Row By Row Episode 111: Crops That Even Long Time Gardeners Struggle Growing!

Crops We Don’t Struggle Growing

Like any long-time gardeners, we have our crops we consider ourselves experts at and those we struggle growing. There are many factors in determining what you are good at growing—things like your location, soil conditions, and the variety of seed. But sometimes, even in the perfect setting, you just can’t seem to get a grasp on how to make a good crop.

The following crops are some of the few things we at Hoss Tools consider ourselves pretty dang good at growing! For Travis, on that list is Carrots, Lettuce, Beets, Rutabagas, and Collards. For Greg, that consists of Tomatoes, Watermelons, Winter Squash, Corn, and Onions. In South Georgia, we are thankful to have weather conditions that allow us to grow this wide array of crops.

Tips to Help you Not Struggle Growing these Crops!

Over the years, we have learned a few tips and tricks as we became experts in those vegetables. Carrots, we have learned that growing them in a double row on drip tape seems to work best. Rutabagas also do great on drip tape because you can inject fertilizer directly to them. For lettuce, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a crop on into April, such as using drip tape, stacking them in tight, and succession planting.

Beets do best if you transplant them because that will give you a more consistent size. The last tip Travis had was with collards as they are easy to grow with the right variety you can grow for nine months out of the year. One type we recommend is the Top Bunch.

Greg’s tips were also simple ones, including feeding your tomatoes and corn hard with fertilizer in the beginning. With corn, you also want adequate watering, and knowing your timing, when you see that leaf has just a little bit of burn, you are doing it right! Watermelons and winter squash, make sure you plant them where they have never grown before, so they have the correct soil they need. Both of those crops are prone to get many soil-borne diseases. Lastly, with onions, you want to understand their lifecycle, so you know when to stop fertilizing them as they start to bulb.

Crops We Do Struggle Growing

Now that we have talked about what we are good at growing let’s talk about the things we struggle growing. Opposite of Travis, Greg struggles growing carrots as his soil has a high weed seed bank, which leads to many problems. Another difficult one is Fordhook Lima Beans, these set of beans are super yummy but just something Greg can’t figure out.

English Peas are definitely worth the while when it comes to flavor, but you have to understand the timing, or like Greg, you won’t be too good at growing it. Now, peppers struggle in Greg’s garden because the insect pressure is high, and he admitted that he doesn’t pay enough attention to fertilizing them because he and Mrs.Hoss don’t eat that many.

Brussel Sprouts have an extended date to maturity, and because of this, both Travis and Greg lose interest and end up not doing too well with this crop. You also need cold weather to trigger sprout growth, and that is something we don’t get much of in South Georgia.

Some other things Travis struggles growing because it’s not cold enough is Shallots. English Peas need in-between weather also to do well and again we don’t get much of anything but hot here!! When it comes to field peas, we do a good job growing them as a cover crop, but when we raise them to eat, they get eaten up, and we can’t seem to put enough fertilizer on them.

The last thing Travis admitted struggling with was herbs. Herbs are something he wants to get into but just don’t know enough about them yet. Growing herbs is one of his goals for this next year!

Show and Tell Segment

If you weren’t already hungry, hearing about all the delicious things Hoss Tools has coming out of the garden will surely make your mouth water! For example some homemade pasta sauce, with the use of our vegetable garden tomatoes, onions, peppers, and elephant garlic, Travis made one tasty pasta sauce. This sauce can be used now or stored into the Winter to make great spaghetti or pizza.

Another snack that was picked straight from the garden was the Baby Doll Watermelon. This is a new seed variety we started carrying that is definitely a home run! This is a small, yellow watermelon that is jammed full of flavor. This watermelon runs around 8-10 pounds and can fit perfectly in the refrigerator. The Baby Doll variety is also a fast-maturing variety that is ready to eat in only 70 days!

In South Georgia, we are finishing up our Spring garden and planting cover crops as we start to think about what we want to plant in the Fall garden. We have til the end of August before we plant ours but some of our Northerner friends can get theirs planted earlier than that. So, they are asking us what kind of corn should we plant for the Fall? Though there is no specific variety that is made just for the Fall we have had quite the success with the Ambrosia Sweet Corn. This is bi-color sweet corn that is well worth growing!

Viewer Questions

This week one of our viewers asked what crops we wish we could grow but are limited too because of climate? In South Georgia, there are just some things we can’t grow because of our heat, and those include English Peas and Brussel Sprouts. We do try and grow them, but it would be a lot easier up North. Also, hard neck and soft neck garlic!

The next question asked what the best cover crop to re-seed for livestock forage was. Travis and Greg explained that you are going to have to do a warm-season crop and one cool-season crop and that both Buckwheat and Crimson Clover are excellent for forage. Some people even put the Buckwheat up for Hay.

At Hoss Tools, we talk a lot about not planting on the same ground repeatedly without a cover crop. This viewer explained he wanted to cut back on how much land he gardens on but wants to save the other plots for later, what should he do? Sorghum Sudangrass is the answer, though you will have to mow it down. It will be a considerably less amount of work than planting a cash crop there.

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