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Spring Gardens North & South 2017

This year is my first full year in my new home (and Garden of Gains South). I had moved in at the end of July 2016, had a garden that I quickly plowed in the first week, but now I have a full season, and am much more organized & intentional with my planting this year.

Fast forward to 2017 & finally got the home garden fully planted! I listened to Googled sources on my frost dates last year & paid for it when my tomatoes were hit with frost; this year I listened to local legend & waited until after Mother’s Day to plant the delicate plants – most everything besides the berries.

This garden consists of:

  • San Marzano Tomatoes
  • Early Girl Hybrid Tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Habaneros
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Boyne Raspberries
  • Pink Champagne Currant
  • Apache Blackberry
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Mammoth Dill
  • Romanian Red Garlic
  • Strawberries

It really doesn’t seem like I have that many different varieties, but I do usually get carried away when it comes to plants..

The Boyne Raspberries, Pink Champagne Currant, and Apache Blackberry were planted earlier in the spring, plus I had an Anne Golden Raspberry that is thriving in its second year.

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Boyne Raspberries, Anne Golden Raspberry in background of this row. Row to the left consists of Jalapeños, Habaneros, & Bell Peppers

 

I’m trying something new for my tomatoes & pepper plants this year. For the tomatoes & half of the peppers I am using red mulch film under them. This will suppress weeds, help the soil retain moisture, and heat. I also have black ground cover fabric over half of the Pepper bed to test if there are significant differences in yield. The good this about the black ground cover is that it is woven – meaning that water & nutrients can pass through the fabric. The red mulch film is plastic & therefore repels water – didn’t really think the irrigation issue through before doing all that. There is a small hole around the plant so I can still set up some drip irrigation if needed.

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The Garden of Gains South. Tomatoes in the foreground, raspberries along the left side & the Pepper bed in the middle. I have bamboo stakes at every planting site – 5-6′ for the tomatoes & 3′ for the peppers. And Twiggy is singing the national anthem.

Probably going to have to replace a few of the weaker transplants. My tomato & pepper seedlings were grown under T5 fluorescent lights for about 6 weeks & didn’t really know what to think of the Sun.

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Weird roots growing from my tomato seedlings

Gardening for Gains North is @ my parents’ house & is where is all began. I’ve currently got ~1000 onions comprised of 10 varieties planted along with much smaller amounts of beets, radishes, turnips & a bunch of sunflowers coming back again from last season. I mainly chose that combination because it is pretty low maintenance, the garden is 30 minutes away from my home & I planted things close enough that it should eliminate a ton of weeding – we’ll see how this theory pans out though.

Nothing better than watching & facilitating the growth from seedling to garden – it is so satisfying to be able to complete this journey for a good amount of seedlings! This is only the beginning, now the name of the game is prevention of disease & pests and managing growth. Happy gardening, hope you make some gains this year!

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13 Responses

  1. Yes, listen to the locals, and make your observations about how things grown in your new region (any local almanac’s in the local farm/hardware stores?).

    We have not tried the red ground-cover cloth, but have used red-round plastic trays around our tomatoes and peppers for years. Whether the red any any influence on the growth of the plants and fruits I will not venture an opinion about. They do give a place to hand-water around the roots and do keep the weeds limited. An important hygiene suggestion to keep tomato blight in check is to thoroughly clean any cover or support for tomatoes and peppers before the season. We wash all of our tomato trays and cages with water-vinegar each spring. No blight for years. Also, we use soaker hoses when dry spells hit (e.g. no rain for a week during the 90F days of August). We put them in the ground when we plant, to get them close to the plants’ roots, and to reduce disturbing the whole set up later.

    As to those berry plants, you should enjoy them for years. If you are in the humid south, watch out for the orange rust that is native to this region. We just lost a patch of blackberries to this. We have had that patch for about a dozen years. -Oscar

    1. Awesome thanks for all the tips! I should have installed soaker hoses but still can supplement with drip irrigation and longer emitters to reach all planting sites. I’m in Ohio do the weather’s kind of all over the place lol. I’m working on keeping the ants and bugs under control right now.. thanks for stopping by and all the tips!

      1. We are just a bit over in the Appalachian mountains in eastern West Virginia. Mild winter… lots of bugs. The question is whether they are desirable or undesirable bugs. 🐛 Then, is the ratio of bugs to bug in balance. 🐞 Ants are great for opening up the soil, until they start to crawl all over your legs. 🐜🐜🐜

      2. I’m in western Ohio so weather is all over the place but we’re steady climbing now until July. I noticed I had a lot of ants in my garden too – are they good or bad? I thought they may be eating my raspberries because they were crawling all over

      3. The risk with ants is that they are “farming” aphids on plants. The aphids cause the problem when the suck at the plant’s water/sugar supply. The little holes they put into the stems leave room for infections & may dry out the leaves distal to their activity. The ants are collecting the “honeydew” that the aphids generate (sugar-laden poop), which they haul down into their nests to feed their little ants. I have never seen ants actually eat the plants or the berries. Pleanty of other insects will work on that!

        From my point of view, this ant-aphid activity is all part of the cycle of life. The questions is whether the aphids do enough damage to the plant’s sap-flow to reduce your harvest. I lean toward planting extra to feed them (as well as the birds, yellow jacket, black snakes, et al. who all serve various functions in nature). However, your generoisty with feeding a variety of critters may depend on how much space you have to be generous. Raising ant-eaters is probably not viable for your garden. 🤷🏽‍♂️ – Oscar

      4. Wow thanks again for the info and very good to know. Ants seem to be all over my backyard, but I guess time will tell how much damage it’ll cause if any at all. Last year had good luck with a wide variety of veggies. I was getting ready to spray some neem oil or hot pepper wax for pest control

  2. Thanks for stopping by “On a journey.” I laughed when i saw you were “south” in Dayton, Ohio! Good luck with the garden. I leave near Detroit and my mother (who is 91) still plants a large garden (tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, zucs, cucs, etc. plus a raspberry patch). May the joy her garden gives her be yours, too.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I meant I have a garden that is in one town and another about 10 miles south.. definitely far from the south here lol. That is amazing she still does that! I really hope I can take the joy of gardening that far into my life

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