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The Growing Challenge: Tell Us All About Your Garden!!

The Growing Challenge The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition:  From Seed To Seed


Welcome – there are 158 participants signed up for The Growing Challenge: From Seed To Seed, and 202 participants in The Original Growing Challenge.  You can join either challenge at any time – fun stuff!


Ok, well now that we’ve aired out our feelings about green…. (sheepishly looks away)… let’s um, talk about our gardens!  And how green and beautiful they are in the fall (or spring) rains.  


How is your garden faring?  Have you saved seeds yet?  Are you finding the resources you need to learn how to do what you need to do next?  In other words, are you learning to save your seeds, learning when to harvest, learning how to plant fall and winter crops, and so on?


I will tell you I’m scared.  Scared to save those amaranth seeds.  The stalks are much taller than I am, and they’re falling over due to the weight of the millions of seeds on each one… and I’m actually petrified.  They’re so pretty, and yet I have this feeling saving them will be difficult!  I’m sure it’s irrational.


Tomorrow night we have a p-patch banquet, so I’ll ask around.  And if I don’t find out… hmmm, if only there were a thing with lots of different information where you could just type in what you want to know and it will give you ideas… Oh, yeah…  so not doing that (ie not looking it up on the computer) does that mean I’m lazy?  Gasp!  Ok, off to find the answer…. 


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So in the meantime, do let us all know how your garden is doing, what you’re learning, and all that fun stuff!


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14 comments to The Growing Challenge: Tell Us All About Your Garden!!

  • Our garden is pretty much done in. Texas heat doesn’t do the garden any favors. We were blessed with some much needed rain recently and the few things that were bravely hanging on are trying to make somewhat of a comeback. Okra and various pepper plants are still producing a bit. Tomatoes are still living and just may produce a small fall crop if we don’t get an early frost. Grass and weeds are thriving quite well, of course.

    We had some communication issues with the whole community garden experience, but it was most definitely a good tool for learning; and I know several things NOT to do next time.

    My family is moving back into the city to cut our expenses and gasoline usage. Not sure yet if we’ll be able to do any fall gardening, we do have plans for another community garden, however … I just have a bit of “convincing” to do with the land owners ;) . I may do a few containers of fall/winter veggies, too.

    Catherine :)

  • My favorite king of green. :)

    Very pleased with my seed saving this year. It was exactly the direction I needed to go. I haven’t harvested the zucchini that I’m trying to save seed from yet as it’s not ripe enough yet, but I’m hoping it will work. So far I have the tomatoes and beans I want.

    Most of my summer crops are just about done. A few more squash, a few more tomatoes and tomatillios. Dug the last of my potatoes on Sunday. Starting to pick fall apples and have harvested a lot of grapes. It’s been my best year yet for fruit; that’s probably good since fruits are generally more expensive than veggies.

    I’ll be planting more lettuce, spinach and the garlic next weekend. I wasn’t very organized this fall and didn’t get any cole crops in the ground.

    Two of the chickens are laying consistently. My chicken coop isn’t a “tractor style” coop but it is small enough to be move-able. The run attaches and is light enough to lift with some help. I’m thinking that I’m going to shift the chickens back and forth every other year and plant my squash where the run was the year before.

  • Things are drying out here, but I’m afraid the overabundance of rain has done in the last of the summer veggies, except maybe the peppers. I’ll be pulling the zucchini and anything else with fungus this weekend. The summer tomatoes are questionable, too.

    I have the fall garden in: cabbage, radicchio, beets, kale, lettuce, cilantro, parsley and more beans. The spinach didn’t come up – probably too hot to germinate. Will have to do so inside next year.

    Collected lots of seeds this summer. In addition to many flower seeds, I saved arugula, dill, parsley, tomatoes (from farmer’s market tomatoes since I didn’t like my varieties much) and beans, and have radish seeds ripening now. I’ve already replanted some, dill and beans, and allowed the parsley to reseed itself. I started a few tomatoes for the fall from suckers.

    I’m looking forward to digging some parsley to pot for the winter months. Can’t live without fresh parsley. Also looking to dig a few flowers, or start some from cuttings, for pots to overwinter.

    I also snatched some seeds from false indigo growing in the landscaping where I work. Since people actually cut the flowers to bring into their offices, I figured grabbing a few seed pods was a minor offense. I grew one for my son’s garden.

    My biggest takeaway from this summer was that though my clay soil was amended pretty heavily last year, it’s far from rich. Most failures this year were due to poor soil. I’m working to improve that with more compost, homemade and bagged.

