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Old May 14, 2019   #1
SeanInVa
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Just documenting some of what we're doing here in Gloucester, VA this year. We're on 2.2 acres and call our plot "GF Family Farm". It's more a glorified garden at this point, but our goal is to be more self sufficient and teach our kids that you can grow/raise your own food. You might call it a hobby farm, with extra emphasis on the "hobby"
The "GF" is a play on both the two last names in our household, as my wife had a young daughter from a prior marriage when we met - so she hyphenated her name to include our daughter. We also have a son between the two of us. It's also a combination of the two words in the name of the road we live on. Neat how that worked out.

We have chickens, a couple ducks and a goose that won't leave. We also have rabbits and soon - goats. Apple trees, peach trees, pecans, strawberries and blueberries. Raspberries that we never maintained and a whole yard full of weeds - mostly cow parsnip, ragweed and broad leaf dock!

My wife bought me a cheap greenhouse a couple years ago and I finally got it up this year, so now I've sprouted probably way too many seeds. here's what we've got going so far

Greenhouse


This was our first crack at no-till/lasagna beds. Cardboard + rabbit and chicken poop + maple leaves + chicken poop/bedding from coop cleanout + mulch and one more coop cleanout on top after this picture was taken


And extended this past weekend. Cardboard, rabbit poop + black kow + peat so far


New strawberry bed this year. I miscalculated the amount of peat I needed. Oops!


Terrible picture, but 15 plants. First time trying any kind of plastic mulch. Varieties include Sweetie, Pink Bumblebee, Mortgage Lifter, Pineapple, Marmande Garnier Rouge, Tennessee Suited and Marzano Fire. These got a rough transplant as I just dug holes in the clay, added some garden soil and black kow and watered them. Whatever survives is what we will grow. I had to sub out one of the Pink Bumblebees for another plant (which I forget now) as it was not doing well at all.


more of the above. The taller ones in the front are Sweeties, our first growout from saving seed. Taters in the back in bags


More of the maters, Mortgage Lifter, Pineapple, Marmande Garnier Rouge and a Tenn Suited


More - Marzano Fire in the front


More - Tennessee Suited (all three) - our first Dwarf tomatoes! Excited for these


Planted in the lasagna bed. Pineapple. Also tossed in some extra rabbit poo/bedding and dumped our ash bucket on top


Mortgage Lifter in the lasagna bed


Squash/Zucchini in the lasagna bed. They absolutely LOVE it despite the hard clay underneath


Some shots from the greenhouse.
Various things started - including some flowers


I don't know why, but flies and other flying buggers loved it in here. So I had to take some measure of control. Notice I'm using MG Moisture Control, the oft-loathed potting mix. It has worked fantastic for us, and even works well to start seeds w/o damping off.



These two went into our raised bed this past weekend. Pink Brandywine and German Queen


And here they are all settled in


Maglia Rosa, which I mistook for an indeterminate before I double checked. AFTER staking and pruning. Doh! Have another on the other side of the bed that I did the same too.


Carrots and peppers


Would you like some blueberries with your weeds? I can't keep up!


Soon....as long as the deer stay away. Caught one going to town on the mulberries yesterday
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Old May 14, 2019   #2
Labradors2
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Looking great! I'm jealous that your tomato plants are actually growing OUTSIDE instead of shivering at the thought of leaving the house!

Linda
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Old May 14, 2019   #3
jtjmartin
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Looks great! Great looking blueberries too.


Good to have another Virginian on site!
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Old May 14, 2019   #4
SeanInVa
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Quote:
Looking great! I'm jealous that your tomato plants are actually growing OUTSIDE instead of shivering at the thought of leaving the house!
Thank you! We got lucky with a pretty mild winter. I've gotten bitten in the past by trying to get a jump before the LFD, but this year I was able to get some stuff in the ground a good or more before.

Quote:
Looks great! Great looking blueberries too.


Good to have another Virginian on site!
thank you! I think I saw in another post you use the lower and lean method for tomatoes? I may have a few questions for you on that, as I am hoping to establish a permanent home for the indeterminates.
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Old May 14, 2019   #5
jtjmartin
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Sean:


I do use lean and lower, grafting, hugelkulture and a bunch of other stuff. Ask away!


