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Old 02-12-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,244 posts, read 15,221,314 times
Reputation: 6115

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We're going to try a veggie garden again this year. We tried a small one that did ok the year we moved here. The next year we tried about half an acre and it failed miserably.

We're having some compost brought out and the land tilled now. Will till again and add more compost early spring and then look to start planting.

Before we're to that point, what do we need to know? Where should we order seeds? We want at least:

Tons of green beans - we eat them at least 4 or 5 nights a week. Can they be canned - if so, how?

Tons and tons and tons of corn. Our neighbor before he passed said it's easy to freeze and will stay good through the next growing season. So how do we freeze it? He said leave on husks and freeze in paper bags.

At least a few cukes. We put out about 25 last year not realizing they spread about 18 acres per vine. Wound up killing out beans. Would like to learn how to pickle them too.

Tomatoes - we're looking for the monster deep red beefsteak variety. I'd like to stew them and can them for sauces and stuff later in the year.

Maybe some squash or lettuce of some kind? Any other suggestions? And hints on where to buy seeds, growing each kind of veggie, canning or putting them up for use later in the year, etc.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,861 posts, read 32,778,206 times
Reputation: 22582
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
We're going to try a veggie garden again this year. We tried a small one that did ok the year we moved here. The next year we tried about half an acre and it failed miserably.

We're having some compost brought out and the land tilled now. Will till again and add more compost early spring and then look to start planting.

Before we're to that point, what do we need to know? Where should we order seeds? We want at least:

Tons of green beans - we eat them at least 4 or 5 nights a week. Can they be canned - if so, how?

Tons and tons and tons of corn. Our neighbor before he passed said it's easy to freeze and will stay good through the next growing season. So how do we freeze it? He said leave on husks and freeze in paper bags.

At least a few cukes. We put out about 25 last year not realizing they spread about 18 acres per vine. Wound up killing out beans. Would like to learn how to pickle them too.

Tomatoes - we're looking for the monster deep red beefsteak variety. I'd like to stew them and can them for sauces and stuff later in the year.

Maybe some squash or lettuce of some kind? Any other suggestions? And hints on where to buy seeds, growing each kind of veggie, canning or putting them up for use later in the year, etc.
I applaud your efforts. We have had gardens for the past several years, each one being larger than the last. The amount of information that would be necessary to respond to your questions is not practical on this forum. I suggest that you invest in a good library of books that cover the issues that you are asking about.

Just one thought to share, however. I would recommend against freezing produce. It is never a good idea to electricity/freezers to protect and maintain your hard-earned produce. Corn can be canned as easily as frozen and you never have to worry about the power going out. Also, if you can possibly put in a cold cellar to help you preserve your food, it would be to your advantage. You might want to frequent some of the homesteading message boards to get more information and recommendations on which books to buy.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,244 posts, read 15,221,314 times
Reputation: 6115
*groan*

Ok, how about at least where to buy the seeds? Anyone have a good place to order them from? I'd like a really good variety.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,861 posts, read 32,778,206 times
Reputation: 22582
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
*groan*

Ok, how about at least where to buy the seeds? Anyone have a good place to order them from? I'd like a really good variety.
I buy mine from rareseeds.com, because I only grow heirloom varieties. The owner of this site (bakercreek seeds) is a strong advocate against GMO foods. I recommend them very highly.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: OB
2,404 posts, read 3,709,123 times
Reputation: 879
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
*groan*

Ok, how about at least where to buy the seeds? Anyone have a good place to order them from? I'd like a really good variety.
Park Seeds

Park Seed: Seeds and plants for vegetable, flower, annual and perennial gardening.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Lynbrook
517 posts, read 2,379,447 times
Reputation: 324
Any suggestions on a variety of corn for a smaller veggie plot?
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:37 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,880 posts, read 24,264,324 times
Reputation: 10635
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenBo View Post
Any suggestions on a variety of corn for a smaller veggie plot?
Yukon chief, if you can find any seeds for it. It's a very short, compact, fast growing variety, and a bit more tolerant of cold soil than most.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:44 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,880 posts, read 24,264,324 times
Reputation: 10635
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
We're going to try a veggie garden again this year. We tried a small one that did ok the year we moved here. The next year we tried about half an acre and it failed miserably.

