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hendi_alex
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What is your biggest veggie garden experiment in 2010?

Mine is trying to grow tomato plants in much smaller containers than usual but with drip irrigation that will be set to cycle on for 10-15 minutes several times per day. These 23 plants would have been tossed as excess, as all of my normal planting areas are occupied. So far these in the containers look better than most of my in ground plants. I'm thinking that they also may be less prone to disease, but time will tell. This first link is a short video of the planting arrangement and that is followed by a few detail photos.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aghenderson/4612395827/

Each plant gets a drip emitter like the one below:
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3378/4612941974_84ccb6a19b_o.jpg[/img]

Here are a few photos of fruit set.
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3537/4612941644_fee840529f_o.jpg[/img]

[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4047/4612326419_d5025871bb_o.jpg[/img]

[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/4612940904_52e0b6a156_o.jpg[/img]
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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gixxerific
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I would say buckets and lots of them for me. I have potatoes and tomatoes and carrots and onions in buckets just to see how they do. Like you said all my bucket plants are doing better than the in ground plants. But some of them were started way early inside.

i see you have cages around the bucket tomatoes I haven't gone that far yet. 4 of my tom buckets hold spirodonovskie which is a dwarf plant so for now they have a single metal stake to hold them up but that's all.

Buckets are great for not sacrificing things I'm down with that. I did chuck 4 toms this morning in the compost pile then I put one in a bucket and have 2 more I'm thinking about.

Your plants are looking good there Alex. Nice going. :D

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hendi_alex
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What sized bucket, what source?
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Ozark Lady
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Buckets! I have 9 barrels, these were 20 gallons now cut in half. It takes a wheel barrel to fill just one of them. I used these years ago, and everything planted in them died. So they have been storage for cloches, etc. Nothing that would hurt them.

This year, I am out of space in the beds, so they are pressed into service, again. My husband just reported the tomatoes in them are dead. Well, he didn't look close enough, 3 of the 9 barrels are dead. The other 6 look good to great. And the 3 with dead plants, I have lots to replace those with. So, I will replant those 3 barrels, and keep trying.

[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/000_0197_phixr.jpg[/img]

I am not good with container growing, but no time like the present to learn. I know they look wet, it has rained all day!

Oh I hope my sharpie name tag, on a former cloche stays on there!
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navajo
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Well, I am trying the E-Bucket self watering system this year for the first time. I have 2 Roma tomatoes and a Pineapple Sage in E-Buckets and am comparing them to raised bed Roma and Sage plants this year to see how they do.

Hope it works!

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hendi_alex
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A friend of mine uses self watering containers. Don't know the brand but they are pretty large, about 10 gallon and are rectangular. He produces a pretty good crop with them each year, usually planting two tomato plants per container.
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farmerlon
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I guess most folks would not consider it an "experiment"... but, this was my first year to grow all of my own transplants (tomatoes, peppers, etc...) from seed. So, that was an experiment for me.
Worked out great! :D

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Mine would have to be growing the plants under a light, starting some onions from seed, and growing eggplant.

Hope all of everyone's experiments work out.
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Last year I grew potatoes in two potato bags which turned out well considering that I accidently got a long season potato when I'm definitely short season. I had never grown potatoes before, so I made a few other mistakes like not giving the roots enough room at the bottom. This year I got a purple viking early season potato which just got planted this weekend.

Due to that success, I'm trying tomato bags this year. I've got four different varieties of early season tomatoes in four tomato bags. I'm trying to find a tomato that will produce well here. I started the transplants, which I grew from seed, last week. I cover them at night since it still gets down close to 32, then goes up to 75 during the day. The tomatoes all look like they are happy, so far.

