Gardening in the Fall-HELP!


#1

So... we're down to one income and six people in the house. I'm trying to provide everyone with tasty, healthy, cheap meals. I figured gardening may help tremendously, but I have a black thumb.

I live in the Southern United States. We have a moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters; sometimes we have snow.

Any suggestions for easier, season-appropriate veggies and how to grow them? I'm thinking broccoli, which I hear is very forgiving,sugar snap peas, and carrots.

I know there are a ton of websites. I thought it would be fun for us to have a thread on here for parents to exchange ideas/advice for gardens.

I'll continue to scope gardening forums.

Thanks!
Cara:thumbsup:


#2

You might be able to get a crop of bush beans in before a freeze, they don't take very long.


#3

Oh, I also wanted to add that we’re six people on one income, too. We garden.

One thing I did was go around to local farm stands and buy something, but also talk to the farmers. Look at what they are growing, notice when things come into season. There are a lot of great gardening books out there, too. You shoudl be able to find something about ‘gardening in the south’ or something along those lines. They will help a lot. Check your library!


#4

Call your county extension agent–he or she will be very knowledgeableand helpful, and should be listed in your phone book under your county.

I got some seeds super cheap today at Dollar General, look around because people are putting gardening stufff into clearance.

I am planting broccoli, peas, lettuce, and greens (spinach, colards, and the like). This is a little late but I figure these guys will be ok.

I am also planting some Early Girl tomatoes; I have just enough time to get some if all goes well, but I also plan to put a couple of plants into containers so I can bring them inside and extend their season. They will produce until they freeze, I think.

And I am planting some bush beans, as someone else recommended.

If you have not gardened before, you might look into putting everything into containers, esp if you have access to compost (ask the extension agent). Lasagna or gardening in a bag can be helpful there too. And cut and come again leaf veggies. (It’s really hard for me to link, but you can look all these up. Also check out what your library has)

Good luck with you garden, but also you can save a lot by cooking from scratch, since gardening can be erratic. Baking your own bread is a fraction of store bought, and eating beans and rice, while it gets old, is cheap and healthy. Not canned beans, cook up hard ones in your crock pot. Also,'buy whole chickens, keep the bones, and make a very healthy stock out of them. And your grocery store may have “day-old” veggies, often pretty early in the morning. Those can be nice :slight_smile:

Good luck; we’re there too.


#5

Gardening IS a great way to save money and don't worry about your "black thumb". A little time and patience and you'll do just fine. Be humble and ask a lot of questions....Remember taht Gardeners LOVE to talk gardening,,,:D:thumbsup:

I agree with calling you extension agent. You can also talk to your local nursery folks. Cole Crops are pretty good cool weather crops. Head lettuce and Cabbage (Saur Kraut is easy to make and a tasty "winter" meal) "Snow peas" are another good option since you pick them before the peas mature.

If you can get in some green beans these will Freeze easily, just cook them first (but not completely) drain them and freeze. If you are far enough south to get in some tomatoes yet, these Freeze as well, just cut out the stem, quarter, bag and freeze with the skin on. When you thaw them out later the skins just slide right off. These are great in soups.

And speaking of soups, look in the stores for the "generic" bags of mixed veggies. Cheap and perfect for veggie beef soup. I just bought a big bag at Kroger's for $1.39
A big bag of veggies, some inexpensive meat, couple bags of frozen 'maters, some 'taters and ---hey I'm getting hungry....:p

Peace
James


#6

I'm going to be following this thread... :) I want to plant a Victory garden type of Garden (I would like to plant fruit too if possible), but I don't know what to do as of yet. We have a decent sized yard and I could make a planter or something, but I don't know how/what to do. And I have black thumbs too, not one but two. I can kill a plant by looking at it, lol. I too searched online, but it can be overwhelming!


#7

Wow interesting thread. I got broccoli growing outside, and man it's huge.

I got swiss chard as well. Spinach that is heat resistant should be good down there. Lettuce too that is heat resistant. Carrots grow good down there from what I can remember.

I think beans take like less than 90 days to grow, so if you get them planted you might get them harvested before you guys have winter. I think it was 53 days until harvest when planted for the ones I grew this year.

