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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since we have a thread "Raising Checkens and Poultry", I wonder why we don't have any thread for "Raising Vegetables and fruits."

We know that more and more people are turning to veges and fruits as a healthy food.

I am not too good in growing anything. But I do have 6 fruit trees in the backyard. They seem to be doing good because, where I live, California soil is very good. I plan to grow them organically with no spray etc.

Anyone else growing this stuff, as a hobby, health concern, financial concern or any other reason...
 

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My DH and I have attempted growing a garden for the past two years now.  Financially, it's been the worst investment ever!  For the amount of money I put into growing strawberries last year, I could have bought 2 or 3 cases of them at the farmers market (our 6 or 7 plants only yielded about 5 good berries).  The plants are more mature this year but the initial investment in pots, soil, compost, organic spray to keep bugs out, lady bugs and so on made me wonder if we weren't a bit insane.

I'd love some tips for keeping the birds and squirrels away though, that seems to be a major issue in our garden.
 

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We have a vegetable garden and a small orchard. Over the years we've learned that some things just aren't worth struggling with, as they don't suit our local climate, but what grows well grows *very* well. In the vege garden, corn, tomatoes, salad greens, artichokes, asparagus, beans and fennel are all prolific. For fruit we have blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, apricots, figs, persimmons, nectarines, plums, quince, feijoas, loquats, guavas, grapes, passionfruit ... I think that's it. :)

We net the berries against birds, otherwise we'd get nothing at all. For the other fruit, the birds take a tithe, but generally still leave us with more than we can eat.
 

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Great idea !

I am blessed (cursed?) with a green thumb and have turned a fair amount of virgin desert into an Oasis of trees, shrubs and flowers.  I do put herbs, onions, garlic,  radishes and tomatoes into the border gardens......

However, "Real" veggies need a great deal of care and end up pretty expensive......I think the last time I did bell peppers they calculated out to about $20/lb ! Ha!
 

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I wish I had a garden, I would go insane. When I grew up we had everything growing, from Rhubarb to Potatos to strawberries to Cauliflower. We did it to save money as we didn't have any.

Unfortunately I have to live in apartments so I am a little limited what I can grow. Best growing medium I found are Earthboxes. I have had mine for 10 years now. I can't grow anything like squash as they get so big they take over my balconies, so I stick with Peppers of all variety, herbs and such. I don't really pay for anything other than the seedlings. If I had more space, or again a garden and a greenhouse, I would grow from seed which is cheaper. The soil in my Earthboxes is good for 4 grow seasons at least. All I have to do is replace the fertilizer strip each year. And put water in the tank  ;D.

We already have some of the peppers now.

My dream is to one day live in a house and I can grow more stuff.
 

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I love growing food crops. I had a wonderful vegetable and fruit garden in my back yard when I lived in Tucson. Since we moved out in the country, I have been fighting with gophers. It has taken me years to find ways to grow food without losing most of it to gophers. I am currently growing asparagus and have two apple trees that bloomed well this spring. I am preparing for my traditional Fourth of July weekend garden planting in time for the monsoon rains.

My two favorite gardening books have been:
  • How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons. I have the Fifth edition in paper and saw that the Eighth edition will be available for the Kindle in February 2012. ;D This book, in its various editions, is often available in libraries. DH and I are working toward producing much of our food by the time we both retire.
  • Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I have the 1982 edition. I still follow some of the tips from that edition that have been removed from the later edition. My favorite is the poking a hole twice as deep as needed, filling it half way with vermiculite, adding the seed, and then filling the rest of the way with vermiculite. This seems to help a lot for me, especially as I do not use his new soil mix. I use my own soil mixed with lots of homemade compost. My other favorite tip is planting indeterminate tomato plants deep or sideways so that only the top few leaves are above ground. This works great where it is hot. However, I do not hand water (I use a drip system) or use artificial fertilizer or any pesticides.

I agree with Shayne about first focusing on plants that do well in your area, especially ones you like. I also recommend getting in touch with local gardeners to learn their tips, especially about what to plant when in your area.

EDIT: After reading some of the review statements for "How to Grow More ...", I downloaded a sample of The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (10th Anniversary Edition): Discover Ed's High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions by Edward C. Smith where the W-O-R-D System stands for Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, and Deep soil. It may become my favorite gardening book. ;D

Since I garden in a desert, I use a combination of raised beds and sunken beds. I am for each person following whatever works for them:
  • deep till or no till gardening
  • window box gardening, container gardening, rooftop gardening, back yard gardening, edible landscape gardening, community gardening, or guerella gardening
  • raised bed, sunken bed, flat bed gardening
  • local grocery, farmer's market, you-pick farms
 

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We put in a garden every year. Last year, the deer decided it was their personal salad bar, so this year, I'm putting up a deer fence.

