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Tennessee paradise right now: in the backyard, nibbling on a Cajun Belle pepper, just picked cucumber #10 and Early Girl #8 of the season, about to cut some maters up and cover em in cottage cheese and fresh basil, wife has a veggie and meatball pasta about ready, storm clouds rising in the sky over the mountains, the Dead's Europe '72 is playing.... Life is good in the valley!

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I highly recommend planting garlic in the Fall.  This was my first crop and it was very easy.  I just bought some grocery store bulbs (possibly organic, don't recall), pulled apart the cloves (keeping skins on), soaked in water over night, then planted them about 2 inches deep with the pointy ends up.  Mine were pretty close together, about 9 per square foot, but I'll probably space them out a bit more next time.  Just mulched them a few times with straw and wood chips.  Planted mid October, harvested when they fell over first of June.  I let the whole plants cure in the garage for about 3 weeks before trimming the bulbs.  Ended up with a decent haul!

 

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This spring was my first attempt at cabbage.  It was only a mild success.  They were very buggy, I got the worms under control a bit late, and mine were planted too close together.  I got a few decent sized heads but nothing too impressive.  Not sure if I'll fool with them this fall or not.  They were fun to watch grow though.

 

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I finally got enough fresh stuff out of the garden to make my first homegrown batch of garlic dill pickles.  Managed 4 quarts this time, hope to get 20 before it's over with.

 

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My family got me a dehydrator for Father's Day and I'm gonna try it out tonight with 2 kinds of beef jerky and some turkey jerky.  Gonna dry out some herbs this weekend.

 

Just need these heirloom tomatoes to ripen!  Hopefully this hot dry spell will turn the tide.

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Stovepipe is my hero, and not just because of his GD Europe 72 reference! 

 

Wow man, I wish I had the kind of time it takes to do what you are doing!! 

 

I have been growing flowers and herbs from seed. Much easier and less worrisome at the moment! Various Sunflower, Zinnias, Rose Cleome, Johnny Jump Up, Wildflowers, Basil, and Thyme.

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It's funny last year at this time our grass was patches of brown and green with mostly brown.This season our grass is the best i've see it in years,green and thick.The fire flies also are the most i've seen in years also.

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Well, I mentioned I'd update y'all on this vine okra. It's been coming in ever so slowly but finally looks as though it's gonna come on and produce well. Here is an example of what it looks like. This particular pod is laying right on the ground actually in the grass. I have some more pods up off the ground and will try to get a pic of a bigger one tomorrow. The fruit tastes a lot like okra but is a little sweeter, a little crunchier, and definitely goes a lot further, as the pods grow over a foot long and are still tender at 10-12in long. I would definitely grow it again, just need a better trellis and setup than what I have.

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Bumper crop of Habaneros coming in right now and there are still tons of Heirlooms on the vine ready to come out in the next week. Also getting some nice red bell peppers right now...first time I have grown them and am very pleased. Cucumbers are finished thought they did well...The herb side of things was an all out disaster...I think I had too much sunlight on them...will try a different spot for them next year.

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Well it has been an enjoyable yet very busy summer for gardening here.  It was mostly successful but there are always lessons to learn and I have a few things that I'll do differently next year.  At this point we've canned over 100 quarts of stuff, mostly tomato products, and frozen quite a few quart bags of peppers.  Tomatoes and peppers are still coming in but things are starting to slow down a bit, which is good because I'm almost reaching the burnout point.  :)

 

Tomatoes started ripening mid June and by July 4th Brandywine and Cherokee Purple heirlooms were getting abundant.  By mid to late July the 28 seedlings matured and that bed went nuts.  Since then we've been having to can 2 or 3 times a week just to keep up and avoid having them spoil.  It's funny, the bed with the seedlings performed the best despite it being the redheaded step child garden.  None of those plants were staked, I just let em flop over and grow wild on the ground (on woodchips).  I only ran the sprinkler like 4 or 5 times down there all summer.  Yet, they seemed to thrive better than the ones in beds closer to the house that were tied up and pampered a bit more.

 

My green peppers matured late and I've only gotten to pick some decent sized ones since mid August.  Jalapenos though have been going crazing all summer.  I probably have 12 or so vacuum sealed quart bags of them in the freezer after giving a ton away.  They just keep coming.  The Cajun bells have been the darlings this year though.  They have grown consistently well all season, have awesome flavor, aren't quite as hot as jalapenos and therefore have been more usable in more stuff.  I will be planting lots more of those next year.  Tabascos have also done well.

 

My cucumbers were the most disappointing but they were also planted in the more marginal soiled areas of my gardens.  We got enough for maybe 8 jars of pickles but considering the number of plants I had, that was a pretty big fail.  Next year I'll put them in better soil, fertilize and water them more often, and build something for them to climb.