I grow herbs as well. Basil, mint, chamoille, oregano.

God bless.


#8

Oh, I just remembered, your ag extension agent office may refer you to a master gardener. They have been trained to help people just like you :)

And if you get any books or catalogs, remember that their gardens have been prodessionally photographed and look lovely. I loved visiting Williamsburg because their gardens looked like mine, except all their plants were planted on time :o But they just had old, rough, beat-up wood at the edges and their soil wasn't black and fluffy--it was so reassuring to see that.


#9

For all who complain of having a “Black thumb”…
My father seemed to be able to grow most anything and simply loved his big vegetable garden. Because of his apparent “green thumb” my wife once asked how he did it. His response was short and simple…He said, "I plant something there, if it dies, I plant something else."
To me that simple statement says so much.
Be patient, Be persistent, try different things. Not every plant will do well. Different regions, soils, weather conditions and a hundred other things can effect a garden.
As you learn, you’ll do better, the first planting that is successful will make all the work worthwhile and you too will be singing - - “Homegrown Tomatoes

Peace
James


#10

It can be overwhelming. The best and simplest thing is to pick a couple of crops (good producers and something your really like), and pick just a couple of people to listen to.

“Raised beds” (essentially big planters) are a good way to garden for most crops. They are not so good for things like corn that is better planted in larger groupings and take up a fair amount of space. But essentially a raised be can be no more complicated than taking some boards and nailing them together into a rectangular box and filled with some good dirt.

If you are looking to till up a garden space in your yard for a regular garden space, you can have the soil “ph” checked by your county agent and see what he might recommend, though when we grew up dad just kept applying liberal doses of good rotted manure :thumbsup:.
I’ve done the same thing to my little garden space next to our garage.
When we moved in the ground was just “clay” period but each year I’d buy some tomato and cucumbers plants (four each) and four or five bags of rotted manure. (You can get it at home depot or any nursery or horse farm) Then I’d dig out a bit of a hole where pour in some manure, mix it a bit with the clay and set the plant and water…
First year was OK, not great…Second year a bit better …third year a bit better and now (after 8 years)…The ground in general is really starting to turn into “soil”…and out of four plants each we get plenty of 'maters to use and freeze, and enough 'cucumbers for salads AND some really easy and great sweet pickles. :thumbsup:

Peace
James


#11

[quote="ScareBear, post:1, topic:252745"]
So... we're down to one income and six people in the house. I'm trying to provide everyone with tasty, healthy, cheap meals. I figured gardening may help tremendously, but I have a black thumb.

I live in the Southern United States. We have a moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters; sometimes we have snow.

Any suggestions for easier, season-appropriate veggies and how to grow them? I'm thinking broccoli, which I hear is very forgiving,sugar snap peas, and carrots.

I know there are a ton of websites. I thought it would be fun for us to have a thread on here for parents to exchange ideas/advice for gardens.

I'll continue to scope gardening forums.

Thanks!
Cara:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Mother Earth News September edition has an article about what to grow. It matches up with the organic box of food I have been ordering. I haven't looked online but they may have the online version too. the article is called "Top Tips for Great Fall Gardens"
Favored Crops for Fall...
[LIST]Leavy greens (lettuces, spinach, arugula, chard and mache)[/LIST]
[LIST]root veggies (such as beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, and rutabagas)[/LIST]

[LIST]brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and Chinese cabbage)[/LIST]
[LIST]Peas[/LIST]

in the south or other areas with mild winters, you can grow all of those crops aw well as heat loving favorites...okra, eggplant, peppers, winter squash cucumbers and potatoes in August and spetember for winter harvest.

I am not the smart one, this is from the magazine.


#12

Man I haven't thought about Mother Earth News in a long time...

Here is a Link to their Web-Page for anyone interested...

It reminded me of another magazine that my Dad Got for years and years called "Organic Gardening".
Peace
James


#13

That's fantastic that you're planning on having a vegetable garden! We have a garden!

