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agmantoo
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I thought that I would share a view of my 2004 garden with the folks here. It is planted in Carolina red clay that has had generous portions of manure applied. The planting date was May 10 th and it is a non irrigated garden. Just today we received some minor rain but we are having a 8 inch plus deficeit already for the year. Starting in the front of the pic are 3 varieties of tomatoes, next are my cucumbers, then the row of squash and in the background 2 varieties of sweet corn. Yesterday I picked the first of the squash (5 gallons) and again today another 5 gallons! I give most of the produce to friends and family and do the gardening mostly for the enjoyment. Here is the site of the pic, may be best to clip on the pic to enlarge as it is rather small otherwise
http://pub38.bravenet.com/photocenter/album.php?usernum=3228743215
 

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Well that sure is a fine looking garden. Maybe someday mine will look that good. What method do you use to keep the weeds down.

Susie
 

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That is a great looking garden - I'm impressed.

On a side note, I had to drive my son to a friend's house for a birthday party. They live in a small clearing in the woods. When we pulled up, I saw that they had put in a beautiful little lawn in the front. But as I got closer, it looked a bit funny. Oddest looking grass I've ever seen. When I get right up to it, I see that it's their 'garden' (only because of the four tomato plants sticking up). The rest was total weeds. :)

As it turns out, the teenage daughter had wanted a garden but she rapidly ran out of interest in these hot Carolina summers. I shouldn't laugh, I know exactly how she feels. :)
 

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agmantoo
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Discussion Starter #5
mvfarms91,
As for keeping the weeds under control, I till the garden in early April and leave it alone until it gets a good stand of small weeds started then I till again. After planting all weed control is manual. I have a push plow (obtained from the curb destined to the landfill) that has a cultivator attachment and a grape hoe that I use. I had rather use these tools as to hear the noise from the engine. With the soil conditioned with all the orgainic matter added the push plow is easy to use and I can push it about as fast as I can walk. The grape hoe is used to get the weeds that escape or are very close to the desired plants. Here in western NC, I have determined that there is only a few days difference between an early planted garden and one planted around the 10th of May. This way I have no frost risk nor the problems of trying to cover things up or replanting. Admittedly, I am cheap. I start from seed rather than bought plants. Tomatoes are started earlier from seed and transplanted. In the garden above, the total costs of all the plants is less than $14. I have some cantaloupe, watermelon and okra that are not in the view included in that price
 

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I love your garden picture.. Our's is in the Carolina red clay,also and boy can it turn to 'brick' when there is no rain!!
 
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Boy I'm so jealous! My NC garden is rather pathetic, my only redeeming thought is that I'll have at least some peppers and tomatoes. I've learned a lot from a neighbor farmer thank goodness, so hopefully next year will be much better. What a lovely garden you have, enjoy!
 

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Very nice, excellent garden, beauty.

And you are a lucky duck - no deer fence required.


Alex
 

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Wow! Pictures of well-maintained gardens are my guilty pleasure--well, that and being very nosey. What are the dimensions? Is all the dirt in NC really red clay? :waa: I've spent 22 years and tons of leaf mulch and free wood chips to get 18" of "black gold" in my tiny city beds--my clay was white and throwable. Soil will not convey when I sell. Limited room in the truck but furniture, clothes and other stuff can be replaced; good dirt is worth a fortune.

katy
 

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agmantoo said:
mvfarms91,
As for keeping the weeds under control, I till the garden in early April and leave it alone until it gets a good stand of small weeds started then I till again. After planting all weed control is manual. I have a push plow (obtained from the curb destined to the landfill) that has a cultivator attachment and a grape hoe that I use. I had rather use these tools as to hear the noise from the engine. With the soil conditioned with all the orgainic matter added the push plow is easy to use and I can push it about as fast as I can walk. The grape hoe is used to get the weeds that escape or are very close to the desired plants. Here in western NC, I have determined that there is only a few days difference between an early planted garden and one planted around the 10th of May. This way I have no frost risk nor the problems of trying to cover things up or replanting. Admittedly, I am cheap. I start from seed rather than bought plants. Tomatoes are started earlier from seed and transplanted. In the garden above, the total costs of all the plants is less than $14. I have some cantaloupe, watermelon and okra that are not in the view included in that price

