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Soose in North Alabama

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Post  Soose 5/31/2022, 9:20 am

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I'm having trouble uploading photos from my phone.  Sorry.  In previous post, I'm familiar with Black Beauty eggplant. But this Shikou - long and
about 6" yesterday - how large should I let it get?


Last edited by Soose on 5/31/2022, 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edit: I'm having trouble uploading photos from my phone. Sorry.)
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Post  Hawgwild 6/1/2022, 8:34 am

That's really a nice garden...Looking great..
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Post  sanderson 6/4/2022, 11:37 pm

Soose wrote:. . . I'm familiar with Black Beauty eggplant. But this Shikou - long and
about 6" yesterday - how large should I let it get?
Any day now. The articles say 6-8". You want the skin still shiny. If the skin is dull, they should have been picked yesterday. Razz You will get the hang of that plant quickly.

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Post  markqz 10/9/2022, 10:26 am

Hi Soose!

So, how did it all turn out? Photos?
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Post  Soose 10/10/2022, 6:46 am

markqz wrote:Hi Soose!
So, how did it all turn out? Photos?
Hi, Markqz.  Thanks for asking.  I did not think recently to come back and post a "recap" or "end of Summer" report about our garden.  Some overview points:

-- We've struggled this Summer.  Our MM must be off.  Many fruits of diff type plants are stunted, plants gave maybe one fruit at first then not again, what we've harvested has been more than on the small side.  We had some success with brassicas at first despite getting a late start. And our cherry/grape tomatoes have not looked very health but have produced a lot thru the Summer.  Now that the heat is gone, our green beans seem to be producing, actually got about 2 qts this week (12 squares), and finally getting a few somewhat stunted Roma's.  We did however harvest some butternut squash -- from a volunteer in the old compost area.  It was prolific and sprawling. The field rats were starting to get to them at harvest time, but we salvaged most of those; have half an 18gal bin full.

But the MM was not right is all I can figure for many other things.  The only thing I know to do is create compost as fast as we can and add it in and hope it mostly corrects the problem.

-- In addition, my son's potato grow bags ran into trouble. He left them in water a few days by mistake. Many plants died down, a few are struggling, don't know that he'll get anything.  Learning lessons.

-- In our area I was told we would need lime and sure enough we did.  Should have added that sooner.  It made a diff with the next fruits on our peppers, which had blossom end rot.

-- The terrible heat - we needed shading and never got there. 

-- Really still struggling with what to plant where and when; when to remove plants and replace.  Have removed one of the arched cattle panel trellises off one set of beds for now. 

-- Need to stay on top of trellising and tending to vining plants next time. 

-- We have come to the conclusion that the 8 beds (only 3x4ft) we put in will not feed a family of 3 adults and that we're going to need some row crops going forward for staples.  I don't like the idea of rows, and we're thinking of constructing some long raised beds. (The thread a couple of weeks or more ago using cattle panels around the outside and maybe lining them with rolled metal is appealing.  As that would be too much MM, I'm not going there again and our soil here should be quite good, so I'm thinking hugelkulture for those beds and drip watering.  Not sure about trellising squashes or letting them ramble.)

Mixed results.  I keep seeking a local mentor.
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Post  Frost? 10/10/2022, 8:16 am

Wow Soose!  Sounds like my report.  You at least have done due diligence; part of my issue is too little focus on gardening - just too many divergent demands.  Even the plants that have done well have produced very little, very small fruit.  I have drawn a similar solution to your own as far as media goes, and feel the culprit must be in the compost; but it has been a very hot summer too.  Looking forward to the "fall" (do we have one of those in Florida?) and see how things fare.  Peas, beets, collards, and sorrel are started and seem to be doing well.
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Post  Soose 10/10/2022, 8:29 am

Frost? wrote:Wow Soose!  Sounds like my report.  You at least have done due diligence; part of my issue is too little focus on gardening - just too many divergent demands.  Even the plants that have done well have produced very little, very small fruit.  I have drawn a similar solution to your own as far as media goes, and feel the culprit must be in the compost; but it has been a very hot summer too.  Looking forward to the "fall" (do we have one of those in Florida?) and see how things fare.  Peas, beets, collards, and sorrel are started and seem to be doing well.