Let me know if you get close to historic Jamestown - you would be welcome to stop over.


Jeff
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Old May 25, 2019   #6
SeanInVa
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Things are growing well so far this year. Apples got hit with Cedar Rust again, and the dang deer keep eating the tips. Peach trees are infested with oriental fruit moth again. Bleh

Squash are loving their lasagna bed



Potatoes are peaking out. Have three more varieties to plant yet!


Pink Bumblebee



Sweetie - of the three in the ground, this one is growing like a weed.



Marzano Fire


Mortgage Lifter


Pineapple


Plot #2. Started by covering with a tarp for ~1 month. Removed the tarp, dug holes, threw on some Black Kow and covered. Four open holes, and just off screen to the left is a watermelon


Plot #3. Soon. This will probably house a lot of determinates.


Plot #4. Prepped yesterday. Tilled, cleaned out and then covered with Peat + Black Kow, and then plastic. This is where I will try lean + lower using 4x4x10 end posts, 2x4x4 as cross beams and run #9 wire. I've ordered some spools from Johnny's to help with leaning them around. Likely will house Brandywine, Delicious, Red Cherry, Beefsteak, Garden Leader Monster, MoneyMaker and maybe some more Sweeties


Maglia Rosa


German Queen


Pink Brandywine


Raspberries I'm trying to save


Strawberries. Picked a ton of flowers, and still getting some red berries in the first year. Gosh darn chickens keep jumping on to the bird netting I've laid over them.


Blueberries!




Have a TON of things going in the greenhouse, but no pictures of that today
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Old May 25, 2019   #7
jtjmartin
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Wow. Your garden looks great!

My tomatoes and squash are coming along at a good pace too.

I'm digging a few new beds this weekend for some extra squash this year and tomatoes next year. I'll post some pics if I get the time . . . but I sure do appreciate seeing yours!

Jeff
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Old May 25, 2019   #8
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Oh, I've thought of getting one of those green greenhouses at the end of season before.

Have you ever had any problems with overheating? My wife and I work so someone is not always home - if a forecasted cloudy day turned sunny I wondered if my plants would be roasted?

Jeff
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Old May 25, 2019   #9
SeanInVa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Wow. Your garden looks great!

My tomatoes and squash are coming along at a good pace too.

I'm digging a few new beds this weekend for some extra squash this year and tomatoes next year. I'll post some pics if I get the time . . . but I sure do appreciate seeing yours!

Jeff
Thanks for the comments
Would love to see some pics of how things are coming along for you.

Based on I think one pic I've seen of your A-Frames, it looks kind of shady in your garden area? Is that so?

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Originally Posted by jtjmartin View Post
Oh, I've thought of getting one of those green greenhouses at the end of season before.

Have you ever had any problems with overheating? My wife and I work so someone is not always home - if a forecasted cloudy day turned sunny I wondered if my plants would be roasted?

Jeff


It's really hard to keep a consistent temp. I don't have anything in there as a heat sink. That said, when it's 75+ and sunny, if it's closed or only the top vents open, it will hit 110-120F pretty quick.

I work from home 3 days a week, and go into the office the other 2. So far, I've not cooked anything - but that's really thanks to a SensorPush bluetooth thermometer I have sitting in there.

Unless raining, I open it all the way up around 7:30AM and close it around 7:30PM. Especially when going into the office. I just open it up as I'm leaving for work.

I just got it up in April, so I didn't have any experience during colder weather. We'll see how this fall/winter goes. I will try and post some updates around that time here.
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Old May 25, 2019   #10
BigVanVader
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Looks great, may want to space ur maters further apart. I have a really cheap and efficient gh design that has held up to 60mph winds and 6 inches of snow. Built it 4 years ago and haven't had to do anything to it since. I'll look for the post on FB where I go over its construction.
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Old May 25, 2019   #11
PlainJane
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Your garden is looking good!
How does Pineapple do with your humidity? I love it and grew it in Mass. but haven’t attempted it in N. Florida.
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Old May 26, 2019   #12
SeanInVa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigVanVader View Post
Looks great, may want to space ur maters further apart. I have a really cheap and efficient gh design that has held up to 60mph winds and 6 inches of snow. Built it 4 years ago and haven't had to do anything to it since. I'll look for the post on FB where I go over its construction.
Would love to see it!
Maters are definitely close. About 20inches apart in the rows. The intention was to only do 1 or 2 stems per, but then they look so healthy and I think...1 or 2 more won't hurt

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Your garden is looking good!
How does Pineapple do with your humidity? I love it and grew it in Mass. but haven’t attempted it in N. Florida.
Thanks. This is my first year growing pineapple. So far the plant itself is doing fine. Seems to be taking longer to get flower trusses vs the mortgage lifter and brandywine. I planted one for my mother as well and she only had one truss on the first 4' of the primary stem. I'm due to go over there this weekend and check on them.

