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Old 08-11-2009, 07:42 AM   #1
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Regional gardening tips

This is a little late in the season for those of us who live where winter exists, but I'd like to see people Start their advice with where they live (oh, I don't mean your exact address, just general region of the world or country) and what works or doesn't for your area. I've tried to garden in Hawaii, central Florida, and now NW Illinois. The advice you give is definitely geographically oriented. What works in some places sure as heck won't work in others. So tell us what works where YOU live!

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Old 08-11-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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This is a good'n....Here in the Mid-South, we done harvested all the tomatoes,
peppers, squashes and cukes we need and are just picking off the vines, & stalks
for fresh stuff...watermelons & such are ripening, as is sweet corn, beans & peas..
Late next month(Sept.) will be doing our over-wintering stuff like garlic, onions
'taters and of course greens...We've been having some mild winters and alot of
people will gamble on really late stuff...seed is cheap..................................BH51
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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This year, here in the upper midwest, we've had a very cool summer. So many of my friends, and some of them with "professional" gardens (meaning they sell their produce at farmers' markets) have barely managed to eak out a few tomatoes, and I suspect our first frost may be around the corner. I only plant the most mature "early girl" tomatoes and have been giving them away. I over-planted as usual and have 4 plants where I should only have 3. I always plant an heirloom variety, but do not think I'll do that next year, just stick to my girls. Growing tomatoes in Florida and Hawaii was a real bust.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:43 PM   #4
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i still have two kinds of tomatoes here in so calif that are producing. couple egg plants almost ready. basil gone to see but still has useable leaves. way way to hot for lettuce. going to try again, maybe in late oct. needs cool weather, carrots and green beans burned up in previous heat wave. water is being rationed so that doesn't help. i don't think i will do next year, except for tomatoes
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:09 AM   #5
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Yeah, seed is cheap, but the labor involved! Holey moley. I usually plant greens on top of an old cistern. I can get three crops for the 2 of us most years. I started with mustard greens this year and when I went to harvest them, oh poop. Earwigs ate most of the crop. They were so infested that the ground looked like it was moving. I need to somehow poison it, but given that there is only about 3 inches of soil and .... well, I will think about it in the spring.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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I do organic gardening, so I don't use poisons, or chemical fertilizers..
If I had a problem like yours, Claire....I would water it good and then
spread black plastic over it....if the sun shines, it will cook everything
in the soil, insect infestation, grass seed, everything....in a few days..
I'm planting mustard greens & some purple top turnip greens soon...
.................................................. ..........................................BH51....
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:31 PM   #7
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BH51, that's what I had to do with all of my beds except my herb garden the second year I lived here, and it did the trick. At the time the lettuce bed wasn't, period. It was a brick-topped cistern that I got tired of looking at and simply shoveled about 3-4 inches of bagged topsoil and maybe one of composted cow manure (with supplements of each and a bag of vermiculite or something similar) every year or two). It did well for about 6 years, and this year was the first time I had such a problem with that particular bed (it is a little short of 3'X4'). It is too late to do that this year (it wouldn't have worked this year, period. You need warmth and sunshine for it to work), but maybe I'll do lettuce somewhere else next year and give it a try. Assuming we actually have a summer where the temps get above 80. You can't sterilize soil if it doesn't get hot enough. BUT the big problem is that there is a cistern under there. My tomato garden is just to one side of it, and my herb to the other, with normal soil depths. The earwigs only attacked that specific spot, so I have to think they're living in the probable filth many, many feet below the cap to the old cistern. Hey, if it doesn't work, no biggie. I'm also thinking of digging all the soil out (not a huge chore) and putting down some weed cloth, and shovelling new soil over that. I hesitate to poison, it seems to me that lettuce must be the most susceptible to carry the stuff you put in the soil. We're debating which options to try. I suspect, given our past few winters and this cool summer, that our first heavy frost isn't too far off, so any decisions will have to wait for spring ... to minimally treat and plant, or to go all out and skip a year, replacing or sterilizing the soil. My husband (NOT the gardener in the family) wants to not blame the cistern, but similar plants that grew just inches outside of the cistern suffered minimal damage, whereas I wasn't even willing to bring in the greens this year, they were so infested AND so little was left to rescue. Husband tends to see something on TV and thinks he knows it. As in, "why don't we grow xyz in that spot instead of lettuce!" Reply, "Husband, dearest, that soil is only 3" deep, you cannot grow xyz there!" Over the years it has been perfect for greens of various kinds, hardier ones in the spring and fall (that can take a frost) and more delicate lettuce in between. So I'd like to treat it, even if it means digging it up and starting over with some kind of barrier between the bricks and the soil.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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Sounds like alot of work, Claire....I expect to continue seeing some hot days
down here for a few more weeks so the black-plastic trick would be one
option that I could still try should I had your problem...fortunately it's not
been a problem......I've got another bed started this year some distance from
my first...I intend to work on it for over-winter crops as the primary bed has
alittle bit of a nitrogen over-load from too much chicken manure....should
I'd had an insect problem (and I did last year with a beetle specie) I would
switch to the 2nd bed...I'm begining to think thats the way to go...my
organic veggies are very important to me........let us know what you do &
how it turns out for ya................................................ ....................BH51..
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:34 PM   #9
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Actually it sounds like more work than it would be, to shovel it up, spray insecticide into the cistern, then put down weed cloth and put 3-4 bags of new soil on it. Maybe an hour of work. Greens don't need depth, that is why I plant them there, in a place where nothing else would grow, and no one else tried to grow anything (150+ year old house). I have another cistern on the property that I occaisionally look at, but we decided to brick over the entire area and make it the place where we keep our garbage cans.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:39 PM   #10
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That's the reason I started this line, the things that work some places don't work others. I could not have sterilized soil with black bags at all this year. It never got warm. We had a week or two when we used our window air conditioners, but seriously wouldn't have suffered had we not put them in this year. It has been in the fifties at night, dipping into the 40s. We've had a few days over 80, and nothing remotely approaching 90. NOT usual in the 9 summers I've lived here.

I probably will rescue the lettuce bed, because it is right outside my kitchen door (which dates it to about 1900) and it is the best use for that little plot of land.
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