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Toss away the Planting Calendar, Phoenicians Toplef10Toss away the Planting Calendar, Phoenicians 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Toss away the Planting Calendar, Phoenicians

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sanderson
Marc Iverson
boffer
AtlantaMarie
jimmy cee
jkahn2eb
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Post  jkahn2eb 7/28/2015, 11:47 am

Been a couple years since I chatted with y'all.  Got a 2 yr old now and my work has been really booming.  It's meant some neglect to the garden but it's also more automated.

Planting calendars provided by Univ. of Arizona and other sites have made July the summer to avoid planting anything.  Well, I had several volunteer cherry tomatoes pop up earlier this month. Then I planted several tomatoes seeds (Roma's included), zucchini seeds and melons - and all are popping up.   The shade clothes that cover the entire garden keep the pavers cool enough for my daughter to walk on barefoot and apparently cool enough for everything else to germinate.   Threw a lettuce, beet and flower seeds in last night. Will keep everyone posted.
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Post  jimmy cee 7/28/2015, 2:30 pm

With the way our climate's changing I'm planting by the way I feel any more or possibly comparing to last seasons weather. A few first frost's in the beginning and then gorgeous weather usually persists for weeks.
I'l watch frost warning, however I will protect when needed.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/28/2015, 4:55 pm

Hello Jkahn2eb.  Welcome back!  I'm AtlantaMarie.

Glad your biz is booming and you now have some more time for raising a garden for you & your daughter.
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Post  boffer 7/28/2015, 4:57 pm

Agreed.  The planting recommendations provided by experts are intended to offer the greatest odds of success.  It doesn't mean that crops can't be grown outside the recommended optimal planting window.  However, the farther one gets away from either side of the recommended window, the poorer the odds are for success.

I've been trying to maximize the number of days per year that I can eat fresh picked veggies.  Weather is the limiting factor.  But since we can't predict the weather, I can only take measures to compensate for it, stagger plant a lot of seeds, and expect that there will be failures.  For me, that's part of the fun of gardening.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/28/2015, 6:26 pm

Growing a garden in the desert must be such a huge challenge. Hats off to those who master it, because it sounds like a fragile and frustrating business!
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Post  jkahn2eb 7/28/2015, 7:53 pm

I've had great luck, I guess.  I'm nowhere close to being exact.  I just made sure I got a healthy amount of peat moss and vermiculite in at the beginning at kept adding different sources of compost to top it off.  The shade cloth really does make it year round gardening.  

Those in the desert are VERY LUCKY because we get to grow so many great things during fall/winter/spring - lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, beats, sugar snap peas (about the only thing hit when it dips below 32 at night), chard.  I know I'm leaving out other things.  

Still learning to enjoy eggplant but neither the wife nor I can get past the texture of all the seeds.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/29/2015, 2:17 am

Wow I never even notice seeds. I can't recall having ever eaten an eggplant seed.
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Post  sanderson 7/29/2015, 4:18 am

Some people are more "texture sensitive." Maybe this recipe would help you use the eggplants. https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t3098-baba-ghanoush?highlight=baba+gnoush

If you like lamb, maybe Moussaka. My recipe is hand-written so I can't post it.

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Post  kauairosina 7/30/2015, 2:43 pm

For us in Hawaii for sure it is a crapshoot figuring out when to plant so we plant all of the time, almost everything.  That is, unfortunately, why the chemical companies like Monsanto have taken over much of our land because we have three to four full growing seasons.  Don't get me started on those b******ds!
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Post  reynajrainwater 8/10/2015, 1:07 am

I'm not brave enough to not follow the local growing calendar. I'm extremely excited the fall planting starts next week. The count down begins:)
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Post  plantoid 8/10/2015, 5:41 am

boffer wrote:Agreed.  The planting recommendations provided by experts are  intended to offer the greatest odds of success.  It doesn't mean that crops can't be grown outside the recommended optimal planting window.  However, the farther one gets away from either side of the recommended window, the poorer the odds are for success.

I've been trying to maximize the number of days per year that I can eat fresh picked veggies.  Weather is the limiting factor.  But since we can't predict the weather, I can only take measures to compensate for it, stagger plant a lot of seeds, and expect that there will be failures.  For me, that's part of the fun of gardening.
 Boffer.
When you mention stagger planting .. do you mean sowing zig zag alternatively in a bed ?

or

Do you mean sow a few seeds starting a few weeks before the suggested season to sow and carry on sowing a few more every 8 to 10 days or so right up to or  into the suggested first frost season '

 If the latter , over here we call that successional sowing.
 
and/or

Stretching the seasons  & doing it as successional sowings .

