Homestead Garden in Maine vs. the South

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by urbanfarmer, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. urbanfarmer

    urbanfarmer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    The growing season is shorter, but can anyone explain what other differences they find between gardening in a state like Maine compared with gardening down south where you may even have a Spring and a Fall garden?

    What can be grown in the Southern gardens that cannot be grown in Maine? or in Maine that can't be grown in the South.
     
  2. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

    Messages:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Forests of maine
    First keep an eye on each type of seed in the catalog. IN the write-up they say how many days are needed for harvesting. We only buy stuff that can be harvested in 100 days, maybe 105 days. IF one type of veggie needs 140 days, then it will just never ripen here.

    Otherwise, just about most stuff grows.

    Now I have a peat-moss bog about a mile away from me. Sphagnum moss grows well in this climate, but it will not grow down south. World wide most peat-moss that is harvested is used for heat and power generation, though in America most of the harvested Peat is only used for gardening. We currently are 'farming' less than one percent of North American Peat-moss bogs. Whereas in Northern Europe they are farming most of the peat moss bogs. Sphagnum moss has been hindered by the 'folk-lore' about it, as even today most textbooks will say that it takes thousands of years to grow into a bog. Whereas in real life farmers are able to re-harvest every four to eight years.

    One of our local citys has a 'bog boardwalk', which is very informative. The state university has a series of conservation discussions that are staged on the boardwalk.
     

  3. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Onion varieties are different.

    Dan
     
  4. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,492
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Location:
    Southeast
    I have never gardened in Maine, but I can tell you what I grow and when I plant here in the southeast. For fall, I will be planting English, snap and snow pod peas, bush beans, black beans, green onions, garlic and carrots the second week of Sept. These either mature before our first frost (early-mid November) or carry over the winter. I will set out transplants of early maturing tomatoes this week. Cole crops will be set out as transplants early October and carry over the winter, especially brussels sprouts (my favorite). Lettuce and more carrots can be planted through the end of October.

    However, one must be careful here to leave space to plant more English, snap and snow peas and potatoes at the end of January through February, as these mature in May.

    The spring crops planted in mid-March are all the usual, tomatoes, peppers, squash of all kinds, cucumbers, onions, melons, beans, okra, southern peas, exotics, etc.

    The heat is too much here for the really long season tomatoes simply because it gets too hot and it affects the pollenation of the blossoms. At least that is what the extension agent told me. When daytime temps are over 95 and nighttime temps are... I forget what....but it affects the pollen and the blossoms don't set fruit. I get around that by planting varieties that mature no longer than about 95 days.

    While there is some overlap between the fall/winter garden finishing up, the very early spring plantings of peas and potatoes, and the regular spring planting of warm season crops in mid-March, there is a sort of dead zone during the hottest time of the year, for me basically the end of July and all of August, when the garden is basically empty except for some peppers. But it is also when it's too hot to go out and work the garden anyway.

    Hope this answers your question in some manner. I think most things will grow here as well as there, you just have to pay attention to varieties and days to maturity.

    Things that do not grow here or do very poorly here due to the intense and prolonged heat are rhubarb, asparagus (in the lower south) raspberries, cherries.

    I forgot to comment on the onion varieties...yes, they're different, some need longer days as they mature, some shorter, and some are 'day neutral', so be sure the onions are correct for where you live. Also, take into account the shorter days/cooler day and night time temperatures as fall draws closer, because those also affect the days to maturity of vegetables. You need to add days to the maturity date when planting for fall vegetables.

    Also forgot to mention that I personally have never done well growing sweet corn or field corn, but I don't know why. I have seen others growing it, but have not had success myself.
     
  5. treefrog

    treefrog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    jefferson county, north florida
    rhubarb and asparagus are difficult to grow where the soil doesn't freeze hard in the winter. i suspect any crop that resprouts from a perennial rootstock might have the same trouble. it's hard to find a cherry variety that does well here in north florida. apples are tricky, but there are some varieties developed by the israelis that do well here, particularly the "anna" apple. lettuce likes to "bolt" even faster here, so succession planting is a must. on the plus side, cabbage can be left in the garden until used. collards (a non-heading variant of cabbage ) can be kept for several years with a little effort, we can just pick the lower leaves, and the plant keeps growing. i know someone who staked the plants long enough to need a stepladder to pick it.

    warmth accellerates the breakdown of humus in the soil, so it is even more important to add organic matter. longer seasons and warmer temps make the bugs thrive, so we have to deal with that. some areas of the south have dry summers, but we usually get plenty of rain here.

    pax
    t.f.
     
  6. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

    Messages:
    4,568
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Location:
    Maine
    We have spring and fall gardens in Maine. When the seed package says "plant as soon as the soil can be worked" that's taken literally. Peas, lettuce, spinach and other cool crops can be planted before the soil warms up. Peas, spinach and other greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and more can be grown and harvested late summer into fall. All of these will be ok under a little snow in the fall. Fall snow usually melts by the end of the day.
     