I like tomatoes. You really haven't tasted tomatoes until you've had them fresh from a garden. The store bought ones are pale imitations. Chocolate Cherry tomatoes are the best. Nice and sweet.

Here's a picture of our garden from a few years ago:

(click for larger version)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
what surprised is that growing your own fruits and veges is more expensive?  I thought it should be the other way around.

I don't remember but TV show was showing a family who can grow their own stuff, better, healthier and cheaper.  I don't recall the show but was a local channel. I am not much of a TV fan but sure there will be gardening shows.
 

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I live and work on a farm. We grow about fifty million different things. Well, not really. We grow lettuce (iceberg, romaine, red leaf, green leaf and butter), chard, corn, lots of different kinds of tomatoes, beets, carrots, snap peas, green beans, snow peas, artichokes, broccoli, celery, strawberries, radishes, kale, mint, dill, basil, oregano, rhubarb, summer squash, zucchini, pumpkins, apples, pears, cabbage. Hmm. I think I'm forgetting a couple things. We sometimes grow watermelon and cantaloupe down next to the river (a degree or two warmer there, which makes all the difference), but we didn't plant any this year.

The birds are a pain, but we don't have any gophers. If you're using big implements like discs, they get smart and move away. We have fences for the deer.
 

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I just started my garden this week. It's not large; only a couple of buckets. I'm growing two types of tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini. That's about what I use in my cooking, so I might as well try to cut down on the grocery bill that way.

I'd like to have a larger garden, though. Would be a great way to think ideas for books through.
 

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The initial investment can be pretty pricey. We built a raised bed system this year and that was pretty pricey. Toss in 30 pots and all the soil to fill it all (80 bags) and, well , it aint cheap. We are going to be buying a composter this weekend so we will be cutting down on fertilizer and soil costs the rest of the summer and next year.

That said, we are hoping to have some great home grown cucumbers, carrots, shallots, sweet peppers, beans, tomatoes, and lots of hot peppers.




 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ProfCrash said:
The initial investment can be pretty pricey. We built a raised bed system this year and that was pretty pricey. Toss in 30 pots and all the soil to fill it all (80 bags) and, well , it aint cheap. ...., and lots of hot peppers.
Nice looking garden. The deck pictures remind me my house on East coast before we moved to west coast.

The hot peppers are more common than I thought. Not bad.
 

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I just added beans, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes to my little plastic bucket oasis.
 

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We grew a huge variety of veggies & sold them at the farmer's market for about 5 years.  Attempts to do so on a small scale now that we aren't vendors have not been too successful, though we have the perfect spot for a couple of tomato plants (which is one vegetable we really dislike the commercial variety of).

In our yard we also have about 14 varieties of citrus and 10 different fruit trees, plus 2 pecan trees, which have been a huge success. (We live in Central California where just about any kind of fruit/nut tree will grow).  The only problem we've had is avocado trees - no matter what we do, the gophers demolish the roots - so we depend on friends & neighbors for freebies there!
 

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The cost of growing your own depends a lot on your soil and climate. I grew up in Ohio. We had good soil and plenty of both rain and sunshine, so it was much cheaper to grow your own. Now I live in Central Texas. We have very poor soil, so you pretty much have to build up the soil wherever you want to garden, which is expensive in both labor and materials. On top of that, while we have plenty of sun, the rain - <sigh> not so much. Watering a vegetable garden (while much better with the square foot gardening method), is an added expense. On the other hand, there is simply nothing so good as a home-grown tomato. Just for my own use I have 8 tomato plants (different varieties with different harvest periods). ;D
 

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I'm still at the preparing to plant stage. This far north it's risky to plant before June. The weeds are doing fine though. Tomatoes did great last year, green peppers were an embarrassment. Broccoli turns out not to be worth it for square foot gardening.

My main goal though is being beneficial to wildlife -- butterfly garden and a lot of good stuff for the birds and the bees.
 

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I walked outside wondering why the backyard smelled like fish this weekend and found out that we are apparently fertilizing our plants with seaweed and fish based fertilizers. They are two different fertilizers that are applied the same day.
 
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