Farm, Garden and The Land > Show Us Your Garden

bigbear - 2015

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We just finished our 2nd year in the house, so we're heading into our 3rd year gardening here.  Each year, we've expanded some...

Unfortunately, no pictures at the moment... but will do so at some point.

Fairly flat ground, in south central PA (just above the MD line).  1 acre.  Only one tree (ornamental cherry) and one flowering  bush (lilac) when we moved in.  Around the house was a bunch of evergreen bushes.  The evergreen's have pretty much been removed and replaced with rhody's, azalea, and a few other flowering plants/bulbs.  I'm between 2 horse farms (one dude's crazy, the other guy's pretty cool), so I have easy access to manure.

Perennial fruit/veggies:
Apple trees x3 - Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Fuji
* I planted them last spring, so they survived their first winter.  And it was cooooold.  None of them flowered, but based on what I've read, it's probably due to how aggressive I was with pruning.
Any other thoughts?
* Last year I had some tent worms that I mostly hand picked.  I guess I'll need to come up with a way to counter them when the trees get bigger.
* Lots of new green growth this year.

Blueberry x2 - so far just 2 low bush types because they're in a fairly shaded area)
* Just planted them this spring.  They have flowered and seem to be setting fruit. 
I'm hoping the location gets enough sun.  If not, I'll move them...

Asparagus - I planted some in a bad spot 2 years ago just to get them started... Now I want to move them, figures...  A saying I learned in Boy Scouts "Proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance"...  Anyway, I have since added some garden space, so this winter they'll be moved to a better spot.  I've also started a few other asparagus plugs in the new spot this year.

Figs - ok, I cheated listing this one.  But my father-in-law is moving soon and has offered me his fig tree.  He just planted it 2 years ago.  Every year it freezes back to the ground.  It'll be planted on the SW side of the house, so it should get blocked from the harshest winds.  Plus, it'll be between the house and my large freshly coated blacktop driveway.  Here's to hoping that adds the needed heat!  I plan on wrapping it too (my FIL didn't do that).

I've done mostly wooden box raised beds.  I did a small one for a few years before we moved here.  Two big pros: less weeding and better root development.  Though, I'm re-thinking the weeding bit since I've begun using the horse manure.  The cons: cost of the wood, fill dirt.  I've been composting, so I have a little to add.  And the manure.  Plus, this year I pull out a couple of dirt mounds (previous owner was into quad racing).  But we've also got a good sized plot that's not raised.

I started a good bit from seed this year and was successful!  First time!  The difference was a cold frame.  I brought it in a couple of nights that dropped down into the 20-30's, but for the most part it was outside.  Previously, there was not really a good indoor spot that fits the needs for everyone in the family - my wife included!  ;)  So my seeds didn't get enough light.  Mrs. Bear though does start the beans in clear plastic cups (just dampens a paper towel and slides it into a clear plastic cup, inserts a bean between the cup and paper, then stacks another cup into that cup to hold the bean in place, and add water occasionally).  The kids enjoy watching the roots grow and the plant shoot up.  Rinse and repeat a couple of week later.

Enough chatter?  What's in the ground?

In no particular order:
Kentucky green beans
Sugar snap peas
Lima beans

* Some type of slicer
* Some type of pickler
* And an Armenian Yard Cucumber - my son picked this one because the seed package said the fruit grows to be 2-3 feet long!  Who can say 'no' to that?!

Tomato - I don't recall the specific names, but we did:
3 - cherries
2 - midsized
4 - slicers
My kids took a few and put them in containers too.

2 - Jalapenos
2 - Bells

Squash and zucchini - hopefully I planted 3 of each...  I started 5 seeds (1 is none, 2 is 1 mentality).  But I didn't mark them and the cold frame fell at one point, so they got mixed up. 

Red potatoes - a bunch stored from last year.  I should have eaten more before they started getting soft this past fall/winter, because we threw some into the compost bin. 
* Here's my potato question - I planted them in the ground (4x4 raised bed).  Instead of hilling them, can I just add straw?

Watermelon - along the aforementioned driveway.
Muskmelon - or as most of America calls them - cantaloupe.

Sunflowers - 7-8 giants.  I grew them last year, but cut the heads too soon.  This year I planted some peas around a few of them and put a tomato cage around that.  A few are right next to squash/zuke plants.  Quasi-3 sisters style.

Now that I've got this posted, I'll be more motivated to take pictures and track the progress... (he says to himself hopefully)

Ms. Albatross:

--- Quote from: bigbear on May 19, 2015, 01:39:53 PM ---
* And an Armenian Yard Cucumber - my son picked this one because the seed package said the fruit grows to be 2-3 feet long!  Who can say 'no' to that?!

--- End quote ---


How is the garden Bigbear? 

I planted fig trees last year.  I thought the winter killed them.  But they grew back from the roots.  I started them from cuttings I got from trees located south and west of me that never die back in the winter.  I hope mine do better this winter.

Guess who has two thumbs and isn't very good about posting updates?  This guy!

But I'm getting excited about the garden this year.  It's been unusually warm this winter.  Not very long cold spells.  I would think that would mean a poor apple crop.  Which isn't a big deal for me because I'd like one more solid growing year.

We now have 9 blueberry bushes.  7 high bush, 2 low bush.  Don't recall the types.  Not much production from the high bushes yet.  But the low bush have done ok (but I still need to move them. 

We have 4 raspberry bushes.  Again, don't recall the types.

And have some strawberry and hoolaberries (some type of strawberry) plants around the blueberries/apple trees.

My FIL's figs stayed with the house he sold.  But I just got 3 fig cultivars.  All are supposed to do well in cooler weather and produce in first year growth.  If you want to get into figs or the Figs4Fun forum are both filled with good people willing to share their fig knowledge. 

The asparagus took well to the move.  I've added some more plugs, but am still going to wait another year or two before harvesting.

The Armenian Yard Cucumber wasn't as productive as I would have liked.  Plus it didn't taste very good.  But it was interesting!  And my son enjoyed seeing them grow.  Haven't grown them since.

I'll probably do similar stuff as the last few years - but with corn and not potato.  And add some red chili peppers and eggplants.

We plan on getting 12 more peeps this spring.  Probably 3 or 4 of different varieties.  Plymouth Barred Rocks, Australorps, and Delawares are on the short list.  I'm planning on growing some amaranth for the girls as well. 

The homestead has evolved over the years... 

Coop is now big enough to handle 20 chooks.  Currently have 10 with 6 more coming soon.  Last weekend I staked out temporary fencing around the garden so they have full reign of the garden beds (until I start planting out the beds).  It also had helped keep the neighbor's chickens out of my feed and will help keep them out of my garden beds in the summer.

I only expanded the garden beds a little bit last spring.  And no real plans to expand the beds this spring either.

This spring:
* Blueberry patch swale and retaining - done.  Just need to get and plant the bushes.
* Cattle panel arch trellises - at least 3 of them.  Will be used for beans, tomato, cukes, spaghetti squash, and some trellising flowers.
    * With the saved space, I'm planning on planting a few dozen sunflowers to supplement chicken feed.
* Wood chips - currently I'm not using wood chips any.  My raised beds and traditional beds are just mulched with grass clippings and pine straw from a neighbor.  And around the beds is just grass.  This year I've reached out to a local arborists and he said he'd drop off a load!  But hasn't happened so far...  I'll be mulching the beds, around the beds, in the coop, and in the compost bin. 


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