?

THANK YOU a million times! I sketched it out exactly as you suggested, including omitting the corn (which I was already considering doing), and this will be my blueprint for planting this weekend! Wonderful! Thanks again!! :-()

lala01
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Location: AL zone 8b

Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

applestar wrote: If you need to cover at flowerbuds stage, it’s not too difficult to hand pollinate, and you could also consider parthenocarpic varieties so you could keep the entire patch covered and protected the entire time.
I just looked up what this is - parthenocarpic varieties - and I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Thanks so much for this excellent suggestion. I bought Dixie hybrid (my favorite) but now I think I’m going to get a parthenocarpic variety of summer squash and use my row tunnel, which will be so easy since I can leave it on the whole time, then plant the Dixie someplace else away from the garden. Thank you!

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applestar
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

You’re welcome :D

...now that you have received some positive suggestions, I’m going to offer a constructive criticism. :wink:

You said —
Every day there were eggs all over the new leaves no matter how much insecticide I used until eventually the plants were leafless, dry and brown before a single melon had fully ripened. Very disappointing.
I understand that in the southern regions with less to no freezes in the winter to kill them, there are more pests but perhaps that is more reason to try to practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management). It’s important to realize that the insecticide also kills GOOD bugs and that may have helped control the BAD bugs, as well as POLLINATORS and innocent bystanders, and could be harmful to you as well.

... I would like to recommend you do a little reading :arrow: Subject: Please read before you spray poisons! INFO

... you will find I’m a bit on the extreme side when it comes to not using chemicals in my own garden, and haven’t in a long time, but this has meant seeing many beneficial predators which I call “Garden Patrol” thrive in my garden. This time of the year, when the shrubs and dead stems from last year are no more than bare sticks, I love spotting praying mantis ootheca (egg cases). As spring warms up, I watch for others to appear — usually our own RESIDENT populations hatch or emerge from their winter hibernation. In the summertime, as the pests blow in with the summer storms, so do their predators....
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

BTW I like Gary350’s idea of growing carrots with tomatoes and onions with peppers. It’s a good idea to plan on succession growing, too, either repeating same crop or following with another crop for the changing season, especially in small space to grow more.

As for corn, I hand pollinate to compensate for small numbers — I grow corn more for fun and experimentation so I end up growing small patches of different varieties in available small space. You could probably skip that this year and concentrate on less hands-on stuff — there are enough to do around the garden already anyway and don’t I know it! :roll: ...but maybe try it next year? 8)
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

DarrenP
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

@applestar, I'm with on that one. I don't use pesticides at all. I had a burst of white fly caterpillars eating the cabbages and cauliflowers last winter, and was told to use Neem oil, an organic solution. I think I only used it twice, as I found it just as easy to pick them off and feed them to our pet bearded dragon, or the chickens.
By planting different crops together, as well as plenty of flowers, I attract a lot of good predator bugs. Also the planting of different crops together helps to confuse the bad bugs too. And we have a colony of small skinks in the yard that would be keeping the bugs down. We are lucky where we are, because we don't get snails or slugs, and haven't seen too many aphids either.
If only we could get rid of the flies, that are an annoyance all year round.

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applestar
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Spotted in the garden — One of puzzling discoveries in my garden that I had too look up, but have become a familiar sight — fly carcasses that died from the fly fungus disease:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomophthora_muscae
Entomophthora muscae is a species of pathogenic fungus in the order Entomophthorales which causes a fatal disease in flies.

The mycelium of the fungus may grow into an area of the brain that controls the behaviour of the fly, forcing it to land on a surface and crawl upwards. The hyphae gradually grow through the whole of the body, digesting the guts, and the fly dies in about five to seven days.[4] When it is critically ill, it tends to crawl to a high point, straighten its hind legs and open its wings
...and of course I also walk around trying not to disturb/break the giant orb weaver garden spider webs that span 3-5 feet by autumn... the garden turns into an obstacle course since sometimes the spider changes where the web spans. (...oops can’t walk that way... oops got use the other path and come around from the other side... DUCK! Just past the gate...) :wink:


...opps sorry about the OT @lala01 :oops:
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jal_ut
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

Here I am in zone 5 Northern Utah at 5000 ft elevation. I don't have any experience gardening in your zone. I will say on the corn though. Corn is a group planting. Plant a minimum of 3 rows spaced 30 inches, with a plant every 8 to 12 inches in the row. You can plant about a week before your last expected frost. When the first planting is 4 inches tall plant a second crop. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

xtron
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Re: Will a kind soul please help me plan my veggie arrangeme

you might try the intensive gardening method for your corn. you will need to dig a separate plot, 4 foot by four foot. the corn will be planted every 12 inches, in all directions. alternate rows are offset by 6 inches to give a "checking" pattern. if you do this, be prepared to water almost every day, and be willing to use 10-10-10 commercial fertilizer every other week. it's not organic, and it's a bit of work, but you should get enough corn to feed a few folks at your next bar-b-que.
the other thing is, you will need to move your plot next year as corn MUST be rotated out every year, or your soil soon becomes dirt and will grow little to nothing.



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