@Frost, sorry I lost track of this board some during the Summer and didn't visit your page to see how you are doing with the new gardens.  Will come back to look soon. 

Yes, very small fruit. And very little on most plants.   (Even when we fixed the blossom end rot on the peppers, the fruits harvested were very small - at least they were healthy at that point.)

Do I remember that as we were building our new beds the same season, you also used the Black Velvet mushroom compost from Lowe's and the Black Kow cow manure as ingredients?  But after that, I think we diverged, know we did.  Because the other parts of mine were worm castings and compost from that gardener, bought, and then my own compost.

Fall is supposed to be a good time here for growing.  We tried to plant some "Bonnie" seedlings but a lot didn't survive. Sad  I guess we took too long to get them into the SFG's.  I at least did make sure they were covered immediately upon planting with tulle -- no cabbage worms/butterflies. 

My son and I rebuilt our pseudo "earth boxes" on the western porch this last week, and I transplanted some kale and collard bits that had survived neglected there. I hope we'll see some greens from that.
 
I don't have SFG'ing down yet.  Or seed-starting.  Struggling.  Can't give up.
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Post  Frost? 10/10/2022, 8:49 am

Yes, I have incorporated both the mushroom compost and Black Kow into my compost "blend".  I have been wondering if it might be an issue with microbiota but I certainly don't need another direction to go in.  I have not posted much through the summer either.  Hopefully we both have better reports as we go on.
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Post  Soose 10/11/2022, 8:02 am

Twice now that it's cooler, I've gotten a decent little basket of green beans from the plants.  (Photos)
Yesterday's (with lighter tomatoes) and a week ago. 

My better half, who mostly is the harvester,  says the big elm tree on the South side is starting to shade some of the green bean plants a bit of the day -- not sure how much sun those SFG totes are getting then, will have to monitor today. But it'll only get worse as the sun moves.  We put the green beans all on the  line of totes furthest South (they run sorta East West), maybe they need to go on the next row North next time.  Or should I create a separate planting bed as I have seen some do? 

I need to know how to handle green beans that come in in dribbles, not enough to run a pressure canner. If I blanch and freeze them, can I then take several bags out of the freezer and thaw them and can them or something? 

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Post  Frost? 10/11/2022, 8:31 am

You're still doing better than me.  I only harvested one tomato, and maybe a dozen green beans off the only stalk that survived.  I'm "fixin'" to amend part of the problem (water) shortly.  Can't trust the canal water (weed spraying).  I've got 200 gallons set up for rain water, adding another 100 - and hopefully a mobile cart.  We'll see, and I'll show.
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Post  sanderson 10/11/2022, 4:02 pm

Soose wrote:. . .
-- We have come to the conclusion that the 8 beds (only 3x4ft) we put in will not feed a family of 3 adults and that we're going to need some row crops going forward for staples. 
I think I read somewhere that 3 beds 4'x4' per person. I don't have time now to find the thread but if I remember correctly, 3 beds will provide fresh eating and putting some up for out of season per person.

For 2 people, I have 120 sq ft in beds, 10 equivalent sq ft in totes and 5-gallon containers, and a 1'x25' of heavily amended worthless dirt that I use for 12 extra tomato plants and extra cucurbits. I can quite a bit of tomato products for winter plus blanche and freeze other produce.

I hope this helps you determine how many sq ft you need. Another thing I do is mono-crop each bed for serious production. No companion planting. Just serious growing.

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Post  sanderson 10/11/2022, 4:05 pm

Soose wrote:. . .
I need to know how to handle green beans that come in in dribbles, not enough to run a pressure canner. If I blanch and freeze them, can I then take several bags out of the freezer and thaw them and can them or something?
No, frozen veggies cannot be safely canned. NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation). The only exception is using frozen tomatoes for sauces.

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Post  Soose 10/12/2022, 7:16 pm

sanderson wrote:I think I read somewhere that 3 beds 4'x4' per person.  I don't have time now to find the thread but if I remember correctly, 3 beds will provide fresh eating and putting some up for out of season per person.

For 2 people, I have 120 sq ft in beds, 10 equivalent sq ft in totes and 5-gallon containers, and a 1'x25' of heavily amended worthless dirt that I use for 12 extra tomato plants and extra cucurbits. I can quite a bit of tomato products for winter plus blanche and freeze other produce.