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hendi_alex
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Could you describe your potato bag? I planted potatoes in moderately sized containers last year and the plants did o.k. but not great. I just used new potatoes from the grocery store for my starts.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Mon May 17, 2010 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hendi_alex
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Farmerlon, I think that is great. I held off for years, starting my own seeds and then eventually took the plunge. Once you have confidence to start your own, it opens an entirely new world of plant selections. IMO is definitely an experiment where a person has to experience success in order to develop confidence for expanding the range of gardening. I'm now dabbing/experimenting with growing my own perennial flowers. They are just so expensive when buying or ordering transplants. So far I'm having pretty good luck. Last year started saving more of my own seeds, and in some cases they give even better results than the bought seeds. Also, continue to try and expand my plants through cuttings and other propagation.
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sciencegal
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hendi_alex wrote:Could you describe your potato bag? I planted potatoes in moderately sized containers last year and the plants did o.k. but not great. I just used new potatoes from the grocery store for my starts.
It's a thick felt material that holds over 60 quarts of soil that I got from Gardeners Supply [url=https://www.gardeners.com/Tomato-Grow-Bag/NewOutdoorPlanters_Cat,38-542,default,cp.html]Tomato Bags[/url]. They are the same as potato bags but square. They keep the soil warm, air prune the roots and have good drainage. They also sold seed potatoes but didn't give the length of season which is why I ordered the Russian Banana fingerlings which are really long season. BTW, I saved a bunch of the tiny ones which have all sprouted if anyone wants them.

I know you could get potatoes from the store, but I kept reading that you should use certified seed potatoes and I need an early season variety of everything I grow. I think Yukons grow okay here.
Last edited by sciencegal on Mon May 17, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sciencegal
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hendi_alex wrote:I'm now dabbing/experimenting with growing my own perennial flowers. They are just so expensive when buying or ordering transplants. So far I'm having pretty good luck. Last year started saving more of my own seeds, and in some cases they give even better results than the bought seeds. Also, continue to try and expand my plants through cuttings and other propagation.
While out trail riding last year I saw a wild flower called a Snowball Verbena. I collected some seeds which I saved all winter and just planted them. I hope they grow, it's a beautiful plant.

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hendi_alex
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I read on line that verbena seeds can be very slow to germinate, as long as a month, so be very patient with them.

Sciencegal, my previous post had a typo "tomato" where it should have said 'potato'. The post has been edited, would appreciate it if you would edit the quote. Thanks! But from your post I take it that you are in fact using tomato bags to grow your potatoes. Sounds like an interesting experiment. I hear very mixed reviews from when tomatoes are grown in the bags.
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sciencegal
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Actually, I grew potatoes in potato bags and I'm attempting tomatoes in tomato bags. The only difference I can see is that the tomato bags are square (and larger) and the potato bags are round. However, once I filled the tomato bags with soil they look round, not like the nice even square ones advertised.

I didn't see tomato bags offered last year when I got the potato bags. The reviews on Gardeners Supply on the tomato bags seems to indicate that everyone is trying them for the first time this year.

(It's really hard to type tomato tomatoes potato potatoes 10 times in once paragraph and not get them mixed up :wink: )

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gixxerific
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hendi_alex wrote:What sized bucket, what source?
They are 7-10 gallon pots I acquired from a local nursery.

I suppose my one of my other experiments as others have stated is starting 95% of my flowers and veggies from seed. Seeing as how I decided to do this around Dec I went headfirst into it and never looked back. Just using lights around my house than buying more light cause I went overboard. Next year I will be more ready. :lol:

Oh yeah and along with the seed starting, that opened me up to whole new world of veggies/flowers that I have never grown before or much at all. Sorry Lowe's you are gonna have pay your rent through someone else this spring. :D :P

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Nothing major here, just growing strawberries, celery and cabbage which are firsts... that and pole beans. I'm also growing 1/2 my tomatoes against cattle panels instead of cages.

All pretty basic.
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tedln
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I guess you could call it experimenting, but I call it "just messing around to see what happens".

1. Heirloom tomatoes from seed (trying different germination methods).

2. Always grew crowded so this year I am trying to see how crowded I can grow without detrimental effects. I've planted some tomatoes, four plants to a hole, three plants to a hole, two plants to a hole, and one plant to a hole. I found out last year that pepper plants do not do well when crowded together with other pepper plants.

