Author Topic: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021  (Read 1625 times)

Trifele

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Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« on: January 10, 2021, 04:45:36 AM »
Hello gardening friends!

Moving the "Planting and Growing Your Own" thread over here from its prior location.  This is intended as a general thread where people post updates on what they are growing, pictures of their progress, and share all-around gardening happiness. 

So what are you up to in 2021?

I've gotten a few seed catalogs, but am still waiting on my favorite -- Seed Savers Exchange.  This year I'm planning more of what worked for me in 2020 -- tomatoes, lots of greens, root vegetables, some herbs.  My fall sugar snap peas were a spectacular success (my first time growing them in Zone 7a), so I'm going to replant those in the spring.  Those who followed my posts for the last few years know that in addition to our large veg garden we have an orchard, large chicken flock, and bees. 

It's going to be a great year!

Sun Hat

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 05:31:24 AM »
My seeds have arrived! Now I get to spend the next few months trying to resist the temptation to start my tomatoes too early.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 06:51:45 AM »
Happy 2021 Gardeners!

Last night I made a meal using my garlic, onions, purple fingerlings, canned tomatoes and dried basil, bay leaves and thyme.  Garlic and onions are not keeping well - I think I harvested them too late and I over watered them one day.  But 2021 is a whole new season. My garden was the good thing of last year and it is still bringing me joy as I defrost or open seals or pull out of the cold cellar all the food I have put away this winter. I have big plans!

Some of the improvements I am going to undertake are:
My main seed order is placed with William Dam.    In a nod to frugality, I did place the order in conjunction with reviewing what I already had in my seed collection and a chart with how long seeds of different types remain viable. I am trying a couple of new varieties of cukes, bean, peppers, cherry tomatoes and squash.

I have ordered seed starting soil and cowpots from another company.  The cowpots are not cheap but man - do they ever work well.  I bought a lot more this year so that I can get my paste tomatoes a lot larger this year (and get three pickings into jars). I want to get the peppers much further along by starting them in February.

Plant more storage type crops out at my parents farm - where the soil is fantastic and access to a huge well rotted pile of manure is easy.  Hoping to grow a bushel of beets for pickling and a lot of onions, carrots and leeks. 
To make this all easier: I am researching paper pot planters.  I am hoping I can fill the planting trays using borrowed tools from this system.  I am looking at buying the hoe thingy for planting them out in the garden. 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4aSoce5Nf4

I woke up early this morning and started thinking about all the improvements I could do to the plot at the farm and how to time them. I am so very excited about the potential for the garden this coming season.

It is astonishing how well we are eating and how little we are buying with how much I was able to grow last year.  And how easy cooking is when I can pull from a well stocked larder.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 07:18:22 AM »
We are still living in a rental, where we are not supposed to change the garden. They owner seems very fonds of thevgrass lane, as he insisted on mowing it himself on his mowing machine. So what we have left for growing food are boxes and pots. We have a large rectagular wooden box where DH keeps his grapes. I have a smaller wooden box where I had 1 zucchini plant last year. I might plant 2 this year, as it was a bit complicated to get the 1 zucchini to pollinate itself. I made to do it myself a couple of times, but then you need to be home at the right moment. Maybe 2 plants will be easier.

I recently checked what kind of seeds I have in the fridge and when they need to be planted. I printed out a sowing kalender. This month I only needed to sow the chili. So I put them in a small pot, covered with plastic, and put it on a warming rack. Last time, the chili did not work out, so I am curious whether it does this time.

I ordered kaffir lime seeds in the hope to grow a little lime tree. We like to use (froozen) lime leaves in food, but they stopped selling these in Norway, at least in the shops where I looked, including internet shops. I ordered at the start of December at Amazon.uk and they were sent from China. Since then, I can't see any changes in the package tracking. I am also not sure whether seeds will be stopped in custom, so I just took a chance. We'll see if they appear. I have understood that I need to grow that kaffir lime indoors. The chili would also have to be grown indoors. If we buy a house again, we are interested in getting a winter garden attachment.

DH has been cycling in the area in autumn and found a small grape orchard somewhere. He carefully broke off some small braches and put them in a glass of water in the kitchen window. Some were started to grow grapes, which he had to stop. Several of them have started to grow beginning roots. Those are planted out in soil and kept indoors. In previous years he tried his as well and never succeeded with his preferred grapes (cold climate specialist grapes). But if these would work out, it would be fun.

Raenia

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2021, 08:44:39 AM »
I've cut way back on my original plans for this year's garden, due to a number of other things going on with the house and yard.  I plan to use the backyard beds for a "three sisters" planting of corn (a popcorn varietal, not sweet corn), beans (scarlet runner), and squash (a winter squash type), plus in one bed substituting the squash for watermelon.  It's only 24 sq ft of bed space, so hopefully focusing on only a few crops works better than my "one of everything" approach from last year.

I also have my one bed of strawberries in the backyard, which I hope will all survive the winter and produce more this year.

On the front porch, I'll have a few things in pots.  My lemon tree will go out for the summer, as well as two long, narrow pots that I'll plant with Swiss Chard.  The chard was our gangbusters crop last year, so I'm hoping for similar success.  I also plan to plant nasturtiums in a hanging basket, which have edible leaves and flowers, and I have a strawberry pot with a few strawberry plants and herbs in some of the holes.  Will need to control the oregano, as it's currently trying to take over the neighboring strawberry's space.  I also may buy a cherry tomato plant from a nursery - I don't think it's worth seed starting when I only have space for one or two plants.

