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A question about cucumbers. My cukes are growing in odd shapes, hourglass, horseshoe, oblong like an eggplant. Is this normal? I'm worried that they might need a tighter watering schedule to grow evenly.

Also, do I wait until they are really green to pick them? Right now mine are getting to a decent size but are very light in color.

It's more likely that your cucumbers are misshapen due to poor pollination. Each female flower needs multiple visits from a pollinating insect for the fruit to set and develop normally. Bad weather, such as rain or high humidity, can reduce pollen transfer as well. If you cut into the misshapen spot on one of your cucumbers, the seeds will be tiny or absent in that spot.

Skin color in cucumbers is less important (unless the fruit is turning colors because of over-ripeness). If your cucumbers taste good to you, they are fine to harvest.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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I quite agree on the pollination issue on the cucumber. Any plant in that class (melons, squash, etc.) I will quite often hand pollinate just to be sure, even though I have a decent population of pollinators. The female flowers will have what looks like a mini cucumber beneath the blossom. The male flowers will just have a stem. I take a male flower, strip the petals to expose the pistol, and then pollinate the females with it. Early AM is the best time to do this.

As far as maturity goes, it depends upon the variety. Sometimes I use size, other times I go by the "bumps" that immature cucumbers display before they are ripe and ready.

An immature cucumber is not a problem though. Not like an immature melon.

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Mr. Higgins,

Do you know what variety of cukes you planted? Nowadays, there are variants of "all-female" types [believe it or not Gen. Lee is one of them, excellent], ; to the packets are added enough male pollinators, or the 6-packs have a male plant. Sometimes, when people do not plant all the seeds in the packet, or not enough of the colored seeds, the problems you describe can happen with gynecious breeds. Also other types.

Next time, you can opt for a parthenocarpic variety, both pickling, like COOL BREEZE, and non, that will set without any pollination. The advantage is, that if you don't have grubs overwintering in the soil, you can set the plants out under row covers, and prevent any entry of leaf beetles that transmit a bacterial wilt disease. You plant seeds, cover with row cover, water through that fabric, harvest your fruit when they are ready!!

Arkansas Littleleaf is another cuke that is not parthenocarpic, AFAIK, but does not have the bitter compound in its leaves that attracts those leaf beetles.

BTW, if you have oak and maple leaves, [ NO WALNUTS< BLACK OR WHITE>, HICKORY or BUTTERNUT or PECAN] an can run them under a lawnmower to pulverize them in the fall, please do add them to your soil with some dlomitic lme ad some complte fertilizer ofyour choice:some manure, or a very light handful of 10-10-10. A 50 lb bag costs $8, but it will pull water from the air and turn liquid unless stored carefully. Next year talk to Anne or me about your tomatoes. Buy plenty of socks. You are going to have yours blown away. Or talk now: all the more time to prepare!!

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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BTW, if you have oak and maple leaves, [ NO WALNUTS< BLACK OR WHITE>, HICKORY or BUTTERNUT or PECAN] an can run them under a lawnmower to pulverize them in the fall, please do add them to your soil with some dlomitic lme ad some complte fertilizer ofyour choice:some manure, or a very light handful of 10-10-10. A  50 lb bag costs $8, but it will pull water from the air and turn liquid unless stored carefully. Next year talk to Anne or me about your tomatoes. Buy plenty of socks. You are going to have yours blown away. Or talk now: all the more time to prepare!!

hehe, yeah. When I first looked at the pictures, I was dumbfounded that he didn't have another 20 or 30 tomato plants of at least 10 different varieties! :wink: All that space! I have a rarer variety (only two SSE listers) that I am working with this Fall called "Albany Georgia Heirloom" - pink beefsteak. I'd like to see it get more exposure. If all goes well, I will be doing a seed for SASE offer for next early Spring (January/February) that will include that and some others, and will handle it in this forum via PM's. I promised some people at the Agrirama in Tifton, GA first dibs, though.

