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Your 2014 Garden Plans

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Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:09 pm

So with the predicted worsening drought and the forcasted food shortages/price increases, what are you planning to do differently in your garden this year?

I'm going to be trying to grow more root crops that will hold through the winter better. I'm also going to be limiting growing some veggies we grow just for fresh eating such as cucumbers and slicing tomatoes.

The bed I used for the cucumbers last year will be rotated out to pole beans. The pole bean bed will now be dedicated to sugar snap peas. Hopefully I'll have enough to freeze for our stir fry dinners throughout the winter months.

I want to create my own veggie blends for the freezer this year so all I have to do is grab a bag and make dinner. I'm planning a stir fry blend with carrots, sugar snap peas, onions, haricot vert beans, Napa cabbage & bell peppers. A soup/stew blend with celery, onion, carrot, green beans, potatoes, leeks and some cabbage. I already make a pasta sauce blend that consists of garlic, onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and carrots.

I'm planning on trying spinach in my grow buckets instead of the raised beds for fresh use as we aren't fond of it cooked other than on pizza. Wink Salad greens/lettuce will not be grown as I cannot digest them.

Sweet corn will not be tried again due to the bugs getting the whole crop several years in a row. I will do zucchini but only 2 plants this year, 4 were wayyyyyyyyy too many. Wink

I'm planning to grow pie pumpkins and watermelon as well as strawberries this year. Hopefully my blue and black berries start producing this year.

I'm also going to be trying more containers of herbs to dry for seasoning blends. Herbs are getting so rediculously expensive, it's crazy. I'm also increasing the varieties of peppers I grow for creating seasoning blends as well as using in specific dishes.

I'm planning to use ALL my grow buckets this year to open more space in the raised beds. I'm also going to try growing some shelling beans in the raised beds such as kidney, canellini and pinto beans.

My dinner menus are shifting to using meat as a seasoning ingredient and veggies playing a bigger role. I'm cooking more stir fry, stew, soup, & casseroles and less hunks of meat and potatoes. The rising prices are forcing me to cut back on the meats, which isn't a bad thing for our health. We are experimenting with different cuisines and finding we are enjoying a bigger menu selection to choose from.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Farmfresh on Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:34 pm

Since I am in a new location I will be starting from scratch this year. I wish I had success with squash, but we are plagued with squash borer. My one major change this year is I am purchasing borer trap stations.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:16 am

BIG....it has been a long time since we have had the space or time to have a big garden and we are so looking forward to it.  The kids can barely remember ever going to a grocery store because back when they were little we grew, canned, and worked hard at raising our own foods.  We miss it.  We also did farmer's market which gave us all of our "play" money.  Yanno like for ice cream or a soda from sonic.  Those were the days.  

Speaking of squash...that is the one thing the kids won't eat even years later.  We grew a few plants one summer and boy did they produce.  It is amazing what all you can make from squash. Smile They can't stand it now!! It's only been 20 years.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Farmfresh on Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:32 am

Squash is right up there with my favorite foods. I put squash (of one kind or another) in my recipes all of the time. Kale and chard are the same way. With our squash borer issues I am the neighbor that begs for your extra zucchini!  Laughing 

Geek on the other hand has different views. If I make homemade ice cream chances are he will ask if I put squash or kale in it. Laughing Silly boy!
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:27 am

Boy could I have used you as my neighbor last summer FF, my 4 zucchini plants put out somewhere around 35 baseball bats. Wink I was getting really creative hiding it in everything. LOL

Mom, I bet your kids are healthy eaters after growing up that way. I'm always amazed at how picky my son's friends are, most won't touch vegetables. They mostly eat fast food or prepackaged junk.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:07 am

I like squash (yellow crooked neck, and butternut are favorites). I'll be trying to make my own "improved" sweet corn, and just slightly expanding what I try to grow normally. I will be adding sugar baby watermelons, and some field pumpkins, if I can get the area cleared off in time to work the ground up.