 

Herbs did very well for us this time.  We had plenty on hand for salsa and pasta sauce, as well as pesto.  We did two big herb harvests where we dried them and stored in jars.  They out grew my herb box so I had to move some of it around to other places in the yard.  The only thing that crapped out early was the cilantro.

 

Green beans were an afterthought, but when the onions and cabbage were harvested I shoved beans into the space that was freed up.  We ended up with about 10 quarts and some pints before we got tired of messing with them.

 

As far as canning, I started out focusing on salsa.  Aside from having to buy a few farmers market green peppers and a few onions here and there, everything came from the garden and it was delicious.  Then I switched focus to pasta sauce.  This is the first year I've done it, and man was it the star of the season.  It takes almost all damn day to work up a batch but the flavor is ridiculous.  I followed almost to a tee the sauce recipe on the Old World Garden Farm site linked in this thread, although I reduced the hot peppers a bit.  I highly recommend it even if you have to buy the ingredients.  It blows away any store bought sauce I've ever had.

 

I also made many quarts of V8 style tomato juice, also following the recipe on that site.  Now, as I'm reaching burnout and September is on us, I'm pretty much just canning whole tomatoes or cooking them down and canning the stock juice.  I figure I can use the stock at a later time to make more pasta sauce or whatever.

 

In summary, I think the woodchips helped tremendously this year.  Weeds were better kept in check and I did far less watering than ever (granted the weather cooperated).  Next year I'll probably plant fewer tomatoes (100 plants is kind of nuts) but space them out a bit more.  Most of my plants were sort of crowded so it was a lot of work to get into that jungle everyday and pull out maters.  I'm also going to rotate crops around next year as a few of my traditional tomato beds didn't perform as well and I think it's because this is the third year in a row I've planted them there.

 

Here are a few pics taken at different times this summer:

 

Dining room table was covered up constantly:

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We have been pulling in two to four of these tubs of tomatoes every day for weeks:

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The cajun belles were the stars of the pepper show:

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The 24 plant Roma bed exploded but then crapped out afterwards, only one or two good harvests which was kind of a bummer:

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Some of the canned goods, with fresh chicken stock on top:

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Cherokee Purples are the best tasting tomato I've ever eaten in my life:

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That's amazing Stovepipe.  I really want to plant some veggies next year.  ME and my girlfriend had quite a few plants and flowers this year but we stayed away from the edibles.  I live in the city, in a townhome so it's difficult to find the space and privacy to garden like that.  Anyways, bravo sir.

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That's amazing Stovepipe.  I really want to plant some veggies next year.  ME and my girlfriend had quite a few plants and flowers this year but we stayed away from the edibles.  I live in the city, in a townhome so it's difficult to find the space and privacy to garden like that.  Anyways, bravo sir.

 

 

Good job Stovepipe !!

 

 

Wow Stove congrats!

 

Thanks guys! 

 

I ripped out about half of my summer plants to make room for cool season stuff.  This weekend I got cabbage, collards, carrots, lettuce, and spinach in the ground.  I may plant a few more greens but generally will just put down crimson clover again for a cover crop over winter.

 

I'm most excited about getting the garlic and onions planted in October.  Although I spent a little more than I would have liked, I decided to try a couple of garlic varieties from a seed company.  Hopefully if they are successful I'll be able to keep some bulbs for planting next time to avoid that cost again.

 

 

From the website:

 

Garlic German Red

Strong, Rich Flavor!

Authentic flavor, bold and spicy!

 

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140-150 days. When it comes to hardnecks (Rocamboles), German Red is the choice for northern and cold-winter gardens from coast to coast! Right at home in severe winter weather, it matures beautifully from a fall planting, yielding plenty of large, shiny, striped purple-and-white cloves for your enjoyment.

German Red sets large fruit, with about 8 to 10 big cloves and no smaller internal cloves. Superbly fragrant as well as flavorful, it offers that satisfying "real garlic" bite that is so mouthwatering. The cloves are easy to peel, with an ivory base color and many lavender stripes and streaks.

German Red harvests in midseason and holds very well, so you can grow a big crop and harvest them all at once. It's quite easy to grow, having very few problems with pests. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil -- garlic doesn't do well in dense soils with few nutrients. You should separate the cloves just prior to planting, placing them about 6 inches apart and 4 inches deep. 1/2 pound.

 

and

 

Garlic Kettle River Giant

This is an Artichoke variety, spicy and hot.

 

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It originates from the Pacific Northwest, so cold climates are no issue.

90-150 days. This tasty garlic is called giant for a reason -- the bulbs can grow up to 4 inches across! A softneck Artichoke variety, Kettle River Giant actually offers the best of both worlds, displaying the long storage capabilities of a softneck combined with the rich flavor and medium-hot aftertaste of a hardneck.

