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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble

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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 9:56 am

Hi all! Time to share my gardening gamble with the forum. I'll do a little summary to catch you all up on my progress so far. 

First, a short history. I'm a relative newbie to ANSFG. During my adulthood, my gardening was limited to perennial shrubs and flowers around the house. A few years ago I read articles online about square foot gardening and thought I had most of the information needed just by looking up how many plants to put in each square. Needless to say, I had no idea about the importance of Mel's Mix and compost. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I finally bought both books - All New Square Foot Gardening and the ANSFG Answer Book - and really got on-board with the system. 

I spent most of 2016 assembling more boxes, carving out a good area for my gardens, and assembling the components for MM. Even though I had read and re-read the books, and lurked here in the forum for a good long while, I didn't do my due diligence on the compost portion of the MM. It was quite an investment for me to get all vermiculite and peat moss, and due to various health issues, mixing everything and getting it in the beds took a long time. I had four existing 4x4's that were filled with a 50/50 mix of topsoil and Miracle Gro garden soil. And two of those beds were planted with rhubarb and asparagus (neither of which will I ever put in a SFG again!) So, I dug out the existing soil, added a bunch of Black Kow manure bags, and that was what I used as the compost part of the peat:vermiculite:compost mix. 

I started my own composting, but as I live alone and was just using my own kitchen & household scraps, I really didn't get much compost. Last year, I added the homemade compost and more bags of composted manure to the beds. I also made official grids last year, enclosed the garden area with some fencing to try to keep my groundhogs from making the beds their personal salad bar, set up a drip system running off rain barrels, and constructed my very first EMT trellis with nylon netting. By the time I got everything set, it was fairly late in the season and no time to start seedlings, so I planted transplants for most things (purchased from the big box hardware stores). I had great success with my summer squash and cucumbers, and little to no success with things like broccoli, peas and beans. Makes perfect sense since I planted the cool weather crops way too late in the season, and everything was essentially in almost pure cow manure. 

So, last year was a "gearing up" experimental first attempt. I certainly learned a lot, especially about the need for a good compost mix to make sure all the plants get the nutrients that they need. I also struggled with PM and the dreaded squash bug.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/25/2018, 10:08 am

Welcome, BJW!  Sounds like you are off to a great start, there is always a learning curve.  I have the same struggles as a single lady in the compost department.  My back is a wreck, so I do what I can, but it’s small scale.  

Post some pics when you have time!  Can’t wait to hear about this season!  Also, take detailed notes; very important, as each year is different!
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 10:23 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Welcome, BJW!  Sounds like you are off to a great start, there is always a learning curve.  I have the same struggles as a single lady in the compost department.  My back is a wreck, so I do what I can, but it’s small scale.  

Post some pics when you have time!  Can’t wait to hear about this season!  Also, take detailed notes; very important, as each year is different!

Thanks Scorpio - I think we have a lot of the same struggles. I am a widowed lady with a spinal column that somehow is 30 years older than the rest of me. I had a cervical fusion at age 35, and with multiple collapsed discs and arthritis in all the vertebrae, it can be a struggle to do some of the heavy lifting. So, I do what I can, frequently overdo, and then try to take it easy for a while before jumping in there again.

Working on the uploads right now. I have very limited Internet access and data where I live. Hard to believe there are still some places with no real Internet access, but that's the trade-off for living out here in the wild.
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty 2017 Garden Photos

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 10:53 am

So, here is a picture of last year's garden, after I finally got something planted. I didn't plant all the squares, just a few of my favorites to see how the planting space worked for me and to try not to get overwhelmed. I must admit, it looked very barren, but considering the late start I was happy to have just about anything in there.

This is from the first week of June 2017. The beds in front are pallets, which I've used to transplant strawberries. My original plan was to fill it with a very light potting mix, let the strawberries cover the pallet, and put them vertically against the garage wall at the back of the gardens. But that idea hasn't really panned out. I still am pondering how I'll do it, but I haven't given up the idea to put them vertically on the wall. For the time being, they're fine where they are.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20170610




And here are pictures of each bed from late August:

As you can see, I had a few problems! The poor Roma tomato had powdery mildew, then I went away for a week and asked the daughters to water. Pretty sure they didn't remember until the day before I was to come home. The cukes really came in during the time I was away - the ones you can see were way past prime picking time, but I enjoyed them anyway. And the groundhog just enjoyed decimating my beans. Pretty sure there were a few rabbits in there, too.

