Best Crops For Your Garden

Plan your most successful garden ever by using crops that naturally thrive where you live.

By Barbara Pleasant from Mother Earth news

Last fall, we hatched what has turned out to be a terrific idea: a national survey to rate North America’s most productive garden crops. We invited thousands of our readers who grow food gardens to rate a list of 70 crops, and with more help from members of Seed Savers Exchange, we amassed groundbreaking, firsthand regional advice from hundreds of gardeners from British Columbia to Boca Raton.

The online survey covered a lot of ground by asking four questions about everything from asparagus to sweet corn to watermelon:

* How easy is it to grow?
* How much do you like to eat it?
* Does it make good use of the time and space it requires?
* How easy is it to store?

The following regional “Top 10 Crops” revealed by the survey (based on all four criteria) will give beginners a great start. However, they won’t fill up most gardens, so our report also covers “pet” crops: veggies that people want with such passion that they’re willing to take extra measures to help them grow. The survey also identified minor-league veggies like arugula that are not widely grown, but get uniformly high ratings from those who grow them.

We hope you find fresh, helpful guidance in these initial results from the first Mother Earth News National Garden Crops Survey. May your 2009 garden be your most efficient, bountiful and delicious ever!

The National Top 25 Crops

1. Garlic
2. Bush snap bean
3. Pole snap bean
4. Slicing tomato
5. Cherry tomato
6. Paste tomato
7. Potato
8. Snow/snap pea
9. Shallot
10. Shell pea
11. Scallion
12. Chard
13. Dry soup bean
14. Sweet pepper
15. Rhubarb
16. Summer squash
17. Spinach
18. Hot pepper
19. Carrot
20. Winter squash
21. Beet
22. Kale
23. Sweet corn
24. Collards
25. Radish

Easiest to Grow

1. Radish
2. Chard
3. Bush snap bean
4. Rhubarb
5. Cherry tomato

Most Wanted

1. Slicing tomato
2. Sweet corn
3. Cherry tomato
4. Garlic
5. Asparagus

Best Use of Time and Space

1. Scallion
2. Lettuce
3. Chard
4. Cherry tomato
5. Radish

Easiest to Store

  1. Garlic
  2. Onion
  3. Potato
  4. Shallot
  5. Dry soup bean

Square Foot Garden Update

It has been just under a month since we built a square foot garden. We thought now would be a good time for an update. Here are some pics of our garden just under 30 days into it. We are happy with the results. Especially considering that we were gone for a week during the hottest time so far this summer. The garden didn’t get any water for over a week and still held up amazingly well. We thought for sure it would be a brown clump of dried weeds when we got home.

It has been just under a month since we built a square foot garden. We thought now would be a good time for an update. Here are some pics of our garden just under 30 days into it. We are happy with the results. Especially considering that we were gone for a week during the hottest time so far this summer. The garden didn’t get any water for over a week and still held up amazingly well. We thought for sure it would be a brown clump of dried weeds when we got home.

Square foot garden Square Foot Cucumber Green Tomatoes First Red Tomato

We have several green tomatoes and two red ones. We also have cucumber about 6-8 inches long. Our watermelons are about the size of a baseball and seem to be coming along nicely. So far the Square Foot Garden is a success!

The $10 Compost Bin

When my wife gives me a chore to do, I’m all about efficiency. Sometimes I take my time and overdo a job. Sometimes I am flat out lazy and want to hurry it along so I can get back to my hammock. Today I was feeling the latter. So here is how YOU TOO can build a $10 compost bin in 10 minutes!!

$10 compost bin When my wife gives me a chore to do, I’m all about efficiency. Sometimes I take my time and overdo a job. Sometimes I am flat out lazy and want to hurry it along so I can get back to my hammock. Today I was feeling the latter. So here is how YOU TOO can build a $10 compost bin in 10 minutes!!

So the first thing I needed to do was plot it out. I wanted it semi close to the house (too far, and you won’t take it out). It has to be far enough away that you dont attract flies and such to the house. I chose a location that had fence already up on two sides. This helps support it without the additional expense of more framing.

Next you need to choose supplies. I have seen these done with old barrels, I have seen them made with old pallets. I say use whatever you have laying around without it being too much a eye sore. I personally found some old wood plywood sheets laying behind the barn. There were four sheets that were all the same size. Perfect!

