My Tractor Forum banner

2023 Gardening Season

1508 Views 71 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  DJ54
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.
41 - 60 of 72 Posts
Great advice and stories, thanks everyone!
I recycled a tempo car shelter (don't try putting it up by yourself - I was chasing the leaning frame one way and then in the other direction!) and wrapped it in 6 foot chicken wire. Used cloth grow bags, but unfavourable weather limited growth/production. Had I known that a 2-3 day heat wave in June would cause the broccoli to bolt, I would have brought the grow bags into a shaded area.
Potatoes do well, here (Laurentians in Quebec, Canada).
Thinking of a two wheel tractor to cultivate, but the topsoil is a tangled, dense compacted mass of roots and rocks, the roots competing for the sparse amount of black soil also limited by the clay earth below the top layer (only as thick as three inches).
The short growing season is 60 to 90 days in zone 3. I should have set smudge fires to protect the three ancient wild apply trees from a rare, two night long killer frost that killed the blossoms.
I use organic soil and store bought compost, water from a surface well and rainwater collected in a barrel.
All comments appreciated!
  • Like
Reactions: MiniHomesteader
Our farm is north of Palestine on way to Tyler.So it's rolling hills and deep sandy soil.Grass burs/sand burs are much worse than any other burs.You will know the true meaning of pain if your ever barefooted and step in them.Just as painful in your hands or clothing.I hauled hay with them in it.Will make you tough.What I read on google says best to treat them around month of February then again in September.The herbicide isn't cheap either.The price on some I looked at was around $275 a bottle.Guess only other way would be keep grass mowed never let seeds develop then take several years.Lucky is no tumble weed broom weed or stink weed in our area but we do have goat weed or sage weed.If it isn't the weed problems then its the insects squash bugs stink bugs grass hoppers cut worms or black widows or copper heads in the garden.Everything love our gardens.
We have been through the area. Lubbock to Texarkana. Beautiful country but what do people do there other than cattle or retirement?
Our farm is north of Palestine on way to Tyler.So it's rolling hills and deep sandy soil.Grass burs/sand burs are much worse than any other burs.You will know the true meaning of pain if your ever barefooted and step in them.Just as painful in your hands or clothing.I hauled hay with them in it.Will make you tough.What I read on google says best to treat them around month of February then again in September.The herbicide isn't cheap either.The price on some I looked at was around $275 a bottle.Guess only other way would be keep grass mowed never let seeds develop then take several years.Lucky is no tumble weed broom weed or stink weed in our area but we do have goat weed or sage weed.If it isn't the weed problems then its the insects squash bugs stink bugs grass hoppers cut worms or black widows or copper heads in the garden.Everything love our gardens.
  • Like
Reactions: UrbanTractor
Thinking of a two wheel tractor to cultivate Personally, I use the David Bradley 2 wheel garden tractors. They were sold by Sears from the late 40's up though the 60's. Not sure how plentiful they are in Canada, but eastern part of the U.S. they are pretty plentiful. With different models having 15" and 16" tires, they are great for straddle row cultivating. I "mark" rows out by making passes with the cultivators set just deep enough the rear shovels make rows. Once I make the first pass, whether moving left or right, put the outside shovel in the already marked out row as a gauge for spacing. Do that for as many rows you intend to plant at that time, plus one more pass to leaving a marker row for your next round of planting. I use 30" row spacing for my row crops such as beans corn, etc. The tires are adjustable for width, and have them set up to run in the center of those rows to make it easier to follow marked rows. Once your plants start growing, just straddle the rows. Spacing is perfect to clean up between rows. You can cultivate those plants up until they are about 12" tall, but you'll want to do that after a few days of dry weather so the plat stems are a little tough. Too tender, and they may snap off.

I have 4 of them with different cultivator shovels on them, for different sized plants, or ground conditions. Most used are one's with 1-1/2" wide double pointed shovels for when the dirt gets a decent crust on it, and needs broken up/through. The other has the standard 4" sweeps that came on them. These are best overall for cultivating. They also made multiple ground engaging attachments for them.

They are becoming a collectable now, but I've found it best to buy them at auctions. Most you find online for sale, they are asking crazy/stupid prices. I've bought them at auctions for as little as $35 to $110.00, depending on what attachment(s) were on, or with them. The non-runners aren't a problem, as you can re-power with pretty much any 3 hp. Briggs & Stratton engine. If not mechanically inclined, the smaller (3 hp..??) Harbor Freight engines bolt right on.

