Spring 2019 Garden – Observations

General Notes

  1. The raised rows/beds were made too high and narrow. In addition, the first planting was made on top of the high row as I forgot to run a furrow down the center and plant down in that 2-3″ furrow. But, they would have still been too high–especially for corn as seen in the later plantings. Later plantings were in a furrow in the top of the hill but that was still too high for corn as it was not possible to pull the dirt up around them with the hiller to stabilize them from the wind.
  2. Corn next time should be planted in a shallow furrow on level ground. Then: soil should be pulled in some to smother weeds as it grows; then laid-by for the last plowing.
  3. Believe the Extension Services when they say the rows need to be 6-feet for cucumbers, squash. Cantaloupes and cucumber need 4′-5′ on either side.
  4. All of the different peas grew fully across the 41′ rows into one large tangled mass. SESE says “Do not apply nitrogen, which will result in poor yield and lush foliage.” The initial broadcast of 15-0-15 was done at the Soil Test recommendation and that must have been too much for peas. That conclusion seems correct as the two rows of KWB Beans did not grow wildly even though they were between PEPH that did grow together.
  5. Pests:
    1. Stink bugs were everywhere all the time
    2. Corn had flea beetles, earworms and then sap beetles.
    3. Some cabbage loopers but the Sevin seemed to control them
    4. Sprayed for fungus mostly with liquid copper and the only evidence of problems was the powdery mildew on the straight neck yellow squash. Had fusarium wilt on the tomatoes.

G-90 Corn

  • It was planted first and up well when the storms with high winds blew in. For whatever reason, there was little problem with it getting blown over.
  • Had to spray regularly for Flea Bettles and earworms. Sprayed the new Sevin as had bought a gallon before finding out it is not the original Sevin used for many years.
  • Top of the husks was not as tight as the Silver King–much less the Bloody Butcher and Cherokee White Eagle. Maybe that contributed to the damage…some say.
  • As the ears matured Sap Beetles moved into some ears.
  • Seemed to be more susceptible to pests than the Silver King.
  • Good yield, very sweet.
  • Gathered the last few cobs about 7/15/2019.

Silver King Corn

  • At 18″ high they blew over to maybe only 30-degrees off the ground due to only 12 MPH gusts. Stood them up and they survived. Four days later another storm blew them to 45 -degrees in a different direction and they stood back up on their own. Planted on top of the high bed was part of the problem.
  • Good production with a large cob in most stalks. Some bore two useable cobs. Nice tight husks at the top and had little earworm damage and no sap beetles.
  • Gathered the last few cobs about 7/15/2019.

Cherokee White Eagle Dent Corn

  • Grew tall, sturdy stalks and large ears with VERY tight husks at the silk ends.
  • Given they were only two rows wide there were some cobs where poor pollination left them underdeveloped.

Bloody Butcher Dent Corn

  • Grew tall, sturdy stalks and large ears with VERY tight husks at the silk ends.
  • The two short rows produced colorful cobs and only a few had missing kernels due to poor pollination.

Pink Eye Purple Hull (PEPH) Peas

  • The windy storms that blew over the corn also blew the peas into filling the rows. Could be being on the high hill contributed to their appearing to be easily toppled into the row. They produced a lot of bush and a reasonable amount of fruit. Likely, the large amount of vines was due to the initial broadcast 15-0-15 being too much nitrogen. SESE says to add no nitrogen…that seemed a bit extreme at the time. Should have at least cut it back 50% as suggested somewhere.
  • We picked the initial PEPH too soon and not when the hulls were at least 50% purple. When that coloration they shelled fine and were as easy to run through the Little Pea Sheller as the Texas Creme. Also had few peas were crushed by the sheller as occurred when the shell had only a little or no purple.
  • Despite the abundant vines the first and second planting produced peas through mid-July.
  • Two 50′ rows planted late in the SW corner with pecan tree afternoon shade provided from late July up to August 12 when they were disked to prepare for the fall garden. They would have had few to be picked after that.

