The Gardening Thread

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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby micco » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:22 pm UTC

I myself don`t have a green thumb, but my mother has made us a nice garden on our backyard. We also have a small greenhouse.
I don`t know the names of all the flowers growing back there, but as of veggies and fruits we have: Two apple trees, one cherry tree, strawberries, red currants, gooseberies, potatos, carrots, tomatos, cucumbers, basil, lemon balm and buckthorns. Unfortunately the spring was rather cold and the summer has been unusually rainy, so we lost nearly all of the cherries.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Phases » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:23 pm UTC

Yeah, I really wish I had more land. That's my one gripe about our house. Sits on about a 1/3 an acre, and the backyard is tiny. But I squeezed it all in and still have grass. ;)

You can see everything I listed in this picture, except the berry plants, which are behind where I was standing.
(Well, and the catnip and mint, that's out front.)

Spoiler:
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Edit to micco: Yeah, I'd like a greenhouse badly, too! (and a root cellar!). Also, Potatos are the single thing I completely regret not planting this spring.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby BomanTheBear » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:58 pm UTC

Ah, that's so slick. Way accessible, too. I just have like four potted plants outside. I'll get to taking their pictures eventually, but they're entirely underwhelming, being that they're like 3 weeks old.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Phases » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

You should take pics now anyway. It's fun to go back and compare. Look at my shutterfly, at the first couple albums, then the last. It's cool to see them grow.

Last night I went home and harvested twice what I thought I would, since I got a lot the day before. Here is what I pulled:

Spoiler:
pic.jpg
pic.jpg (303.23 KiB) Viewed 1796 times

Tomatos (I pick as soon as they start to turn and let them ripen inside), squash, a couple pickling cukes, a chili pepper (a little early - for a salsa), parsley (for the salsa), and okra.

It doesn't seem like much, but I'm harvesting a bounty of this size, of various whatevers, daily! Man, I love it. It's fun and I get to save on grocery bills!

Anyway, my point in this post was to say you should take pictures even when they're small. It's hard to really realize the progress without them.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Plasmic-Turtle » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:57 pm UTC

I'd be keen to revive this thread from it's long dead state... stumbled upon it accidentally! Unfortunately at the moment I don't have any permanent abode to get the garden going, but being in Mexico and seeing the awesome amount of wildlife, and particularly lizards, makes me sad at how few I see back in New Zealand. Discovered today that our Department of Conservation website has some good guidelines for what to plant to help the native birds and lizards out, and I imagine that many other countries would have similar? Something to implement in my parents' garden over summer, perhaps.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/nat ... d-gardens/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved ... for-birds/
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Webzter » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

Plasmic-Turtle wrote:I'd be keen to revive this thread from it's long dead state...


Our winter garden. I'm growing, successfully, carrots, spinach, beet greens, and cabbage. I'm unsuccessfully growing broccoli. It grew fine, but watering was erratic and that stressed the plants. They're quite bitter now :(

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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby AngrySquirrel » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:38 pm UTC

We have a gardening thread? Why has noone informed me!?

Oh well.

I have a plan. I don't have a garden at my current place, but I have a porch. My plan is to build a rather big box and plant strawberries. I have most bases covered except actually building the box and buying the plants, but I know the how and when. Mostly. However there's a few things I'd like to ask about. Does anyone have any experience with potted strawberries? I'm used to having huge ginormous fields and I'm mostly doing this out of sentiment, so I am aware that I probably won't get all that many berries. But is there some significant difference between strawberries in fields and in a potted area I should know about?

Also, does anyone have any tips on good ways to keep away birds?
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Webzter » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:50 pm UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:Does anyone have any experience with potted strawberries? I'm used to having huge ginormous fields and I'm mostly doing this out of sentiment, so I am aware that I probably won't get all that many berries. But is there some significant difference between strawberries in fields and in a potted area I should know about?

Also, does anyone have any tips on good ways to keep away birds?


A vertical planting tower would be a great option for a smaller space. You'll need to keep up on watering a bit more than if they're in a planter, but you'll get much more per area. Regarding berry yield, I planted both an everbearing and June-bearing variety last year. The downside is that it's recommended to control the runners and blossoms the first year to get a healthy plant, so I won't even start to see some berries until this year.