My personal preference is to only cultivate about2" deep, fighting the seed bank in the top couple of inches. Anything below that more than likely won't germinate. Cultivating deeper will only bring up more weed seeds to germinate. There are enough in the top couple of inches to contend with and keep a person busy. After the first few times of cultivating, and that top 2 inches are dried out, you may not see any weeds germinating until after a rain. It usually takes 3 days for them to appear again, and if soil conditions are right, that's the time to get back in there and cultivate again. Easier to fight them at that size. I like to cultivate starting midmorning to get full benefit of time for the dirt to dry, and kill those seedlings. A hot sunny afternoon will kill those weeds. Go look the next day, and you'll see how many it didn't kill.

Tree roots will give you problems using one of these. If roots are broken up from plowing/tilling, it'd be best to pick up the majority of them after breaking ground however you do it whether plowing/disking, or tilling. Large enough pieces can kick the cultivators sideways, and take out plants, or bend the cultivator shanks. Larger rocks will do the same. You can hang a bucket on the handles, and pick them up when you kick one out.

I've attached a couple pics of the results you can get using one. The first picture is using my "Big 5" with 5 hp engine, and cultivator with hilling shovels on the front. Dirt can be pulled in closer to plants, but I set them intentionally to this width as we were having a dry spell with hit and miss rains. The intention was to funnel any rain we got directly around plants. The second picture is using another tractor with the standard 4" sweeps. As you can see, it cleans up the rows pretty nice.

Plant Green Agriculture Grass Event
Plant Green Tree Agriculture Farmer
@DJ54 I gave you a thumbs up on that post...if I could have I would have given you about a hundred more...great looking place

Has anybody here ever planted radicchio?...If so, any tips?
  • Like
Reactions: DJ54
Thanks, I like to share my experiences/experiments of a couple of my favorite hobbies. Growing "stuff" from starting from seed to preserving, and collecting classic tractors/garden tractors and equipment. Pretty much everything earns it's keep here in the equipment line. And fun making tools/implements to make life easier for me.

I've never grown radicchio, but did a quick search on it on how to prepare. Might have to pick some up at the grocery and try it. The grilled version sounds good, if it hits my taste buds right, might have to make a new addition to the garden. I'm assuming it would be similar to growing cabbage.
@DJ54 I gave you a thumbs up on that post...if I could have I would have given you about a hundred more...great looking place

Has anybody here ever planted radicchio?...If so, any tips?
Just found this thread, thanks for getting it started!

Might move / expand the garden this year, but most likely next year.

Had good luck with green beans, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash last year. Tomatoes and cukes struggled. Corn was a waste of time (as always).

We'll try potatoes (for the first time ever) this year in place of the corn. Will probably repeat everything else.

Deer and rabbits were the big problem last year. Especially the deer.

Mike
What row spacing does everyone use? I have just been eye balling it. This crop needs this much space and this one that. Of course the Mathis needs to fit between the rows regardless.
Don't think we even used a string line for straight rows the last time.
My biggest problem with gardening has always been the rain and other things getting in the way when it's been fit to work in it.
Sweet corn and beans I space rows at 30" O.C. After they get bigger, they can shade out a lot of weeds, beans especially. Still want a little room to pick, depending on what is planted beside each one. Tomatoes @ 72". Even though they are caged they can sprawl out, so want plenty of room to spray and pick. Potatoes @ 60", because of equipment width of the hillers mounted on the tractor, and wheel width of the tractor and potato digger. Cabbage 60" O.C. too to allow room for equipment. But again, if I have enough leaves to mulch around them pretty much takes care of the weed problem. If not, just make 2 passes with the cultivating tractor. Depending on what you have to work with, if mechanical tilling/cultivating and extra foot more than the width of a tiller works great. Plants will canopy out, even then some can get tangled up in the tines. You can always try different row spacings, and see what works best for you.
  • Like
Reactions: Ariens93GT20
Row spacing? Whatever one of these tomato stakes gives me, I want to say somewhere around 4 feet.

Plant Plant community Natural landscape Land lot Tree


I use the tomato stakes to mark the ends of the rows, and lay one down to create the separation. Works well enough to get my TB Horse tiller between the rows for cultivating.

