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Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated

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Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated Empty Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated

Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 11:44 am

Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated GfvAo4S
So a little information, the cucumbers I'll be planting are 2 fat baby achocha and 2 sour mexican gherkins (1 achocha and 1 sour gherkin on each side). It seems like the achocha is a very prolific plant, so I was concerned about the spacing which is the reasoning behind not having anything else planted (except purslane) in the curved lines, and the trellis (black line) at the back. I figured I would guide them across the trellis at varying heights while pruning back some suckers. For example the bottom could be the sour mexican gherkin, then a little bit more upwards could be the achocha then the sour gherkin then the achocha. I put the flowers there because I read that they were beneficial to cucumbers and pollinators, and I figured that they could exist there without harming the cucumbers in terms of growing space.

The ground cherries page I bought the seeds from said it had a 24-36in plant spacing. So I figured I would do something roughly that size in a circle. Is that a correct assumption?

As you could tell, I like peas. The pea plant in question are the magnolia sugar snap peas. Would planting them in this fashion be ok?

Thanks.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/27/2019, 12:50 pm

welcome  Kevin, from Redding, CA. I won't try to advise you on plant spacing -- I have yet to get it right Embarassed  but I can say that ground cherries and marigolds will make you smile. Ground cherries are a beautiful, big, graceful plant, and marigolds have pretty fern-like leaves as well as nice flowers. I'm sure the experts will be around soon, to give you the info you need.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 3:07 pm

Hey countrynaturals, thanks for your post. I really want to benefit the local pollinators so that's good to see that the flowers will be great. Do you have any suggestions for any great crops to include/change around in the garden? I could probably make some space.

I just wanted to amend a minor detail. I can just grow the sour mexican gherkens straight up the trellis. This site says they only grow 40-50in high and 4-6in wide. So the bulk of the space will be for the achocha.There is also a small amount of space to the left and right of the garden that isn't pictured, so the cucumbers should hopefully have enough space if that was a concern.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/27/2019, 3:18 pm

Hi Kevin. Welcome from Atlanta, GA! Glad you've joined us. I also will hold off on advice as I'm sure someone with the desert atmosphere will be along soon.

You might check in the archives for Brainchasm's posts. He's in AZ, I believe. And he has a lot of good advice.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 3:37 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Hi Kevin.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Glad you've joined us.  I also will hold off on advice as I'm sure someone with the desert atmosphere will be along soon.

You might check in the archives for Brainchasm's posts.  He's in AZ, I believe.  And he has a lot of good advice.
Hey, thanks for your suggestion. My main concern right now is that I'm doing something wrong because I'm new.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/27/2019, 3:47 pm

@Kevin S wrote:Hey countrynaturals, thanks for your post. I really want to benefit the local pollinators so that's good to see that the flowers will be great. Do you have any suggestions for any great crops to include/change around in the garden? I could probably make some space.
You can call me CN and save your fingers. Very Happy

Dwarf curly kale, asparagus beans, & Armenian cucumbers laugh at our heat and keep right on truckin'. Believe it or not -- the curly kale -- supposedly a winter crop -- thrives here all year long. It actually turns into a tree after a year and has to be chopped down. Rolling Eyes 

Cherry, grape, and plum tomatoes do better than the larger varieties. The big ones take too long to mature, then stall when the weather gets over triple-digits and stays there. I'm experimenting now with starting a 2nd batch of the big guys right about now, so they don't blossom until the temps get down into the 90s, but there's still enough warm weather to get them to maturity. Fingers crossed. good job!


Last edited by countrynaturals on 8/27/2019, 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  donnainzone5 on 8/27/2019, 3:48 pm

Kevin S.,

Welcome from Central Oregon (formerly Southern California)!

Are you planting ground cherries, or tomatillos?  They are a bit different.  

