Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Garden Adventure!

This is my FIRST garden!
Yep it's true, I've never had a garden before.
As I'm getting into this whole being frugel thing, I decided to give it a try!
We decided to start out small....Ha!!
It grew into a pretty big garden!
It's hard to see some of the plants,
but we've already planted everything but my melons.
Since I'm new at this, I decided to share some of the tips we've gotten so far and I'm hoping you guys can chime in and give us lots more tips!
Here's what we've found out so far...
Try not to laugh too hard at us!
1. End of April is normally too early to plant a garden in northern Indiana. I think we'll get lucky this year and be frost free!
2. 5 pounds of potatoes is a lot to plant in a garden. We've been told that in good years 2# can produce over 100# yikes!!!
3. A row of Zucchini (15 plants) will produce WAY TOO MUCH zucchini. 2-3 plants is more like a normal amount. opps 15!!!
4. Put Sevin on tomato plants right away. We lost 2 plants to cut worm the first 2 days. boo
5. Put Preen between rows to help cut down on weeds.
6. Best way to keep rabbits out is with a shotgun! (thanks Melissa)
7. Plant carrots right near the top of soil... not down 6 inches. I don't think we'll get carrots this year unless we replant them.
8. Plant your watermelons in with your corn -- space saver!
So that's what we've learned so far... Let me know your tips.
How do I get an awesome garden???


Danielle said...

Well it looks like a small garden....or not!!! I am hoping ours is big enough....this is our first year all over again...I think we did a garden for maybe the first year we were married then came Lance and all the kids to follow and I just knew I couldn't "do it all" so this that I have lots of weed-pullers....we are doing it again!!! (I think I will be posting our progress as well!)

So here are a few things I have learned....plants love horse poop! Really I think you can use any poop, but since my mom and dad have some horse manure that's what we went with...It is great fertizler...and really is a good addition to the soil...FOR FREE! I always plant our melon or pumpkins in mounds....One package of them it usually enough to get really need either tomatoe cages or something they can helps keep them off the ground (if they are on the ground they rot faster and the bugs get to them quicker). I think I might try something I saw in a magazine just for between rows I am putting down news paper then cover that with grass is suppose to keep the weeds out (weeds like sunlight so they newspaper covered with grass keeps out the sun..thus keeping out weeds)I don't think I have enough paper to cover my hole garden put I think I will try it with whatever paper I do have and see if it helps...again it's FREE! Also I have always heard you have to plant potatoes in the fall???? Is that true??? I am putting in a strawberry patch...and have been told to pinch off all the flowers the first year which will help the roots get a good start and use their energy in bushing up and then next year I should be able to get a good harvest.....I am getting starts from Justin's aunt for the strawberries...AGAIN FREE!! Hope some of this babbling is helpful!!

carrie said...

if you get way too much zucchini i have a good family recipe for relish made from zucchini. we love it and we don't ever eat pickle relish is easy to make and it makes the best tartar sauce .

Sarah said...

You went all out!!! And Deven thought I was nutty for having 2 gardens... Yes, I would say 15 zucchini plants is a bit much. You will be selling zucchini later this summer! I just planted 4 plants and I figured I will probably have tons...

I know you love Danielle's poop idea because you just got rid of all of that poop from the previous owner... But you need to make sure IF you do that, that the poop is older like 6 monthes or older. Because if it is too fresh it will "burn" your plants.

Also, you may want to think about some sort of mulch around your plants to keep moisture, if not you will be watering a ton in the summer heat. I am either going to do grass clippings or mulch we get for free from the Compost Site.

Also, do not water in the heat of the day. THe water will act as a magnifying glas and burn your plants. So water EARLY in the morning or in the evening, when it starts to cool down.

And weeding is NOT my favorite thing. Not even in my top 1,000 favorite things. And with a garden THAT big, and an area that hasn't been a garden yet, you have your work cut out for you!

But to end on a positive note~ gardening is VERY satisfying! I loved eatting meals last year that were nearly free, because most everything came out of our garden. I love pulling something out of the freezer in the dead of winter and know that YOU grew it for your family, and it is SO good for you! Plus the kids can say they helped grow the stuff too... just put them to work pulling weeds! =)

Melissa said...

Regarding the "shotgun" comment... might want to cook that rabbit up into a tasty stew. Make sure the windows are open so that all his little friends get the message that your garden is off limits! :)

I was telling Chris about your gardening adventure and he reminded me of celery. When I had it in my herb garden we staked two rows of boards about 8-12 inches apart the length of the celery, it makes it grow straight up. Internet research will probably be helpful.

DID NOT realize you planted so many zucchini plants! Oh my! Pick them 8-10 inches long, wash, slice in half, coat with olive oil + salt + pepper and garlic powder and grill til tender. Delicious when dipped in ranch or even eaten plain. Zucchini can also be pureed for zucchini pie and shredded for bread or chopped for adding in spaghetti sauce.

Last year our garden was so weed free despite the Weed Fairy's attempts to sprinkle her joy. I divided the garden into 5 sections and conquered one section each morning. When I pull weeds I keep a 5 gallon bucket close and pitch them in, out of the garden for good! Chickens love the weed treat.

Like Sarah, I totally agree with laying down a mulch around your plants. In the past we have used grass clippings. I tried the newspaper but it wanted to blow away. Probably needed a good water soaking.

ALSO, your lovely garden is missing one fun item... SUNFLOWERS! I will bring you 6 good starts on Sunday. We had a bazillion volunteers sunflowers pop up.

Happy Weeding!


Megan said...

Oh I didn't think of Sunflowers! I'm so excited you're bringing me some!!

thanks soooo much!!

Keep the tips coming guys, I'm loving this!!

free indeed said...

I married into a garden family and have gardened myself for 30 years now. Raised six kids on all the canned and frozen you say, some meals were totally free given that we raise our own beef, chicken and pork too...or use just beef. Anyway, from reading the comments, here are some added warnings: When using manure, use it UNDER veggies that grow above ground, and over veggies that grow below the soil (like carrots). Water in the mornings if your area is low on rainfall, because it's too traumatic for the plants which have been hot all day to be watered with cold water from a hose. Less shock temp wise if you water in the morning. We generally never have to water here in northern Maine. As for potatoes, plant them in the spring. I think fall planting would be for areas like Florida? I'm not sure of that, but most areas, you plant in the spring like everything else. Hope this helps.


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