Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
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07-06-2013, 10:41 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2013 04:51 AM by Dark Light.)
Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
In today's modern world a lot of people don't even cook their own food, even fewer grow their own food. I'm a big advocate of growing your own for a variety of reasons, and I am willing to give advice on how to do so. On a previous thread I gave advice to bemore, and I thought, hell, why not make my own thread.

WHY YOU SHOULD GROW YOUR OWN VEGGIES:

Growing your own veggies has many advantages. It is rewarding to grow your own veggies. There is a sense of pride when you walk out, pick your tomato and prepare it for supper. It can save you money....lots of money depending on how much you grow, and how many veggies you eat. It can be a good workout (depending on the scale of your garden). It's a enjoyable hobby for many people. It is a great survival skill, just in case you're afraid of the zombie apocalypse. It is healthy. You know EXACTLY where your food came from, what was put on them and what fertilized them. The best benefit for me, bar none, is the quality. NOTHING you will ever buy at your supermarket tastes half as good as the vegetables you grown yourself in my opinion. Some veggies have a bigger taste difference than others, but the taste is always better with home grown. This goes double with tomatoes. The tomatoes you buy at your grocer are bland, the ones you grow yourself are succulent, and if you so choose, not genetically modified.

HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN VEGGIES:
It is relatively simple, but to people who have never been exposed to gardening, it can seem overwhelming. All that you really need is soil, seeds (or plants), and water. That is the bare minimum. That is all that is required to grow your own food. It is helpful to have some tool to dig with though, such as a hoe, or a small shovel. You don't need a big plot of land, though it is nice to have that option. You can do an above ground garden bed which is just (hopefully) untreated lumber boxed in and filled with soil. You can dig directly into the ground, or you can even grow crops in large buckets. If you buy packets of seeds there should be listed at which times to plant depending on your location. If you buy plants it may be wise to look up the proper times online or in a farmers almanac. It is a good idea to introduce nutrients to your plants to ensure the best results. This can be in the form of Miracle Grow (or similar), Poop (not human please, chicken and horse poop are common), or artificial chemicals. If you are crafty like me you can build a simple tumbling composter which works great, reduces the amount of waste you produce, and gives you free, great, nutrient rich soil with which to plant. They are inexpensive and easy to build. Yes

CRITTERS:

Certain crops require special attention, but for the most part all you have to do is make sure they are getting plenty of water and sunshine, and weed them. Critters can be a concern. If you live in a rural area you may have to deal with racoons, deer, and insects. For racoons you can always just shoot them, but we have always used catch and release traps available at co-ops, feed stores, tractor supply stores, etc. For deer there are various low tech, and high tech solutions. Some people just cut their losses. Some folks string up fishing line around the perimeter (it startles the deer), some folks urinate around the perimeter, and you can even buy devices that have motion detectors and emit a very high pitch squeak when it detects movement, which seems to help, though very annoying if you still have young ears. For bugs, you have three basic options. Cut your losses, spray them with a pesticide, or squish them by hand. That's pretty much it. I refrain from using pesticides when at all possible, but there were two years (many years ago) when the incests were just too damn bad. Potatoes are notorious for getting the aptly named potato bug, which I squish. Corn get beetles. and worms. I squish the beetles, and cut my losses with the worms (just cut off the part they've munched on.)

SPECIAL ATTENTION:
Some crops aren't content with just being planted, some require special attention. Usually this means stakes, which are just slender pieces of wood with a semi-sharp end. You can also use bamboo sticks which you can grow yourself and save even more money. A lot of people use stakes with their tomato plants in combination with a tomato cage, or twine to help support the vines. Personally, I just use a tomato cage without stakes. You will need stakes with green beans, in addition to twine or some other type of string/line. Place the stakes every 4-6 plants and run two vertical lines mid-way up the stake, and near the top. The plant will grow onto these line and wrap themselves around many times for support. It also makes picking them a lot easier (though still unpleasant and itchy.) Some may require your assistance to get started on the line after they grown large enough, but after that they know the drill. With melons, such as watermelons, cantaloupe/mushmelon, pumpkins, and even gourds like squash and zucchini I have found it is wise to rotate them occasionally.

AFTER HARVESTING:


Of course you can always just pick your veggies and prepare them how you wish, but for long term storage you have two basic options. Freeze, or can. I have done plenty of each, and nothing is wrong with doing either, or both. Each have their advantages. Freezing is the easiest. It requires no special equipment (aside from freezer bags) and is generally easier. Plus it requires no special knowledge whatsoever. You bag it, stick it in the freezer and you're done. On the other hand it can be quite messy when you are dealing with liquids, such as tomato juice or corn (off the cob). Canning does require a canner, as well as jars and lids. It can be a bit of a danger to burns if you aren't careful, but on the flip side, you don't have to freeze it. This means you don't need a freezer dedicated to the storage of your veggies, and you don't have to thaw before cooking. This is the way I prefer to do it, but either are fine.

TIPS:
Be careful if you choose to use artificial fertilizer, a little goes a long way. Use too much and you will burn up your crops.

Always plant you plants (not necessary for seeds) in the evening, just before the sun goes down, and give them plenty of water.

Always water your plants (especially delicate vined plants like tomatoes) in the late evening, and preferably at the base. This helps prevent the from being burned as the water heats up in the sun.

If your planting in buckets (I save and use large kitty litter buckets) drill a hole or two in the bottom or at the base. This allows excess water to escape and helps aerate the soil.