I have leftover seed for the chard, beans, and watermelon, but I'm waiting to place an order for the corn, nasturtium, and squash seed.  The website I prefer hasn't restocked the corn yet.

Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2021, 08:55:05 AM »
It's so great to hear everyone's plans for the year!

I just placed most of my seed order for the year, from Sow True Seed.  I'm most excited about a variety of spinach they carry called Winter Giant.  I planted it this past fall and it was an absolute champ.  I wish I had planted a lot more.  It's unbelievably cold hardy.  I have a few plants still alive and growing in my garden right now in a raised bed, even though we've had a normal winter so far, including two nights in a row of 12 degrees Fahrenheit.  Dannggg . . . .   I'm going to re-plant it in the spring, see what it does.  And then plant again in the fall, but a lot more of it.  Looks like with a little care I can easily keep a bed of it going through the winter in this climate.  Nice!

I have a couple more specialty seeds yet to get, that Sow True doesn't carry -- Corinto cucumbers and Sungold tomatoes. 

Indio

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2021, 09:06:10 AM »
Thanks for starting this thread @Trifele. I really enjoy reading about everyone's garden plans.

@Frugal Lizard I've never used cowpots before. Do you start your seeds in them or transplant seedlings into them before they go in the ground?

I've got a bag of new red potatoes that started growing that I will put into pots containing soil this week and keep them in basement. It's definitely too cold for anything to go outside until May. Not sure if they will be ready for harvesting in May...?

Saved a lot of my favorite veg and flower seeds from last year and didn't need to purchase any seeds for myself, though I bought for a seed lending library that I maintain at our local library.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2021, 09:57:29 AM »
I transplant pepper, tomato, tomatillo and eggplant two - five week seedings into them - one plant per pot.  Then I grow then on until it is safe to plant into the garden. Last year I tried direct sowing the cukes and zukes into the cow pots four weeks before last frost after germinating the seeds in paper towels.  Worked brilliantly.

https://cowpots.com/

I started using them for the church garden.  The seedlings are planted during the family church service (the garden produce is for the church supported food pantry).  When you have twenty five planters, some of them only 3 years old, the ability to stick plant and pot straight into a hole is a lot less stressful for me.  I pre-dig all the holes and place the plant beside it.  The swarm gets the plant in the ground straight and to the correct depth, with the label still in the pot.  And then I noticed that there is no transplant shock despite maybe a little less of a gentle hand.

The pots start to fall apart once they are planted.  I have never held them longer in the greenhouse than to after frost to see how long before they disintegrate. Some of the biggest tomatoes are pushing roots out through all sides of the pot so they really don't restrict root growth.  It looks like a really healthy full root system.  I haven't tested their fertility claims but the seedlings have never looked poorly enough to cause me to fertilize.  They have gotten fertilized as seedlings still in trays are beside them and looking yellow so I just throw some red hen pellets over everything. 

And they sure make transplanting out much faster without have to carefully tease a root system out of a pot. 

GreenEggs

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2021, 10:53:45 AM »
I just ordered tree kale seeds from some guy on YouTube.  I'd never heard of them before, but someone here posted a pic of theirs.  We love greens and since the tree kale is a perennial I'm hoping it will produce for years to come.  I don't know how many months it's supposed to produce here, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it does for us. 


The guy's video shows that it's very easy to root from cuttings.  So, I'll spread it around and share it with friends. 


Btw, we've found that kale is very good used in soups.  Surprisingly, it's really nice in chicken soups.

horsepoor

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2021, 08:43:09 AM »
@GreenEggs  leftover chicken with Basque chorizo or Andouille sausage, lots of kale and some canned tomatoes is one of my favorite soups!

I'm looking forward to a good year in the garden. Spring work travel is unlikely, and I now telework from our daylight basement where I'm about 20 steps from the vegetable garden. However, I have two horses that will *knock wood* be in full training throughout the year, so I won't have tons of time to putter in the garden or to do a lot of fall canning. My seed starting bench is right near my work desk, so it should be easy to dote on little seedlings while I'm on conference calls.

So far I've planted about 120 garlic cloves. In a few weeks I'll start some cold weather crops as well as the peppers and eggplants.

I'll probably do about a dozen canning tomatoes and 4-6 plants for fresh eating. I'll be growing fewer peppers (last year I had around 70) as we have a ridiculous amount of chocolate habaneros in the freezer. In their place, I'm thinking more beets, parsnips and carrots.

Plans this year include growing way more alliums. I got lazy and didn't transplant many of my onions and leeks, so we were noticeably low on those. It would be nice to get about 40# of storage onions as well as leeks and shallots. I'll also be growing spaghetti and butternut squash, since these store well without any special treatment.

A big task for this year is attempting to beat back the horseradish and get it contained to a reasonably sized area. If I can accomplish that, I might try planting some asparagus crowns. In March-April I'm planning to work half days for a couple weeks and really hit the garden chores in the afternoons.

Also contemplating getting some new chickens this year. We have just two, and they are going on four years old. In 2022 I'll probably go back to my regular spring work travel, so this would be the year for raising a new batch of chicks.

A couple years ago I built a chicken tractor that I never finished. The run part is sort of a collapsible A-Frame that could sit over my garden beds. It occurred to me while reading this thread that I could take off the wire and replace with poly panels and have a pretty neat cold frame. Might need to get on that!

