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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: Trifele on December 05, 2019, 04:57:59 AM

Title: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 05, 2019, 04:57:59 AM
Hello gardeners!  I didn't see a thread yet for the coming year, so thought I would get things started.  Those of us in mild climates may still have some things growing in the garden, and our more northern friends are starting to get their seed catalogs and plan for the spring. 

I'll start.  I'm in North Carolina, US zone 7a, and still have some greens growing.  We've had a few nights below freezing here and the chicory looks rough.  I will be pulling that soon.  The chard is going strong.  I protect it with mid-weight row cover if it's going to get below 30 degrees or so.  I put milk jugs 2/3 full of water next to the plants as heat sinks under the row cover.  That extends the green growing season by 1-2 months.

I've also been taking advantage of the cool temperatures to plant and transplant a bunch of perennials.  In the last week I've planted 4 apple trees (babies that I grafted last year), and transplanted 4 blueberry bushes inside the protection of our deer fence.

For the coming year's vegetable production I've got a brand new 4' X 24' in-ground bed coming on line, which brings me up to a total of 4.  I'm planning the usual tomatoes, potatoes, greens, peppers, cukes, zucchini, and squash.

What are you up to with your garden?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Eowynd on December 05, 2019, 09:17:59 AM
I have hardneck garlic that was planted in October for next year.  These include several different varieties such as 'Music' and 'Chesnook Red' which are my favorite ones.

My sister and I created a new 30' x 40' garden that we intend to put a deer fence around in the spring.  We will split this space in half for our vegetable garden next year.  My sister also has a 8' x 10' unheated greenhouse (hoop house) that keeps lettuce alive from the first frost in October until it gets really cold and dark here in January.

A couple of months ago, my 2 year old apricot tree was taken out by a deer.  I'm guessing it was a deer; all I know is that the tree was snapped in half in spite of the netting surrounding it.  I have to decide if I want to buy another apricot tree or put something else in that spot.

Did you use a specific rootstock to graft the apple trees?  I've grafted differed apple scions on established young trees but I've never grafted a scion on a rootstock.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Frugal Lizard on December 05, 2019, 10:04:30 AM
Thanks @Trifele for getting this started. I got my first seed catalogue a couple of days ago but was already dreaming and scheming of garden 2020.  My 2019 garden ended poorly with me being too sick to finish harvesting.  I left so much in the ground but you can only do what you do.  Next year will be better!

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Trifele on December 05, 2019, 10:41:29 AM
Did you use a specific rootstock to graft the apple trees?  I've grafted differed apple scions on established young trees but I've never grafted a scion on a rootstock.

That's cool Eowynd!  I haven't yet grafted onto an established tree, but I was thinking of trying that this winter.  Yes -- I grafted onto "Geneva 890" rootstock, which is a hardy disease-resistant semi-dwarf.  It was my first time grafting, so I talked to the guys at Cummins Nursery in New York -- http://www.cumminsnursery.com/rootstocks.htm -- to get their recommendation.  I was really happy with the G-890.  It's super vigorous.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 05, 2019, 11:11:40 AM
Just saw this thread and was quite excited to see it. Though the title has me wondering...are Canadians allowed to participate?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Trifele on December 05, 2019, 11:36:59 AM
Just saw this thread and was quite excited to see it. Though the title has me wondering...are Canadians allowed to participate?

Haha yes of course!  Apologies to our Canadian/European friends!  Will modify the title now.  :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 05, 2019, 12:24:33 PM
:)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on December 05, 2019, 05:29:41 PM
@Trifele You're way ahead of me. I haven't even started thinking about Spring. A few more weeks of cold weather, will get me dreaming about playing in the garden.
I've got radish, cilantro, mesculin, parsley, arugula growing under frost cloth and UV resistant tarp outdoors. Every weekend, I harvest enough to last for weekday salads. Indoors I moved grow lights to a 4 level rack with heat mats. I wrapped the rack with cinexpensive heat reflective blankets to bounce the light around and keep the seedlings warm. Growing basil, sunflower and amaranth greens. I usually have a few amaranth plants growing every year, but I'm thinking of expanding the growing space into where I let the chickens free range. With protection, when the plants get large enough, they should drop seed that the hens can graze on. Hoping the plan will work.
BTW, I wrapped the beehives with 5 layers of agribon. If and when polar vortex hits, I hope that will keep them warmer than the black landscape fabric I've used in the past.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Eowynd on December 06, 2019, 08:17:26 AM
Did you use a specific rootstock to graft the apple trees?  I've grafted differed apple scions on established young trees but I've never grafted a scion on a rootstock.

That's cool Eowynd!  I haven't yet grafted onto an established tree, but I was thinking of trying that this winter.  Yes -- I grafted onto "Geneva 890" rootstock, which is a hardy disease-resistant semi-dwarf.  It was my first time grafting, so I talked to the guys at Cummins Nursery in New York -- http://www.cumminsnursery.com/rootstocks.htm -- to get their recommendation.  I was really happy with the G-890.  It's super vigorous.

Grafting is awesome!  Apple trees seem pretty easy to work with; I got 4 takes out of 6 tries.  I also tried grafting plum scions on a plum tree but it must have been too late in the spring or something because none of the 3 grafts took.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: lv2glrfy on December 06, 2019, 09:42:45 AM
HI, I would love to participate! I'm quite literally at ground floor currently--I've never grown a garden before and I'm intimidated by the thought of starting, but I'm very very determined to get at least one edible thing from my yard this year!! I'm in Georgia zone 7b.

My yard is extremely shady and forest-like, so I'm expecting that I can never grow much beyond some greens, herbs, and perhaps...berries? My goal is to start some lettuce, spinach, and maybe kale indoors in Februaryish. I don't really know when to start shade-loving herbs/fruits, but my guess is not until the summer months...which, around here, means March :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 06, 2019, 02:55:58 PM
Welcome @lv2glrfy!  Starting simple is the best!  I would suggest researching how many hours of sunlight various plants need, and measure how many hours your various potential planting areas get.  It'll help you decide what to put where.  Here's an article: https://www.almanac.com/content/garden-plan-vegetables-grow-partial-shade

Hello @Indio!  Wow, you're way ahead of me in terms of what you still have going in the garden. Very impressive!

Yes @Eowynd, I agree -- grafting is completely awesome.  It's the biggest gardening thrill there is, imo.  :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on December 06, 2019, 11:11:09 PM
I'll be following along.  I'm in Idaho, so we're fully done until at least March.  I really should go get a couple truckloads of manure to compost though, as things haven't frozen up completely yet.  I like to have the beds topped with partially composted manure and mulched over with straw by this time, but it just didn't happen this year.  Oh well.

Next year I'm planning to grow plenty of squash, alliums and peppers, along with the usual 15-20 tomato plants, herbs, lettuces etc.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 07, 2019, 02:53:42 AM
Welcome back @horsepoor!  I too meant to get another truckload of horse manure down this fall, but it doesn't look like I'll get it done before it snows.  With the last load I did the same as you -- spread it thick and then put straw on top.   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 17, 2019, 08:58:45 AM
Seaweed is my manure. :) A truckload was deposited upon my raised beds in late October, where it is currently slowly breaking down and imparting it's magical qualities to my soil. Quite notable is the fact that your garden smells a bit like low tide for a few days. ;)

Articles such as this opened my eyes as to how fortunate I was to have an endless supply of this on my doorbeach step.

https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/how-to-use-seaweed-to-mulch-your-garden/ (https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/how-to-use-seaweed-to-mulch-your-garden/)

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on December 17, 2019, 09:57:53 AM
William Dam Seed catalogue arrived in mail yesterday - Garden porn......
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Raenia on December 17, 2019, 10:29:06 AM
I need to get a start on garden planning for next year.  Right now I'm just trying to keep my potted strawberries alive - I brought them inside once we were getting consistent frost, but they don't seem to like the window where I've placed them.

For next year, I need to plan the actual garden beds.  I started building one bed in the fall, laying down cardboard and piling twigs and leaves on top.  The batch of compost going in my tumbler should be ready to add before planting.  Then I just have to decide if I'm going to try overseeding the seeds I already have, which are several years old but of interesting varietals, or buy new seeds.  If the latter, I also have to decide what veggies to grow.  I have a very small space, and so many things I would like to grow!

ETA: I'm in zone 7a.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: cambridgecyclist on December 17, 2019, 10:40:59 AM
I'm in zone 6b. I started onions for a 2020 fall harvest in a cold frame in mid-October, thinking that they'd grow slowly over the winter and be ready for transplanting in early spring. So far they've survived several nights where temperatures are in the teens.

Seed catalogs are coming in and I'll be reading them cover to cover in the next month.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on December 18, 2019, 08:27:07 AM
I'm in and I'm starting literally below dirt level.  After failing miserably trying to grow vegetables at the new location, I tested my soil this year (check your local extension service - my testing was free because I sent in my samples during the summer) and conditions are bad enough that my best option is to build raised beds with trucked in soil.

goal for 2020
step 1 - build raised bed frames using wood reclaimed from decking we plan to replace in 2020
step 2 - source soil
step 3 - figure out safest way to get soil from driveway to beds (15 foot drop along a 50 foot run with multiple obstructions in between)
step 4 - plant!!

It may take me all summer, but I really miss growing some of my own food.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Raenia on December 18, 2019, 08:55:48 AM
I'm in and I'm starting literally below dirt level.  After failing miserably trying to grow vegetables at the new location, I tested my soil this year (check your local extension service - my testing was free because I sent in my samples during the summer) and conditions are bad enough that my best option is to build raised beds with trucked in soil.

goal for 2020
step 1 - build raised bed frames using wood reclaimed from decking we plan to replace in 2020
step 2 - source soil
step 3 - figure out safest way to get soil from driveway to beds (15 foot drop along a 50 foot run with multiple obstructions in between)
step 4 - plant!!

It may take me all summer, but I really miss growing some of my own food.

I'm running into similar issues with building garden beds (our area is notorious for bad soil and possible industrial contamination, though we haven't tested it yet), with the added issue that we live in a rowhome and the only way to access the yard is through the house :P  I'm hoping to get a lot of the fill soil by mixing home-made compost with dead leaves, if we have to buy in soil it's going to be a mess.

Wishing you luck!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on December 18, 2019, 09:11:50 AM
@Raenia A wise gardener recommended to me doing a germination test on old seed.  Her method involved clear plastic bags and paper towel.  Dampen the towel in the bag so that you have a moist "bed".  Place your old seeds on the wet towel.  Close up the plastic bag so that they stay moist.  Set on a warm surface and check daily for germination.  As soon as the seed breaks germination, plant into the soil.  I now use this method for just about all my older seed - it is brilliant because I only have limited space and each seed tray only has viable seeds and I don't have a bunch of blanks.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: haypug16 on December 18, 2019, 10:04:55 AM
I'm in zone 6a and looking forward to getting our garden going in 2020. With Puglet's arrival last spring not much got done outside. Though we did take  down some trees and will therefore have more sunlight for growing. We also have a gravel pit that we have slowly been empting of gravel. It takes up about 25% of our small yard so once we finish clearing that out (nearly there) we'll be adding a large chunk of growing space.  I would love to get a fruit tree or two in the yard, peach and apple I think. Then for vegetables we usually try to plant way too many different things so this year I'd like to keep it simple and focus on some tomatoes, zuchinni, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuces for the most part. I know Mr Pug will want to plant 30+ different things though. Maybe I'll take my own section of the garden ;P
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Raenia on December 18, 2019, 10:54:56 AM
Thanks @Frugal Lizard, I have heard some similar methods but that sounds like the easiest.  I'll have to give it a try when we get close to planting season.  And not let myself be taken in by the siren song of new seed in the meantime! :P
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 18, 2019, 12:45:49 PM
William Dam Seed catalogue arrived in mail yesterday - Garden porn......

Yes!  My garden porn this week is the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.  Very nice . . .

I'm super intrigued to try a kale variety they have that they say can live for 3-4 years or more before going to seed.  I'm used to thinking of kale as a biennial.  I knew it could be perennial in warm places like Hawaii and Florida (seen it myself), but I'm surprised to learn people are doing that in zone 7(?)   Interesting!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on December 18, 2019, 02:00:47 PM
William Dam Seed catalogue arrived in mail yesterday - Garden porn......

Yes!  My garden porn this week is the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.  Very nice . . .

I'm super intrigued to try a kale variety they have that they say can live for 3-4 years or more before going to seed.  I'm used to thinking of kale as a biennial.  I knew it could be perennial in warm places like Hawaii and Florida (seen it myself), but I'm surprised to learn people are doing that in zone 7(?)   Interesting!

Knowing you live in WNC, can I recommend you check out Sow True Seed as well?  They're local, organic, heirloom, and support local farmers.  That and past catalogs have been full of local art.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 18, 2019, 02:12:21 PM
William Dam Seed catalogue arrived in mail yesterday - Garden porn......

Yes!  My garden porn this week is the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.  Very nice . . .

I'm super intrigued to try a kale variety they have that they say can live for 3-4 years or more before going to seed.  I'm used to thinking of kale as a biennial.  I knew it could be perennial in warm places like Hawaii and Florida (seen it myself), but I'm surprised to learn people are doing that in zone 7(?)   Interesting!

Knowing you live in WNC, can I recommend you check out Sow True Seed as well?  They're local, organic, heirloom, and support local farmers.  That and past catalogs have been full of local art.

Awesome!  Thank you.  :)  I've seen their seed packets for sale, but haven't seen their catalog. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 19, 2019, 03:36:44 AM
I just signed up for Spikenard Farms spring beekeeping class Parts 1 and 2!  Thank you @Indio for letting me know about that.  :)  This may finally be the year that I start with bees.  https://spikenardfarm.org/store/category/classes/ 

Anyone want to join me?  It's scheduled for the weekend of March 7 and 8 outside Floyd Virginia.  I had never heard of Floyd but here's part of the Wikipedia article:

"The Town of Floyd is becoming known as a regional destination for music, especially bluegrass music, and old-time music. The Floyd Country Store's Friday Night Jamboree, which features local and area bands, has been held each Friday night for many years, gaining in popularity during the past decade. In fair weather, the indoor stage performances and dancing are joined by simultaneous banjo-and-fiddle-centered jam sessions in driveways and seating areas along South Locust Street."

Sounds fun -- I'll definitely check that out.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: the_hobbitish on December 19, 2019, 07:45:10 AM
I'm in. Last year I got excited about our first planting season in our new house and tried way too much. Then I got distracted by other home projects and neglected it. Classic overzealous first time gardener. :) Right now it's an overgrown mess, but letting it go for a couple months did reveal some really nice native grasses in that part of the yard.

This year we're going to focus on structures instead of plants. I want to put in some permanent deer fence around that whole section of the yard so I have space for a flower garden next to the veggie patch. I also want to rearrange the beds and make a flat space for a little greenhouse that's been sitting in a box since our wedding. (My favorite present) We also have a drainage issue where all the runoff from next door makes a stream across the lower part of the garden during heavy summer storms. So lots of work to set the foundation for future gardening.

The only thing I saved from last season are a bunch of strawberry plants that I covered with dried grass last week to keep off the frost.

A couple weeks ago I planted 6 apples and a couple pears across the front of our yard. We're really excited about having a mini orchard. That it might screen the view of our neighbor's multicolored uplighting is a bonus.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on December 19, 2019, 10:36:14 AM
I'm in and looking forward to understanding more what I'm doing in 2020.  2019 went well, but it was basically throwing seeds in the ground and watering and seeing what happened.  We still got a few tomatoes up through last week with which we made some salsa, so it was super fun. But I did always feel bad that I had no idea what I was doing.  I'm currently reading "Golden Gate Gardening" both for the specific recommendations for my area and for basics (like I learned mulch and compost are not the same thing!  That's how much I don't know what I'm doing!).  I'm finding the soil chapter particularly helpful for a beginner's understanding.

My husband is the one who likes to just throw seeds in the ground and water.  TBF, he also goes out and weeds and he started a bunch of seeds a few months ago then recently transplanted them to the garden bed.  We have a lot of cilantro, kale and broccoli poking their heads up already.  We also went and purloined some blackberry canes from a nearby public right of way area and planted them along a fence about a month or so ago.  So we'll see how that goes!

Otherwise, hopefully my education keeps pace and we'll be able to develop a more thoughtful approach to planting in the spring, and I'll feel more confident to get out there and weed, plant and dig.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 19, 2019, 10:49:44 AM
Makes me smile to see the joy folks here have in getting their hands on their preferred seed catalogues.

Got mine. :)

(https://i.shgcdn.com/914f5392-f214-43fd-911d-b5d4b2ffd974/-/format/auto/-/preview/3000x3000/-/quality/lighter/)

It is a wonderful publication, and probably serves as my garden "bible" every year - though the works of Linda Gilkeson are also always close by - her "Backyard Bounty" is EXCELLENT. Definitely focused towards the mild coastal Pacific climate it is packed with so much good info beyond the impressive seed collection itself.

Speaking of mild Pacific climate, my garden resides within a nice little micro-climate (Zone 9a) at the extreme Southwest of B.C., on a little island kept just a little bit warmer by the surrounding sea. Lots of folks have year round vegetable gardens here and while I have not expressly attempted this myself - most of my beds are now covered with mulch until Spring - there are still things in my garden which are thriving well into December.

It's a strange kale-oasis in the midst of a mostly slumbering garden. Oh, and those are collards in the immediate foreground.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49206488591_8e005868bf_z.jpg)

No definite garden plans for the upcoming season as of yet...but I'm pondering the idea of scaling back my usual routine of trying "new things" in the garden in favour of sticking with, and perhaps even doubling down on the things I know that grow well in this climate and things I seem to be good at growing and nurturing. Late Feb/early March I will be gearing up to get some spinach and peas planted out....so...that's not too long to wait!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on December 21, 2019, 10:17:25 AM
@Jon_Snow  I'm jealous of your kale and collards!  My kale is still standing, but not really in an appealing form for eating.

We are having a pretty mild winter so far.  Two weeks ago I finally got around to planting garlic.  I didn't count, but I'm guessing it was around 200 cloves.

This weekend the ground is thawed, so I'm going to dig up some horseradish - some to process and some to foist on an unsuspecting former co-worker I ran into a couple days ago.

The only seed catalog I've gotten so far is Pinetree.  I've only glanced at it, but saw a few things I'd like to try.  Usually Baker Creek is my go-to.  We were granted the 24th as an extra holiday, so I'm looking forward to settling down with a cup of coffee and sorting through my existing seeds and putting together my seed orders.

Lighting is anyone else starting seeds under LEDs?  I switched from T5 florescent to LEDs partway through seed starting season this year.  By far my tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings were the best they've ever been.  However, I tried to start some cole crops under them for fall, and it seems that they were just burnt to a crisp by the light intensity, even though I raised the fixtures about 3' above the seed cups.  I've saved my TF fixtures to do the initial starting under this year, but their bulbs are going to wear out eventually, and it would be nice not to have to switch fixtures, and keep the newer and more mature starts separated.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: robartsd on December 23, 2019, 08:24:01 AM
Lighting is anyone else starting seeds under LEDs?  I switched from T5 florescent to LEDs partway through seed starting season this year.  By far my tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings were the best they've ever been.  However, I tried to start some cole crops under them for fall, and it seems that they were just burnt to a crisp by the light intensity, even though I raised the fixtures about 3' above the seed cups.  I've saved my TF fixtures to do the initial starting under this year, but their bulbs are going to wear out eventually, and it would be nice not to have to switch fixtures, and keep the newer and more mature starts separated.
There is a lot of variety in LEDs available (both in terms of spectrum covered and overall intensity of the light); though it is hard to imagine that LED is causing a problem like you describe unless it is  outputting dangerously high UV light.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MaybeBecca on December 23, 2019, 09:34:50 AM
I am very new to gardening.  I had success with a very small selection of plants in raised beds last year (tomatoes did great, got a few nice jalapenos, and had some lettuce that got about 3' tall), but I'm hoping to grow more variety, and possibly extend my growing season with some small covered greens beds next fall.

If anyone could recommend seed catalogs that would be good to get for a relative beginner, I'd appreciate it. (North American Zone 6b) I'm especially interested in perennials that produce something edible or useful.

Projects I'm hoping to do this year: install at least one rain barrel for free water source, start a compost heap. May be getting a garage addition built starting in the spring, but hopeful that it won't hinder me too much. I suppose that is partly a project, though I'm not really responsible for building it.

What I'm already looking to plant: loofah, tomatoes, soybeans, arugula, herbs
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: YttriumNitrate on December 23, 2019, 03:17:14 PM
In 2020, I'll be adding 200 pawpaw trees to my yard. My order at the Indiana State Nursery went through last week (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestryexchange/default.aspx). At 30 cents a tree, it's one of the best deals around. Of course, the trees aren't very big (pencil diameter) so mortality rates above 50% are common.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 24, 2019, 03:49:46 AM
Welcome @MaybeBecca!  Most seed catalogs contain more or less the same info about the seeds/plants.  Everyone has their favorites.  I like the companies that focus on heirloom variety preservation -- my all time favorite is Seed Savers' Exchange.  Also Southern Exposure, Sow True Seed, etc.  Johnny's is a great company to work with; good seeds and also tools/equipment.  Baker Creek has a pretty catalog. (ETA: I see that Baker Creek charges $10 for their catalog -- yikes.  Most seed catalogs are free.)  Have fun!

@YttriumNitrate -- Whoa!!!  200 pawpaws is completely fantastic!  Are you growing commercially?  I need a pawpaw tree (to replace one of mine that died) and I will check out that link.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on December 24, 2019, 05:59:58 PM
Baker Creek has a pretty catalog. (ETA: I see that Baker Creek charges $10 for their catalog -- yikes.  Most seed catalogs are free.)  Have fun!

Yikes, this must be new, because I've been getting the BC catalog for years, but not this year.  They're doing free shipping now, which I'd rather have anyway.

@robartsd   Thank you, maybe it's not the lights.  I'll try to start some under the LEDs and some under the T5s and see what happens.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: birdie55 on December 24, 2019, 07:23:50 PM
Baker Creek has a free catalog AND they also have a $9.95 Extended Catalog like book with much more info.  Lots of stories and history of some seeds, how they find some interesting new varieties, etc.  I get both catalogs.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on December 25, 2019, 05:42:21 AM
Baker Creek has a free catalog AND they also have a $9.95 Extended Catalog like book with much more info.  Lots of stories and history of some seeds, how they find some interesting new varieties, etc.  I get both catalogs.

Cool, thanks @birdie55.   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on December 27, 2019, 05:09:09 PM
Thanks for the 2020 garden thread @Trifele

I've been busy in the garden for the past three months, lots of clean up, cutting back and then finally taking out a monster tree in the back yard giving me space for what I hope will become a nice hedgerow.
This month we planted two apple trees (which lived in pots for three years) which have never produced, although they managed to survive in their huge pots - so I have great hopes they will do fine. They are Australian Pink Lady apples that are supposed to like the heat and hopefully will like it in my Florida yard.
Plus a Persian lime tree that I won at an auction a few years back which produced well and seems to be quite happy out of the pot - although the jury is still out on the apple trees, they may need some time to adjust.
A chaste tree - which isn't looking too happy at present - we'll see, it would be nice to mingle in the airy purple blooms.

I plan to add two kinds of edible Hibiscus - one bears fruit similar to cranberries in taste and the other I want for the tea that is made from its flowers, the springtime flowers are especially potent and healthy. Both hibiscuses are native and will run me only about $5 unless I can find some free. They love full sun and are super easy to grow - they don't mind our brutal summers.
I'm considering adding two hawthorns, a willow, definitely a fine black elderberry and potentially a redbud tree and maybe a paw paw or a stopper.

I added two big lemongrasses in the front, also formerly in pots. I'll be experimenting with African Blue Basil, to see if they like that area - I branched off two babies from my mother plant and they are going strong - well enough to plant.
I had about five different kinds of old dill seeds and tried them out in a big terra cotta pot - wildly successful:). So I'll plant some of those once we are past January - meanwhile, they can live in pots in the semi-open carport.
Other herbs I seeded are Calendula and Lime Thyme. Next, I plan on branching off a new lemon verbena from my mother plant and find seeds for lemon balm.
For ground cover I'm using sweet potatoes and if I can get it to grow - comfrey, but I doubt it in our zone 10. I may need to find something different - peanuts maybe? 

In my excitement over having a new area to design and garden in, I admit I turned into a seed-a-holic and one late night succumbed to rare seed offers - all manner of strange tropical delights - utterly irresistible:) oh so tempting.
If nothing else I'd love for the five coffee seeds to sprout as I think I have the ideal conditions for five bushes and you know I'd love to grow my own organic coffee!
Anyway, there will be plenty of flowers, especially scented beauties. I'll be looking for a Macademia nut tree. I had one and it grew fast and well, but it was in the wrong spot, besides it was all spiny spikes and ugliness, not a good idea in the center of your flower bed:).

For the first time in a long while I have two new areas to plant one south - one north and actually a small, narrow strip facing west alongside the house - I'm considering seeding it with red clover and poppies (bread seed for baking and a couple of fun looking ones) and whatever leftover seeds I end up with.
During one of my deranged plant fevers, I devised a bed of salvias, mostly from seed, but I ordered a couple of rare plants online and I'm in love with those amazing salvia scents, can't wait for the blue flowers to appear.
Turns out one of the companion plants I hunted down for my roses does not just look beautiful in bloom but is actually an edible chervil called Raven's Wing.

Next on my list is a trip to the native plant nursery, hopefully I can manage to show at least a measure of restraint - now that I have a new garden plan:).
Next to be planted are about ten big Aloes, currently in pots, a thornless Blackberry and a Raspberry - yum.
Next big project is a new fence on one side of the property and three privacy screens on the other side.
Then there is a new path ... extra gravel ... leveling the ground in the backyard, setting up a new compost area and cleaning up the newly emptied big pots ..... oh and there are all those new seeds to try and existing plants to be divided or re-potted.

Celery and Swiss Chard are going strong, so is Garlic and young Endive - I'll see if they survive being transplanted, African Blue Basil and several Peppers and Garlic Chives are doing fine. Leek is looking promising, but still in the baby stage.
One Patio Tomato and one big Dill plant are also producing rather well.
We'll see how far I get in January - right now, I have three new beds started, some prepped some planted... some need borders, some need compost and leaves...

I am looking forward to having most of it done between January and March, so it all has a good chance to grow while it is still cool(ish) hopefully into June. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on December 28, 2019, 06:10:36 AM
Wow - now I have garden envy @Rosy.  Thanks for sharing the tropic plans.  Yes I would love to grow my own organic coffee.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Cpa Cat on December 28, 2019, 07:48:36 AM
In 2020, I'll be adding 200 pawpaw trees to my yard. My order at the Indiana State Nursery went through last week (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestryexchange/default.aspx). At 30 cents a tree, it's one of the best deals around. Of course, the trees aren't very big (pencil diameter) so mortality rates above 50% are common.