You should find out what growing zone you are in: springvalleyroses.com/learn/zonemap.html

Then, on this website, there is a growing timeline for your zone: veggieharvest.com/Table/Vegetable-Planting-Calendar/

I've found lettuce to be particularly easy to grow. You can pick the leaves anytime, and the more you pick them, the more it encourages their growth. Peas are very easy too. So are radishes, but they don't taste the best. Eggplants and carrots are great too, but they take a while to grow. I've always had good luck with zucchini. Tomatoes are great, but they need cages to hold them up because they get so heavy with juice!!! Mmmmm! Strawberries were also surprisingly easy to grow.

You should compost too. Also, you should make sure to put up a fence around your garden to keep animals out. My neighbor forgot to do this, so some bunny had a really great feast!


#14

well since folks are talking about composting...please explain what you mean.

Also, often city or county will have rainwater barrels.

Another think that was int he Mother Earth News was gray water...it has an article about using earth friendly detergents and draining your water right into the gound to water your garden...I thought the idea was incredible ingenious.

oh and BTW, i have a worse problem than black thumb...its more like..."oh that's right! we planted seeds!"-itis.

I would like to learn about gardening, but have three dogs who use the same yard and rodents like to scurry on the back fence and build homes in other places where we have to call the exterminator.

too bad our terrier-mix only liked to get squirrel babies...I like the squirrels but rats just gross me out...of course if the squirrels did the same as the rats...they would cease to be cute...so glad they are daytime creatures.


#15

[quote="mamaslo, post:14, topic:252745"]
well since folks are talking about composting...please explain what you mean.

[/quote]

COMPOSTING

Peace
James


#16

Gardening? How about canning and freezing? My mom put up 106 quarts of beans one summer, plus she put up tomatoes with onions, which was her spaghetti base, canned grapes into grape juice. You can’t believe how much money you save if you freeze jam, and it tastes a lot better. Pickles are good, too.

Either way, contact your local county or university extension agents. They’ll have good regional information on both growing and preserving foods!

PS Also check your local library for anything by Farm Journal, plus check the titles to see if the blue ribbon preserving books are well-received by people who used them (based on reviews on places like Amazon.com)


#17

[quote="ScareBear, post:1, topic:252745"]
So... we're down to one income and six people in the house. I'm trying to provide everyone with tasty, healthy, cheap meals. I figured gardening may help tremendously, but I have a black thumb.

I live in the Southern United States. We have a moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters; sometimes we have snow.

Any suggestions for easier, season-appropriate veggies and how to grow them? I'm thinking broccoli, which I hear is very forgiving,sugar snap peas, and carrots.

I know there are a ton of websites. I thought it would be fun for us to have a thread on here for parents to exchange ideas/advice for gardens.

I'll continue to scope gardening forums.

Thanks!
Cara:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Now is the time for you to sow your things like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, spinach, cabbage, lettuces, corn salad, sugar snap peas, carrots, parsnips, beets, kale, collards, mustard, swiss chard, garlic (now's the time for garlic, onions and shallots for most people)...just be careful that you protect the young shoots from the scorching sun.

Some plants will keep coming back, like spinach: you harvest the outer leaves, and then the plant renews and those inner leaves you left will become the outer leaves, and more leaves start. Others, you gotta cut the whole plant, like corn salad.

I started a bunch of seeds in a seed starter and put it outside, but the shoots got real spindly and tall, like they weren't getting enough sun...but they were outside on the back porch :shrug:

So I went ahead and planted them outside in the garden, and covered each with a wet paper towel. I checked on them yesterday and today and they're all doing very well. I hope it wasn't too late to plant what I did, but it should be just the right time for you.

When it starts getting cold, you'll have to protect them from the wind and frost. Brussel sprouts do well with some frost, and do does kale. Kale is very cold hardy. Carrots do well too, they get sweeter after a frost. Other stuff like spinach and lettuces, you should cover with a sheet or plastic row cover. Even if they frost a little, they'll defrost when the sun comes out and will recover. Make sure you harvest them when they're not frosty because they won't recover after they are cut. Make sure you either pin down the ends of your crop cover, or bury them under some dirt, so that the wind doesn't flip them up. You can use old sheets or garden fabric. You can really extend the season by covering stuff.