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I managed to get quite a few zucchini and yellow squash from my two plants. This is when the PM really started to take over. I cut away most of the infected leaves, and discovered squash bugs had drilled into the main stems on the plants. So, biggest takeaway - no vacations during the height of the summer. With such a short growing season, if something like this takes hold, it's all over.  

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That was last year - some success, but a lot to learn!
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty 2018 - A New Year with New Opportunities

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 11:12 am

So, this year I decided to try my hand at seed starting. Learned a lot - won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I need to figure out a different setup. I had way too many seedlings, no real space allocated, and the weather was not cooperating with my schedules based on last frost date!

Here is my garden on April 19th - according to my carefully constructed gardening calendar, I should have planted out my cool weather seedlings; I had cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and parsley seedlings. Luckily(?) I got a late start on indoor seed starting, so they weren't really ready anyway. But boy, this spring has been challenging.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180411
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty May 2018

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 12:01 pm

My cool weather crops, which I started indoors from seed, were another learning experience for me. After waiting for the snow to melt, I had several seedlings and was a little worried that I might have overdone it and have too many plants. Well, nature was kind enough to make that worry melt away with snow. I lost several seedlings to damping off before I even got them into the garden. Then, after much care in the transplanting process, I was feeling really good about getting them into the soil during the first week in May. I covered them with cages and tulle to protect from the animals and worried obsessively that maybe it was too cold the first night. I shouldn't have worried - all but 3 of the 18 or so seedlings I planted out were taken out by cutworms overnight. Unbelievable! lol 

I collared the seedlings that had any green left on them above ground; some were just a little itty bitty stem barely visible above the soil line, about half looked like newly-felled trees, with the whole seedling just lying there on the soil next to the stem. Stupid worms! Stupid BJW! I should have known - definitely in my notes to collar the seedlings when transplanting.

Here we are at the end of May, just a bit later than my average last frost date (May 18). Currently, the things that have survived and are planted already are: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, many many varieties of peas, head lettuce and leaf lettuce, carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, parsley, and beets. A couple of nasturtiums are finally poking up through the soil - I really thought after the chipmunk or squirrel dug up half of the seed-planted squares that all the prep I did with soaking and nicking the seeds was going to be wasted. Somehow, at least one of the seeds survived the early onslaught, so "yay".

Here is what my garden looks like right now:

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180510

I've spent some time the last couple of days setting up and testing the drip system. Last year, I had problems with my layout and some squares at the very front had limited to no watering. So I bought some more connectors and extended a few of the lines. I also installed some longer lead lines from the water barrels. 

Oh yeah! The most important part of this year's garden setup - I topped off all the gardens with a proper compost mix, or at least as close as I could come to a proper mix. I mixed equal parts homemade compost, Black Kow manure compost, and Ecoscraps garden soil, plus bat guano, worm castings, blood meal and bone meal. I'm really hopeful this mix "ups" the nutrients and helps all the plants thrive. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm expanding my homemade composting a bit, but I really don't have a lot of kitchen scraps so I'm hoping that expired plants from the garden along with leaves and such will get me a richer more bountiful mixture this year. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way for me to get some of the algae and pond scum out of the ponds and into my compost pile as well. I don't want to mix in lawn clippings, as I have used lots of different products on my yard and raking is really difficult for me. It's an ongoing experiment.
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty May 2018 - Memorial Day planting

Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/25/2018, 12:28 pm

This is the last post for today -  thanks to anyone who stuck with me up to this point!

So, as usual, I am running late on the timing, but so far not too bad. The weather is just crazy this year! April 30 was the last frost date (so far!). There was actual measurable snow on the ground through about April 21, then the high shot up into the 70's and melted it all. Then the roller coaster ride continued with temps dropping back into the 50's during the day. May 11th the high was 48F, and the low was 41F. Last week it evened out a bit and we had pretty consistent mid-60's highs and mid-40's lows. Today the temperatures are climbing to the 80's, and extremely hot and humid this weekend (highs in the 80's predicted). So, as typical for my area, I basically had a week of spring and now we're jumping into summer. The poor brassicas just can't win...

