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Easy beginner crops, not.

 
Casie Becker
pollinator
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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Third year running I've planted peas in my garden. Supposedly they're an easy crop for beginners but I never got more than two plants to sprout. I have finally achieved success this year. I used Carol Depp's technique of presprouting the peas in a paper towel before dropping them in the ground. As of this morning I have a solid line of pea seedling shooting up where I planted them. Anyone else here fail to grow an 'easy' plant? If you persevered until you finally succeed, I'd like to hear your winning strategy.
 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
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bee chicken goat
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I kill everything, so yes I have failed to grow the "easy for beginner" plants quite a lot. I seem to be in a weird part of the country where it's too hot for some things and not cold enough for others, or maybe I am just not a gardener and I'm making excuses. I finally just started sowing random seeds to see what would fare well on it's own. So far carrots and mustard greens are growing pretty well. Mustard greens seem to be slow growing but the carrots are doing great. I've actually been spending most of my time in the garden thinning them.
We also accidentally sprouted a bag of the '15 bean soup' mixes, found some flour bugs and didn't want to use the bag, let them soak a couple days and before we got a chance to give them to the chickens, they all sprouted so we decided to toss them out in the garden. We got some heavy rains that uprooted most of them and then some hard frost that killed a bunch but there are a handful that must have gotten a hold of the soil and they are starting to grow. Put a couple in potters in our kitchen window and one has grown about 2 ft in about two weeks. In a month or so when most of the cold weather is over, we are going to sprout another bag and plant those as well.

So I guess my strategy is to just start planting stuff and as I have successes, I will take note and fine tune what I do for next time. I was getting so wrapped up in when to plant what where, how to fertilize, etc and never got anywhere with it. So now I'm just winging it and seeing what works. Eventually I'll know what I'm doing
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 673
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Miranda Converse wrote:
So I guess my strategy is to just start planting stuff and as I have successes, I will take note and fine tune what I do for next time. I was getting so wrapped up in when to plant what where, how to fertilize, etc and never got anywhere with it. So now I'm just winging it and seeing what works. Eventually I'll know what I'm doing


I think this is a great course of action. I have one garden set aside this year for just that type of experiment. I'm going to take all the partial packets of seeds I have a spread them about the garden. Whatever grows well, I'm going to let go to seed and plant those the next year. Kind of like my own sloppy-ass landrace I figure whatever grows best this way is my "easy beginner crop". My other gardens will still be my regular back to eden style gardens, but with some Lofthouse landrace seeds growing as well as the things I always plant.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1221
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Zucchini and cumbers .
Lots of vines, few flowers, one or two fruit, or lots of vines, lots of flowers and one or two fruits.
When I say lots of vines, I mean climbing house and phone lines.
Too much nitrogen, not enough pollinators, I have no idea why , but no yield is the rule.
 
Leora Laforge
Posts: 39
Location: Saskatchewan
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Peas are one of the first things to go in the garden here, this means planting the second or third weekend of May while there is still some risk of frost, they can handle the cold. The soil has very high moisture content at this point, which is needed for germination. This is probably why pre-sprouting them worked for you Cassie, they just needed that moisture.

Once they sprout, they fix their own nitrogen and aren't overly thirsty, which is probably why they are considered a beginner plant.

Occasionally a cutworm will take out a section of a row when they are very young, when this happens the section might be replanted to something else or left. Peas don't do well when planted late, it is gets too hot for them.

In pea picking season, for the best tasting peas, pick them first thing in the morning while it is still cool, they can wilt a little if you pick them on a hot afternoon.

 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 1108
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
69
forest garden urban
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William Bronson wrote:Zucchini and cumbers .
Lots of vines, few flowers, one or two fruit, or lots of vines, lots of flowers and one or two fruits.
When I say lots of vines, I mean climbing house and phone lines.
Too much nitrogen, not enough pollinators, I have no idea why , but no yield is the rule.


We had fantastic results last year with Snake Melons. Not technically cucumbers but they taste just like them and get huge (think 18 inches+) before the quality begins to suffer. Don't know if it would help the pollinators or not. honey bees here loved them and they flowered nonstop from late spring to mid fall. If I needed something to draw in pollinators I'd consider planting it just for that.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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