Author Topic: Planting / Growing your own 2018  (Read 26375 times)

clarkai

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Planting / Growing your own 2018
« on: December 28, 2017, 08:49:41 PM »
I'm too excited to wait for the new year, so I jumped the gun to start this thread!

Why am I so excited? We bought a house last year, and I have a big, blank canvas with lots of good soil and light to work with. This year, I tracked our grocery purchases over the course of a few months, and used that to inform my garden decisions instead of just guesstimating what would be worthwhile to grow based off of (price per meal)*(number of meals we eat with that plant)*ease of growing, with the addition of things I just can't go without. So now it's a score based on (amount spent over the course of 3 months of shopping)*(how well it grows here) + (how much I want to grow it)^2. Not actually. But that's how I'm choosing to represent it here. I did make an excel file to help decide.

So this year, I'm starting from seed:

Spinach
Kale
Broccoli
Various uncommon greens like: minzuna, tatsoi, minerís lettuce, perilla, turnip greens and vietnamese coriander.
Red bell peppers
Carrots
Red onions
Garlic
Fingerling and fancy potatoes
Herbs
Lemon cucumbers
Cherry and yellow pear tomatoes
Brussels sprouts
Basil
Artichokes
Bok choi
Asparagus

I've also got a front year that I'm going to fill with fruiting trees, bushes, and vines, so I need to plan that out before I order anything.

Some questions to get the thread going:

What are you growing this year?
Trying anything new this year?
What did you learn from past years?
Best tips to pass along.
Having problems?

sparkytheop

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 12:56:36 PM »
I cheat by just helping provide labor for my parent's garden.  They have about a 2/3 acre garden, dad's retired, my mom loves "playing in the dirt", and I don't like to garden, so it works well. 

New this year:
Artichokes (I bought seeds for my mom to plant)
Saffron Crocus (I kept five for myself, and they actually started to grow, so we'll see if they survive the winter and give me some saffron next fall.  I gave 15 or 20 to my mom, and she's got them planted, but her's are almost guaranteed to grow.)

Parents do (all from seed):

Zucchini (makes awesome relish if anyone wants the recipe)
Tomatoes (several varieties)
Peppers (several varieties, nothing intentionally hotter than an Anaheim)
Carrots
Lettuce
Potatoes
Corn (if they can get the soil healthier-- it's really sandy here, so takes several years to build up good soil, and they've only had this house a few years)
Herbs
Snap peas
Green beans
Watermelon
Pumpkins
Cantaloupe

I'm sure there is a ton of stuff I can't think of.  We can a ton of stuff over the summer.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 06:15:30 PM by sparkytheop »

PinsAndArrows

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 04:06:05 PM »
This year, I tracked our grocery purchases over the course of a few months, and used that to inform my garden decisions instead of just guesstimating what would be worthwhile to grow based off of (price per meal)*(number of meals we eat with that plant)*ease of growing, with the addition of things I just can't go without. So now it's a score based on (amount spent over the course of 3 months of shopping)*(how well it grows here) + (how much I want to grow it)^2. Not actually. But that's how I'm choosing to represent it here. I did make an excel file to help decide.

Very Mustachian! I'm still more on the guesstimating side, but I'd like to try tracking my veggie usage better this year.  Then I'll be able to improve my SWAGs as well.  :)

What are you growing this year?
Trying anything new this year?


My landlord left a bunch of large containers empty in the yard when she rented our house to us, so I'm making use of them this year!  As such, everything is brand new.  As a side bonus to the containers, expensive plants like blueberries will be haul-able to the next house instead of stuck at the rental.  (Mwahaha!)

Area Info: Pacific Northwest, Washington State, Plant Hardiness 8b
Experience Level: Journeyman Grower (My parents have a huge blueberry/veggie garden I used to help plant and maintain.)

Growing from Seed:
- Lots and lots of Basil because I live on pesto
- Purple Carrots
- Becco Pumpkins for the novelty of hull-less pumpkin seeds.