He is in that heavy Georgia clay it looks like, and it does need some amending. Good call. He shouldn't have too much trouble finding Oak leaves in that area this Fall.

What kind of peas/beans are those RAHiggins? And the dimensions of your plot? Having any drainage issues?

Also, I don't know the directional orientation of that plot, but I worry about that corn eventually shading some of the other stuff.

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BTW, if you have oak and maple leaves, [ NO WALNUTS< BLACK OR WHITE>, HICKORY or BUTTERNUT or PECAN] an can run them under a lawnmower to pulverize them in the fall, please do add them to your soil with some dlomitic lme ad some complte fertilizer ofyour choice:some manure, or a very light handful of 10-10-10. A  50 lb bag costs $8, but it will pull water from the air and turn liquid unless stored carefully. Next year talk to Anne or me about your tomatoes. Buy plenty of socks. You are going to have yours blown away. Or talk now: all the more time to prepare!!

hehe, yeah. When I first looked at the pictures, I was dumbfounded that he didn't have another 20 or 30 tomato plants of at least 10 different varieties! :wink: All that space! I have a rarer variety (only two SSE listers) that I am working with this Fall called "Albany Georgia Heirloom" - pink beefsteak. I'd like to see it get more exposure. If all goes well, I will be doing a seed for SASE offer for next early Spring (January/February) that will include that and some others, and will handle it in this forum via PM's. I promised some people at the Agrirama in Tifton, GA first dibs, though.

He is in that heavy Georgia clay it looks like, and it does need some amending. Good call. He shouldn't have too much trouble finding Oak leaves in that area this Fall.

What kind of peas/beans are those RAHiggins? And the dimensions of your plot? Having any drainage issues?

Also, I don't know the directional orientation of that plot, but I worry about that corn eventually shading some of the other stuff.

I'll probably plant more varieties next year, this my first large attempt. The Garden is 25" x 25".

I tilled 10 rows and planted most of it. I did get a late start as I had to build the fencing first to keep my dogs out of it.

The soil itself is actually nice with no clay in the topsoil. It's not as dark as I'd like but is fairly sandy and retains moisture well. I oriented the rows to more or less be in line with the sun's path (east to west) I also tilled the rows so that rain would collect between the rows but would flow from north to south if there were a lot of it. I do have a mple tree right nest to the garden and i will be tossing all the leaves ofer the fence this fall.

I placed the corn to act as a natural barrier between my cukes, zukes and squash and the rest of the garden. I don't really expect much yield from it. My hope was to use the stalkes for Halloween/harvest decorations.

The green beanes are a hybrid tendergreen bush and the cukes are burpless hybrid.

I have another question, my tomatoes are not ripening. I've picked them and even placed them in a paper bag with a banana in a dark place and they are still green.

Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)
Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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If at all possible, don't pull them until they have at least a 25% blush from the blossom end.

Don't pull them at all until they have a white "starburst" on the blossom end. They almost have to show that starburst, or they won't ripen at all no matter what. Unless I wanted to fry green tomatoes, I would leave them until they are ready.

Tomatoes take their own time. Patience. Let them get at least semi ripe on the vine. Two thirds colored is the ideal for me. You get them in before the pests get to them, and you don't have to worry about the "picked green" effect that supermarket tomatoes are prone to. That is one of the things that leads to that Styrofoam taste.

At the end of the season, it is appropriate to store the partially ripened tomatoes for long keeping and ripening in newspaper and a cool area, and to either pickle or fry the rest of the greenies.

25 by 25 is great. You can put a lot of stuff in there, and glad to hear that you have a tiller. Clay will retain moisture well, and will add trace minerals that are vital to many vegetable crops. You actually have it pretty easy. Just some organics would be nice. And the lime recco is a good one. You won't get bloom or fruitset unless you get the PH right.

Have a soil test before the fall. It will do you good.

Edit to add: are we talking "green shoulders" or just ripe? Many varieties exhibit green shoulders, and it is not a problem, you just trim the top off. It honestly is rare in the real world of tomatoes to get one that is uniformly red. In fact, to see one that is uniformly red, puts me off.

