Garden 2023

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larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
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Location
Long Island, New York
Anyone start planning, ordering things yet?
Crappy cold day outside , so I went through my seeds to see what I have and what I need.
Seed catalogues starting to come in daily. Have been thumbing through them ad folding over pages.
I did start loading up my cart in Burpee Seeds and Territorial seeds. Haven't yet pulled the plug yet. Waiting for good deals, free shipping and other promotions to come around.
I took really good notes last year, so I'll hopefully they will help me in planning next year.
Still have to figure out which crops will move to a different part of the garden and which will stay put.
Luckily, I got hooked up with a stable that was giving away free aged manure, so I was able to amend the soil late fall.

Some new things the year will be Achocha which is described to be like a cucumber/ pepper. I had them picked in a restaurant last summer and wanted to try and grow them. The Blue Butterfly Pea flower, which makes a nice tea and turns the liquid a nice color blue. Probably not wasting my time with beets this year. Still deciding on which tomato varieties and pepper varieties Ill grow.

I still have a few months to think and over think things.
 
We'll be winter sowing again, and starting things in the house, so only 3 months and we'll be working on it.
I tried to grow blue butterfly pea flowers last year but only ordered one pack of seeds, which was very few, and not many flowers. It was fun but more would have been better!
The first beekeepers meeting was last week and today mr bliss is signed up for 2 6-hour classes locally in January. He spent today cutting boards for hives.
That's what our winter will be: building hives and winter sowing.
@larry_stewart the aged manure will make a big difference in your gardens, at least it does for us. 2023 will be a great year!
 
We'll be winter sowing again, and starting things in the house, so only 3 months and we'll be working on it.
I tried to grow blue butterfly pea flowers last year but only ordered one pack of seeds, which was very few, and not many flowers. It was fun but more would have been better!
The first beekeepers meeting was last week and today mr bliss is signed up for 2 6-hour classes locally in January. He spent today cutting boards for hives.
That's what our winter will be: building hives and winter sowing.
@larry_stewart the aged manure will make a big difference in your gardens, at least it does for us. 2023 will be a great year!
Im jealous of you guys with the bees. Before my son went to China, we were going to take a Bee class together, bu It didnt work out. The year it was going to work out, the head beekeeper had to go to another state for some emergency bee reason. Then off to China my son went. I still want to take a course, even if I never have a hive ( not sure if Im allowed where I live), but just for the experience and to learn the process.

I wanted to grow those Butterfly pea flowers last year. I ordered them but they never got delivered. I got my money back, but if I never would have gotten them in time to grow again thanksgiving year soI delayed it for this year. The only thing I use them for is this vegan drink that I learned in a cooking class I took. Any time I could combine my two favorite hobbies ( cooking and gardening) I jump at the chance. I usually try to grow a few new things each year. Most are one time wonders, just to prove I can do it and to see the plant first hand. Occasionally one will make it into my yearly rotation. Last year I did " Winged beans". and those yard long beans. Both produced, but neither I would grow again. This year the Butterfly pea flower, the achocha will get some real estate on my garden.

I tried winter sowing once with mixed results. Which crops have you had best success with using this method ?
 
Tomatoes work but are smaller at planting time than growing them indoors, (sometimes) and they catch up quickly—no problem bringing them to harvest.
Onions from seed-great. Asparagus from seed-great. Flowers (annuals and perennials) and herbs work great. Amaranth and sunflowers did well last year.

We plant directly in the soil, cucumbers, squash, and beans. (some people have good results with squashes and cucumbers in jugs)
Peppers-require warmer soil conditions so not Peppers. We'll grow those indoors.

I haven't tried root vegetables since they don't like to be transplanted.
 
Funny you should ask this now - I'm sitting here going through tomato seeds, separating ones I will definitely grow again (6 varieties), and the ones that I won't grow again. Also, I have 11 new ones - 4 I ordered this year, and 7 I got from a fellow gardener. A few of those are really old, but I'll still try them, to see if they are viable.

I've gotten 3 orders of seeds, so far - most I ordered while sitting around sick a while back. Not many I have to order now. A store nearby has Burpee seeds at 40% off all the time, for some seeds I need there.
 
. A few of those are really old, but I'll still try them, to see if they are viable.
Years ago ( like 20 + years ago) a friend grew one of the biggest, best tomatoes I've ever seen and tasted. She forgot the exact variety, but brought me in one to taste. It was so big, you had to store it upside down, or else it would bruise under its own weight. Anyway, I saved the seeds and grew it for years. Little by little, the plants became less productive, and finally, I went 0 for 6 as far as germination goes. I'm a hoarder, so I just put the remaining seeds aside and forgot about them. !0 - 15 years later, They resurface as I was cleaning up my basement, and I figured, what the heck. Let me see if I can get some to germinate. Sure enough all of them did. I was so happy to bring back a blast from the past. I stopped growing them again, because I have come across almost as good, more predictable tomatoes to grow.
 
Some of the gardening groups talk about mushroom compost, how good it is for gardens. I have looked around where we are and I don't see places close to us. @larry_stewart I'm guessing you use your used growing mediums in your gardens?
 