  • things are winding down up north too…

    The black eyed peas experiment resulted entirely in saved seed rather than any to eat. I got just enough to replant next year in a better spot (and hopefully avoid pest pressure that nearly wiped out the whole crop.) Since I doubt that variety is going to be available next year I feel its imperative that I save all of next years crop to give away as seed as well. A single supplier is the only place in the US I have found this seed at, and it grows to maturity and dries in the shorter cooler northern climate, which is unheard of for a black eyed pea.

    I started clipping the blooms from hyssop and bee balm, and have to smash a lot of little arugula pods soon.

    I scooped out some seeds from the delicata squash just before I ate it (delicious by the way…the squash…though I’ll bet you could bake the seeds like pumpkins seeds too!)

  • >bake the seeds

    Yes, you can! They’re great.

    Planted peas. Late, but that’s how it is. Hope to add beets today or tomorrow.

    Harvested grapes, sweet corn, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, kale, blackberries (yay, Daughter!), cabbage, yellow zucchini, beets, green zucchini, turnips, turnip greens, kohlrabi, chard, bok choi, radishes, beans, bell peppers, potatoes, onions, garlic, chicken eggs, duck eggs. Delicatas, pumpkins and butternuts have cured, along with onions and garlic, and are in storage. Potatoes are most of them still in the ground, with the sunchokes and most of the garlic (we got tired!).

    Dried apples, tomatoes and beans, canned tomatoes and applesauce, strung leather britches (beans), and wrapped and stored apples. Started fifteen gallons of grape wine (including pulp, so make that eight to ten gallons we hope to bottle — still, that’s ambitious for us!). Our method with tomatoes is to cut the outer slices off all the way round, and these, with the skins on and salted and spiced, go into the solar dryer. The rest of the now-naked tomato goes into the canning pot.

    Converting garden waste into compost now — corn stalks for example are going into the shredder. One corn patch got past us while we were eating out of the other one, and all those ears are going over the fence, where they keep the poultry almighty busy!

    Sold chicken eggs and gave away lots of veggies.

    Because of the potential for unproductive crosses, there are many things from which we have refrained from taking seed. We did get kale (a CUP from one plant!!), tomato (4 kinds), and beans (favas [almost two gallons], 3 kinds of green bean and 2 of runners). A plum tree is thriving that was the survivor from 17 twigs I put into one of the garden beds after pruning last winter. I hope to add it to the orchard this winter.

    Ummm, that’s it I think.

  • I’ve been busy canning the last of the salsa. Most of my tomatoes got taken out by the blight but the peppers are going strong. I’ve got seeds saved from 5 types of tomatoes, 5 peppers and some from a delicata squash that I got at a seed saving workshop that I got to attend 2 weeks ago. We’ve been spending lots of time on home renovations, trying to get our new house in shape for the winter so I’ve decided to forgo the fall garden this year. But I’m already dreaming of next year.

  • My tomato seed saving seemed to have worked. I was able to start a plant from one of the tomatoes I grew. Since I’m growing in hydroponics I can start the new seed while the old plant is still alive. For a while mother and daughter plants were sharing the same container.

    I have since cut down mom even though she was still healthy because the container is to small for two tomato plants.

    The daughter is about 4 or 5 inches tall right now.

    Another plant I’m doing is garlic. I have some bulbs I’m giving to coworkers and this week I’m going to plant a few cloves from the garlic I grew this year.

  • Hi,

    My potted garden is proving that you can rent and grow food – at the same time! Awesome, huh?

    We’re now up to just under 50 species and varieties of food plants, and they’re all going like a rocket. That’s what you get with Spring in Dunedin.

    One casualty – Chuck Norris, my tough-as-guts lettuce, who had survived all winter outside, through snow, hail, and frosts harder than a fire-fighter arse, is dead. Not through any fault of my own. My daughter (age 2) thought she’d take Chuck on. He may be so fast he can run around the world and hit himself in the back of the head, but he was no match for a two year old with a pair of scissors.

    We’ve more seed orders on the way – coming soon are echinacea, nasturtiums, green micro-mix and some heritage pumpkin varieties. And we’ve had our first yield of lettuce and basil, since the garden really took off just a couple of months ago.

    So yes, is is going well. Everything is in pots, so when we move we can take all our plants with us. Renting a problem to growing food? No way!

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • Planted:
    Cauliflower (sprouted)
    Lettuce (sprouted)
    Spinach (sprouted)
    Cabbage (sprouted)
    Sweet Peas

    Onions (can’t get enough)

    Strange occurrance: espalier peach and plum tree are blooming.

    Going to Nuccio’s in Pasedena to pick out camellias.