Kentucky Wonder Bush (KWB) Beans

  • Produced fruit over only a 3-4 week period then they were done. From the first two 25′ rows we picked about four meals worth that had firm flesh and very tasty. Mary loved them.
  • Need to plant a lot more to have plenty to eat fresh AND freeze.
  • Planted some late in June just south of the tomatoes. About half the seeds germinated and the bushes finally had a few blooms. Disked them under in late July.
  • Next year look into the KW pole beans.

Texas Creme Peas

  • They grew well and filled the 41″ row with vines and peas. They matured and were on the bush for picking like the PEPH. The peas in the pods were not as large as PEPH but shelled in out Little Pea Sheller better as they are firmer peas.
  • They did not produce nearly as much as the PEPH and for a shorter time. They werenot as tasty as the PEPH when fresh. UPDATE on 3/23/2020. We were surprised how good these are that were frozen fresh from the garden and not blanched. They seemed “creamy”; creating almost a broth as they cooked.

Big Red Ripper (Mandy) Southern Pea

  • The one row we planted grew into the adjoining rows before there was any fruit. They completely overshadowed the adjacent row of KHB Beans. Very little fruit was borne and consisted of large thick pods and smallish red peas.
  • Bush Hogged them and disked. The extensive vines became balled up in the disk. The disk could not cut through them. Had to rake them into a windrow and three weeks later they burn easily.
  • Not worth planting again.

Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash

  • Maybe planted too close (hills 24″ inches apart) and definitely should have been thinned to one plant per hill.
  • Problem with fruit rot so kept cutting out leaves to allow airflow.
  • Problem with powdery mildew.
  • The squash was good but need to find one that is more disease resistent.

Cocozelle Italian Summer Squash (Zucchini)

  • Only had some early production then nothing. Maybe planted to think or too many plants per hill. They are 2 plants per hill and hills 24″ apart.
  • What little we harvested was good zucchini.
  • Spacing
    • Actual: Between rows 41″. Between Hills 24″, 2 plants per hill.

Poinsett 76 Cucumber

  • Very prolific. Harvested a bucket full every other day for a couple of weeks.
  • They need much wider rows as they are growing into the adjacent plants. They were planted about 30″ between hills in rows that were 41″ apart. The distance to the next row of another plant should have been about 60″.
  • Bore into late July when the summer sun took its toll and we began cleaning out for the fall garden.

Hales Best 45 Cantaloupes

  • Heirloom – Planted in May (almost too late) but they grew great with many fruits and long vines into late July.
  • Spacing
    • The hills were 2′ apart in a row that were 42″ from the tomatoes with two plants left per hill after thinning. They grew into the tomatoes quickly. Should have had 4′-5′ either side of the cantaloupe plants.
    • Recommended, ” Transplant at same spacings as direct-seeded crops – 2 to 3 plants per hill in hills spaced 4 to 6 feet apart, or 1 to 2 feet apart in rows 5 feet apart.”
  • They did not have any pest problems and produced far more fruit than we could use.


  • Only a few of the first Mortgage Lifter VFN Tomatoes we started inside lived. Mary started more MLs in late April where they spent most of their young lives outside, neglected on the ground. They did well and eight were planted–after they became pot bound in 1.5″ pots–in Row 16. They did not bear fruit and we harvest very little from them. Will not plant again.
  • Bought 18 Bonnies plants at Lowes consisting of Amelias; Big Boys; and Better Boys. They grew and bore a lot. The Boys were much more susceptible to bugs and diseases.
  • Tying up the determinates and indeterminates with string worked out great but need a stronger string than the green cotton “Gardeners twine” used.
  • Old hay from around the feeding areas worked well as mulch.
  • When the tomatoes had begun to get larger, dusted with lime to prevent blossom end rot. First three tomatoes that ripen had blossom end rot so also watered with a lime mixture. Had little additional blossom end rot after those treatments.
  • Many had radial splitting at the stem likely due to irregular rain and watering. the Boys were very susceptible to this.
  • Stinkbug marking on the stem end caused many ends to be discarded thereby reducing the yield.
  • Had black spot & Fusarium Wilt so need to plant a VFN variety next year.
  • The Amelia’s did quite well and worth planting again.

