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Calling all east coast gardeners...

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posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 01:32 PM
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I hope you don't mind picking your brains....

I have had a small garden for a couple of years. With limited success. I try organic methods. I have learned that gardening is a serious learning curve. XD

I just have a couple of small plots. I tend to do spinache,peas, carrots, zucchini, squash, green onions, and some tomatoes in planters. I have tried watermelon several times and I just can't get them to work. I get one small watermelon.

So I want to maximize. I do freeze and store.


My questions for you are: can I plant all peas and spinache in the early spring, like now, and then take them out and plant the other stuff? Then in the fall, plant spinache and peas again? Would I need to to start the other stuff indoors? What is the latest time I can plant the other stuff?
I have experimented and planted stuff really late, it still blooms, just not as large and smaller quantities.

What is up with the watermelon? What does a watermelon need? LOL

Also, I don't want to use chemicals, but squash bugs get my pumpkins every time. Is there a natural way to keep away squash bugs?

Thanks for your help!



P.S. the reason my garden is small is because 1) I am the only one who does it, I have a chronic pain condition that limits my physical activity. 2) our soil SUCKS. It is all clay, and I really can only afford a little soil. I have started a compost but it takes a few years to create any significant amout. And a household of three only produces so much.


[edit on 6-3-2009 by nixie_nox]




posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 01:53 PM
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Which East Coast, many of us on this forum live on the east coast, I like only 8 miles from the north sea, we have folk on here who live in Sydney and Brisbane others in New foundland, theres at least one in Aberdeen.

[edit on 6-3-2009 by Northern Raider]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 01:54 PM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 


That's a lot of questions, and the answers are more complicated. Do you know what USDA zone you're in? If you know, I can help you with some of the planting date info.

Edit: Sorry, arrogant American that I am, I assumed you're in the US. If you're not, I think they use the same zone numbers in many countries.



[edit on 6-3-2009 by sweetpeanc]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 01:59 PM
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I'm on the Florida east coast and we have two planting seasons, right now Feb-March and then again in August-September.

I think what you may want to consider is planting weekly or alternative weeks for a continuous crop, especially for things like peas, lettuce, radishes and spinach. For example this week I harvested 4 radishes for a salad, the next day I planted 4 more seeds in those empty spots, when I harvest again, I'll sow seeds again.

hope that helps, btw check out the online Farmer's Almanac for exact planting dates for your zone. Just plug in your zip code and it will tell you the best dates for planting a variety of crops, including the "moon favorable" days too.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:03 PM
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I have been very slowly making raised beds in my small garden, I hope to create a decent mix of home made composts, peat composts and local soil to create a patch suitable for growing a few veg. Tomatoes I can already grow in the conservatory, but I fancy trying to grow something edible outside, Possibly start with lettuce, peas, carrots and see how i get on. Oddly enough it appears to be easier to grow fruit around here than veg.

Keep us informed on how you are doing cos one coastal area is as good as another to studdy home grown crops.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by Northern Raider
 


I apologize. East coat US. Americans just always call it the East Coast and I figured it was a pet name nobody else used.
Sorry!

I am in the USDA northeast region.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by Northern Raider
 


My compost is another learning curve. LOL

It just seems to break down so slowly around here. i have juggled with the idea of mixing it right in the garden over the winter, because it will save time and effort of storing it and moving it. But I just don't think it will break down in time.

I actually still have wilty pea plants and carrots from last year.

Mabye my soil is weird.


my other fight is the strawberries. I had those little black ants eat them. Found that cinnamon worked keeping them away. Then the big carpenter ants move in, and have little parties and turn the strawberry into a resort. And there seems to be nothing that deters them.


I tell you what, this whole thing gives me a major appreciation for those in Jamestown. It is a wonder they ever made it.

[edit on 6-3-2009 by nixie_nox]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:23 PM
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If you're living in the US, you need to look up your USDA hardiness zone. To do that, just google "USDA Hardiness Map," and find your area with the associated number. Then do some more google searches, for instance, "florida vegetable gardening" or whatever area you live in. This should bring back many results from experienced growers that will help you determine the best growing seasons for specific plants. Then you can contact your county's extension service. They can help with getting the proper soil ammendments so that you have a healthy growing medium. Also, local universities and colleges often have local growing guides and tips that can be very helpful. If you don't want to do that, go to a big box store and pick up some ORGANIC compost. You can buy this for about $6/2 cubic feet. This is relatively inexpensive to get a good jump start on your soil, and with about 5 or 6 bags you should be well on your way to healthy veggie growing. One excellent tip would be to build some raise beds with scrap lumber laying around or from construction sites. Fill it with your organic soil or compost; six to eight inches off the ground will allow the roots to grow deep and produce healthier plants. Mulching will also help conserve water and prevent weeds, which makes gardening much more fun.

As far as the dates of planting specific types of veggies, this all depends on your hardiness zone. You can pick up a farmer's almanac or find the website. Use these resources to determine the last frost date in your area. As a general guideline, grow between last and first frost dates for your region. This will most likely provide the most success for you. Seperate your crops by cool and warm season. Cool season can grow in early spring and fall, while warm season grow from late spring through the summer and slow down at the beginning of fall.

