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New temporary garden bed - need main crop suggestions

 
Posts: 72
Location: Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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I've got an unused area of my yard that eventually (thought it'd be sooner but now likely later) will have a small house/ADU built on it. In the meantime I'd like to grow some kind of main crop(s) there - and hopefully not get too attached to having it as a gardening space! I'm going to tractor the chickens there for a bit first.

I know potatoes would probably work. Any other suggestions?
 
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I don't know your USDA zone, but tomatoes and bell-peppers are usually my main crop (Paste tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes).

The soil should be relatively loose, though tomato roots don't extend far, and they need to be watered semi-regularly (about every three days - I have mine on irrigation with a timer, but prior years I watered with a hose just fine). You should start them indoors ASAP under a light or infront of a south-facing window, and then plant them outdoors after the last frost. I started mine two weeks ago, but the growing season in Missouri is short - your growing season may be larger than mine. Even if not, you'd still do fine if you get the seeds started indoors within the next ten days.

If you get a good enough crop, you can pressure-can homemade salsa, pasta sauce, and tomato chutney (if that's something you use! We go through probably two gallons of tomato chutney a year - 1 quart per French Meat Pie; eight pies a year).

Also, depending on how much ground space you have, I get good results with cucumbers and Waltham Butternut Squash (this is similar breed to what's used for store-bought canned ""Pumpkin"" puree, and we use it for pumpkin pie. You can also grow pie pumpkins, and mix the two, but really, Waltham Butternut Squashes are superior in a half-dozen ways (easier to grow, more productive per vine, easier to scrape out the flesh after oven-roasting, consistent taste (some pumpkins taste terrible - they vary too much), etc...).

I haven't had any luck with corn, but others seem to do that fine, so I always plant it anyway (and never harvest any!). You might have better luck than me, and it never hurts to plant them. Cucumbers, squashes, melons, corn all get planted outdoors (no need to start indoors), usually around May 1st (in my area).
 
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Location: Richwood, West Virginia
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I read that carrots onions and celery make for the basic soup so I'm trying for that. Then I read Thomas Rubino's New York Pizza And Sauce thread, and it's tomatoes, tomatoes and garlic.
 
Anna Tennis
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Location: Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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Thanks! I should have included that I'm in zone 8b, Portland, OR.

I may end up digging pits in that area and burying kitchen scraps, etc and planting cucurbits.
 
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i would suggest winter squash. We grow waltham butternut, burgess buttercup and the pepo family has been stryian pumpkin(for the seeds, the flesh is boring)

I would suggest the company Adaptive seeds who is based in Oregon

Adaptive Seeds Winter squash selection

Nothing like squash and a fried egg along with homemade sauerkraut for dinner!!
 
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Anna,

Just as a thought, might you consider planting in containers?  The reason I ask is that you could build some soil and then move it when you go to build.

If that were the case then perhaps you could plant something that fixes either nitrogen or carbon.

Just a thought,

Eric
 
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Great advice everyone!  What I would like to offer is plant things that you and your family like to eat lots of.

One year I planted egg plant because it is a meat substitute.  I had eaten it as a child and liked it.  All the fruit ripened at the same time so I had lots to eat all at the same time.  I didn't want to make lasagne and just couldn't find other recipes I liked.

I keep finding it in the freezer and saying ugh I don't want that.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 72
Location: Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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jordan barton wrote:

I would suggest the company Adaptive seeds who is based in Oregon
...
Nothing like squash and a fried egg along with homemade sauerkraut for dinner!!



I love Adaptive Seeds! I've ordered from them for many years.

Would that I could eat a fried egg for dinner! We've certainly got plenty of them. They're such a great quick and delicious protein. I'm sensitive to eggs though, so my kids and friends eat them. I enjoy the chicken yields of fertilizer and entertainment.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 72
Location: Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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Eric Hanson wrote:Anna,

Just as a thought, might you consider planting in containers?  The reason I ask is that you could build some soil and then move it when you go to build.

If that were the case then perhaps you could plant something that fixes either nitrogen or carbon.

Just a thought,

Eric



This a good thought, thanks!
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas
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Definitely agree with Anne on planting what you love to eat that will grow in the area.
I'm terrible about planting a lot of stuff that I just don't care for, and wasted so much before I had a lot of animals to feed it to.
Now, I'm still guilty of it (because it's just fun, and seed catalogs, to me, are like kids and candy stores), but I try to make note of the "priorities" when gathering seeds from my personal seed library to cover my favorites first, then plant stuff I'm less likely to devour in the extra or open places in the gardens.

For recommendations, Corn is always easy to do a small block of and get a good yield from; plus some dry pole beans can be planted within the block, and some winter squash over the ground; providing three crops in on space.
Potatoes, onions and garlic are things I use a lot & plant a lot.
Radishes & several greens aren't really "main crops," but they're perfect for early spring and early fall crops when the space isn't growing a main crop.
 
Anna Tennis
Posts: 72
Location: Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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Kc Simmons wrote:Definitely agree with Anne on planting what you love to eat that will grow in the area.
I'm terrible about planting a lot of stuff that I just don't care for, and wasted so much before I had a lot of animals to feed it to.
Now, I'm still guilty of it (because it's just fun, and seed catalogs, to me, are like kids and candy stores), but I try to make note of the "priorities" when gathering seeds from my personal seed library to cover my favorites first, then plant stuff I'm less likely to devour in the extra or open places in the gardens.

For recommendations, Corn is always easy to do a small block of and get a good yield from; plus some dry pole beans can be planted within the block, and some winter squash over the ground; providing three crops in on space.
Potatoes, onions and garlic are things I use a lot & plant a lot.
Radishes & several greens aren't really "main crops," but they're perfect for early spring and early fall crops when the space isn't growing a main crop.



I am exactly the same about seed catalogs. I've worked hard this year to not over-order and to take a thorough inventory of what I already have first.

I've got a large bed ready to go for corn, beans and squash. With this temporary bed I may just go for more potatoes, since they seem to do okay in sod (or so I hear). I should have said in my OP that I'm looking for low-labor/low-bed-building main crops, since I likely won't be able to use the bed for more than a year.
 
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