I've crowded one 4' X 8' bed with a row of carrots, a row of chard, a green bean trellis, a row of Prudens Purple tomatoes (five plants on a string trellis), and a row of three different heirloom plants (six plants in all on a string trellis) This bed had already produced a good harvest of garlic. This bed also has four Bell pepper plants. I am also trying successive planting of tomatoes in this bed with each variety planted about four weeks apart to best utilize available sunlight and extend the productive season through the mid summer heat.

3. I'm growing my squash under netting to protect it from pests. It will require more labor because I have to hand pollinate every morning. I want to see if the squash plants will live past the pest cycles if protected.

4. I am trying different mixtures of compost to soil in different beds.

5. I am growing multiple varieties of some vegetables to see which produces best and can stand the Texas heat the best.

6.I've built a composter out of a 45 gallon plastic trash barrel. I will install a wire mesh on the bottom of it today so the compost can simply fall through the mesh into a container. I've been putting everything but the kitchen sink into it and the level in the composter doesn't seem to grow any higher.

All I can think of at the moment.

Ted
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lakngulf
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New Spot for tomatoes

My experiment has been a new spot to grow tomatoes. I have had decent luck with my garden area, but due to planting tomatoes in small spot for so many years in a row, and lack of sunshine, I decided to "expand" my garden.

I build these "tomato boxes" and filled them with fresh top soil

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/TopSoil3c.jpg[/img]


So far so good. This is how they looked this morning.

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2010_May_M01021.jpg[/img]

Please excuse if you have seen these before. I am proud of them!

Also, I definitely want to learn more about potato and tomato bags. That sounds like an interesting approach
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Lakngulf, these are so cute! I also saw this video about city person raising veggies in his truck.
My experiments:

1. Zuchinni and a few companion plants growing on the top pf my cold open compost pile. I thought it was decomposed enough not to sink much, but it still did, so now it gets less sun, because the edges are higher, but so far so good - first zuchinni fruit is setting just as that of my "control" zuchinni in the regular bed. So far they do about the same.

2. Trying to sprout tree peonies from seed - so far they are still dormant. I keep them in the bag between slightly damp vermiculite, and they should let out roots, then they go to the fridge. I might try to put them into seedling mix and put them on the heat pad on low, see if that would help a bit, and then just put the whole container with dirt in the fridge for a few months.

3. Sprouted my alpine strawberries from seed very nicely. They are still tiny, so I will keep my fingers crossed.

4. Los Angeles compost was a lousy experiment - things are stunted, so now I am adding rabbit manure and it seems to be helping a lot.

5. I got Santa Monica city compost just couple days ago and filled up two beds just with it and vermiculite, I want to see how good this one is - it stinks good, so it should be better than other one.

6. Beds with my own made compost are growing nicely.

7. Rock dust - I added it everywhere, so I am not sure I will know how it works.

8. I want to get some biochar, and maybe add it just to some beds and see.

9. I am raising bunch of new veggies for me this year, so i guess these can be considered experimental too.

10. Did I mentioned, that crows like to sit on the arch and poop into my blueberry pot. I was a bit mad first, and then changed my mind - fresh fertilizer straight to my blueberry-what can be better? Another ones don't get it, so we will see how good crow's pie is.

There are probably tons of other stuff I forget. Garden is a fun playground, isn't it?

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love11
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I really like thos tomatos boxes how they hange over the water like that very inventive great idea.

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lakngulf
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Joyfirst wrote:Lakngulf, these are so cute! I also saw this video about city person raising veggies in his truck.
When I first started thinking about the "over the water" method to get the tomatoes in more sun, I looked for a couple of old canoes. I thought that would be pretty neat, to attach them to the side of the pier, fill them with dirt, and plant tomatoes.

I looked at the picture below and had another idea:

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2010_May_M01012.jpg[/img]

If those weeds will grow so well in the cracks of the boards then why wouldn't this work? Maybe it is just a variation on the upside down bag.