fascinating. My garden is in virgin soil. Neighbor plowed it for me in May (bless his heart) and all the weeds and vegies grew together. I have been pulling and believe it or not I think we may have the same push plow (mine has 6 diff. attachments) but I am guessing that because the plot was just recently tilled that the weeds and grass and bushes are having such a good time popping through the soil. My dad gave me a small broken tiller and said if i could fix i could have it.... Yee ha I fixed it and used it last night (after seeing your beautiful pic) it seem to do a fairly decent job. When I use the push plow it seems to be very slow going. maybe i am trying to go a little too deep and of course my soil is not ammended at all and still a little rocky. I have planted everything from seed except 1 pepper, 1 egg plant and 7 sweet potatoes. From seeds i have 4 variety tomatoes, 3 varieties of cantaloupe, watermelon, cuc, zucc, squash, beets, mint, carrot (ha ha- like that will work), beans, corn. I regret no onions, and potatoes are looking pitiful, but other than that I am well pleased with my garden. I have spent maybe $10.00 on everything. Gurney's coupon helped that out quite a bit.

Do you fertilize? what else do you do? How do you stake your tomatoes?

Thanks,
Susie
 

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agmantoo
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Discussion Starter #12
mvfarms91,
I only fertilize with natural fertilizer that has aged some. I have access to chicken, horse and cattle manure. I apply the fertilizer liberally to the entire garden (approximately 60 by 80 ft) in late winter/early spring right before I till the garden. The garden had a cover crop planted in the fall usually rye grain that was broadcast by hand. I have one major hangup with the areas where I grow crops and that is I absolutely do not get on the ground when it is wet. As stated, this is red clay country here and we have lots of brick making companies to prove it and the worlds largest brick making machinery company is only about 10 miles away. Without the ammenities to the soil if I till the soil fine (troybilt type tillers are a no no) or get on the ground when it is wet it will compact into a bricklike base. With my little push plow I can cultivate the entire garden quickly (less than 30 mins if it isn't too hot) and thus I never let the weeds get a foothold. I am of the opinion by doing the surface skimming with the push plow, I am constantly causing the germinating trash seeds to perish as they dry out from being disturbed. Where I get into problems is if we have a long wet period. I do not stake the tomatoes. I have far too many planted and I waste a lot of them since I cannot give them away after awhile. I will continue to plant tomatoes (planted 34 this evening) for late season and storage into fall and often I will till the old plants under if they get too trashy. I never want the trash plants that escape to set seed and I pile the manures and let it go through a heat to kill the weed seeds within.
 

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What exactly is this push plow that you guys are talking about? My father has this furrow I guess you calal it that you push to make planting rows but I have no idea what a push plow is!

I have a tiller and use that once a week between the rows but am interested in what you are using. also, what is a grape hoe?

Mel-
 

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thanks agmantoo,

Why do you say troybilt type tillers are bad? Is that just for your soil is it because they go too deep?

I have plenty of natural fert. that I will be putting on the garden. If I do not grow a cover crop is it suggested that i fertilize in the fall?

Thanks for all your help and I still love that pic. What a why to motivate me!! :D

Susie
 

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agmantoo
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Discussion Starter #16
Troy bilt tillers are OK in themselves. However, in this red Carolina clay they do too good of a job. As a consequence the red clay is pulverized until it is too fine of a consistency and when it rains hard the soil will run together and then the hot sun bakes it to become bricklike. References above, commenting on how difficult it is to work their gardens, are IMO experiencing this to different degrees.
 

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My garden this year is three 48 square foot raised beds, 12000 sq ft of worm beds and 3 luffa racks outside and 2 7 ft diameter wading pool raised beds in my air conditioned or heated on demand greenroom. Of course I barter my worms and only need vegetables for myself and my dogs and prefer gardening year round to putting up a harvest :)
 

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argmantoo,

thanks for those links!

that push plow is what my dad has then, I'm pretty sure now I think about it he has said it has a cultivator attachment. I don't think he is using it anymore so I might go try it out and see what I think!

the grape hoe looked like a wider than normal hoe. is that the only difference?

thanks again, your garden looks beautiful,

Mel-
 

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agmantoo
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Discussion Starter #19
mel, on a grape hoe the far end of the handle is larger than the hoe eye and that prevents the hoe head from detaching from the handle. Additionally there is no "goose" neck. I do not use a chopping technique as one would use with a conventional hoe so it is not tiring. Instead, the wide blade is placed ahead of the operator, with the weed to be removed between the hoe head and the operator, and the grape hoe is pulled. This controlable and more accurate motion is more of a shallow scuffing action and shears the weed plants at their roots. I am not wanting to root prune the vegetables nor am I wanting to bring unsprouted weed weeds closer to the surface to where they can germanate. This technique also conserves ground moisture IMO. A good grape hoe head is a quality piece of metal that is readily sharpened and will hold an edge. Properly cared for, it will last a lifetime of household gardening.
 
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