We're having some compost brought out and the land tilled now. Will till again and add more compost early spring and then look to start planting.

Before we're to that point, what do we need to know? Where should we order seeds? We want at least:

Tons of green beans - we eat them at least 4 or 5 nights a week. Can they be canned - if so, how?

Tons and tons and tons of corn. Our neighbor before he passed said it's easy to freeze and will stay good through the next growing season. So how do we freeze it? He said leave on husks and freeze in paper bags.

At least a few cukes. We put out about 25 last year not realizing they spread about 18 acres per vine. Wound up killing out beans. Would like to learn how to pickle them too.

Tomatoes - we're looking for the monster deep red beefsteak variety. I'd like to stew them and can them for sauces and stuff later in the year.

Maybe some squash or lettuce of some kind? Any other suggestions? And hints on where to buy seeds, growing each kind of veggie, canning or putting them up for use later in the year, etc.
Try doing some of the garden square foot style.

Beans can be canned easily, but you do need a pressure canner to do it safely. A canning guide like the Ball Blue Book would be very helpful (it also describes how to properly freeze foods so they last as long as possible).

I get a lot of my seeds from seedsavers, seedsofchange, and some local stores. I tend to prefer open-pollinated types.

The beefsteak tomato you're thinking of could be one of several types. Brandywine has always been my favorite large tomato. It's more pinkish than deep red but delicious. A little slower than some varieties.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 9,282,566 times
Reputation: 3370
Where you get seeds depends a lot on where you're at... veggies just do better if you plant varities that are acclimated to your area. If you want a lot of variety and don't have much concern about open-pollinated or heirloom, you can always check out Burpee... most of theirs are hybrids, but pretty much idiot-proof no matter where you live because they're very commercialized.

While I applaud your ambition, you might want to rethink such a big garden if you're still asking these newbie questions. Best to start small with a few plants and learn as you grow... otherwise you might end up with more trouble and expense than you realize. I agree with ArcticHomesteader, try using the square-foot method or at least some smaller raised beds to start with rather than going hog wild with field rows.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:12 AM
 
11,451 posts, read 48,510,113 times
Reputation: 15730
Sounds like you need to contact your local county extension office and seek out the horticulturist, as well as the nutrition specialist. Maybe you even have a local Master Gardener's program that can assist your needs.

They're the folks that will have the information about seeds/variety information specific to your soils, growing region, water, etc ... what grows best, how to plant it, how to amend your soil (and/or get it tested). The office will also help you on home preserving ... freezing/canning, etc.

There's many sources of seeds. My wife gets over 50 catalogues every year ... and we also only grow heirloom varieties of vegetables.

I wouldn't plant only one variety of your corn, beans, tomatoes, cucmbers, etc. Select several of each type, plant them in accordance with the suggestions from the seed supplier as well as the extension agent's office. Talk to your local nurseries about what they've had success with, too. Some of your best sources will be commercial seeds, some will be local nursuries where they've been selling varieties that grow well in your area ... and maybe it's best for some of your garden to be "started" from seedlings instead of seeds.

The Ball Blue Book is a petty good reference for canning/preserving foods. Of course, there's many others which give excellent directions for foor preservation, too ... probably available at your library, if not at your extension agent's office.

If you had a family of four, you should be able to raise most of your vegetable requirements each year on a garden plot of less than 5,000 sq ft. We don't have much more than that and we grow enough for our own needs and Farmer's Market sales in a short growing season high altitude cold climate. A 1/2 acre of vegetable gardens would be a lot of work to try to keep properly watered, fertilized, weeded and harvested .... and could grow far more produce than you could possibly eat.
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