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2010_May_M01044.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2010_May_M01045.jpg[/img]


One other thing that is new this year is an "oldie but goodie". I still had some tomato plants that I grew from seed. The farmer in my had to see them in the ground somewhere. I found this area near the herb garden that will get fairly good sun during part of the day. I cannot grow the tomatoes in cages here because my wife does not want anything "tall" around the herb garden. My plan is to let them grow free and hopefully the pine straw will aid in keep the fruit clean. Also, I used the "lay down flat" method to plant. I have never tried that before

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2010_May_M01043.jpg[/img]
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Growing what I can in a small space.
I have a small garden and I am trying to make the most of it, so I’ve planted things on the edges of the beds, outside, in small pots (even old pop bottles) and I’m just seeing how well they produce.
I guess my experiment is how much space is really needed to grow things.
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I'm planting in pots this year! I'm also planting in my garden space, but I'm doing a whole lot more vine plants. I need to have faith in those little seeds cause it definitely wavered when my pumpkin seeds got drowned and I never got to see sprouts! I didn't know a lot then, so hopefully I can be happy with them this year with a lot more knowledge.
I have planted herbs for the first time, but that's not veggie related.
I'm going to do the most planting I have ever done too :)
Hopefully my interesting spacing will be alright!
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Ozark Lady
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OMG Ted, you have more in one bed of 4x8 than I do in three of them!
No wonder I am out of space! But, my soil just isn't that rich, and I don't feel that it could support that quantity of plants.

I will be watching this experiment with alot of interest, but, I already know it is going to work great for you! I just wanna see it happen!
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I am growing a tomato plant in a burlap sack this year. I got the burlap sacks at the feed store for $1 a piece. They will hold plenty of soil. I filled it up about halfway and folded the sides down. It is growing extremely well. I ran out of soil or I would have done more. I am getting more soil to grow sweet potatoes in the rest of my burlap sacks.

Tate

tedln
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Tate,

Why burlap? Is burlap supposed to have a special quality like water retention or something?

Ted
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tedln
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Ozark Lady wrote:OMG Ted, you have more in one bed of 4x8 than I do in three of them!
No wonder I am out of space! But, my soil just isn't that rich, and I don't feel that it could support that quantity of plants.

I will be watching this experiment with alot of interest, but, I already know it is going to work great for you! I just wanna see it happen!
I will post some photos of the bed tomorrow.

Ted
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Tate
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tedln wrote:Tate,

Why burlap? Is burlap supposed to have a special quality like water retention or something?

Ted
Nothing special. A lot more pros than cons and large containers are usually expensive. I don't know exactly how much soil they will hold, but it is a lot.

Pros
They are $1 a piece. The potato and tomato grow bags I have seen range from $5 to $25 a piece!
They are biodegradable.
Things are proving to grow well in them.
There are no chemicals involved and are consistent with an organic garden.
They drain well so you don't have to worry about too much water and problems like blossom end rot.
They actually look pretty cool and people are instantly drawn to them and ask questions.
For potatoes, you can add soil as they grow to get more production.

Cons
They might only last one season, but I'm not sure about that yet.


Cheers,

Tate

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I've been trying to get my thoughts together before replying to this thread 8)

(1) Repeat of last year's experiment - Rain Garden Rice Paddies
(2) New Tomato Bed/Luffa & Pole Bean fence trellis intended to shade the hot SW wall of the Family Room (also a whole bunch of heirloom tomatoes grown from seed)
(3) Outdoor mushroom cultivation (not going as planned but we'll see how much of the original plan can be implemented)
(4) Ruth Stout style raised hay-mulched bed
(5) Venturing out into the front yard with "ornamental" Edible Landscaping
(6) 6 varieties of hot/spice peppers grown from seed. Each variety to be potted up and kept as perennials over the winter.
(7) MORE citrus seedlings and avocado seedlings, pineapple pups to be potted up/start growing with fruiting in mind, mango and pomegranate seedlings -- part of ongoing tropical fruit experiment
(8) Re-designed small pond to be supplied/recirculated via a drain spout/rainbarrel and a vertical wall garden ** to be honest, I think THIS is the biggest experiment. I have an idea in mind that I've been noodling for a while, but I'm still not sure it's do-able **

:()

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I have about a dozen volunteer pumpkin?/squash? seedlings that popped up in my strawberry bed. This past weekend, I moved them to a new area to see if they will grow and what they will produce.