PoutineLover

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2021, 09:06:17 AM »
I'm going to try to grow my second garden this year. Last year wasn't very successful, the only thing that really grew was the tomatoes, we ended up with a lot of them even though they ended up being planted too close together. We also got a few beans. I started a lot more seedlings, but it stayed cold for longer than I expected and most of them didn't end up surviving. I'll definitely grow tomatoes again, I'm also thinking lettuce, cucumbers and beans. I think if I keep it simple it'll be easier to manage. Looking forward to seeing everyone's gardens again, it's so inspiring!

sixwings

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2021, 02:42:28 PM »
Putting in a couple of veggie boxes in the next few weeks (zone 9a) and am planning on squash, beets (lots of beets!), carrots, radishes, kale, chard and cucumber and peas on trellis. I also think I'll grow some potatoes in grow bags. I have garlic growing in the front too. I'm new to this and have been doing lots of research and am composting in my backyard now. Getting excited!

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2021, 03:42:15 PM »
I have space for a garden this year for the first time, so I'm hopping on this thread for some ideas!

In the past, I've had great success with community garden raised beds. We moved to our current rental place in August, with a built in little bed in the back that I have permission to rip out. Backyard faces east but there's a large tree/fence, so it's probably half sun/half shade throughout the days. We're in Chicago. An unfamiliar pest I'll have to deal with is the abundance of aggressive squirrels--a house a few doors down seems to continuously scatter peanuts so they're everywhere. Upstairs unit had some plants in pots--basil, peppers, and kale were unscathed but the tomatoes got tossed around and bitten up before ripening :( I'm so used to rats in community gardens and bunnies in the burbs, but squirrels are an unknown and seem to be a combination of the worst of the other two, ugh.

I'm definitely interested in radishes and greens early in the season, as well as herbs throughout. Might get at least a few tomato plants and see what happens? Maybe cherry or tomatillos would fare better than the big red guys? I tried beets one year and was just never convinced I knew when to harvest and when to leave them be. They turned out kind of woody. Another year I did peas and zucchini and the zucchini predictably took over and blocked all the light. I do still have the netting/support I built for the peas, though!

Open to other suggestions! What is everyone's favorite place to buy seeds when starting fresh? My old ones are 3-4 years old so I'm thinking they're not viable at this point?

goat_music_generator

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2021, 03:56:46 PM »
I'm new to gardening, excited to join this thread :-)

Tried to keep my list of plants relatively short, since I don't know what I'm doing. As of now it's:
- **Tomatoes** (2 varieties, Purple Cherokee + Sunrise Bumblebee) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Shiso** (STATUS: waiting for spring to get)
- **Dwarf snow peas** (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Mitsuba** (Japanese parsley) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Basil** (STATUS: need to get seeds)
- **Lettuces**: Mizuna, butter lettuce (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)

Not really sure when I should start seeds... tomatoes I know I should wait on, but the snow peas, lettuce, and herbs all seem like they could maybe be started earlier without problems. This winter has been mild so far and it's supposed to continue that way.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2021, 04:15:42 PM »
Open to other suggestions! What is everyone's favorite place to buy seeds when starting fresh? My old ones are 3-4 years old so I'm thinking they're not viable at this point?

I found a great website when I was putting together my seed order but now I can't quickly re-find it.  It may be easiest just to google the individual seed varieties you already have.  I do know that onions and parsnip seeds need to be super fresh (one year) but some tomatoes are great germinators even four years on from personal experience.

I will let US based folks provide seed supplier recommendations. 

Canadian squirrels are probably just as destructive as American ones...so I will comment.  The seed starter soil used by many must have something in it that squirrels think smells good.  I use Red Hen chicken fertilizer to throw them off of new plantings, but it only last a few days.  I probably over fertilize.  I also use a lot of hex mesh fence but chipmunks can squeeze through it.  Sometime in my life I would like a roofed compound like a blueberry farm to keep all the vermin out.

Poundwise

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2021, 04:18:56 PM »
Yes!! This is the year I finally will have a vegetable garden. After years of no garden because we had contaminated soil, we finally had it removed, built beautiful raised beds, and filled it with soil mix. I bought some pea and red clover seed as a cover crop, got inoculant, and this week I will plant them!  Also got a seed germination pad and grow lights. So excited!

I have a big bag of seeds that I won in a Yankee swap three years ago. They are hermetically sealed in a foil bag, so hopefully they're still good.

Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2021, 03:14:17 AM »
What is everyone's favorite place to buy seeds when starting fresh? My old ones are 3-4 years old so I'm thinking they're not viable at this point?

There are so many good seed sources it's hard to say.  Personally I value companies that carry lots of organic, open-pollinated, heirloom varieties.  Bonus if the company is local, so you know the varieties are well adapted to your climate.  That's how I ended up buying most of my seed from Sow True.  But I also really like Johnny's and Seed Savers Exchange. 

I don't buy much seed anymore, since with many open-pollinated varieties you can just save the seeds from last year's crop.  But sometimes I prefer a specific hybrid (like Corinto and SunGold) and then I buy seeds.

Here's a great article and chart on seed saving from SSE:

https://www.seedsavers.org/isolation-distances
https://www.seedsavers.org/site/pdf/crop_chart.pdf

Sun Hat

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2021, 05:13:06 AM »
I'm new to gardening, excited to join this thread :-)

Tried to keep my list of plants relatively short, since I don't know what I'm doing. As of now it's:
- **Tomatoes** (2 varieties, Purple Cherokee + Sunrise Bumblebee) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Shiso** (STATUS: waiting for spring to get)
- **Dwarf snow peas** (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Mitsuba** (Japanese parsley) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Basil** (STATUS: need to get seeds)
- **Lettuces**: Mizuna, butter lettuce (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)

Not really sure when I should start seeds... tomatoes I know I should wait on, but the snow peas, lettuce, and herbs all seem like they could maybe be started earlier without problems. This winter has been mild so far and it's supposed to continue that way.