Watermelons are a vine. They need a lot of space to grow effectively. Mark out a corner of your plot that is about 10 square feet. Poke a hole about one half to one inch deep in your soil and drop in four or five watermelon seeds. Water thoroughly and wait. Because watermelon produce such a large fruit they need a lot of calcium in the soil to grow to their full potential. There a lot of fertilizers on the market, you could even use powdered milk, it is full of calcium. I'd suggest doing your own research on this, and find the fertilizer that is right for your tastes, your hardiness zone, and your local soil type. Once the watermelons get to a good size, pick them up off the ground and put them on an upside down bucket or a scrap piece of plywood. This well keep them from rotting from sitting on wet soil and decomposing matter.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by Northern Raider
 


My compost is another learning curve. LOL

It just seems to break down so slowly around here. i have juggled with the idea of mixing it right in the garden over the winter, because it will save time and effort of storing it and moving it. But I just don't think it will break down in time.

I actually still have wilty pea plants and carrots from last year.

Mabye my soil is weird.


Dunno I have had problems with composting over the years and i have tended to find its where I put my compost bin that determines if it works and how quick. I had first put it in a location where few natural critter like worms and slugs and woodlice found their way in, so I moved it to a more older bit of garden with more critter living in it, that helped a bit but not much. It was taking about two years to get one load of plant material to rot down. So I moved it again so the compost bin caught the morning sun from sun up til about 1 PM, and again on an old part of the garden. That did the trick the morning sun heated up the compost nicely so it stayed warm til evening time, when its own heat making processes carried it through the night, the local bugs enjoyed the sunny warm location as well and they soon colonised the bin. A gentle spray with a bit of water to keep it moist but not wet helped the composting process as well because it kept drying itself out when it got warm.

Least on our east coasts we dont get skorpions and snakes moving into the compost pile


[edit on 6-3-2009 by Northern Raider]



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:26 PM
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If you U2U me with your email, I'll send you a reference chart I've been working on for my own use. It's a work in progress, but I think it would answer a number of your questions.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:31 PM
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Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by Northern Raider
 


I apologize. East coat US. Americans just always call it the East Coast and I figured it was a pet name nobody else used.
Sorry!

I am in the USDA northeast region.


No problems its just on occasion poster from all over the world often start discussing a subject and its easier to grasp if you know where the hell they are ?? G,day Sport anyone know how to stop kangaroos from humping my spaniel to death OR Aligators in my pond is this normal Or An Anaconda is eating my sheep, Or How do I stop American Tourists from keeping walking into my Castle unannounced and uninvited etc etc



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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I just bought strawberry plants this morning! Looking for blueberries too. I am planning on planting them in containers. Maybe that would help you with your ant problem. They are said to grow very well in containers. And an added benefit is that you can move them inside when the really cold weather hits. They are perenials so while they will grow back after the frosts have passed, if you grow them in containers, you can protect them from the frost year round, which will lengthen your harvesting season significantly because they wont have to regrow all of that vegetative foliage every spring.

Compost is a tricky gardening practice to tackle. All I've been able to do with it is poke a hole in a sprinkler pipe, which sent a water geyser 15 feet into the air and the neighbors house/yard.


I don't have a lot of good advice for composting. I've read a ton of material on it, but it is something that I just haven't been able to grasp just yet.

You said you are in the north east. If you want to extend your growing seasons you can build a cold frame, essentially a mini green house. All you need is some 1/4" to 1/2" pvc pipe or bamboo, then buy some clear plastic sheeting, like the kind you put on the floor when you paint the inside of a house. Build it in a triangle, like the roof of a house. All relatively cheap materials, will go a long way to extending the cold seasons and maximizing your harvests. If you do this, make sure you cut holes in the sheeting so the plants can breathe, and cover with a blanket on really cold nights.

Best of luck! Will keep watching the thread for more questions.



posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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Fresh human urine is an excellent fertilizer, some have suggested it is even better than chemical fertilizers itself, however I would just pour it straight on your compost heap, to keep the nitrogen concentration well distributed.

It is an compost activator as well.

Using urine was an ancient practice but in this day and age, it's an relatively new subject, so more research is needed on how 'too much is too much'

Watermelons also require full sun.

Here's a great page by an southeastern gardener regarding clay soils.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 07:19 PM
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reply to post by Northern Raider
 


ohh, that could be it. Mine is in a nice shady spot.

I am actually getting better at it. Had to get rid of some of it because of the stench. But now I have it more balanced.

I actually have a bin that I use for short term and I transfer it to a bigger pile that does have more light and air. That seems to be working out well.


thank you everyone for your great responses.



posted on Mar, 7 2009 @ 07:50 PM
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Watermelons require tons of sunlight.

As far as natural insecticides, I've had some luck spraying a nicotine and water mixture on my plants.

Also, planting garlic or mint (or both!) can sometimes act as a barrier.