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Here is a site you might enjoy reading through in thinking about varieties to grow next year:

http://www.selectedplants.com/varieties.htm

Other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no commercial links, obviously, with any sources i cite. The owner has become a good friend to many in tomato-crazy circles and has an impeccable reputation for integrity, expertise, quality.

Likewise, http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/pages/seed_catalog.html

run by a former curator of the Seed Savers Exchange, preserving squashes, tomato and poultry with just himself and his wife as the labor force!!

Besides Anne's Georgia Heirloom and some excellent Southern varieties from Victory Seeds, plus some cherries, some early maturing smaller-fruited salad size, and Mexico Midget, a currant tomato that will naturalize itself in your garden, here are some lage-fruited 75-80 days to ripening to start thinking about, along with trellis systems:

1. Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red

2. Neves Azorean Red

3. Cherokee Purple

4. Druzba, Nepal or Bulgarian Triumph, Earl's Faux [all red],

5. Yoder's German Yellow

6. Kellogg's Breakfast [orange/yellow]

7. Aunt Gertie's Gold

8. Aunt Ruby's German Green

9. Big Beef F1

10. Sioux

11. Anna Rusian [heart]

12. Heidi [paste, heat/humidity tolerant]

Along One 25 feet row with the broad sie running north to south, 10 tomato plant can be placed 2.5 feet apart. if we fudge the ends a bit. Dpending on how much you need your microclimate, your particular light environment, your soil, disease incidence, season, choice of cultivars and trellis, the varieties above can yield 25-60 lbs plant. There can be a troublesome glut. Therefore, one need to be very realistic about what one ca atually manage to do or WANTS to o with one'stomao harvest. Freezing or canning may sound nice but are not economicall viable propositions save for the very wealthy, a hobby.

The trellis system for these tomatoes in your climate will be a bit different than that in a USDA zone 5 one. There is no question of using $1 tomato cages; use these for your peppers. There ae 2 usful alternatives tha I have come across, suitable for the home gardner growing heirlooms in a climate with heavy thunderstorms and seasonal gales.

1. The Texas Tomato Cage. I hesitate to recommend commercial product but fr thos who want to save hassles 6 cages of the largest sort, 24 inches, 6 feet, cost $130 postpaid awhile back. These will last for a decade and store easily. Six is sufficient for a family's ordinary fresh salad tomato needs.

2. Galvanized 5 feet x 10 feet heavy duty reinforced concrete wire mesh sheets set up in a particular configuration, supported by U or T fence posts [8 feet]. For 25 feet rows, you will need 5 sheets, plus as many posts as necesary to create a secure fixture. This will occupy the end row that is either first south or last south. It becomes a miniature permanent site by itself with its own rotations and cultural trucs.

In ATL, GA, you are lucky to have FOUR seasons of plant growth possible, and the 2 sides of this bed can be managed in tandem to give you immense satisfaction. A NO-WEED guarantee, self-composting bed. It takes a bit of time to set up, but once there, is set for decades. Tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, sweet potatoes, winged peas [Psophocarpus ], melons, all manner of Asian cucurbits, including your beloved (!!) bitter melons can be grown on opposite sides of this trells in neat seasonal counterpoint.

Edited by v. gautam (log)
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  • 6 months later...

I need some advice for this spring's garden. Last year was the first time I had turned the soil and planted vegetables. It was fine at first, but then the grass I had turned with the soil went completely balistic and I was unable to keep up with it.

I need to know what I should do to pre-treat the soil to minimize this happening again and also any tips on ground cover to help keep it to a minimum. I'm thinking that I will plant more tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and squashes.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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My advice would be to put something like 3-5 layers of newspaper on top of your soil and then cover this with a natural mulch such as wood chips. Simply tear small holes in the newspaper where you want to place your plants. Over time, the newspaper will desintegrate but the grass should have died by then.