Snow peas should be direct sown, and there's little advantage to starting lettuce ahead of time as it germinates so quickly. I like to start my basil 4 weeks before setting out after the last frost, though they won't grow very quickly until it warms up a bit.

Raenia

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2021, 05:42:27 AM »
I'm new to gardening, excited to join this thread :-)

Tried to keep my list of plants relatively short, since I don't know what I'm doing. As of now it's:
- **Tomatoes** (2 varieties, Purple Cherokee + Sunrise Bumblebee) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Shiso** (STATUS: waiting for spring to get)
- **Dwarf snow peas** (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Mitsuba** (Japanese parsley) (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)
- **Basil** (STATUS: need to get seeds)
- **Lettuces**: Mizuna, butter lettuce (STATUS: seeds bought, in transit)

Not really sure when I should start seeds... tomatoes I know I should wait on, but the snow peas, lettuce, and herbs all seem like they could maybe be started earlier without problems. This winter has been mild so far and it's supposed to continue that way.

This is a good resource on when to start seeds, based on your zip code: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar.  It will also tell you if something should be direct seeded rather than started early and transplanted.  Though plenty of things that they say to start early can also be direct seeded if you're not trying to eke every last harvest day from them.  Only tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants absolutely need to be started inside, as far as I've read.

As far as buying seeds, I like these two places:
https://migardener.com/
https://www.rareseeds.com/

Roots&Wings

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2021, 07:28:08 AM »
Started a seed tray of moringa and starfruit! Also found an ackee "cream cheese" fruit tree locally and trying to grow the seeds, they look a bit alien:


Sun Hat

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2021, 08:50:51 AM »
Gorgeous! I'm wildly jealous of what those of you in warmer climates can grow. Maybe I should start a collection of exotic lichens to wow you all with.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2021, 09:25:15 AM »
Browsing through the online Stokes catalogue, I found "Lunch Box" tomato.  I loved growing it, haven't seen it in a while.  Now I guess I am ordering from Stokes as well as Vesey's and William Dam and Richter's.   ;-) 

Unfortunately it is a hybrid so no point seed saving.  It's a good thing tomato seeds are good for 5+ years.

I saved seeds from 2 paste tomatoes that were in my 25 lb box from the store.  These 2 were twice the size of the regular Romas, so I am guessing a different variety.  I will grow one of each and see if they come true, and also get one paste tomato online for comparison.

Stokes also has Shepherd peppers - they are what I am growing, seed originally saved from grocery store peppers.  I will order some and do a comparison - my seed may be better/worse/same.  Whichever proves better will be my seed source for next year.

Frugal Lizard, I looked up the cow pots and thought they looked really useful.  I was all set to order them from Connecticut when I found them in the Vesey's catalogue!

So that will be 4 orders - Stokes, William Dam, Vesey's and Richters all have things that I want.  Time to sort through last year's seeds to see how much is left and what I actually need to order.  It is almost time to start the peppers so I do need to get the Stokes order in!

I also saw an online video where instead of cattle panels (expensive) for trellising a market gardener used remesh - the reinforcing mesh for concrete.  I have used rebar a lot in the garden for staking, so if I can manage to get this in my car I think it would be useful.  It would be a lot easier to use stiff mesh and stakes than erecting a tall support structure with netting/strings hanging from a crosspole supported by crossed stakes.  I am growing up instead of out wherever possible.

Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2021, 09:47:58 AM »
I also saw an online video where instead of cattle panels (expensive) for trellising a market gardener used remesh - the reinforcing mesh for concrete.  I have used rebar a lot in the garden for staking, so if I can manage to get this in my car I think it would be useful.  It would be a lot easier to use stiff mesh and stakes than erecting a tall support structure with netting/strings hanging from a crosspole supported by crossed stakes.  I am growing up instead of out wherever possible.

I agree @RetiredAt63 -- up is in!  For the past few years for tall/vining plants I've used metal T-posts and either woven-wire fencing or hardware cloth stretched between them.  All materials are reusable for many years.  I have T-posts in all sizes from 4 - 10 feet.  The 10 footers are ideal for the really tall guys like cucumbers and peas.  I usually let my tomatoes sprawl on the ground, but last year I changed it up and did half sprawl and half trellised. 

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2021, 10:12:40 AM »
@RetiredAt63 - you got me going down a rabbit hole!  And I am not supposed to be forumming during the day!  I can't recall which seeds I promised to mail you.  Could you kindly remind me (if you remember). 

Cattle panels are way more expensive because they are galvanized.  I don't think the rust on re-mesh would be a problem for the garden.  The loss of strength over time would be inconsequential whereas if cattle were rubbing on a weakened panel - that would be bad.

I might be tempted to buy a couple for fun - I had a huge amount of crop loss for my paste tomatoes just because they were on the ground and really hard to pick.  I might be tempted to try to get them off the ground just for ease of harvest.  The ones in cages were so heavy they bent over.  The cages I staked bent over after a heavy rain.  And by then it was so close to harvest, I just gave up.

William Dam emailed to say my seeds will be ready for pickup at the beginning of February.  Ontario Growers Supply has cowpots on back order. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2021, 10:33:53 AM »
@RetiredAt63 - you got me going down a rabbit hole!  And I am not supposed to be forumming during the day!  I can't recall which seeds I promised to mail you.  Could you kindly remind me (if you remember). 