As for the purslane, my advice would be to plant it in a separate, smaller planter, since it spreads far and wide, both by root and by seed.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 3:52 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@Kevin S wrote:Hey countrynaturals, thanks for your post. I really want to benefit the local pollinators so that's good to see that the flowers will be great. Do you have any suggestions for any great crops to include/change around in the garden? I could probably make some space.
You can call me CN and save your fingers. Very Happy

Dwarf curly kale, asparagus beans, & Armenian cucumbers laugh at our heat and keep right on truckin'. Believe it or not -- the curly kale -- supposedly a winter crop -- thrives here all year long. It actually turns into a tree after a year and has to be chopped down. Rolling Eyes 

Cherry, grape, and plum tomatoes do better than the larger varieties. The big ones take too long to mature, then stall when the weather gets over triple-digits and stays there. I'm experimenting now with starting a 2nd batch of the big guys right about now, so they don't blossom until the temps get down into the 90s, but there's still enough warm weather to get them to maturity. Fingers crossed. good job!
Ok thank you for your suggestions. I like to evaluate all my options.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 3:57 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Kevin S.,

Welcome from Central Oregon (formerly Southern California)!

Are you planting ground cherries, or tomatillos?  They are a bit different.  

As for the purslane, my advice would be to plant it in a separate, smaller planter, since it spreads far and wide, both by root and by seed.
Ground cherries. More specifically the "Physalis pubescens var. integrifolia". They looked very interesting and I wanted to try them. Same with purslane. If it spreads super far and wide, that sounds detrimental to have it next to anything. I guess that's why it was successful enough to become a weed. Thank you for the warning. I wouldn't want to harm my cucumbers or peas, those are the ones I'm trying to have maximum production with.
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/27/2019, 4:00 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Are you planting ground cherries, or tomatillos?  They are a bit different. 
YIKES! I planted both that year and now I don't remember which one turned into that beautiful, graceful bush. I think it was tomatillo, but I don't have a pic, darnit. dangit
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Post  donnainzone5 on 8/27/2019, 4:06 pm

Suz,

Although I haven't planted ground cherries, my understanding is that they're sweeter than tomatillos.  I grow the latter for salsa verde and have found that starting larger varieties from seed (indoors) works better in my area.  I should have some maturing soon.  I must also mention that I always have volunteers from previous years.  At least two plants are necessary for a decent harvest.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 4:07 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@donnainzone5 wrote:Are you planting ground cherries, or tomatillos?  They are a bit different. 
YIKES! I planted both that year and now I don't remember which one turned into that beautiful, graceful bush. I think it was tomatillo, but I don't have a pic, darnit. dangit
The ground cherry still produces flowers though, right? I assume they are similar because the plants are related.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 4:09 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Suz,

Although I haven't planted ground cherries, my understanding is that they're sweeter than tomatillos.  I grow the latter for salsa verde and have found that starting larger varieties from seed (indoors) works better in my area.  I should have some maturing soon.  I must also mention that I always have volunteers from previous years.  At least two plants are necessary for a decent harvest.
Are you suggesting that I plant 2 ground cherry plants or is that just for tomatillos?
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Post  donnainzone5 on 8/27/2019, 4:13 pm

Kevin,

I grow mostly for culinary purposes, although many of the plants in my yard also support pollinators.  I often refer to my front yard as a bee haven, and I have fruit trees and caneberries elsewhere.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 4:25 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Kevin,

I grow mostly for culinary purposes, although many of the plants in my yard also support pollinators.  I often refer to my front yard as a bee haven, and I have fruit trees and caneberries elsewhere.
So your plants have tons of flowers? What plants do you normally grow?
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Post  countrynaturals on 8/27/2019, 4:49 pm

For the pollinators, my favorites are milkweed, sunflower, and Mexican Sunflower. Milkweed is a must, in case there's still a chance of any monarch action in your area. Hummingbirds and other pollinators like them, too. The reason to grow Mexican sunflower is that it lasts longer than most other flowers, so the late butterflies etc., can still have something to eat when everything else is gone.
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Post  Kevin S on 8/27/2019, 5:59 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:For the pollinators, my favorites are milkweed, sunflower, and Mexican Sunflower. Milkweed is a must, in case there's still a chance of any monarch action in your area. Hummingbirds and other pollinators like them, too. The reason to grow Mexican sunflower is that it lasts longer than most other flowers, so the late butterflies etc., can still have something to eat when everything else is gone.
Good to know about the mexican sunflower, thanks.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/27/2019, 10:12 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Suz,