The trick is making sure the plants are ready to harvest before the first frost so that they have a good start. So get a packet of seeds and see how long it takes from sowing to harvest. For example, a hypothetical salad mix might mature in 30 days. So find out when your first expected frost is (I'd go for a 50% chance of a killing frost, like 24): davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/ And then sow those seeds so that they mature before the first expected frost...

You live in a warmer climate than I do, and I still have time to sow cucumbers and zucchini btw....


#18

[quote="St_Francis, post:4, topic:252745"]

I am also planting some Early Girl tomatoes; I have just enough time to get some if all goes well, but I also plan to put a couple of plants into containers so I can bring them inside and extend their season. They will produce until they freeze, I think.

[/quote]

There are two types of tomatoes, and it should say on the label when you buy them. "Determinants" grow to a certain height and produce a certain amount of fruit and then die. They are "determined" to die on you at the end of the season.

"Indeterminant" tomatoes produce until the first frost. And if you can protect them from the cold sufficiently, they will continue to produce (slowly though, because tomatoes like the hot sun). I believe Early Girls are Indeterminant :)


#19

[quote="EasterJoy, post:16, topic:252745"]
Gardening? How about canning and freezing? My mom put up 106 quarts of beans one summer, plus she put up tomatoes with onions, which was her spaghetti base, canned grapes into grape juice. You can't believe how much money you save if you freeze jam, and it tastes a lot better. Pickles are good, too.

Either way, contact your local county or university extension agents. They'll have good regional information on both growing and preserving foods!

PS Also check your local library for anything by Farm Journal, plus check the titles to see if the blue ribbon preserving books are well-received by people who used them (based on reviews on places like Amazon.com)

[/quote]

OH Yea - Canning and freezing are great things to be able to do and really not that hard.
I think that the only reason it hasn't been brought up is because the OP is just getting started and looking for "fall crops". Let's try to NOT overwhelm him/her

Peace
James


#20

It's also time in my neck of the wood to put in onions and garlic... Those will be ready towards the beg. of summer.

Oh, and as you get into this, REMEMBER When you get a really awesome food. Let a little bit go to flower so you can harvest your own seeds... that's always fun to see how they go! TOMATOES are the best this way! (seeds from tomatoe not a flower... oops.. Onions flower and provide seeds... You'll learn over time...kind of fun to figure out where the seeds that produce come from... )

I'm a renter so I don't like to spend major $$ on landscaping and such. I garden for food... and for landscaping I use edibles. Even if they aren't necessarily something I would eat. Your whole place will smell amazing! And inviting to birds, bees, and butterflies, which help polinate...

I've also planted berries in barrells. So they don't get out of control. But you can really get a lot after a while.

I also plant dwarf trees in barrels so I can take them with... But if you own your home, you can get them in the ground when you know you have a great spot. We have a pomegranite tree that came with the house. I'll be taking slender branches and making starts so I can have my own FREE pom tree. These are ready to eat oct./ nov... in the store they go for some $3.00 each. (I should probably sell some, or TRADE with neighbors) I have lemons, tangerines, figs, peaches and olives... my passionfruit is fruiting for the first time this year, NO IDEA if they will ripen... (I live in CA btw)

Thing is, just keep finding out what grows in your area... and in addition to planting things that you have to plant every year... also go for stuff that comes back... STRAWBERRIES... for example... ASPARAGUS if it grows in you neck of the woods!

Squash are foods that hold a long time after picking too! (too late for this year likely,but maybe next year?)

And also do your reasearch on how you will deal with pests... I DO NOT put anything scary on my food. My kids would easily pick and just start eating. We use lady bugs and preying mantis... not sure how I'm going to deal with my winter crop as these don't seem to be winter bugs... broccolli last year was infested (suggestions???)

And yes, although too much for now... consider canning... IN FACT, you MIGHT look into deals at your farmers market so you can buy and can now for later??? You don't need PRETTY food for canning ...

AND MOST IMPORTANT... I find this is where black thumbs come in... CONSIDER you water source. We use drip systems on a timer. Crops get watered whether I remember to water or not!

Good luck, keep us posted!


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