Cattle panels are way more expensive because they are galvanized.  I don't think the rust on re-mesh would be a problem for the garden.  The loss of strength over time would be inconsequential whereas if cattle were rubbing on a weakened panel - that would be bad.

I might be tempted to buy a couple for fun - I had a huge amount of crop loss for my paste tomatoes just because they were on the ground and really hard to pick.  I might be tempted to try to get them off the ground just for ease of harvest.  The ones in cages were so heavy they bent over.  The cages I staked bent over after a heavy rain.  And by then it was so close to harvest, I just gave up.

William Dam emailed to say my seeds will be ready for pickup at the beginning of February.  Ontario Growers Supply has cowpots on back order.

Go away - read this after dinner!

You were going to mail me some of the bean seeds for dried beans.  Direct planting, so no rush.  The joys of an indoor mailbox (versus my previous country one), seeds do not sit outside in the cold.

I try to get things up as much as possible, because the osteoarthritis in my knees (separate from the ligament damage) makes them stiff.  The less knee bending the better.  Plus getting everything up makes it a lot easier to weed, and improves air circulation which reduces diseases.

I've ordered from OSC in the past, but never heard of Ontario Growers Supply.

tc_traveler86

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2021, 11:08:48 AM »
Hi All,
After following along in the 2020 thread I thought I’d take the plunge and start contributing!

Setup: Townhouse rental in the Bay area of California.  Entirely in containers (mostly cloth container) with not a lot of sun and difficulty watering.

Goals:

- Maximize use of back patio.  Only 4-5 containers can reliably get more than 4 hrs of sun in the summer, but it gets pretty hot back there even in the shade. I’m going to focus on the value added crops (tomatos, zucchini, herbs).
- Use this “off” season.  Hard because the back patio gets almost no sun, but trying to embrace this season of kale and peas while I can.
- “Make” more than I spend.  I have been keeping track of roughly what I grow and what I spend.  Because I’m in pots and starting form scratch, the numbers aren’t in my favor, but this is the year I don’t need new equipment (I’ve been telling myself that for 3 years now….)

In 2020 I spent $256 on gardening stuff:
- $121 Durables- cages, buckets, more fertilizer and pest protection than I can  use in a couple years.  I shouldn’t need much more this year, maybe
- $73 on seeds and starts.  I should be able to spend less this year… I say this already having ordered seeds…..
- $62 potting soil.  This was less than I thought.  I’m able to pick up municipal compost to help stretch the purchased stuff.  I’ll probably spend similar this year.


In 2020 I harvested the following (Total $180):

- $30 in herbs (I love me some basil pesto)
- $21 Greens (kale, mustard, somehow I am a failure at lettuce)
- $10 Mint (for mint tea!)
- $23 Legumes (peas and beans depending on seasons)
- $53 Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, different varieties)
- $41 Squash/Zucchini
- $13 Other (Mostly cucamelons, a mouthful of cauliflower and some radishes)


Any advice on container gardening in a poorly lit rental I may move from is welcome!

CodingHare

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2021, 01:15:32 PM »
Not much yet beyond planning and looking through the seed catalogues.  I'm planning to order seeds next weekend to round out last years leftovers.

Our learnings from last year:
Tomatoes need more space than we gave them, they're going to get their own bed this year.
Peas did ok but we needed to train them onto the trellis better when they are short.
We love fresh lettuce and spinach and it is 10000% worth the planning time to space out planting them this year.
We want to grow more herbs than we did last year, the basil crop was excellent but we need thyme and sage as well.

Goals besides incorporating the learnings above: Build two new 4x8 beds, plant zuchinni and rhubarb in addition to last years crops.  We just didn't have space last year in our single 4x8 bed.

@tc_traveler86 I recommend getting a grow light!  Then you don't have to worry about insufficient lighting.

KathrinS

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2021, 02:17:52 PM »
I am new to this thread and new to gardening, because I just got my first (rental) apartment with a large terrace! The last one had no outdoor space, so I only have some cacti, aloes, spider plants and coleus as indoor plants. I started growing them all last year and seem to have a knack for it - they mostly seem very happy and have survived the move.

This year, I will be growing:
- Tomatoes, from supermarket fruit seeds. Tried this last year and the plants were beautiful, but I had to give them away when I left on holiday.
- Beans, from seeds a friend gave me
- A selection of four kitchen herbs, from a set I bought last year. Only used half of the seeds, but the herbs lasted all spring/summer.
- Likely some other edibles such as peppers, maybe some lettuce, definitely some strawberries. Said friend has been gardening for 10+ years, so he has loads of cuttings, pots and seeds to share.

I am very excited about this move, as I can not only grow stuff on my own terrace, but also forage in the local area. This winter, I picked sloes and made sloe and apple jam, which is delicious, and am hoping to pick lots of blackberries next year.

Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2021, 04:30:56 AM »
Welcome @KathrinS!  Congrats on your new place and having some outdoor space!

Your plans sound great.  You may know this having done it last year, but supermarket tomatoes are almost always hybrids, so the tomatoes you grow from those seeds may not look or taste anything like the fruit they came from.  Pluses -- it's fun to see what you get!  Anything from tiny little cherry-sized fruit up to large fruit, and any colors.  And it's free!  Minuses -- if you had your heart set on large fruits and get all tiny ones, or if they don't taste great, that can be disappointing. 


