Calling all fruit & veggie gardeners - Need some advice please!

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by MichiganWoods, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    This spring we plan on planting a nice little fruit and vegetable garden. We are in Zone 4.

    Here are the things we want to plant.

    Contender (Peaches)
    Late Frosts No Problem!

    For top-quality crops in any region. Excellent cold hardiness and tolerance to late-spring frosts make Contender superb for Northern growers. Marvelously melting, sweet yellow flesh. Extra-juicy freestone fruit ripens in mid August. Self-pollinating. Zones 4-8.

    ^ Looking to plant 1-2 semi-dwarf trees. Directions say 12-14 feet apart. ^

    Luscious Flavor, Self-Pollinating

    Super-sweet "sugar-type" pear with a rich, spicy flavor and exceptional quality. One of the few that is self-pollinating--does not need another variety for good fruiting. Keeps well in storage. Ripens late August. Zones 4-7.

    ^ Looking to plant 1-2 semi-dwarf trees. Directions say 10-12 feet apart. ^

    Gurney's Giant Hybrid
    Early Jumbo Melon

    Our best-selling cantaloupe! Compact vines produce 4-5 fruits up to 18lbs apiece. Ripens in early August--a week before most really large melons. Deep orange flesh is extra sweet, with a high ratio of flesh to seeds. 80 DAYS.


    Athena Hybrid
    A Favorite Across the U.S.!

    Highest quality, 5- to 6-lb. fruits have outstanding flavor and aroma. Firm, salmon-colored flesh holds well after harvest. Vigorous, high-yielding plants. You won't be disappointed! 75 DAYS.

    ^ Which one would you pick, and why? Also, I never have much luck with seeds... any pointers for starting these? ^

    Sangria Hybrid (Watermelon)
    The Gold Standard of Allsweet Melons

    Sets the bar for eating quality in the Allsweet melon type market! Even sweeter than the Crimson Sweet, it has high sugars and unsurpassed taste! Disease resistant. Harvests 20- to 23olb. melons for fresh eating, fruit salads or to take to market. 87 DAYS.

    Early Spring Burpless Hybrid (Cucumber)
    Big Yields of Bitter-Free Fruit

    Prolific and early! Creamy-spined dark green fruits, 12-15 in. long. Bright white flesh is extra crisp and mild. 52 DAYS.


    Sweet Success Hybrid
    Early, Seedless and Acid Free

    Crisp, mild and easy on the digestion. Its gynoecious (all-female) vines tolerate scab and mosaic virus; produce firm 14-in. fruits (all female). 54 DAYS.

    ^ Which one would you pick, and why? ^

    First Edition Hybrid
    Developed for Long Storage

    Delicious, pale golden flesh. Exceptional storage onion. Pink root tolerant. Long day. 105 DAYS.

    Jumbo Virginia (Peanuts)
    Early--Matures in the North

    Exceptional yields of large, plump nuts, delicious for roasting. Needs 4 frost-free months for best results. 120 DAYS.

    Argonaut Hybrid Butternut (Squash)
    Outstanding, Sweet Flavor!

    You'll love Argonaut's honey-sweet flavor and meaty texture; tastes much better than older butternut types like Waltham! Enormous butternut type bright gold fruits are 15 to 27 in. and weigh 30lbs. or more. Will hold up to 8 months in storage. Vigorous vines are easy to grow. 140 DAYS.

    Improved Gurney Girl II <VFNT> (Tomatoes)
    Our Customers' All-Time Flavor Favorite

    Folks tell us they love the taste of this Gurney's exclusive--and the huge yields of 7- to 8-oz. red fruits. Sets the standard for midseason tomatoes. Indeterminate. 72 DAYS.

    I have a few other questions regarding them.

    First, how would you plot out a map of where you would plant what, and what are the minimum dimensions (20x20, 50x50 etc.) required. We are looking to have enough harvest to keep our tummies happy from the bounty via fresh and canned goodies for 3-6+ months (family of 4 plus occasional treats for our chickens!). We would also like to have extra to take to the farmer's market to sell.

    Second, are any of these very hard to maintain? I need to work with plants that don't require *too* much attention through out the season, and could stand me not watering them for a week here and there. I doubt this will be too much of an issue though, as we have a high water table (which made it impossible for us to have a basement), and everything under the sun already grows on our land.