Full Plants:
- Tomatoes (Cherry, Early Slicer, Canning).  The boyfriend loves cherry tomatoes and slicers, so those are mostly for him.  I like tomato sauces, so the canners are for me.
- Blueberry plant - You haven't lived until you've had homemade blueberry syrup on pancakes.
- Strawberries

Keeping it small because the rental only has a small, shady patch out back for a garden.  I'm more focused on container friendly plants that will do well on our deck, which has better lighting.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 04:31:33 PM »
Snap and sugar peas. Easy to grow, expensive at the store. Do you like rhubarb? And are your winters cold enough?
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 07:32:39 PM »
I needed to see a gardening thread right now, the snow has be down and seed catalogs haven't shown up yet! This is probably my last summer gardening here before we move and either sell or rent the house, so I need to make it count. I know what we eat from careful tracking over the last 10 years. We try to follow the rule that we don't eat anything we didn't grow and preserve unless it is within season within 200 miles of us or it stores well. So fresh produce has to be local, a storage item (like apples), or from the summer garden. There's a couple of exceptions on the list, like avocados and pineapple. Each year we get closer to achieving this goal.

We have eight 12*4 ft raised beds, this year I'm planning:

- 12 Tomato plants. This seems to be the perfect number. Four Cherokee purples, four Rutgers, and four plum. (Who am I kidding. A few more will sneak in once I go to the garden sale in spring.)

-Onions.

-Peas

-Ancho and gypsy peppers

-Spinach

-Leaf lettuce

-Zucchini!

-Tricolor green beans

-cabbage

-Brussels sprouts

-Cucumbers

New stuff:

I'm going to try more spring crops. Our springs are so persnickety. Broccoli for sure. Not sure what else yet.

Right now:

Garlic is out there right now, per usual. I'm also trying my hand at some winter gardening. I have turnips and kale in the cold frame. (Cold frame is simply an old storm door laid over one of the big beds.) I probably should knock the snow off when the sun starts to shine again.

Herbs:

I have a few perennials -- sage, thyme, chives, rosemary (potted so we can move it indoors). I'll probably grow basil. May also try cilantro, chamomile, and anything else that grabs my fancy.

lemonverbena

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2017, 07:53:49 PM »
I must admit, I won't be thinking about my garden for another week or so (coasting off the holidays, mid-January is my garden dreamtime)... but I'm so intrigued by saffron crocuses and becco pumpkins! Will any crocus do, or is the saffron crocus a particular varietal? What colors do they come in? I only use saffron once a year (St. Lucia Day) but considering saffron costs more by weight than gold, it's definitely worth growing myself. And these pumpkins... what size and color are they? Are they more ornamental or good for baking with as well? Thanks!

clarkai

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 08:58:03 PM »
I must admit, I won't be thinking about my garden for another week or so (coasting off the holidays, mid-January is my garden dreamtime)... but I'm so intrigued by saffron crocuses and becco pumpkins! Will any crocus do, or is the saffron crocus a particular varietal? What colors do they come in? I only use saffron once a year (St. Lucia Day) but considering saffron costs more by weight than gold, it's definitely worth growing myself. And these pumpkins... what size and color are they? Are they more ornamental or good for baking with as well? Thanks!

Saffron crocus are a different species- they are fall blooming, have enlarged flower parts (the style and the stigma). I planted some for the first time this past fall, and so far I've got a lot of leaves! I'm hoping for flowers next year.

I planted naked-seeded pumpkins last year, and the seeds were really tasty! I'm not sure I'll grow them again though, because we don't actually eat that many pumpkin seeds so I'm not sure it's worth the space- I was just so curious!. I'm still on the fence about it. I've attached one of my pictures of the pumpkin before I cut them open and ate the seeds. (Unfortunately, my plant markers didn't work and I tried 3 different varieties, and I have no idea which one this is)

I don't know how to insert an image, so here's a link: https://imgur.com/a/96Ky9
The jar you see part of on the right is a 2 quart jar, hopefully that gives you some idea of the size.