We've done forest service trees 2 years now. We planted about 200 the first year in the Spring and 100 this past Autumn. I ended up springing for flags and little rabbit guard tubes on the second run. We originally put 1 flag on the first batch, but they easily became difficult to see, and some trees lacked flags, or the flags got pushed down too low/flew away.

All new trees got a rabbit tube and two flags. All old trees that we could find got two flags. Our biggest losses in the first year were to lawn mowers and machinery from building our house. No one (including myself) could see the little trees as the grass started growing. The rabbit tubes help immensely to help spot the trees, and now I make a habit of mowing around the rows of trees to make them easier to see. It increased the cost per tree, but don't underestimate your labor! Planting 200 trees is hard work, and you may get discouraged if you don't set them up for success. I ordered by flags and tubes from the forest service, so they were not very expensive.

The Autumn trees came in much bigger than the Spring trees - I guess because they had a nice, safe nursery to grow in for longer. Our Spring trees also suffered through a drought. So despite the fact that the Spring trees are 18 months older than the Autumn trees, the Autumn trees went in the ground at the same size/some bigger. Most of the Spring trees seem to have hit a growth spurt in the past three months though, so they are now overtaking.

We lost only about 5% of Spring trees to drought/animals/environmental conditions. We lost an additional 30% to humans. Too soon to tell on the Autumn trees - a couple of them died immediately to transplant shock, but no others look dead.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: YttriumNitrate on December 28, 2019, 01:55:53 PM
@YttriumNitrate -- Whoa!!!  200 pawpaws is completely fantastic!  Are you growing commercially?  I need a pawpaw tree (to replace one of mine that died) and I will check out that link.  Thanks!

A few years back I got to the scale where I was selling at the local farmers market. It was a lot of fun, but horrendously unprofitable. Then I moved and had to start all over again. If I were aiming to get back into the hobby farmers market scene, I would focus exclusively on peaches. In my part of Indiana every few years (such as 2019) a really cold snap will kill off every peach fruit bud and no one will have a crop, so I'd have to sit the year out (not a problem when it's just a hobby). The flip side is that when the local peaches come in they sell so well that I don't think I every left the farmers market with an unsold peach.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on December 29, 2019, 03:39:30 PM
Wow - now I have garden envy @Rosy.  Thanks for sharing the tropic plans.  Yes I would love to grow my own organic coffee.

I do feel blessed to have a big garden space - about two-thirds of the property is well established and low maintenance. It's wonderful to have a nice place to sit or eat outside or have friends over.
Just watching the birds splash in their birdbath or laughing at the antics of the squirrels or enjoy the beauty of the butterflies dancing in the air or listening to the sound of the water from the fountain is like heaven to me.
I will be planting a couple of Honeysuckle on those garden screens I mentioned - looove that scent:).

The veggie garden was never on the top of my list, (mostly because it is so labor-intensive and it has taken me forever to reach a point where it functions like I want it to - a bit like a potager) although if nothing else I do grow a variety of peppers and different lettuces and at least one new vegggie every year.
I'm more into herbs - for cooking, tea and medicinal. Lately, I've been intrigued by rare herbs and interesting heirloom plants - luckily seeds are a lot more affordable than buying a plant.
It took me years to find veggies that grow well in Florida, like celery and potatoes incl sweet potatoes, things that we actually like to eat and are easy to grow in our microclimate. I hate to put in a lot of time and effort and money and have little to nothing to show for it - I always experiment and try something new each year, that's the fun part:).
Why I can't grow cucumbers is still a mystery to me after gardening in Florida for over twenty years. LOL
I swear gardening in Germany was a cakewalk compared to our climate here.

My newest endeavor is to try permaculture in one of the new garden areas. It is something that clicked with me the second I read about it, (besides I've always leaned toward a natural garden look and sharing some of the bounty with the critters) although I am determined to have plenty of flowers too. Sunflowers for the birds and us and who knew Turmeric had such lovely blooms. I've almost narrowed down which plants I will use in my "Apple Tree Guild" - we'll see how it all goes.
Took a while to find the right plants and nurseries and thanks to YouTube I finally found out more about permaculture in a more tropical setting.

I spent a fair amount of time this year reading garden books for information and inspiration - something I haven't done in years since I already have a nice garden book collection and was not ready to garden/design any new areas of the property. Now I have new favorites, tons of ideas and still hours of reading and re-reading ahead of me:).

My YouTube favorite is Morag Gamble "Our Permaculture Life" - she's genuinely awesome.
Books:
I highly recommend Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway and Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier if you are interested in reading up on Permaculture.
The Beautiful Edible Garden by Bennett and Bittner was also great for two reasons - these designer ladies came up with their own principles for successful edible gardening for veggies, fruits and herbs. It included great tips, good visuals and very well thought out garden planning for new gardeners especially. I found it refreshing to read, modern day gardening in new and unexpected ways and I particularly liked that the emphasis was on beauty, because sometimes veggie gardens end up looking downright pitiful.

I plan to join a local garden group and experiment with Moringa, Bananas, Papaya, but I'm still hesitant about planting the Moringa tree.
Orange and Mandarin are next to be planted along with the edible Hibiscus.
One of the main reasons that I'm intrigued by permaculture is that if you do it right it can, once established, be easily maintained by one person.

The plan is to try out a few perennial vegetables in the permaculture area which should be less time, less effort and definitely less money. I've no idea if we will like the taste of these perennial veggies from around the world but I'm willing to try.
 
I've become quite anti-tomato over the decades - tomatoes are like the prima donnas of my garden - needing excessive attention, feeding and water - constantly. Not that I haven't had bumper crops in the past, but they don't forgive if you don't water one single day in our hot climate and I'm tired of that white stuff which kills the leaves and eventually the plant. I garden organically and have very few pest problems.

Tomatoes seem to do better if I plant them in the fall or the first week of February - right now I have only the one which so far seems to be fat and happy - producing lovely tomatoes. I plan on only two or three plants this year, Mr. R. loves tomatoes and it's enough to cook up a few batches of homemade tomato sauce or make pesto and salsa a few times.

Anyway, what I actually wanted to share is

1. A great nursery in California that I've had wonderful results - experience with - they shipped a few plants to Florida and all of them arrived in great condition and are thriving extremely well.
I like their plant info - they also show the plant zones.
https://www.anniesannuals.com/

For seeds:
2.  I've been happy with SmartSeedsEmporium on Etsy.com - good info and they always throw in a few extra seed packets. Highly recommended and fwiw I also ordered one rare plant which is doing well.
They also have their own website - although their offerings slightly vary from their Etsy store.
https://www.smartseedsemporium.com/

3. I also discovered that there is an Echo Global Farm in Florida which has their own seed bank and nursery which I plan to visit. They seem to be involved with some sort of global hunger - global small farming - ministry?. You can order seeds, books, and supplies online.
It's one of the few places I've found that has seeds suitable for Southwest Florida (which can be persnickety) among other things, they also have seeds for perennial vegetables and heirloom seeds that should be fun to try in my new permaculture area - I hope:).

https://www.echobooks.net/bookstore/seeds/ - they have a separate seed section as well
and
retail@echonet.org

We'll see what ideas I come home with after visiting our local native plant nursery (Wilcox) in Clearwater, Fl and our local University USF gardens/nursery this coming week.
I've taken some time off from gardening over the holidays - thank goodness the weather has cooperated and we were cool and a bit rainy and overcast.
But I really need to stick with the program if I want to be done by spring, so we can sit back and relax and enjoy the great weather and the beautiful garden from March to June.
One can dream - right?:)

But I must say, it is super exciting to design a new garden for a new decade:).
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: YttriumNitrate on December 30, 2019, 08:04:30 AM
In 2020, I'll be adding 200 pawpaw trees to my yard. My order at the Indiana State Nursery went through last week (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestryexchange/default.aspx). At 30 cents a tree, it's one of the best deals around. Of course, the trees aren't very big (pencil diameter) so mortality rates above 50% are common.

We've done forest service trees 2 years now. We planted about 200 the first year in the Spring and 100 this past Autumn. I ended up springing for flags and little rabbit guard tubes on the second run. We originally put 1 flag on the first batch, but they easily became difficult to see, and some trees lacked flags, or the flags got pushed down too low/flew away.

All new trees got a rabbit tube and two flags. All old trees that we could find got two flags. Our biggest losses in the first year were to lawn mowers and machinery from building our house. No one (including myself) could see the little trees as the grass started growing. The rabbit tubes help immensely to help spot the trees, and now I make a habit of mowing around the rows of trees to make them easier to see. It increased the cost per tree, but don't underestimate your labor! Planting 200 trees is hard work, and you may get discouraged if you don't set them up for success. I ordered by flags and tubes from the forest service, so they were not very expensive.

Thanks to pawpaw bark and leaves containing neurotoxins (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asimina_triloba#Phytochemicals) I haven't had issues with various critters eating them. While pests aren't a problem, they are quite difficult to get established (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwjywcquz93mAhWVLc0KHTG2DsUQFjAAegQIAhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fag.purdue.edu%2Fhla%2Fpubs%2FHO%2FHO-220.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0MouA-8bsTc8BX-YFaZmg4) often suffering from shock, not enough water, and too much sun. Adding in the fact that I'll be grafting them over to named varieties also ramps up the stress and mortality rate on the trees.

I've used fluorescent marking tape in the past to make it easier to spot the trees, but these days I go one step further and put a 6-8" deep ring of wood chips around them to cut down on the weeds and help with water retention.

EDIT: A few years ago, I also got an order of persimmon trees from the state nursery. Those have had survival rates above 90% similar to what you've seen from other forest service trees.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: DaMa on December 30, 2019, 08:21:12 AM
I'm really hoping to garden this year.  I'm in 6b.  Winter is just starting here.

I just moved to a condo which doesn't allow any vegetable gardening.  My long term plan is to get on the board and change the rules.  My short term plan is 3 fold. 

1.  Container gardening on the deck - which I've never done. 

2.  Stealth gardening.  There is a long flower bed along the deck, but it faces east.  I'm going to see what herbs and ornamental things I can grow in there.  The front of the condo faces south and is perfect for beds.  Right now there are huge old ugly bushes that I intend to replace with more stealth gardening.

3.  I have a girlfriend with a big empty backyard that lives a mile away.  She has invited me to garden as much as I want there.  I'm not sure that will really work for me, because I'm a lazy gardener.  I get really into in the spring, but once the summer gets hot, I like to just walk out the door, pick what I want, and return to A/C.  Any work is done early AM and girlfriend is NOT a morning person.  I do really want to grow garlic, so maybe I'll make it goal to get a garlic bed in next fall in her yard.  I absolutely love scapes and grocery store garlic just skeeves me out now.

Jon_Snow, your kale oasis is awe inspiring. Reminded me of marksvegplot.blogspot.com - he grows year round in England.  He's my favorite garden blogger.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020 (US)
Post by: Eowynd on December 30, 2019, 09:52:53 AM
A couple of months ago, my 2 year old apricot tree was taken out by a deer.  I have to decide if I want to buy another apricot tree or put something else in that spot.

I ordered an new apricot tree in addition to a peach tree and a Whitney Crabapple tree.  The Whitney is supposed to be a sweet crabapple so I'm excited to taste those in a few years.  If they turn out more astringent than advertised then the tree will still be useful as a pollinator for our regular apple varieties.


I'm especially interested in perennials that produce something edible or useful.

Consider planting a few blackberry plants for an easy perennial that produces something edible.  Blackberries grow vigorously in full sun and taste so much better than the store bought ones.  I would recommend the thornless variety: Triple Crown.  Other berry plants are delicious too but blackberries have been the most trouble free of everything that I have tried.  I am in gardening zone 6a.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: lettuceevangelist on January 01, 2020, 08:32:07 AM
We're getting ready for 2020 around here, for sure. We're on the cusp of 7b/8a (just outside Atlanta), so I still have a lot of greens--turnips, mustards, kale, and arugula. They'll overwinter unless we have sustained temps in the teens.
I may spend some time today taking our seed inventory--we order from Baker Creek and Southern Exposure, and have a tendency to order more than we need out of excitement. I also save seed from tomatoes, peppers, and beans. So we need to get organized, and try not to go too far off the rails! New seeds are just so much fun, though.
We have 12 4' x 8' raised beds that my spouse constructed from corrugated metal and cedar. Two of them are not in rotation--one is an herb bed, and the other has asparagus (that we'll finally get to eat this spring!). We also have raspberry canes at the back of the garden, and something interesting always emerges from the compost bin, usually squash or pumpkins.
Our specific goals for 2020:
--convert the front yard into an edible/native plan garden. I'm especially interested in growing leafy greens out there in the summer. We have a very large oak, so the front yard gets dappled shade.
--create a composting system that works efficiently. We have a couple of garbage cans with holes punched in them. It works on a subsistence level, but I know we can do better than that.
--produce a tomato crop that isn't 50% lost to &%$#@-ing squirrels and raccoons.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 01, 2020, 01:46:25 PM
Yesterday I went through the seed drying rack and harvested the seed from the various pods that I had collected in the fall. I store my seeds in used paper envelopes in a big plastic bin.  I am not sure what type of cucumber or squash I saved.  I vowed that I would not set something aside to dry without a label ever again but oops, again.

I will now have to purchase cucumber seed so that I actually get all the types I want.  Squash - I still have a couple of them in the cold cellar which I will collect from before cooking them.  And I will label them for sure!

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: OmahaSteph on January 02, 2020, 11:29:28 AM
For the past few years, I've gone all-out on home gardening, but life has gotten so busy with two active kids. Then when it comes time to harvest everything, there's no time to process it. I'm wondering if it's worth it at this point, or if I can somehow adjust to make things more efficient and demands less time.

Perhaps growing easier, less demanding crops is the answer? Only growing high-value produce that I know we'll use? I failed to get garlic in the ground this fall, but that's one of the easiest things I've ever grown, and we mow through a ton of it. What else is super easy? (I never do "easy" so I don't even know.)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: haypug16 on January 02, 2020, 12:56:21 PM
I confirmed with Mr Pug that we will get ourselves a peach tree this year. Normally we order seeds from Fedco, I've never ordered a tree before and in my quick research I see that I should plant a peach tree in the dead of winter if it is not in a container of soil. Anyone know of a place that ships in containers? I think we will need a little time to get the yard ready for the tree so probably wont get it in the ground during the winter.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: YttriumNitrate on January 02, 2020, 01:24:57 PM
I confirmed with Mr Pug that we will get ourselves a peach tree this year. Normally we order seeds from Fedco, I've never ordered a tree before and in my quick research I see that I should plant a peach tree in the dead of winter if it is not in a container of soil. Anyone know of a place that ships in containers? I think we will need a little time to get the yard ready for the tree so probably wont get it in the ground during the winter.

My understanding is that bare root peach trees should be planted in the early spring, or at least the ones I've planted were always in the spring. I've had good success with bare root peaches, so I wouldn't bother going potted. If you can put together a larger order (at least 5 trees, 25 preferably), Adams County Nursery has amazingly good stuff (https://www.acnursery.com/).
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 02, 2020, 04:50:36 PM
I confirmed with Mr Pug that we will get ourselves a peach tree this year. Normally we order seeds from Fedco, I've never ordered a tree before and in my quick research I see that I should plant a peach tree in the dead of winter if it is not in a container of soil. Anyone know of a place that ships in containers? I think we will need a little time to get the yard ready for the tree so probably wont get it in the ground during the winter.

My understanding is that bare root peach trees should be planted in the early spring, or at least the ones I've planted were always in the spring. I've had good success with bare root peaches, so I wouldn't bother going potted. If you can put together a larger order (at least 5 trees, 25 preferably), Adams County Nursery has amazingly good stuff (https://www.acnursery.com/).

My understanding is that you plant bare root anything as soon as you get it.  It comes from a cooler and is dormant when the grower ships it and you get it into the ground ASAP. It comes out of dormancy planted.   If you can't get around to planting the day it is delivered, you can hold it in dormancy in a cool dark garage with damp mulch over the roots.  I have kept some plum trees "healed in" in the garage for a week by throwing ice in the garbage can with some mulch over the roots so that the roots still felt like it was winter.  Usually they don't ship stock until you can get it planted. 

My experience with bare root stock is that it grows really well if planted quickly and correctly. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on January 02, 2020, 06:18:25 PM
For the past few years, I've gone all-out on home gardening, but life has gotten so busy with two active kids. Then when it comes time to harvest everything, there's no time to process it. I'm wondering if it's worth it at this point, or if I can somehow adjust to make things more efficient and demands less time.

Perhaps growing easier, less demanding crops is the answer? Only growing high-value produce that I know we'll use? I failed to get garlic in the ground this fall, but that's one of the easiest things I've ever grown, and we mow through a ton of it. What else is super easy? (I never do "easy" so I don't even know.)

Winter squash and root vegetables might work for you.  I love spaghetti squash because I can just pick them and chuck them in a pile in the basement until we're ready to eat them.  No peeling, canning etc.  Beets, carrots and potatoes are a close second since they can be stored whole.  However, they do need a little more prep than squash, and require cold storage if you want them to last a long time.  You might think about how to stretch the season as well, so you don't have a glut of stuff needing to be processed in late summer (ahem, tomatoes).  For instance, I'm going to try to grow a bunch of cauliflower this year and rice it and freeze it by early summer.  Cabbage can be pretty forgiving too, in that you can pick it whenever it forms a head, or leave it to grow until you need it. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: haypug16 on January 03, 2020, 04:45:09 AM
Thanks YttriumNitrate and Frugal Lizard for your tips.

I wish I had the space for 5-25 fruit trees maybe some day.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Eowynd on January 03, 2020, 11:19:40 AM
Perhaps growing easier, less demanding crops is the answer? Only growing high-value produce that I know we'll use? I failed to get garlic in the ground this fall, but that's one of the easiest things I've ever grown, and we mow through a ton of it. What else is super easy? (I never do "easy" so I don't even know.)

Garlic is the most easy and high value crop that I've grown!  Radishes are super easy but I don't eat them so there is no point in me growing them.  Sunflowers are gorgeous and totally worth growing IMO but they are not a high value food crop.  Cherry tomatoes are pretty easy too.  Perhaps if you focus on just a couple of plants that you know you and your kids like to eat then it will be easier to get the most out of your garden.

Growing things in potting soil is super easy if you have some large containers and a sunny spot right outside the back door.  It's easier to remember to care for the plants when they are close to the house and you don't have to wrestle with preparing garden beds.  I grew carrots in large containers last year and that was surprisingly easy and the carrots were delicious.  I also grew potatoes this way but the yields were less than stellar.  Definitely look for early varieties of potatoes like "Red Norland" if you want to try this route.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 05, 2020, 04:30:32 AM
For the past few years, I've gone all-out on home gardening, but life has gotten so busy with two active kids. Then when it comes time to harvest everything, there's no time to process it. I'm wondering if it's worth it at this point, or if I can somehow adjust to make things more efficient and demands less time.

Perhaps growing easier, less demanding crops is the answer? Only growing high-value produce that I know we'll use? I failed to get garlic in the ground this fall, but that's one of the easiest things I've ever grown, and we mow through a ton of it. What else is super easy? (I never do "easy" so I don't even know.)

That sounds like a good approach @OmahaSteph -- grow easy, high value things you like.  Great ideas by @horsepoor and @Eowynd below.  I'll add that "value" can be not just what those items cost in the grocery store, but enjoyment as well.  In a busy year, you could also consider the enjoyment factor.  How old are the kids?  Do they help in the garden?

+1 on potatoes.  They are super easy fun to grow.  I think they're often overlooked because they're so cheap in the store.  But -- similar to tomatoes -- homegrown potatoes really do taste better than store-bought ones.  The harvest is a treasure hunt.  "Processing" is very minimal -- just let them sit (with the dirt still on them -- don't wash them) in a dark, dry, room-temperature place for a couple weeks.  Then they go into a box in your basement where they sleep until you pull some out for dinner. 

You can also focus on growing fewer things and just eating them fresh right off the plants.  Think of it as your 'salad' garden?
'Sungold' cherry tomatoes are a great option -- they are mega-delicious and very heavy producers.  They grow well in pots.  Two plants last year provided us with more cherry tomatoes than we could eat -- we were constantly giving them away.   Cucumbers are also easy, and can be grown in pots.  If your family likes fresh green beans, those are also super easy and delish.  Except that rabbits and deer think so too, haha.  But if you have some protection against those guys (or don't have them around) -- beans could work.     
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 05, 2020, 08:13:02 AM
I save seeds year over year to build up the local terroir flavor in the veg, but yesterday decided to add in a little more diversity to the veg this year. I purchased disease resistant seeds from Baker Creek rareseeds.com. Summer squash usually only produces 4-5 veg and then the plant develops mold or a vine borer gets to it. I've tried all sorts of baking soda sprays to reduce the leaf mold and powdery mildew, foil around the plant stalk, switching up plant location to different raised bed but the squash and cucumbers invariably die prematurely. So this year I'm going to see if I can improve my odds with new varieties that are both early producers and disease resistant.

All of the discussion about paw paw trees has inspired me to locate another co-pollinator for my one tree. I had another tree but it died when a neighbors tree came down in my yard and I never replaced it. I don't usually buy saplings because I feel as if I want to enjoy the tree asap and I know they are slow growers.

If anyone has considered growing kiwi vine, I highly recommend it. My male and female vines are about 4 years old and last summer I got the most delicious crop of kiwis. They were a little bigger than grapes but quite sweet and not a lot of work to eat.

I've also been researching rebar and heavy duty fencing because I'd like to build an  8' high archway that I could grow pole green beans on. If anyone has any suggestions, pls share.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 05, 2020, 08:44:05 AM
I have one arctic kiwi - the other one never made it.  I have been wondering why I don't get any fruit - now I know!

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MishMash on January 05, 2020, 09:02:43 AM
we just moved into our fl house in June and had to get a fence and lanai installed.  Just ordered raised beds for the side of the house and a few banana trees.  Really trying to figure out what to do in the backyard.  We have a nice lake view that I don't want to interrupt. Going to install a multi grafted citrus in the spring
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 05, 2020, 09:33:51 AM
If anyone has considered growing kiwi vine, I highly recommend it. My male and female vines are about 4 years old and last summer I got the most delicious crop of kiwis. They were a little bigger than grapes but quite sweet and not a lot of work to eat.

Interesting @Indio!  I've thought about those.  Our local nursery says they need very sturdy support, because of the weight of the vines and fruit.  I haven't quite figured out yet where I could put them!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 05, 2020, 10:16:45 AM
We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house.  We had started the kale in late October, then transplanted in late November-ish.  Really should start keeping a garden diary! The kale was delicious and it looks like our older plants from late spring are rebounding, too. I wasn't sure how long they produce, or whether we should pull them out at some point? But definitely not now, with some good leaves emerging.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 05, 2020, 10:23:24 AM
@MishMash sounds as if you might be in HI with the mention of a lanai. Whenever I go to the farmers markets there, I love the abundance of veg, especially avocadoes that can be grown in that zone. If you like papaya, they don't take a lot of space to grow.

@Trifele I planted the kiwi vine next to a shed that's 18x 8'. The two plants have almost completely covered it and I've encouraged them to grow up over the top by tying the vine down. That shed has southern exposure and used to be brutally hot inside in summer and now it's quite comfortable to go in with all of the shade on it.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: DaMa on January 05, 2020, 10:50:36 AM

*snip 

You can also focus on growing fewer things and just eating them fresh right off the plants.  Think of it as your 'salad' garden?
'Sungold' cherry tomatoes are a great option -- they are mega-delicious and very heavy producers.  They grow well in pots.  Two plants last year provided us with more cherry tomatoes than we could eat -- we were constantly giving them away.     

*snip


Hi, Trifele!  What size pots did you use?  Any advice on watering, fertilizing, staking?  I love cherry and grape tomatoes, and my plan was to try them first on the deck.  Greatly appreciate any advice.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on January 05, 2020, 11:58:48 AM
As we are now in the new year my mind is increasingly occupied with garden thoughts. Very soon I will get out my grow lights and get some onions starts going. Spinach and lettuce as well, to supplement those I will direct seed...which sometimes suffer some nibbling by insect pests when they are tender seedlings. One of the key things I have learned in these first 5 years as a vegetable gardener is to always have a good supply of starts on hand to provide ďback upĒ for crops that have been directly seeded...because Iíve found that between robins pulling out small seedling by the roots looking for worms and wood bugs (aka wood lice, roly polys) deciding to have a snack....s*it happens.

General garden plans for this year:

-remove cluster of hazelnut trees which are throwing too much shade (cost one corner of garden an hour of sunlight). Also, I suspect the hazelnut shells might have a negative effect on the soil of the beds directly beneath.
-expand one in-ground bed, build one more 8x4 cedar raised bed
-avoid planting ďexperimentalĒ crops/STICK WITH WHAT WORKS
-build self contained potato enclosure to compliment potato grow bags
-find high quality garden soil source and import 5 yards or so
-plant LESS tomatoes (Iím still tying to use up frozen tomatoes from 2 years ago)
-plant LESS cucumbers
-more spacing out of plantings, both in terms of physical proximity....and planting times. Regarding the latter...I tend to get caught up in the exuberance of planting time and max out my garden space too early. As result, so many things are ready to harvest all at once. Iím also thinking of entering some of my crops in a local Harvest Fair in the Fall...so I NEED to force myself to plant later in the season so that I have things ready for the produce competition in September.
-expand our mason bee colony and be more purposeful in attracting pollinators in general.
-cut back blackberry thicket which is steadily encroaching on my garden footprint. And do this soon before it comes out of itís winter dormancy.
-build small greenhouse, mostly to give my peppers a better head start.
-consider using seaweed as a top mulch throughout the growing season.

There is more...but this is a good start I think. ;)


We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house.

Kale is the gift that keeps on giving! All Winter long!

This monster shows no signs of slowing down. For context, my DW is 5í7Ē

We are harvesting from the shorter plant on the left because we canít bring ourselves to diminish to the majesty of the tall one. ;) What we are really enjoying lately I s putting kale in some hearty soups as its a great way to add great flavour, substance and nutrition. It really maintains itís structure nicely in a soup.


Itís still a bit of a wait until March 1st when my spinach and peas get planted...and then March 15th for my first lettuce....but....

SPRING IS COMING



Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MishMash on January 05, 2020, 04:39:27 PM
@MishMash sounds as if you might be in HI with the mention of a lanai. Whenever I go to the farmers markets there, I love the abundance of veg, especially avocadoes that can be grown in that zone. If you like papaya, they don't take a lot of space to grow.

@Trifele I planted the kiwi vine next to a shed that's 18x 8'. The two plants have almost completely covered it and I've encouraged them to grow up over the top by tying the vine down. That shed has southern exposure and used to be brutally hot inside in summer and now it's quite comfortable to go in with all of the shade on it.