  • Deb C-G

    The days are getting pretty short, with the sun disappearing behind the nearby cliffs at about 4:30, so the garden has slowed down. I grew okra for the first time this year, but it wasn’t very productive, don’t think it’s hot enough, long enough, here. I have *one* watermelon which just keeps growing bigger and bigger and not getting ripe. It’s supposed to be an “icebox” type. Maybe no one has told it how small my fridge is!

    The squash all died of powdery mildew, the peas and beans produced a pitiful two servings each. The carrots were pea-sized! However, all the brassicas have outdone themselves. I grew Brussel sprouts for the first time, and though they aren’t ready yet they will be producing a good crop. I sowed bok choi, rapini and kale for a fall crop, after they did so well in the spring. My two green pepper plants have been very enthusiastic about making peppers. There are about 25 peppers of various sizes, from an inch long to five and six inches, on the plants right now, and I’ve been picking peppers since late July.

    But the real success of the year has to be the tomatoes. Grew my own from seed and we have picked pounds and pounds of tomatoes since the end of July, and the plants are still groaning with green tomatoes.

    In spite of the failures, which always happen year-to-year, it has been an absolutely great year. There’s no one as optimistic as a gardener, who is sure *everything* will grow next year. LOL

    Happy fall everyone!

  • Stacy

    I have collected seeds from my:

    Tomtaoes (not sure if I did it right though!)

    Feeling pretty happy about it! I really hope they come out ok in the spring.

    The garden is winding down, nights are cool. The weeds are winning the battle these days.

    Thanks for your blog!

  • Successes in the garden this year: cucumbers (made bread and butter pickles), tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, radishes, green beans, okra, asparagus, beets, lettuce, buttercup squash, arugula, spinach, corn salad, leeks, garlic, wheat, amaranth, parsnips, Swiss chard, cilantro. So far I’ve saved seeds from tomatoes, bushy cucumbers, radishes, corn salad, lettuce and cilantro. I’m still planning to save seed from okra, buttercup squash, arugula, spinach, wheat, Swiss chard and amaranth.

    Things that didn’t do so well this year included corn and pole beans. I tried to grow the corn, pole beans and winter squash using the “three sisters” method, but only one of the “sisters” (buttercup squash) did well. I’ll try again next year. Peas also didn’t do well. Harvested a few in the spring, and planted some fall peas, but something really likes to eat the plants. Same with broccoli this year…cabbage loopers were bad. Of six bell pepper plants that I raised from seed and transplanted into the garden, one survived, and produced two beautiful peppers.

    Fall seeds have been sown: lettuce, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, corn salad, carrots and radishes. Everything except lettuce is up and growing, and I expect it soon. Great to hear about all of your gardens!

  • Barbara

    We had a very poor showing in our garden this summer (Southern Texas). We had hail, caterpillars, excessive heat, and a deer that managed to jump the fence. Temperatures have finally cooled down a little, we’ve finally had rain, and we deer-proofed the fence. We’ve kept the peppers: bell, jalepenos, serranos, and one Texas Yellow plant. We also kept the basil bushes and 3 roma tomato plants, which are still producing. We ripped out everything else, including the cucumbers and 3 large beefsteak tomato plants, because they were only making flowers, no fruits.

    Since we have such warm winters, decided to try a winter garden. We have planted everything from seed and it seems that every seed we planted has come up. So far we have 24 spaghetti squash vines, 15 bean stalks, and more broccoli, carrots, scallions, and red lettuce than can be counted, so we’ll probably have to do some thinnning in the rows. Also planted about 50 onion starts, which always seem to do ok, but don’t produce very big onions. I was told that starting the onions from seed may yield better resutls so maybe we’ll try that in the spring.

    Saved seeds from several “Heirloom” tomatos that were purchased at Whole Foods. Looking forward to starting those indoors in the early spring.

  • I’ve managed to not have to buy any seeds this season (were in early Sping in Aus) due to seed saving from last year and swapping seeds with a friend for seeds i didn’t have. So this Spring i am growing everything from seed – but also not buying any seed. I love the idea of not spending any money on seeds.

    a few pics here:

    and i’ll get round to doing a garden/seed saving update in the next few days. I’ve had the hurdle of lead contamination in my backyard to get over ( So i have had to sadly re-do my whole garden. I’m using raised stawbale garden beds ( they seem to be going well so far. I’m using mostly free or very cheap materials (such as used mushroom compost from a mushroom farm, spoilt hay, and free horse manure from the local race track).

    Thanks for the motivation re seed saving. I cannot believe i used to buy punnets for everything!

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