This past fall, I got 3 chickens. As a treat, I would give them pumpkins and/or squash (various varities). Then I composted their bedding & poop.
This spring, I used the bedding & poop to mulch my strawberry bed. Now, I have about a dozen volunteers! :D I have no idea what they will turn out to be but I'm very excited to find out. If I get a few treats for my girls, that will be the icing on the cake! :lol:
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hendi_alex
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Ambitious year this year Applestar!

I tried container lemons, limes, and oranges in the past. But several frustrations caused me to give up. One was a huge infestation of scale. Didn't realize at the time how effect oil spray is for getting rid of the critters. Secondly, storing the large plants in the winter was a problem, just took so much room in the greenhouse. Third, the lemon kept blooming way before bees were active, and little or no fruit set. Guess I should have investigated hand pollination.

I may try a couple of lemon trees again next year.
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lakngulf
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[quote="applestar"](6) 6 varieties of hot/spice peppers grown from seed. Each variety to be potted up and kept as perennials over the winter.
[\quote]

May be a crazy question but will they go in pots at the start or some kind of transplant to pots? My peppers hang on each year longer than anything.
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tedln
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lakeingulf,

You don't need to ask to be excused for reposting some beautiful photos. Since you have posted before and after photos of the project, I really enjoy them. You took what was essentially an unattractive spot and converted it to a beautiful spot. The scene has all the natural elements I love, sky, water, wood, soil, flowers, vegetables and most importantly creativity and created anticipation for more.

Ted
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gixxerific
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lakeingulf I have only one word for those pics: AWESOME! :D

Applestars post reminded me of another thing I'm doing more of this year. The "ornamental" edible landscaping. Mainly with lettuce and basil. I have colorful lettuces, rainbow chard and purple basil in my flower garden, oh yeah and onions and garlic in my rose bed, and the onions around my Maple tree.

Gotta love gardening.

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The peppers will be grown in the ground since I'm better at growing in the ground than in containers. Healthiest ones will be "lifted" into appropriately sized containers at the end of the season -- probably early~mid September -- with some accompanying root and top pruning to help in the fit :wink:.

In all honesty, I don't know if everything will get done as envisioned, but I always have more ideas than I can accomplish. Some are on-going projects, the wall garden idea has been percolating since at least last year, if not the year before last. It's been merged with the pond idea as well as the aquaponics idea (though definitive fish in the pond plan is still absent). Just don't hold your breath. :winik: :lol:

tedln
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Okay Ozark Lady, here are some photos of the extremely crowded, 4' X 8' bed. The photos are not as good as I like because the sunlight was very, very bright this morning. I doctored them a little in Photoshop and I think they can be seen.

This is the bed with carrots planted on the right hand side. I planted two varieties of carrots, one germinated well, the other didn't; so I have Swiss Chard planted at the other end of the carrot bed.

The trellis on the right is my Yard Long green beans. They always have very thin and wispy foliage, but the planting is very thick and has reached the top of the trellis. Blooms are forming on the vines and I should have beans very soon all summer. Also notice the fact that I have four Bell Pepper plants with two at each end of the bed.

The center trellis is for my Prudens Purple heirloom tomatoes. The trellis on the left is for my Sweet Carneros Pink (free seed), Black From Tula, and JD's Special C Tx. The Prudens Purple have been blooming for about a week and grown to the second level of my rope trellis.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2253.jpg[/img]

This is the same bed from a different view. I had said previously that I had five Prudens Purple plants growing. If you look at the bottom of each plant, you will see that two plants are in each hole planted very deep with the root balls touching. I actually have ten plants growing, but I consider each planting as a single plant. By planting very deep, each plant penetrates the different moisture zones, mineral zones, and nutrient zones that stratify during a gardening season. They send out roots from the main stem from top to bottom into the zones.