I think I have my layout figured out, Finally! I will be planting all my remaining seedlings over the next few days: tomatoes, green peppers, some herbs, some flowers. I don't know if I will try direct planting the summer squash and cucumber seeds, or if I'll just go buy transplants since I didn't get any started indoors. Probably will try both to see if I can get a succession harvest. 

I really wanted to raise all my own from seeds, as I had an issue with purchased transplants bringing aphids in last year. But I don't want to miss my faves - really looking forward to my summer squash and cukes!

Here are my seedlings - they've been hardening off for the last couple of weeks. They spent the night outside the last couple of nights, so I think they're ready for the big move!

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180512BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180511 

 
Now that I've caught up to the present, I need to get cracking! Expect a lot of questions soon, I already have a couple but not enough time to ask right now. Off to plant some 'maters and tie up the last trellis. Wish me luck!
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Post  countrynaturals on 5/25/2018, 3:00 pm

All I can say is WOW, BJW! You've done an outstanding job in such a short time, and with all those critters ganging up on you, too.  Shocked I'm having to sit this season out, due to real life getting in the way, so I read and enjoyed every word of your posts. At least my imagaination can garden right along with you.  Rolling Eyes
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/26/2018, 7:12 am

It looks great, BJW!
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Post  ispinwool on 5/26/2018, 7:43 am

Wow! Well done!  (we had crazy weather here too...lots of snow
in April.  It seemed like winter lasted 10 months!)
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Post  sanderson on 5/27/2018, 1:05 pm

BJW, You have accomplished and learned so much! Thank you for sharing and for the photos. It was a good narrative. thanks

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Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/28/2018, 1:27 pm

Wow, BJW, nice job!  You definitely live and learn as we go on this merry venture!  Sounds like you got the same start as most of us midwesterners did this year.  Speaking of, drop by the N&C Midwest thread, where we can share the trials and triumphs of living in a similar climate!  I am one of your regional hosts!  Love to see you there!
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/31/2018, 11:08 am

Wow, you are all so kind! I've been feeling like I haven't really accomplished much, even though I've been working hard. Battling the wildlife is definitely one of my biggest challenges, but on the other hand, one of my biggest joys is watching all the wildlife. So trying to strike a balance can be frustrating, to say the least.
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 5/31/2018, 12:11 pm

So - first challenge when planting my tomatoes; space! I had planned to be done or close to done harvesting peas, and put my tomatoes in the same squares as the peas in order to use the trellises. Of course, the late snows put off the pea planting by at least a month, and now they're barely climbing those trellises, with not even one flower on any of them. 

Peas are one of my all-time favorite foods, and I planted a lot of different varieties. I really don't want to give up on them yet, although I'm probably better off just pulling them and planting more in the fall. But I refuse to give up! So... after much deliberation, I decided to move all the peas that are on the south side of the trellises so that the line of peas are all on the north side, and plant the tomatoes in the same squares, but bury the stems and root balls pointing the other way. I know peas don't like being transplanted, but I decided I'm willing to try rather than just pulling them out. So another experiment.

OK - so I have three 4x8 beds, with the long sides running north to south. I think of them as Bed #1 (furthest to the west), Bed #2 (middle), Bed #3 (furthest to the south). 

Bed #1 had the most pea seeds planted, but two of the squares were leftover from packets I bought in 2016, so poor germination. This was the bed where the chipmunks and squirrels dug up most of the seeds, so there weren't a lot to worry about.

Before:
BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180520

I gently moved the peas on the south side of the trellis to the opposite side. This wasn't very hard, as there were only a few peas that survived, and if I lose the whole batch, well, it's not that big of a deal. The first two squares are Super Sugar Snap seeds from 2016, then Progress #9 shelling peas, and a square of Super Snappy on the end. I hope that chipmunk enjoyed his snack  BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 671790

Bed #1 is where I planted all my determinate tomato seedlings. I'm experimenting with putting trellis all around the outside of the squares to support them as they grow. I have not had luck with staking or cages and am hoping this works. So I have 3 Celebrity tomatoes and 5 Roma Paste tomatoes in here, with a row in the center in which I planted dill and some bibb lettuce. I have read that planting dill with tomatoes is good, as long as you don't let the dill flower. So I will be keeping the dill pruned and I figured I'd have less chance of it getting away from me in the middle of determinate tomatoes, since about the time I start to get sloppy, they should be done with their fruiting. 