We'll see how they do through the season
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Old May 28, 2019   #13
SeanInVa
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Got the taters all done. The Kennebec and Irish Cobblers are starting to grow in the first row. From left to right after that are Caribou Russet, Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gold

First time trying them in bags.
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Old June 16, 2019   #14
SeanInVa
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Time for an update - pics from today 6/16/2019

Strawberries. A few didn't make it, but still not bad. We've pulled a few berries so far. I gave up on plucking flowers. I've wasted more than we've eaten as slugs or bids are still getting to them despite the netting


Brandywine. Phenominal growth, and set fruit even during the hot dry spell we had a few weeks ago


Bush beans - that's maybe 5 plants - seed was a few years old, so only had about a 20% germ rate


Maglia Rosa in the background, and Straight Eight cuke in the fore, and one lone garden pea plant in the extreme foreground



More of the Straight Eight



One more. This was from a single planting from a Bonnie start. Had two plants in the cup. it's getting out of control.



Maglia Rosa with the Straight Eight in the background. Despite my best efforts, the cuke is growing into the tomatos


A second Maglia Rosa. We've harvested a few so far. Both of these went nuts, even after I "suckered" them (and they are determinates... whoops!)


Cornflower is finally blooming. Now if only I could take the time to clean out the front-yard bed these were meant for


Various younger plants in the greenhouse. The big one in the back is a Mortgage Lifter that I was protecting. The stem split towards the base and I'm scared to plant it now
Some Red Robins in the fore, Beefsteak and Sweetie in the back


Some backups, and some other peppers I need to split out


First attempt at lean-and-lower. Might need to consider a middle support post. #9 wire isn't the easiest stuff in the world to tighten/secure. Six spots left for Black Krim and Beefsteak. Currently planted: Delicious, Money Maker, 4th of July, Brandywine, Garden Leader Monster, Red Cherry, Gardener's Delight


Saved seed grow outs of Burpee Best Boy F1. Really just an experiment to see what I get out of them. Just planted yesterday, so I still need to clean up my digging mess.
This is a new 18-spot plot, most of which will eventually be filled with Tennessee Suited


Marmande Garnier Rouge - these finally set fruit after the hot dry spell. Have two planted, this one looks better


Marzano Fire - 3 plants. They said it took well to a trellis, so tried a Florida Weave. Out of control. Hornworms love these, and so do the squirrels

Last edited by SeanInVa; June 16, 2019 at 12:19 PM.
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Old June 16, 2019   #15
SeanInVa
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And more (hit the image limit for a post)
Mortgage Lifter - this is the one near the squash, and it gets some shade. Not sure if its the shade, the ground (the lasagna bed test) or less bees over here that is resulting in low fruit set


vs this Mortgage Lifter which gets all day sun and is near all the others. Sweat bees like this area.


PlainJane was asking about Pineapple. This one is a dud. Next to the squash in the shade. Seemed unhappy from the get-go. Think it's the lasagna bed. It's has exactly one fruit set so far, and it was on a sucker stem I had to get rid of....


But like the ML, this Pineapple is setting fruit ok (finally, it did take forever). It gets full sun.


Pink Bumblebee. I have been trying to prune to 4 stems. This one got an extra to the front left, and I have another one that's split to two off to the right....


... which you can kind of see here. The empty spot originally had a Pink Bumblebee and that wilted, then I put in a Cherokee Purple and that wilted. So I'm assuming the spot is haunted and I will just stake up some suckers from the thriving PB


Squash and Zucc slowly succumbing to the squash bugs


Sweeties. Squirrels like these too. Little buggers. Mortgage Lifter in the background of the last two




Tennessee Suited. These took a little while to flower, but are doing great now

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