Tampa FL, just moved here about six months ago.  But I have basil and tomatoes growing in the lanai, in January, and they are going nuts.  I've lived in cold climates my whole life so to me this is just wonderful.  There will be a couple nights it gets into the 40s this week so I just throw an old blanket over them and then remove it in the morning.  Our daytime highs are 70s.  I actually just ordered a dwarf papaya tree last week along with the ice cream banana and passionfruit vines.

Edit, and we dropped some fish off to a friends elderly parents today (he lives out of state so we check in on them) and his mother sent me home with all sorts of plants, galangal, turmeric, keffir leaves, a lemon tree, a papaya and some sort of what she called Thai oregano.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on January 05, 2020, 08:20:45 PM
Have you guys done a cost breakdown for your garden produce? Things like tomatoes are not worth it for me to grow when I can buy them for $1 a kilo in season. I just buy tons and process them into preserves then. On the other hand, basil for pesto is totally worth me growing. I'm saving a lot of money over buying basil, or pesto for that matter. Berries, also worth it.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 06, 2020, 03:08:29 AM
*snip 
You can also focus on growing fewer things and just eating them fresh right off the plants.  Think of it as your 'salad' garden?
'Sungold' cherry tomatoes are a great option -- they are mega-delicious and very heavy producers.  They grow well in pots.  Two plants last year provided us with more cherry tomatoes than we could eat -- we were constantly giving them away.     
*snip

Hi, Trifele!  What size pots did you use?  Any advice on watering, fertilizing, staking?  I love cherry and grape tomatoes, and my plan was to try them first on the deck.  Greatly appreciate any advice.

Hi @DaMa  -- they weren't anything special, just some big plastic pots someone gave me.  They were about 20 inches across and 24 inches deep or so.  I used a mixture of garden soil and potting soil, and I otherwise treated them just like tomatoes in the ground.  I fed them some compost mixed into the soil, and mulched the top of the pot with about 4" of leaves (to keep the moisture in and the heat down).

Since tomatoes like humidity, high sun, and moderate heat, I think the big challenge growing in pots is to not let them get too hot or dry.  So site selection is important.  A deck could be a great place.  But if it gets above 90 degrees there on more than a few days,  I'd probably choose somewhere else.  For staking, my plants got too big for cages, so I put three 6' metal garden stakes into the ground in a triangle around the pot, then strung twine in an ascending 'triangle spiral' around the pot.  On a deck -- hmm.  Not sure how I would stake them.  You could try a cage.  Might work, especially if you had a way to affix the cage to something solid, like the deck railing.  Otherwise the plant might get so big or heavy it will topple the cage.  Maybe put a pole of some kind into the pot before you put the dirt in, and then tie the plant to the pole as it grows?  That might be sturdy enough. 

Good luck!  Sounds fun.  I'm just remembering I stayed at a small hotel one time that had tomatoes in pots all over their patio and it was lovely to sit out there with them. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MoMoneyFewerProblems on January 06, 2020, 07:26:29 AM
Ordered seeds last night! I will be mostly growing my vegetables and flowers in containers this year, though I am planning to build a few raised beds for corn and pole beans. I'm looking forward to feeding my dog a mix of store-bought food and extra vegetables, should cut down on costs a fair amount for a few months. I was wondering if anyone has advice for using re-purposed deck boards for building raised planters, especially how best to prep the underside of said boards, as they haven't been stained. I was also wondering if anyone could suggest fruits or vegetables to grow on my front porch, it is west facing and doesn't get much direct sunlight. I typically have flowers in hangers that do quite well, but I'd like to have some edible plants out there too.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: YttriumNitrate on January 06, 2020, 07:32:41 AM
Have you guys done a cost breakdown for your garden produce? Things like tomatoes are not worth it for me to grow when I can buy them for $1 a kilo in season. I just buy tons and process them into preserves then. On the other hand, basil for pesto is totally worth me growing. I'm saving a lot of money over buying basil, or pesto for that matter. Berries, also worth it.

I usually get to the point where I make a rough estimate of how much time I spent on growing stuff, realize that number multiplied by minimum wage is going to be quite large, and stop the analysis right there.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 06, 2020, 08:22:27 AM
Since I spent all my free time in my garden -often without really needing to spend that much time - and I can't possibly put a price on the sweetest taste of a freshly picked tomato or peas, or a handful of sun-warmed strawberries, I don't bother with any calculations.  Too many in-quantifiable elements.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Eowynd on January 06, 2020, 10:57:07 AM
Since I spent all my free time in my garden -often without really needing to spend that much time - and I can't possibly put a price on the sweetest taste of a freshly picked tomato or peas, or a handful of sun-warmed strawberries, I don't bother with any calculations.  Too many in-quantifiable elements.

I agree with this point of view.  Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies and it doesn't cost nearly as much as some other activities that I've tried.  The fact that I can grow food which tastes better than anything in the grocery stores is just an awesome bonus!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 06, 2020, 12:35:06 PM
Since I spent all my free time in my garden -often without really needing to spend that much time - and I can't possibly put a price on the sweetest taste of a freshly picked tomato or peas, or a handful of sun-warmed strawberries, I don't bother with any calculations.  Too many in-quantifiable elements.

I agree with this point of view.  Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies and it doesn't cost nearly as much as some other activities that I've tried.  The fact that I can grow food which tastes better than anything in the grocery stores is just an awesome bonus!

Yep.  My husband has for years complained about the tomatoes we find in even the very best of our produce markets, so growing tomatoes is about being able to make dishes where they feature even somewhat prominently. It hasn't yet become a real hobby for me, but I do hope to grow into it and am also getting so picky about the horrible produce I find when I shop that I'm also getting more motivated to do so!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 07, 2020, 04:05:30 AM
@Jon_Snow, you naughty man, teasing us with more pictures of your garden paradise. :) That kale plant is incredible!  How old is it?  Good luck with the blackberries.  Man, that can be some thorny work.

 
@Trifele I planted the kiwi vine next to a shed that's 18x 8'. The two plants have almost completely covered it and I've encouraged them to grow up over the top by tying the vine down. That shed has southern exposure and used to be brutally hot inside in summer and now it's quite comfortable to go in with all of the shade on it.

hahaha!  This is awesome.  How do you harvest the fruit?  Get a ladder and climb onto the roof with a bucket?  You're the second person I've heard do something like this -- the kiwis must really like it.  I wish I could do it -- but our shed has a likely future as a tiny house (construction plans in the future), so I'd best not plant such big, long-lived things up and over it.   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: OmahaSteph on January 08, 2020, 12:02:00 PM
Thank you for the suggestions, everyone!

Unfortunately, none of us really like root veg, and we tried potatoes in a trash can one year and it was an epic fail. We have clay soil, so everything else is in a raised bed (we have four). I think I'm just tomatoed out. DH makes amazing homemade sauce with them, but he insists on deskinning and hand-milling and if I don't initiate, it doesn't get done. We got more tomatoes out of our volunteers than the ones I was growing on purpose, lol. Yes, cherry tomatoes out the wazoo. I think I will not grow my own from seed this year, and instead buy starts from someone local. Cheaper in the long run and I just don't have the space to start indoors anymore. No more fancy heirlooms that require hand pollination with an electric toothbrush!

I was really pleased with our herbs this year, so I'll repeat that. I put them in containers and then sunk them into the ground. Hoping some of them survive the winter. Like I said, DH likes to cook and the home-grown herbs I dehydrate or freeze are SO stinking good.

I love the idea of turning our entire yard into an edible garden, but I have to be practical. My kids are amazing helpers and that's the only way I've been able to get as much accomplished as I have. DH ... well, he's not much for manual labor. Our deal is that I grow it, and he cooks it. :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: NinetyFour on January 08, 2020, 07:14:28 PM
Garden plans for this year:

-cut back blackberry thicket


ACK!!!!!  :(
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 09, 2020, 03:30:57 AM
We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house. 

I agree @sui generis!  Kale is also one of our staples.  I grow it every year, pretty much year-round now.  Love it.  My go-to variety is Red Russian.  It has flat leaves, quite different than the curly lacinato type.  But both are delish!

It's also pretty easy to save seed and keep the kale love going indefinitely.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Raenia on January 09, 2020, 06:12:10 AM
My work had a healthy-workforce initiative yesterday that for some reason included planting tiny pots with herb seeds.  So I now have a mini pot (seriously, it's probably 2-in diameter, it's minuscule) of cilantro/coriander seeds sitting in my kitchen window.  Hopefully they germinate!

My garden now consists of two pots of strawberries and a mini cilantro.  I'm a bit concerned that some of the strawberries won't survive the winter, though, they look very unhappy in my kitchen.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 09, 2020, 07:12:10 AM
I'm a big fan of the russian kale variety too. It makes delicious kale chips and is easy to coat with olive oil and parmesan.

Occasionally, it has gotten an aphid like pest on it so I rotate it around the garden and cover it with mosquito netting to trick the insects. Brassicas will stunt tomatoes, my favorite veg, so they can't be planted in the same spot the following year or near an existing plant. If I compost a big batch of chicken manure and mix it into the soil, in the same raised bed the kale was growing in the previous season, the tomatoes will thrive. Since I don't like hauling compost around the garden, my preference is to compost in the raised bed by digging a trench, putting food scraps lightly covered with leaves and burying it all by turning over soil shortly before planting season.

I cleaned out the chicken coop yesterday and have two bins of chicken manure that's ready to improve garden soil. Also, took out the bin of shredded paper (mail envelopes with the plastic window removed) to the cold compost pile. I'm already thinking about soil enrichment for this year.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 09, 2020, 07:18:57 AM
If I compost a big batch of chicken manure and mix it into the soil, in the same raised bed the kale was growing in the previous season, the tomatoes will thrive. Since I don't like hauling compost around the garden, my preference is to compost in the raised bed by digging a trench, putting food scraps lightly covered with leaves and burying it all by turning over soil shortly before planting season.

I cleaned out the chicken coop yesterday and have two bins of chicken manure that's ready to improve garden soil. Also, took out the bin of shredded paper (mail envelopes with the plastic window removed) to the cold compost pile. I'm already thinking about soil enrichment for this year.

I'm doing this too right now!  I have a 'three pile' rotation for the chicken manure -- fresh, medium, and old/ready to go into the garden.  I just put a big batch of the old stuff into one of my raised beds and covered it with leaves.  In the spring I'll add compost and fork it all together gently shortly before planting. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 09, 2020, 10:17:08 AM
We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house. 

I agree @sui generis!  Kale is also one of our staples.  I grow it every year, pretty much year-round now.  Love it.  My go-to variety is Red Russian.  It has flat leaves, quite different than the curly lacinato type.  But both are delish!

It's also pretty easy to save seed and keep the kale love going indefinitely.

I was wondering about that - well, not seeds exactly, but the longevity question.  Should I just leave my kale plants going as long as they are giving me leaves?  Am I supposed to pull the whole plant at some point?  I've learned a lot from the book I am reading, but it makes some references to pulling up entire plants (in talking about rotation and preparing soil for new planting) but then doesn't ever really give guidance about this topic.  Even in the chapter where it has a couple pages on each crop, it doesn't include "end-of-life care", just how to start them, grow them and then harvest them.  Apparently, for kale, some people do harvest the entire plant (?) but I just pick a few leaves at a time.

Any guidance on when/how to pull plants generally (and kale specifically) is welcome!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 09, 2020, 11:12:00 AM
We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house. 

I agree @sui generis!  Kale is also one of our staples.  I grow it every year, pretty much year-round now.  Love it.  My go-to variety is Red Russian.  It has flat leaves, quite different than the curly lacinato type.  But both are delish!

It's also pretty easy to save seed and keep the kale love going indefinitely.

I was wondering about that - well, not seeds exactly, but the longevity question.  Should I just leave my kale plants going as long as they are giving me leaves?  Am I supposed to pull the whole plant at some point?  I've learned a lot from the book I am reading, but it makes some references to pulling up entire plants (in talking about rotation and preparing soil for new planting) but then doesn't ever really give guidance about this topic.  Even in the chapter where it has a couple pages on each crop, it doesn't include "end-of-life care", just how to start them, grow them and then harvest them.  Apparently, for kale, some people do harvest the entire plant (?) but I just pick a few leaves at a time.

Any guidance on when/how to pull plants generally (and kale specifically) is welcome!

Yes same here -- I usually just take a few leaves at a time.  The only time I usually pull a whole plant out to eat is in the spring, when I'm doing a thinning.  (Sometimes I plant more than I need to, close together.  Then you pick the best plants to keep growing, and harvest all the rest in between, eat them young and tender). 

I keep the plants going until they either aren't giving good tasty leaves any more for some reason, or they go to seed.   The leaves change some in taste as the plant ages, so YMMV on what you consider 'tasty enough.'  Some people don't like the more bitter taste of older leaves.  Kale usually goes to seed in year two in places I've lived.   Do you know what variety of kale you have planted?  If it's a hybrid (labeled as "F1" in seed catalogs), then genetically they don't breed true and most people don't bother to save the seed, if it makes any.  But an open pollinated variety breeds true and you'll get good seed.  If you didn't grow your current plants from seed but you know their name, you can look up the variety online to see if it's a hybrid.  You'll know kale is going to seed when it sends up a huge stalk, and then flowers and makes these skinny little seed pods, and then starts to wither and dry up.  When the plant is all the way done, for whatever reason, I just pull the whole thing out of the ground and put it in one of the compost bins, after thanking it for its service. 

I think kale's natural lifespan is variable, depending on the variety and the climate.  In warmer places -- maybe in California? -- kale can live longer than two years.  @Jon Snow is north of you, but I bet his climate is a lot closer to yours than mine is.  Maybe he can chime in on this.   I remember we were staying at an AirBnB once in Hawaii, and the owner had a ~8 year old big kale plant in the garden -- it was huge, like Jon Snow's -- and she said we were welcome to eat all the leaves we wanted.   I guess it just kept going year after year, and never went to seed. (?)

 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on January 09, 2020, 12:03:15 PM
We had sauteed kale last night for dinner, fresh from the garden moments before. Kale is super high-value in our house. 

I agree @sui generis!  Kale is also one of our staples.  I grow it every year, pretty much year-round now.  Love it.  My go-to variety is Red Russian.  It has flat leaves, quite different than the curly lacinato type.  But both are delish!

It's also pretty easy to save seed and keep the kale love going indefinitely.

I was wondering about that - well, not seeds exactly, but the longevity question.  Should I just leave my kale plants going as long as they are giving me leaves?  Am I supposed to pull the whole plant at some point?  I've learned a lot from the book I am reading, but it makes some references to pulling up entire plants (in talking about rotation and preparing soil for new planting) but then doesn't ever really give guidance about this topic.  Even in the chapter where it has a couple pages on each crop, it doesn't include "end-of-life care", just how to start them, grow them and then harvest them.  Apparently, for kale, some people do harvest the entire plant (?) but I just pick a few leaves at a time.

Any guidance on when/how to pull plants generally (and kale specifically) is welcome!

Yes same here -- I usually just take a few leaves at a time.  The only time I usually pull a whole plant out to eat is in the spring, when I'm doing a thinning.  (Sometimes I plant more than I need to, close together.  Then you pick the best plants to keep growing, and harvest all the rest in between, eat them young and tender). 

I keep the plants going until they either aren't giving good tasty leaves any more for some reason, or they go to seed.   The leaves change some in taste as the plant ages, so YMMV on what you consider 'tasty enough.'  Some people don't like the more bitter taste of older leaves.  Kale usually goes to seed in year two in places I've lived.   Do you know what variety of kale you have planted?  If it's a hybrid (labeled as "F1" in seed catalogs), then genetically they don't breed true and most people don't bother to save the seed, if it makes any.  But an open pollinated variety breeds true and you'll get good seed.  If you didn't grow your current plants from seed but you know their name, you can look up the variety online to see if it's a hybrid.  You'll know kale is going to seed when it sends up a huge stalk, and then flowers and makes these skinny little seed pods, and then starts to wither and dry up.  When the plant is all the way done, for whatever reason, I just pull the whole thing out of the ground and put it in one of the compost bins, after thanking it for its service. 

I think kale's natural lifespan is variable, depending on the variety and the climate.  In warmer places -- maybe in California? -- kale can live longer than two years.  @Jon Snow is north of you, but I bet his climate is a lot closer to yours than mine is.  Maybe he can chime in on this.   I remember we were staying at an AirBnB once in Hawaii, and the owner had a ~8 year old big kale plant in the garden -- it was huge, like Jon Snow's -- and she said we were welcome to eat all the leaves we wanted.   I guess it just kept going year after year, and never went to seed. (?)

 

My neighbour has silverbeet, cabbage and kale plants that have been alive for YEARS. The stalk is basically a trunk and several inches in diameter. She picks leaves off and lets the damn triffid things go to seed every year. The plant doesn't die after seeding.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on January 09, 2020, 12:36:45 PM
Zone 9b checking in! Goals for this year are to find and plant:
- longevity spinach
- seminole pumpkin
- blue spur flower / plectranthus barbatus (natural toilet paper!)

The first two are supposed to be good perennial ground cover edibles for dappled shade where sweet potatoes are not growing well for me currently. Haven't been able to find them yet, and I'll need to make an effort to do so.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 09, 2020, 12:54:06 PM
My neighbour has silverbeet, cabbage and kale plants that have been alive for YEARS. The stalk is basically a trunk and several inches in diameter. She picks leaves off and lets the damn triffid things go to seed every year. The plant doesn't die after seeding.

Whoa!  Interesting and cool!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 09, 2020, 03:02:37 PM
Wow, great info and very interesting.

Thanks, @Trifele!  (ETA: I just looked at our seed packet for the kale and it is "premier blend"! LOL)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on January 09, 2020, 03:11:32 PM
Zone 9b checking in! Goals for this year are to find and plant:
- longevity spinach
- seminole pumpkin
- blue spur flower / plectranthus barbatus (natural toilet paper!)

The first two are supposed to be good perennial ground cover edibles for dappled shade where sweet potatoes are not growing well for me currently. Haven't been able to find them yet, and I'll need to make an effort to do so.

@Roots&Wings
I know:) where to get several different types of perennial spinach and Seminole pumpkin seeds -
https://www.echobooks.net/bookstore/seeds/

This will be my first year trying a few perennial veggies, my very own first ever permaculture experiment. I'm planting a new area in my garden and since I just planted two apple trees (they are Australian-Pink Lady) and supposed to be able to survive our hot summers - and they have, while living in pots, but now that we've planted them I want to do what I can so they'll stay happy and healthy.
I've been researching apple tree guilds for a hot and humid climate - therefore the interest in Seminole pumpkins. It's supposed to be too hot for Comfrey.

I wanted to grow sweet potatoes as ground cover since they are the easiest thing to grow I've ever come across and we love them - but - in one of my garden books it was advised not to plant potatoes near apples or even store them together - potatoes effect the taste of the apples. 
So I will be planting garlic chives - I have plenty to divide and plant and Dill - grew some from seed which is doing well and definitely Nasturtiums because apparently they protect the apple tree from certain diseases.


@Indio
Quote
I've also been researching rebar and heavy duty fencing because I'd like to build an  8' high archway that I could grow pole green beans on. If anyone has any suggestions, pls share.
The easy answer is cattle panels, cheap and easy to work with and cut - see this video on youtube from Roots and Refuge - good stuff:)
Here is the cattle panel archway projects - lots of good info
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXOX1nzCnaQ

@OmahaSteph
About easy veggies - have you tried celery? I do mine in a big, deep window box and mostly just harvest the leaves for salad and soups/stews for months on end. The young stems are great for munching with dip or peanut butter or melted hot pepper cheese:) ...
So no extra time for harvesting - no drama about "having to harvest" at a certain time - I get about five months worth of harvest. Easy:).

... and yes, you can just dry the leaves too and then keep them in a well sealed container for instant seasoning.
I do it on paper towels and then just crush the leaves by rubbing my hands together in a flat, prayer mode:) - easy:).

If you like spinach - try perennial spinach varieties - see my link for seeds above (to Roots and Wings). You prepare the bed once and then just keep it mulched and fertilized - easy.
I'm trying a couple of different varieties this year - no pressure to harvest - we like that.

I'm with ya on the tomatoes - a) they are the prima donnas of the garden, way too much work and b) I'm OK with one Roma and one cherry or grape tomato.

There is something to be said to stick with tried and true and whatever your favorite veggies might be. I'm still experimenting after decades of gardening, but I do try to keep it real - works well some years. Other years life gets in the way:) or I overestimated the effort required.
Hence my foray into permaculture - it makes sense.

I'm definitely doing way more this year and the past six months of last year then I've tackled in a long time - sometimes you are simply more motivated and excited to garden than other years.
I went from I'm too old for this to OMG I can't wait for my 2020 garden to be fully planted and grown - go figure.:)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on January 09, 2020, 04:19:41 PM
Whoa, away from the forum for a week and look at all the kale-talk I missed. Thanks for the heads up @Trifele!

Yes same here -- I usually just take a few leaves at a time.  The only time I usually pull a whole plant out to eat is in the spring, when I'm doing a thinning.  (Sometimes I plant more than I need to, close together.  Then you pick the best plants to keep growing, and harvest all the rest in between, eat them young and tender). 

I keep the plants going until they either aren't giving good tasty leaves any more for some reason, or they go to seed.   The leaves change some in taste as the plant ages, so YMMV on what you consider 'tasty enough.'  Some people don't like the more bitter taste of older leaves.  Kale usually goes to seed in year two in places I've lived.   

All of this has been my previous kale experience as well. Until this year my kale (and ALL my brassicas for that matter) usually goes to seed (in Canada we say it ďboltsĒ, not sure that is used down South). Yet now, for whatever reason, I have this entire kale patch just going crazy into the winter months. Though, as documented in my Journal just moments ago, Iím worried about an usually frigid cold snap about to hit the British Columbia coast.

I think kale's natural lifespan is variable, depending on the variety and the climate.  In warmer places -- maybe in California? -- kale can live longer than two years.  @Jon Snow is north of you, but I bet his climate is a lot closer to yours than mine is.  Maybe he can chime in on this.   I remember we were staying at an AirBnB once in Hawaii, and the owner had a ~8 year old big kale plant in the garden -- it was huge, like Jon Snow's -- and she said we were welcome to eat all the leaves we wanted.   I guess it just kept going year after year, and never went to seed. (?)

Iím in the mildest little climate pocket in the very southwest corner of Canada....zone 9a.

Iím pretty sure the kale patch I have going now was planted last Spring, March I believe...so itís coming up to a year old. The thing is I have NO IDEA why this didnít go to seed like everything else. It is true that the kale is in the shadiest corner of my garden....so could THAT be the reason? I just hope this cold weather doesnít kill it because I LOVE the idea of a multi-year old kale patch. 😄
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 09, 2020, 04:43:54 PM

All of this has been my previous kale experience as well. Until this year my kale (and ALL my brassicas for that matter) usually goes to seed (in Canada we say it ďboltsĒ, not sure that is used down South).

Yes, I have heard the term "bolts" a lot, too.  That's what our broccoli did last summer before anything really came of it...we have some coming up that we planted a couple months ago, so hoping for better luck this time!

This is pretty tangential, but quick story: one of my cats absolutely loves vegetables (so he will be a beneficiary of the brassicas we are growing/attempting to grow).  He will actually abandon his own dish of meaty, yummy (presumably) cat food if he hears us start prepping kale, brussels, broccoli or other veg for our own dinner (he loves a good lettuce rib!).  Apparently prep of those vegetables has a distinctive sound and he runs right over.  I've had cats all my life and never had one who turned away tuna & turkey pate in favor of romaine lettuce!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on January 09, 2020, 07:42:13 PM

All of this has been my previous kale experience as well. Until this year my kale (and ALL my brassicas for that matter) usually goes to seed (in Canada we say it ďboltsĒ, not sure that is used down South).

Yes, I have heard the term "bolts" a lot, too.  That's what our broccoli did last summer before anything really came of it...we have some coming up that we planted a couple months ago, so hoping for better luck this time!

This is pretty tangential, but quick story: one of my cats absolutely loves vegetables (so he will be a beneficiary of the brassicas we are growing/attempting to grow).  He will actually abandon his own dish of meaty, yummy (presumably) cat food if he hears us start prepping kale, brussels, broccoli or other veg for our own dinner (he loves a good lettuce rib!).  Apparently prep of those vegetables has a distinctive sound and he runs right over.  I've had cats all my life and never had one who turned away tuna & turkey pate in favor of romaine lettuce!

That's a very odd cat. He doesn't have the enzymes to digest any of that, so wonder why he likes it? Maybe just the crunchy texture?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on January 09, 2020, 08:03:06 PM

All of this has been my previous kale experience as well. Until this year my kale (and ALL my brassicas for that matter) usually goes to seed (in Canada we say it ďboltsĒ, not sure that is used down South).

Yes, I have heard the term "bolts" a lot, too.  That's what our broccoli did last summer before anything really came of it...we have some coming up that we planted a couple months ago, so hoping for better luck this time!

This is pretty tangential, but quick story: one of my cats absolutely loves vegetables (so he will be a beneficiary of the brassicas we are growing/attempting to grow).  He will actually abandon his own dish of meaty, yummy (presumably) cat food if he hears us start prepping kale, brussels, broccoli or other veg for our own dinner (he loves a good lettuce rib!).  Apparently prep of those vegetables has a distinctive sound and he runs right over.  I've had cats all my life and never had one who turned away tuna & turkey pate in favor of romaine lettuce!

That's a very odd cat. He doesn't have the enzymes to digest any of that, so wonder why he likes it? Maybe just the crunchy texture?

Yep, he's an odd guy.  I do think some of it is the crunchiness (his chewing is actually a big problem), but also he is a bit selective.  Like he doesn't go for cucumber, but he does like a few stray brussels leaves, which aren't as crunchy as kale or lettuce stalks, so [shrug].  Just weird!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on January 09, 2020, 09:07:32 PM

All of this has been my previous kale experience as well. Until this year my kale (and ALL my brassicas for that matter) usually goes to seed (in Canada we say it ďboltsĒ, not sure that is used down South).

Yes, I have heard the term "bolts" a lot, too.  That's what our broccoli did last summer before anything really came of it...we have some coming up that we planted a couple months ago, so hoping for better luck this time!

This is pretty tangential, but quick story: one of my cats absolutely loves vegetables (so he will be a beneficiary of the brassicas we are growing/attempting to grow).  He will actually abandon his own dish of meaty, yummy (presumably) cat food if he hears us start prepping kale, brussels, broccoli or other veg for our own dinner (he loves a good lettuce rib!).  Apparently prep of those vegetables has a distinctive sound and he runs right over.  I've had cats all my life and never had one who turned away tuna & turkey pate in favor of romaine lettuce!

