I wanted to make a thread where everyone can come in and show off their survival gardens. Post pics, tidbits of wisdom, before & afters, or your
favorite herbs, vegetables, or other plants. Heck even post recipes if you want
This year was my first year of major gardening. We had a fenced in garden area in the back that hadn't been used in about 8 years, and I decided that
we needed to start it up again!
I live in the Northeast United States, in New England, in USDA Zone 6a (zone map below), so I couldn't get too ambitious and try to grow tropical
fruits like bananas or pineapple. I am stretching the zone a bit though, as a few of the plants I'm attempting to grow like warmer (and/or rainier)
climates (such as C. Sinensis, the plant from which Green tea comes from).
USDA Agricultural Zone Map
My parents already had been maintaining a yearly herb garden, which is on the other side of the house. They've been growing culinary herbs like
basil, chives, oregano, and lemon balm for years now. I expanded on their selection of herbs, choosing species we hadn't tried to grow yet.
We had 3 cubic yards of topsoil delivered from a local garden center, which was more than enough for what I had planned (plan picture below).
(potted plants / herb garden excluded)
Overall our family garden is composed of the (1) main fenced-in area, (2) a couple of auxiliary beds on the side, (3) a smaller 'mini-bed' behind
the main bed, (4) a patio herb garden, and (5) potted plants.
The main area is composed of 3 beds, 2 are the same size, and there's one larger bed. The largest bed is full of veggies (Bed #1), the bed next to it
has both veggies and herbs (Bed #2), and the last bed in the main area has a fish pond with a Japanese Maple (pic of main area below).
Main Area Overview
Unfortunately, I don't have the pictures of what the garden looked like before we tilled and pulled weeds, but believe me, it was a jungle. It took a
ton of work to weed it and get the soil tilled (I think it was about 3 days of weed pulling and tilling). You just get to see the final result!
When I was digging in the 2nd bed to get it ready for planting, I dug up something I really didn't expect (picture below).
Baby Bunnies! These guys had a den in Bed #2. I had seen the mother bouncing around our yard, but didn't realize she had a den in the garden. A few
days after I uncovered them, these guys were hopping around my yard (probably scoping out the lettuce i planted!).
Anyways, back to the main garden bed. Here's another shot of it from a different angle (below) after the bunnies had left:
In this bed I planted all veggies. I custom built the trellis for the cucumbers out of old wood and plastic mesh I bought at Home Depot. I used twine
on the top of it to make sure it wouldn't fold when the vines got bigger (and the cukes weighted it down).
Here's a breakdown of what's planted in Bed #1:
Tomatoes (4 kinds)
I planted 'Big Beef,' 'Cherry,' 'Beefsteak,' and 'Campbells.' I wanted a few different varieties for use in cooking and also sun-drying. I'm
planning on sun-drying most of the tomatoes for storage. You can sun-dry using an oven, basically you put the oven on its lowest setting (pref around
110-130 degrees) to dry them out. Or if you have a food de-hydrator that works too.
I bought the big cucumber plants from a nursery near my house, but they're hybrids, and a couple don't seem to be doing that great, so I'm also
starting organic seedlings. Hopefully those will be done in time to harvest before the first frost. These are vine plants of the 'Straight 8'
variety. I plan on using some in food and pickling the rest for storage.
Has to be my favorite veggie. There's nothing better than Eggplant Parmesan! I've got 3 Eggplant plants growing, and they're doing fantastic (so
far). I was going to attempt to sun-dry at least some (if you can) for storage. These are of the 'Old World Italian Heirloom' variety, an excellent
all around choice because they're hardy and taste great (grew them a few years ago in pots).
I've never really grown squash before, so I'm not sure what to expect from it. The plants so far are doing fantastic though. They are of the summer
squash variety. The only gripe I have is the Striped Cucumber Beetles (Acalymma vittatum)
that eat the leaves (pic below).
(IMAGE COURTESY: USDA Agricultural Research Service
These nasty little S.O.Bs not only eat the squash leaves, but they carry bacterium that infect the plant and also eat it away. They are a pain in the
butt to say the least, and I'm doing what I can to get rid of them. They haven't moved to my cucumbers yet and I hope they don't.
I am planning on storing the majority of squash I grow for later use in pies and cooking. I think you can store them in a root cellar but I'm not
sure (that's my next project!).
Great great veggie to grow in your garden. Not only do these guys taste great, but they don't have a lot of natural pests in my area. All of the
sweet pepper plants I have are doing fantastic! I am planning on drying most of them out for storage and using the rest for cooking.
CONTINUED ON NEXT POST
[edit on 30-6-2009 by JipStix]