For tomatoes, cukes and peppers, this technique works really well because it helps keep some moisture in the soil. A good mulch will also prevent some disease.

Hope this helps

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The best favor I did myself this growing season was invest in a roll of 10-year weed block at a home improvement store. Soaker hoses down first, weedblock on top of that, then a thick layer of mulch. I haven't pulled a dozen weeds this season.

I have used old newspaper in the past, but it my climate it quickly degrades and turns into weed fertilizer! It is very economical though, and the earthworms love it.

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I am so happy to see this thread ..we have had a rough winter so far and today I am going to take advantage of the break and clean out my beds..maybe get some of my compost moved into them and a little lime would not hurt it is not too early since I plant peas next month! .and to cheer myself up I am going put up my table in my giant make shift cold frame and start some greens ..I ordered a whole bunch of Italian greens from a new seed company I have never tried ..taking a chance here but they should be ok

so new company new seeds I am very happy to think about gardening right now

just looking at my seeds I have saved over the years ..seeds from friends ...they are all here strewn on the table and ready to go

I wish I could figure out cardoon and the blanching of it ..anyone just eat it like it is?? with out blanching? if so I understand I shoud eat it before March?

hmmmm gardening it is like a natural Xanax tablet!!!

very

uplifting :)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My little container experiment from last year went so well that I am going to start an in ground garden this year in the my new house. The next good day (it has been so cold here, you just don't want to be outside for anything!) I am going to get some soil from the yard and have it tested and see where I have to go from there. This being the first time EVER planting anything in ground I am having a hard time deciding what all to plant! I know tomatoes, cukes, sqash....

I am excited about this year's garden!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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My little container experiment from last year went so well that I am going to start an in ground garden this year in the my new house. The next good day (it has been so cold here, you just don't want to be outside for anything!) I am going to get some soil from the yard and have it tested and see where I have to go from there. This being the first time EVER planting anything in ground I am having a hard time deciding what all to plant! I know tomatoes, cukes, sqash....

I am excited about this year's garden!

YAY!!!! someone else is with me now

I just planted some onion seeds in pots so I will have starts

and epazote

and I am going to throw caution to the wind..seed a bunch of rows of Italian greens for seedlings to transplant later ..in my potato bin that has tons of nice soil for seedlings ..it is off the ground, in a protected area and I can put plastic over it to make a cold frame ...hope this works ..I am yearning for dirt under my nails

tell me the best things to plant in rich compost filled beds that will get a bit of shade but very protected from cold ..unusual herbs would be great ... anything edible, fragrant, attractive

all ideas appreciated

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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My little container experiment from last year went so well that I am going to start an in ground garden this year in the my new house. The next good day (it has been so cold here, you just don't want to be outside for anything!) I am going to get some soil from the yard and have it tested and see where I have to go from there. This being the first time EVER planting anything in ground I am having a hard time deciding what all to plant! I know tomatoes, cukes, sqash....

I am excited about this year's garden!

YAY!!!! someone else is with me now

I just planted some onion seeds in pots so I will have starts

and epazote

That sounds like a good environment for pea tendrils if your soil is warm enough to germinate the seeds.

and I am going to throw caution to the wind..seed a bunch of rows of Italian greens for seedlings to transplant later ..in my potato bin that has tons of nice soil for seedlings ..it is off the ground, in a protected area and I can put plastic over it to make a cold frame ...hope this works ..I am yearning for dirt under my nails

tell me the best things to plant in rich compost filled beds that will get a bit of shade but very protected from cold ..unusual herbs would be great ... anything edible, fragrant, attractive

all ideas appreciated

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My little container experiment from last year went so well that I am going to start an in ground garden this year in the my new house. The next good day (it has been so cold here, you just don't want to be outside for anything!) I am going to get some soil from the yard and have it tested and see where I have to go from there. This being the first time EVER planting anything in ground I am having a hard time deciding what all to plant! I know tomatoes, cukes, sqash....

I am excited about this year's garden!

