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Very Easy Vegetables for Fall Crop

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Very Easy Vegetables for Fall Crop Empty Very Easy Vegetables for Fall Crop

Post  erbarnett on 8/22/2010, 6:09 pm

August 22, 2010, zone 6
Today I finished installing a 4 by 4 SFG, using Mel's Mix exactly as described in the New Book of SFG. While I have a lot of experience with ornamental plants (a Master Gardener), I have little experience growing vegetables. I want to avoid trellises and tall plants that could be uprooted in a storm. I do know radishes are easy, as I planred them as a kid. Are carrots easy to grow? I want to intersperse flowers with the fall crop, as I want it all to look nice. I want to start planting either seeds or transplants around the Labor Day weekend. Can you help me?
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Post  camprn on 8/22/2010, 6:21 pm

Greetings and welcome to the forum. glad you\'re here Congratulations on jumping into vegetable gardening. What is your location within zone 6? We will help you if we can. What kind of vegetables do you like to eat? Most years carrots are pretty easy but for me it has been a terrible year for carrots. They just didn't want to grow.

This week I am planting more onions, shallots, spinach, kale, lettuce. I have already planted my fall peas, beets, and the brussels sprouts are continuing to grow well. I am also going to put in garlic for harvest next year.

Well, I am not going to beat around the bush here. Many folks have experienced problems with gardens this summer, even if the mix recipe was followed, due to soil nutrition deficiencies. I am in zone 5a & I just built another 4X6 box for fall planting and I amended the Mel's mix with bone meal, dried blood, wood ash, coffee grounds. I would encourage you to consider the same before planting your new bed.

The forum has much valuable anecdotal information passed by the members. The search function is one of the finest features of the forum. happy hi
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Post  boffer on 8/22/2010, 7:26 pm

glad you\'re here

If you have followed Mel's recipe, which includes 5 different types of compost, then I recommend using no additives your first year. By doing so, you will establish a baseline on which to judge following years. If you start tinkering with the mix right away, you'll have no idea how well MM can work.

We have a rule in our house. If we try a new recipe that we haven't eaten before, we have to follow the recipe as written. If we don't, we'll have no idea what the dish was intended to taste like. We won't have a chance to appreciate the subtle interaction of flavors and textures that were originally intended. If we start adding a little of this, and a little of that, to suit our tastes, we are no longer trying a new recipe-we are just cooking things as we always have.

Besides radishes, I would suggest growing colorful lettuces that are fast growing, and also spinach and kale, which are fast growing. Carrots are easy to grow, but they can be slow. Planting now, I doubt they would get big enough to eat this year. They might overwinter OK, but they would probably try to flower next year.



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Ten different answers...
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Post  Megan on 8/22/2010, 7:46 pm

Welcome to the forum! glad you\'re here

My carrots are doing fine but they took FOREVER to sprout, at least a month I'd say. If you don't mind eating them mid-winter or next year, go for it. I am probably going to pull mine soon and put in parsnips. I also plan on some short-season lettuce, some kale, and I want to try my hand at cauliflower and celery, though I have no idea how those will work out. I had great luck with broccoli raab and radishes this spring and would like to try those again, too. And I have one cabbage plant that has been sitting there midget-like ever since spring and has finally started to show signs of growing.

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Post  ander217 on 8/23/2010, 8:30 pm

@boffer wrote: :
If you have followed Mel's recipe, which includes 5 different types of compost, then I recommend using no additives your first year. By doing so, you will establish a baseline on which to judge following years. If you start tinkering with the mix right away, you'll have no idea how well MM can work.

ERBarnett, first let me say Welcome!

Then let me respond to Boffer and Camprn's comments.

Boffer, I hear what you are saying, but it all hinges on that big IF one is able to duplicate Mel's recipe with five different composts, which means those composts have to be as good as the ones Mel used. I think only one of my composts was any good this year, and it didn't supply everything needed. My seedlings just sat there, tiny and yellow for weeks until I gave them fish emulsion which finally gave them a boost to start growing. It took a second dose before they really kicked into gear. Then some plants still didn't do well. Only after trying bone meal and epsom salts out of desperation did I see my tomatoes and beans finally begin to grow as they should. I'm a seasoned enough gardener to know that something wasn't right and I didn't need to wait until next year for a comparison. Granted, the weather has been horrendous this year, but my problems were indicative of nutrient deficiencies.

