Vegetable Gardening

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Angelskates, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    We're planning a veggie garden. We want to grow:
    • Eggplants
    • Zucchini (we're doing Chinese zucchini and are hoping to have it grow up lattice)
    • Tomatoes
    • Squash
    • potatoes
    • lettuce
    • Chinese cucumber
    • carrots
    • garlic
    • onion
    • radish
    • a variety of herbs - mint, basil, rosemary, parsley

    I'd also love to do leek, sweet potatoes, capsicum, chilli, mushrooms, spinach...

    We'd love to make the garden as easy as possible (the kids working on it have special needs) but we really want to make it useable as well - we want our veggies to actually grow so we can eat them! We have some time each week to work on it.

    Does anyone having any advice? Is it true some of these veggies, like potatoes, can grow more by planting the vegetable itself? (Some websites say the potatoes can make then soil toxic?) Are there any things that shouldn't be grown together?

    I don't have a lot of space, but want to use the space I do have well.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you have!
  2. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    I can kill most any plant. Except marigolds. And tomatillos. My tomato plants produce a small handful of tomatoes after a tremendous amount of work, but those tomatillo plants produce like nothing I've ever seen. Take the paper husks off, wash'em, throw them in the blender with a chile or two, and you've got great salsa.
  3. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    I've never heard of tomatillos - off to google, but I'm pretty sure if I've never heard of them, I can't get them here :(
  4. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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    Just don't plant too early. Last night's frost got my tomatos. Southern California was not plant friendly this week.:(
  5. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Well-Known Member

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    My mother's family were market gardeners so vegetables were their business up here in the Great White North. Potatoes were one of their biggest cash crops. Each year they used "seed potatoes" to grow the new crop. All you need is a single eye to create a new plant. You can try this even in some shallow water on a window shelf. Basically, iirc, they would perhaps half or quarter the potatoes and coat them with some sort of powdered chemical(s). Not sure exactly what that was, maybe something to keep them from rotting and/or fertilizer.

    If space is an issue, I have a friend is Scotland who had a very successful potato crop that he grew in garbage bags. It sounded like an interesting technique. If you are interested I can ask him for the details, but this seemed to be pretty neat and tidy and space-efficient.

    One of their other big crops was onion sets, that is first year growth from seeds to small onions, which are planted the next year to become eating onions, as they take two years of growth for that. (At least they do up here - not sure if that is different down south.)

    Oh and we can grow tomatillos here so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding them if you are in the US (I am assuming). You should check out seed catalogues rather than Walmart seed packets anyway for decent seed afaiac
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  6. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

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    It's not a vegetable, but rasberry bushes are really easy to grow and consistently come up a decent crop of fruit.
    Pumpkins are also quite easy to deal with... and kids love them (even if it's not for eating)
  7. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Angelskates: Not sure where you're located, climate-wise, but the kids around here love fresh peas, which have to be planted in our area in March. I don't grow them, but they're really popular for school gardens because they go in early and yield rather quickly. Kids unzip the pods and eat the peas, and it is rather quick gratification.
  8. Blue Bead

    Blue Bead New Member

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    The "powdered chemical" referred to in an above post is an inocculant which is dusted on seed potatoes immediately prior to planting them; it protects them from several diseases which would prevent them from growing. At the bottom of this webpage it gives directions for planting potatoes.
    http://www.thegardenhelper.com/potato.html This inocculant is specially for potatoes. If you will be planting peas or beans you will need a separate type of inocculant to sprinkle in each row before you plant the peas or beans. Peas and beans need nitrogen-fixing bacteria to help them grow and increase their yields; this kind of inocculant helps them do that. Here's another webpage with all kinds of information on growning potatoes: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-04-01/When-and-How-to-Plant-Potatoes.aspx

    Years ago, even when I had a huge garden, I planted my pototoes in a separate area away from the rest of the plants. I did this, in part, because potatoes should not be planted in the same section of the garden year after year. Sometimes I used a makeshift growing bed fashioned with four bales of straw to create a box on the ground. I filled that with old hay or straw and planted the seed potatoes in that. Other times I used halves of old oak barrels. I drilled holes in the bottoms to let the excess water drain out. Potatoes do not like wet, soggy conditions; they'll rot or develop all sorts of nasty diseases. Generally potatoes like cool growing conditions. Like us, they are not all that happy when they are hot and humid, :D so plant them when the weather is cool so they can develop well before really hot weather sets in.

    I've never grown them in metal garbage cans, although I've known people who have done that. My concern would be that they'd get too hot if the garbage can was placed in the direct sunlight which potato plants crave. I'm not particularly fond of potatoes cooked on the vine. :p
  9. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Angleskates - Where are you? Kind of hard to give you advice about a garden without that. Also, are you planting in the ground, or raised beds? This is especially important for things like tomatoes. Last year, where I live in western Washington, we literally did not have any more than 2 or 3 sunny days in a row all summer. Even the Early Girl tomatoes pretty much came to nothing.

    Tomatillos are yummy but not self polinating, so you need more than one plant to have anything.

    If you stagger plantings of things like lettuce and spinach, you will have them most of the summer.

    I've never heard of potatoes poisoning the soil. However, potatoes are from the same family as nightshade, tomatoes and eggplant, so the stems and flowers and such are toxic - just don't eat anything thats above the ground, or green potatoes and you'll be fine. As for growing them, my dad used to just use seed potatoes. Get some potatoes with eyes that will sprout, cut them into pieces with an eye on each, and plant them.