That's a very odd cat. He doesn't have the enzymes to digest any of that, so wonder why he likes it? Maybe just the crunchy texture?

Yep, he's an odd guy.  I do think some of it is the crunchiness (his chewing is actually a big problem), but also he is a bit selective.  Like he doesn't go for cucumber, but he does like a few stray brussels leaves, which aren't as crunchy as kale or lettuce stalks, so [shrug].  Just weird!

My cat has a thing for sesame oil, discovered because he would help himself to veg if there was some oil on them.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on January 10, 2020, 08:36:08 AM
Garden plans for this year:

-cut back blackberry thicket


ACK!!!!!  :(

Sorry, but it must be done as Iím steadily losing veggie growing real estate to the blackberries. But rest assured that ample amounts of your precious berries will remain within the garden....not to mention the virtually unlimited supplies outside the deer proof fence. Letís face it...the entire island remains your blackberry oyster. 😊

ETA: And salal. Donít forget the SALAL berries.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 10, 2020, 10:01:00 AM
starting to think about how to re-jig my seed starting zone.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on January 10, 2020, 11:57:37 AM
@Roots&Wings
I know:) where to get several different types of perennial spinach and Seminole pumpkin seeds -
https://www.echobooks.net/bookstore/seeds/

This will be my first year trying a few perennial veggies, my very own first ever permaculture experiment. I'm planting a new area in my garden and since I just planted two apple trees (they are Australian-Pink Lady) and supposed to be able to survive our hot summers - and they have, while living in pots, but now that we've planted them I want to do what I can so they'll stay happy and healthy.
I've been researching apple tree guilds for a hot and humid climate - therefore the interest in Seminole pumpkins. It's supposed to be too hot for Comfrey.

I wanted to grow sweet potatoes as ground cover since they are the easiest thing to grow I've ever come across and we love them - but - in one of my garden books it was advised not to plant potatoes near apples or even store them together - potatoes effect the taste of the apples. 
So I will be planting garlic chives - I have plenty to divide and plant and Dill - grew some from seed which is doing well and definitely Nasturtiums because apparently they protect the apple tree from certain diseases.

ECHO of course! They (and Heart, https://heartvillage.org/village-nursery/) are such wonderful organizations. Thatís where Iíll order seeds if I canít find plants locally, thanks! ECHO would be an amazing field trip. Forgot to include Inca golden berries / cape gooseberries, in my 2020 list (have the seeds, just need to clear a new bed and start the seeds). Such delicious fruit.

Thatís amazing youíre having apple success, hadnít thought to check Australian varieties. Good luck with the guild building, didnít know sweet potatoes are not a good combo with apple trees. Hopefully the Seminole pumpkins and garlic chives will work out.

If you need something more contained than the Seminole pumpkin, Cuban oregano might be another groundcover option (it grows well here, but unsure about the apple guild combo).

Cheers to 2020 permaculture experiments!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 10, 2020, 09:58:16 PM
@Rosy Thanks for the link to the vid. I found the cattle panels online at my local tractor store so will go check them out. We are going to have warm weahter this weekend which will be perfect for squeezing in garden clean up and prep.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: NinetyFour on January 12, 2020, 09:46:05 AM
Garden plans for this year:

-cut back blackberry thicket


ACK!!!!!  :(

Sorry, but it must be done as Iím steadily losing veggie growing real estate to the blackberries. But rest assured that ample amounts of your precious berries will remain within the garden....not to mention the virtually unlimited supplies outside the deer proof fence. Letís face it...the entire island remains your blackberry oyster. 😊

ETA: And salal. Donít forget the SALAL berries.

OK--if this is the price I must pay for more kale, taters, parsnips, carrots, beets, squash, peas, beans, etc., so be it.  And yes, it is certainly true that the rest of JSI has enough berries that my blackberry (and salal) cravings *should* be satisfied...
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 12, 2020, 10:21:35 AM
My dearest bestest Hubs is making a stand for my grow lights so I can have a nice table top and below table set up.  Photos to follow
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 12, 2020, 12:16:03 PM
I'm thinking of adding one or two camellia sinesis plants to he backyard homestead this year. Curious to hear from those who grew the tea plants last year.
How did your plants do?
Were you able to harvest any leaves?
What would you do differently?
If you pruchased plants online, would you buy them again?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 12, 2020, 03:50:41 PM
I'm thinking of adding one or two camellia sinesis plants to he backyard homestead this year. Curious to hear from those who grew the tea plants last year.
How did your plants do?
Were you able to harvest any leaves?
What would you do differently?
If you pruchased plants online, would you buy them again?

I put in two plants last year.  I ordered online from Burpee, and the plants arrived looking good.  They were very small -- about 6" tall.  I planted in the sprint last year, and over the course of the year they grew to about 12" tall.  I'm not sure how fast they are supposed to grow, but they looked happy, so I was satisfied with that.  They were way too small to harvest anything, so I am just nursing them through the winter (I'm actually outside the recommended growing area, which is 8-10), and crossing my fingers for more growth next year.  Too soon to tell whether I'll do it again! 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 24, 2020, 06:25:51 AM
It's been a weird week weather wise -- cold snap followed by rain -- but I managed to get some comfrey planted.  I went with the Russian (non-spreading) type, Bocking 4 and Bocking 14.  Very interested to watch those guys grow -- I've read a lot about it over the years. 

And hey y'all!!  I just ordered my bees. :)  After a good five years of thinking about it, I'm finally doing it this spring.  Big thanks to @Indio, @SheWhoWalksAtLunch, and my uphill neighbor for the information and encouragement.  Now we'll see if I can keep those ladies alive, happy, and un-eaten by bears.  So excited!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: the_hobbitish on January 24, 2020, 09:15:26 AM
Wow so excited for you @Trifele Can't wait to hear how it goes. I'd love to raise bees at some point, but it won't happen anytime soon since I'm barely keeping the yard from being a shambles at the moment. I want to do native wood bees for my apple trees next year since those take less care. Wishing you much luck and pollen.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on January 24, 2020, 10:35:03 AM
Congratulations Trifele!!  Beekeeping is an immensely satisfying hobby with sweet rewards.

When it comes time, we have a heated knife and hand crank honey extractor we will happily lend you in exchange for a taste of your harvest.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 24, 2020, 10:46:36 AM
My garden is getting bees this year.  A neighbour is moving her three hives to another neighbour's house - and I have my vegetable garden there.   

I bought a few packages of seeds yesterday.  It was a two for one sale.  I had a mental list of what I needed.  I am going to start my onions really early this year.  I also picked up some heavy duty trays.  I start the seeds inside and need to make sure that the water and soil stays in the containers.

Hoping my DH finishes my grow table.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 24, 2020, 12:39:10 PM
Congratulations Trifele!!  Beekeeping is an immensely satisfying hobby with sweet rewards.

When it comes time, we have a heated knife and hand crank honey extractor we will happily lend you in exchange for a taste of your harvest.

Deal!  ;)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 24, 2020, 08:30:38 PM
@Trifele thanks for the insight into the tea plant. Think I might have to put it into a pot to bring inside for winter. Got a Burpee catalog via snail mail and I was admiring the leeks. That might be enough to push me toward ordering the tea plant.

That's great new about the bees. So excited for you. It's absolutely addiciting to watch bees. When I first got them, I kept peeking into the hive because I wanted to see what they were doing. Now some hives have side windows to encourage curiosity.

Did you see that Polyface and Mother Earth News are teaming up this summer? https://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/polyface-farm/  I think I may attend.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on January 25, 2020, 01:45:40 AM
Did you see that Polyface and Mother Earth News are teaming up this summer? https://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/polyface-farm/  I think I may attend.

Ooo.  That looks really good.  I may have to think about that too -- Thanks!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on January 25, 2020, 01:16:27 PM
That would be so much fun if you went to it the Polyface event too @Trifele . Any other gardeners near Polyface farm in VA who might want to meet up there?

I dusted off my Readers Digest Back to Basics How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills and Country Living books looking for herbal apothecary inspiration this winter. Want to attempt some new oxymels and infusions with all of the dried herbs I saved. Haven't tried it yet but was thinking of doing this one https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/herbal-oxymels-methods. Anybody have any experience with fire cider?

@Frugal Lizard when I first got bees it was amazing how well my garden produced that year. I had a bee traffic jam on the squash blossoms almost every day for weeks.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on January 27, 2020, 10:58:26 AM
We've had such a mild winter, the ground has barely frozen.  I think I might get my seed-starting operation up and running in the next few weeks, aiming at getting the cold weather crops outside in March.  I think peppers and eggplants will get started mid-February, followed by tomatoes around March 1.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on January 27, 2020, 04:36:22 PM
Speaking of bees, we have the gentlest little super hard-working bees ever. They never buzz or sound angry and totally ignore my presence.
I've read somewhere that they get used to your scent.

My new neighbor gave me a little Papaya tree so I did some research online yesterday. Who knew Papaya trees are so short-lived, like 4-5 years.
Of course, then I fell into the rabbit hole and looked at a couple of Asian YouTubes on Papaya's - amazing:).
Decided to plant my tree facing south-west as recommended, tomorrow - I may well have my own fresh Papayas in nine to eleven months.

I want to finish my (too many) ongoing projects. I have a ton of seeds and plants, herbs, flowers, trees - I want everything in the ground by the end of next week and with luck maybe even see a seedling or two emerging.
The goal is to get enough done in Feb and March so that I can slow down a bit in April and enjoy the garden and the fine weather.
Besides I have a helper for a few hours here and there this week and I intend to make the most of it.
For me, the gardening season ends around June the 1st due to the heat and the humidity, no seedlings would survive our brutal summers.

I will be trying out the cardboard method of permaculture in parts of our garden - have y'all tried that?   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on January 27, 2020, 06:57:54 PM
I will be trying out the cardboard method of permaculture in parts of our garden - have y'all tried that?
If this means you are laying down cardboard to suffocate the existing vegetation and then layering some leaves and soil and compost and such - then yes, I have done that quite successfully.

My little grow table is ready to start seedlings on.  It is not so pretty but has a lot of capacity.  First up for seeding will be all the onion family - leeks, storage, sweet spanish and bunching onions - actually will plant the bunching onions in four phases to spread out the harvest.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on January 28, 2020, 04:48:41 AM
I will be trying out the cardboard method of permaculture in parts of our garden - have y'all tried that?
If this means you are laying down cardboard to suffocate the existing vegetation and then layering some leaves and soil and compost and such - then yes, I have done that quite successfully.

Same here, but I've found it doesn't work well long-term for some things like live oak tree sprouts (which come right through) or oxalis weeds. Part of that might be my fault and needing to get more groundcovers planted.

Very inspiring to hear about the bees, I just have a small solitary bee house, and they are fascinating to watch!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 02, 2020, 12:18:46 PM
Pea shoots and radish micro greens are on grow racks in the basement with silver warmth blankets hanging around sides to add reflective light. Have been cutting the greens for use in salads and soups. Since they usually last us about two weeks, I start the succession planting as soon as I began harvesting from the first batch. It's such a treat to have access to fresh greens, that I didn't have to go to the supermarket for, in winter.
I'm not a fan of the T8 white grow lights because the light tubes seem to burn out so quickly and rarely last more than 8-10 weeks. The light spectrum that is the combo of red and blue LED light helps the plants to grow just as well.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on February 02, 2020, 12:48:08 PM
love the sprouts - I should try this.  How deep is the growing medium and what type - potting soil or something else?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 03, 2020, 09:15:26 AM
love the sprouts - I should try this.  How deep is the growing medium and what type - potting soil or something else?

Since the roots don't need to go very deep because they will be harvested before they get too large, I use about 1.5" of promix soil. Any seedling soil should work. I combine a small amount of worm castings into the soil to help with nutrients. I've got about 7 trays growing at the same time so I bought bulk seeds at High Mowing seeds.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on February 03, 2020, 09:22:47 AM
love the sprouts - I should try this.  How deep is the growing medium and what type - potting soil or something else?

Since the roots don't need to go very deep because they will be harvested before they get too large, I use about 1.5" of promix soil. Any seedling soil should work. I combine a small amount of worm castings into the soil to help with nutrients. I've got about 7 trays growing at the same time so I bought bulk seeds at High Mowing seeds.
Thanks.  I have room at the moment under my grow lights.  I will do some experiments!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sixwings on February 08, 2020, 10:53:39 AM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 08, 2020, 11:53:51 AM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.

Welcome @sixwings!  Congrats on the deer fence -- that's excellent.  I totally feel you.  Our deer fence is the only reason I can grow anything.  As for what to grow, you could start with what you like to eat.  Then figure out whether those particular things will grow in the space you have.  Kale and tomatoes are a great start! 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sixwings on February 08, 2020, 01:40:55 PM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.

Welcome @sixwings!  Congrats on the deer fence -- that's excellent.  I totally feel you.  Our deer fence is the only reason I can grow anything.  As for what to grow, you could start with what you like to eat.  Then figure out whether those particular things will grow in the space you have.  Kale and tomatoes are a great start!

Yeah that's a great point about growing what we eat, thinking carrots, radishes and maybe potatoes of some kind.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 08, 2020, 02:26:03 PM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.

Welcome @sixwings!  Congrats on the deer fence -- that's excellent.  I totally feel you.  Our deer fence is the only reason I can grow anything.  As for what to grow, you could start with what you like to eat.  Then figure out whether those particular things will grow in the space you have.  Kale and tomatoes are a great start!

Yeah that's a great point about growing what we eat, thinking carrots, radishes and maybe potatoes of some kind.

I love all those, especially potatoes!  Are you going to start with 'seed potatoes'?  That's best, but you can also just buy some organic eating potatoes (in the store), put them in a paper bag and let them sprout in a dark drawer or cupboard.  Voila seed potatoes.  :)  You should only do that with organic potatoes, though.  Non organic ones are sprayed with chemicals to inhibit sprouting
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sixwings on February 08, 2020, 02:49:44 PM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.

Welcome @sixwings!  Congrats on the deer fence -- that's excellent.  I totally feel you.  Our deer fence is the only reason I can grow anything.  As for what to grow, you could start with what you like to eat.  Then figure out whether those particular things will grow in the space you have.  Kale and tomatoes are a great start!

Yeah that's a great point about growing what we eat, thinking carrots, radishes and maybe potatoes of some kind.

I love all those, especially potatoes!  Are you going to start with 'seed potatoes'?  That's best, but you can also just buy some organic eating potatoes (in the store), put them in a paper bag and let them sprout in a dark drawer or cupboard.  Voila seed potatoes.  :)  You should only do that with organic potatoes, though.  Non organic ones are sprayed with chemicals to inhibit sprouting

I'll probably do seed potatoes. Fresh potatoes prepared simply with some butter is just amazing.

My house used to have a pond that I removed last year (it was old, all the concreate was cracked, it looked awful), but there is an automatic sprinkler system installed so I will probably raise the sprinkers and then build my raised beds around them so I can have automatic watering. I'll probably start with one raised bed this year and expand gradually.

I also need to learn to prune and care for my apple, pear and plum tree. They are pretty amazing for fruit production (3 years ago I had 500 pounds of apples from the one tree!) and I make a really nice dry cider from the pears and apples, however I've always just had an arborist do it for me. I didn't get it done last year to save money and my arborist retired. All the quotes I have got this year have been like for like 2K, so I guess it's time to learn this. Any arborists around here have some resources to point me to?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 08, 2020, 03:10:44 PM
I'm excited to join this group this year! I live in a suburban neighborhood and have a huge deer investation problem. Last year I worked on deer fencing my yard and grew a bunch of tomatoes in pots to test if they could get in. Well, they can't! I'm planning on putting in a raised veggie bed in a few weeks and start growing some stuff.

Suggestions? I live in southwest British Columbia, can't remember the zone but it's pretty mild. We definitely want kale and tomaotes.

Welcome @sixwings!  Congrats on the deer fence -- that's excellent.  I totally feel you.  Our deer fence is the only reason I can grow anything.  As for what to grow, you could start with what you like to eat.  Then figure out whether those particular things will grow in the space you have.  Kale and tomatoes are a great start!

Yeah that's a great point about growing what we eat, thinking carrots, radishes and maybe potatoes of some kind.

I love all those, especially potatoes!  Are you going to start with 'seed potatoes'?  That's best, but you can also just buy some organic eating potatoes (in the store), put them in a paper bag and let them sprout in a dark drawer or cupboard.  Voila seed potatoes.  :)  You should only do that with organic potatoes, though.  Non organic ones are sprayed with chemicals to inhibit sprouting

I'll probably do seed potatoes. Fresh potatoes prepared simply with some butter is just amazing.

My house used to have a pond that I removed last year (it was old, all the concreate was cracked, it looked awful), but there is an automatic sprinkler system installed so I will probably raise the sprinkers and then build my raised beds around them so I can have automatic watering. I'll probably start with one raised bed this year and expand gradually.

I also need to learn to prune and care for my apple, pear and plum tree. They are pretty amazing for fruit production (3 years ago I had 500 pounds of apples from the one tree!) and I make a really nice dry cider from the pears and plums, however I've always just had an arborist do it for me. I didn't get it done last year to save money and my arborist retired. All the quotes I have got this year have been like for like 2K, so I guess it's time to learn this. Any arborists around here have some resources to point me to?

Call your local library and ask them if you have a regional *master gardener* program and/or a local agricultural college. Someone there can advise you or point you toward a program that can train you.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sixwings on February 08, 2020, 06:23:32 PM
Wow thanks for that idea! I just called them and there's a pruning class next sunday, so there we go!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 08, 2020, 06:36:50 PM
Wow thanks for that idea! I just called them and there's a pruning class next sunday, so there we go!

Oh I'm so stoked it worked out. Yay -- the Internet did something right for once.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: chaskavitch on February 09, 2020, 08:24:12 AM
@trashtalk thanks so much for mentioning the Master Gardener programs!  I had seen the one offered by me a year or two ago and didn't have time/money for it, but I'm so excited to take classes from them now!  There's an online "certified gardener" program, and now I'm going to learn about care and pruning of fruit trees :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 09, 2020, 09:58:46 AM
Just watched this incredible film Need to Grow about all of the different people involved in sharing their experience and knowledge about soil loss, regenerative agriculture, composting, seed saving, healthy eating, and the algae and mycelium connection.

If you're interested, it's streaming free until Feb 13. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/02/08/how-industrial-agriculture-destroys-soil.aspx

I've used biochar in the past but will add it to all of my raised beds this year when I mix in the aged chicken compost. It's also inspired me to learn more about humic acid as a soil amendment or foliar spray.

If you watch it, would love to know what your takeaways were from the film.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 12, 2020, 04:32:31 AM
Thanks for the link @Indio!  I just checked it out -- great video.  My main takeaway is that I need to learn more.  I've read such conflicting things about biochar -- what it does, how it does it, how to make it -- that I'm confused.  How do you make yours?  Or do you get it somewhere?  What do you add to it before you put it into the soil?

Very busy in the garden here! 
      - Doing lots of bed prep, spreading compost and composted chicken manure. 
      - I've got quite a few chard and kale plants that overwintered in great shape, so I'm watching to see if they go to seed
      - The comfrey I planted last month is up several inches and looking good. 
      - I'll probably be planting potatoes soon. 
      - I'm very excited that this year I have 4 large beds (4X24') plus three medium beds (6X10') to play with.
      - I fired up my grow cabinet.  I'm starting cabbage, lettuce and chard this week, and then I'll do the peppers and tomatoes in about two weeks.  Yay seeds!

We're also doing intensive bee prep -- getting all the equipment I need for when my bees show up in about 5 or 6 weeks.  Lots of front-loaded work.  I picked a site for the two hives, and we'll be leveling the ground and putting up a bear fence.  DH is an old hand at fencing (you name it, he's built it) so this little bee yard won't take him long.  I just finished a 6 hour local class on beekeeping -- totally fascinating.  And then I have the March Spikenard Farm two day class to look forward to.  I find it especially interesting to hear the different perspectives; sometimes you hear diametrically opposed advice.  I'm looking forward to learning more so I can develop my own opinions! 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 12, 2020, 10:28:03 AM
@Trifele

I usually buy biochar and a little bit goes a long way. It's hard for a home gardener to make because the wood needs to be burned without oxygen. Most people take the ash from fireplace or firepit and consider that biochar. A few years ago I looked into making it myself but it looked complicated for the amount of free time I had available then. I bought it from Fedco seeds, when I visited their warehouse in the backwoods of Maine, and groworganic.com.

Congrats on signs of spring coming up in the garden, especially the comfrey, and the bee course. This morning I noticed daffodils peeking through the ground about three weeks ahead of schedule. Even the fruit trees are showing signs they are ready for spring. If this climate change keeps up, I won't have to move to a longer growing season locale when I retire.

When it comes to bees, you're right there are so many opinions out there. I mentored someone last year who would check with Reddit for every question he asked me. The problem was that Reddit isn't local and didn't know the location, climate and other variables, like nearby water sources, so when he followed their advice it mostly created more problems till he lost 1 of his 2 new hives. A local beekeeper who knows your environmental conditions - when there's a pollen dearth, local drought, etc -- is the best person to rely on but a lot of it is trial error too. A lot like caring for children. It isn't one size fits all.


Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 13, 2020, 10:15:26 PM
* put asparagus roots in the ground today; we demolished some concrete last year and it left us with a nice contained bed that will be good for asparagus

* planted a second grapevine that's more of a fresh eating grape

* need to get ginger and turmeric going next; the garlic and herbs in the same area are already well underway. And maybe this is the year I won't kill the thyme?

* Swiss chard, collards and sorrel are looking great

* tiny almond seedling has beautiful almond blossoms

* boysenberry and pomegranate appear to be starting up for the year
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 14, 2020, 04:00:41 AM
Interesting mix of things you have growing @trashtalk!  Where are you?  If you have pomegranates in the ground, I'm guessing at least zone 8?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: asauer on February 14, 2020, 12:45:07 PM
Joining in.  I'm in NC, growing zone 7a/7b- I'm on the line there.  My favorite part of February is telling my hubs and kids to leave me alone so I can peruse seed catalogs and order green things.  It's also the time when my garden plans are laid out beautifully and everything is still possible.  The squirrels and birds haven't decimated anything yet. haha.  Last year, I was able to produce 30% of our food and would like to bump that to 35% this year.  It's always as test to see how far I can push it until the HOA Nazis crack down on my garden as not "being in keeping" with the aesthetics of our neighborhood.  Anyway, this spring/ summer I plan to grow:
1. superball melons
2. 4th of July tomatoes- have found these to be really prolific and good canning tomatoes
3. carrots- short nanets b/c of the shitty clay soil we have
4. centennial sweet potatoes- had really good luck with them last year
5. ring leader jalapenos so my hubs can choke me out of the house again when he makes hot sauce
6. golden bush beans
7. strawberries
8. we still have blueberry/ black berry bushes in the yard
9. bunch of herbs in pots on the deck
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on February 14, 2020, 01:00:19 PM
As a Valentines treat to myself, I went through the seed catalogue with my seed box and got my order sorted.
I am so excited about possibility.

@asauer  I totally get your favourite part of February.  My favourite season is a little later.  At the very beginning of June everything is still possible but it more tangible.  Direct sown seeds have germinated in the ground and all the transplants are in.   Today our high temperature is -9C . 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on February 14, 2020, 03:38:51 PM
I'm excited that we are going to get lettuce greens and bok choy in the ground this weekend.  These are things we eat a lot, so would be a boon to grow.  The broccoli is going well, though it's still not coming up like a big head like you see in the grocery store.  Someone else in our neighborhood is growing broccoli and their plant looked really strong and beefy, and even theirs was not growing a bulky big head, but lots of more individual florets that were just bulkier than the ones we have so far.  So that's surprised me, but I was so pleased that we had enough broccoli to make a cheesy broccoli pizza with last weekend, and we're just getting started!  We also had a pizza with kale on it, and then had kale with dinner the next night - all from the garden.

One thing that isn't working out?  The blackberries. Based on what I've read here and elsewhere I feel like we might be the world's first failed blackberry farmers.  Maybe we just need to give it more time.  The canes we planted don't look dead per se, but they haven't grown, no new leaves, etc.

It'll be a couple months before we can consider this year's tomatoes, but we're talking about them now and making big plans.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on February 14, 2020, 05:48:06 PM
Daffodils and tulips are emerging. I have come to take this as a sign that gardening season has officially begun for me. Growlights are up and running and onion plantings are situated under them. If conditions are mild enough Iíll be sowing spinach and peas in the next couple of weeks. In order to help warm the soil up a bit Iíve laid some clear plastic down in those areas which will be receiving the spinach and peas.

It has been an unbelievably wet (even for the PNW) Winter and my garden area is doing a great impression of a swamp. Rubber boots are mandatory right now. Hopefully some drier weather is coming. I have had a big leaf/seaweed mulch covering my beds for the Winter and it is all very nicely decomposed....and digging down just little bit reveals that the worm population seems to have been loving it as well. :)

As ever,  excitement is mounting as to what this veggie growing season will bring.

And yeah, my overwintered kale patch is still growing rather epically. ;)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on February 14, 2020, 09:09:18 PM
Starting seeds this weekend!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 15, 2020, 01:07:20 PM
Interesting mix of things you have growing @trashtalk!  Where are you?  If you have pomegranates in the ground, I'm guessing at least zone 8?

Yes we are coastal Southern California, which has a "Mediterranean climate."

I think we are zone 10. It's not wet for most tropical edibles but we can get away with a few.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 16, 2020, 02:36:10 AM
Joining in.  I'm in NC, growing zone 7a/7b- I'm on the line there.  My favorite part of February is telling my hubs and kids to leave me alone so I can peruse seed catalogs and order green things.  It's also the time when my garden plans are laid out beautifully and everything is still possible.  The squirrels and birds haven't decimated anything yet. haha.  Last year, I was able to produce 30% of our food and would like to bump that to 35% this year.  It's always as test to see how far I can push it until the HOA Nazis crack down on my garden as not "being in keeping" with the aesthetics of our neighborhood.  Anyway, this spring/ summer I plan to grow:
<snip>


Nice list of things you are growing @asauer!  Lol about the HOA . . . 

Sounds like we live in the same area -- I'm in NC on the 7a/7b border too.  I hear you about the clay soil -- same here.  I've been growing Danvers carrots, which do well: https://www.seedsavers.org/danvers-carrot.   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Tom Bri on February 16, 2020, 02:56:22 AM

We're also doing intensive bee prep -- getting all the equipment I need for when my bees show up in about 5 or 6 weeks.  Lots of front-loaded work.  I picked a site for the two hives, and we'll be leveling the ground and putting up a bear fence.  DH is an old hand at fencing (you name it, he's built it) so this little bee yard won't take him long.  I just finished a 6 hour local class on beekeeping -- totally fascinating.  And then I have the March Spikenard Farm two day class to look forward to.  I find it especially interesting to hear the different perspectives; sometimes you hear diametrically opposed advice.  I'm looking forward to learning more so I can develop my own opinions!