Kettle River Giant is an heirloom garlic that originates in the Pacific Northwest, so cold climates are not an issue. In fact, it consistently produces large bulbs in areas that experience harsh winters. Its beige-white wrappers with pink overtones cover 10 to 14 cream-colored cloves.

Kettle River Giant is quite easy to grow, having very few problems with pests, including deer. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil -- garlic doesn't do well in dense soils with few nutrients. You should separate the cloves just prior to planting, placing them 6 to 9 inches apart and covering them with 1 to 2 inches of soil. This garlic has also proven to be quite suitable for growing in containers. 1/2 pound.

 

 

Anyone tried growing these before?

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I got my garlic in the ground about two weeks ago...My habanero plant is still producing...at least for another day or two. And I have two red bell peppers about ready to harvest....going down to the wire with those.

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I got some tomato seeds planted today.  12 pink brandywines, 12 cherokee purples, and 12 goldman's Italians.  I'm waiting on some more seeds to be delivered then I'll get some early girls and other things under grow lights.  Hopefully I'll be able to transplant to bigger pots by March and if I'm lucky have tomatoes to eat by May.

 

Garlic and onions look pretty decent.  The small batches of kale and collards were extra tasty this season due how the frosts worked out.  I'm pumped about spring gardening!

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Is it possible to grow peppers (bell/red/yellow) in pots?  I live in a townhouse so I don't have a lot of space outside and I worry about the neighborhood kids messing with my plants when they grow.  Can I grow peppers in pots inside a screened in area that doesn't get direct sunlight?  Or am I stuck with having to place them outside in the ground or in pots?

Thank you in advance
 

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Is it possible to grow peppers (bell/red/yellow) in pots?  I live in a townhouse so I don't have a lot of space outside and I worry about the neighborhood kids messing with my plants when they grow.  Can I grow peppers in pots inside a screened in area that doesn't get direct sunlight?  Or am I stuck with having to place them outside in the ground or in pots?

Thank you in advance

 

 

I've never tried them in pots, but I'm sure if the pot is big enough and there is enough light they'd grow fine.  Is the screened room pretty bright?  South facing by chance?

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I've never tried them in pots, but I'm sure if the pot is big enough and there is enough light they'd grow fine.  Is the screened room pretty bright?  South facing by chance?

 

Southwest facing and the screened in area is probably going to get some direct sunlight.  I think between neighborhood kids and stray animals my veggies would get messed with outside. Hopefully going to be buying some land in the next few years where I can really take this hobby to where I want it to go.  I think I'm going to give it a try, the worst thing that happens is I learn a little about gardening. lol... 

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Southwest facing and the screened in area is probably going to get some direct sunlight.  I think between neighborhood kids and stray animals my veggies would get messed with outside. Hopefully going to be buying some land in the next few years where I can really take this hobby to where I want it to go.  I think I'm going to give it a try, the worst thing that happens is I learn a little about gardening. lol... 

 

Definitely give it a try, sounds like a decent setup.  Err on the side of bigger pots and get some good gardening soil from Lowes or somewhere, maybe mix in some compost if possible.  I've seen tomatoes and basil (and some other herbs) do very well in pots in screened porches.  Take pictures and keep us updated, good luck!

 

I'm about to transplant some tomato seedlings to bigger pots and start hardening them off on the warmer days going forward.  The spinach seedlings are about ready to transplant to the outdoor herb box.  I may gamble and make the move next week. 

 

Been hearing a lot about "hoop houses" lately and seeing some good setups online.  I think I'm gonna have to pull the trigger and build one over my large bed this fall.  The idea is to have a temporary green house type setup with no artificial heat that can be removed in warmer weather.  Ideally it would allow greens to grow all through the winter and a nice early start on things like tomatoes.  We'll see how well it pans out, should be cheap so it's worth a try.

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Planted greens this past weekend, hopefully I don't lose them to a crazy cold snap.  I have a piece of plexiglass I can put over the "salad box" that should keep that area warm.  The rest of the plants will have to fiend for themselves.  There are still about 40 tomato plants under grow lights and 20 more that I'm bringing outside on the warmer days to harden off.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate to some degree and we can avoid any extreme cold going forward.

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My garlic was a massive fail...BTW...when I dug one up to look at it, it looked like a spring onion...it still smelled like garlic, at least.

How did it fail? A fall planting of garlic won't yield until June. You could plant in spring but planting in fall lets the roots get established over the winter and gives it a head start for spring growth. It really shouldn't take off in a major way until about May. You'll know it's ready to harvest when it gets tall and starts bending over, probably mid June-ish.

Mine is currently short and stubby but seems to have weatherd this winter well. Onions too.

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