My COVID-19 garden


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Apr 25, 2020
Haven’t had a garden in a few years but do to the dreaded 19 I’m planting one. Right now I have 105 tomato plants about 1 1/2 inches high in cups with hole drill in bottom. They visit outside daily. My tilled garden is 48 feet by 80 feet. I have raised rows about 5 feet apart 10 total. Just received 100 bamboo 6 foot 3/4 inch poles for support. My plan is to put the poles 4 feet apart in the rows and plant peppers between the tomatoes 2 foot fro each in same row. I’ll till between the rows weekly and use a 4 foot landscaping rake pulling fresh soil up the mounds to prevent weeds and maintain a watering V on top of the row. So is it ok to plant tomatoes and peppers 24 inches apart in the same row? That takes about 7.5 rows and greens in the remaining rows. But what about the possibility of 1 row of bush beans? About a month ago I tilled 1750 pounds of Black Kow into the garden and yesterday my ph was 6.0.
 
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Where are you located and what direction are those trees in? I would not plant peppers next to tomatoes due to the fact that tomatoes will grow much taller, wider and bushier than the peppers and I would be afraid of the peppers being shaded out, especially if you plant indeterminate tomatoes. Even determinate plants will grow to 4+ feet and peppers about 3 feet for the largest, most about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 feet. Why not just be safe and grow them in separate rows?
 
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The trees are in the east and by 8am the whole garden is in full sun for the day I am just off I95 4 miles from North Carolina live in Virginia. So should I plant anything in the 4 foot V watering space between the tomatoes?
 
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The trees are in the east and by 8am the whole garden is in full sun for the day I am just off I95 4 miles from North Carolina live in Virginia. So should I plant anything in the 4 foot V watering space between the tomatoes?
I am not sure what you mean by 4 ft. V watering space
 
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weekly I’ll till the space between the raised rows and use a 4 foot landscaping rake to pull fresh tilled soil up the 48 foot long mound making sure that I leave a V in the top of the mound for watering. This also helps to control weeds with out using chemicals.
 
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I think you will find the following MUCH easier. Rake the top of the rows until they are about 2 feet wide. This is about the correct width to keep MOST of the soil from washing down onto your walkway although there will be some that washes down. Fill the walkways up with small mulch or leaves and ONCE or TWICE a year till your walkways and form into your rows again. Once a year if you will not have a fall garden, twice if you will, again in the spring before planting. Next is watering. For a garden the size of yours the best and (in the long run) cheapest is to use drip irrigation. It will save you an enormous amount of water, you can water the entire garden or any specific area. You only water the plants. Tomatoes have an extensive root system. They will make their way into your walkway and if you till you will kill these roots. When you transplant into the ground make a bowl shaped depression and place your transplants into it and lay your irrigation lines. If you plant row crops just double or triple the lines and make your rows wider. If you plant corn make really wide rows. Perhaps the following pictures will make sense. I have been doing this for a long time and this is by far the best method for a large garden I have found. I have also found an excellent place to obtain all of the drip irrigation supplies. It is called DripWorks. Excellent prices and very fast shipping. Look them up on the internet and get a free catalogue.
I make my rows 3 feet wide but that is because I never know what I am going to plant. I fill the walkways completely full of whatever organic stuff I can get.
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Meadowlark

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Welcome @Richandtd, interesting garden. A row of bush beans should work very nicely.

My garden is about the same size sq. ft @ 40x100. I was interested to see yours is 10 rows whereas mine is 14 rows, three of which are double rows. Interesting that you space the rows 5 ft apart...seems like a lot but maybe that is driven by equipment?

Also I noted the 105 tomato plants...by comparison I normally have about 20 tomato plants which provides plenty of fresh tomatoes as well as about 30 quarts canned tomatoes. 105 plants is a lot of tomatoes. Interested in your comments....and looking forward to watching your "virus" garden progress.
 