Mike
Sounds like you have a pretty big garden...how big is it?
Sweet corn and beans I space rows at 30" O.C. After they get bigger, they can shade out a lot of weeds, beans especially. Still want a little room to pick, depending on what is planted beside each one. Tomatoes @ 72". Even though they are caged they can sprawl out, so want plenty of room to spray and pick. Potatoes @ 60", because of equipment width of the hillers mounted on the tractor, and wheel width of the tractor and potato digger. Cabbage 60" O.C. too to allow room for equipment. But again, if I have enough leaves to mulch around them pretty much takes care of the weed problem. If not, just make 2 passes with the cultivating tractor. Depending on what you have to work with, if mechanical tilling/cultivating and extra foot more than the width of a tiller works great. Plants will canopy out, even then some can get tangled up in the tines. You can always try different row spacings, and see what works best for you.
  • Like
Reactions: MiniHomesteader
Overall, about 90' long, 110' wide. That's only about 1/5 the original size it was when I was a kid. When I bought/moved back to the home place I built a new horse barn with a wide driveway in front, and fenced off much of it for pasture. The 2023 season will make 69 years of gardening in the same spot. Dad retired in '88, and cut way down on the garden size. He bought a portable band saw mill, as a new hobby.

Back in the heyday, it was common for him to plant 6 lbs. of sweetcorn, 6 lbs. of green beans, and no less than 3 dozen tomatoes. There was also onions, cabbage, peppers, peas, and a few other things grown. Mom, Sis' and I did most of the canning process, everyone had a job. Dad would help pick, before going to work on second shift. Mom canned green beans, and made freezer corn. She never did count how many quarts of green beans canned until the last year of the big garden, she just kept going until 2 full shelves in the cellar were full. That last year she finally counted, 144 quarts/36 gallons of beans canned. We always ran out before the next season. To this day, can't hardly choke down a green bean, LOL... I do put some up to put in vegetable soup, or make a green bean casserole. Still love sweet corn, but Doc put me on a low carb diet, so corn an potatoes are pretty much off the menu.

We started raising our own beef in '66, so I guess we were way ahead of the homesteaders of today. Both my parents grew up through the depression, and knew what it was to be hungry. Never had that problem once they started their own garden, and raising the beef. I've yet to get a steak in any restaurant as good as we raised ourselves, bar none.

I still can/freeze up a lot of what comes out of the garden. I even can beef, chicken and pork. It's shelf stable, and can pretty much be eaten right out of the jar if need be. Last year, I added making my own sauerkraut to food preservation. Some is stored in the fridge, some was water bath canned for long term storage. Sure beats store bought, I was highly surprised. I wanted to make some brined garlic dills, but last year was the first year I didn't grow cucumbers. I have several friends that do, but last year was a bad year to grow them around here. So, I'll give it a go here this year, and see what happens.

Mark, you're mention of growing radicchio has piqued my interest on trying it myself, since checking it out. So many varieties in both head type, and upright like Chinese cabbage. I've never had it before, but local groceries handle it. I'll buy some and try it before trying to grow it. The head type looks like the best one for me to try. The roasted version sounds good, as I love roasted/fried cabbage, with a good dash of vinegar. Not sure about the bitter taste I'm seeing though. Did read that mellows some when grilled/roasted. I did see a less bitter hybrid, Indigo Radicchio, but seeds are way more expensive. I'll try the grocery store version, then decide from there.
Sounds like you have a pretty big garden...how big is it?
  • Like
Reactions: PA318Guy
That was a lot of garden for four people.
Mom's canning pantry consisted of eight shelves two by eight feet. That was for seven of us. We didn't know what store bought produce was unless we were away for home. Even then on vacation mom packed the eggs.
I can remember eating eggs three times a day in some shape or form.
Guess you could say we were farm raised.
Overall, about 90' long, 110' wide. That's only about 1/5 the original size it was when I was a kid. When I bought/moved back to the home place I built a new horse barn with a wide driveway in front, and fenced off much of it for pasture. The 2023 season will make 69 years of gardening in the same spot. Dad retired in '88, and cut way down on the garden size. He bought a portable band saw mill, as a new hobby.

Back in the heyday, it was common for him to plant 6 lbs. of sweetcorn, 6 lbs. of green beans, and no less than 3 dozen tomatoes. There was also onions, cabbage, peppers, peas, and a few other things grown. Mom, Sis' and I did most of the canning process, everyone had a job. Dad would help pick, before going to work on second shift. Mom canned green beans, and made freezer corn. She never did count how many quarts of green beans canned until the last year of the big garden, she just kept going until 2 full shelves in the cellar were full. That last year she finally counted, 144 quarts/36 gallons of beans canned. We always ran out before the next season. To this day, can't hardly choke down a green bean, LOL... I do put some up to put in vegetable soup, or make a green bean casserole. Still love sweet corn, but Doc put me on a low carb diet, so corn an potatoes are pretty much off the menu.