NemaGreen Lima Beans

  • They grew well planted late with little disease or pest damage.
  • The first mature pods were near the ground and back-breaking to harvest.
  • Enjoyed the beans for dinner but need to find one that is easier to pick.

Chantenay Red Core Carrots

  • Mary planted Chantenay Red Core Carrots in her yard garden on 3/21/2019.
  • She picked them all 6/26/2019 (~90 days but should have been 65) with Piper and Olivia. The fruit was 2-3″ long and 1-1.5″ in diameter.
  • As they were trying to develop in the hot part of early summer in soil that a few months ago was grass yard and not tilled really deep, they did ok. The plants seemed hardy given the timing.


Bell Peppers

  • Seeds from SESE for Carolina Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper sprouted ok inside but did not transplant well. Had to buy Bonnies plants at Lowes.
  • As of late June, only a few have bloomed and the plants are large and lush. Likely, the hot days in late June and early July (high 80s to low 90s) did not let the blooms set.
  • Maybe they were over-fertilized. Sprayed them with Epsom Salts twice in case there was too much nitrogen–a possible problem.
  • Everyone else we talked to said they had very poor bell pepper production this year.
  • Cabbage loopers like them so had to spray with Sevin 3 or 4 times.
  • Had 4-5 plants develop yellow leaves and drop many.
  • During August they started putting on fruit and bore all the way into October. The fruit only got to 2″-3″ diameter before it turned red. They did have a good flavor and Mary put a lot in the freezer.

Sweet Banana Peppers

The bushes from Bonnie’s seedlings grew well but had little fruit until August. Sprayed with Epsom Salt twice to encourage flowers and fruit. By mid July the four large bushy plants had a handful of 4″ peppers a week but in August several of the plants (not all) had a lot of fruit.

They bore fruit to October 19th when we pulled them out. Some we let stay on the bush until they went from yellow to orange. A few turned red and were attractive. We preserved a lot by fermenting and pickling.


Planted six Bonnie Hot Jalapeno seedlings as the Jalapeño Hot Pepper seeds from SESE did not survive transplanting. Of the six Bonnies, five survived. Sprayed with Epsom Salt twice to try to encourage flowers and fruit. By mid-July, we had picked 3-4 dozen peppers and in August several of the bushes had a lot of peppers.

The peppers were too hot for our use. Research in the Scoville Heat Units for jalapenos found they have a very wide range. If the Bonnie plants were in the Hot or upper range then they could be as hot as cayenne. Next year, if we plant any, we need to find seeds that will produce a mild pepper.


Serrano Tampiqueño Hot Pepper, grown rooted from SESE seed, were transplanted in the Herb Bed outside the kitchen door. Once they reached about 12″ tall Mary wanted to change the bed so the peppers were transplanted again to the big garden next to the jalapenos in Row 17. They did ok and grew nice bushes. Sprayed with Epsom Salt twice to try to encourage flowers and fruit. Finally had fruit in early July into August.

Of the four plants that lived to bear they had more than we needed. In fact, we had no real use for them as they were hotter than we would use. We see no reason to plant any next year.

Companion Plants

MarigoldsFrench Marigold, Spanish Brocade seeds from SESE planted at ends of several rows but only a few survived the traffic and weeds. Seeds planted with the sunflowers in Row 16 did very well and provided transplants to replace some in the yard. Were not planted early enough to be developed to help with any bugs. Would have needed to plant them early and transplant in the garden as the different phases of each vegetable were planted.

Nasturtiums –  Nasturtium, Jewel Mixed Colors seeds from SESE did not seem to do well in the garden setting–at least not at the ends of rows fighting the weeds.

Beach Sunflower (Cucumber-Leaf) – Germination was good and they bloomed well into August. They were tall enough to blow over on the adjacent row but they looked great. We harvested many seeds to plant for next year and give away.

Zinnia, State Fair Mixed Colors seeds from SESE did well in a row in the central area of the garden just down from the Okra (Row 5)

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