Under the front rope trellis, I have the Sweet Carneros Pink tomatoes planted still in their cups. This is how I harden my tomatoes after germination. These plants are about three weeks old and will be soil planted later this week. I have Black From Tula (thanks Dono) and JD's Special C Tx heirlooms germinated inside and will move them out to harden in about one week.

I purposely planted the front tomatoes much later than the Prudens Purple in order for the PP's to get full sunlight while growing and blooming. The front tomatoes will grow up and shade the fruit on the PP's from the hot sun preventing sun scald. As fruit develops on the PP's, I will thin the lower foliage, but I will not thin the foliage on the front row. I plan to prune the tops of the plants when they reach the tops of the trellis's forcing late growth lower after the hottest part of the summer.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2255.jpg[/img]

This is a different bed showing a planting of Brandywine tomato plants with three plants planted very deep with the root balls touching. This grouping is producing three times as many blooms as the single planting of the same variety. Some of the blooms are setting fruit. Their height is the same and foliage production is the same as the single planting.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2256.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2259.jpg[/img]

This is a Jalapeno pepper plant blooming and setting fruit. I have to cage the jalapenos because they put on so many peppers that they fall over and break. I am also growing Habeneros, but I don't have to cage them because they grow on a short, stocky bush.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2258.jpg[/img]

These are my cucumbers heading up the trellis. Notice the small fruit behind the blooms. They will make full sized cucumbers because these are the Sweet Success variety which is gynoecious. It produces fruit in the total absence of male blooms and pollinators.
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2249.jpg[/img]

I also am growing two varieties of eggplant at each end of the cucumber bed. I grew them from seed and I look forward to seeing how well they produce. I also grow them in cages because they get so heavy with fruit they will break over without the cages.
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2251.jpg[/img]

My squash are doing very well under their protective nets. This bed needed thinning badly, but we had a couple of days when the wind gusted up to 50 mph. It was whipping the squash plants around really hard and snapped half the plants off at ground level. My plants were thinned perfectly.
[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2248.jpg[/img]

And some young squash I will harvest in a few days.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/05-20-10/IMG_2263.jpg[/img]

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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gixxerific
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Everything look wonderful Ted. I'm jealous, hopefully IF it ever warms up here I will be looking that.

And your welcome for the BFT's let me know how they turn out.

tedln
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gixxerific wrote:lakeingulf I have only one word for those pics: AWESOME! :D

Applestars post reminded me of another thing I'm doing more of this year. The "ornamental" edible landscaping. Mainly with lettuce and basil. I have colorful lettuces, rainbow chard and purple basil in my flower garden, oh yeah and onions and garlic in my rose bed, and the onions around my Maple tree.
I love Applestars style. It reminds me of the "Old English Country Cottage Garden" style. A different surprise around every corner. Who would have thought a "rice paddy" in a home garden.

Ted
Last edited by tedln on Thu May 20, 2010 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I simply enjoy gardening!

tedln
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

crobi13 wrote:I have about a dozen volunteer pumpkin?/squash? seedlings that popped up in my strawberry bed. This past weekend, I moved them to a new area to see if they will grow and what they will produce.

This past fall, I got 3 chickens. As a treat, I would give them pumpkins and/or squash (various varities). Then I composted their bedding & poop.
This spring, I used the bedding & poop to mulch my strawberry bed. Now, I have about a dozen volunteers! :D I have no idea what they will turn out to be but I'm very excited to find out. If I get a few treats for my girls, that will be the icing on the cake! :lol:
Thats what I call the circle of life. If we keep it going that way, we can occasionally reach into the circle and remove our needs, but we have to keep feeding the circle.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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