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Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s

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Post  middlemamma 9/24/2010, 6:05 pm

about things I didnt plant this year.

I hear brussel sprouts are huge plants...could nothing go in the adjacent boxes? or would lettuce or spinach/ or baby pak choi grow there ok?

What about broccoli? Is it a huge plant as well and if so the same question about adjacent squares?


Are bell pepper plants and say a jalepeno plant similar in size?

If not would radishes grow in squares next to bell peppers?

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Post  Megan 9/24/2010, 8:26 pm

My peppers are 3-4 feet tall. Not sure whether they couldn't get bigger, they were a bit shaded out by my tomatoes. They are 1 or 2 a square, possibly a little crowded. I think radishes would be fine next to them. I have swiss chard next to mine.

You could probably do pak choi also, but the pak choi will probably be done by the time the peppers get around to growing... at least, it was that way for me.
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Post  elliephant 9/24/2010, 9:36 pm

My bell pepper plants were quite similar in size to my hot pepper plants.

I grew broccoli and cauliflower next to each other and they did fine. Definitely filled up their squares, though.
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Post  boffer 9/24/2010, 9:39 pm

My BS plants are pushing four feet tall, but you could plant most anything that's shorter around them in adjacent squares; you can always pull off the leaves if they get in the way. My broccoli gets to be three feetish, but they come and go. Anything shorter can be planted around them. Cabbage is a space hog. I forget what Mel says is a good planting space-1 per 2 feet? definitely nothing less.

My peppers don't seem to get as tall as everyone elses-I'll pass on that.

(I plant 1-2 pepper plants per square cause my family tradition says that peppers like company. I never have a very good pepper harvest-I don't know if that's because of my weather or my spacing! Wink)
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Post  Chopper 9/24/2010, 11:24 pm

boffer wrote:

(I plant 1-2 pepper plants per square cause my family tradition says that peppers like company. I never have a very good pepper harvest-I don't know if that's because of my weather or my spacing! Wink)

I never do either. Everything is small. And it ain't from lack of sun.

Mmma: of the plants you mentioned:
BS are probably the tallest and should be on the north side of the box.
Things like cabbage that get big around, I like to plant in one of the side squares to utilize the open space next to the box rather than crowd another square.
Broccoli is certainly takes up its square, but is 2-3 ft tall so plan accordingly shade wise.
Pepper plants - same - take up their square but no more - maybe 2-3 ft tall also. Pepper plants that I have seen are all more or less the same no matter what the variety.

See, I may not know what I am talking about, but I say it with such authority. Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s Icon_biggrin
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Post  middlemamma 9/25/2010, 1:56 am

Thanks everyone. If I ever figure out how to make my "master garden plan" for next year a jpg, I will try and post it.

Just daydreaming about spring and trying to figure where I need to put what for the best possible year!!

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Post  pattipan 9/25/2010, 3:25 pm

In one of my 4 x 4 boxes we planted 8 broccoli plants (Packman) on the south side. On the north side (with trellis) is one cherry tomato plant in one corner and 6 cucumber plants (2 per square) in the grid row. In between these in the four remaining squares I planted some Anaheim peppers, purple basil and nasturtiums.

The broccoli quickly began to shade the pepper plants and they reached a standstill in growth, so I moved those and stuck in some more nasturtiums. The basil is smaller than normal (I have a huge one in a pot to compare), but it looks great and doesn't seem to mind sharing the space. Next year...I'll remember this and plant something like lettuce or onions in that shady spot.

Our broccoli was exceptional this year! We've been eating off those eight plants since May. This morning we pulled it up as it had finally produced all it was going to. The stems looked like small tree trunks!

I have 8 broccolini plants about 5 inches tall now sharing a 4 x 4 with Swiss chard and jalapenos. Hopefully we'll get some tasty buds before it really gets cold. Last year I planted fall broccoli and got nary a bud. :-(

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Post  acara 9/25/2010, 6:29 pm

Bell peppers (green, red and yellow) are no problem. Stake them when you first plant them & keep the going on the stake. Even with stalks as big around as your thumb, it's rare to have them go much over 3'.