Another option may be an alpine strawberry. They're prolific the first year, can grow very close together, and are quite small (both the bush and the fruit). However, the taste is certainly a different kind of strawberry. I'd liken it more to that strawberry taste one gets from a candy or one of those commercial 'fruit' leather snacks (Fruit Roll-ups here).

An effective way to keep birds (and deer) away is to get some bird netting and drape it loosely over the plants. I generally pay $15 for a 7'x110' roll at a local store, so you won't break the bank buying it. It disappears fairly well at a distance but certainly can look ungainly up close. I'd imagine streamers, fake (or real) snakes, wooden owl, etc might be effective deterrents as well.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Webzter » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

garden thread needs more garden

Image

About another 3-4 weeks and we'll be starting seeds inside for transplant. I'm incredibly excited!
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:17 am UTC

I've got a porch garden! I'm growing Nasturtiums, swiss chard, chives, sage, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, beans, catnip, peas, bell pepper, carrots, and some various flower plants.

Can you tell I went a little overboard? All these are either in hanging containers or containers on the ground. I got short 'n sweet carrot seeds, they only grow 4 inches deep so they're better for potted.

From seed is Nasturtium, chive, catnip, carrots. The rest was bought in 4-inch potted form. I'll post pictures soon. It's so pretty. I really needed something that was all me, and fish tanks and the porch garden are helping me feel like I really have a home. Make sense?
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby philsov » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:36 pm UTC

Recently set up a square foot bed in the backyard; the final dimensions are about 4' x 4.5' x 1', made from halved 8 foot and 10 foot 2x12 boards. I filled the raised bed with a combination of soil/compost and peat moss. It's like... 5-10% vermiculite. The recommended ratio was 33/33/33 but damn, vermiculite was difficult to find (and expensive), with my best find being a whopping 4 bags of 8 quarts each.

The plantings were staggered based on last frost date (ideally Feb 28 for where I am), but, eh, winter was warm this year and the last cold snap was like Feb 11. I planted bell pepper and jalepeno seeds last week, but everything else I've planted from seeds has already come up! Current array is swiss chard, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, the peppers, and okra (will be planted in about two weekends).

First harvest date is sometime in April if everything goes as scheduled. Woo.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Webzter » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:56 am UTC

Cathy wrote:Can you tell I went a little overboard?


Other gardeners are never the right people to ask if you've gone overboard. Can't wait for pictures! The mix sounds great... and perfect for a patio. I planted a salad box last year and I'm going to try short carrots this spring too.

philsov wrote:Recently set up a square foot bed in the backyard; the final dimensions are about 4' x 4.5' x 1', made from halved 8 foot and 10 foot 2x12 boards. I filled the raised bed with a combination of soil/compost and peat moss. It's like... 5-10% vermiculite. The recommended ratio was 33/33/33 but damn, vermiculite was difficult to find (and expensive), with my best find being a whopping 4 bags of 8 quarts each.


I think you'll find you do just fine with that little vermiculite. Just be sure to amend your soil with some more compost before you re-plant the beds. You can, of course, make your own compost if you aren't ;) I actually just have a mix of compost and topsoil for my beds. But the drainage with my raised beds and in my climate has been good enough that I don't need the vermiculite.

The plantings were staggered based on last frost date (ideally Feb 28 for where I am), but, eh, winter was warm this year and the last cold snap was like Feb 11. I planted bell pepper and jalepeno seeds last week, but everything else I've planted from seeds has already come up! Current array is swiss chard, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, the peppers, and okra (will be planted in about two weekends).


Carrots, onions and peppers benefit from consistent watering. I also found my peppers responded really well to mulching calcium in around the roots (which you can do after they're planted too). It'll help prevent blossom end rot. Epsom salt is cheap and readily available... although I believe it will lower your soil ph slightly so you might monitor that.

Spinach is super-easy to harvest. I harvest some of the biggest leaves from each plant and let the plants continue to put out new leaves. As long as you don't hit any given plant too often, it'll produce until it gets too hot and bolts. Lambsquarters and New Zealand Spinach are two great spinach-like plants that do well in heat that you might want to consider rotating in during the summer (I could be wrong, but warm enough for bell peppers for you now sounds like hot summers to me).