YAY!!!! someone else is with me now

I just planted some onion seeds in pots so I will have starts

and epazote

Hmm, something appears to be missing from my prior post. What I had thought I said was that you may have a good environment for pea tendrils if the soil is warm enough to germinate the seeds.

That sounds like a good environment for pea tendrils if your soil is warm enough to germinate the seeds.

and I am going to throw caution to the wind..seed a bunch of rows of Italian greens for seedlings to transplant later ..in my potato bin that has tons of nice soil for seedlings ..it is off the ground, in a protected area and I can put plastic over it to make a cold frame ...hope this works ..I am yearning for dirt under my nails

tell me the best things to plant in rich compost filled beds that will get a bit of shade but very protected from cold ..unusual herbs would be great ... anything edible, fragrant, attractive

all ideas appreciated

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my sweet cicely thrives in a similar bed.  and the lovage did well there till it got truly cold...

thanks I am going to look for them I know you can start lovage from seed what about Sweet Cicely? also thought about angelica ..and some unusual mints

Hi there Meanderer ..it is never too early to start thinking about gardening is it?? and you were having trouble posting weren't you

that is a great idea on the shoots...planted two packages of peas in various places maybe it is not too early to at least get shoots! ..I usually plant them the week after Prez day but I was being a rebel and really really need to dwell on and in my garden early this year ..it keeps the blues away you know :smile:

I am putting in ..get this ..six more raised beds!! my husband has been teasing me about my "Victory Garden" but it is no joke ..I love to eat well and even with this economy I am not going to sacrifice my desire for wonderful food and what is better than that you grow yourself? ... our house sucking us dry lately with a new roof pending and the last room almost finished..I not only feel the practical need to plant and grow my own food ...but the absolute pleasure of doing this just does not measure on any yardstick that is for sure!

I yearn for a green house you know ... then I would not have tiny pots of dirt all over my living, dining, and bedrooms (even on the heated bathroom floors :raz: ) ! but I will take what I can! I do have a make shift semi green house (an enclosed area on my deck) ..I am going to set a table in there this week and put some seedlings in it hoping it is warm enough to start them!

we have our rain barrels lined up (I was given four by a friend and they are positioned ( from last seasons conversation) but have to wait until we get the roof and gutters squared away so this may take a while.

I know it is too cold most places to begin but do you have seedlings starting yet? or things in pots by the windows..

the lemon grass is growing like crazy in one of the bedrooms and I just realized a single ginger plant is beginning to sprout again outside!!! it did well in a protected concrete planter and did not rot with all the rain and snow ...

my carrots are about 4 inches high I planted them in late September and the snow did not bother them at all ..I have pulled a bunch more and they are just insanely sweet!

onions in the garden are doing well and so is the garlic ..

the best way to kick the winter funk in the ass is to dream about your garden I think :smile:

Happy Gardening to you all

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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"tell me the best things to plant in rich compost filled beds that will get a bit of shade but very protected from cold ..unusual herbs would be great ... anything edible, fragrant, attractive"

One safe bet is lettuce: use the reddest ones for the cold season, then BUTTERCRUNCH, oakleaf, deer tongue, various types of cos/romaine and others lettuce varieties for repeated pluckings for baby greens or young leaf lettuce.

To this, you may add MIZUNA, CHOI SUM and similar oriental greens to fill out your salad bowl.

RAINBOW CHARD, YELLOW CHARD, etc. also may be sown for the same purpose.

Try Valueseeds.com for good bargains on salad mixes, lettuce seeds, chard, carrots, herbs, et al., 50- 99c/pkg, lettuce 500-1700 seeds/pkg $2 shipping for everything. No fancy wraps.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A question about grass and weed control. This the first year for this space and I am buying my tiller and tilling up a small area. Here in zone 7a, the last frost kill date is april 10th, so I doubt I will plant before then, but to get the ground ready they say to use a black plastic weed barrier down for a while...

What does everyone else do?

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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It's a little late for this year, but what I have done in the past to make a new bed is to lay cardboard over the whole site, then cover with straw or leaves, about a foot deep.