Keep the dead growth snipped and tou should have no problem keeping them in the square.

However, they may gve you trouble if you just let the do their own thing.
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Post  Megan 9/25/2010, 6:34 pm

acara wrote:Stake them when you first plant them & keep the going on the stake.

This is REALLY good advice in general for staking plants. I staked my plants late. It worked out okay in the end, but I could tell I was driving the stakes down through the plants' roots and I'm sure they did not appreciate that at all.
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Post  acara 9/25/2010, 7:35 pm

These are bell peppers in the SFG ...no problem staying in the square, even at 30";

Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0865


I actually mass-plant these 4 at a time in big bowls & have no problem keeping them in-check. here are some bigger peppers;

Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0866


In both cases the "trick" is to stake them early and keep them trained. This is the best little gizmo Ive found .... and they are PVC coated wire, about indestructable, come in multiple sizes and are under $1.00 at HD (same section you buy ties/stakes).


Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0867


Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0868


I use the smallest ones (best for peppers IMHO), but they come a lot longer and with larger crooks. You can see them installed if you look close at the pictures.

When you start the plant, flip the "crook" backwards & attached the plant like would with any other stake, once the stalk/stem gets high enough, flip them around and manuever the stem into the hook.

These things really give a lot of stability to the plant, even when they get much larger.
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Post  Chopper 9/25/2010, 8:31 pm

I LOVE those stakes!
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Post  middlemamma 9/25/2010, 10:45 pm

acara wrote:
When you start the plant, flip the "crook" backwards & attached the plant like would with any other stake, once the stalk/stem gets high enough, flip them around and manuever the stem into the hook.

I don't understand this part.

I am glad you said you use these stakes...I have wondered about them but never heard anyone say anything anout them. THANK YOU.
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Post  quiltbea 9/25/2010, 11:21 pm

If you find cabbages take up too much of their square, get the mini-cabbages. Flavor is great and they fit fine in a square.
Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s 09-19-10
These are a couple of the Super Red 80s I still have left in the bed. They head up tight and are not too big, fitting well in a square.
Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s 08-12-10
These are regular Jersey Wakefields last year that were getting bigger than their squares last year in early August.
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Post  Chopper 9/26/2010, 1:46 am

middlemamma wrote:
acara wrote:
When you start the plant, flip the "crook" backwards & attached the plant like would with any other stake, once the stalk/stem gets high enough, flip them around and manuever the stem into the hook.

I don't understand this part.

I think all they are saying is this:
Put the stake in the ground next to the plant first and then hook the round part around the stem of the plant. Not sure if that is clearer.
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Post  acara 9/26/2010, 3:55 am

Sorry ... was out in garden.

I'll grab a plant and show ya ...

Be right back
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Post  acara 9/26/2010, 4:40 am

Okies ... I'm back. Luckily, I've even got a spare pepper to transplant tongue

Grab your snips, your stake, your attachment method of preference ......


Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0869


Insert your stake with the crook turned outward. Secure plant to stake. The 18" stakes work well for SFG since once you insert them 6-8" deep, the crook should be at 10-12" height (which works best for me ...at least for peppers.

Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0870


Finished product should look like this (except growing in your garden...LOL):

Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0871


** Cue time warp ... cue music ... cue announcer ***

"Somewhere, in the not so distant future"

Your pepper plant will have grown, you've kept the stem trimmed and tied to the stake ..... and viola, its time for the last step.

Gently rotate the stake until the stem is inside the crook ..... and your done.

Planning for Spring: Have some ?'s DSCN0872


Again, FWIW ... I've never had to add any additional support to my peppers, regardless of size. These stake-gizmo-things absolutely rock !!!
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Post  Megan 9/26/2010, 5:50 am

Ah hah... I get it now! It was the "flip" word that threw me off, dyslexic as I am. It's actually a rotation.... which is what I expected from a support like that. (I was reading it like a flip top, and thinking.... wait... that's a piece of metal, you can't flip it up...can you???) Very Happy
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Post  middlemamma 9/26/2010, 5:34 pm

You are great Acara!! Thank you!