    Can't wait to hear more about your gardening efforts.
  10. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

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    My great grandparents (in VA) used to grow potatoes in bushel baskets. Apparently it worked very well for them.
  11. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Angelskates is in Beijing China.
  12. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    My brother is big into the raw food diet and grows most of his food (raw veggies, etc.). I can give you links to the forums he uses to discuss the raw food diet - but IME they are pretty radical.

    Don't know if this site would be useful in planning your garden. I don't know what the soil content is like in your area of China, but that will impact what you should expect can/will grow

    Using the guide, I entered some of the vegetables you wanted to grow - this guide is based upon that information.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  13. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much. I know that I didn't start this thread, but as usual, this website has so much info, I can always gleem some useful hints. I just told my dad that I wanted him to dig me a spot for a vegetable garden two days ago, and I look up and LOOK! A thread! I've never done any gardening, so all of this info is helpful. I just wanted to thank Angelsskates for starting the thread and everyone for their helpful responses.

    I'm finished.....thanks for letting me hijack.
  14. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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  15. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    I grow about 20 acres of potatoes (hundreds and hundreds of varieties) each year. You don't need to put any dust (fungicide) on your tubers when you cut them. Just put a bit of bleach in water and keep the knife you cut the tuber with wet. Then let the seed dry in a cool dry place for up to a week before you plant it.

    Make sure you have at least two eyes with each piece and at least 1 1/2" or 4 cm of tuber. More skin and more tuber (i.e. cut from smaller tubers) will give you a better yield of potatoes. Plant them with about 4" deep, with plenty of fertilizer- potatoes are heavy feeders. They won't poison your soil, but they do host their own diseases, which will build up if you plant them in the same place for many years.

    Most important- DO NOT use potatoes that you buy in the grocery store. They are most likely treated with sprout inhibitors and will grow poorly. They have been field grown for many years and will have a high percentage of viral disease which will also reduce your yield. They are not the best varieties for a home garden. For the kids, I'd recommend an early variety, that they can harvest with the beans and new carrots.

    Tell me where you live, and what you want, and I can tell you what you should try to buy at your local garden supply store for seed potatoes.

    eta The River John Blue potato - see my user name. :)
  16. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Again, Angelskates lives in Beijing, China.
  17. timing

    timing fragrance free

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    Consider growing cherry tomatoes. They are prolific. We like the Sun Gold variety as no matter what the weather we always get as many as we can eat with one plant.
  18. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Hmmm, I'm thinking of speaking to one of the locals grocers to see if I can meet with one of the local growers! The soil isn't great, but I know things can grow and that's why I'm trying to plan and get a lot of info early. We had snow again this weekend, so I know it's not time to plant yet :lol:

    rj - what does "tubers" mean?
  19. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Well-Known Member

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    I just spoke with my aunt and cousin to refresh my memory about the potatoes and learned that the powder was lime and that my uncle only used it if he was cutting up the seed potatoes, (if they were small things he used them whole), and then only if he wasn't planting immediately. It was apparently purely to prevent rotting once cut up - to seal the cut flesh. Also they said he only ever worried about making sure he had at least one eye. He had the bet potatoes on the planet. Guess they like our long sunny summer days with the generally cool/dry climate.

    My cousin mentioned that someone at the lake she where she has a cabin grows both potatoes and tomatoes inside old tires stacked up and filled with soil. That would be good with space concerns, also help keep the kids from getting too mucked up if you have lots of rain and keep things tidy. If you have rabbit issues where you are planting I think that might help too.
  20. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Sorry, the potato that we eat is the part of the plant called a tuber. And when people say potato seed, they mean tubers or cut up tubers that they are going to plant. If they were going to use the seed from the fruit of the potato, they would say "true seed". But never grow potatoes from true seed, it is way too genetically variable, and some can even be a bit unhealthy to eat. It's fairly uncommon to see potato true seed for sale.

    Most potato seed sold in China is sold as small whole tubers, and wouldn't need to be cut. (As of 10 years ago, anyway) Asking a local grower sounds like a great idea. It can be more difficult to get good seed in China, because growers have traditionally saved the lower grade potatoes for planting. Look for a newer variety, because they've really improved on what was being grown in China by using more well-adapted varieties.

    I'm curious- what kind of garden supply centres are there in the city? Is it common for people to have vegetable gardens?

    eta- Do NOT put lime on cut tubers- it will burn off the sprouts and severely delay the growth. (I've done research trials on seed piece treatment) Lime mixed in the soil is fine, although don't use too much, or the skin of the tuber will have scab.
  21. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    I think you're too ambitious unless you have a fairly significant space to plant. You really need to research the size of the plants and the space requirements. You can underplant some things and do seasonal planting, but some of the plants in your list take up quite a bit of space. Speaking from experience, the number one mistake of novice gardners is to fail to consider how big that little plant will grow to be.
  22. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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    Normally - Root Tuber is an enlarged section of a plant that will give out buds for a new plant.

    You should be able to grow most of your choices later in the year -- April or May. I grew some tomatoes in a raised bed behind our factory in Dalian. It is colder there than in your area. Best to plant where they will get full sun.