I suggest you join the BeeSource forums:

https://www.beesource.com/forums/forum.php

People are very nice and helpful to newbies. There are members from all around the world, and almost certainly some near you who can give local advice.

The biggest problem new beekeepers face these days is parasitic mites, varroa mites, that can quickly kill a hive. Read up on that topic and have a plan in advance how you will respond.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 16, 2020, 03:09:38 AM
Thanks @Tom Bri -- I will check out that forum!  And definitely -- I'm all over the mite issue, trying to learn as much as I can.  I helped my neighbor sugar roll her bees a couple times last year, so I've seen the monitoring process.  In the class I just took they recommended rotating between several treatments.  I'm attending an intensive beekeeping course in a few weeks at Spikenard.  We'll see what they recommend!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 17, 2020, 08:55:33 AM
It's so exciting to hear about everyone's garden plans for the season and the overwintering progress for those giant kale plants. :)

Two of my mature 9+ year old hops plants are showing signs of slowing down so I'm adding three new ones to keep the beds viable with a succession planting. I train the plants to grow across a fence at the back of the yard and they end up looking a bit like an espaliere fruit tree with all of the growth guidelines.

Adding 4 gooseberry, Hinnonmaki and Invictus, plants to the fruit bush collection. Haven't grown gooseberry before and looking forward two years to when they are producing.

I've been saving amazon shipping boxes, removing the tape and labels, and will use them for weed control soon. Hoping to get a shipment of wood chips in April to spread around the beds and on top of the boxes to hide them.

Ordered 6 Rhode Island Red chicks to add to the flock this year. Unfortunately, the farm store has a minimum number, and we have town restrictions on how many hens I can keep. Will probably only keep 4 of the chicks and sell the other 2 on local chicken meetup board. I find RIR's to be bossy but I've added so many different breeds over the years that I need to get a different breed each year to remember their ages. This year I will need to dig out a lot of the "soil" from the chicken run. It's accumulated about a 5" compressed layer over the years. After letting it compost down a bit, it should be excellent garden soil.

Going to get started on the veg seedlings today. My next door neighbor and I share seeds and seedlings, and she is way ahead of me. She's already been testing germination rates for her tomato seeds and it's looking good.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on February 17, 2020, 01:41:01 PM
The DH and I finished filling the raised bed (12x3x2ft) with soil this weekend.  Tired, dirty and in the rapidly approaching dark, I still couldn't resist planting peas, kale, beets & parsnips in the freshly filled bed.

Indoors, still tired, but cleaner and well lit, I planted tomatoes, cucumbers & brussels sprouts in homemade newspaper pots.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 17, 2020, 10:30:33 PM
Planted out some sunflower starts and worked on some waterflow/drainage stuff for the new asparagus bed.

I need to hack back the oregano. This is me writing down that I need to hack back the oregano before spring gets underway.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on February 20, 2020, 08:58:53 AM
Basil and old lettuce is germinated!
Peas for pea shoots are moldy.  The seeds are five years old when I made an ordering booboo and accidentally ordered double of large sized packets.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trudie on February 25, 2020, 08:45:15 AM
I live in the Midwest (Zone 5A).  This year I am going to experiment with the winter sowing method.  Minimal work, and it gets great reviews.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 25, 2020, 10:00:40 AM
My tomatoes and lettuce in the grow cabinet are well up, but I'm waiting on everything else.  The pepper and chard seeds were 2-3 years old, so I may end up with some poor germination.

The oldest ones I'm trying are these 4 year old 'Corinto' cucumber seeds.  They're seriously awesome -- all female/self fruitful/nearly seedless/vigorous/tasty -- like the perfect cucumber.  Years ago I used to buy started plants from a friend of mine, and then I decided to try sprouting them myself.  They cost something like $0.70 per seed.  I bought ten seeds and then life got busy and I never planted them . . . I hope at least a couple sprout.

UPDATE:  SIX of the ten cucumbers are already up!  That's unbelievable -- I only planted them 4 days ago!  That is some crazy good seed.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on February 26, 2020, 11:26:09 AM
We have successful outdoor spinach germination! ( I also started some indoors as backup) I usually take this as a sign that gardening season has officially begun for me.

On a sadder note, I cut a few trees down in order to give my garden site more sun in the months to come....and in falling one tree I made an error in anticipating itís trajectory of decent and it landed square on my magnificent overwintered kale and collards patch. It wasnít pretty. So, with a deep sigh I pulled the plants (after a last kale/collard harvest) and put them in the compost. But as Iím typing this I have some kale and collard starts growing merrily under my grow lights, so the circle of (kale) life will continue on.

Getting itchy to plant some peas, but will probably wait until the weather is just a little bit warmer. And in a few days I will get some brassicas going indoors. If I were to pick my favourite things to grow, in part because I think my climate is perfect for them, it would be brassicas. I find it incredibly satisfying to grow ginormous cabbages especially. 😊

Is it apparent that Iím getting amped for the growing season to come?

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on February 26, 2020, 02:36:11 PM
Quote
Is is apparent that Iím getting amped for the growing season to come?
:) oh yeah:)

* I noticed my last post said I'd be done with seeding in a week - ha ha - wishful thinking. I'm beginning to think I bit off more than I can chew.
So far the new bed in the front yard is in, but it didn't turn out how I saw it in my mind - I've redone it twice so far:) - I hate it when something doesn't look as good as I thought it would.
Re-shaped again this morning and I think the third time might indeed be a charm.

* Re-doing has slowed down that particular project and took time away from the one big project this year - an entire new garden section.
It is intended to be more natural, I'm attempting some permaculture and putting in a "mini food forest".
I've no idea how it will turn out but I think if I can get at least 75% to survive the first year it will be a success.

* Two Bananas - one vanilla ice cream banana (supposed to be very tasty and do fine in wind and even cold).
One dwarf banana that will only get six feet high or so.
Really looking forward to that harvest:).

* Chilean Guava - what a surprisingly pretty plant that is, quite suitable for landscaping - will have pretty flowers and of course fruit.
Wish I'd ordered two, but I'll wait and see how we like the fruit and maybe I can do a cutting?.
Planted it two weeks ago and it is growing happily.

* Four black Elderberries - I've always wanted to make Elderberry wine, cordial and medicinal syrup. They will be part of my windbreak hedge and oh la la they do have the prettiest pink flowers I've ever seen (online - new variety) - can't wait for them to get fat and happy.
** I do have wild elderberries on the property with pretty white blooms, but the foliage is light green and thankfully they do sucker as will the black Elderberry - so I will take advantage and between those two - (the wild ones are actually starting to bloom) I may finally have elderberry wine.

* Two dwarf Apple trees - the jury is still out, they were in a pot for many years, without ever fruiting, and are just now deciding whether they like their new freedom.
There is hope:).

* Edible Hibiscus - Florida Cranberry, it is native to Florida and a really pretty big bush suitable for a fence, with purple foliage and dark red flowers.
Planted two weeks ago - it got over the transplant shock and is looking good. 
Couldn't find a live plant for the Thai Red Roselle - hibiscus but found seeds at Amazon. Hopefully, they will do well, I decided on planting six seeds.
Looking forward to hibiscus tea and pretty pink flowers.

* Found the prettiest landscape plant, a variegated umbrella leafed small bush. Surprise - it turns out it is a Cassava - Tapioca plant.
I hadn't ever heard of Cassava but in permaculture, it is widely used and appreciated for its many uses, but this is a variegated form, so I just hope it will be as easy to grow as the highly touted Cassava.
From what I read it likes it hot - so hopefully it will be a winner. 

* One Persian Lime tree - I won it at an auction years ago and it has lived and produced fine organic limes while in a big pot in the yard.
I planted it about a month ago - it loves its new spot.
It is doing fine and blooming like crazy, I can actually see the new baby limes forming already - success:).

* Herbs - so far: Garlic, 10 Garlic Chives - I divided some existing clusters from other parts of the garden - they taste wonderful in an omelet, 8 Dill(s) - from seed, already about a foot high, Feverfew - found a lovely variety online, Rue - it looks particularly happy, Fennel, Angelica - doing so much better than I thought it would, maybe I found a good spot, Greek Oregano - within a week it is already stretching out in all directions, much better than the temperamental Italian oregano although I managed to keep the spicy Italian oregano alive and am trying it in a different part of the garden this year.

Lemon balm - I seeded a bunch of lemon balm which is just now raising its little green heads, I may try a couple underneath the lime tree so they get some shade. Not sure if they will make it though unless I'll make them a little umbrella:) JK. The rest will go into a shady side garden, but even there they struggle in the heat by the end of summer.

African Blue Basil - waiting for two more to grow roots from the mother plant so I can transplant them.

I picked up two variegated leaf Nasturtiums at the local garden center that are looking rather happy under the apple tree, but I am going all out this year, since I have a whole stack of seed packets of different kinds of Nasturtiums that is on my list to be seeded next - one of them can get six to ten feet tall - I'm most excited about those and the "Glorious Gleam" Heirloom variety I came across.

* Flowers - gotta have flowers:)
COSMOS - bright orange and sunny yellow cosmos - freebies - little selfseeders from other parts of the garden.
VINCA - white with dark red center - also freebies - happy little selfseeders ...

This morning I planted four Alocacea (think big green leafed tropical foliage) about a foot or more tall - also freebies that grow wild in the back forty and can get huge, like over six feet wide and tall. I'll probably add three more, but it started raining so I'm done for today. I also planted one in the front yard in a corner, it is a nice ornamental, we'll see if it likes it there - right near the Papaya tree which looks like it might do fine - I was having doubts about this gift from my neighbor.
I like the tropical look and it should work well with the bananas and I like that it is evergreen and will need no extra attention once it is established.
Mr. R. planted two Cannas (bright orange/deep yellow flowers - huge tropical foliage) three weeks ago, that were living in a pot - they look happy to be in the ground and are multiplying their little hearts out already.
They are flanking one of the entrances into this new garden area.

I'm sure I mentioned that I went a little nuts ordering seed online last year and added even more (for my birthday and Valentines - right?:).
I miss the Forget-me-Nots from my childhood and found to my delight last year that the Chinese forget-me-nots do fine here, I was thrilled.
I'll try the old fashioned kind under some bushes this year - maybe they'll like it in my garden after all.
COSMOS - oh my goodness - there is a lacy looking Rose Cosmos to die for and then I found some other interesting varieties - there will be blooms and possibly flowers for cutting everywhere this year.
ZINNIAS - who doesn't love Zinnias and who knew they've come out with all sorts of interesting new varieties.

The first batch of Zinnias and Cosmos were seeded a week ago and they are about an inch or two tall as we speak. The Forget-me-Nots and the Viola (King Henry) are also sprouting.

* Veggies - we are enjoying fresh Leeks and Lettuce, Celery and Swiss Chard. I'll have to move the Parsley soon as it doesn't like it past 80 degrees.
Peppers are doing well although the seeded pepper is taking its time - not showing up yet. I may buy another four-pack and actually try them in the new garden area or not:).
Tomatoes - I'll cave and buy two plants - one Roma and one grape tomato for Mr. R.

* Lots more to do - perennial spinach and Seminole pumpkin will be seeded next and I'm anxious to get my collection of different salvias seeded so they have time to grow fat and happy before June 1.

* I also put in another small new garden bed with nothing but scented herbs and scented flowers - there is still a bit of room for some seeds in there:).
If you've never inhaled the scent of a Pozo Blue Salvia you haven't lived:)...

Happy Gardening everyone!:)


 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 26, 2020, 07:01:06 PM
Put in lemongrass, turmeric and ginger today.

Purchased French thyme and catnip (I'm allergic to cats but my son wants one so I can at least offer him stoned neighborhood kitties rolling around our yard).

The black walnut is leafing out, and the cherry and the Concord grape are budding. (We don't really have enough "chill hours" to grow cherries but they were selling cherries at Home Depot and I said what the heck.)

Borage, nasturtium, calendula and lipstick sage are in flower. Milkweed should have blossoms soon.

Sprayed the blood orange and the lemon with neem oil.

Took cuttings of another color of milkweed that grows as a weed in an alley near here. Hopefully it will root and I can add it to the yard.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on February 26, 2020, 08:14:27 PM
Sorry to hear about the tree @Jon_Snow . How many more hours of sunlight did you add to the garden with the tree trimming? What are you doing with the hardwood?

@Rosy @trashtalk Your gardens and plans sound amazing. As I was reading your posts, I was wishing you would post pics of everything and share which zones you're in.

I follow a few gardeners, homesteaders and sustainability folks on IG to get inspiration and learn. Would love to know where everyone gets their ideas from... books, botanical gardens, blogs, IG? Are there any that you would recommend reading and following?

On my end, I just finished organizing the seeds for a seed lending library I started a few years ago at the local library. I added 80 new seed packets from Baker Creek to the collection. It was rewarding that the people who have "borrowed" seeds are now starting to actually save seeds year over year. We have a huge collection of zinnia seeds and will likely do a class for library patrons on how to make seed bombs just for something a little different.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on February 26, 2020, 10:19:11 PM
Sorry to hear about the tree @Jon_Snow . How many more hours of sunlight did you add to the garden with the tree trimming? What are you doing with the hardwood?

Well, the kale DID cushion the fall somewhat so my raised beds werenít damaged too bad...so there is that positive spin to be put on it. 😊

As for sunlight gained by my tree falling misadventures...Iím going to estimate that Iíll have gained at least an hour of late day sun in the northwest quadrant of my garden. Wonít know for sure until the sun is higher in the sky over the coming weeks. Itís just getting high enough to send some filtered sun into my garden currently. Itís been enough for the spinach at least. The (now dearly departed) kale certainly didnít need ANY direct sun over the winter at all.
Title: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 26, 2020, 11:34:01 PM
Sorry to hear about the tree @Jon_Snow . How many more hours of sunlight did you add to the garden with the tree trimming? What are you doing with the hardwood?

@Rosy @trashtalk Your gardens and plans sound amazing. As I was reading your posts, I was wishing you would post pics of everything and share which zones you're in.

I follow a few gardeners, homesteaders and sustainability folks on IG to get inspiration and learn. Would love to know where everyone gets their ideas from... books, botanical gardens, blogs, IG? Are there any that you would recommend reading and following?

On my end, I just finished organizing the seeds for a seed lending library I started a few years ago at the local library. I added 80 new seed packets from Baker Creek to the collection. It was rewarding that the people who have "borrowed" seeds are now starting to actually save seeds year over year. We have a huge collection of zinnia seeds and will likely do a class for library patrons on how to make seed bombs just for something a little different.

We have a tiny urban yard that's awkwardly situated and has too much shade to grow most annual food plants but I try to do right but the birds, bugs and butterflies, as well as saving us a little money but growing a few edible perennials and fruit trees.

I've been studying permaculture for years and that's the basis for what "design" we have.

I have too many kids and pests (raccoons, pocket gophers) and too little time to do anything high maintenance. It's highly imperfect but I do have enjoy building soil fertility and developing polycultures.

Pictures? No picturesque garden panoramas happening yet but here's a bee sexing up some borage (one of my favorite self-seeding annuals).

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200227/60a973b940a3c35ec315991652727637.jpg)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on February 26, 2020, 11:34:45 PM
Sorry to hear about the tree @Jon_Snow . How many more hours of sunlight did you add to the garden with the tree trimming? What are you doing with the hardwood?

@Rosy @trashtalk Your gardens and plans sound amazing. As I was reading your posts, I was wishing you would post pics of everything and share which zones you're in.

I follow a few gardeners, homesteaders and sustainability folks on IG to get inspiration and learn. Would love to know where everyone gets their ideas from... books, botanical gardens, blogs, IG? Are there any that you would recommend reading and following?

On my end, I just finished organizing the seeds for a seed lending library I started a few years ago at the local library. I added 80 new seed packets from Baker Creek to the collection. It was rewarding that the people who have "borrowed" seeds are now starting to actually save seeds year over year. We have a huge collection of zinnia seeds and will likely do a class for library patrons on how to make seed bombs just for something a little different.

We have a tiny urban yard that's awkwardly situated and has too much shade to grow most annual food plants but I try to do right but the birds, bugs and butterflies, as well as saving us a little money but growing a few edible perennials and fruit trees.

I've been studying permaculture for years and that's the basis for what "design" we have.

I have too many kids and pests (raccoons, pocket gophers) and too little time to do anything high maintenance. It's highly imperfect but I do have enjoy building soil fertility and developing polycultures.

Pictures? Nothing garden panoramas happening yet here's a bee sexing up some borage (one of my favorite self-seeding annuals).

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200227/60a973b940a3c35ec315991652727637.jpg)

(I think we are in zone 10 -- coastal Southern California.)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on February 27, 2020, 07:06:22 AM
Just loving hearing all the southern gardeners plans.  We are having snow squalls today.  The 7 inches that fell yesterday and the day before is now blowing around creating white out conditions.  I am dreaming about the wonderful smell of the soil.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on February 28, 2020, 05:59:54 AM
* Two Bananas - one vanilla ice cream banana (supposed to be very tasty and do fine in wind and even cold).
One dwarf banana that will only get six feet high or so.
Really looking forward to that harvest:).

@Rosy this all sounds amazing! Hope the new bed shape turns out just right this time :) Do you know the variety of dwarf banana? I'm about to harvest a 4th rack of dwarf Cavendish, which do well here, the fruit is delicious, and would love to find another dwarf variety in the 6 ft size range. The banana flower is also edible.

I've been harvesting starfruit, planted 18 more pineapples, prepping banana compost holes, transplanting banana pups (once you have one plant you have a lifetime supply) and planted 2 Surinam cherries from a neighbor.

Seminole pumpkin seeds have not yet sprouted. Cape gooseberry sprouts are now 3 inches tall! I'd almost given up on them.

Ordered perennial spinach cuttings on eBay (longevity and Brazilian sissoo), I'd never done cuttings before (or ordered plants on eBay!) but they rooted in water in about 2 weeks and are growing outside now.

Went berserk on eBay with 8 new baby fruit trees: blackberry jam fruit, peanut butter tree fruit, rainforest plum, miracle fruit, pitangatuba, 2 varieties of passion fruit, and a pink wampee, which is gorgeous!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Raenia on February 28, 2020, 06:47:47 AM
Went berserk on eBay with 8 new baby fruit trees: blackberry jam fruit, peanut butter tree fruit, rainforest plum, miracle fruit, pitangatuba, 2 varieties of passion fruit, and a pink wampee, which is gorgeous!

What an impressive haul!  I've never even heard of most of those fruits.  Guessing we live in very different climates :)

I'm having bad luck with the plants I tried to over-winter in pots.  Half the strawberry plants are looking quite dead, and the other half are rather sad.  And my brand new baby cilantro died - I was out of town for a week and took it to my mom to take care of while I was gone, and it did not appreciate the shock of change.

Still below freezing here, so I haven't been able to start garden prep yet.  Hopefully my compost will be ready in time to fill the beds I want to build.  Getting very tired of the cold wet weather, and envious of all of you in warmer climes.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on February 28, 2020, 07:55:20 AM
Wow @Roots&Wings - that pink Wampee looks so cool and tropical almost fake:) - now I'll have to google it.
I've never heard of Wampee before - they should call it Pink Princess fruit:).

Oh no, I wish you hadn't told me about plants from e-bay somehow that hadn't crossed my mind yet.

Here is the picture - information on both of my bananas from - Wellspring Gardens in Lakeland, Florida.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/WellspringGardens?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=508858981

Musa Dwarf Puerto Rican Banana Plantain fruit tree Live Plant Tropical
Dwarf Puerto Rican plantain plant is perfect for a tropical edible garden. This delicious fruit is perfect for cooking and is one of the more popular varieties in Puerto Rico. This dwarf variety of plantain tree is shorter than your average plantain, yet has a thicker trunk and is less likely to blow over in winds and can generally withstand the weight of its own fruit.
I purchased on Etsy, but they also have their own website. They ship in two-inch containers via Fedex and have the most reasonable price for shipping I've come across.

I also ordered the Vanilla Orchid plant - it is the real thing, the real vanilla bean - couldn't resist giving it a try. Our local newspaper had an article about growing them in Florida since Vanilla has become so expensive.
So this will be one of my experiments this year:).
Haven't planted them yet, may put in a container until the weather is consistently warmer, we've actually had one or two nights of 42 degrees and mornings in the low fifties - brrr - cold:)
- right now they are in the carport. They are supposed to climb vigorously and like shade.

Since you mentioned it - I also ordered two different edible passion fruit (from Annie's Nursery in CA which I highly recommend) although their shipping prices are atrocious.
What kind did you get? Do you already know what they taste like?

I got this one - Passiflora mollissima "Banana Fruit"
It appears to like it hot and has sumptious pink flowers
https://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=4344

(https://www.anniesannuals.com/signs/p%20-%20r/images//passiflora_mollissima.jpg)
Not sure if I did it right to show the pic.

and this one Passiflora edulis "Frederick" - it looks a lot like the one I had in Germany eons ago - it fruited even there.
https://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=2446

I have a bright red passionflower that loves it (a bit too much) in my yard - no fruit. I'll attempt to move it again, but so far it has been determined to stay where it is.

Question for ya - can you grow starfruit from seeds or is it better to buy one from a nursery? Do they change taste and appearance and go haywire?

The garden is calling me:) - I'll be back to reply to Indio next.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on February 28, 2020, 10:57:33 AM
@Raenia I hadn't heard of several either! The joys of subtropical gardening (zone 9B/10A), used to live up north and definitely understand the long wait for spring.

@Rosy thanks so much, I will check that out. Your passion flower is gorgeous!

Bought the fruit trees and passion flower (purple possum & a yellow variety which is supposedly more cold hardy but slightly more acidic) from a guy out of Jupiter, FL who sells on both ebay and Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/9waters.

My recollection is star fruit is best grafted from a nursery, rather than from seed, Kari and Bell are the sweetest varieties. Got a Kari from a local plant sale a couple years ago, it's now about 6' tall, and loaded with over 50+ fruits. I didn't know they're supposed to be wind intolerant, and it's doing fine in a moderately windy spot!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on February 28, 2020, 12:41:01 PM
You gotta be kidding @Roots&Wings - that Blackberry Jam Fruit tree really has blackberry jam ready made inside the fruit - courtesy of Mother Nature.
OK then, I had to have one.
But then, it's fragrant and evergreen and looks and smells like gardenia - so I got two:).
This thing checked all my boxes - it's a big bush - so easy to harvest.
It doesn't mind a container - so I'll try one in a container in case I kill the one in the garden.
In case you are interested: Found some good plant info at https://toptropicals.com/html/toptropicals/plant_wk/randia.htm

I'm smitten:). Imagine blackberry jam off the tree.
Makes me think of the saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin - Beer is proof that God loves us:)
Jam and no work involved is every bit as good - now where is that beer tree?

(https://i.etsystatic.com/12260520/r/il/b6d719/1983993891/il_794xN.1983993891_j6ag.jpg)

Had to let the star fruit idea go - not at all suited for my garden, unfortunately. Glad I did a bit more research on this.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on February 28, 2020, 02:15:46 PM
The DH and I finished filling the raised bed (12x3x2ft) with soil this weekend.  Tired, dirty and in the rapidly approaching dark, I still couldn't resist planting peas, kale, beets & parsnips in the freshly filled bed.

Indoors, still tired, but cleaner and well lit, I planted tomatoes, cucumbers & brussels sprouts in homemade newspaper pots.

Homemade newspaper pots, that's brilliant - so spill, how do you do yours?:)
I have a few rare seeds (the kind where they only give you five seeds) and I thought that I might buy some pots that disintegrate since I don't want to disturb the young seedlings/plantlings too much when I put them in the ground or a bigger pot.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on February 29, 2020, 04:31:32 AM
Love the southern gardening discussion!  It's surreal to read it while looking out the window at snow on the ground.  Those plants are crazy cool.

My only tropical-ish planting this year is that my pomegranate tree has survived another winter in its pot, and I am finally going to put it in the ground.  I'm out of zone, but I'm going to give it a go.  I'm already growing banana trees, figs, and tea out of zone, so I think I can do it.  Fingers crossed.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Serendip on March 01, 2020, 12:46:01 PM
Agreed @Trifele --we are recommended to wait until Mid-may to plant in my area (mountainous region) so it seems unbelievable!

I have happily set my goal for the day to inventory what I have, then order any necessary seeds from West Coast seeds. We only have two garden boxes (in a community garden) and some patio pots but it takes some planning since not much grows here. Would like to try a few new things like amaranth and wasabi arugula.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on March 01, 2020, 08:07:35 PM
Found a bunch of sprouting Russet potatoes in the cupboard; will try to make a "potato tower" with some huge pots I got from our Buy Nothing Group.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 02, 2020, 05:14:41 PM
Getting a little antsy to get going here. In the past Iíve planted peas in the last week of February a few times and here it is the first week of March and it just feels a little bit too cold, with overnight temps down in the low single digits, and highs struggling to reach double digit Celsius. I expect my spinach, which I havenít seen in over a week (my garden is on an island, and Iím quite often not there), is probably not happy with this, as cold hardy as it can be. Iím sure my garlic is happy and around now my horseradish patch should be showing signs of life but I want to start planting things in earnest. Peas, most of all. As veggie gardeners we all know the joy of eating peas right off the vine. Just need a bit more warmth.

The good news is that I have a whole host of starts happily growing under lights indoors. All sorts of brassicas (kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), onions, lettuce and some backup spinach. The spinach starts will go in soon to compliment the directly sown spinach (assuming itís still alive) and for the rest, given some seasonable temps, will get transplanted out in early April.

*Jon_Snow goes back to examining the extended forecast*
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: NinetyFour on March 02, 2020, 07:20:22 PM
On a sadder note, I cut a few trees down in order to give my garden site more sun in the months to come....and in falling one tree I made an error in anticipating itís trajectory of decent and it landed square on my magnificent overwintered kale and collards patch. It wasnít pretty. So, with a deep sigh I pulled the plants (after a last kale/collard harvest) and put them in the compost.

ACK!!  :(
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on March 03, 2020, 06:04:47 AM
It's so interesting to hear all the things that are being grown in the sub-tropical climes!

Here it was 25F yesterday morning, though it's supposed to hit 65 by the end of the week.  I planted peppers and eggplants 2 weeks ago and have lots of little sprouts coming up.  Last weekend I did a flat of tomatoes and a flat of cole crops and lettuces.  I have my cups of soil (re-using stacks of Sonic cups my co-worker brings me) ready to seed my alliums and assorted herbs. 

Hoping I can get work squared away so I can take Thursday and Friday afternoons off to play in the garden (or more like pick up where I left off on cleanup last fall).  I didn't get around to replenishing the horse poo in the fall, so I'm going to need to find some good compost to top up the beds. 