Megan I am really glad I wasn't the only one...but I was thinking flip meant the "crook" was at the bottom and not the top...and I'm thinking then what do you stick in the ground? LOL...I have an extreme mental block when I need to "visualize" something from words. I struggle with it greatly. I won't even buy a gardening book unless it has lots and lots of photographs. I just cannot "translate" words into a mental picture. My husband will try to explain to me something he wants to build...and I am lost 30 seconds in...I have to get him paper and a pencil and tell him to draw it for me.

THANKS AGAIN ACARA!!!!
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Post  Megan 9/26/2010, 7:42 pm

MM, you are not alone by any means. The really funny part is that my job DEPENDS on my being able to visualize, manipulate and rotate 3-D shapes in my head, plus estimate dimensions as well. But little things like this can still trip me up. Yay for human diversity! Very Happy
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/3/2011, 11:24 am

Is it correct to assume these stakes (or any stakes for that matter) can be used with Mel's Mix in a table top set up (aka the stake is not in more solid ground) Most of what I planned to grown this year needs staking or trelissing or lots of spilling out of boxes but there is only so much room on a trellis and I had to make a quick change in my game plan from in ground beds to elevated off the ground beds and am not sure if that will effect my ability to stake.
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Post  walshevak 4/3/2011, 11:48 am

I have the same question. Since my tabletops have a wire mesh bottom I guess I could stake all the way through the plastic liners into the ground below. There are already holes for drainage. But haven't looked to see if there is a stake tall enough that will go through the 1/2" mesh. Also, the wicking boxes that are are my son's house can't have anything stuck through the pond liner. I had thought about pvc hoop every foot instead of just at the ends and plant the stakeable next to them. Also am going to investigate turning those round tomato cages upside down into the MM. with the stake prongs in the air.

Anybody else got any suggestions?


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Post  acara 4/3/2011, 3:36 pm

Those stakes shown there will work ith about 4" of soil depth.

They come in different sizes, but the bigger ones may not hold larger plants with the typical 6-9" of MM in most boxes.

I have used the larger ones in shallow containers by attaching a "baseplate" of either wood with holes drilled in it, or a piece of brick that I used a mason bit to drill a hole in, then inserted the stake.

You just have to set up the brick piece/stake prior to filling the container or square.

However, if you have mesh bottom table tops with the 2-mesh/16gauge (1/2" spacing on center) then I would suggest just using 1/4" or 3/8" rebar in 10' lengths & runing it through the bottom of the box, into the ground.

Thats about the cheapest & most reliable solution I can think of.
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/3/2011, 4:22 pm

Acara-
For me I only plan on my bed being raised 6-8 inches, just enough to get it safely off my questionable soil. Do you think I could use a 36 or 24 in stake as you have and then drive it through the weed cloth an wire layers and stake it in the ground? Seems like it would be stable with the hardware cloths hole, plus being in the harder soil supporting it right?
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Post  acara 4/3/2011, 4:40 pm

I could probably give you a better answer by variety/type of veggie yr growing.

Those loop/crook stakes are great for starting about anything, but they have to be swapped out as the plant develops, for certain types of plants.
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/3/2011, 5:49 pm

Well I plan on trellising the small melons, probably letting the larger ones spill out onto pallets, teepeeing the peas, I was originally planning on pruning and staking the zuk like I saw in a thread here (was going to be one but I had 100% germ rate and have up to 4 available but will likely stick to 1 or 2 and freecycle the rest) and then there are the "58296745354" varieties of ind. toms. that I will in theory be growing (started seeds for one variety last week, no peeking leaves yet and now I wait for the 6 I "ordered" from a thread here) and the 3 pk of heirlooms I got from Costco that are ready to go in the ground... those could go many ways as to how they could grow.
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