My garden update. I just started parsley and onions. I'm late on both but such is life. The planting spreadsheet called for starting two weeks ago. I started 32 parsley and 100 onion (two varieties of white onions). Once they're sprouted I'll post some pictures of the seed starting setup. I think I need to start some flowers tomorrow. 6" of snow outside so it's nice to get some things going and smell organic material (I use compost and coir to start my seeds)
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby PictureSarah » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:05 am UTC

Today I transplanted my little Meyer lemon tree from a 3.25 gallon bucket into a nice big 24 gallon pot. It should be much happier now, and give us even more lemons this year! We also planted a persimmon tree in the back yard, alongside the cherry tree and plum tree. We ALSO ripped the ugly green corrugated plastic off the top of the carport in the back yard, and screwed 1x2s across the top instead, and then attached three pieces of lattice to the front, and planted grapevines...so our former ugly carport is now a grape arbor! At least it will be, when the grape vines climb up the lattice and across the top.

In the front yard we have a mature fig tree, three rosebushes, and some of the bulbs I planted last fall are coing up. Hyacinths, crocuses, icelandic poppies, freesias, daffodils...no sign at all of the irises or tulips :(
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:55 am UTC

Thanks for the watering and mulching tips!

I'm wanting to plant lettuce, but I'm worried that in Texas it's just too late. What temperature really just kills lettuce?

My marigold seeds are sprouting! Salvaged some plant holders from the trashcan! Pictures are forthcoming... as soon as I remember to take some during the day. :roll:
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Webzter » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:34 pm UTC

Cathy wrote:I'm wanting to plant lettuce, but I'm worried that in Texas it's just too late. What temperature really just kills lettuce?


It might be. The varieties I plant (loose leaf... stimpson black, mache mixes, arugula, romain) like to bolt (goes to seed) once it's in the 80's. However, lettuce matures really fast (< 30 days for loose leaf) and it grows well in partial sun. If you have a shaded area, you could try it there. A 2'x2' box should provide plenty of lettuce for 2-3 people... I had a 1x3 box and I was giving greens away.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby philsov » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:57 pm UTC

You can, of course, make your own compost if you aren't


Indeed! I'm making my own now but I didn't have any on hand when I set everything up. I went with an elevated tumbling style on a sort of A-frame, which seemed like a great idea at the time. My parents had a stationary box that would require constant pitchforking or smell horrible, and was prone to ant activity. An elevated easy tumbler solves both of these problems, but then I realized that with the constant mixing there's no 'layer' for me to draw from when I actually want compost. So... I think it'll just deposit a lot of stuff (amazing how many table scraps I throw in there, I'm almost to the point of being capped on "green") in there, and then just let it be until it's all composty, then remove most of it, and store that elsewhere while starting up a new "batch".

On the plus side I grabbed probably 40 gallons worth of dried leaves from neighbors raking up their yards a few months ago so I'm quite set on that front.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:25 am UTC

Look, pictures!

https://plus.google.com/photos/10758070 ... 1012329201

I want to do composting, but I'm kind of nervous that it'll smell up the apartment, or something. Is it something that can be done small scale?
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby philsov » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:17 pm UTC

Ooooh, strawberries.

My understanding of compost that the smallest portion possible is one cubic foot in order to have sufficient microbial activity and a "warm center". The smell isn't bad provided you occasionally rotate/stir it and prevent anaerobic bacteria from flourishing; its more musty to neutral than anything rotting (it's like 3/4 dead leaves/hay anyways), but it's something I'd recommend kept outdoors all the same. This is a conundrum for apartment residents since it can also be a fly magnet.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby paulisa » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

I have a balcony on which I fully intend to plant strawberries this year. I also have a peppermint in a pot (which is a devil for lice, so I might throw it out) and a year-old oleander cutting from my parent's garden. In abour four years it should be blooming, and in ten it will be too big to carry inside for the winter.