PinsAndArrows

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2017, 01:07:42 PM »
I must admit, I won't be thinking about my garden for another week or so (coasting off the holidays, mid-January is my garden dreamtime)... but I'm so intrigued by saffron crocuses and becco pumpkins! Will any crocus do, or is the saffron crocus a particular varietal? What colors do they come in? I only use saffron once a year (St. Lucia Day) but considering saffron costs more by weight than gold, it's definitely worth growing myself. And these pumpkins... what size and color are they? Are they more ornamental or good for baking with as well? Thanks!

I ordered these ones: Beppo Pumpkins (I misspelled them originally).  This particular one doesn't have good baking flesh, but it looks nice and ornamental in my opinion along with the bounty of seeds. I haven't tried them before, but my experience is that buying carving pumpkins works out better for my family than planting them, since you get to pick the perfect pumpkin as your canvas instead of relying on good growth at home.  And my final justification for the splurge is that I like to try at least one novelty item in the garden every year to keep things interesting.  :)

Snap and sugar peas. Easy to grow, expensive at the store. Do you like rhubarb? And are your winters cold enough?

I do like rhubarb, and I think it grows well in the Pacific Northwest!  Not something my parents ever grew since they didn't like the taste, but something I can see expanding to later.  :)

meall earraich

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2017, 01:26:16 PM »
Posting to follow - starting from scratch with very little knowledge!
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littlelykke

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 01:35:24 PM »
Yay, garden plans! We'll be having a busy year, so we'll keep things easy this year:

- Lots of tomatoes --> last year our tomatoes did great. And canning them gave such fantastic tasting tomatoes that i'd like to have some more next year.

- Zucchini --> versatile, great for pickling and for using fresh in a 1000 other recipes.

- Carrots
- Herbs (mostly basil, because pesto is the best thing ever)
- Strawberries
- Blueberries
- Rocket/rucola


clarkai

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2017, 01:58:00 PM »
Posting to follow - starting from scratch with very little knowledge!

That's exciting! Do you know what zone/type of climate you're in? Do you have an idea of what you want to grow?

Here's two links to help you figure out your zone, if you don't already know.

USDA hardiness zone: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
The USDA zone is what most people use, and it measures how cold it gets in winter.

Sunset Climate zones: https://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones
Sunset zones are more detailed, and take into account the length of your growing season, how hot it gets in summer, rainfall patterns, and so on.

For example I'm a USDA zone 8, which means I can expect it to get down to about 10* at the coldest. But I'm on the west coast, so I have a very different growing season and summer than a zone 8 in Texas, for example. The sunset zones account for that, and I'm a sunset zone 5- which means I have a really easy time growing greens, but not eggplants, for example.


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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2017, 05:33:09 PM »
Posting to follow, I'll update more later. My second year in this house, I have 4 3'x5' beds and a couple containers. Not a ton of space, but I got a good amount out last year- lots of lettuce and peas and beans, pretty good amounts of tomatoes and tomatillos. Total bust on cucumbers, hot peppers, and raspberries.
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Cgbg

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2017, 05:33:19 PM »
I took advantage of the 50 degree weather today and worked in the garden. I hadnít fully winterized everything so I was able to get a bunch done today. The territorial seed catalog arrived last week and I already see at least two items Iíll look for at the local nursery- a new pepper variety and a new tomato variety.

I will grow (all from seed):
New Zealand spinach
Rocket
Paste tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
JalapeŮos
Mini sweet peppers
Fireball peppers
Zucchini
Sweet meat squash
Delicata squash
Pickling cucumbers and dill
Lemon cucumbers
Slicing cucumbers of some sort
Beans (pole and bush)
Tithonia (Mexican sunflower, not a true sunflower but it brings in every bee for miles and grows to 6í easily)

I can or freeze what we donít immediately eat. Two of those squash varieties are winter squash so Iím hoping to be able to use them through the fall and early winter.

I generally try to add one long term food producer each year. I have rhubarb, asparagus, horseradish, a plum tree, apple trees and various berries including cranberry bushes. Iím eyeing my choice for the year. I almost had DH convinced to go with the truffles but the tree that they are inoculated with grows to 65í tall so probably not.

clarkai

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2018, 07:38:01 AM »
Right now, in USDA zone 8/Sunset zone 5, I have a lot of overwintering crops, and some that have been and will continue to be harvested.

