My Tractor Forum banner

2023 Gardening Season

1226 69
Some one needed to start the season so here it is 2022 has past and 2023 is here.
My we all have a good growing season.
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
I’m in for a rough one this year. We moved into our new home last April/May. A bit late to start a garden. Oh, and it’s clay soil… not a lick of topsoil. Got a healthy compost pile about ready to till in. Gonna rent a tiller to bust up this clay. Not gonna risk my 30 tiller in this ground until I can get some better things mixed into it.
That's where I was 20 years ago. In fact I think I still am.
I need to caught the neighbor lady and see how her pile is going.
This year maybe all raised beds unless I can get some compost from the neighbor.
Cow pies have to stay on the pasture for a few more years.
  • Like
Reactions: MARK (LI)
We shall see if we plant the 20x30 this year because we may be moving.
I can't stress enough about over tilling with a tiller, especially deep tilling. It's OK for when working in organic material, just don't over do it. Unless is real sandy soil, tilling until it is super fine ruins soil structure, and kills many beneficials like red worms and night crawlers. Once again, I'll mention it took me 10 years to convince my buddy who market gardens of this fact. Well, me and professional growers, and someone with a title in front of their name. He'd till until dirt was like flour, then complain the ground was hard as a rock after a good Spring rain. Finally, 2 years ago I convinced him to do a side by side comparison of moldboard plowing/disking next to tilling as normal. One day he calls me out of the blue, like it was a revelation that had happened. He called to let me know that where he had plowed/disked the ground was so mellow and easy to work with his hand tools and small garden tractors using cultivators. A lot of his produce he grows in 15" rows, and it's impossible to get his tiller in between rows.

It must be in the way I explain it, because when an educated person explains it to him, he seems to pay attention. Hey, I'm just a dumb ole' country boy that's been doing it for nearly 60 years since old enough to use a hoe. Frustrating at times...

Yes, I do use a tiller at times, but only to surface till maybe 2" deep to kill weeds when plants get too tall or close together to use my walk behind garden tractors with cultivators. And I do get some surface compaction, but not deep like burying it to the hilt around the root zones.

I am pretty excited about trying to grow Spaghetti Squash, and Cukes on a mat of matured/rolled Cereal Rye I sowed last Fall. More for weed suppression, and something for the squash and Cukes to lay on to try and keep them semi clean, and not directly on the dirt. And some I will train to grow on a trellis, and see the difference, and if it's worth the extra effort. I plan on fermenting my own garlic dills this year, if they come out as good as the Sauerkraut I made last year, I'll be very pleased. Last year was the first years in several I didn't plant any Cukes, and no one locally had any that did very well. Most could be blamed on the weather with heavy rain for days, plus heat and dry spells.

While the tomatoes produced well, many went to waste because of splitting from a lot of rain. I did get enough to put up my target amount canning, but many had gnarly healed growth cracks on top I cut off and threw away. Some completely split down the side as they were almost ripe. I was taught as a youngster those would sour after a few hours, and not worth contaminating the rest. One of the reasons we always overplanted, as you never know what kind of season you'll have. With a seemingly food shortage looming in the future, and many people learning to preserve their own food, it's not too tough to get rid of excess produce. I have 6 people I can call if given a couple days heads up that will come pick. They get it... They get that you need to pick when it's ready, not so much when they are.

Also want to give a reminder not to get discouraged if you have a bad year, it happens. There is a learning curve to it, so it pays to ask questions, and learn from your experience. I have a tendency to experiment using others ideas, and see if it works here. One I saw a month/6 weeks ago is injecting squash plants with BT to help curb Squash bugs. I lost 6 very nice plants last year to them. I couldn't get out to spray the plants with BT due to a rainy spell, and mud up to your wazoo. There is so much info, and ideas on the internet if you look. And this is a good time of year to look for ideas. Great time of year to collect soil samples and have them tested to see what your garden needs. Some items can be fixed pretty quick with chemical amendments such as lime and fertilizer, others such as organic matter may take a few years. I'm fortunate enough I'm gardening in the same spot we've been gardening in for 70 years this year, before I was even born. And yet with all of the amendments added, I've still improved the soil in spots where yellow clay was present, but is now productive mellow soil.
Since I opened up the lower garden last year "testing" the plow on the X728 before going to plow day I've started making a plan for what I want to grow. My son wants to can a bunch more "salsa" so that garden will get a lot of "meaty" tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and some other veggies in it. His raised beds can then be used for the jalapeno's, and other peppers needed for relish and other canned foods.
Yum! I love the sound of those salsas. Maybe we’ll try that this year.