Things you need:

  • Drill with drill bit and screw driver bit
  • Plyers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Corner Braces
  • Bailing Wire
  • Door hinge

I laid the pieces up against the fence and eyeballed the fence post. I then drilled two holes, and used the bailing wire to secure the wood to the fence post. I did this one the two sides that had fence. Once that was completed, I took the corner braces and put one high and one low for extra strength. I then placed the third board up and used corner braces to secure it. The last board is where you can get as fancy or cheap as you want. I have seen people mount metal fence post to it and just pound it in the ground. I opted for the “custom” door hinge that way we can easily swing it open. And there you have it, nothing fancy, nothing pretty. You $10 compost bin completed in 10 minutes, now back to the hammock!

Ronnie Drilling Corner Braces in Place Bailing Wire

Square Foot Gardening

You basically fill 8 inches deep, 3 different ingredients evenly. Those ingredients are 1 part vermiculite, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part compost. If you have to buy compost, I hear mushroom compost is the best. We could not find any, so we just used regular compost. Once they are in the container, stir it around to they are all evenly mixed and start planting!

We recently took this up. We wanted to garden, but due to our recent move late in the year, it needed to be quick. When we moved in we found some old shelves laying out back. We flipped them over and started with those! So our square foot gardening boxes cost us $0!!! Now that is a great start! Unfortunately we only had two, so that left us about 12 square ft. So we will see how it goes.

You basically fill 8 inches deep, 3 different ingredients evenly. Those ingredients are 1 part vermiculite, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part compost. If you have to buy compost, I hear mushroom compost is the best. We could not find any, so we just used regular compost.  Once they are in the container, stir it around to they are all evenly mixed and start planting!

Book shelves Pouring Vermiculite Pouring Compost Samanta Helping Square foot garden Square foot garden

Now if you want to give it a try, I really suggest you buy the book HERE! Its super easy, and great family fun.

Hay Bale Gardening

Hay Bale Gardening
Hay Bale Gardening

Now this is one interesting article. We are square foot gardening, and in searching for more literature, I ran into this article. It spawned all kinds of ideas, so I thought I would share.

Gardening with No Back Pain! Hay Bale Garden

Author: Stacy Pessoney

Have you ever heard of growing your garden on bales of hay? Well, if you are interested, it is not very hard and has a lot of advantages over the traditional garden, especially if you do not want to do a lot of bending over, tilling and digging. Hay bale gardens are also great for growing a garden when you do not have much yard space. People have been known to grow straw gardens on their driveways or even on their rooftops!   To plant a hay bale or straw garden, soak your straw or hay bales in water every day for up to two weeks. Some people simply make a slit in the top of the hay with a spade and insert their plants into the slit, just as if it were dirt.   You can speed up the hay conditioning process by watering for three to four days, then adding a layer of hummus, peat moss, potting soil or compost to the top of the bales. Simply plant your seeds inside and add any plants that you may have started already.   How does it work? Well, hay contains many microorganisms. When they get enough water, they will start eating away at bacteria inside the hay. All of this action makes compost material inside the bale, creating a perfect environment for your plants to grow. Hay bales drain very well, so you never have to worry about too much rain or watering. Make sure that you maintain the moisture level inside the hay bale and you are all set.   You can reuse your hay bale garden next year. After two years of use, you may want to replace the bales. Two-year-old hay bale gardens make wonderful compost for the rest of your yard.   There are a lot of benefits to having a hay bale garden. One, the drainage makes root rot and other soil-borne illnesses a non-issue. Tomatoes especially grow well in these conditions. Because they cannot get too much water, they will have strong roots and the tomatoes will not become grainy, pale or deprived of nutrients.   One of the most enjoyed benefits of the straw garden is the lack of bending over, digging and tilling. Many people love gardening but simply cannot handle the physical labor of caring for the plants. With a hay bale garden, you can make it as high as you need it to avoid the need to bend over. If you stack bales to keep plants within reach, make sure that you stake them to avoid them tipping over.   Another benefit of hay bale gardening is that rabbits cannot climb up to the plants. Furthermore, dogs and other animals will not see your garden as a great place to dig and play.   Taking care of a hay bale garden is so simple that you will wonder why you ever did it any other way. Simply water and you are done. Keep your water hose on a  garden hose reel  to always have it handy. If you are physically challenged, consider an automatic hose reel for super easy watering. Enjoy your hay bale garden!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/gardening-articles/gardening-with-no-back-pain-hay-bale-garden-931687.html

About the Author:
About the Author:  Stacy Pessoney is an award winning author and writer of web content for many different web sites.  She is well versed in many different areas, including gardening,  hose reel , lawn care and landscaping.