I am adding sub-soil loosening equipment to my collection of implements, along with a deep running plow. I also plan to grow a clover vetch mix to help add humus to the soil and hope this will help keep it loose once the plow does its job. Also I will be adding enough lime to last for several years.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Farmfresh on Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:57 am

PATRICE IN IL wrote:Boy could I have used you as my neighbor last summer FF, my 4 zucchini plants put out somewhere around 35 baseball bats. Wink I was getting really creative hiding it in everything. LOL

If I was your neighbor ... and with your permission of course ... I would be out there scouring those plants daily.

I pick 'em about the size of your hand usually, but I like a baseball bat or two. I split them down the middle, scrape out the big seeds and fill them with a meatloaf like mix of sausage, oats, herbs, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese. Then I bake them (foil covered) and top with more cheese at the end (uncovered) to brown the tops. Yummy.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Farmfresh on Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:10 am

Since this is the first year at this location I will be working on the bones of the garden this year. I am going to be setting up some raised beds and setting up my containers. I also need to plant a fruit tree or two and hopefully some nuts as well.

One thing that I never thought about until I am missing it now is my permaculture plants. At the old house I have onions and garlic in the ground year round, mint, herbs, berries and grapes. Other plants are routinely overwintered as long as possible like my chard, kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Year round I could go outside and get at least something for the cook pot. Here I need to re-establish those permanent food plants.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:19 am

I need to work on the year round harvest part. I've posted else where about the plum and filbert trees I'll be planting in 5 weeks, if they are delivered as promised. I want to start a garlic bed, and redo my onion bed, but that's gotta wait a bit. I need to redo my asparagus bed this year, and may plant some seed saved from last year.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:58 am

I have to rework the large bed at the back fence, I made it too wide to work comfortably. That bed has my asparagus and rhubarb as well as comfrey. I'm going to narrow it up by about 12 inches. I'll just shovel the soil into the existing section that contains the asparagus. I don't think we buried the asparagus deep enough originally so the extra soil will help.

I'd like to add a plum or fruit cocktail tree and a few cranberry or cherry bushes this year as well, if I can swing the extra expense. I usually use my birthday money to buy my fruit plants and any other garden items I needed for the season. I'll have to see what I can buy this year.

I'm going to have my son shovel more of the tree mulch I had dropped last Spring near the garden to make an area for my bucket garden. I've got a bunch of cardboard to use under the mulch to keep the weeds down. The rest of the mulch will be used in the beds once the plants are established to conserve moisture. They are already saying we are supposed to have a warmer than normal Spring/Summer this year so conserving water will be very important to keep the garden going.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:12 am

FF your recipe sounds delicious, I'll have to see if I can get the guys to eat it. They will eat zucchini IF I hide it in other stuff but not by it's self.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by Farmfresh on Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:18 pm

I had to try and justify spending money on fruit trees when I first purchased them the last time around. Good plants are not cheap.

Since having them, however, my hubby now realizes how the investment has paid back with such great reward and how valuable all of the food produced was. This time it will be a struggle budgeting for the purchases, but I will have hubby's blessing when I spend the money.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:21 pm

good plants are not cheap, but I have heard it said that cheap plants (seeds) are expensive.

I placed a seed order last night. Trying a couple new varieties of corn this year. Well new to me anyway, both were developed and released for sale in the 1840's. I'm planning to grow one dent corn (used for flour and corn meal) primarily to feed the squirrels and birds.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:09 pm

I hear ya on the $$ of plants. I'd rather spend $20-$30 on a fruit tree/bushes that will yield much more $$ worth of fruit than to buy fruit from the store to make jam/preserves, sauces, pie filling and canned fruit.

So far my disappointments have been the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The blueberries haven't produced squat in 3-4 years that they've been established. I've got to look into different fertilizer for them. The blackberries/raspberries were mowed down by DH with the mower so I can't really blame them for lack of production.