Given that it's been a mild winter, I might also just toss some root vegetable seeds in the ground and see what happens, though it's about a month early.  I'm keeping busy with two horses in training + might be taking a job that will increase my travel, so I'm trying to keep things fairly in hand and not overcommit myself.  We'll se.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on March 03, 2020, 10:16:03 AM
I'm so confused...
In the fall I ordered King Tut (seeds were found in King Tuts grave) blue sweet pea seeds because the flowers looked amazing online and I hoped it would have a lovely scent - from the rare seed emporium on Etsy. Now that I'm belatedly ready to plant it (should have started it a few months earlier for a sturdier root system by now(:

Now - I realize this variety isn't really a climber like I thought but a ground cover which is supposed to be great at suppressing weeds. OK then that works for me in the permaculture bed...
But I still want to try one in a flowerbox to trail in the front - we'll see if that works.

This is not an edible variety either, in fact, you will die if you consume too much of it over a period of time - apparently people tried to eat it in times of famine.

It is supposed to be one of the rare annual variety which has a much stronger scent - I'm thrilled about that. The info on how to germinate is all over the place so I guess I'll try my luck using two different methods.
Unfortunately, I only have ten seeds so hopefully one of them will work and hopefully, they will reseed themselves or who knows they might turn into a nuisance plant - we'll see, first I have to get them to sprout.

Seeds are available from other places but from what I could discern there are a number of different varieties out there, some climbing, some perennial and even an electric blue one.
Looks like some species proliferate gardens in the UK - so surely this will turn out to be a lovely plant - right?:).

... and this is why a quick seeding project turns into two hours of research and mild frustration and surprising discoveries.
(https://i.etsystatic.com/6728015/r/il/3f91e6/1185860994/il_794xN.1185860994_5wjh.jpg)
 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on March 03, 2020, 11:44:04 AM
The DH and I finished filling the raised bed (12x3x2ft) with soil this weekend.  Tired, dirty and in the rapidly approaching dark, I still couldn't resist planting peas, kale, beets & parsnips in the freshly filled bed.

Indoors, still tired, but cleaner and well lit, I planted tomatoes, cucumbers & brussels sprouts in homemade newspaper pots.

Homemade newspaper pots, that's brilliant - so spill, how do you do yours?:)
I have a few rare seeds (the kind where they only give you five seeds) and I thought that I might buy some pots that disintegrate since I don't want to disturb the young seedlings/plantlings too much when I put them in the ground or a bigger pot.

easy-peasy  I grabbed a can of tomato paste out of the cupboard, cut the local free newspaper into long strips, then loosely rolled a double layer of newspaper around the can leaving maybe an inch of paper sticking up over the top.  I folded the extra newspaper over the end of the can to create the bottom of the pot, then slid the can out of the paper.  Presto: one pot.  Repeat as needed.

Pro tip:  soak your soil before putting it into the paper pot for the first time.  If you try to hydrate dry soil wrapped in paper, the paper will wick the water away.  If you put already moist soil into a paper pot the paper will get soggy, but not collapse.  - ask me how I know.

As of this moment, I have happy seedlings in every pot.  :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on March 03, 2020, 12:35:46 PM
Thanks @SheWhoWalksAtLunch - you answered just in time:) I just started on my second seedling project.
I'll try it with the six really rare seeds that I only have five seeds for. I also came across one seed packet this morning that said the roots don't like to be disturbed so I'll use paper pots for them as well.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: SheWhoWalksAtLunch on March 03, 2020, 12:42:45 PM
@Rosy when it comes time to plant the paper pot directly in the garden, I strongly recommend you either fold over or trim down and bury the top part of the paper pot.  The paper pot sticking out of the garden soil can wick moisture away from the plant if left exposed to the sun & wind.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: centwise on March 03, 2020, 12:58:19 PM
Thinking about growing vegetables for the first time. Posting to follow! Maybe you all will inspire me. :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 10, 2020, 07:54:03 AM
I just got back from my two day beekeeping class at Spikenard Farm in Virginia. MIND. BLOWN.  Thank you thank you @Indio for recommending that.  It was a completely different perspective about beekeeping than any of the classes I've done or books I'd read so far.  Absolutely loved it!  I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about starting with bees, or anyone who already has bees.

Their approach is biodynamic and much less invasive than the conventional thinking, especially on topics like pest monitoring/management, honey-harvesting, and swarming.  It fits very well with my approach to gardening and chicken-keeping.  I'm going to start with this biodynamic approach with my first two hives next month, and see how it goes. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 10, 2020, 10:22:37 AM
Iím posting most of my garden related stuff in my Journal lately, but this was just too cool not to bring over here.

Iíve been working in my garden for the past couple of days, getting the beds prepped, planting a few cold hardy things....and cutting back the advancing blackberry hordes. Yesterday I found myself working on last years carrot bed. I knew there would be some overwintered carrots in there. But I was not prepared for what I found.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49642185246_b0568ba006.jpg)

I pulled out some of the biggest specimens and a quick rinse revealed a pristine carrot crop. And incredibly tasty and sweet....much better tasting than I recall them being last Fall.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49642455952_779b24bfe0.jpg)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on March 10, 2020, 11:00:11 AM
Sweet carro...time! da da dahhhh
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 10, 2020, 07:05:03 PM
Sweet carro...time! da da dahhhh

🤦‍♂️
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on March 10, 2020, 08:01:23 PM
@Trifele That's so exciting that you got to Spikenard. When I first met Gunther, I knew I was in the presence of a bee whisperer. When do your bees arrive? I'm sure they are going to be thrilled living with you.
 
@Jon_Snow What a delightful surprisingly big load of carrots. It's like the Spring bonus round. I've always found that carrots that survived frost and Winter always taste sweeter. There's something about cold weather locking in the natural sweetness.

@Rosy That's a beautiful shade of blue. Fragrant and gorgeous is a fabulous combo. Too bad it's poisonous. It would look lovely in a salad.





Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 14, 2020, 03:48:20 PM
Love the carrots @Jon_Snow!  Very pretty.

I planted two beds of potatoes today, one each of French Fingerling and Yukon Gold.  Potatoes are such happy things.  I also fed my 10 blueberry bushes.  Most of them are budding; will hopefully be another good year!

And last but not least, I bought a black currant bush, which I'll plant tomorrow at the end of my row of gooseberries.  I've never grown currants before -- interested to see what they are like.

Hope everyone is doing ok!  Keep calm and garden on.   :)   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: chaskavitch on March 15, 2020, 09:11:05 AM
We just planted our seeds for tomato, tomatillo, and pepper starts.  Last frost here is sometime after Mother's day, so we've got a while for the tender things. 

I also just bought 4 gooseberry bushes and 4 red currant bushes.  We have a flower bed on the edge of our lawn before the rest of our acre starts that is bordered by 4x4s where we're going to put them.  We have another area where we're planning on putting a firepit and a big low-water/native perennial area, so we don't need the beds for actual flowers, and I'm hoping that the gooseberry and currants are less invasive into our lawn than the raspberry bushes we're also planning to get.  I know they're nowhere near as bad as blackberries in the PNW, but my parents have taken to just mowing down the raspberry suckers that pop up in their yard next to their row of raspberry bushes, so I know it's still a problem.  As I was checking out, the cashier told me she has gooseberry bushes - she said "you basically have to gear up in kevlar to avoid the thorns, but it's totally worth it, they're delicious", which is great to hear.

We're in a new-to-us house as of last August, and we have a whole acre of Colorado plains to fill up (and irrigate).  We're focusing on the base of the landscaping right now. 

There's a lawn area of a decent size next to the house.  Past that, we've put in a big old play structure for the kids, some horseshoe pits, and we're putting in a firepit and native plants (as I mentioned above).  Past THAT, we've got about 3x as much garden as we used to, a giant mobile chicken run, and...grass?  I'm going to just throw a bunch of wildflower seeds out there with some native grass seed and see what I get.  We might use it for livestock or meat chickens eventually, but right now it's just sad, mowed-down, clumpy grass.  Flowers will be infinitely better.

We also have a bunch of fruit trees (theoretically).  They didn't actually have any fruit on them last year when we moved in, which seems odd, but I don't know WHY.  Hopefully I'll get a better idea what is going on this spring, and we can prune and plant new trees accordingly.  I'd love to have some fruit trees.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 18, 2020, 05:47:14 AM
Great update @chaskavitch!  Twinsies -- I'm growing currants and gooseberries too.  They're fun.  I have one Hinnonmaki gooseberry that's so delicious I wish I had more.  (the rest of mine are Pixwell).  I'm trying to propagate that guy by tip rooting.  I've read that that can be a slow process, but I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm also propagating elderberries right now.  I have one bush that's putting up some good suckers, so I'm going to be digging those little ones up and relocating them.  Love elderberries. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: chaskavitch on March 18, 2020, 08:30:14 AM
@Trifele , it looks like my gooseberries are Pixwell as well.  The currants are Red Lake Currants.  The tag the nursery had on it said it was one of the most popular varieties and highly recommended in Colorado, so I figured it was a good bet :)  I'm excited to see how they both turn out!

My almost-4-year-old is excited about the gooseberry bushes because he remembers them from the Tale of Peter Rabbit,but I think he's going to be sorely disappointed that he can't actually play in them.  Hopefully delicious berries can make him not care as much, haha.

Has anyone ever had a Haskap berry? There was one variety available at my local plant nursery, the Yezberry Honeybunch Haskap Berry. It is supposed to taste like a cross between a raspberry and a blueberry, but I've never heard of it before.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 18, 2020, 09:03:06 AM
@chaskavitch -- I think @Jon_Snow and at least one other person are growing haskaps.  I haven't tried them yet.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 18, 2020, 09:57:36 AM
@chaskavitch -- I think @Jon_Snow and at least one other person are growing haskaps.  I haven't tried them yet.

Nope, not me. Until this moment I donít believe I had even heard of them. ☺️
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: jeninco on March 18, 2020, 10:11:20 AM
@Trifele , it looks like my gooseberries are Pixwell as well.  The currants are Red Lake Currants.  The tag the nursery had on it said it was one of the most popular varieties and highly recommended in Colorado, so I figured it was a good bet :)  I'm excited to see how they both turn out!

My almost-4-year-old is excited about the gooseberry bushes because he remembers them from the Tale of Peter Rabbit,but I think he's going to be sorely disappointed that he can't actually play in them.  Hopefully delicious berries can make him not care as much, haha.

Has anyone ever had a Haskap berry? There was one variety available at my local plant nursery, the Yezberry Honeybunch Haskap Berry. It is supposed to taste like a cross between a raspberry and a blueberry, but I've never heard of it before.

We have gooseberries growing in a quasi-permaculture area in the front yard around a sour cherry tree, and ... they both impede human traffic to the tree (those thorns are BIG and sharp) and don't seem to slow down the deer at all. Sigh! Also, they're delicious, but the ones we grow have "tails" on the individual berries that need to be taken off, which is kind of a PITA. Perhaps yours don't?

The Haskap berry sounds fascinating! I'll have to have a look around here (50 miles or so to your south).

Perhaps I will add "start tomatoes, basil, and peppers" to my list of things to do in the next few days. I did get one of our 4X8 beds planted yesterday with snow peas, chard, carrots and radishes (I learned a while ago that I can plant a single row of mixed radishes and carrots -- the radishes come up first, marking the row, and are ready to remove before the carrots are more then tiny sprouts.  I also discovered and dug up a few over-wintered carrots in there. Yum!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 18, 2020, 02:58:05 PM
@chaskavitch -- I think @Jon_Snow and at least one other person are growing haskaps.  I haven't tried them yet.

Nope, not me. Until this moment I donít believe I had even heard of them. ☺️

Hm.  I know somebody was growing them last year but darn if I can find the posts.  :)   

I spent four hard hours in the garden today and I'm exhausted in a good way.  DH dug me three new 12 X 3' beds, and I amended them all with some nice aged composted straw from the chicken run.  This first year I will just plant wildflower mix in two of those.   The third one will be a perennial bed with strawberries and borage.  I also planted broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes in one of my main annual beds.  (I know, a bit optimistic on the tomatoes, but what the hell.)  My goal -- which should be fully accomplished in about a year -- is to have 2/3 of my garden planted with perennials, and to reserve 1/3 of the space for annual vegetables. 

Today I also harvested some leeks, chicory, and some leftover potatoes I found in one of the beds from last year.  I'm going to saute it all up in butter, add some of our chicken eggs, and bake a quiche for dinner.   I'm enjoying a martini as I cook.  Life is good!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 18, 2020, 03:27:02 PM
@chaskavitch -- I think @Jon_Snow and at least one other person are growing haskaps.  I haven't tried them yet.

Nope, not me. Until this moment I donít believe I had even heard of them. ☺️

Hm.  I know somebody was growing them last year but darn if I can find the posts.  :)   

Haha, no problem. Donít grow berries myself, since Nature supplies me more than I could ever handle in the form of blackberries and (the criminally underrated) salal berries.

I spent four hard hours in the garden today and I'm exhausted in a good way.  DH dug me three new 12 X 3' beds, and I amended them all with some nice aged composted straw from the chicken run.  This first year I will just plant wildflower mix in two of those.   The third one will be a perennial bed with strawberries and borage.  I also planted broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes in one of my main annual beds.  (I know, a bit optimistic on the tomatoes, but what the hell.)  My goal -- which should be fully accomplished in about a year -- is to have 2/3 of my garden planted with perennials, and to reserve 1/3 of the space for annual vegetables. 

That soundís like a great garden day to me. Iíve had many such all day sessions so far, and many more to come in the days and weeks ahead. Not feeling remotely as brave with tomatoes yet, but I am close to setting out my brassica seedlings (broc, cauli, cabbage, kale) as well as onions...will also be complimenting the brassica transplants with some direct seeding...in the hope that I get a nice spread of harvests over the course of the Summer. I still struggle with EVERYTHING being ready to harvest at the same time. The sight of 8 enormous cabbages suddenly ready to pick is far too common an event. At least with kale to can harvest-as-you-go...somewhat similar with broccoli as you can continue to harvest the side-shoots. Cauliflower, not so much. Iíve just received a big mail order of seed potatoes and I am going BIG with the potatoes harvest this year...and in the next few days Iíll be finishing off a big potato bin structure...and then Iíll plant those.

Given the current state of the world, my plans for my garden have become increasingly more ambitious as the days have progressed here. As we look for ways to find comfort, buffer ourselves from stress...I find the idea of growing a MASSIVE amount of healthy food for myself, my family and this year, for the wider community to be an extremely calming concept. My DW is now off work, for at least a month, so I will have some enthusiastic help in this endeavour this season, at least towards the start of the process.

I hope all you in this great thread find some peace and comfort in your own gardens!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 18, 2020, 03:44:39 PM
That soundís like a great garden day to me. Iíve had many such all day sessions so far, and many more to come in the days and weeks ahead.  . . . . .  I am going BIG with the potatoes harvest this year...and in the next few days Iíll be finishing off a big potato bin structure...and then Iíll plant those.

Given the current state of the world, my plans for my garden have become increasingly more ambitious as the days have progressed here. As we look for ways to find comfort, buffer ourselves from stress...I find the idea of growing a MASSIVE amount of healthy food for myself, my family and this year, for the wider community to be an extremely calming concept. My DW is now off work, for at least a month, so I will have some enthusiastic help in this endeavour this season, at least towards the start of the process.

I hope all you in this great thread find some peace and comfort in your own gardens!

+1.  Well said, @Jon_Snow  The garden is a tremendous source of comfort.  Hope you are all doing ok, and can get outside in these turbulent times. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on March 18, 2020, 10:18:56 PM
We harvested the first blackberry of the season! My 9yo will live on them for the next month.

Started some bean seeds today. Felt like getting back to the fundamentals. The kids helped me start some squash and sunflowers as part of "homeschool" the other day.

Tonight I was feeling blessed and fortunate so I made a point to do a little harvest. In came lemons, artichokes, oregano, rosemary, green garlic, chives, collards, sorrel and chard. All but the first two became toppings on homemade pizza. (The trimmings are simmering in a pot with some shrimp tails for a seafood stock I'll use tomorrow.)

We are so lucky to have a little soil and sunlight to nourish our bodies and souls.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 20, 2020, 11:55:08 AM
Today I repotted my cucumber seedlings from their little starter cells into bigger pots.  These are all "Corinto" variety, gynoecious (all female) and parthenocarpic (no pollination needed).  The seed was very old so my hopes were low, but I had 90% germination.  These little girls are beautiful!
                                                           

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 20, 2020, 07:18:04 PM
Trifele, those are gorgeous seedlings.

I put a clove from each of my homegrown bulbs of garlic in soil in the crisper last fall, then left for 3 months.  I'm home and they have all sprouted, lots of roots and nice shoots.  They have been moved into a big pot with lots of good soil.  I doubt I will have access to a garden plot this year, 3x as many applicants as likely spots available, so all my gardening this year will be on an east-facing balcony.  Totally new gardening experience for me.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 22, 2020, 05:04:37 AM
That's a neat way of growing garlic @RetiredAt63 -- I've never heard of that.

Busy day in the garden yesterday here.  I repotted tomato seedlings -- "Delicious" open pollinated variety.  If all goes well they should be ready to go into the garden in about two weeks.  If those grow well for me this year I'll save the seed.   I planted the three new garden beds with buckwheat, wildflower mix, and crimson clover.   DH finished putting up the fence around the bee yard, laying landscaping fabric and pavers to keep the grass down.  Don't want to do more trimming than necessary close to the hives.

Not sure if my bees will still come as planned in two weeks despite the epidemic?  We are supposed to pick them up at an open-air bee yard.  I haven't heard otherwise yet from the apiary so I guess it is still on?  . . .  I think livestock type-places are continuing to function, so maybe this falls in that category?   Our local farm store where we buy chicken feed is still operating.  I would think farm stores will have to fall into the category of "essential businesses" and stay open.  Our local farm store already operates on a "drive through" basis -- you pull your truck right into the store, load, and drive out  the back -- so that's good. 

Hope everyone is doing ok!  Hope you can get outside, or at least sit in a ray of sunshine.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 22, 2020, 06:47:06 AM
So I bought a 12 pack of native wildflower seeds from Spikenard Farm, and I'm reading about how to plant these.  I'm a real beginner when it comes to flowers. 

It's an interesting mixture of plants, and I had never heard of some of them.  Wingstem?  Cup plant?  Etc.  So it turns out more than half these guys need to be cold stratified to sprout.  Who knew?  Some of them need 30 days or more in the fridge, so I'd better hop on this fast.  I know what I'll be doing this afternoon! 



 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 22, 2020, 10:18:05 AM
That's a neat way of growing garlic @RetiredAt63 -- I've never heard of that.
 
So it turns out more than half these guys need to be cold stratified to sprout.

For the garlic, it was desperation.  They are hard neck varieties, supposed to be planted in late October outside, they grow roots before the ground freezes.  Nothing else to do when I had no outside garden.  I was afraid they would freeze too much in a pot on the balcony.

In cold climates most seeds need cold stratification, no point germinating in the fall and being killed by winter.  Trillium seeds need a minimum of 2 winters before germination, and many don't germinate until even more winters have passed.  A lot of trees also have chilling requirements so they don't bud too soon - we get warm spells in February, but then it gets cold again.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 22, 2020, 10:41:27 AM
In cold climates most seeds need cold stratification, no point germinating in the fall and being killed by winter.  Trillium seeds need a minimum of 2 winters before germination, and many don't germinate until even more winters have passed.  A lot of trees also have chilling requirements so they don't bud too soon - we get warm spells in February, but then it gets cold again.

Yep, I've grown apples for years and know about chilling requirements for fruit trees.  But putting seeds in the fridge is a new one for me!  The only things I usually grow from seed are annual vegetables and I've never run across a chilling requirement on those.  It makes perfect sense though for wild perennials from a biological perspective.  There is no sense sprouting during a fluke warm spell in January or something.  As a seed, you want to make darn sure that spring is really here before you sprout.  There's no do-over!

And hey!  I was just in the garden.  Potatoes are up, looking fierce.  And my 'Red Russian' kale plants from last year are going to seed.  Yay!  The last seeds I had saved are now 5 years old (still viable), but it's time to replenish the seed stock.  RR kale is a true champ.  It never lets me down.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 22, 2020, 02:32:31 PM
In cold climates most seeds need cold stratification, no point germinating in the fall and being killed by winter.  Trillium seeds need a minimum of 2 winters before germination, and many don't germinate until even more winters have passed.  A lot of trees also have chilling requirements so they don't bud too soon - we get warm spells in February, but then it gets cold again.

Yep, I've grown apples for years and know about chilling requirements for fruit trees.  But putting seeds in the fridge is a new one for me!  The only things I usually grow from seed are annual vegetables and I've never run across a chilling requirement on those.  It makes perfect sense though for wild perennials from a biological perspective.  There is no sense sprouting during a fluke warm spell in January or something.  As a seed, you want to make darn sure that spring is really here before you sprout.  There's no do-over!

And hey!  I was just in the garden.  Potatoes are up, looking fierce.  And my 'Red Russian' kale plants from last year are going to seed.  Yay!  The last seeds I had saved are now 5 years old (still viable), but it's time to replenish the seed stock.  RR kale is a true champ.  It never lets me down.

Yay potatoes!  And double YAY for the kale.  Seeds from your own plants are great, they come from plants that do well in your conditions.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on March 22, 2020, 02:34:53 PM
Boo - none of my Italian basil mix seeds sprouted but, drumroll:) I was able to get three more African Blue Basil plants from my mother plant via bending a branch down into the ground, adding moist soil and weighing it all down with a rock and voila - new self-rooted plant.
You can't grow African Blue basil from seed - isn't that the weirdest thing?
Anyway, it smells delightful and has such a peppery, spicy flavor you can use it in a whole lot of dishes for seasoning and it looks like a pretty landscape plant - a small bush with arching purple flower stems.

About that blackberry jam tree @Roots&Wings - I ordered two plants and guess what, one pot had four seedlings, the other six seedlings and they are all doing well. Sharing some with my neighbor when they are bigger, she works and fosters cats so her gardening time is way more limited than mine.
Funny thing, it came with dire warnings and instructions on how to handle these exotic plants - pfft, they loved it in my garden from day one.
So thanks again for the tip:).

In light of the pandemic, I've decided to up the veggie production in our garden as well, perennial spinach and a variety of different peppers and sigh, definitely two tomatoes prima donnas that they are:) and I'm sticking every green onion root from every green onion bunch from the grocery store right back into the garden.
Bonus - found a self-seeded tomato in my flower bed - it will be interesting to see what kind of tomatoes it will produce, transplanting it next week - hoping it will like its new spot.

Still seeding flowers and herbs and veggies - the first round went relatively well. Already set up for round two - beginning tomorrow.
A few things didn't come up at all and some of the seeds I seeded in the garden settled in different spots than I intended, but I prefer inground sowing and overall I grew enough in pots to move to any open spots in the bed. If I were produce-dependent then I'd have to learn to be way more accurate and figure out how to keep the seeds where I need them to be.
Although I worried about the weather and how it would affect the seedlings worse than any mother-hen.

We are having a dry, unusually warm spring - so I had to water two, sometimes three times a day - but I didn't lose any plant babies, except a couple to the damn squirrels and other critters that keep digging up the beds at night.
While my coffee is brewing I'm out there in my PJs patrolling the garden:) for nightly damage so I can fix it immediately.
Yeah, it has come to that:).

We've been adding border stones to our new garden area and removing the temporary branches and small logs I've used for the initial layout.
I've decided to keep the logs and branches at the back of the border not just to save money but because it is a better transition to the wild back forty:).
I bet I counted thirty butterflies yesterday including two or three I haven't seen before.

A pair of ducklings came to visit out of the ditch, we have three kinds of woodpeckers making a racket all day long including the big one with the redhead, the hawk got harassed by the Blue Jays and my birdbath is a hit with everyone from the Red Cardinal pair to the birds that are just coming through on a fly-over and we now have a pair of yellow-bellied crested Titmousies nesting in the Bougainvillea.

The redheaded big woodpecker and the squirrels fought over the goodies in our neighbor's bird feeder, the woodpecker won:).
It was an intense fight, neither one was willing to give up easily - it must have been some extra tasty treat.

One of my last two trips outside the house will be to pick up a cashew tree, and I'm still deciding on the other two (Peach-Meyer Lemon-Orange?...) - debating about ordering a goji berry... I've only left the house twice in the past two weeks but I think it will be safer to stay home for good for a while. 
Having a nice big outdoor space to enjoy incl a BBQ area and a gazebo to sip whatever is an asset and a joy.

Stay safe and happy gardening!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 22, 2020, 04:38:34 PM
Rosy, French tarragon doesn't come true to seed either, all plants are a clone.  And of course all our named fruit varieties are clones also.  That makes them consistent, but if one gets a disease all members of the clone are equally vulnerable.

Your garden sounds great. We are still in late winter/early spring.  Sigh. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on March 22, 2020, 04:46:09 PM
We are giving up on broccoli. We thought it was just too hot last spring/summer (haha, you've heard what they say about summers in San Francisco) so we planted late fall and they grew like wildfire, but are just putting up individual scrappy florets the size of my pinky. 

However, we may not be the world's first failed blackberry farmers - the canes we planted *do* have new leaves!

The bok choy and lettuce we planted don't seem to be doing well, although the arugula right next door is.  I'm pretty bummed out as I was looking forward to lots of our own lettuce, and bok choy would have been fun and is a regular rotation of ours.  We still had some seeds left, so DH did a bunch more but not knowing what went wrong the first time, I'm feeling a bit concerned about this round as well.

Basil is now in the ground as well as more kale seedlings, so there should never be a shortage of kale.  Good ol' kale.  It really is low maintenance and reliable and we use it so much!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 23, 2020, 05:02:50 AM
Yay for kale @sui generis!  I agree -- what a great crop.

And I'm with you on the lettuce this year.  I usually just seed it outside, but this year I planted a bunch inside in the grow cabinet and it sprouted but then died.  I have no idea why.  :(   I'm going to re-seed it outside and see what happens.   

And @RetiredAt63 -- that is really interesting about the garlic.  Sounds like your desperation improvisation totally paid off!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on March 23, 2020, 06:42:53 AM
About that blackberry jam tree @Roots&Wings - I ordered two plants and guess what, one pot had four seedlings, the other six seedlings and they are all doing well. Sharing some with my neighbor when they are bigger, she works and fosters cats so her gardening time is way more limited than mine.

Wow, @Rosy how lucky! I was just thinking about ordering another one or two of the blackberry jam fruit (and pitangatubas, which stay small), canít wait to see how they do.

Are your Seminole pumpkin seeds sprouting? Iím having no luck...maybe thereís some trick to it. African blue basil is lovely, thatís a great tip to bury the tips.