 
One good thing about the heated seed propagation bed is that you can steal a few more days  to get even earlier and later plants .. some years you win tremendously, some you don't win so much ,but as seeds are nearly a cheap as words it does not cost you much if you lose out.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 8/10/2015, 11:57 am

I tried an experiment last season.  I had a giant squash that was overlooked among all the leaves of a late growing plant, so when doing yard cleanup I decided to place it in a spot in the garden where I had extra room and observe what would happen in nature.

The squash deteriorated over the winter and with the first warmth of spring started to put out starts, gazillions of starts.  Then it got cold, some of those died back and more starts sprouted, for weeks on end a staggered "planting" occurred.  In nature there is an over abundance of seed and a long window that it sprouts through so that no matter if it's a hot winter, a cold winter, there are temperature ups and downs there is still a successful crop.

I found it fascinating to watch and learned a lot that I can put into practice in my own garden to replicate.
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Post  kauairosina 8/10/2015, 12:07 pm

What a fine experience Audrey.  Something to learn every day from this forum.
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Post  boffer 8/10/2015, 6:35 pm

plantoid wrote:... Boffer.
When you mention stagger planting .. do you mean sowing zig zag alternatively in a bed ?

or

Do you mean sow a few seeds starting a few weeks before the suggested season to sow and carry on sowing a few more every 8 to 10 days or so right up to or  into the suggested first frost season '

 If the latter , over here we call that successional sowing.
...

Yes, I meant the latter; it's easier to spell! Wink  Although in practice I do both, stagger the planting times, and stagger the squares and boxes.

As my garden has gotten bigger, I've been playing with a concept that I think of as 'comparison planting'.  Whatever I'm planting, I try to plant at least two varieties, at several different times, and in different locations.  By location, I mean in a box or in the ground, in the greenhouse or outside, a full sun box or a partial shade box.  

It's given me a better understanding of the wide range of what 'normal' is, and helps in the process of determining what a problem might be.

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I tried an experiment last season....I found it fascinating to watch and learned a lot that I can put into practice in my own garden to replicate.

It's fun watching how well plants will grow when we stay out of their way!
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Post  kauairosina 8/10/2015, 7:55 pm

Well, it turns out I have a riff on that.  I plant starts in our lower garden, earth boxes or square foots and have Collin plant the same starts in his new upper garden, from which he getting great produce.  We have spent many dollars on soil tests and amendments for that garden and it is paying off.

For instance, I make a dill mushroom soup when the dill in the lower garden is ready and did not have enough and lo and behold he could furnish plenty to finish the soup. I am very heavy handed with herbs and spices so I was pleased.
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Post  sanderson 8/11/2015, 4:34 am

AJ, I wish I could put seeded sections of tomatoes in the freezer and then plant them in the spring. So far, volunteers have been my healthiest plants. (Yours is the best of the ones from seeds. I will definitely grow it again.)

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Post  plantoid 8/11/2015, 5:43 pm

sanderson wrote:AJ,  I wish I could put seeded sections of tomatoes in the freezer and then plant them in the spring.  So far, volunteers have been my healthiest plants.  (Yours is the best of the ones from seeds.  I will definitely grow it again.)

 Why not try and intentionally replicate the volunteers in the compost heap /
 
Perhaps using half a bucket ( that drains well "  of finished compost and a thick slice of tomato or some mushed up fresh home grow tomato spread thinly a inch below the surface .
Maybe set it up a few weeks before the first frost so that it can rot a bit before being scarified with the cold weather  the wake up and give you new plants in the spring when nature says it's OK  for them to grow.
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Post  sanderson 8/12/2015, 2:42 am

Plantoid, I just may give it the old college try.

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Post  Marc Iverson 8/12/2015, 5:16 pm

Sounds a bit like the "winter sowing" idea ... where you plant in a milk jug you leave out all winter long. When it sprouts, it sprouts ... and then you transplant. And you've already got plants self-selected for hardiness.
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Post  sanderson 8/12/2015, 5:56 pm

I have some 1 gallon containers somewhere. Hmmm

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Post  plantoid 8/14/2015, 4:17 am

Make sure you have several sensible water drain holes in the containers do chek that there is a little moisture in theh soil and don't put them on the north side of a wall /building as it may be too cold for them and they'll not get any UV light

 The winter UV sun rays will penetrate a few inches of the compost , the level of sunlight on soil has a big bearing for wakening up " Stratified "  seeds .
Confession .......I called them scarified seeds in an earlier post " dizleexhea rulz  heeehee...him Laughing ".

 It may pay to experiment and have a container or two painted black on the outside to see if modifying the winter sun's UV & other rays  has any effect..
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