I'm actually considering making a couple of those new fabric strawberry grow towers or just growing them in buckets instead of the bed I made for them last year. I'll see if any of those plants survived before I decide. If they didn't then that bed will become the garlic & onion bed.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by dizzy on Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:18 pm

I'll be putting in some fruit trees here as well. I'm not sure how much longer we're going to actually be here, but I want to make it as attractive to a potential buyer as possible.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:33 am

dizzy wrote:I'll be putting in some fruit trees here as well.  I'm not sure how much longer we're going to actually be here, but I want to make it as attractive to a potential buyer as possible.

I have watched local homes have some nice trees planted, then after a few years (3 to 5 usually) the place sells. The first thing the new owners have done is to cut down all trees.  Mad  Then on a few special occasions I've heard them complaining about energy bills and someone always tells them to plant trees for a windbreak.

I really don't get some people.

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by dizzy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:48 am

My idea is to make this place attractive to someone else that wants to raise their own food. I wouldn't be taking my greenhouse, nor the fruit trees. I'm hoping that they would be good selling points. And, if I have a couple of chickens here, I might even leave them if the buyer wanted them!  Laughing 

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:49 am

PATRICE IN IL wrote:...

So far my disappointments have been the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The blueberries haven't produced squat in 3-4 years that they've been established. I've got to look into different fertilizer for them. The blackberries/raspberries were mowed down by DH with the mower so I can't really blame them for lack of production.

...


Blueberries and Blackberries both need acid soil.

Blackberries (wild ones anyway) are one of the plants the locals use to judge the condition of a soil. The poorer it is the more prolific the wild blackberries. On the other hand, Blackberries only produce fruit on 1 year old canes.

Blueberries like a LOT of compost, little nitrogen, lots of potassium and phosphorus. I've had the best luck using lots of leaves and dried grass clippings worked into the soil before planting, then as a thick mulch every year there after.

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:57 am

Thanks Keith Smile I figured I wasn't feeding them correctly. I had my son lay the pine branches near the bushes after Christmas. I'll strip the needles off and spread them under the bushes. Then as soon as the snow melts I'll lay a nice thick layer of leaves on top of the pine needles.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:14 am

it may take a couple years for the "tea" from the leaves to have much of an effect. Be patient with them, they'll do their thing when they are good and ready.

I just had another thought, if they are blooming but not setting fruit, they are not being pollinated. If they are not even blooming, yes their diet is lacking.

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:14 pm

They have very few blooms but they are still small bushes. I didn't really tend to them as well as I should have last year with doing the raised bed project. I'm hoping to really get out there this Spring and weed around them well, feed them and mulch them heavily.

The same with my blackberries and strawberries, if they have survived this winter.
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:05 am

I took a walk out back today and was not happy with what I saw. The snow is banked up around my dwarf apple tree and the bunny has been eating the branches of my tree.  Mad  That critter better watch his back, I'm gunning for him now!
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by 12acrehome on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:48 am



 lol! 

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http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by dizzy on Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:51 pm

Be vewy, vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbit.

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Re: Your 2014 Garden Plans

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:15 pm

LOL, you too are very funny. Wink Mister bunny isn't going to be a happy bunny when I get ahold of him.

I was debating purchasing a small pop up green house but decided against it. I have the metal shelving unit I've used in the past and now I have several heavy clear bags that the mattresses came in. I'll just slip a bag over the top shelf and make an instant green house. When I have to vent it, I can just pull it up or cut a flap at the top to vent it. I can always tape another piece of plastic over the hole to seal it back up. Hmmm, self sticky Velcro with the extra piece of plastic would make a nice vent window. Homesteader ingenuity at it's finest saved me $40. LOL

I'm going to try winter sowing some of my cabbages, spinach and peas in milk jugs this year. Then I'll put them in my make shift green house and see how they do. If they do well, a couple weeks later I'll do some tomatoes and peppers the same way. More or less I'll be giving them double protection from the elements. I'm also going to save some milk jugs and paint them black to use as a passive solar heater in my green house set up.

Hopefully this set up works well and I don't have to buy plants this year. Last year's garden was expensive, since I was busy building the raised beds I didn't have time to start seeds and had to buy my plants.


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