And a cashew tree, what fun! My peach tree (Florida Prince) has lots of baby fruit this spring, meyer lemon is flowering (the scent is heavenly), and orange tree is still loaded with fruit weíve been eating all winter. You can't go wrong with any of those.

Next project is transplanting a couple pomelo trees (the 1 tree sprouted babies). I keep thinking Iím out of room, and somehow find more space :)

As far as going out to a nursery, perhaps you can call ahead/pay in advance and they can have it out and ready for pickup? There was an article about this in NWF recently, with so many plant sales this spring cancelled, and how to safely buy garden supplies. I know the garden is saving my sanity right now.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: coffeefueled on March 23, 2020, 09:10:54 AM
Does anyone grow hazelnuts? I'm planning to start a hazel coppice in the wooded section of my lot. The ground is already clear from deer browsing and I want to bring back some understory. I also really want to have my own supply of bean poles in a couple years. As someone who's moved around a lot and has only owned a home for a little over a year it feels a little odd and wonderful to plan for 7 years down the road when the hazels will be ready to harvest and hopefully we'll finally have fruit from the pear and apple tress I planted last fall.

So far the only thing I've done in the garden this year is get the fence in, mulch the flower beds, and order a rose to climb one of the back patio walls. All the talk of seedlings has me inspired to start some tomato and cumbers and finally clear the weedy overgrown garden beds to get some kale in the ground.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: chaskavitch on March 23, 2020, 09:22:42 AM
As far as going out to a nursery, perhaps you can call ahead/pay in advance and they can have it out and ready for pickup? There was an article about this in NWF recently, with so many plant sales this spring cancelled, and how to safely buy garden supplies. I know the garden is saving my sanity right now.

Our local nursery is doing free curbside pickup, delivery for a fee, and occasionally delivery AND planting.  They didn't use to have an online inventory list at all, so they're working on it really quickly.  I imagine a lot of nurseries will be in the same situation.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on March 23, 2020, 10:55:56 AM
Got home from my shortened vacation and my basil and lettuce seedlings need to be transplanted into bigger pots.

Hubs was not able to keep all the onion starts alive so I will start some more.
I like to pop down to the seed distributor to pick my own order, but I am in 14 day isolation will do a mail order tonight.  So late starting my peppers, but it is what it is!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Rosy on March 23, 2020, 01:57:32 PM
About that blackberry jam tree @Roots&Wings - I ordered two plants and guess what, one pot had four seedlings, the other six seedlings and they are all doing well. Sharing some with my neighbor when they are bigger, she works and fosters cats so her gardening time is way more limited than mine.

Wow, @Rosy how lucky! I was just thinking about ordering another one or two of the blackberry jam fruit (and pitangatubas, which stay small), canít wait to see how they do.

Are your Seminole pumpkin seeds sprouting? Iím having no luck...maybe thereís some trick to it. African blue basil is lovely, thatís a great tip to bury the tips.

And a cashew tree, what fun! My peach tree (Florida Prince) has lots of baby fruit this spring, meyer lemon is flowering (the scent is heavenly), and orange tree is still loaded with fruit weíve been eating all winter. You can't go wrong with any of those.

Next project is transplanting a couple pomelo trees (the 1 tree sprouted babies). I keep thinking Iím out of room, and somehow find more space :)

As far as going out to a nursery, perhaps you can call ahead/pay in advance and they can have it out and ready for pickup? There was an article about this in NWF recently, with so many plant sales this spring cancelled, and how to safely buy garden supplies. I know the garden is saving my sanity right now.

Seminole Pumpkins
I, umm:) haven't seeded them yet, they are scheduled for my second and last batch of seeding this week. I'll let you know how they do.
Maybe you have to soak the seeds or nick them first?
Now that you said that I'll test mine in a wet paper towel to see if they sprout.

Thanks for the suggestion of pre-ordering, duh, of course they do that, at least at one of the nurseries I intend to buy at. The other has a new owner and I'm unfamiliar with what they carry now, but I saw the cashew tree on their list online.

I had to google pitangatubas - you've solved a mystery for me.
We have three (red fruit), they are over 60 years old (his dad planted them) and about eight feet high - they don't produce anymore except for a handful here and there - they are under the shade of an oak tree and a huge puffball tree, poor things. But they are evergreen and make a nice border towards the road, so I let them be.

Do you know of any sweet cherries that grow in Florida? seems they are all tangy, nothing like the sweet dark cherries I love.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: trashtalk on March 23, 2020, 03:12:50 PM
I put some cupboard-sprouted potatoes in a huge pot and the green leaves emerged today so we should have a potato tower to make us new potatoes.

The asparagus is up but it's too young to harvest. See you in 2022 for that.

A neighbor relocated her strawberry beds and shared extra strawberry plants with the rest of us. I dearly hope they survive!

I should be starting more seeds everyday but I think I need to relocate my potting bench so I can have more space.

I am still harvesting my usual small quantities of citrus and peppers, which is always heartening even if it wouldn't be enough to keep us alive during a real food shortage.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on March 23, 2020, 09:12:15 PM
Did a good yard cleanup session yesterday.  It was a beautiful day and really what I needed mentally.  There will probably be a lot of immaculate yards and gardens around this year!  I got my three metal-sided beds and one other bed prepared and planted beets, carrots, lettuce, mesclun mix, kale, chard and collards.  Now we are getting a bit of rain, so that should give them a good start.  Tonight I transplanted about 45 tomatoes into bigger cups along with 18 cauliflowers, some cabbages and broccolis.  My special strain of green chiles germinated almost perfectly, so it looks like I'll have 60+ plants if I can find room for them all.  OTOH, I got zero germination on my eggplants, so I'm hoping I'll be able to procure some plants in another month or so.

With work travel being cancelled, this might be the year that I finally get the native garden planted in our side yard, which has been an unsightly mess most of the time we've lived here, though I've been chipping away at it little by little
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Money Badger on March 23, 2020, 09:33:35 PM
Hi green peeps!   Been using the extra home time to get the garden expansion, compost bins improved and really organized on growing from seeds for tomatoes and basil to get early starts (Georgia Zone 7 to 8).   The biggest score was asparagus bed is now planted (young plants so 2 years to wait... Sigh)!    The other major addition was a roto tiller to do the garden expansion soil prep and a plot of sunflowers is on my list...    And oh yeah, get the drip irrigation setup to the expansion bed.   Sorry, too much to do... gotta go!  ;)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: dizzy on March 24, 2020, 07:14:38 AM
Convinced my bf to let me put in 2 raised beds in his yard for square foot gardening.  I've always wanted to try this but didn't have the space.  Resigned myself that I'm probably going to end up moving there with all the financial nonsense (he said it would be rent free for me, but it's $1000/mo mortgage in case things are really bad- he quit his job last month and then hasn't been able to find a job with all the coronavirus going on).  Definitely need a garden in any place I live and this should be an investment for easy veggies over the long run.

Zone 7a, hoping it's not too late to put in greens.  We didn't get it done with all the rain yesterday and now I"m back in the city until Friday, when it's supposed to rain for 3 days straight :(  Started too late for seedlings but really happy we got the beds done at least and bought the mix for the "soil"
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Roots&Wings on March 24, 2020, 09:57:17 AM
Do you know of any sweet cherries that grow in Florida? seems they are all tangy, nothing like the sweet dark cherries I love.

Only one I've heard that is supposed to be similar to a sweet cherry is Cherry of the Rio Grande, which can suffer from "sudden die back" here in FL and why I've not tried growing it. Those red fruits might be Surinam cherry (related to pitangatuba, which has larger yellow fruit). There's a dark red/black variety Zells Surinam cherry that's supposed to be sweeter. I grow Jamaican cherry (tastes like cotton candy) and Barbados cherry (fairly tart, full of vit C).

I've heard about Australian beach cherry, but unsure about flavor profile (this place  (https://www.logees.com/australian-beach-cherry-eugenia-reinwardtiana.html?)and another one say they taste like sweet cherries, with a hint of grape). There's Brazilian cherry/grumichama, but it's supposed to taste a bit more grape-like too.

UF might be working on a sweet cherry, but most need more chill hours. If anyone knows of any subtropical sweet cherries, would love to know!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on March 26, 2020, 07:24:12 AM
I placed an order for seeds online.  I was going to pop over to their retail store and pick my own order when I got back from my vacation.  Well, vacation was cut short but I am in 14-day isolation.  Province declared a shut down so most retail is now closed.  The seed supplier is operating as totally online and shipping is going to be 3-4 weeks.  I will start the peppers and tomatoes that I have already.  Hopefully they were under promising and will over deliver.

I need potting soil - my stock was about a quarter of what I thought it was.  Need to call a friend and see if I can buy some off them and pick it up from their gate.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 26, 2020, 05:08:27 PM
Thanks for the link @Indio!  I just checked it out -- great video.  My main takeaway is that I need to learn more.  I've read such conflicting things about biochar -- what it does, how it does it, how to make it -- that I'm confused.  How do you make yours?  Or do you get it somewhere?  What do you add to it before you put it into the soil?

Allright - I'm dragging up an old topic because I haven't been keeping up with this thread, and I've been making biochar in decent volume for close to a year.

I agree - lots of information online for making your own biochar (charcoal)  is confusing, over-engineered or just plain old too much WORK!

Fair warning, I'm stuck at home (PANDEMIC!) and have started in on the whiskey.

So, the basics:

Think of biochar as a rigid, lightweight, extremely porous sponge. When it's produced, it's a totally empty carbon matrix. Everything else was burned out. If you put it in the soil as-produced, it will suck up nutrients and water for a little while (year-ish? Depends on conditions) then after will be a net help to the garden. If you pre-treat your biochar with nutrients, it will be helpful to most gardens immediately.

So, what do you need to efficiently make biochar at home the lazy way?

Dry biological material. If it's wood - mostly not too thick. You can use corn stover, rice hulls, old fence pickets, pallet wood, almost anything - just make sure it's really dry and not too thick.
A container for your fire which will limit oxygen, but let you keep the burn going. Wider than it is tall, preferably with outward-sloping sides
A safe place to have your fire (note: If you're doing it right, there will be very little smoke after you get it going)
A method to quench the fire (I just use water from the hose - but in areas where water is limited, you can smother with wet cloth for less net water usage)
A method to break down the biochar, likely below half an inch ( ~1 cm) pieces

Now, onto some details:

I dug through all sorts of reports/sites/whatnot on biochar, and by far the simplest, most straightforward approach I found was the "flame capped kiln" - basically a container where you can have your fire, but limit oxygen from the bottom and sides. 

Example: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=2ahUKEwj_nda5mrnoAhUBOKwKHdvSCX0QFjAGegQIBRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fforestry.usu.edu%2Ffiles%2Futah-forest-facts%2Fhazardous-fuels-reduction-using-flame-cap-biochar-kilns.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2yALqjhCh2KX76RDuVS2Mz

Unfortunately, the described version is too big and heavy for the usual home gardener - and likely too expensive as well!

I experimented with a variety of easy/cheap approaches. It really is critical to have it wider, preferably with outward-sloping sides. A metal 5-gallon bucket is quite finicky and problematic - too tall, meaning not enough air/oxygen. The best cheap solution I found was a steel washtub. Modern example linked below, though a more old-fashioned heavy galvanized (instead of electroplate) version would be better.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/behrens-17-gal-galvanized-sheet-steel-utility-tub

The whole idea is to get a good fire going, burn off the volatile resins from the wood, but leave a pure carbon matrix behind. Enough oxygen to burn the volatiles (make visible flames) but not enough to ash much of the charcoal/carbon matrix. The quickest production is from smaller sticks/twigs, under 1" (2cm) and cut to fit inside the kiln/tub. Of course, I also have larger wood that needs to be processed, but I limit it to 4 pieces of 2-4" (4-9cm) diameter. These larger pieces are used at the very beginning when making a "log cabin" style fire in the washtub to give them the longest possible burning time. I use small pieces between and around them, and periodically lever up the larger diameter pieces to the top of the fire. They also periodically get smacked with the poking stick to break off charcoal and expose the innards to the heat. Too many thick pieces? Split them before you get started!

So, key item: When to add fuel? Ideally, you are adding fuel when the existing burning sticks have blackened and are just starting to show ash. Ash is the carbon matrix burning away, so if you have ash starting - you've gotten most of the volatile components burned off. Add some more fuel so that it sucks up the oxygen and also provides heat to your semi-burnt pieces, driving off the rest of the volatiles.

I reserve some really small diameter twigs/brush/straw for the very end of the burn, because there are invariably a few larger chunks which haven't finished burning, but the rest of the washtub full of coals is going to start ashing away. The little twigs burn fast, using up the oxygen that would otherwise let your precious charcoal turn to ash.

At the point where you have a nice, even bed of coals filling your washtub most of the way and very little to zero flame - quench. Stir your nice charcoal and find the hot spots. Quench again.

After everything has cooled, I use a 1/2" mesh screen  to screen out the large pieces, break them up, then rescreen. If a piece is still too big - it probably wasn't cooked enough. I set aside any material which doesn't make it through the second attempt at screening, get it dried thoroughly - and put it in the bottom of the washbasin for the next run.

Post-treatment: Critical item if you want to use this beneficially in the garden in a short timeframe. You need to get nutrients into that barren carbon matrix. You could use compost, manure, chicken droppings, urine... There was a great little study on capturing nitrogen from cow barns - mixing the cleanouts (of manure/urine/straw) with charcoal was better than straight composting at retaining nitrogen. However, the best approach (highest nitrogen retention) was to simply use the biochar spread in the barn to get that direct contact and absorption.

So, how to do this at home the lazy way? Put your charcoal in a 5 gallon bucket in a discreet area of your garden or porch, and add urine.

Where do you get the urine? Well.... make sure to hydrate well with tea, or beer or whatever while gardening. Spend a long time gardening. You don't need to go back inside. *hint* *hint*

Maybe you chicken folks will let me know if charcoal works well as chicken bedding...
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 26, 2020, 05:11:07 PM
Does anyone grow hazelnuts? I'm planning to start a hazel coppice in the wooded section of my lot. The ground is already clear from deer browsing and I want to bring back some understory. I also really want to have my own supply of bean poles in a couple years. As someone who's moved around a lot and has only owned a home for a little over a year it feels a little odd and wonderful to plan for 7 years down the road when the hazels will be ready to harvest and hopefully we'll finally have fruit from the pear and apple tress I planted last fall.

We had a couple of hazelnut trees when I was growing up - I really enjoyed the nuts, though I think I was about the only one in the family who actually gathered and ate them, as with the gooseberries. OMG fresh gooseberries are the best! I mean, once you get the picking technique down so that you don't get stabbed. Haven't found anything remotely close flavorwise in the grocery store, and I cannot grow them in Austin.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 27, 2020, 04:59:11 AM
Great post on biochar @TomTX!  Thank you!     

Dumb question.  You mentioned using old fencing.  But you can't used treated lumber for this, can you?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 27, 2020, 11:58:31 AM
Great post on biochar @TomTX!  Thank you!     

Dumb question.  You mentioned using old fencing.  But you can't used treated lumber for this, can you?

Happy to help! I'd be thrilled to see more home biochar producers. It's something you can do to lock up carbon and improve soil fertility for thousands of years. Archaeologists frequently will carbon-date a site using the charcoal.

I would not use treated lumber. The process would make it very easy to release the metals used in treatment. Around here it's rare to see treated lumber for fencing, other than the posts in the ground. If you want something better than basic pine people usually either upgrade to cedar or stain/paint the fence.

I scored a pallet from next door this morning, so that's going to be turned into charcoal once I cut it up. If I had a planer I might try to use it for something. Pallets are typically relatively strong hardwood. I still have a bunch of fence pickets, mostly already cut up - plus a lot of sticks from pruning that I've been drying out. When pruning, I just take off all the leaves (dropped in the grass, mowed) and cut the sticks to 8-12" lengths while green, mostly with pruning clippers. Toss 'em in a pile off to the side for initial drying out. I havve a couple of bins in covered areas for final drying (shed, back porch)

I've got a batch from Wednesday which needs to be sieved and put into a 5 gallon bucket.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on March 27, 2020, 08:33:09 PM
One of the side effects of everyone staying home with social distancing and worrying about the food supply chain, is that more friends are looking at doing veg gardens this year. Two friends approached me about giving them advice. One is a newbie and the other has had a flower garden for years but never any veggies. When they placed their online seed orders, found out that many places were sold out. A phone call to Botanical Interests indicated that they usually had 500 orders a month at the high end and now orders were 3,000 month. I thought it was amazing that BI was even open. Dug into my seed stash and gave them seeds I've been saving over the years, in case their orders don't arrive on time.

Confirming my suspicion that food garden demand has increased, saw this article about Corona victory gardens. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/dining/victory-gardens-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
Now I've started watching old shows about victory gardens on youtube.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 28, 2020, 05:09:56 AM
That's super interesting @Indio.  I have extra seeds, and will have extra plants too.  I could put an ad on the local 'hour exchange', or maybe Nextdoor and see if anyone needs them? 

Good news y'all.   I called the apiary yesterday and as of now they are still planning to deliver bees in 10 days or so.  Fingers crossed!  My bee yard and hive bodies are all done.  Just waiting for the ladies. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 28, 2020, 08:12:30 AM
For sourcing seeds, I had good luck at the beginning of the week with Etsy (online), Home Depot and Tractor Supply Company (both local) - HD had both Burpee and Ferry Morse seeds, with a small selection from Seed Saver's exchange. I noticed the Ferry Morse packs tended to have noticeably more seed per pack. I went ahead and bought my fall/winter crop seeds (spinach, brassicas, carrots) and a 72-cell seed starter kit.

On the home biochar front: If you want smaller scale easy methods, you can either use a chiminea or fire ring with an approach similar to the washtub, or for really small scale - an old steel 1-gallon paint can.

What's the paint can method? Well, you fill the paint can with small diameter dry material (ie twigs), loosely put the lid on the can and build your fire around the can. Be ready for the edges of the lid to have fire coming out as the volatiles are boiled off from the material in the can.

For those who don't know what a Chiminea is:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/37-in-Clay-KD-Chiminea-with-Iron-Stand-Rope-KD-ROPE/207015023

If you want to combine biochar production with some cooking, a TLUD wood stove is another option. Actually, many options... Still with the theme of "wood fire with limited oxygen." As with the other methods, you need to be sure to quench it when your wood has converted to biochar.  Very scaleable, from 1-gallon paint can size up to 55 gallon steel drum (55 gallon often is run with an upside-down 30 gallon inside, both full of fuel. Outer fuel burning heats the inner fuel, and the volatiles are forced to come up from the bottom of the 55 gallon and burn in the same zone as the outside fuel, again limiting oxygen)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on March 28, 2020, 09:47:55 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/style/chicken-eggs-coronavirus.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur
Panic buying chicks.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: coffeefueled on March 28, 2020, 12:32:19 PM
I hate to think what will happen to all those chicks when life goes back to something more normal in a couple months and people decide they don't want them.

Planted a handful of tomatoes cucumbers and peppers in a seed tray for transplants. Last year I felt like I neglected everything by midsummer so I'm trying to cut way back on what I plant this year.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on March 28, 2020, 02:09:44 PM
I hate to think what will happen to all those chicks when life goes back to something more normal in a couple months and people decide they don't want them.

That's a good point.  I was looking at having my usual spring work travel cancelled as an opportunity to raise some replacement pullets.  Then the stay at home order was put in place, so I decided I wouldn't make a special trip to the feed store to buy them (already stocked on critter feed).  There is a good chance that I can buy some hens cheap on Craigslist in a few months and skip the whole messy business of raising chicks.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 28, 2020, 04:49:30 PM
Funny story from the garden today.  I was shoveling up aged compost from our chicken run to use in the garden, and I saw an egg.  I thought it was one of our ceramic nest eggs, several of which have gone missing.   I bent down, picked it up, and it went BANG! and exploded greenish yellow goo all over my shirt and shorts.  A real egg that's been in the compost heap for 6-12 months.  The smell was beyond horrific . . .something straight out of one of Satan's orifices.  I thought I could keep doing my outdoor work, but I couldn't even breathe through the stench.  It was a hot day, so I went to the hose and soaked myself down, but it didn't help.  So I went into the garage, took my clothes off, and walked them straight to the washing machine.  Family from 15 away were like, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"  I've since taken a shower and washed my hair, and I can still smell it  :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on March 28, 2020, 04:58:19 PM
Funny story from the garden today.  I was shoveling up aged compost from our chicken run to use in the garden, and I saw an egg.  I thought it was one of our ceramic nest eggs, several of which have gone missing.   I bent down, picked it up, and it went BANG! and exploded greenish yellow goo all over my shirt and shorts.  A real egg that's been in the compost heap for 6-12 months.  The smell was beyond horrific . . .something straight out of one of Satan's orifices.  I thought I could keep doing my outdoor work, but I couldn't even breathe through the stench.  It was a hot day, so I went to the hose and soaked myself down, but it didn't help.  So I went into the garage, took my clothes off, and walked them straight to the washing machine.  Family from 15 away were like, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"  I've since taken a shower and washed my hair, and I can still smell it  :)

Oh nooooo!  Wow, this is hilarious, but sorry it's hard to get rid of, and sorry for your family that they won't be able to get very far away  during this time.  Hope you have a big house.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Money Badger on March 28, 2020, 06:17:50 PM
@Trifele,  The chicken egg story was priceless!  Itís a small price to pay in the grander scheme at least.

Today we put quite a few egg shells from our compost bins to use and fenced a new garden expansion area we just planted.   I find that the use of bright lime green compressor sprayed paint and almost neon red paint in the garden cages and fence panels is very therapeutic... Gives veggies a botanical garden vibe that just brings joy... no
matter the weather.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 29, 2020, 05:04:42 AM
Funny story from the garden today.  I was shoveling up aged compost from our chicken run to use in the garden, and I saw an egg.  I thought it was one of our ceramic nest eggs, several of which have gone missing.   I bent down, picked it up, and it went BANG! and exploded greenish yellow goo all over my shirt and shorts.  A real egg that's been in the compost heap for 6-12 months.  The smell was beyond horrific . . .something straight out of one of Satan's orifices.  I thought I could keep doing my outdoor work, but I couldn't even breathe through the stench.  It was a hot day, so I went to the hose and soaked myself down, but it didn't help.  So I went into the garage, took my clothes off, and walked them straight to the washing machine.  Family from 15 away were like, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"  I've since taken a shower and washed my hair, and I can still smell it  :)

Oh nooooo!  Wow, this is hilarious, but sorry it's hard to get rid of, and sorry for your family that they won't be able to get very far away  during this time.  Hope you have a big house.

Haha @sui generis -- husband said I smelled fine after the first shower, so I guess it was my imagination.   :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: chaskavitch on March 29, 2020, 06:46:20 AM
We just bought some trees yesterday - a juniper, a Russian hawthorn, three Crimson Cloud hawthorn, and an Eastern redbud.  Our backyard has some (unknown) fruit trees on the borders, but our lot is 100' by 450', and the we definitely need some more tall greenery back there.  We're planning to plant on Monday or Tuesday this week when I'm WFH.  We also bought them from a local nursery that is doing pickup/delivery orders.  The man I spoke to when I was making the order ended our call with "and thanks for buying from us right now, we really appreciate it."  I am glad that we're able to support a local business when it means so much to them.

I also threw a bunch of clover seeds out in the back 1/4 acre(ish) in hopes of tying down some more dirt.  The grass out there now is a clumping variety, so over the winter, the wind has blown the dirt away from between the clumps, and now we have a zillion tiny hummocks that I keep tripping over. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 29, 2020, 07:35:02 AM
Is anyone growing Eugenia reinwardtiana (Australian Beach Cherry or Cedar Bay Cherry being common names)?

I've had success with Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra) here in Austin, but I don't really care for the flavor.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trudie on March 29, 2020, 10:48:39 PM
I am trying the winter seed sowing method this year and am starting to see some shoots developing in my containers.  Iím going to sow more this week.

I purchased onion sets and seed potatoes before we were quarantined, so now my taters are in a dark place chitting.

This is my first year in a condo so I have rented a city garden plot.  I need fencing, plant supports and tools, but will wait three weeks and figure out how to procure those items then.  We have an excellent farm supply store here, so Iím fine waiting to go out when the risk is lessened.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on March 30, 2020, 09:03:33 AM
@Trifele You have my sympathies. I know that smell of rotten eggs well.

It was a wet weekend, which made it ideal time for transplanting seedlings into larger containers. I've been saving half gallon milk cartons to put seedlings into. Fortunately, I bought enough sterilized soil in the Fall to get through seedling season without having to go out. All of the garden centers are closed here due to lockdown.

I'm planning a morel, maitake and hen of the woods mushroom patch in a small understory area in the front yard. I'm looking for ways to expand my growing area as much as possible on this 1/4 quarter acre lot.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: horsepoor on March 30, 2020, 11:37:31 AM
Funny story from the garden today.  I was shoveling up aged compost from our chicken run to use in the garden, and I saw an egg.  I thought it was one of our ceramic nest eggs, several of which have gone missing.   I bent down, picked it up, and it went BANG! and exploded greenish yellow goo all over my shirt and shorts.  A real egg that's been in the compost heap for 6-12 months.  The smell was beyond horrific . . .something straight out of one of Satan's orifices.  I thought I could keep doing my outdoor work, but I couldn't even breathe through the stench.  It was a hot day, so I went to the hose and soaked myself down, but it didn't help.  So I went into the garage, took my clothes off, and walked them straight to the washing machine.  Family from 15 away were like, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"  I've since taken a shower and washed my hair, and I can still smell it  :)

Oh yuck!  I once cracked open an egg that must have been hidden for a long time, and then uncovered, because it was black inside.  It was so nasty I couldn't even look at an egg for a couple weeks.  Can only imagine getting that vileness on yourself and clothing.  Aaacckk!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 30, 2020, 11:49:53 AM
Funny story from the garden today.  . . . 

Oh yuck!  I once cracked open an egg that must have been hidden for a long time, and then uncovered, because it was black inside.  It was so nasty I couldn't even look at an egg for a couple weeks. 

Whoa -- Black?  That is beyond nasty.  Ewwwww!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 30, 2020, 02:01:54 PM
In happier news, both of my olive trees are flowering like mad. We had a mild winter, so they didn't have any freeze damage (woo!)