For overwintering crops, I've got garlic, sprouting broccoli, normal broccoli, 3 kinds of kale, collards, chard, and arugula (there's also lettuces and other greens, but I'm not sure they'll actually survive the winter) . I've been harvesting kale, collards, chard and arugula at a slow rate over the fall. Next year, I intend to plant even more so that I can harvest at a higher rate over the winter. There's also some fall peas that I planted and harvested that are now looking kind of sad with the frosts we've been getting, and I'm really interested to see if they'll die all the way, or try to make a comeback in spring.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2018, 12:36:59 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread. It was -4 before the windchill when I got up this morning. This is a nice reminder that we will not be living on Hoth forever.

I am in a quandary this year. Normally I start nearly everything from seed, with free seeds that I get from my community garden's seed swap, so my plant cost is nearly zero (I do usually buy a few seedlings if I can't find seeds for them at the swap). The community garden opens in April, usually around Earth Day, at which point I plant my cool-weather crops. All this time, I have many, MANY tomato seedlings being babied under the grow light in my apartment, until it's warm enough to put them in the ground - usually in mid to late May here.

This year, though, it's very likely that we're going to be out of the country for a week right around the time the community garden opens. I am not that concerned about the actual community garden; I can always just plant that when we return, and there's not much that can go in the ground here in April anyway, pretty much just greens and some herbs.

What I'm not sure about is, do I still try and start tomatoes and peppers from seed? I usually start them in early to mid-April so they're ready to plant out by the time it's warm enough. I can put the grow light on a timer, but I do not have anyone who would be willing to come in and water the seedlings, rearrange them under the grow light daily, move the grow light up once they get tall enough that they're right on top of the bulb, etc. (I always have too many to fit comfortably so I have them take turns being right under the light, with the others at the perimeter and getting less light, then I swap them. So far this has worked pretty well.)

Do I start them later, have them not ready to plant out until June, and lose a few weeks of our already very short warm-weather-crops season? Or do I just buy seedlings this year, which is of course not mustachian? Having a large tomato yield is important to me; I do a lot of canning and we're still eating off last year's harvest with lots still in the cupboard.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2018, 09:31:09 AM »
Do you have a gardening friend who can watch your seedlings at their house while you are gone?  If not, I would buy seedlings when I return and plant them late.  But not start seedlings late, they would maybe take too long to get to size.

I do not, that is the issue. (Also no car, and would be hard to transport baby seedlings on public transit. And yeah, I was thinking that I should just start with seedlings this year, but that's really going to add up and I'll have to reduce the number of plants, probably. Last year I had 22 tomato plants, all grown from seed, mainly because it was free to do so. At $3-$4 per plant at Home Depot, more at the really nice Fancy Garden Center down the street.... can't do it.

Maybe I'll start a couple from seed anyway but do mostly plants. I have a couple of cherry tomato varieties that turned into Audrey Two and took over my entire bed and bore really well. I feel like losing a few weeks off of their life cycle would not have hurt that much. And for all I know this year we'll have a late frost and they won't be able to go into the ground until late anyway. We've had snow in mid-May before....

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 03:44:49 AM »
I have put this off for 3 years now. This is the year I am going to do it. I keep saying I am going to build some raised beds but to make sure i do this i have 2 areas I dont need to so I am snapping some photos once it warms up a bit to send to thegoblinchief to see what he thinks will be best to plant. I am thinking though at least tomatos, cucumbers and one other...
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 03:59:36 AM »
Saffron crocus are a different species- they are fall blooming, have enlarged flower parts (the style and the stigma). I planted some for the first time this past fall, and so far I've got a lot of leaves! I'm hoping for flowers next year.

Quite fiddly to harvest in my experience; I use tweezers!  The leaves disappear in the summer and re-appear early autumn and it can be quite easy to "lose" the bulbs at this time as there's nothing above ground. Perhaps also worth mentioning that so-called "autumn crocus" - colchicum species - is not the same thing and is in fact quite poisonous.