We started raising our own beef in '66, so I guess we were way ahead of the homesteaders of today. Both my parents grew up through the depression, and knew what it was to be hungry. Never had that problem once they started their own garden, and raising the beef. I've yet to get a steak in any restaurant as good as we raised ourselves, bar none.

I still can/freeze up a lot of what comes out of the garden. I even can beef, chicken and pork. It's shelf stable, and can pretty much be eaten right out of the jar if need be. Last year, I added making my own sauerkraut to food preservation. Some is stored in the fridge, some was water bath canned for long term storage. Sure beats store bought, I was highly surprised. I wanted to make some brined garlic dills, but last year was the first year I didn't grow cucumbers. I have several friends that do, but last year was a bad year to grow them around here. So, I'll give it a go here this year, and see what happens.

Mark, you're mention of growing radicchio has piqued my interest on trying it myself, since checking it out. So many varieties in both head type, and upright like Chinese cabbage. I've never had it before, but local groceries handle it. I'll buy some and try it before trying to grow it. The head type looks like the best one for me to try. The roasted version sounds good, as I love roasted/fried cabbage, with a good dash of vinegar. Not sure about the bitter taste I'm seeing though. Did read that mellows some when grilled/roasted. I did see a less bitter hybrid, Indigo Radicchio, but seeds are way more expensive. I'll try the grocery store version, then decide from there.
  • Like
Reactions: ekywildcat and DJ54
Dad always over planted. You never knew what kind of year you'd have. We'd preserve what was needed, then give the rest away if they would come and pick it. Very few did. They'd buy it if you picked it for them. Dad said it would rot before it picked for many. Able bodied, just too lazy to pick it, or they'd say " It's just too hot, and the bugs..." Well yeah, that's when stuff ripens up. Old folks not able to were different, but some insisted on picking their own. Old folks next door would come with their buckets and pick up the "marble" potatoes. We hardly ever picked up anything less than 1-1/2", and would still end up with nearly 1000 lbs. We'd pick up just enough of those to have a few mess's of scrubbed, cut in half, and fried. Great with ham & beans..!!

I still plant more than I need for the same reason. Glad I did last year, most of the summer tomatoes were pretty thin because of splitting, etc. More went to waste than I picked. Things got better at the end of August, and had several people come pick to preserve. One fellow started teaching his daughter to can at age 14. That will come in handy in the future the way things are going. Seems there's more around now that will come pick tomatoes, peppers, etc. for canning than there were years ago. And some go to a local food kitchen that provides meals for the needy. A friend of mine volunteer's there 3 days a week cooking meals. She's a great gal, gotta' take care of friends..!!
That was a lot of garden for four people.
Mom's canning pantry consisted of eight shelves two by eight feet. That was for seven of us. We didn't know what store bought produce was unless we were away for home. Even then on vacation mom packed the eggs.
I can remember eating eggs three times a day in some shape or form.
Guess you could say we were farm raised.
Those look like burdocks to me.

I have only had the head type and in salad.....mostly see it in Italian food places..it's more like lettuce to me..I have never had it cooked at all....I don't have anything like the size of garden that you have...that must be a lot of fun...and very rewarding
Mark, you're mention of growing radicchio has piqued my interest on trying it myself, since checking it out. So many varieties in both head type, and upright like Chinese cabbage. I've never had it before, but local groceries handle it. I'll buy some and try it before trying to grow it. The head type looks like the best one for me to try. The roasted version sounds good, as I love roasted/fried cabbage, with a good dash of vinegar. Not sure about the bitter taste I'm seeing though. Did read that mellows some when grilled/roasted. I did see a less bitter hybrid, Indigo Radicchio, but seeds are way more expensive. I'll try the grocery store version, then decide from there.
I would have to buy or build a taller tractor. Ground clearance on a GT is not all that great. Could find some garden attachments or make some for the Gravely two wheel. I like to plant in 15" rows if the plants allow.
Self-correction / clarifications:.

For beans, I don't change the spacing, but do plant them in double rows, using the head of a bow rake to measure the gap (about around 15 inches apart).