I hope this helps you determine how many sq ft you need.  Another thing I do is mono-crop each bed for serious production.  No companion planting.  Just serious growing.
Sorry I didn't have time to reply yesterday.  Yes, I saw the three beds per person in the SFG books.  Didn't realize that my 9 beds for 3 people planned were not 16sq ft but were only 12sq ft, a 25% reduction. 

And even then, I think the third bed is for "putting some away,"  not for sustaining a family 100% which is my goal. 

Add to that the experience this first year of not being very good yet at the intensive gardening and succession planting, which I think raises productivity with sq ft gardening so much.  ("Not very good?" Ha. We are dismal so far. Gotta learn a lot fast.) 

I think putting in some long raised beds a la row gardening and like you say, Sanderson, devoting them to mono-cropping (like a long bed to all bush beans) will help.  Someone recommended we pick just X crops for that.  I think I'd pick mostly beans (kidneys, black, Southern peas, etc.), squashes (like butternut, which keeps), and potatoes (or sweet potatoes).  

Forgot to hit send on this, this morning.
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Post  Soose 10/12/2022, 7:17 pm

sanderson wrote:
Soose wrote:. . .
I need to know how to handle green beans that come in in dribbles, not enough to run a pressure canner. If I blanch and freeze them, can I then take several bags out of the freezer and thaw them and can them or something?
No, frozen veggies cannot be safely canned.  NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation).  The only exception is using frozen tomatoes for sauces.

TY, got it.   Does anyone have any plan I could follow for dealing with produce that is harvested in smaller amounts?
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Post  markqz 10/12/2022, 8:11 pm

Soose wrote:TY, got it.   Does anyone have any plan I could follow for dealing with produce that is harvested in smaller amounts?
Rather than freezing or canning, I wonder if pickling would allow you to make smaller batches, since you wouldn't need the super-larger canner?
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Post  Soose 10/13/2022, 5:01 am

markqz wrote:Rather than freezing or canning, I wonder if pickling ...
Pickled green beans...  I think people do that thing.  I definitely do need to try pickling. 

I was wondering if this is how succotash and veg soup got started.
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Post  sanderson 10/13/2022, 1:46 pm

Here is a safe recipe from the NCHFP.  Recipes can safely be halved but not doubled.
https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/dilled_beans.html

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Post  Soose 1/12/2023, 7:42 am

Haven't posted to my thread for awhile.   My better half and I and our son have gotten out twice over the holidays and yesterday to do some belated garden cleanup that should have been done in November.  Had some decent working weather this week, 50's 60's highs.  Pulled up the final huge okra roots that had been frozen in.  Weeded and need to mulch as it's all bare ground as of yesterday. 

(Belated work, but we were letting a lot of it ride -- we'd planted some expensive store plants for a Fall garden broc/cabbage/caul -- ended up losing all that despite or because of greenhouse covers.  Just don't have the hang of weather protection in any way yet. Sad  In the Summer, we didn't get the covers off and some things got scalded; here I actually think the same thing happened.  I feel quite lacking knowledge on just how to GROW stuff.  We did have a very early and harsh Fall season, early cold, and very rare low temps of 2F for us.  ) 

Mainly I am trying to plan a row or patch garden for preserving foods in quantity next Summer.  Watched an old Original Victory Garden vid becau;se that's my focus, learning how to make a survival garden.  I am making a pass at yield charts and how much to grow.  As I looked at yield charts for rows, I translated into square feet.   I want to focus on staples.  Get a full season in learning how some of these plants grow.  Figure out succession plantings and three-season gardening.  I'm really challenged in all these gardening thinking areas. 

I'd planned to make some of the cattle-panel-lined-with-metal raised beds.  But since we are thinking of looking for property that's elsewhere, I am just going to transition with an in ground garden this year.  Get our feet wet in our native soil here. More easily abandoned; less expense.   I will however go ahead and buy the materials for more raised beds, as cattle panels have gone up in price again here.  Rural King was cheaper but now Tractor Supply is at $29.99.   Arghh.  Need to go get them but the truck developed some sort of blockage this weekend, sometimes won't restart.  The price might zoom while I'm stuck without hauling capability!  Sad 

I posted on the worms separately.
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