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The 5 foot separation between rows is for my lil 17hp tractor with 4 foot tiller. I’ve tried doing closer with a walk behind rear tine tiller but that not only used more fuel than the tractor but a lot more work. About 4 years ago was my last garden and I had 120 foot rows and 300 potatoes planted and that was a lot of work. But I’ve found that by doing the tilling with the tractor I can water with and old John Deere STX38 pulling a cart with a 50 gallon water tank and water the V on top of the long mounds using a hose and gravity feed. This will be the first year using bamboo supports for the tomatoes. Oh it’s going to be interesting cause we’ve lost track of which tomato is planted in the cups with all six seed packs used. Looks like I need to do some research on that DripWorks stuff. Anyway I belong to a Ruritan Club and we all like tomatoes and with all of this uncertainty with the virus and social isolation I figured check and see if the seeds that are over 5 years old in the fridge would grow so that’s where I’m at. As I make progress I’ll post pictures and updates.
 

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Meadowlark

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That's kind of what I figured...and very smart to lay out your garden to fit your equipment. Highly endorse that approach.

Wow I did 100 pounds of seed potatoes ONCE and I can't imagine doing 300 pounds. I'm down to 20 pounds now in my old age, LOL. We normally get a minimum of 10 pounds of new potatoes per pound of seed.
 
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I always report production of potatoes in weight per plant for a small backyard garden. It has more meaning IMO.
 
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Meadowlark

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I always report production of potatoes in weight per plant for a small backyard garden. It has more meaning IMO.

So, do you buy plants? Or do you cut up seed potatoes and plant them? If the latter, how many plants do you get per cut? Or perhaps one of the few in the World that actually uses real seeds? I've never heard of buying potato plants and real seeds are highly impractical. I use seed potatoes so that ratio makes sense to me and others who use seed potatoes. I've got the history of the past 40 years measured in that ratio...and it makes perfect since to me.
 
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I always report production of potatoes in weight per plant for a small backyard garden. It has more meaning IMO.
The rows were 120 foot long and I used a modified peanut digger I found on my property so using a tractor to dig them out had no idea how many per plant
 
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I usually have 20 to 30 plants. Sometimes I buy seed potatoes usually two types. Sometimes I use supermarket potatoes but often they use sprout inhibitor and the potato rots instead of growing. If the potato is large I cut into two or three but prefer the whole potato. I sometimes sprout them before planting but it makes little difference. I also plant a few sweet potatoes, which are usually excellent and they keep well. With normal potatoes I consider anything from 5 to 8 pounds per plant to be excellent. With no pampering 4 pounds is a good average.

Sometimes I chit (Chitting) the potatoes before planting. Gives them a head start.
 

Meadowlark

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Richandtd,

I would expect to get a minimum of 500 pounds of new potatoes from a 50 pound bag of seed potatoes...and in a really good year 750 pounds.

When I did 100 pounds of seed potatoes, we harvested over 1000 pounds of new potatoes...and my young at the time daughter went door to door selling them for spending money. LOL, She still remembers that and laughs about it.
 
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Meadowlark

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Sometimes I chit (Chitting) the potatoes before planting. Gives them a head start.
Here chitting is a complete waste of time. I know when to plant my cut pieces to avoid a killing frost. Experience is a great teacher.
 
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Weather has a large influence on production. I grow superb potatoes. Nothing like a oven baked potato with butter, cooked in a Dutch oven.
 

Meadowlark

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Well to each his own. My lunch today was
1) crème peas and new potatoes from the garden
2) _late broccoli from the garden
3) broiled chicken

I'll take that any day over baked. Another favorite around here is green beans and new potatoes...fabulous!!!
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This is the ultimate lunch we will be able to have soon...all from the garden

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All are delicious, why compete when we can have them all?
My first earlies (we have 4 potato crops in the UK: 1st early, June-July, 2nd early, late July-Aug, Main crop Late Aug until Oct & 2nd crop, sometimes called Christmas potatoes.) are through; add home grown peas & lamb chops for a scrumptious meal.
 

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