I also thought of getting a large sack like they use at construction sites, filling it with earth, and planting potatoes, but I'm not sure about their viability. I want some roses in a pot, which I would like to refrain from treating with insecticides/pesticides because I'd like to use them for cooking. Is that possible? I live pretty much in the city, so the air isn't as great, but I'd wash off dust and stuff before using them anyway.

Would anyone like to suggest other edible plants? Maybe some that also look nice? Regarding climate, I live in central europe, so I'd have to keep sensitive plants indoors in winter.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby fizzgig » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:10 pm UTC

Cathy wrote:Look, pictures!

https://plus.google.com/photos/10758070 ... 1012329201

I want to do composting, but I'm kind of nervous that it'll smell up the apartment, or something. Is it something that can be done small scale?


It might be worth looking into something like bokashi, which is generally marketed as an indoor composting system. Basically all your scraps go into a bucket with a tap on the bottom, along with some bokashi bran which contains microbes that break the food down anaerobically. It's not quite the same as composting - the end result is basically pickled food scraps that you still need to dispose of, but they can be buried in the yard (or I've found even in the bottom of pots if you have big enough pots). It's also supposed to produce a kind of liquid fertilizer, but I've never had much luck with that part.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:28 pm UTC

Pretty edible plants: Nasturtium(Leaves for spicy and other stuff, flowers for spicy and decor, seeds can be pickled), Swiss Chard (The red stemmed leafy thing, very pretty especially when large). I've heard good things about growing potatoes in sacks - apparently the heat from the sun on a dark sack makes them grow faster.

There are actually a LOT of sites on Pretty-Looking Edible Gardens. I have a tendancy to go more for function over form, but I have planted a few moonflower/morning glories in the hope they'll vine up nicely.

I've heard of the compost-tea things, but I think I'll look into them now! Thanks!
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

(Doublepost!)

Ate my first strawberry today. YUM! The smell was almost better than the taste -- the smell of home grown peaches and strawberries is my personal heaven.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:33 am UTC

(Triplepost! But they're long-term enough apart I think it ought to be ok to make it separate posts)

I've made swiss-chard quiche with my own garden's swiss chard. Delicious. I also have tons of 5-inch lettuce sprouts. Thinning them out gives me delicious salads for lunch. My snap peas are producing now! Slowly, though. My bean plants are strangely short but are blooming and I anticipate beans in less than a month.

My carrots are so plentiful that I worry how much I should thin them. I tend to just leave the plants be instead of thinning. I worry that if I thin plants and then forget to water or the cats sit on them or I kill them some other way then I'll want all those extras... but carrots as root veggies would need the space. Any guidance on this?
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby PictureSarah » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:48 am UTC

All three of my grape vines are now growing leaves, my little lemon tree has tons of buds, and my fig tree is covered in new leaves and tiny green figs!
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Samik » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:06 am UTC

Cathy wrote:Thinning them out gives me delicious salads for lunch.

...

My carrots are so plentiful that I worry how much I should thin them.


I know nothing about gardening, so this may or may not be remotely relevant for what you're actually growing/using, but a while back I stumbled upon this.


Apparently Supposedly, carrot greens, along with a host of other such plant bits, can be toxic. So when thinning your garden, don't just indiscriminately turn everything that didn't make the cut (or, rather, the reverse, I suppose) into a salad.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

Samik, thank you! That is very good to know. I've been careful to only toss plants that I've confirmed edible (lettuce, pea sprouts, nasturtium leaves) into the salad bowl.
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby PictureSarah » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

I would err on the side of thinning rather than not. If you're really worried about the carrots that you thin, you could always just transplant them into another pot, if you have space for it. If you don't thin the carrots, you will have kind of wimpy carrots - they need room to grow big and strong!
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Re: The Gardening Thread

Postby Cathy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:19 pm UTC

Well, it seems the storm may have done my thinning for me! D: Big thunderstorm front with big heavy raindrops stormed on me last night. We'll see which plants stand back up and which don't.

I'll definitely thin out my carrots at some point though. Transplanting is a fun idea! There are always more pots... or things that can become pots. Every time a neighbor throws out a trash bucket with holes in the bottom I inherit a new plant pot. :)
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