For your ant problem - have you tried ant lions? Look for the little funnel shaped holes in the sand around building foundations. Scoop out a bunch of antlions and transplant them to your garden. The antlions will get big and fat and reproduce and help you with your ant problem.

Anything that has a really strong smell will help repel and confuse them, so give that a shot - they talk to one another primarily with scent. Hot sauce works great. A couple of years ago I had two hot pepper bushes (REALLY hot peppers), and I just tilled them right into the soil when they matured - no more ant problem.

You could also divert their attention by planting some peonies a few yards away, or crab apples - they might decide they like those a lot better than your vegetables.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:36 AM
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Originally posted by star in a jar
Fresh human urine is an excellent fertilizer, some have suggested it is even better than chemical fertilizers itself, however I would just pour it straight on your compost heap, to keep the nitrogen concentration well distributed.

It is an compost activator as well.

Using urine was an ancient practice but in this day and age, it's an relatively new subject, so more research is needed on how 'too much is too much'

Watermelons also require full sun.

Here's a great page by an southeastern gardener regarding clay soils.




Of course you now realise that everyone is going to come round and pee on your garden dont you ?



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 10:04 AM
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I dunno about the urine thing. Seems like it would cause nitrogen burn to your plants. Maybe if it was dilluted...

For maximum efficiency, you need to chop up all the materials you put into your compost pile, keep it damp (kind of like a sponge), turn it every 2-3 days, and if you're having trouble keeping it warm you can put a piece of black tarp or plastic over the top.

In the fall you can also try this: rake up a pile of leaves, run your mower through the leaves until they're finely chopped up, then work the chopped leaves into the upper layers of your garden soil. The following spring plant carrots in that plot. I did that one year, and got so many carrots, and they were really sweet. My kids were eating them like candy.

As for watermelons, besides sun and space and the right nutrients, they need lots of water. Pumpkins do too.

If you really want to do something nice for your soil, plant a cover crop. Check out Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply:
(www.GrowOrganic.com)
They sell different cover crops that offer different advantages--some add nitrogen, some help break up heavy soils, some can be planted in the fall, some in the spring.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by Northern Raider
 


I apologize. East coat US. Americans just always call it the East Coast and I figured it was a pet name nobody else used.
Sorry!

I am in the USDA northeast region.


Me too. Zone 5b. I have gardened 99% organic for almost two decades now and would love to pass on tips just as I still love to get new tips to help me garden more successfully. The first rule is to feed your soil.

Compost is the best way to do that but It can take awhile with just 2 or three people. You can add grass clippings and maybe get a neighbor to donate theirs to your pile which would help move things along. I also throw weeds in my compost and sometimes buy a bale of straw to mix in with a wet compost for air and additional carbon.

Peas you can plant as soon as the soil can be worked so pretty soon. Spinach takes a little more work and I actually opt for growing swiss chard instead because I find the leaves more hardy and less susceptible pests.

Watermelons are hard to grow up here. Some people have success with the smaller watermelons called sugar baby or something like that. They are delicious but small so different sensation. You could make a little hoop house type structure and put Remay or floating row cover over it. This would block outside pests and increase the inside temp a bit as well as keeping it warmer at night while still allowing sun and rain in. Some people lay black plastic over their beds to increase soil heat and preserved water. I have also heard of growing them inside a tire laid flat on the ground and filled with soil BUT maybe pollutants would make that a bad idea.

As soon as the main heat of summer is over you can start planting fall crops. You just don't want to plant them too early or they will go to seed too soon. I have overwintered Swiss chard in a cold frame with insulating straw on the sides and between the plants and just an old window on top.

This year I am going to try to hang tomatoes and let them grow out of bags or out of the bottom of buckets. This way I will double my gardening space with only a few bags of compost mixed with my existing garden soil.

Another trick is to never let your soil go bare. If you aren't overwintering veggies you can plant a cover crop and then till that in in the spring.

Crop rotation is also important. Move your vegetable varieties around so that the soil does not build up bad guys in one particular area.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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Serious stuff first:

Certain I've heard the Nitrogen from urine is useful for improving soil.

Fact.

Joke stuff: (For U.K. readers)

Took the train outta Lincoln toward Sheffield today. Lots of fertile agricultural land, Lots of FLAT land. Lots of targetable land.

Can't quantify it but something just felt wrong about it...



posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 09:45 AM
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Originally posted by Northern Raider

Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by Northern Raider
 


I apologize. East coat US. Americans just always call it the East Coast and I figured it was a pet name nobody else used.
Sorry!

I am in the USDA northeast region.


No problems its just on occasion poster from all over the world often start discussing a subject and its easier to grasp if you know where the hell they are ?? G,day Sport anyone know how to stop kangaroos from humping my spaniel to death OR Aligators in my pond is this normal Or An Anaconda is eating my sheep, Or How do I stop American Tourists from keeping walking into my Castle unannounced and uninvited etc etc


LOL that is one of the funniest things I have read all day.

Honestly, I assumed other countries would have more imagination when referring to geographic areas. That they would have more imagination the the"east coast"



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