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Thread: First year garden - first time on the mountain

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    Senior Member Tootsiepop254's Avatar
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    Smile First year garden - first time on the mountain

    The garden is in place. True to the Emerald Triangle, it was used to grow pot. Now we're planting veggies. Want to do companion planting. Any suggestions? Want to grow most of our own food this year so we don't have to make the trip to town (my goal is to be a hermit on the hill and send City Boy Husband to work).
    Cheer up, the worst is yet to come.


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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Never did any "companion planting" other then corn beans and squash.

    I plant what I want to eat. No sense going to all that trouble if that is not your goal even if it is a "companion plant".

    I am going heavy into the greens this year with Kale and a turnip patch going into rough sections I have never tilled.

    There will be the beans and peas planted where I moved the chicken run, along with a patch of okra and the normal big tomato patch.

    It is about time to get the seeds started.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Since you are in the mountains and first year you really should take a soil sample to your county extension office and get it analyzed. They will tell you what amendments are needed if any. Most of the major seed companies have companion planting guides online. Here's Burpee's:

    http://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicece...icle10888.html

    I concur with Kyrat. Plant what you eat. If you can companion plant foods you eat then all the better.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Tried to work this into my garden plan....but ended up with a sunlight vs plant height, early crops vs later crops etc.

    Short stuff on south end, early, lettuce, chard, radishes, peas, onions.... then later cukes, melons, planted later to avoid vine borer.
    Back tall later...peppers, tomatoes, beans, corn.....

    Need to rotate, so come down to what like what or not....get complicated.

    Good advice on soil....then amend, amend, amend.

    Helpful tool......guess ya gotta pay for it these days.
    http://www.vegetablegardenplanner.com/layout-tool
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    Senior Member Tootsiepop254's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Hunter I would have never thought about plant height vs sun so thanks for the heads up! Sun is an issue due to trees anyway!
    Cheer up, the worst is yet to come.

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    asparagus and strawberries can be grown together in a permanent bed

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    Senior Member Winnie's Avatar
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    The only companion planting I've ever done is Like Kyrat, growing Squash and Corn together and dotting French Marigolds around tomatoes and interplanting Garlic around the plot as I use both as insect repellants.French Marigolds, in particular are very effective against greenhouse and polytunnel pests.
    Much as I like the idea of companion planting, I have always found it has a negative impact on crop rotation, which to my mind is more important to the organic gardener. Just a thought.
    Recession; A period when you go without something your Grandparents never heard of.

  8. #8

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    There are two really good books out there on companion planting.
    One is Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
    The other is Secrets of Companion Planting by Brenda Little
    I do a lot of companion planting and you can do it so it doesn't mess with your crop rotation.

    You don't really want to be planting peas and beans in a bed where you last grew onions, nor do you want to plant onions too close to your active pea or bean beds. They hate each other.
    But you can grow onions in with your carrots. I alternate rows of carrots and onions and don't seem to have trouble with either carrot flies or onion pests.
    I also plant rows of onions on the outside edges of my tomato beds. If you keep the bottom leaves limbed up on the tomatoes, you give the onions sunlight and cut down on tomato leaf viruses.

    I plant chives around my fruit trees to help ward off stone fly maggots.

    I like to use mint to ward off cabbage butterflies but I grow the mint in a separate bed well outside of the garden (and try to keep it contained there) and just strew thoroughly mashed leaves among the broccoli plants. But no stems. Mint is the devil if a stem takes root.

    I use licorice hyssop around my grape vines.

    Don't plant sage anywhere near carrots The oil on the leaves and probably the roots will totally kill them within a 3' radius. I grow it just outside the fence to deter rabbits but have to be careful not to put carrots in the bed on that side.

    Marigolds go anywhere and everywhere. I'm fond of the small orange and red clumpy ones and they make the garden brighter. Mostly they go along the fence line but also I plant them as endcaps on rows.

    I plant radishes in with my cucumbers and squash. Seems to deter stem borers. Just be careful you don't get some humonguous-leaved asian variety of radish that shades out your young plants. I had white daikon radishes growing last summer and had to cut the large leaves back. Side note on radishes, let some go to seed. The seed pods, with the seeds still green are almost tastier (and are definitely hotter) then the roots. There is a variety called Rat Tail that is grown only for its seed pods.

    Another cool trick I've found is cutting up leaves and stems of rhubarb and putting 4 or 5 chunks in the planting hole for your broccoli. Prevents club root and borers.


    Crop rotation, as Winnie mentioned is just as important as companion planting.
    Another good book to pick up, if you can find it for a reasonable price is: The Kitchen Gardens at Heligan: Lost Gardening Principles Rediscovered by Tom Petherick. Though written for a zone 6-7 maritime climate there is a lot in there about garden rotations and what crops to follow on what crops, how to force chicons and rhubarb. It has a lot of historical gardening information. The section on pine houses is really interesting (heated with rotting manure).