I left the front open to tend the plants for right now, as they get bigger it is my intention to put another nylon mesh across the front to contain the whole 3x4 area.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180521

Bed #2 has the best germination and growth rate for the peas, and there's just too many to bother with trying to move them. There are 2 squares of Sugar Daddy and 2 squares of Oregon Sugar. Ultimately, I decided to plant the tomatoes a square away from the trellis. Since these are all indeterminate, I'm hoping I can control my tendency to overthink and just keep the plants pruned and direct them across the squares to the trellis as they get bigger. These are all 4th of July tomatoes, which I started from seed like all the determinates in Bed #1.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180523

Bed #3 had a fairly low germination rate like Bed #1. There's another square of Progress #9, one square of Mammoth Melting Pod (1 germinated out of a bunch I planted - seeds were from 2014!), and two squares of Burpeeana Early. Not the greatest germination, and I really don't know why (other than the old seeds). So I shoved all the peas to the north side of the trellis.

I planted one each of purchased transplants - Bonnie Original and Super Sweet 100 Cherry - and one each of rooted cuttings that I took from suckers off the original plants. First time I've ever done cuttings from a tomato - thanks to this forum! I never knew you could do that before I read about it here.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180525

So - I at least have two of favorite garden veggies successfully planted. Now, I'm hoping I can keep up with the tomatoes and also that the peas take off here soon and maybe I can get a handful or two before they die off. The last 4 days the temps jumped from 60's to 90's. We're setting all-time heat records for May. Next few days it's supposed to drop back to high 60's / low 70's. This "spring" has been crazy!
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Post  sanderson on 6/1/2018, 3:17 am

Yes, spring has been really unpredictable this year. I hope you have success with the transplanted peas and the tomatoes. I wonder why one isn't supposed to let the dill go to seed. ?? It seems pollinators would be attracted and help with buzzing the tomatoes. ??

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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/1/2018, 11:08 am

Supposedly, mature dill will stunt tomato plant growth. 

I had a really good online article that explained exactly why this happens, and for the life of me, I can't find it again. I was sure I bookmarked it. Anyway, if my addled brain is remembering correctly, it has to do with something in the soil composition: when dill is growing, it enhances the soil in a good way for tomatoes. Once it starts to flower, it's actually depleting the nutrients from the soil.

I had almost a full packet of mammoth dill seeds, leftover from years ago. I mean years - like 2003. So I didn't think there was much chance any of them would germinate. I used Jiffy pellets, and put something like 5 - 10 seeds in each pellet, expecting that I may get one or two plants. Almost all of them germinated! lol So, I now have these Jiffy pellets with dill plants seeded in groups, which is how you're supposed to grow them for seeds (bunched together for flowering and seeds, thin for leaves). I just figured, meh - I don't care, I'll keep them from flowering as long as I can and if I start to slack off, I'll just pull them. I'm not emotionally attached to the dill. I am extremely attached to my tomatoes  Very Happy
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/2/2018, 10:27 am

This morning's inspection reminded me that I really HAVE to get a gate up on the garden area. 

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180610

What a mess! The six packs are there because I'm still fiddling around with the drip system, but Alvin chomped holes through the first couple of lines last night, so I may just redo the whole thing instead of trying to tweak this one.

I'm grateful he hasn't actually bothered my tomatoes - yet! - but I can't quite figure out what is so interesting in the squares he's chosen to dig. This is the 2nd time he's dug up the same little dill seedling. I had direct-seeded lettuce in those first four squares, but I can't believe with all the other choices that those tiny seeds are the attraction. Moisture shouldn't be a problem - I have plenty of bodies of water around the property. Maybe there are grubs or worms that he's interested in? Do chipmunks eat them? 

My own fault, really - I left the side of the fencing that faces the house at only a few inches above the ground, with the intention of putting up a gate so I can get the hoses and stuff in there. But I have yet to construct an actual entrance. I have so many other "life" things going on right now, I am going to try to lay some chicken wire over the gardens and sprinkle crushed pepper and foot powder around to deter him.
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Post  donnainzone5 on 6/2/2018, 11:50 am

BJW,

Back in the day, I was a blackjack wife.  We took turns being 86ed from certain casinos and have many tales to tell.  