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2021, 10:22:48 AM »
Ok folks - I have to share this:  https://www.vegetableacademy.com/

I have been having a blast on this website.
I consider myself an experience veggie grower and I am learning a ton from the academy.  And the images are beautiful as freezing drizzle is coating every thing treacherous around me. I am going to do the planning bitz workshop starting tomorrow.  Major gardening nerding out chez Frugal Lizard!

I have also bought me a broadfork - wanted one for ages and a zipper tool by Neversink from a Quebec company called Dubois Agrinovation.  I have been moving towards no-till for a couple of growing seasons and the broadfork looks to be essential for the scale that I am growing at.


Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2021, 01:16:09 PM »
Thanks for the website @Frugal Lizard!   It looks fantastic. 

Congrats on the broadfork!  I loves me my broadfork. 

horsepoor

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2021, 03:41:59 PM »
I also saw an online video where instead of cattle panels (expensive) for trellising a market gardener used remesh - the reinforcing mesh for concrete.  I have used rebar a lot in the garden for staking, so if I can manage to get this in my car I think it would be useful.  It would be a lot easier to use stiff mesh and stakes than erecting a tall support structure with netting/strings hanging from a crosspole supported by crossed stakes.  I am growing up instead of out wherever possible.

I agree @RetiredAt63 -- up is in!  For the past few years for tall/vining plants I've used metal T-posts and either woven-wire fencing or hardware cloth stretched between them.  All materials are reusable for many years.  I have T-posts in all sizes from 4 - 10 feet.  The 10 footers are ideal for the really tall guys like cucumbers and peas.  I usually let my tomatoes sprawl on the ground, but last year I changed it up and did half sprawl and half trellised.

Ranch panels are good if you are making an arch or trellising something really heavy (winter squash or melons), but overkill for most things.

I made about 20 tomato cages out of remesh 10 years ago and they are going strong. IIRC, the 150' roll was around $100, so it was a good investment for big sturdy cages. I like the remesh because the squares are big enough to easily reach in to the cages. I've used it for pole bean trellis as well.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2021, 03:56:14 PM »
I also saw an online video where instead of cattle panels (expensive) for trellising a market gardener used remesh - the reinforcing mesh for concrete.  I have used rebar a lot in the garden for staking, so if I can manage to get this in my car I think it would be useful.  It would be a lot easier to use stiff mesh and stakes than erecting a tall support structure with netting/strings hanging from a crosspole supported by crossed stakes.  I am growing up instead of out wherever possible.

I agree @RetiredAt63 -- up is in!  For the past few years for tall/vining plants I've used metal T-posts and either woven-wire fencing or hardware cloth stretched between them.  All materials are reusable for many years.  I have T-posts in all sizes from 4 - 10 feet.  The 10 footers are ideal for the really tall guys like cucumbers and peas.  I usually let my tomatoes sprawl on the ground, but last year I changed it up and did half sprawl and half trellised.

Ranch panels are good if you are making an arch or trellising something really heavy (winter squash or melons), but overkill for most things.

I made about 20 tomato cages out of remesh 10 years ago and they are going strong. IIRC, the 150' roll was around $100, so it was a good investment for big sturdy cages. I like the remesh because the squares are big enough to easily reach in to the cages. I've used it for pole bean trellis as well.

I have to think about storage.  Some things I can leave in the garden, knowing they may grow feet.  Anything expensive I need to be able to store in my not quite 3' by not quite 4' locker at the apartment.  I am having to reinvent my whole gardening technique, it is so different growing in a community plot compared to my yard at any of the houses I have owned over the years (all of which had flower and vegetable gardens).

lazycow

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2021, 08:39:01 PM »
I have been gardening for years now, but am very lazy when it comes to actually harvesting the veg. It is my secret shame. Hoping to be more disciplined and organised this year! I am in south west Victoria so it is mid-summer here.

Have harvested around 100 brown onions and have left them in the sun to cure for 2 weeks before storing. My garlic harvest did well and we probably have enough for the year. I have learned that to stop them shooting after 6 months, I separate the heads into cloves and they freeze beautifully.

KathrinS

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2021, 05:41:45 AM »
Welcome @KathrinS!  Congrats on your new place and having some outdoor space!

Your plans sound great.  You may know this having done it last year, but supermarket tomatoes are almost always hybrids, so the tomatoes you grow from those seeds may not look or taste anything like the fruit they came from.  Pluses -- it's fun to see what you get!  Anything from tiny little cherry-sized fruit up to large fruit, and any colors.  And it's free!  Minuses -- if you had your heart set on large fruits and get all tiny ones, or if they don't taste great, that can be disappointing.

Thank you Trifele! The tomatoes didn't actually get to the fruit stage as I had to give them away. I'm not too set on a certain kind of fruit, so it'll be fun to try. Knowing this, I might choose seeds from several different kinds of tomatoes though, so if one doesn't work, there's still the other.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2021, 06:45:02 AM »
I ended up with a mess of tiny bitter yellow cherry tomatoes from one of the collected ones from the previous year.  Fortunately I wasn't relying on them and had just tucked them in at the last moment in my big farm garden.  But they made a mess that I will have to clean up this spring.

This year I ordered some fancy cherry tomatoes because I really really want sweet and juicy tomato salad.  I am only growing the ones I know for sure are open pollinated from my collection. Hopefully @RetiredAt63 I didn't send you too many duds. Apologies if I did by accident.  To offset the cost of purchasing the seed, I am going to germinate one third to all of all the seeds and trade the seedlings or "sell" them to my neighbours. (the amount I germinate will be based on the length of the seed viability)  (Tomatoes last forever so I will only do what I know will be planted)

Last year I ran a "pay what you think its worth sale" and then donated all the funds collected to my favourite food pantry charity.  I ended up making almost 200 bucks that I passed straight along to the charity.  I figured, all this garden spending was a mix of therapy and entertainment so I didn't need to recover the costs. I donated a lot of actual produce as well.  I got a lovely note of thanks yesterday plus a nice tax receipt. 