So, if I have to rely on the same brands of compost next year I will do as Camprn says and put additives into the mix before planting. I really did try it by the book as much as possible, but it didn't work for me without additives. (The cotton compost was the worst - full of long, coarse stems, cotton bolls, and even wads of cotton here and there.)

My advice to you, ER would be to do as Boffer suggests and make the mix according to the recipe, but if you see that your plants aren't growing well be prepared to make changes if needed as Camprn suggests.

So now you have three different suggestions from three different members. How's that for a big welcome to the forum? Smile
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Post  WardinWake on 8/24/2010, 6:30 pm

@erbarnett wrote:August 22, 2010, zone 6
Today I finished installing a 4 by 4 SFG, using Mel's Mix exactly as described in the New Book of SFG. While I have a lot of experience with ornamental plants (a Master Gardener), I have little experience growing vegetables. I want to avoid trellises and tall plants that could be uprooted in a storm. I do know radishes are easy, as I planred them as a kid. Are carrots easy to grow? I want to intersperse flowers with the fall crop, as I want it all to look nice. I want to start planting either seeds or transplants around the Labor Day weekend. Can you help me?

ER: Welcome to the SFG forum. The only time that I have run into problems using Mel's Mix is when I did not use finished compost. If compost has twigs, sticks or other material that you can identify as coming from a specific plant then it is not finished. Un-finished compost pulls nitrogen from the mix until it has completed the composting process and then it will release the nutrients back to the mix.

Our carrots this year also were slow to sprout from seed. I attribute that to me not keeping the soil moist in the very top layer of the mix. Once they did sprout they took off and grew very well and we are now harvesting them as needed for general eating. We planted fall carrots from seed last Saturday under the shade tree along with 4 types of lettuce and 3 types of spinach also from seed. Both carrots and spinach can overwinter here in Coastal Zone 7A. My idea is that seed is cheap and I can always replant and experiment with something else or maybe a different variety. Last winter one of the contributors to the forum reported harvesting carrots from frozen Mel's Mix and they had excellent flavor. As far as mixing flowers and veggies in the same box, go for it. It adds color and interest. I use a number of different flowers in my veggie boxes as either companion plants or just because I like the flower. One thing I did learn when I planted tomato and marigold near each other is to use marigolds that tend to be small at maturity as some can become so big as to overtake the tomatoes.

Again welcome the the forum and we are so glad to have a Master Gardener in the family of Square Foot Gardeners.


God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  ander217 on 8/25/2010, 8:35 am

@erbarnett wrote:August 22, 2010, zone 6
I want to avoid trellises and tall plants that could be uprooted in a storm.

Erbarnett, Mel's method of trellising using hollow metal electrical conduit set over rebar which is hammered into the ground really makes for sturdy trellises. They have survived all of our windstorms this summer. To further strengthen them we made our rebar longer than Mel calls for in the book, and we have had no problem at all with them falling over. I remember reading one post on the forum in which someone stated their trellis had tilted over after a tornado went through, but they were able to set it back on the supports with little problem.

This week we plan to plant fall spinach, lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, mustard greens, turnips, kale, arugula, fennel, kohlrabi, winter radishes, and as an experiment we are trying English peas and potatoes. In November we will set out potato onions and shallots.

Can you tell me what flowers would do well planted now?
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Post  erbarnett on 8/25/2010, 6:44 pm

The compost consisted of equal parts of Posy Power, which is pictured on page 91 of the NEW SFG book, and Happy Frog Soil Conditioner. The PP consists of steam sterilized horse manure and brewer's grain (and a little gypsum, peat moss, and lime). The HF consists of forest humus, earthworm castings, and bat guano (and some humic acid). It all appeared to be fully decomposed and it had a nice earthy smell to it. There are 5 main ingredients and 4 additives. Sound OK?

I question using wood ashes in a SFG, as it is so alkaline. I was told not to use wood ashes in a compost bin, as an acidic condition is needed for optimal conditions.

Someone asked for a cool weather flower for fall. Pansies are the best selection. Sometimes they will overwinter and come back in the spring. Sweet alyssum and lobelia also do well in cool conditions but will be difficult to find in the autumn.
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Post  miinva on 8/26/2010, 12:37 pm

I recommend growing snap peas! I'm in Virginia and I grow Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Peas with great success. I've tried other kinds too, with mixed results, but the MMS always give a wonderful, tasty harvest.
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