I HIGHLY recommend using a composter, it works great, removes unwanted waste, and gives you great, free, nutrient rich soil. At request I can give instructions on making your own.

If you have in questions, or can help contribute don't be shy.Thumbsup

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07-06-2013, 11:29 PM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
I'd love a garden. I told my husband that once. He laughed. He knows I love the idea of gardening....

The actual work...not so much.


[Image: mrhanky.jpg]

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
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Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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07-06-2013, 11:40 PM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
DL, you really are fucking awesome dude. What an awesome thread.

Just visiting.

-SR
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07-06-2013, 11:47 PM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
@Mom
Non-sense. A small garden is little work. Start with a few plants this year and you'll see what all is involved, and you'll wish you did more. Next year you'll put out a few more plants, and so on until you'll know exactly what you want. A good small start would be maybe a couple of tomato plants, a cucumber plant, a cabbage plant and/or lettuce, a few onions, and a few stalks of corn if space permits. That amount of plants involves VERY little work. As you the years go by you may consider adding squash, okra, beets, peppers, watermelons, beans, and whatever else you fancy. This year I went with a relatively small garden which has required only a small amount of work; 12 tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants, 1 hot banana pepper plant, 4 cucumber plants, 1 watermelon vine, 1 packet of seeds worth of carrots and about 25 stalks of corn. I will plant some okra this week. This is very easy to do and requires only a small amount of time.

@Stark
Thanks Big Grin

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07-06-2013, 11:50 PM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
Actually...I do have a question. How do you prevent birds from stealing? Netting? We are growing some peppers (Thai chili peppers) and the damn birds keep taking them!


[Image: mrhanky.jpg]

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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08-06-2013, 12:00 AM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
(07-06-2013 11:47 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  @Mom
Non-sense. A small garden is little work. Start with a few plants this year and you'll see what all is involved, and you'll wish you did more. Next year you'll put out a few more plants, and so on until you'll know exactly what you want. A good small start would be maybe a couple of tomato plants, a cucumber plant, a cabbage plant and/or lettuce, a few onions, and a few stalks of corn if space permits. That amount of plants involves VERY little work. As you the years go by you may consider adding squash, okra, beets, peppers, watermelons, beans, and whatever else you fancy. This year I went with a relatively small garden which has required only a small amount of work; 12 tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants, 1 hot banana pepper plant, 4 cucumber plants, 1 watermelon vine, 1 packet of seeds worth of carrots and about 25 stalks of corn. I will plant some okra this week. This is very easy to do and requires only a small amount of time.

@Stark
Thanks Big Grin

I've tried growing tomatoes...dunno what got them...lol. I know the birds steal my small peppers. We live near a forest....lots of animals. The deer ate my lettuce I planted in the front...just steps from the house (it seems they don't like begonias) and destroyed my rose bush (which I actually didn't mind too much).


[Image: mrhanky.jpg]

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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08-06-2013, 12:05 AM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
(07-06-2013 11:50 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Actually...I do have a question. How do you prevent birds from stealing? Netting? We are growing some peppers (Thai chili peppers) and the damn birds keep taking them!

I've never had the problem of birds getting my peppers, nor have I heard of that, but I do have some suggestions anyhow. I do not guarantee results, though.

Perhaps if you provide alternate food source it may deter some birds, put out a couple of bird feeders away from your crops.

I have heard of people placing plastic red Christmas ornaments on their tomato plants before the tomatoes are present/ripe. The birds try their beaks out on the ornaments, decide that plant doesn't make good food and then leave the plants alone when you have real tomatoes. Perhaps you can try something similar on your peppers.

Last option I know of are nets. Good luck, wish I could speak from experience on this one. Good luck!

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08-06-2013, 12:08 AM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
Get a five gallon pot (like one you'd buy a tree in). Fill it with a good mix (DL or I can tell you a good pot mix if you need) and plant whatever you want. Then put in a tomato cage and wrap in netting. Easy-peasy bird-proof planter. Now go make a whole bunch more and put them wherever it's convenient to water them. A broccoli in this one. A mini bed of carrots there (about two meals worth fit in a pot) another with a couple stalks of corn (two stalks feed my family of three four times). Frost coming tonight? No worries, just pick up the tomatoes and put them indoors over night.

Just visiting.

-SR
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08-06-2013, 12:14 AM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
This is an after-thought, and I've never used one, but maybe a scare-crow would be helpful. I've never heard of it, but maybe a "scare-bird" may also help. Make something that resembles a predator bird and post it at the edge of your garden. I don't know, they may sell them, if not it should be relatively easy to make with some paint and stryofoam, maybe some feathers for good measure.

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08-06-2013, 12:37 AM
RE: Dark Light's Veggie Growing Thread
(08-06-2013 12:14 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  This is an after-thought, and I've never used one, but maybe a scare-crow would be helpful. I've never heard of it, but maybe a "scare-bird" may also help. Make something that resembles a predator bird and post it at the edge of your garden. I don't know, they may sell them, if not it should be relatively easy to make with some paint and stryofoam, maybe some feathers for good measure.

We had an "owl" on our roof because someone said it would scare away woodpeckers. It really didn't. Neither did a rubber snake...someone else from fish and game suggested.

Maybe something audio animatronic lol

The peppers were growing on our deck.

My other biggest problem is shade more recently. There's very little sunlight that actually hits our backyard because of all the trees. And our house. Our house faces west.


[Image: mrhanky.jpg]

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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