@DJ54, what is BT?
At 70, and more of a mechanic not a farmer, I am going to try to plant a garden now that I have some acreage to do so. I'll be watching this post with some interest as I know little about gardening. The only other producing items are a few really old and not maintained apple trees that I uncovered from encroaching Maples and Red Pines. Fall 2021 they produced a lot of fruit, but fall 2022 barely anything. Not sure why although it was a pretty dry year here in 2022.

I've roto tilled a small triangular shaped plot, maybe 20 feet on each side. Not very big as I have to keep it manageable. Top 1/3 of this triangular plot is a foot higher than the rest and only a tad sandier than the darker soils of the lower 2/3. Tilled in the sod/weeds last fall, one slow pass with the tiller, and left it pretty coarse, lots of clumps almost looking like it was mold board plowed. Next up is some fencing as we have a lot of deer traffic here. I have tons of leaves for mulch but not sure this soil needs it.

Thoughts about what to plant, how much and when, would be welcomed. (Central Thumb of Michigan here). I'd like to try some easy things that could stand some mistakes by this "its all news to me" gardener. I have a lake about 50 feet away from this plot so irrigation is a definite possibility if dry spells occur.

My wife keeps muttering something about Oliver and the "Green Acres" TV show... :unsure:
My general suggestion to a new gardener is to keep it small for the first few years and see how you like it, what works for you or doesn’t. It can be a fair bit of work. Some find it rewarding, others don’t.

Unless you absolutely know you will love doing this, resist the urge to plant a “farm.” There is a decent chance you will be overwhelmed

Small beds, raised planters, or oversized flower pots (the size you might grow a small indoors tree in) help to ease/limit maintenance and to define areas for “crop” planning purposes.

It rarely is an economical way to feed yourself if you factor all the costs truthfully. But it can be very satisfying in non-quantifiable ways.👍
At 70, and more of a mechanic not a farmer, I am going to try to plant a garden now that I have some acreage to do so. I'll be watching this post with some interest as I know little about gardening. The only other producing items are a few really old and not maintained apple trees that I uncovered from encroaching Maples and Red Pines. Fall 2021 they produced a lot of fruit, but fall 2022 barely anything. Not sure why although it was a pretty dry year here in 2022.

I've roto tilled a small triangular shaped plot, maybe 20 feet on each side. Not very big as I have to keep it manageable. Top 1/3 of this triangular plot is a foot higher than the rest and only a tad sandier than the darker soils of the lower 2/3. Tilled in the sod/weeds last fall, one slow pass with the tiller, and left it pretty coarse, lots of clumps almost looking like it was mold board plowed. Next up is some fencing as we have a lot of deer traffic here. I have tons of leaves for mulch but not sure this soil needs it.

Thoughts about what to plant, how much and when, would be welcomed. (Central Thumb of Michigan here). I'd like to try some easy things that could stand some mistakes by this "its all news to me" gardener. I have a lake about 50 feet away from this plot so irrigation is a definite possibility if dry spells occur.

My wife keeps muttering something about Oliver and the "Green Acres" TV show... :unsure:
Although, planting a “farm”, gives a good excuse for using your tractor as a tractor :ROFLMAO:
I mean if it wasn’t for a garden, who would need a Brinly plow, cultivator, disc, hillers….
What is BT? I gave up on squash 5 years ago because of those dang squash bugs. BT sounds like an interesting option but I guess I don’t know what it is.
injecting squash plants with BT
I obtained some garlic from forum member @greatgarlic and planted that in the fall...it takes 9 months to mature for harvest but with good cloves to start with, it kind of grows on its own...it requires very little work...just some patience...lettuce is another easy thing to grow, and it withstands some pretty cool weather....some types are hard to wash all the soil out of, but it is nice to have and we were giving away bags of it to neighbors and relatives..it is ready in about a month from planting...basil is another easy herb, and it smells fantastic if you have a good bunch of it growing...I take leaves off during the grow cycle and put them in baggies in the freezer for use during the winter...if you are not sure of your skills, these are pretty easy to get to grow and harvest....my other stuff...tomatoes, cukes, red peppers drive me crazy trying to keep them growing
We always had great luck with cukes and zukes. Pumpkin as well. Corn has been hit or miss, as with tomatoes and peppers. Cantaloupe has always been my nemesis.
I grow hot salsa. Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Carolina Reapers, Ghost Peppers, Infernos and Habanero's.
My son grows cantaloupes.