Back on-topic, however.  Your friend Alvin may be burying nuts or pine cones, rather than digging up tiny seeds.  Once or twice, I found a nut at the very bottom of a square,
and once, even a 9-oz. pine cone!
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Post  sanderson on 6/3/2018, 1:56 am

I've had roof rats and an opossum in the beds. I designed a chicken wire cage to accommodate a rat trap so that no cat would be hurt. Baited it with apple and peanut butter. Caught 2 rats that were digging in the winter squash beds. The only thing in there were worms. ??

I found 2 small pine cones buried, one in a 5-gallon tomato bucket and one in a bed.

BJW, Your vandals have really done a job on things. I'm so sorry. Can you use a crevice devise with the shop vac to get the soil out between the house and the bed?

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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/3/2018, 7:43 am

@donnainzone5 wrote:BJW,

Back in the day, I was a blackjack wife.  We took turns being 86ed from certain casinos and have many tales to tell.  

Back on-topic, however.  Your friend Alvin may be burying nuts or pine cones, rather than digging up tiny seeds.  Once or twice, I found a nut at the very bottom of a square,
and once, even a 9-oz. pine cone!

We never got good enough to be banished, but I do love to play the tables. I've never been one for slots; I like pretending I have a bit of control over my "luck". 

-----------------------

Of course! Probably burying stuff, although he could at least cover it up  Rolling Eyes I didn't really find anything in the squares, but I didn't specifically dig around checking, either. I guess if another spruce tree comes up, I'll know.
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/3/2018, 7:52 am

@sanderson wrote:I've had roof rats and an opossum in the beds.  I designed a chicken wire cage to accommodate a rat trap so that no cat would be hurt.  Baited it with apple and peanut butter.  Caught 2 rats that were digging in the winter squash beds.  The only thing in there were worms.  ??

I found 2 small pine cones buried, one in a 5-gallon tomato bucket and one in a bed.

BJW,  Your vandals have really done a job on things.  I'm so sorry.  Can you use a crevice devise with the shop vac to get the soil out between the house and the bed?

Ugh - rats! They give me the willies. I am sure there are some around, but I choose to believe they are genetically stronger field mice crossed with voles or something. lol  I have plenty of worms in there; I didn't realize chipmunks are omnivorous until searching for ways to get rid of them.

A shop vac to get the soil up - I never would have thought of that! Thanks!
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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/8/2018, 8:49 am

Over the past few days, I have managed to get the rest of my seedlings in the ground. Added a gate to an area that was previously left with just a threshold of fencing material, and blocked off the rest of that side temporarily with some chicken wire. Feeling good about finally getting the veggies in. In the next three posts, I'll update with the garden layouts and pics of how the look after planting. 

Disregard the "1" markers in a couple of the tables; I really struggled figuring out how to post my excel spreadsheets in here, so the marker is from the screenshots and I just lost patience messing with them. 

New gate up and chicken wire to the left on the pic is now sort of rolled up and blocking the entry. Hopefully making it less attractive to the chipmunks, although the little rodents can probably crawl through anyway. Liberally sprinkled cayenne pepper on soil and medicated body powder in aisles and on bed sides (not in soil) to repel.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble 20180618

The cages usually reside over the front half of the beds, I moved them to the strawberry pallets to plant.  

Still need a lot of cleanup work here - I need to pull the weeds that made it through the weed block, and get some more rock laid in the aisle. Looking a little messy with all the weeds  Embarassed
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty Bed 1 - June planting

Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/8/2018, 9:18 am

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Layout12
The layout for the beds has changed a lot from planned to execution. The document above shows the layout as of the planting. My mother is a master gardener and web garden photojournalist. She gets a lot of samples, and sends me seeds. That's where I got the Mad Hatter peppers; I have four plants in pots for my daughter, who is moving and wants to start a garden. I'm also giving her an extra 4th of July tomato, so the patch of 4 pots buried in the squares are to make sure I keep them tended until she can take them.