This year I am going to plan better so that I can advertise in advance and possibly take orders from some of the gardeners I know.  (And not have 4 dozen orphan eggplants).

Tonight Vegetable Academy Garden Planning Blitz......I feel like such a nerd sometimes - but, man, I have the most fun when I nerding out.


horsepoor

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2021, 09:19:34 AM »
I have to think about storage.  Some things I can leave in the garden, knowing they may grow feet.  Anything expensive I need to be able to store in my not quite 3' by not quite 4' locker at the apartment.  I am having to reinvent my whole gardening technique, it is so different growing in a community plot compared to my yard at any of the houses I have owned over the years (all of which had flower and vegetable gardens).

If you have more time than storage space, tying jute trellis to a frame could be an option. In my old garden, I used electrical conduit for the upright pieces, with a piece of 2x4 partially drilled through for the top bar. That gave me a collapsible frame that could be stuck into the dirt, and I would use jute twine in different arrangements for the plants to climb. At the end of the year the jute can be composted and the frame comes apart easily. Works for beans and peas, but does require some basic tools to cut and drill the wood (and conduit if  you don't want really tall trellis).

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2021, 10:36:33 AM »
I have to think about storage.  Some things I can leave in the garden, knowing they may grow feet.  Anything expensive I need to be able to store in my not quite 3' by not quite 4' locker at the apartment.  I am having to reinvent my whole gardening technique, it is so different growing in a community plot compared to my yard at any of the houses I have owned over the years (all of which had flower and vegetable gardens).

If you have more time than storage space, tying jute trellis to a frame could be an option. In my old garden, I used electrical conduit for the upright pieces, with a piece of 2x4 partially drilled through for the top bar. That gave me a collapsible frame that could be stuck into the dirt, and I would use jute twine in different arrangements for the plants to climb. At the end of the year the jute can be composted and the frame comes apart easily. Works for beans and peas, but does require some basic tools to cut and drill the wood (and conduit if  you don't want really tall trellis).

I used to do that when I had a house and garage and lots of tools.  ;-)

What I did last summer was trellis cucumbers with 2 pairs of 2 long poles tied together and a 3rd pole supported between the 2 pairs, with string hanging down.  Easier to put up than pounding tall poles in, since I no longer own a stepladder and don't want to have to store one.  I had shorter teepees for the beans, but they climbed so well and got so entangled that this year each bean will get its own pole.  I'll tie a crosspiece near the top of a row of poles so they can go sideways.  They liked doing that last year.

I saw an article where someone staked their bush zucchini.  Mine last year was just a big bush,  but from the pictures it looked like staking kept the plant cleaner and it was easier to harvest because the zucchini were actually visible, not hidden by the foliage.  Have you (or anyone here) ever done that?

This year for the tomatoes, instead of one plant staked with 2 leaders, each plant will have a pole for each leader.  That should make pruning and tying up a lot easier.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2021, 01:33:26 PM »
We tried planting chili pepper before with a few seeds that didn't grow anything. Also an attempt with a slice of a fresh chili pepper didn't work out. Not so long ago I planted all the remaining chili pepper seeds in one cowpot, added water, plastic covering and put it on a warming rack. Today I saw 2 plants coming up. Jay! Punched a hole in the plastic for the biggest one.

The plan is to grow it mostly indoors as I don't think it likes our climate much.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2021, 02:19:27 PM »
We tried planting chili pepper before with a few seeds that didn't grow anything. Also an attempt with a slice of a fresh chili pepper didn't work out. Not so long ago I planted all the remaining chili pepper seeds in one cowpot, added water, plastic covering and put it on a warming rack. Today I saw 2 plants coming up. Jay! Punched a hole in the plastic for the biggest one.

The plan is to grow it mostly indoors as I don't think it likes our climate much.

I'll be starting my sweet peppers soon.  My apartment is at 20C, and they want heat, so I wrap the seeds in damp paper towel, put them in a lidded container, and put them in the oven with the light on.  My seeds are saved from last year's plants and the germination can be iffy, so I start a lot and only plant the most vigourous.  My window area this year is chilly, so I may put a heat mat under their pots.  They are so slow to grow, I need to plant them now and they will get planted outside at the beginning of June.

Gardening is a great way to learn to plan ahead and delay gratification.   ;-)

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2021, 08:04:15 PM »
We tried planting chili pepper before with a few seeds that didn't grow anything. Also an attempt with a slice of a fresh chili pepper didn't work out. Not so long ago I planted all the remaining chili pepper seeds in one cowpot, added water, plastic covering and put it on a warming rack. Today I saw 2 plants coming up. Jay! Punched a hole in the plastic for the biggest one.

The plan is to grow it mostly indoors as I don't think it likes our climate much.

I'll be starting my sweet peppers soon.  My apartment is at 20C, and they want heat, so I wrap the seeds in damp paper towel, put them in a lidded container, and put them in the oven with the light on.  My seeds are saved from last year's plants and the germination can be iffy, so I start a lot and only plant the most vigourous.  My window area this year is chilly, so I may put a heat mat under their pots.  They are so slow to grow, I need to plant them now and they will get planted outside at the beginning of June.