    Third, how many would you recommend planting of each?​
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  2. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I planned my garden around the space I had available with things like bush cucumbers and small melons. I also love my book Carrots Love Tomatoes that tells me what plants do well or poor when planted next to each other. Example cucumbers do well in the shade of sunflowers but must be planted away from melons. Has alot to do with insect and disease control as well as cross pollinating. I dont have many regular plants I like, I usually buy what I can find available locally and learn from year to year what does better for me. My early girls 2 years ago came on the same time as my other tomaotes and the others were nicer. I swear by the little yellow grape tomatoes that just go and go even though last year we didnt have many till late because it wasnt a hot summer. We plant Candy Corn sweet corn because its what my dad always grew and we like it but this year I want to try a earlier variety.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  3. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 26, 2008
    NW IL Fiber Enabler
    Athena Hybrid
    it is a wonderfully flavored melon. They should be mature 5 days prior to the other choice.

    Sweet Success Hybrid
    It's a smaller cuke and all female (more fruit)
  4. key west chick

    key west chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2008
    Gainesville, GA
    If you can find started plants, they might be easier than seeds. I have better luck with the little 6 packs of squash and cucs. I get mine from Home Depot or Lowes. I also like the smaller cucumbers.
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    If you're going to make pickles I don't think the burpless work very well for that.
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I am also a big fan of bush cucumber. As for the squash, take however much room you think you will need for them and then double it [​IMG]
  7. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    Make SURE you have deer/bunny/critter prevention!!!!

    New trees take a couple years to produce-- and those fuzzy buggars WILL eat the lower limbs and bark right off new fruit trees! Wrap them well & surround with chicken-wire "cages"!

    For your garden-- if deer are an issue--a VERY tall fence of poles leaning slightly OUT away from the garden and covered on the sides with simple deer/bird netting keeps them out-- they won't try to jump the tilted fence the way they would an upright due to the "depth"... they can jump real high, or real wide-- but not both at the same time!

    Empty aluminum pie tins, colored streamers etc.. on the tops of the poles also distract birds...
    and a couple BIG toy Snakes laying around deter mice and bunnies-- and a big plastic owl on the fence really keeps away smaller critters!

    Good Luck! We are moving our garden to a larger spot this year due to trees that have gotten MUCH higher over the years and now totally shades our old one!

    PM me if you need help with anything! Got wild alternative growing methods for lots of veggies!
  8. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Wow, thanks for all the great responses!

    ams3651, I'll check out that Carrots Love Tomatoes book. Sounds just like what I am searching for! I would plant some corn, but I have a lot of squirrels. They have previously uprooted and taken off with my cornstalks.

    MullersLaneFarm, thanks for the tips on the melons and cucumbers. I was wondering what the "all female" thing was about!

    key west chick, I agree on the already started plants. I'm not sure where to order already started plants though. I guess this first year it will be trial and error as per what seeds I can manage to get to sprout.

    Katy, thanks for the info on the burpless. We actually don't eat all that many pickles, and nobody in the house eats relish. We really prefer the uncooked/fresh cucumbers. Peel them (or not -- my 7-year-old eats them peel and all!), salt them and munch away! But, we may opt for the Sweet Success Hybrid upon MullersLaneFarm's info about it producing more fruit. It will be nice to have the option of pickling, if we want to have a few like that now and then.

    Wifezilla, bush cucumber? I'll have to see if I can find that variety. I made a note about the space for the squash! Thanks! [​IMG]

    Momma_Cluck, definitely! We have tons of bunnies, deer and other creatures. I've got a lot of chicken wire already. [​IMG] Wow, my kids are gonna love how the garden looks!! I've jotted down all of your tips for the tilted fence. Awesome information. If I run into any problems I'll be sure to send you off a PM!
  9. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    If you want to start your own plants, you have plenty of time to get seeds-- you know how it is "round here! Frosts in July!

    We were lucky to get a LOAD of old windows from a neighbor...
    we started our seeds indoors at the beginning of April (In the basement under florescent lights) and set them out late in May--

    We planted ALL the plants in trenches (Sandy soil does well with this!) and covered the trenches with the windows-- with some space between each for air/rain...

    We had NO FROST DAMAGE!!!! And it warmed the soil so much, that they grew like crazy!!!!! Like Mini greenhouses!
    We Have also done the same with 5mil clear plastic sheeting... works great!

    Meijers and Walmart already have their seeds out-- and it's LOTS cheaper than plants, or ordering from Burpee etc...

    UNLESS: If you are a Gurneys customer and haven't gotten your catalog-- call them! They are giving out $25 coupons this year! Buy $25 worth of trees/plants/seeds and GET $25 of whatever you want!
  10. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    If you plant string beans, grow the yellow variety, also known as "wax beans". They are SO much easier to harvest than the ordinary green ones. The green beans are difficult to see amongst all the greens vines, stems and leaves. But the yellow ones stand out brilliantly! I get pounds and pounds of them every summer. Easy to grow, and take up very little space because they grow climbing up any sort of trellis or netting or fence or tall hedge. I drop them in boiling water for three or four minutes, then dip them in ice water, pat them dry, and they go right into a ziplock freezer bag, and into the freezer.

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