Some of the gardening groups talk about mushroom compost, how good it is for gardens. I have looked around where we are and I don't see places close to us. @larry_stewart I'm guessing you use your used growing mediums in your gardens?
Yes I do. Since I grow at such a small scale, it doesnt amount to much, but I repurpose what I do use. Depending on the mushroom. the growing medium differs. Some are blocks of sawdust inoculated with mushroom spawn, others are inoculated grains and when I do button mushrooms ( which rarely do anymore) its usually sterilized aged manure along with soil. Alll decompose well . The ones that grow on the logs dont break down quick enough to me to effectively. One variety just grows amongst / under the exiting plants ( I planted them under some of my tomatoes ) and its like a symbiotic relationship. The tomatoes / plants provide shade while the mushrooms break down elements of the soil . Im pretty sure Ive seen mushroom compost sold commercially. Ive never bought it. I also know in areas of Pennsylvania, near where there are many mushroom farms it is accessible.
 
What is mushroom compost?
Mushroom compost is the soil or growth medium left over after the mushrooms (that grew in them) have finished producing their crop.

 
I used to get mushroom compost dirt cheap (yes, pun intended) when I would make trips over through Kennett Square - the mushroom capitol - before many mushrooms were widely available around here, plus the next town over (Avondale) had sources for Mexican food, and that was my only source. The mushroom compost was always an almost black compost, which always helped the plants I used it on.
 
I started using mushroom compost in my garden after I became a master gardener and found out that it's used on our demonstration vegetable garden. The vegetables we raise are donated to the local food pantry.
 
Starting off 2023 garden season . by making a few Shiitake logs.
When I was shopping last week, I drove around back of the market, to avoid traffic, and I noticed some freshly cut oak logs ( which are needed, and preferred for growing shiitake mushrooms). the logs were located just over the fence behind the parking lot in a wooded area. Im guessing during a storm, a tree fell into the parking , and they just cut it and tossed it over the fence. Anyway, I couldn't just pick them up and load my car, too having insomnia, I was up at about 4 am. I made my way down to this vacant wooden lot , with 2 hand saws in hand. Sawed the logs to manageable sizes, tossed them back over the fence to the parking lot (. where my car was), and loaded them up and took home. When I told my wife what I did, she said it would have served me right if someone who lives in the area called the police to report some strange guy, walking around with saws in the middle of the night, disappearing into a vacant wooden area. Anyway, I drilled holes every 6 inches or so, placed inoculated dowels in each hole, tapped them into place and covered the dowels and ends with wax to keep the log moist. I will then place them in a shaded area of the yard, and basically wait for them to fruit. Could be anywhere from next spring to next fall.
 

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When will you be putting your logs outside? Is there snow on the ground where you are? Does it matter?
They are outside now. No snow yet ( but there should be). They kinda need to go trough a a cycle. They spawn will spread throughout the log, then the spring higher temps and moisture will trigger them to produce mushrooms. different varieties need different conditions . Some produce in the spring, others the fall and some both, Last week it was kind warm here, so one of my logs produced about a dozen mushrooms. I wasnt expecting it, but decided to check the log since it was so warm ( 60's). They grow pretty quick under the right conditions. There have been some days where I left for work in the morning with an empty log, and came home later that evening with a bunch of mushrooms. What I like most is they grow where most other things wont, so they dont take up any garden space from my other crops. They also produce ( in most cases) earlier and later than my other crops ( early spring / late fall) so it extends the growing season for me. There are some types of mushrooms that prefer the hotter months, so I grow those too.
 
I bought some tomato seeds that are new to Burpee. I would love to do heirlooms, but I have very little space and simply have had marginal yields with heirlooms. Plus I had a fungus hit the area that I like planting tomatoes so will be swapping out that space with okra.

I have a partially shaded raised garden that has not been successful growing much. Might lettuce or greens grow there?
 
I bought some tomato seeds that are new to Burpee. I would love to do heirlooms, but I have very little space and simply have had marginal yields with heirlooms. Plus I had a fungus hit the area that I like planting tomatoes so will be swapping out that space with okra.

I have a partially shaded raised garden that has not been successful growing much. Might lettuce or greens grow there?
My west garden is shaded all afternoon, and I grew kales (different kinds) and picked them all summer. A lettuce garden can get scorched leaves if it is fully in the sun during mid summer. They make shade cloth to give it some relief for that, so lettuce would probably like it just fine in a partially shaded garden.
 
A few years back, we went to Spain where I enjoyed the Catalan tomato bread. The tomatoes had an amazing flavor and I was told they were "Colgar Hanging Tomatoes." I found seeds so got some to plant this year. I also have a obtained some other seeds to start. Okra, eggplant, other tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers. It sounds like a lot, but I have two small spaces where I can plant. :LOL:
 
A few years back, we went to Spain where I enjoyed the Catalan tomato bread. The tomatoes had an amazing flavor and I was told they were "Colgar Hanging Tomatoes." I found seeds so got some to plant this year. I also have a obtained some other seeds to start. Okra, eggplant, other tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers. It sounds like a lot, but I have two small spaces where I can plant. :LOL:
Sounds great to me! Im itching together outside and get dirty. I did all my planning over the winter and nowise the waiting game
 

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