  7. pyrnad

    pyrnad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    I have grown a garden in both Tennessee and in Maine. Having Moved To Tennessee from Maine it was interesting to me how long the growing season is in the south. You can grow a spring, fall and winter garden in the south. I remember picking greenbeans for thanksgiving diner in Tennessee.
    Here in Maine, the growing season is shorter, you have the danger of late spring frost, and early fall frost.
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    'Tis a hurried growing season mostly here in the North. But the days are longer and the soil is pretty good and a few chickens make all gardens good. We are Zone 4/5...no frost last year until late October(amazing!)

    Instead of planting seeds you plant seedlings in May (if its dry enough) for things like peppers and tomatoes.
    I actually use seedlings for cruciferous stuff and plant seeds (early and late)....squash and pumpkins.

    Seeds for carrots, beans, beets, turnip, greens, peas...I planted potatoes June 15 and they are 2in diameter already... :shrug:

    You can have your long growing season in the South as well as your high heat and poisonous snakes----I aint interested :nono:
     
  9. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,215
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    Yeah, but the mosquito is not our state bird down here!!! :) I do love Maine and New Brunswick in the Fall.
     
  10. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    I actually find the black flies and deer flies to be more nusiance than the mosqitoes...
    But yes Fall is a splendid thing.... :)
     
  11. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    519
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Around here someplace
    You can have your long growing season in the South as well as your high heat and poisonous snakes----I aint interested
    Yay. I vote for that.
     
  12. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

    Messages:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Forests of maine
    I have been stationed down in Dam Neck Virginia, and in Charlestown SC, and in Newport News Virginia, and in Kings Bay Ga, and Port Canaveral FL.

    Hot heat is so wonderful, more so when combined with humidity. NOT !!!

    When I begin feeling warm I can take off my sweater, and switch to shorts and sandals. I can go down to a t-shirt, or I can even go shirt-less. But there does come a point where, it just does no good. There is a point where I am down to my skin and once at that point staying cool costs money.

    On the other hand, when I am faced with cold? I am put on a sweater and long pants, a coat, scarf, gloves, hat. And I can still be comfortable.

    If the majority of the year does not require heat, and it rarely requires cooling, then that is not bad.

    In other places, it rarely requires heat, but a majority of the time it does require cooling.

    So either run cooling 8 months of the year, or run heat 4 months of the year.

    Hmm, I will go for the lesser.

    :)
     
  13. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,435
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
  14. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,435
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    ET1 SS,
    You were in the wrong part of VA! :) (I'm guessing you were US Navy or Air Force so you probably didn't have much choice in the matter though)
     
  15. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    My husband grew up in Blue Ridge VA and I've been there in May and it was so hot and humid every day....like the worst stretch this July in Maine...which we spent at the lake minus the nasty snakes :shrug:
     
  16. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,215
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    mpillow, you should probably not watch that new movie: "Snakes on A Plane".
     
  17. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    My little garter snakes have caused me a twisted ankle this year.... :shrug:

    My mother gave me this phobia....she cant watch them on TV but I have some control TV doesnt always bother me :rolleyes: not likely I'll be on Fear Factor anytime soon. AND I'm not entirely sure I like the black noisey grasshoppers that seem to be under my feet in the garden :nono:

    Part of my problem is I hear out of one ear and not the other so I dont locate sounds but my eyes detect motion and sound my alarm :help: Rattlesnakes would definately be my demise....

    My neighbor is always laughing as I screech and carry on dancing....he'll catch my husband on the drive in and say "the wife has been dancing and singing with the snakes today"..... :grump:

    Gardening is fun when there are no snakes in my path. And every time I collect eggs I think of those nasty rat snakes some of you have in your coops.....I flinch just thinking about it....EWWWWW!

    All this talk makes me feel like tossing my lunch :p
     
  18. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

    Messages:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Forests of maine
    I see.

    I am an Electronics Technician First Class Petty Officer of the Silent Service in the US Navy.

    ET1 (SS) is my rank, rate and title.

    I have been a US servicemember since I first enlisted in 1976, I was transfered to the Fleet Reserve in 2001. Due to 'High-Year-Tenure' [which basically means that this sailor got too old and had spent too many years at the same rank]

    Most of my time on active duty was spent on various submarines, and I did a few years working Law Enforcement [stateside and overseas]. I am also a Kosovo vet.

    :)
     
  19. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

    Messages:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Forests of maine
    So the heat and humidity is not just in the 'tidewater' area, but also around the 'Blue ridge' hills too.

    I see.

    :)
     
  20. ChickenMom

    ChickenMom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    604
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Well, here in Louisiana we have a garden pretty much all year. December and January are really the only months we don't have anything growing. We plant cucumbers, squash, peas, beans, corn, melons, greens, okra, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflour, eggplant, ...a little of everything. I do share the blackberries with the water moccasins (they get first choice) but there is always enough left for me! We usually plant in February and August.