Although I haven't planted ground cherries, my understanding is that they're sweeter than tomatillos.  I grow the latter for salsa verde and have found that starting larger varieties from seed (indoors) works better in my area.  I should have some maturing soon.  I must also mention that I always have volunteers from previous years.  At least two plants are necessary for a decent harvest.
Welcome, Kevin S!  I have zero desert experience, so must defer to the experts.  But I like your plan to get some pollinator action going!  All bees swarm all my sunflowers, I plant a couple dozen every year...also the birds appreciate the seed production, it’s a Win-Win!  

I LOVE my ground cherries—they taste kinda like pineapple-ish, but with some tartness, but we my kinds and I eat them straight up out of hand.  Aunt Molly is the variety I have always grown (it self seeds, FYI) but also bought a pineapple variety from Pinetree this year for next season.  

So glad you found us, ca’t wait to hear about your progress!
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Post  Kevin S on 8/28/2019, 12:16 am

Hey Scorpio Rising. Thanks for the suggestion of sunflowers. My main concern is with spacing. It feels like I'm going to be planting too much stuff next season.

I might have to try the other varieties. If I really like the ground cherries and want to try more, I might consider them for the season after the next one as I don't know if my garden can handle another one based off of the plan.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/28/2019, 8:39 am

@Kevin S wrote:
@AtlantaMarie wrote:Hi Kevin.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Glad you've joined us.  I also will hold off on advice as I'm sure someone with the desert atmosphere will be along soon.

You might check in the archives for Brainchasm's posts.  He's in AZ, I believe.  And he has a lot of good advice.
Hey, thanks for your suggestion. My main concern right now is that I'm doing something wrong because I'm new.

Just remember that it's all a learning experience. Take LOTS of notes on what works, what doesn't.... :-)
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Post  sanderson on 8/28/2019, 1:55 pm

Hi Kevin, Welcome to the Forum! glad you\'re here Central California is hot in the summer (up to 110*F) and mild in the winter 28*F) so I grow year around. Over head shade cloth and mulch helps the plants get through the scorching heat until milder fall weather, when the generally produce one last harvest.

It looks like your area is 13' x 3'. ?? Is it a SFG raised bed with Mel's Mix? A long trellis on the back and short trellises perpendicular for the peas? It looks like the 2 cucumbers will need a tall trellis. Likewise, the variety of peas also grow tall.

I think Ground cherries grow like the tomatillo. I grow tomatillo in 5 gallon buckets filled with Mel's Mix so I can walk around them. They are bed hogs and I don't want to waste a bed space for them!! Cover the buckets with burlap or aluminum foil to shade the roots from getting too hot. Tallish tomato cages work fine. You can also grow purslane in 10-12" flower pots as they self sow.

Now that you have freed up a large space you can reconsider what you will plant where. Dwarf marigolds can be tucked here and there. Like wise, radishes (16/sq) and lettuce (4 or 9/sq) can be tucked here and there or in their own squares.

My main concern is being able to reach everything for tending and harvesting. Will the long, tall trellis be on the north or west side? Can you walk all around this long bed?

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Post  Kevin S on 8/28/2019, 3:27 pm

@sanderson wrote:Hi Kevin,  Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here Central California is hot in the summer (up to 110*F) and mild in the winter 28*F) so I grow year around.  Over head shade cloth and mulch helps the plants get through the scorching heat until milder fall weather, when the generally produce one last harvest.

It looks like your area is 13' x 3'.  ??  Is it a SFG raised bed with Mel's Mix?  A long trellis on the back and short trellises perpendicular for the peas?  It looks like the 2 cucumbers will need a tall trellis.  Likewise, the variety of peas also grow tall.