For zucchini and yellow squash, I follow the instructions and build mounds. Probably should trellis those, or make the spacing wider.

Should also trellis the cukes.

Mike
Row spacing? Whatever one of these tomato stakes gives me, I want to say somewhere around 4 feet.

View attachment 2580996

I use the tomato stakes to mark the ends of the rows, and lay one down to create the separation. Works well enough to get my TB Horse tiller between the rows for cultivating.

Mike
"it's more like lettuce to me.." That sounds even better to me. I love fresh salads. I saw some at the grocery yesterday, looked to be about the size of a softball sized heads. Didn't get one to try, the ole' social calendar is a little full this week for dining out with friends.

From what I'm reading as far as pests, looks like the same pests that go after it, is pretty much the same for everything else I grow, so not a problem. The Spinosad, and BT should take care of them. Getting in to spray seems to be the big problem. I like the fact of 60-90 days to maturity, depending on direct seeding, or transplants. Will probably go with transplants, and probably staggered plantings 7-14 days apart. It looks like mulching around them is suggested too. Hope I have enough leaves to go around plants.

I suppose garden size has a lot to do if you grow just for fresh eating, or fresh eating/preserving too. Tomatoes and potatoes take up a lot of room for me with row spacings. I may only put out a couple rows of potatoes this year. With planting 5-6 rows of them, rotating different vegetables, yet still in the dame family is getting slim on space. Experimenting with the Cereal Rye mat to grow spaghetti squash and Cukes took up a lot of space too. I've been toying with the idea of growing some items to sell, like the spaghetti squash, and some Indian Corn. The Indian Corn would be a good crop to grow where the potatoes were last year. I pulled 15-20 ears of it when we harvested at the County Farm Park where they let us grow several items for our working display. All I have to do is shell it off the cobs, then plant. Fertilizer is the big cost now, and seed prices are climbing. I'd be happy to just break even on cost.
I have only had the head type and in salad.....mostly see it in Italian food places..it's more like lettuce to me..I have never had it cooked at all....I don't have anything like the size of garden that you have...that must be a lot of fun...and very rewarding
Ground clearance is what I love about my David Bradley's with 15"-16" tires but work for the 15" row spacing. I don't plant that close but some things I do grow like the Roma II bush beans close that space when they canopy out. I bought a little 1 wheel garden tractor years ago called a Chore Master at an auction for $8. It has really came in handy at times. Actually bought a second one off of ebay the guy had restored in running condition. He didn't put a minimum bid on it, or offer shipping. I got it for $20. He started it up when I got there, and felt bad about getting it for $20, so gave him $60, and is well worth that. Like everything else, seems they've become a collectable. A rolling chassis now brings, or at least they ask $100-$125. 30 years ago, you could buy a runner for $25-$30. A lot of older guys would buy them and put a sulky behind them to cruise around tractor shows. Still see one occasionally, if it's for sale, they're asking $250 for them. I wore the original Clinton engine out on it, so bought a 2 hp. engine from Surplus Center. Plenty of power to cultivate with it. I seriously doubt I use a gallon of gas through mine a year. Very economical on fuel.

Something else to consider may be a 1-wheel wheel hoe, or a Ro-Ho. My buddy collects/uses both in his market garden plots, and in his grow tunnels. The Wheel Hoes he uses were made by Planet Jr. There were several attachments made for them. RO-Ho's were made by Rowe Mfg. Many companies are bringing out new versions of the wheel hoe, but are pretty pricey. Both show up on Craigslist, or FaceBook Marketplace. Seems most don't have a clue as to what to call them and most seemed to be listed as a "plow" or "cultivator", instead of a wheel hoe. I've spotted a few on CL & FB for good prices depending on condition, and forward them on to my buddy. The main thing is if all of the metal parts are there, new wooden handles can be bought pretty reasonable at the right place. There's usually a handle guy at the larger Flea Markets selling seconds. You can buy a decent set of handles for $20 around here. They may need some sanding on some rough spots, and coat of preservative, but are perfectly usable. Great for someone who has a small garden, and doesn't want to invest, or maintain another engine on a tractor. Just something to consider.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Grass Machine Wheel



Fence Grass Wood Grassland Wire fencing



Property Product Automotive tire Wood Flooring
I would have to buy or build a taller tractor. Ground clearance on a GT is not all that great. Could find some garden attachments or make some for the Gravely two wheel. I like to plant in 15" rows if the plants allow.
41 - 60 of 72 Posts
Top