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Topic: First garden attempt UPDATE  (Read 4236 times)
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« on: July 31, 2012 05:37:34 PM »

Back in September or October of last year I got it into my head that I wanted to try and grow all of our own produce. Problem is I kill everything except weeds, I'm excellent weed grower. Our soil is particularly deficient of nutrients, or so I think, also its crappy clay. For example our mature trees are the last to get leaves (a month or two later) and first to lose them in the neighborhood, even though they are the same. So I knew I need raised beds. For Christmas I asked for Lowes gift cards and gardening books because I'm a planner.  I built my beds in the middle of winter, it was relatively warm, ordered seeds and dwarf fruit trees. I was prepared, spring rolled around and I got started. I planted my 3 apples trees, one cherry and orange tree and prepped to espalier them then I killed most of my seedlings so I bought and planted starter plants from lowes. 3 of my 5 fruit trees were dug up and eaten by the dogs, that was awesome (there is a possibility the roots of one of the apple trees is still in the ground so we will see). I also bought some dying blueberry and blackberry plants this summer b/c they were half off, blue berries lived and the black berry died. Bugs kept eating my kale and cabbage, birds kept stealing my strawberries but my tomatoes are a success. This fall the brussell sprouts and pumpkins should be in, and my tomatoes keep putting out. Pretty much this season was a lot of failures but I'm pleased that I grew anything at all and I'm looking forward to next years crops. Because of gift cards my total out of pocket costs were low so that helps. Hopefully next year brings many apples.

Main beds with tomatoes, strawberries, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, blueberries.

Tomato plant that is now over 8 feet tall! Has 20-30 tomatoes on it at once.

Dwarf orange tree, Its too cold here in winter to plant outside so its potted.

Dwarf Ginger Gold apple tree

This bed no longer has dogs in it, but pumpkins plants.


For size reference the trellis is about 10 feet tall. There are about 30 green tomatoes growing on the top portion. When they ripen I'll need a ladder to get them.

From the deck view
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012 05:57:59 PM by cjohns6 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012 06:29:01 PM »

Not a bad haul for your first time. My first crop was eaten by birds! Even the basil was devoured! I find that making a little coop with chicken wire to cover the most edible plants helps a lot. Its cheap and effective, keeps the bids and other "little visitors" away without hurting them or the plants.
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012 06:47:16 PM »

I made some organic pesticide that seems to work if I keep up with it. I'm most proud of the trees because they started out only 3 or 4 inches tall.

« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012 10:53:56 AM »

Nice looking tomatoes.

I totally agree with trying to grow some of our food.

I have encountered the same stealing from birds but they even ate the tomatoes. We put old CD, the birds don't like the rays of light they send everywhere when it's sunny. The problems are that the CD deteriorate fast and they do not work so well on cloudy days. I am thinking of building a cage with a net.
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012 02:25:43 PM »

Keep on going, you'll learn from each and every mistake.  Your tomatoes are lovely.   Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012 09:46:05 AM »

I too am on a quest to grow a large percentage of our food, and this spring was my second growing season. My first was last fall and I started late so I only got a few cucumbers and some cherry tomatoes. When spring rolled around I vowed I would at least make progress, and I did, I got a few really good zucchini, some shallots, several bowls of kale, some peas, and about a dozen tomatoes. My yields are TERRIBLE, so this fall I am not doing a crop I am just going to use this whole season to work on my soil so that maybe in the spring I will actually produce more vegetables! There is so much to learn about gardening! It's easy to be overwhelmed by it all.

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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012 06:44:47 PM »

I know what you mean. I didn't plant as nearly as much as I wanted to or harvest much other than tomatoes. I'm not sure what I'll plant next year. I might just stick to tomatoes, strawberries, kale and blue and blackberries. Or not. Will see.

« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2012 07:29:02 AM »

I loved your tale of toil and trouble  Cheesy. Congratulation on the tomatoes. I have found that squash and pumpkins are easy to grow, but you have to give them a lot of nutrition. If you make compost, they can grow on top of it. Peas, beans and carrots are easy too, I think. Strawberries aren't that easy, but they taste so wonderful freshly picked, they are worth the trouble.
  But I find kale difficult to grow - because of carterpillars, and other bugs.

I wish you luck, and am looking foreward to hear more about your garden-adventure.

« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2012 02:12:22 AM »

Organic tomatos huh  Roll Eyes good try. Happy planting Smiley .

« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013 09:29:00 AM »

I feel that if the tomato plant is over 8 feet tall and has 20 to 30 tomatoes on it at once then its quite an achievement considering the fact that your garden has had a lot of failures. Way to go, I wish you the very best of luck.
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013 03:56:31 PM »

I manage to grow 3 pumpkins. They were bigger than a melon but didn't ripen until November. I only took pictures of them when they first showed up apparently.

My strawberry plants are still alive and green even though it's winter. I'd thought they die from the cold, but we've had a mild winter.  The last strawberry it gave was in the beginning of December but was so tiny. I did get another batch of Kale to grow that survived the bugs, they made a tasty salad.

I pruned the apple tree and tied it off for spring growth and continued espaliering. It grew about 3 feet this year! The orange tree is thriving well inside near a window. It's about 2.5 ft.

I'm also growing cilantro inside. I'm thinking about more dwarf tree varieties for large pots to thwart the hungry dogs.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013 04:00:19 PM by cjohns6 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013 11:50:01 AM »

It looks great. It is normal for strawberry's to stay green, if it is a mild winter. But I think it is very rare to get berries in December  Smiley. But i suppose it depends on where in the world you live. Where I live, you can get strawberries from the end of June to the middle of July, and thats it. Lately some have breed varieties with a longer period of berries, to the end of August. But they don't taste like the 'real thing'.
  Good luck with your pumpkins. The plants looks so lush and green.


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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013 04:32:28 PM »

I tried growing tomatoes and strawberries last summer, but I didn't stay in one place long enough to take care of either of them. The tomatoes were at my boyfriends, and I let his dad borrow them in order to transplant them. He kept them in the darkest corner of his house with no water, so they died. I tried again and I wasn't over often enough to keep them watered adqueatly. The strawberries were at my dads, and I think they watered them when I wasn't there until my stepmom realized that they were supposed to be mine, then she just let them die. As soon as we get an apartment, I'm growing SOMETHING, whether it will be herbs on a windowsill or tomatoes and strawberries on a deck. Or both. Hoping for a deck!

My mother grew quite the impressive garden when she had the yard for it, watermelons, lettuce (or cabbage? I was really young, don't remember) broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes of all sizes and colors, raddishes, potatoes, and that's all I can remember, but we had a huge yard and half of it and my old sandbox was a garden. Probably grew cucumbers or zucchini as well, or both. I WANT THAT! That is what I want to be able to have. And chickens and a dairy cow.

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