I think Ground cherries grow like the tomatillo.  I grow tomatillo in 5 gallon buckets filled with Mel's Mix so I can walk around them.  They are bed hogs and I don't want to waste a bed space for them!!  Cover the buckets with burlap or aluminum foil to shade the roots from getting too hot.  Tallish tomato cages work fine.  You can also grow purslane in 10-12" flower pots as they self sow.

Now that you have freed up a large space you can reconsider what you will plant where.  Dwarf marigolds can be tucked here and there.  Like wise, radishes (16/sq) and lettuce (4 or 9/sq) can be tucked here and there or in their own squares.

My main concern is being able to reach everything for tending and harvesting.  Will the long, tall trellis be on the north or west side?  Can you walk all around this long bed?  
Hi. Thank you.

Yeah 13 feet by 3 feet. It's a raised bed from concrete blocks, and some bad soil (at least in my opinion). It wasn't made or established by me. I'm also very limited with what I can do. I can't currently afford to remove all the soil and replace it wit Mel's Mix. So I just have to work with what I've got. Yeah I need a lot of trellises. Do you think staking the peas instead of using a trellis would be a good idea? As for the cucumbers, I was really concerned with the space the achocha is going to take up, which is why I had a trellis along the back. A website said that the sour mexican gherkin requires ~3-4 ft of vertical space. So that's easily doable. I just don't know how long the achocha is going to get because some sources say that it can grow 20+ feet long.

I might have to look into the tomato cage option for the ground cherries. That sounds like a good idea. After all, this whole thing is about space efficiency. Similarly, I also like the idea of putting the purslane in a flower pot. I wouldn't want the purslane to get out of control.

Yeah, after looking at the plan, the ground cherries take up a ton of space. How much space do you think caging the ground cherries would save? Would I be able to contain it in one square foot?

I haven't actually set up anything yet. I was looking into DIY trellises and maybe using some sort of tomato cage or something. I'll figure it out hopefully. As for the direction, the trellis is going to be on the SW side of the garden because it's against the wall. I can walk around everything but the back, but I should be able to reach over the garden.

Thank you for the help.
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Post  sanderson on 8/28/2019, 4:01 pm

@Kevin S wrote:
Hi. Thank you. . .

Yeah, after looking at the plan, the ground cherries take up a ton of space. How much space do you think caging the ground cherries would save? Would I be able to contain it in one square foot?
. . .
Thank you for the help.
A ton of space!! At least 9 squares if not 16 squares. That's why I recommended 5-gallon containers for one plant.

I will get back to you after nap time regarding the "soil" for the bed. A modified or compromise version. How high is the bed and how much fill is in it?

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Post  Kevin S on 8/28/2019, 4:12 pm

@sanderson wrote:A ton of space!!  At least 9 squares if not 16 squares.  That's why I recommended 5-gallon containers for one plant.

I will get back to you after nap time regarding the "soil" for the bed.  A modified or compromise version.  How high is the bed and how much fill is in it?

So if I planted the ground cherry in the same space, but in a cage, would I be able to utilize all the squares around it?

Height is ~11 inches. The soil is filled up to almost the top.
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Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated Empty Re: Interested in trying this method out. Here's my current plan, any feedback would be appreciated

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/28/2019, 7:08 pm

My issue with ground cherries was when I grew them in my standard SFG (which is deeper) they are pretty short and quite frankly, it’s hard for me to get down there to see/harvest them.  I now grow mine in a container on my patio.  But we have a short growing season...3 plants is plenty for me and my 3 kids.  

Purselane is a spreading mess unless contained IMO.  It just goes.  

I have no experience with that cucumber variety.  I always trellis mine.  They do fine, however sometimes wander...I grow Beit Alpha, Muncher, and a couple pickling varieties.  

Have you read Mel’s book, All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Ed?  He has a lot of good and cheap advice about trellising...

Also, you might be able to vigorously amend the beds with some purchased stuff (compost, blood and bone meal, need to see what the soil is like) in the interim.
Scorpio Rising
Scorpio Rising

Female Posts : 7517
Join date : 2015-06-12
Age : 58
Location : Ada, Ohio

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