I like to grow something new each year (both edible and not) and this year I'm going to have a try at edamame (soya) beans plus a few succulents like Aloe & Echeveria from seed that I've only previously propagated by division/cuttings.

sparkytheop

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2018, 04:29:48 AM »
I must admit, I won't be thinking about my garden for another week or so (coasting off the holidays, mid-January is my garden dreamtime)... but I'm so intrigued by saffron crocuses and becco pumpkins! Will any crocus do, or is the saffron crocus a particular varietal? What colors do they come in? I only use saffron once a year (St. Lucia Day) but considering saffron costs more by weight than gold, it's definitely worth growing myself. And these pumpkins... what size and color are they? Are they more ornamental or good for baking with as well? Thanks!

I ordered mine here: https://www.rareseeds.com/pre-order-for-2018-saffron-crocus-25-bulbs-/

You have to wait until they are "in season" for them to be sent.  I ordered mine last summer, they arrived in the fall, and planted them shortly after (you're suppose to plant them right away).  Mine have grown leaves, and I'm hoping they flower in the fall so I can try it!

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2018, 09:26:13 AM »
I'm a gardening novice but planning to start one this year! I always wanted to start one at my old house, but I didn't have a good place to put it that would be protected from dogs and rabbits, and I didn't want to invest a ton of time  and energy in setting it up. But I moved last year to a house that already has raised beds in a fenced side yard, plus we're in a different state with a much longer growing season. We moved in last summer just in time to harvest the previous owner's tomatoes, which was nice.

I'm in zone 9 so I can grow pretty much everything. My tentative plan for this year is carrots, kale, bell peppers, and snap peas. Those should all be doable for a beginner, right?

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2018, 09:21:54 PM »
I'm looking forward to this year, and plan to grow lots of peppers.  I've been getting more into making different hot sauces and chile powders over the last couple years.  Ordered from Baker Creek already and scored a packet of Aji Charapita, which are tiny orange, round peppers that are apparently prized in Peru.  Also adding Sugar Rush Peach and Black Hungarian peppers to the mix.  Probably won't bother with bell peppers this year as they always get sunburned and usually aren't very productive.

I acquired some Hatch-style peppers from a coworker a few years ago and saved the seeds because they were HOT whereas other NuMex varieties I've tried in this climate were always mild and thin-walled.  Anyway, last year I was only able to get about 6 decent seedlings because I almost lost my seed source.  This year I have plenty of seeds, and plan to do a full 4x12 bed of them for red and green chile.  I lived in New Mexico for a few years and developed that green chile addiction, you see.

Also growing:

  • A dozen or so tomatoes, down from 16 this year and 19 last year. 
  • Winter squash:  spaghetti, butternut, acorn and adding Thai Kang Kob which is a warty green pumpkin.  I've had sudden plant collapse the last couple years, apparently from squash vine borers, so need to stay vigilant this year so we can have lots of squash to store.
  • Potatoes - Red and blue potatoes are already in the ground.  Experimenting with overwintering them as I always get volunteer plants where I planted the previous year.
  • Okra- doing 2 kinds since last year I picked up a couple Clemson Spineless plants that were abysmal, and we got NO GUMBO.  Trying Burmese and High Country Red this year
  • Dried beans - I've finally concluded that we don't care much about green beans.  I found a pole bean that looks similar to Borlotti/cranberry beans and a pole black bean and hoping to get a nice harvest
  • Hoping to finally have robust enough growth to harvest some of my asparagus plants
  • If I can get the slips to go, I'll plant sweet potatoes
  • About 200 garlic cloves already in the ground
  • Onions - I've been having lots of success interplanting onions with everything.  I'm trying Ailsa Craig, which grows really large, as a storage onion this year.  The fruit stand I used to buy storage onions from closed down, so I'd like to grow about 50# of onions.  Also have some sweet and red onion seed, and should try to grow green onions since we buy them almost every week.
  • Corn?  Maybe.  I don't bother with sweet corn, but if I have energy and space, I'll try planting this Papa's Red variety I have for cornmeal

Other usual suspects:
Lettuce, beets, kale, collards, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, eggplant, radishes, Thai and Italian basil, perennial herbs, strawberries, carrots, chard, cabbage, summer squash

We also have hops, several raspberries, a fig, cherry, and three small apple trees, none of which did much in 2017, but will hopefully pick it up this year.