Last year the peppers did fine, but they were late. Tomatoes split and rotted. Cantaloupes all split and rotted.
So last year was a bust for me. But we did have a dry spell at first, then way to much rain.
We were the opposite. Ground didn't get dry enough to work until mid July. By then the dry spell hit.
I have been contiplating a more controled growing environment for years.
  • Like
Reactions: greatgarlic
@sonny is usually the one who kicks this off...and if I remember right, his "garden" is more like a farm....hope he chimes in and offers some suggestions
  • Like
Reactions: MiniHomesteader
I found a site that should answer all questions about BT. Exactly what it is, how safe it is, etc. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) I have a buddy who's son works for the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture in testing. I had reserves about it 10 years or so ago. He assured me it is perfectly safe, if used as directed.

Here is a link to a video I found showing how to inject plants.
There are many others, but fairly short & sweet, without babbling on for 10 minutes... Just seemed perfect for me at times when you can't get in the garden to spray.

This morning, I found a possible solution to another pest for squash, and cucumbers, cucumber beetles. This would be more of a deterrent rather than a pesticide. Spraying plants with Kaolin Clay. Doing a Google search for it will get results for many videos, and written description of what it does, and works. There are a lot of videos on using this too as far as dunking complete trays to cover entire plants before setting out, to just spraying.

I use another organic spray called Spinosad. It has to be ingested for it to work. It disrupts the digestive system of many pests, but with Cucumber Beetles may not be as effective as it is with other pests, so they have to eat a lot of it to work. With that being said, it like plan D is the way to go for me. I'll experiment with planting extra plants as trap plants. There is a product named Cidetrak-D
that attracts Cucumber Beetles which seems to make them eat more than normal. The plan is to mix Spinosad with the Cidetrak on the trap plants. I'll probably spray these a lot more often than the directions say, and probably not harvest from them.

Hopefully spraying the plants I intend to harvest from with the Kaolin Clay, will direct the moths towards the bare trap plants with the Spinosad, plus Cidetrak attractant plus injecting them with the BT will make a decent harvest which is yet to be seen. The Spinosad and BT are fairly reasonable, just keep in mind I believe shelf life on both is 3 years. I buy in pints so I have it and know it still will work. The Kaolin and Cidetrak, not so much. For the Kaolin Clay to be reasonable in price, buying in 50 lb. bags would be best for me. It costs around $45 for 50 lb. but shelf life is forever. So storing in a covered 5 gal. bucket should last me for many years. Not sure on the Cidetrak, but plan to send the company that makes it a note to see if there is a shelf life. I've only found it in 1 lb. bags, and thinking maybe a 1/2 tsp. or less per sprayer full is sufficient. I intend to ask that question too. Info they have listed is for 3.1 oz. per 5-10 gallons. If there is no shelf life, then 1 lb. should last me as long as I'll ever be gardening. Not so bad when you break the cost down like that. Best of all, it is harmless to humans and pollinators.
I waited and waited. But 2023 was rolling by fast. It just didn't seam right to be posting in 2022 any more.
@sonny is usually the one who kicks this off...and if I remember right, his "garden" is more like a farm....hope he chimes in and offers some suggestions
I have a cane break next to my garden spot and I cut it down, ran the bamboo thru a chipper shredder and spread it over my garden a couple of years ago. My garden did by far the best it ever has that year! One thing about bamboo that surprised me though, you have to let it dry out to shred it, at least on my machine. Green bamboo will choke it down and stop it up while dry bamboo grinds easily.
I’m in for a rough one this year. We moved into our new home last April/May. A bit late to start a garden. Oh, and it’s clay soil… not a lick of topsoil. Got a healthy compost pile about ready to till in. Gonna rent a tiller to bust up this clay. Not gonna risk my 30 tiller in this ground until I can get some better things mixed into it.
How's that cane break work after you cut it? Did you cut it ground level or at a certain height? Will it continue growing after cut?
I hear it will even grow here in the mid west. Any way what I consider mid west.
But we must watch out for invasive species when planting things.
  • Like
Reactions: mopar65pa
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top