Gardening is a great way to learn to plan ahead and delay gratification.   ;-)
I will be starting my peppers in mid-February on a heat mat.  In May they will be planted in a greenhouse.  You can google what temperatures they need to set fruit.  Peppers will suspend fruit development if they get too dry or too wet.  They can be particular in my experience.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2021, 12:36:31 AM »
We tried planting chili pepper before with a few seeds that didn't grow anything. Also an attempt with a slice of a fresh chili pepper didn't work out. Not so long ago I planted all the remaining chili pepper seeds in one cowpot, added water, plastic covering and put it on a warming rack. Today I saw 2 plants coming up. Jay! Punched a hole in the plastic for the biggest one.

The plan is to grow it mostly indoors as I don't think it likes our climate much.

I'll be starting my sweet peppers soon.  My apartment is at 20C, and they want heat, so I wrap the seeds in damp paper towel, put them in a lidded container, and put them in the oven with the light on.  My seeds are saved from last year's plants and the germination can be iffy, so I start a lot and only plant the most vigourous.  My window area this year is chilly, so I may put a heat mat under their pots.  They are so slow to grow, I need to plant them now and they will get planted outside at the beginning of June.

Gardening is a great way to learn to plan ahead and delay gratification.   ;-)
I will be starting my peppers in mid-February on a heat mat.  In May they will be planted in a greenhouse.  You can google what temperatures they need to set fruit.  Peppers will suspend fruit development if they get too dry or too wet.  They can be particular in my experience.

Yesterday I read a blog about growing peppers. Apparently they prefer an equal temperature through day/night. So rather 18C all day than 22C at daytime and 15C at night.
They are selfpollinating, and the same flower contains both genders. If it grows inside, you need to tick the plant/flower with your finger twice a day. Outside the wind moves the plant enough to pollinate itself.

I realized today that the soil I am using for the peppers was not virgin, but came from a big crate in which we used to grow roses, tulips and currants. So what is coming up now could in theory be something else than pepper. But we'll see. I planted about 15 pepper seeds.

lazycow

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2021, 01:50:59 AM »

Last year I ran a "pay what you think its worth sale" and then donated all the funds collected to my favourite food pantry charity.  I ended up making almost 200 bucks that I passed straight along to the charity.  I figured, all this garden spending was a mix of therapy and entertainment so I didn't need to recover the costs. I donated a lot of actual produce as well.  I got a lovely note of thanks yesterday plus a nice tax receipt. 

I *LOVE* this idea!

Trifele

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2021, 02:40:17 AM »

Last year I ran a "pay what you think its worth sale" and then donated all the funds collected to my favourite food pantry charity.  I ended up making almost 200 bucks that I passed straight along to the charity.  I figured, all this garden spending was a mix of therapy and entertainment so I didn't need to recover the costs. I donated a lot of actual produce as well.  I got a lovely note of thanks yesterday plus a nice tax receipt. 

I *LOVE* this idea!

Me too @Frugal Lizard!  I always have extra garden starts in the spring.  I can try selling them that way and then donating the money.  Great idea -- thank you!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2021, 06:10:11 AM »
Finally, after 4-5 weeks of waiting, my kaffir lime seeds have arrived from China. I ordered them from amazon.uk, but they were sent from China. They slipped through the toll system. I will plant several seeds today. If they become too many, I can always sell them or give them away as plants, as they are not for for sale anywhere else this winter.

We love to use kaffir lime leaves in home made asian type food. Only to be added at the very last moment as they loose their intense flavour very soon.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2021, 07:15:02 AM »
@Linea_Norway that is cool. I love the flavour of them.  I have a bay leaf house plant.  The flavor from the fresh leaves is so amazing. I can only imagine how good lime leaves would be.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2021, 07:24:38 AM »
@Linea_Norway that is cool. I love the flavour of them.  I have a bay leaf house plant.  The flavor from the fresh leaves is so amazing. I can only imagine how good lime leaves would be.

I hadn't thought of growing a bay leaf. Maybe I will do that later. Or maybe the 2 scents will collide.

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2021, 07:39:36 AM »
@Linea_Norway that is cool. I love the flavour of them.  I have a bay leaf house plant.  The flavor from the fresh leaves is so amazing. I can only imagine how good lime leaves would be.

Where did you get your bay? I keep striking out.


This year I kept one potted hot pepper alive and producing until the New Year. Soon I’ll put fresh soil in one of my rectangular planters and sow lettuces by the window in the library room.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2021, 09:27:17 AM »
I ordered sweet potato slips today from a farm near Minden.  5 each of 3 varieties.  They were already sold out of the popular orange ones, but I  can buy those at the grocery store.  I got an orange, a red-skinned white, and a purple.

They drive to various places so people can pick up their slips instead of hoping Purolator will be kind.  They have enough Ottawa orders to come here, we are on the list.  Plus they go all over southern Ontario, if anyone is interested I can post their information.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting and Growing Your Own -- 2021
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2021, 09:50:21 AM »
@MudPuppy I got mine from a friend who was repatriating to the US.  She couldn't import her plant, even though, she had brought it to Canada from the US 8 years before and was moving to New England.  Apparently it was a threat to US bay leaf agriculture.

I tried (half heartedly) to root some cuttings last year, but without success.  Apparently it is not that difficult.  My plant is much bigger than I need so I wasn't very careful because I didn't want to end up a lot of them.  I should probably give it a go again for a lark...because what else am I doing?

@Linea_Norway - the plant itself is not that scented in the house - only right near it when picked.  My DH can not handle scents so it would have frozen up outside long ago.  We have had it for six years.