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Hello from SW Michigan!

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Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/11/2018, 9:46 am

Hello all - I've been a big fan of this forum ever since I found it a few months ago. I feel like I know most of the regulars on here already, so I guess it's about time to introduce myself to all of you. 

Brief background of my gardening experience - not much! I was always way too busy with career and kids to really put any effort into vegetable gardening. I have always loved roses, however, and tend towards perennial flowers and shrubs around the yard. I like to put stuff in, take care of it minimally, and if it grows, it was meant to be there. If it doesn't, I'll find something else. 

I put in a 4x8 raised bed more than a decade ago, had limited success for a while with purchased transplants and a native soil/Miracle Gro garden soil mix in the bed, but didn't buy the ANSFG book or really commit until 2 years ago. Lots of trials and tribulations for me and my garden, but I'm hoping to have great success with SOMETHING this year!

I live about 10 miles east of the shore of Lake Michigan, we have lots and lots of snow every winter. The weather reports always say something like "2 inches of snow in Grand Rapids, 2 feet of lake effect along the lakeshore"; as if being buried in the stuff isn't real snow. Generally, we have one or two light dustings of snow sometime in March, a week or so of heavy rain and temps in the 60's, and then boom - 80's and 90's that just bake everything until November. This spring - well, we all know it's been challenging. This is the first time I can remember measurable snow on the ground in late April, and the Average Last Frost Date is finally making sense!

I'll try to post a couple of pics of my garden so you can get an idea. Really looking forward to the help and insights from all of you.  happy hi
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan

Post  farmersgranddaughter on 5/11/2018, 10:32 am

Greetings from Arkansas!  I've been to the Big Bear Dunes.  Lots of sand! 

I couldn't sleep last night and read your very informative post about asparagus.  I started with three 4' x 4' beds this year and am thinking of adding three more next year... one in which I was planning to put... you guessed it... asparagus!  Our soil here isn't sandy.  We have about 7-9" of good dark soil on top of clay.  I'm using HDPE plastic raised bed kits instead of wood.  Perhaps I can add sand to the soil and create an asparagus bed away from the rest of the garden.  I have a 1/2 acre lot so there's room and asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables.

I look forward to seeing photos of your garden.
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/11/2018, 11:59 am

Thanks for the nice welcome, farmersgranddaughter! Congrats on reading the book that was my first post. I really have to learn to edit.  Rolling Eyes

I don't consider myself an expert, other than I have spent years learning what NOT to do, but I like your idea of adding sand to the soil and locating the bed on its own. Don't be afraid to add a LOT of sand; I think that MM is too rich and holds too much water for asparagus.  I found a great article online from our MSU extension that had this to say about choosing the site: 
MI State University Extension wrote:If you have the alternative, choose a sandy, well-drained spot in full sun.  Asparagus does not tolerate saturated soil conditions, so if you have clay soil, choose a hilltop or hillside.  If water stands in the spot you have chosen for only an hour, it is probably too wet for asparagus.  Don’t be afraid to choose really sandy soil.  Anyone who has visited Oceana County knows that most of the soil is only a step above beach sand and we grow almost 10,000 acres of asparagus here.

Oceana County, the asparagus capital, is a few miles north of me - they even have a yearly asparagus festival. These people know their asparagus! 

I'm too new on the forum to be able to post a link yet. I'll try to remember to post it in the asparagus thread once I'm allowed. In the meantime, try a Google search for "growing asparagus at home MSU extension". 
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/11/2018, 1:25 pm

Hi BlackjackWidow. Here's an OFFICIAL welcome from Atlanta, GA, lol... Glad you've decided to speak up...!

If you've been lurking for a while, then you're probably ready to give advice too. :-)

Looking forward to seeing your garden!
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/12/2018, 8:04 am

Thanks for the OFFICIAL welcome, AtlantaMarie! My sister and her family lived in Atlanta for several years; they've relocated a couple of times since then, but still really miss the area.
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/12/2018, 10:23 pm

Welcome BlackjackWidow!  I can’t wait to hear about your adventures this year with your new MM in place and hopefully we can help you if not avoid mistakes and mishaps, minimize the effects!

I am in NW Ohio, have been to your neck of the woods often, love it.  I think you are in my region, North and Central Midwest.  If so I am your regional host!  I would love it if you would grab on there every once in a while to keep us posted.  We share weather, pests, weather, yeah...

So tell us what your planning to grow!
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/13/2018, 7:24 am

@BlackjackWidow wrote:Thanks for the OFFICIAL welcome, AtlantaMarie! My sister and her family lived in Atlanta for several years; they've relocated a couple of times since then, but still really miss the area.

It's still growing like crazy.... Traffic is horrendous. But thankfully the pollen season was very short this year due to all the rain!
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/13/2018, 8:21 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Welcome BlackjackWidow!  I can’t wait to hear about your adventures this year with your new MM in place and hopefully we can help you if not avoid mistakes and mishaps, minimize the effects!

I am in NW Ohio, have been to your neck of the woods often, love it.  I think you are in my region, North and Central Midwest.  If so I am your regional host!  I would love it if you would grab on there every once in a while to keep us posted.  We share weather, pests, weather, yeah...

So tell us what your planning to grow!

Hi SR! I am an avid reader of your regional forum; I will pop in there and post a little of my trials and tribulations soon. I was born in Fremont and grew up in Bryan, OH, so although my (limited) adult gardening has been spent here in the sand dunes of western Michigan, I spent my formative years hoeing and weeding clay rows for my mother. Probably why it's taken so long for me to discover the joys of veggie gardening for myself; must admit, I really hated all that work!
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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

Post  sanderson on 5/13/2018, 1:32 pm

I can't wait until you post some photos. We really enjoy looking at other folks' gardens. Very Happy

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Re: Hello from SW Michigan!

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