Over the winter, the grass will be killed, and the cardboard will break down. Just plant thru the mulch. This method works best for planting plants, not seeds.

I hate black plastic--the sun breaks it down, (or the dogs dig in it), and then you have shreds of plastic everywhere.

sparrowgrass
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This time of year is so exciting because we can dream and design the spring Garden. This year I am determined to do the grunt work up front so I am not disappointed in mid-summer. That means work the soil. Usually, I am so eager to get the plants in the ground that I don't do all I should with the soil. I have tried to layer over grass but what grows in Southern California could survive a nuclear blast. So I am going to do the digging and then spend time putting in the compost and using the mulch. The adage is...feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants and the plants will feed you. It is all starting with the soil. Our soil is very sandy (we are practically on a sand dune) but last year in one bed where I really prepared the soil I planted 7 tomato plants. Those were the happiest tomatoes and I picked over 1000, yes 1,000, tomatoes. My neighbors loved me. And that was not counting the cherry tomatoes. So, good soil does make a difference. This year something else will go in that spot since I know I have to rotate crops and not plant them in the same place this year. So I may put the beans there and they can help replenish the soil with nitrogen.

My typical summer garden consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, scallions, peppers and one eggplant. Since I live in a temperate climate, right now I have a winter garden that is producing lots of greens: swisschard, kale, lettuce, beets, rapini. Makes wonderful soups.

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

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HAPPY VD!!! :wub:

This is the weekend for the first official wave of planting in the garden! Does anyone else do peas on President's Day? or did I make this up? I have been doing it for so long I can not remember if it was a well known tradition or not?

today I plant the first (official) round of sugar snap peas, carrots, and radishes (I don't count the ones I planted last month because it was an impulse move and I am not sure they will come up!)

Everyone seems to think I have lost my mind wanting to garden in the winter ..but we go through this all the time! Every year they say "your nuts" and every year I say "this is a well established fact I lost my mind a long time ago!" but because of gardening and cooking I am a very functional crazy woman! With the tremendous amount of therapy gained from cooking and gardening..(ok I confess there is the lunar need for a Xanax but that is another topic completely)

Since it snowed like crazy here and there is still some on the ground I got the looks and comments again at dinner with friends last night when I said "I want to get to bed early so I can garden at the crack of dawn"

I opted out of telling them of my plans for a CHICKEN TRACTORS CLICK HERE

Don't suppose anyone has a chicken tractor? if so want to share advice? also Anyone here raise chickens ?Maybe can tell me about mail order sources I found some places but am not sure who is good and who isnt?

Locally I can buy some but after looking around I can get exactly the number of female ARAUCANA CLICK

I have had them before and they are fun, easy to raise, productive and the eggs are really very good!

I may have mentioned in my previous post that for an early Valentine my husband helped me put together six more raised bets, (he likes me better when I am tired and content) Next week I need to find a truck to haul the good shit (soil) from up north

I am going to try really hard to organize things this year and follow the guidelines of THE SQUARE FOOT GARDEN CLICK I used to love PBS when it showed a lot of Victory Garden/Square Foot Garden all kinds of gardens garden shows and I a miss them what the heck happened? I only find the odd show like that anymore

This is a good plan I think because I want a little bit of a lotta bit! and to get that if I divide the boxes into square foot plots I can do that and rotate things more easily!

So yesterday I was in a funk (I have an ulcer of all things and it is depressing me) so I cheered myself up by ordering lots of seeds and a few dahlia bulbs. this is the first time I have tried this company but have heard good things SUPERSEEDS CLICK HERE they beat the crap out of the prices of other places for the same stuff, a third the price of Territorial Seeds had a tremendous selection and the shipping was not bad either. So fingers crossed! Have any of you tried them?

I have heard they are good!

Well I am running out of words and coffee and the sun is still not up

thanks for letting me ramble hope someone else is gardening now? or thinking about it? or wanting to talk about it?

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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