It's a lot, but I have a never-ending source of free fertilizer!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 07:59:01 AM by horsepoor »

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2018, 12:23:37 AM »
RESERVED

Still formulating plans and goals. I've been tossing around the idea of scaling things back this year, but I suspect when it comes down to it, I'll be hard pressed not to build a new bed or two. One thing I've discovered heading into my fourth year of gardening post-FIRE...it's as addicting as fu*k. ;)

I just received my West Coast Seeds 2018 Gardening Guide in the mail so my thoughts have just now started to look ahead to spring. I noticed the beaches here have healthy deposits of kelp above the high tide line so I might throw a bunch into the beds that didn't get the seaweed treatment back in early November.

krmit

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2018, 01:02:39 PM »
The seed starting lights are on! So far I've started the following:

Rhubarb - yeah, I know crowns are recommended, but I got my hands on a free pack of seeds and decided to give it a try. Plus I'm still renting and don't have a permanent place to keep it yet. Got two seedlings sprouted and growing nicely.
Lettuce
Lavender

Planning to also start tomatoes, kale, peas, herbs, and zucchini (and maybe a winter squash if I can squeeze it in somewhere). Super excited to get started as the weather warms up!

horsepoor

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2018, 01:12:20 PM »
Got two 72 cell flats of peppers and eggplant started today.  Tonight or this weekend I'll start cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, onions, cauliflower and leeks.

sparkytheop

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 05:57:49 PM »
My saffron crocus sprouted nicely at the end of fall, and has made it through the winter.  Pretty, thin, green leaves poking out of the soil, so really hope I see some nice flowers in the fall!  If they make it this year, I'll dig up some of the bulbs and move some over to the corner of the yard.  I'll just have to make sure to put a border of some type around them so they don't get mowed over.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 05:59:38 PM »
Love growing things but I'm seriously BAD at it. Plants just see me and die! But I can still buy super cheap veg in season and can or freeze etc.

horsepoor

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2018, 09:35:18 PM »
My saffron crocus sprouted nicely at the end of fall, and has made it through the winter.  Pretty, thin, green leaves poking out of the soil, so really hope I see some nice flowers in the fall!  If they make it this year, I'll dig up some of the bulbs and move some over to the corner of the yard.  I'll just have to make sure to put a border of some type around them so they don't get mowed over.

Are there particular dishes you use the saffron in?  Once in a while, I feel fancy and procure some saffron, then it languishes in the cupboard because it's not really part of my cooking repertoire.  Now is one of those times, and I need to use up this little packet of saffron.

Off the Wheel

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2018, 11:31:21 PM »
Yessss! I'm still waiting for my 2018 seed catalogue, but I think I've almost decided. Going to focus on where I had successes last year (tomatoes, greens, roots) rather than where I didn't (brassicas, squash, exotics).

Overwintering:
- Blueberries
- Currant
- Gooseberry
- Mint
- Rosemary

Will plant:
- Beans
- Peas
- Tomatoes
- Kohlrabi
- Brussel Sprouts
- Lettuces
- Asian Greens
- Kale
- Spinach
- Swiss Chard
- Beets
- Carrots
- Radishes
- Some herbs

sparkytheop

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 03:50:02 AM »
My saffron crocus sprouted nicely at the end of fall, and has made it through the winter.  Pretty, thin, green leaves poking out of the soil, so really hope I see some nice flowers in the fall!  If they make it this year, I'll dig up some of the bulbs and move some over to the corner of the yard.  I'll just have to make sure to put a border of some type around them so they don't get mowed over.

Are there particular dishes you use the saffron in?  Once in a while, I feel fancy and procure some saffron, then it languishes in the cupboard because it's not really part of my cooking repertoire.  Now is one of those times, and I need to use up this little packet of saffron.

