Row By Row Episode 102: Best Maintenance Free Vegetables for your Garden

Travis’s Maintenance Free Picks

After a viewer asked the question, “What is the best maintenance free vegetables to grow in your garden?” Travis and Greg both came up with their list of five easiest to grow annual vegetables. As they answered this question, they realized that this is subject to change with every gardener, and that is why even in their two lists, there is deviation. When Travis was answering this question, he considered the following.

  • Pest Pressure
  • Disease Pressure
  • Weed Pressure
  • Harvest Frequency
  • Water Needs
  • Fertilizer Needs

After considering all of the above, the number one maintenance-free crop Travis came up with was sweet potatoes. Their lack of need for fertilizers or water is what made him rank this one number one. Another bonus of sweet potatoes is down here in South Georgia. There are very few pests for them. Number two was collards, Travis explained how you get the most bang for your buck with this plant right here. Collards can be harvested six-seven times on one stalk, and each bundle of collards can sell for around five dollars, meaning that you could make almost forty bucks with just one plant. With our weather in South Georgia, you can also get around eight to nine months of growing time. Winter squash was Travis’s number three, mainly the Cucurbita Machado species. This species is resistant to the squash vine borer, making it very easy to maintain. The fourth vegetable was okra, though it does have to require multiple harvests, it only has to be watered overhead around once a week. The last one on Travis’s list was radish. This one was considered on the list because of its ease when direct seeding it and its very little water need.

Greg’s Maintenance Free Picks

As Greg began to answer this question, he didn’t think near as deeply and specific as Travis. He just responded to the question of what causes him the least amount of effort? After twenty-five years of growing this crop, Greg decided this would be his number one maintenance-free pick, Irish potatoes. Potatoes do not need a lot of water because of the time of year they get planted. His next two went hand in hand, summer squash and cucumbers, he explained that these are only maintenance free if you plant them early though. As you plant them early and keep them healthy, they are more likely to fight off diseases. He emphasized that every beginner gardener should be planting these two crops. They also both have a quick turn around with cucumbers only falling ten days behind the squash. Bush beans came in at number four because of their lack of disease and insect pressure. They also get ready to harvest pretty quickly. Now Greg’s fifth choice was left up to the viewers to see what they knew about this highly confidential crop known as vine okra.

Show and Tell Segment

These weeks show and tell segment started with a little snack after lasts week pickled cucumber recipe Travis brought his sliced pickles for Greg to try. This simple recipe calls for flavored olive oil, salt, pepper, and a heavy dose of Cavender’s Greek seasoning. Travis then talked about how he is going cucumber crazy! He showed one of his Diomede cucumbers out of his garden that some commercial guys would have considered a cull. They discussed even though the cucumber might look different; it still eats well. That conversation led to Mr.Greg explaining that he is trellising his cucumbers with a hog panel this year and how you have to kind of train your cucumbers up the board compared to the Hortonova Trellis. Two new cucumber varieties were uploaded to the site this week that will be great for our urban gardeners, Mercury and Olympian. One neat thing about Mercury is that it is a parthenocarpic, meaning it only produces female flowers. These varieties will be awesome for our gardeners with no pollinators or a lack of pollinators nearby.

Viewer Questions Segment

In this week’s viewer question segment, our first question asked about last week’s episode. The guys were asked their opinion on planting through plastic mulch. Travis explained if you have a way to lay it, that would be great. Our garden tips center around smaller-scale gardens. The second question asked for suggestions on what to plant for first-time fall gardens. They both talked about if you aren’t planting a fall garden. You are missing the boat. Their suggestion for plants were cabbage, beets, collards, mustards, and lettuce. One viewer then asked about what plants in their garden do they burn after harvest, Travis went on to give this list of plants to burn, burning helps get rid of diseases and insects as you get ready to plant your next crop.

  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkins

The Bradford watermelon was brought up by a viewer asking Greg if he knew anything about it. Greg went on to say that he read up on it a few years ago and how it is an interesting crop because it has been around since the 1850’s originating from the Bradford family in South Carolina. The next viewer asked Greg and Travis how do they know when it is too late to plant something? Travis was excited to talk about an app Hoss Tools has been working on that helps all gardeners answer that specific question. To help out the viewers until then, he gave this list of what they would still plant here in zone 8b.

  • Peppers
  • Egg Plant
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash
  • Okra
  • Corn
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Flowers

Our last subject in the viewer question segment was all about cover crops and their importance even in the north. Though we stress the importance of cover crops a lot more here in the south because we don’t have the freezing winters that kill out most of the insects and weed-like in the north, Travis and Greg explained it still can be beneficial for our northern gardeners.

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