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Greetings from Virginia!

1422 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Megan
Hello all, pleased to meet you!

I grew up on a small farm. I've been veggie gardening on my own for about 3 years now, and while I think my Dad would be proud of me, if he were still with us he'd also be chuckling at some of my goofs. This area is zone 7a, though given recent climate change I'm starting to think it's heading towards 7b. We had a complete "non-winter" last winter, and while I missed the snow, my rosemary plant couldn't be happier and has acquired grand pretensions of becoming a shrub.

My space is limited so I'm using mostly raised beds (about 150 sf) and square foot/high density planting. I've been experimenting to see what I can grow, and in the process, learning what we'll really eat and what just seemed like a good idea (or fun) at the time.

After 3 years of trying, I have officially given up on bok choy, as it bolts immediately due to the heat no matter how early I start it. Broccoli raab is also having heat troubles but seems a little more resilient. Swiss chard on the other hand seems to be able to hang in there through the summer. I'm still experimenting with lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans etc. In general, finding I prefer indeterminate plants to bush types, to get a longer played-out harvest.

Still trying to make tomatillos work, on my 2nd year of those. Walking onions are doing great. Something ate all the shallot greens this spring (?? no clue) and am having mixed success with onions and garlic. Something also ate most of the beans--tried Blue Lake bush beans instead of the pole beans I'd used before--and I haven't planted the squash or cukes yet. (Yep, it's late, but it's going to be a long growing season.) Other things include eggplant, potatoes, strawberries, kale, mustard, sorrel, peas, herbs etc. I've harvested most of the early stuff and there are lots of green tomatoes and some baby peppers coming along.

I use heirloom seed/plants when possible; the varieties fascinate me and flavors/colors are just amazing. But I have some hybrids too. Trying to be organic. No pesticides at all so far this year...a couple of years I resorted to neem oil while crying bitter tears over all the cucumber beetles and squash bugs.

Along with trying to learn to garden, I've been slowly learning how to can. Growing up I was too small to be allowed around the canning process, so it's pretty much been me and the Blue Ball book, with long-distance expert advice. Also making nearly all my own bread now. Have thought about cheese-making, but thought's as far as that one has gotten. :)

Wishing you all very happy gardening,
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