    I like to start my broccoli indoors so I can get it outside in the cold frame to harden off during the last frosts. I can get that in as soon as the garden soil is workable. Dig a trench, put in about 6" of over-wintered manure (not too composted, still a little hot), cover it and plant the broccoli deep so that the roots are about an inch or two above the manure with about 2 to 4" of plant showing at the top. Gives a good root system. Broccoli is a heavy feeder. Once the heads form, they're chopped off and the lower leaves are limbed up and I'll plant beans in rows between the broccoli plants. By the time you get your crop of sideshoots, the beans are well on their way. I use a hatchet to take out the broc rather than pull it. Limb loppers work too when they aren't broken. When the beans are done, I chop them off at the dirt and till out the broc roots while turning under the bean roots, keeping their nitrogen in the soil. Then plant a buckwheat or oat cover crop on it to put down roots for the winter to hold the dirt, if there is time before frost. If not, the bed gets covered with chopped composted leaves that get tilled in in spring.

    Onions I start earlier every year and still haven't gotten em quite right. But those grow under lights in the garage starting in February. As soon as I can get the snow off the cold frame in March they go outside. As soon as the ground is thawed about 4" down, they get planted. They are light frost hardy but you really want to avoid a solid freeze when they're that small.

    If you really have the space, you can plant corn in hills the way the Native Americans used to do it. I've tried it by digging a hole and filling it with still slightly hot manure and building a mound of soil on top. Once the corn is up about a foot, you can put in squash and runner/pole beans around the edges of the hill. The corn acts as a support for the beans the the squash runs all over the place. The manure feeds the squash and supposedly the beans provide nitrogen for the corn. Never had much luck with corn. I don't have a large enough place to plant enough of it for the wind to do its job pollinating. In limited space, you plant it in blocks, not rows, but I still have no luck. I also had to start the squash in pots because corn can't be planted in the wet cold spring soil here. If you want to have winter squash harvest before frost check the maturity dates and be sure to give it enough time by starting in pots.

    Another trick, always plant your squash and cucumber seeds on edge, point side down instead of flat. You get less rot that way.

    I plant pole beans in with the squash all the time. Sometimes though, it can be hard to get in there to pick the beans if the squash is doing well. They usually end up as seedstock for 2nd planting or next year.

    Some of my rotations are:
    Squash > beans > onions/carrots (or garlic)
    Broccoli/Beans > tomatoes > onions (no carrots-carrots don't like my tomato variety no matter what that book title says.)
    Ground cherries>Peas>cucumbers/radish
    Peppers>Cucumber/radish>broccoli/beans

    My garden is divided into about a dozen 3' x 8' beds so I can do rotations in each bed to suit what I want to grow that year.
    Cucumbers grow vertical on trellises to save space and I'll head pumpkins and winter squash outside the fence to grow in the lawn to save space. I'll put in a trench of spring manure the year of the broccoli or squash/cuke rotation. I try to avoid fertilizers but Peppers do require some organic feeding beyond the manure. They are picky plants to grow.

    Keep a garden journal.
    Last edited by LowKey; 02-19-2016 at 09:54 PM.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Nice write up, rep sent....
    BTW oak leaves in trenches under radishes and carrots help with root maggots.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Do you plant ground cherry seeds or do you buy transplants?

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    I get the Aunt Molly's seeds. Start em indoors same time as tomatoes. Well.... you only need to get them once. I gotta admit, they can be a weed sometimes. If the peas get a good start up their sticks, they can usually handle shading them out the next year. Beans work better.

    I'm trying to give up on store bought plants. I've had a lot of trouble with diseased onion plantlings - the ones you get in bunches. And sets don't work for me so well. I had a pepper wipe out year before last from a diseased flat picked up at a local feed store. I'm still learning when to start peppers. Last year was the first year I think I got it right.

    Hunter, all I have here is red oak. Really tough and acidify the soil. I chop em and let em compost way out back for a season before bringing them in the garden.
    We used to burn red oak in the greenhouses where I worked to drive out the whiteflies. Had to be after the blower plastic was taken off so the vents could be opened though. Winter time it was sticky yellow traps (plastic sheets coated with a waxy oil.)
    Last edited by LowKey; 02-19-2016 at 10:05 PM.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
    ~ President Ulysses S. Grant

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    My soil is alkaline clay....and yeah take a couple of years for oak leaves to rot.....so I would dig down 6 " lay down a layer of leaves, and back fill with amended soil...and plant.
    If you dig it back up in the fall...about 1/2 the leaves are still recognizable....so is good for a couple of years.

    Gave up on a carrot rows...dug down about a foot in a bed about 2 ft. by 2 ft.....grew them in sand Danvers half longs.....or buy a bag at the store for $.50 cents......LOL
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    Yeah, do not ever add up what you spend on a garden every year. Between adding fence to keep critters out and sometimes having to shell out $40 for a truckload of manure or two, or maybe getting a new composter for kitchen garbage cuz your old one always seems full...
    This year it was netting for the cherry trees. Mine is more of a hobby. I wish I had more space to actually grow enough to put up for a year. Then it becomes a little more profitable.

    Nothing beats a carrot or radish fresh pulled up. A lot of times the first batch of peas or beans never even make it in the house. Just eat em off the vine.
    But I hear ya.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
    ~ President Ulysses S. Grant

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Kids grew up eating stuff fresh off the plants with their friends who asked if they were in trouble.....LOL

    On year the neighbor girl was getting all the cherry tomatoes just as they were ripening.......until he mother came over and wondered why she was have the trots for too many tomatoes......Had to stop her.....
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
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    Ha ha.
    We had a neighbor ask us if his 6yo kid who hated vegetables could help us pick beans, thinking maybe if the kid did some work for his food, maybe he would eat them.
    Yah, that didn't work out so good. LOL.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
    ~ President Ulysses S. Grant

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