Hopefully I'll have fruit this year - anyone have a preferred processing method? I've got plenty of salt for brining. I've just never done it. Looks like the easy method I see is starting with green olives:

Place in quart jars (lid while in storage) - store at 60-80F.
Medium brine for a week (1 cup salt per gallon of water), drain then fill with
Strong brine for 2-3 months (1.5 cups salt per gallon of water)
If less bitter olives are desired, change out the strong brine after a month.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 30, 2020, 04:31:37 PM
I'll just leave this here, the link is pretty self-explanatory.

https://insteading.com/blog/human-urine-fertilizer/
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on March 30, 2020, 05:02:06 PM
I'll just leave this here, the link is pretty self-explanatory.

https://insteading.com/blog/human-urine-fertilizer/

I think Iíll stick with my seaweed fertilizer technique. 😄
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on March 30, 2020, 05:27:38 PM
I'll just leave this here, the link is pretty self-explanatory.

https://insteading.com/blog/human-urine-fertilizer/

I think Iíll stick with my seaweed fertilizer technique. 😄

I'm 150+ miles from the Gulf, and there's very little seaweed to collect anyway.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Frugal Lizard on March 30, 2020, 06:41:30 PM
I  needed some basil for my bolognese sauce and guess what?  I had a bunch of basil seedling needing thinning.  This has to be the earliest I have ever harvested something I grew from seed all by myself.  I am pumped for this season.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trudie on March 30, 2020, 11:23:40 PM
I checked on my winter sowed seedlings today and was encouraged with the progress.  I planted up several trays of cold loving plants to add to the mix.

I spent a small chunk of the day on Facebook crowdsourcing free materials for our allotment.  It seems that peopleísí sheds are overflowing with stuff theyíre happy to part with.  Friends have perused their sheds and left stuff outside for me to pick up.  It works great and we can maintain proper distance. 

Tonight on my walk I saw several tall, sturdy tree branches that Iím going to go back and retrieve tomorrow to make plant supports for my peas.

Avoiding retail for health reasons has worked out splendidly for my pocketbook and the environment.

Any hints on how to make a cheap, functional gate for our allotment?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on March 31, 2020, 04:09:31 AM
@Indio -- you're my hero with the mushrooms.  Please let us know how those go, especially the morels.  I've been meaning to try mushrooms for years and haven't yet done it.


Any hints on how to make a cheap, functional gate for our allotment?

@Trudie -- what's the fence itself like?  That will probably determine some of the properties of the gate.  We have several different homemade gates here, some of them made with scrap materials.  I can take pictures if it's helpful.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: coffeefueled on March 31, 2020, 05:53:06 AM
I was planning to go to the garden center today but my state is officially on lockdown. I guess I have no excuse not to start rearranging the vegetable garden. We put in a fence this spring so I want to move all the raised beds into orderly rows. And build one or two more with some spare lumber we have laying around. It's pressure treated but I can use it for pumpkins since we mostly grow those for Halloween carving. I still waffle back and forth on how concerned to be about pressure treated wood leaching stuff into the soil/plants.

@Trudie as long as you have two hinges gates are pretty easy to build. The typical method I've seen is horizonal top and bottom supports, one diagonal support, and then a bunch of verticals. I've seen some really cute ones online made completely from 2in thick sticks/cut saplings. You can make them without hinges but then they're a bit of a pain to open and close.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trudie on March 31, 2020, 09:06:29 AM
Regarding garden gates ó the fencing already there consists of t-posts and poultry caging, enough to keep out rabbits and small critters, but thatís about it.  There arenít good hinges, I think.  I would be interested in seeing photos of other gates.

My husband is wondering if weíll be able to garden at all as there is talk of restricting things further with even outdoor activities.  This would be devastating to me.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trudie on April 01, 2020, 08:19:54 PM
Iím still trying to source materials without walking into a store.  The problem is, I usually buy tomatoes and certain veg in person.  Any good sources for plants online? 

The seed companies are so swamped right now and out of so many things.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: RetiredAt63 on April 01, 2020, 09:39:40 PM
Iím still trying to source materials without walking into a store.  The problem is, I usually buy tomatoes and certain veg in person.  Any good sources for plants online? 

The seed companies are so swamped right now and out of so many things.

Check your local nurseries.  MY former local nursery is now selling all sorts of things online.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 02, 2020, 05:45:08 AM
Regarding garden gates ó the fencing already there consists of t-posts and poultry caging, enough to keep out rabbits and small critters, but thatís about it.  There arenít good hinges, I think.  I would be interested in seeing photos of other gates.

Hey @Trudie -- the rain stopped so I'll get you some pictures today.  FYI -- our gate posts (where the hinges are attached) are wood, but you can also put hinges straight onto T-posts -- people make those.  Just google "T post hinge kit".  Here's an example:  https://kencove.com/fence/Wedge-Loc+Gate+Hinge+Set_detail_HWG.php 

If you hang your gate from a T-post you just have to build the gate very light, but that should work fine for rabbits. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: asauer on April 02, 2020, 06:35:24 AM
I was so excited to plant carrots and beets after work yesterday.  Only 2 more weeks until I can plant my tomatoes, melon, peppers, beans and sweet potatoes.  Question for you all: has anyone experienced a crazy amount of wasps this year?  Our area (southeast US) has so many more than usual.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 02, 2020, 07:02:49 AM
I was so excited to plant carrots and beets after work yesterday.  Only 2 more weeks until I can plant my tomatoes, melon, peppers, beans and sweet potatoes.  Question for you all: has anyone experienced a crazy amount of wasps this year?  Our area (southeast US) has so many more than usual.

Hey @asauer -- no I haven't here at our place, but I saw a couple posts on this on Nextdoor so others have seen it.  Maybe the mild winter? 

Wasps can be a big plus if they prey on the larva that eat vegetables (I'm looking at you cabbage moths)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 02, 2020, 02:16:30 PM
Iím still trying to source materials without walking into a store.  The problem is, I usually buy tomatoes and certain veg in person.  Any good sources for plants online? 

The seed companies are so swamped right now and out of so many things.

I had good luck with an Etsy vendor - had a lot of what I wanted in stock.

Some in-person nurseries now let you order/pay in advance, then when you drive up they load into your trunk or whatever. No need to get out of the car, or even roll down the window - just show the receipt.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 02, 2020, 02:21:30 PM
Made another batch of biochar (charcoal) this week and thereby used up all my dried trimmings and a good amount of the old fence pickets. I processed about 5 gallons of the biochar through my 3/8" sieve.

Did a whole bunch of shrub and tree trimming to get better light into the garden areas, which means I am refilling my storage areas for trimmings ;) - got some beanpoles made as well with some of the long/straight sticks.

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Money Badger on April 02, 2020, 05:43:22 PM
@asauer,  Yes!  Seems a mild winter may be the reason for so many early bugs, and of course, their main predator the wasp.   Tends to balance out as the migratory birds come through...

As for growing, today was crazy busy.   Had an afternoon with perfect temps in ATL area so planted flat parsley seed (experiment), beans,  arugula, corn and did a ton of other small tasks on irrigation, a fence and several bits of cleanup on the raised beds.   The biggest win of the season so far is asparagus!   I bought roughly 30 crowns at Tractor Supply thinking they would be iffy... NOPE!   Almost every darn one has sprouted in 3 different patches I planted (old school in concave floored trenches with horse manure, compost, a thin layer of soil, the asparagus crown, then more soil, them more compost and top mulch layer.   Darn things are 2 feet high already!   
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 04, 2020, 09:33:12 AM
Hi @Trudie

Here is the gate to our chicken field.  It's basically a square wooden frame (untreated cedar, because we had it and it was lightweight),, two cross pieces, and covered with 2X4" welded wire.  We used the welded wire because we don't care about rabbits getting in there, just keeping the chickens in.  Our garden fence is similar to this, but has poultry wire instead to keep rabbits out.

DH says that if he needed a quick n easy fence to keep rabbits out he would get a pre-made lattice fence panel, either lightweight wood composit or vinyl (big box stores have them and will cut  them for you) and hang it right from the T posts using a hinge kit.  Just make sure the holes in the lattice are small enough to keep rabbits out.  Rabbits go right through this 2X4" welded wire field fence, so the lattice would have to be smaller than this.  You can order all that stuff online for pickup, or to be delivered.  (At least here you can).                                                     
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: GreenEggs on April 04, 2020, 10:23:59 AM
We're in NC too.  We were planning a big trip to Europe this Spring, so didn't plan to start a garden this year.  But with the trip cancelled we've decided to start one.  It's a new house & doesn't have a lot of level sunny spots, so I suggested to DW that we go the Square Foot Garden route.  NC is in a lock down, but that hasn't seemed to close much beyond restaurants, bars, and hair & nail salons.  We'll need a truck load of aged manure, which I'm hoping to get from a dairy in Union Grove that sold me some a few years ago.


I just found this thread, so have a few pages to catch up on.  :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: coffeefueled on April 05, 2020, 06:11:41 AM
It's supposed to be warm today and I can't wait to get outside. Cucumber/tomato/herb seedlings are coming along pretty well under the grow lights. Yesterday, I planted two climbing roses along our privacy fence and a few ferns in the shady spot next to the side door. Today I'm potting a bunch of dalhia bulbs for basal cuttings. I'll also try out our new leaf mulcher on all the leaves we didn't quite get around to raking last fall.

Strawberries I planted last year are already growing crazy with new leaves. Hopefully we'll get a great crop this year.

Does anyone in zone 7 or warmer do spring kale or chard? I'm planning to start some peas and leaf lettuce today, but don't know if it's worth trying for kale or chard with the warm spring we're having. Do you think I'd get enough growth before the hot summer to make it worth trying?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 05, 2020, 07:25:04 AM

Does anyone in zone 7 or warmer do spring kale or chard? I'm planning to start some peas and leaf lettuce today, but don't know if it's worth trying for kale or chard with the warm spring we're having. Do you think I'd get enough growth before the hot summer to make it worth trying?

I've had a fall-planted chard survive the following summer in zone 8b. It did get late afternoon shade.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 05, 2020, 07:48:37 AM
Does anyone in zone 7 or warmer do spring kale or chard? I'm planning to start some peas and leaf lettuce today, but don't know if it's worth trying for kale or chard with the warm spring we're having. Do you think I'd get enough growth before the hot summer to make it worth trying?

Hey @coffeefueled -- yes, I'm in 7a and I plant both kale and chard both spring and fall.  I also keep plants over the winter, to eat in the early spring and also for seed.  I pretty much regard both of them as year-round plants here.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: coffeefueled on April 05, 2020, 01:16:59 PM
A chipmunk (I think) decided to dig his burrow in my strawberry bed. It's uprooted and nibbled 2-3 plants. Is a small 2ft high chickenwire fence with bird netting over the top enough to keep chipmunks and rabbits out in the future? I'll have to trap and remove the one that's in there, but I want to have a good fence up first.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: rabbitarian on April 05, 2020, 01:59:07 PM
A chipmunk (I think) decided to dig his burrow in my strawberry bed. It's uprooted and nibbled 2-3 plants. Is a small 2ft high chickenwire fence with bird netting over the top enough to keep chipmunks and rabbits out in the future? I'll have to trap and remove the one that's in there, but I want to have a good fence up first.

Chipmunks are small. Theyíll go right through chicken wire. 1/2Ē hardware cloth would do the trick though. Keep in mind if they decide to climb, they will chew right through the netting.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 06, 2020, 04:09:29 AM
Hey welcome back @rabbitarian!  I didn't recognize the new handle at first!  All well up north?  How did it go with your chickens and the city?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: rabbitarian on April 06, 2020, 05:30:27 AM
Hey welcome back @rabbitarian!  I didn't recognize the new handle at first!  All well up north?  How did it go with your chickens and the city?

Iíve been back here journaling for a while now but forgot about this thread until yesterday, lol.

Things are okay for the most part. Mental health went to shit for a long while but a medication change and fresh round of therapy has gotten me back to baseline for the most part. Back is not happy with me but usually able to get everything I need to get done.

Down to 4 chickens. If they catch me again Iíll lose my chicken permit altogether, so probably wonít risk it since theyíre so good at turning scraps into compost. One of my projects lately, in fact, has been building a smaller coop for them and dismantling the larger one to free up yard space.

They also passed an ordinance restricting the number of rabbits but so far have not come by to enforce it even though it passed months ago. That one wonít hurt me too much the way they wrote it, but I would lose about 1/3 of my current production potential and it would be trickier to advance my breeding program.

Hereís a few pics of garden projects and that smaller coop. Built it for free with all materials repurposed from other things (mainly wood from al my raised garden beds Iíve decided to move away from. Not quite done yet but good enough that theyíre in there and Iíll finish it once Iíve dismantled the old coop surrounding it so that I have more space and roof panels that are the right dimensions for what I need to make it weatherproof :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 06, 2020, 05:48:36 AM
Hey welcome back @rabbitarian!  I didn't recognize the new handle at first!  All well up north?  How did it go with your chickens and the city?

Iíve been back here journaling for a while now but forgot about this thread until yesterday, lol.


Sorry about the chickens, but hey nice construction projects!  Whatcha got going under the grow lights in that picture?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: rabbitarian on April 06, 2020, 06:24:37 AM
Hey welcome back @rabbitarian!  I didn't recognize the new handle at first!  All well up north?  How did it go with your chickens and the city?

Iíve been back here journaling for a while now but forgot about this thread until yesterday, lol.


Sorry about the chickens, but hey nice construction projects!  Whatcha got going under the grow lights in that picture?

Right now peas (will be hardened off today), broccoli, peppers, and just seeded some tomatoes. If the kale I forgot to order shows up soon (didnít place the order until panic buying of seeds had started but at least I got in before my preferred vendor temporarily stopped taking new orders to catch up )  Iíll seed that too but otherwise Iíll wait until closer to last frost and seed some cucurbits and beans to get a head start. Might seed some flowers and herbs too, havenít decided whether to do it now and juggle space under the lights or wait until the veg is all done.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on April 06, 2020, 08:56:42 PM
That's too bad about the chickens. @rabbitarian I was rooting for you. In my neck of the woods, my friendly neighbors are asking me for eggs because the supermarkets can't keep them in stock. Getting more growing space is always a good thing and with all of that chicken compost, I'm sure they will do well in that spot. I see you added a fence with cinderblocks to your front yard. Did you have to keep pests out?

In my little 1/3 of acre, I've done an assessment of laying to non-laying hens and decided that I've got to optimize the flock. The plan is to add more prolific layers and fewer beauty contestants, with the exception of one cream legbar. Will be giving away breeds that don't lay more than 200 eggs a year. Using movable fencing to keep the hens out of my flower and herb beds, I'm letting them free range around the backyard. Because we are in a C-19 hotspot, my goal is not have to go to feed store as often and let the chickens keep the grass mowed.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Jon_Snow on April 06, 2020, 09:26:44 PM
After getting up early to bike over to a beach for sunrise I put in a full day shift in the garden. It was about 16 Celsius (60-ish Fahrenheit) and sunny...very little wind...an PERFECT day for garden work. Peas, both Snow and Snap, that were planted in the first week of March are doing great and are making their way up my the wire trellis. My kale seedlings are about 8 inches tall now and looking very healthy...though they have a way to go to catch my current overwintered kale monster - measured today at 7.5ft tall. Spinach is very close to being harvestable, and my lettuce isnít too far behind either. Garlic coming along. Horseradish patch is coming to life...and a bit more ominously, so is the encircling blackberry thicket. Iíll have to keep a close eye on that. I keep digging up carrots from last years carrot patch - itís almost like they are multiplying underground.

Things that went in the ground today...about 40 seed potatoes, about 3 dozen onion transplants (red, white and yellow varieties), a bunch of brassica transplants (two varieties of cauliflower, 2 types of broccoli, and 4 types of cabbage, both red and green). Iím a little worried about the cauliflower as the overnight lows are still a bit chilly, but I know in the past that even when the cauliflower seedlings appear to be at deathís door they can, and often do, pull through. I planted more peas, as Iím trying to do every couple of weeks in order to have a steady supply throughout June and July....rather the the pe-avalanche that has occurred in years past. I am incredibly pleased by the quality of my soil. Raking back the seaweed/leaf mulch (mostly leaf now, seaweed has been largely broken down) reveals beautifully black soil and some loosening of the soil with a fork reveals a wondrous amount of earthworms.

Tomorrow I will focus on some root crops....beets, carrots, turnips and parsnips...and maybe some rutabagas - even though my planting guide says to sow these later in the Summer.

I have tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers growing under lights and these will go out into the garden in about a month. My favourite varieties of squash (heavy on the spaghetti types) will be started indoors in a few weeks....cukes too.

For the past 5 years I have usually spent the bulk of April in Mexico - not happening this year for obvious reasons - and this has always been challenging. Basically I plant a bunch of stuff, then leave and hope for the best over a span of weeks. My family has been good about keeping tabs on things while Iíve been absent, but I never expected them to further the gardening process along. The global pandemic situation is awful. But one, minuscule little positive is that by having my travel plans cancelled Iíll be present in my garden for the entirety of the gardening season this year. Iím very interested and excited to see how this might affect the whole operation. One things for sure, I wonít return from Mexico and stare 3 straight days of weeding in the face. 😀

ETA: forgot to add that there is some activity in our mason bee house. 🐝


I love reading about everyoneís plans. Keep it going folks!

Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 07, 2020, 03:00:16 AM
I've had that thought too, @Jon_Snow, that for many this will be a unique garden year.  Many people now have unprecedented time to devote to their spring gardens.

@Indio we love our cream legbars too.  We have three of them -- so smart and sassy.   

Here's a pic of my overwintered Red Russian kale plant that is flowering.  Perfect timing, as I need to replenish my seed stock.  Such a beauty!  It's not as tall as @Jon_Snow's, more like a huge bush, about 4 feet tall.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: rabbitarian on April 07, 2020, 04:58:32 AM
That's too bad about the chickens. @rabbitarian I was rooting for you. In my neck of the woods, my friendly neighbors are asking me for eggs because the supermarkets can't keep them in stock. Getting more growing space is always a good thing and with all of that chicken compost, I'm sure they will do well in that spot. I see you added a fence with cinderblocks to your front yard. Did you have to keep pests out?

Yeah I definitely feel a bit salty about not having the bigger because I could be giving away or selling at feed cost so many eggs right now. But Iím not keto anymore so a smaller flock actually still meets most of our own needs.

The fence is just for trellising. Works well for snap peas and pole beans. The cinderblock is just a retaining wall so I can raise soil level without it washing away onto the sidewalk. Iím hoping to use the holes as planters too, for small flowers and things like bush beans.

@Jon_Snow that will be a nice silver lining to all this craziness that you get to experience the whole gardening season :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 07, 2020, 10:12:23 AM
Argh. Now I'm again considering chickens. Just saw some laying hens for free on Craigslist.

Except I'm not going to go all the way to the far side of Austin for chickens. OTOH, I guess I could put them in the trunk of the sedan...
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on April 07, 2020, 10:21:49 AM
We had salad with our first harvest of arugula last night!  I've been missing arugula and am so pleased it seems to be faring quite well!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 07, 2020, 10:37:36 AM
Staying very busy here.  I'm hardening off cucumber, tomato, broccoli, and pak choi seedlings, hoping to plant over the weekend.  I'm digging and potting up several elderberry suckers for my neighbor who wants some.  I'm also giving her extra vegetable plants. 

We're also planting some big things today -- skip laurel, mountain laurel, and a sourwood tree.  Fingers crossed especially for the sourwood.  It's my first time trying those, and I hear they are finicky. 

And hey!  Last but definitely not least my bees are coming the day after tomorrow!  VERY excited. 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on April 07, 2020, 11:53:34 AM
@TomTX I'd be careful about getting free laying hens from craigslist unless you're proficient at determing the age of a bird. Chickens slow down their laying when they are 2-3 years old. So they may be laying today but could slow down in the next couple of months leaving you with hens to feed and no eggs.
You might want to check your local feed supply place. This time of year they usually have chicks and young pullets for sale.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 07, 2020, 11:55:50 AM
@TomTX I'd be careful about getting free laying hens from craigslist unless you're proficient at determing the age of a bird. Chickens slow down their laying when they are 2-3 years old. So they may be laying today but could slow down in the next couple of months leaving you with hens to feed and no eggs.

"No pet chickens" was part of the preamble for the family discussion. If they're not laying, they're gonna be food.

Probably more than we should tackle right now anyway.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on April 07, 2020, 12:03:28 PM
Staying very busy here.  I'm hardening off cucumber, tomato, broccoli, and pak choi seedlings, hoping to plant over the weekend.  I'm digging and potting up several elderberry suckers for my neighbor who wants some.  I'm also giving her extra vegetable plants. 

We're also planting some big things today -- skip laurel, mountain laurel, and a sourwood tree.  Fingers crossed especially for the sourwood.  It's my first time trying those, and I hear they are finicky. 

And hey!  Last but definitely not least my bees are coming the day after tomorrow!  VERY excited.

@Trifele I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your bees. Have you figured out how you are going to get them into the hive? If not, let me know. I have a very easy system.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: rabbitarian on April 07, 2020, 12:09:54 PM
@TomTX I'd be careful about getting free laying hens from craigslist unless you're proficient at determing the age of a bird. Chickens slow down their laying when they are 2-3 years old. So they may be laying today but could slow down in the next couple of months leaving you with hens to feed and no eggs.

"No pet chickens" was part of the preamble for the family discussion. If they're not laying, they're gonna be food.

Probably more than we should tackle right now anyway.

Free laying chickens if they donít lay become free soup birds or chicken sausage if itís legal (or easy to conceal) processing them yourself but yeah if you donít have a lot of spare time donít stress it :)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MonkeyJenga on April 07, 2020, 12:21:30 PM
I am growing foods! I am not good at growing things. But I discovered that you can regrow some vegetables from kitchen scraps, and free food soothes my soul. I'm growing celery, onions, green onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrot greens from scraps. Going to try bok choy next. The green onions are the most fun. I can check them approximately 85 million times a day, and they've always grown.

I'm quarantining at my bf's, and he has a garden and actual gardening knowledge. We're growing a bunch of stuff from seeds: tomatoes, cabbage, jalapenos, peas, snap peas, cucumbers, bell peppers, some other stuff I can't even remember.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 07, 2020, 12:44:11 PM
Staying very busy here.  I'm hardening off cucumber, tomato, broccoli, and pak choi seedlings, hoping to plant over the weekend.  I'm digging and potting up several elderberry suckers for my neighbor who wants some.  I'm also giving her extra vegetable plants. 

We're also planting some big things today -- skip laurel, mountain laurel, and a sourwood tree.  Fingers crossed especially for the sourwood.  It's my first time trying those, and I hear they are finicky. 

And hey!  Last but definitely not least my bees are coming the day after tomorrow!  VERY excited.

@Trifele I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your bees. Have you figured out how you are going to get them into the hive? If not, let me know. I have a very easy system.

@Indio -- You mean the ones still in the nuc box after the frames are moved?  I was going to do a gentle 'shake down and pour', but please do let me know your method!
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 07, 2020, 01:42:49 PM
Some pics from today.  Our current rooster is young, but he's a good guy and is doing a great job so far.  He saved one of the hens from a hawk last week.  He's an Easter Egger, and I have half a mind to let our broodies hatch out some of the fertile eggs being laid by our two Easter Egger hens.  One of them lays green eggs, one blue.  I'm curious what egg color genes the roo carries.  Chicken genetics are complicated and interesting.

In the other pix you can see a Black Aussie hen and a Buckeye.  Both really good layers with nice temperaments.



 
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on April 07, 2020, 01:46:41 PM

@Indio -- You mean the ones still in the nuc box after the frames are moved?  I was going to do a gentle 'shake down and pour', but please do let me know your method!
[/quote]

@Trifele Are you getting a nuc with 4-5 frames of built out comb with queen and brood bees or a package with 3lbs of bees in a screened box and the queen in a cage?
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: gaja on April 07, 2020, 01:50:46 PM
We are pretty much starting with a clean slate, and based on experiences from our last garden we will try to keep it simple and low maintenance. The last few days we've planted three red currant bushes, two blueberries (pink lemonade and patriot) and five raspberries (two yellow, two summer red and a autumn red). The raspberries can climb on the fence towards the road, and be available for kids passing by on the sidewalk. We have also prepared a raised bed for vegetables, and figured out where our potatoes should go. I could only find seed potatoes at the farmers' shop, and their idea of "hobby sized" was 5 kg, or enough for 20 m2. I need to find someone to share with. The neighbour's garage borders our garden, and that wall is rather ugly. We've planted some clematis, and are planning to add some roses and sugar snap peas. Hopefully that will be enough to cover it.

I don't really have the patience for planting seeds, but am giving it a go with tomatoes, peppers, chilli, and a few other things. We'll see if they survive.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: TomTX on April 07, 2020, 02:23:37 PM
I am growing foods! I am not good at growing things. But I discovered that you can regrow some vegetables from kitchen scraps, and free food soothes my soul. I'm growing celery, onions, green onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrot greens from scraps. Going to try bok choy next. The green onions are the most fun. I can check them approximately 85 million times a day, and they've always grown.

I enjoy it too. The bok choy stub in a jar has grown 4 decent leaves and looks like it is about to bloom. The celery isn't doing much, but it's still alive.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: sui generis on April 07, 2020, 03:27:25 PM
For those that are successfully growing broccoli...is there a secret you can share?  I'm in zone 9b and tried growing over last summer and this winter and both times we just get little pinky sized stalks of broccoli.  I can't re-check out the Golden Gate Gardening book, since my library has only a hard cover, but I know it recommended planting in November, which we did.  But I don't have any other secrets it might have imparted. For now, we've torn most of it up to make way for more kale, which we can apparently never have enough of.  But still would have loved to have had a pretty head of broccoli to eat someday.
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: MonkeyJenga on April 07, 2020, 03:54:28 PM
I am growing foods! I am not good at growing things. But I discovered that you can regrow some vegetables from kitchen scraps, and free food soothes my soul. I'm growing celery, onions, green onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrot greens from scraps. Going to try bok choy next. The green onions are the most fun. I can check them approximately 85 million times a day, and they've always grown.

I enjoy it too. The bok choy stub in a jar has grown 4 decent leaves and looks like it is about to bloom. The celery isn't doing much, but it's still alive.

Ohh good luck with the bok choy!

My little celery baby isn't an amazing success either, but it's hanging in there. I gave it a little sister yesterday.

I experimented to see whether green onions would do better in water or soil. After two days, I put them all back in water. The ones in soil hadn't grown, and one was drooping over. I gasped when I saw him.

(https://i.imgur.com/zQdP62U.png)
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Trifele on April 07, 2020, 04:18:14 PM

@Indio -- You mean the ones still in the nuc box after the frames are moved?  I was going to do a gentle 'shake down and pour', but please do let me know your method!

@Trifele Are you getting a nuc with 4-5 frames of built out comb with queen and brood bees or a package with 3lbs of bees in a screened box and the queen in a cage?
[/quote]

5 frame nucs with queen, built out comb, and brood
Title: Re: Planting and Growing Your Own - 2020
Post by: Indio on April 07, 2020, 04:57:24 PM
Nucs are easy to install into the hive. Shouldnít be a problem removing frames from nuc box and transferring to hive body. As long as you find the Queen and there is brood pattern on at least two frames, you should be all set. So excited for you and definitely want to see pictures of your new garden helpers. @Trifele