Bed 1 - All the tomatoes in this bed are determinate. I have some struggling peas on the opposite side of the trellis, they were planted from my oldest seeds, some from 2012! I wrapped three sides of the tomato area with trellis netting, my plan is to (probably) enclose the front with netting as well once they get taller. This is an experiment for containing and supporting the determinates. Have not had much luck with staking or horizontal trellising, hopefully this works.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble June_p12
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Close-up of one of the Mad Hatter peppers. The peppers are so unique-looking in the pictures; I hope I am successful in growing them. Behind it, you can see the newly planted yellow crookneck squash purchased from Lowe's. I planted it near the front, hoping to train it to grow towards the strawberry beds, they get so huge. You can also see one of my squares of beets in the background. Letting the leaves get a little bit bigger before snagging a few for salads. This is the first time I've planted beets, and I'm really excited about how well they seem to be doing. 
BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble June_p10

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Here is an example of the benefits of MM! I planted the basil in the top right corner 4 days before I planted the other two. They all were started from seed at the same time, all germinated and grew in the same potting mix (Miracle Gro potting mix) and the earlier planted one was exactly the same size and color as the others when I planted it. Look how happy and vigorous it is now, thanks to the Mel's mix.
BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble June_p13
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Post  robert1938 on 6/8/2018, 9:54 am

Hi, Just been looking at your post and it is good to read.
Like yourselve as you know I am a newbie ( only a few miles from yourself Shocked  ) Interested that your weather patten this year appears way out to others, I had same problem.

On the tomatoe problem, as I am near the sea I grow them in a greenhouse ( glasss & aluminum ) which can be costly to buy and not easy on your own to erect. But I don't know if you have them in USA ( I expect you do ), there are cheap "plastic" type small houses which you could maybe erect and plant the toms inside - just an idea - but I do like your post on Rural Gamble   study
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BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Empty Bed 2 - June planting

Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/8/2018, 9:55 am

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble Layout13

Bed 2 contains my best-performing peas. I am sooo excited, there are actual flowers just starting to open on them! These were from seeds purchased this year; it was such a strange "spring", I didn't get any planted until a month later than usual due to snow. Then the temps shot up to the 90's for a couple of weeks. I wasn't sure if any of them would make it, they definitely had a slow start but the recent return to semi-normal cooler temps has agreed with them. One of my favorite garden foods, I can't wait to be picking peas!

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This is the area behind the trellis (rows 1-3 in the diagram, the green line is the trellis). I made a mistake with the Norland Red potatoes in the back, planted them in a shallow amount of MM because I didn't realize they only grow one level. A few weeks ago, I lifted the plants as gently as I could, and filled in the squares to hopefully give them some room to grow. I love new red potatoes, so I hope the give me at least a few. Now I know better.

I was running out of space and still had quite a few basil seedlings to plant. I started two kinds - the Dolce Fresca gets to 12 inches tall and wide, so was planting them 1/square. The Aurelia is smaller, so I was planting them 4/square. Since I ended up with such great success in seed starting both of them, I stuck 4 of the Dolce Fresca here in the back in an empty square. With all the shade, I don't expect they'll do all that great, but I can't bear to throw away any of my successful seedlings, so at least they are supposed to help keep aphids away from the tomatoes. 

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble June_p14
You can barely see the peas here, the flower buds are not yet unfurled. I'm so happy with how well my lettuce are doing. Bed 3 has the most impressive Bibb lettuce, but this guy is healthy, too (upper right corner). I planted most of the Bibb and Romaine at 1/square, to let them actually grow to heads. The Romaine in the end square of the 2nd row here is planted 4/square, so I will harvest outer leaves and keep this square as a "daily harvest" one for salads. 
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Rows 4-8; Tomatoes along the trellis are 4th of July. I planted them really close to LFD, so I'm excited to see if I could actually have tomatoes around the 4th. Pretty proud of these, too - all started from seed, and I planted 2/3 of the seedlings to get a good root system going. The peas here were doing so well ( bounce ) I didn't want to disturb them, so I planted the tomatoes a square away from the trellis. This will take some maintenance, for sure, to have them planted 1/square I will have to really keep up with the suckering, but I'm "all about the tomatoes" this year. 

The row in front of the tomatoes contains my "line of defense" against insects. The basil and marigolds are supposed to repel pests, the dill is supposed to make the tomatoes taste good. I have nasturtiums planted in the front row, they are supposed to attract aphids away from tomatoes (not repel them). So I planted them further away - the idea is that the nasturtiums are more attractive to aphids, so I don't want them right next to the tomatoes. They're a distraction.

BlackjackWidow's Rural Gamble June_p15

I'm a little worried about maintenance with this bed. If everything grows well, there will be a lot of pruning and managing to keep the sprawling plants from overtaking and shading each other. I planted the zucchini at the front, planning to train it forward towards the strawberry bed if possible, or at least keep it from the other rows. It's ok if it shades out the nasturtiums and basil.
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