Not yet...  There have been recipes I've seen that I wanted to try, but they called for saffron, and I'm too cheap to buy it.  So, once it grows and I can get some off the flowers, I'll start looking up recipes. 

cerat0n1a

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2018, 04:45:32 AM »
I like saffron (from the garden) with figs (from the garden.) Both are fairly expensive to buy in supermarkets here and typically come from Turkey, so lots of food miles.

Basically make a syrup by boiling up sugar & honey and water and adding a strand or two of saffron. Add the figs and simmer for a couple of minutes until they're soft and then serve the figs with the syrup drizzled on top. Or let it cool and have with cream or ice cream.

Paella is the classic recipe that calls for saffron though.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2018, 08:23:35 AM »
I like saffron (from the garden) with figs (from the garden.) Both are fairly expensive to buy in supermarkets here and typically come from Turkey, so lots of food miles.

Basically make a syrup by boiling up sugar & honey and water and adding a strand or two of saffron. Add the figs and simmer for a couple of minutes until they're soft and then serve the figs with the syrup drizzled on top. Or let it cool and have with cream or ice cream.

Paella is the classic recipe that calls for saffron though.

Thanks!  I will keep this in mind if my fig (I'd say tree, but it's more of a shrub) bears fruit this year.

Started two more 72-cell flats:  Aspabroc (haven't had success growing it yet), cauliflower, lettuces, cabbages, kale, collards and mizuna.  Today I'm completing one of the flats with onions and leeks.  I've gotten more into growing alliums the last year or two, and hope to grow all my storage onions this year since the fruit stand I used to buy 50# bags from shut down.

The tomatoes will get started in another two weeks or so, and I think the root vegetables will start getting sown outside around the same time.

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2018, 09:28:49 AM »
While I am brand new to the MMM community my passion is gardening.  I am in Northern New England and have a very large garden.   We already have a 1/4 acre fenced in garden that we have been adding raised beds to for 4 years.  My long term goals include growing 70 to 90 percent of all the vegetables, fruits, and nuts we eat.   
We have some perennials that we have planted in the last 4 years that are just starting to produce and I am looking forward to the addition of more home grown fruit.

Fruits
Strawberries June bearing and ever bearing
Blueberries
Raspberries
Blackberries
Pears
Apples
Grapes
Sour Pie Cherries

Vegetables and hebs that I am planting or are producing
Asparugus
Rhubarb
Wine Cap Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Bell Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers
Tomatillos
Potaotes
Parsnips
Carrots
Parsley
Lovage
Celeriac
Garlic
Onions
Bunching Onions
Chives
Kale
Pac Choi
Broccoli
Cabbage
Green beans
Cucumbers
Zucchini and Patty Pan summer squash
Spaghetti Squash
Delicata Squash
Butternut Squash
Daikon Radish
Snap peas
lettuce
Rutabagas
Thyme
Sage
Rosemary
Oregano
Nasturtiums
Dill
Basil
New Zealand Spinach
Spinach
Leeks
Sunchokes
Swiss Chard
Lemongrass
Borage
Sunflowers

We also have 2 bee hives that produce honey and a small flock of egg laying hens.
 
 
 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 10:29:56 AM by PKate »

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2018, 10:33:45 AM »
Following this. We have a 2 ft by 18 ft spot along our backyard fence in which we grew 9 tomato plants, 4 basil, 4 zucchini plants, 1 eggplant and 2 rosemary plants. We canned 20 pints of tomatoes and ate zucchini and tomatoes all summer (lots of Zucchini spaghetti). I made 8 pints of basil pesto.

Would love to expand to pole beans and bell peppers. Suggestions for how to maximize growing space in our 18 by 2 foot garden space?

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2018, 11:06:13 AM »
Following this. We have a 2 ft by 18 ft spot along our backyard fence in which we grew 9 tomato plants, 4 basil, 4 zucchini plants, 1 eggplant and 2 rosemary plants. We canned 20 pints of tomatoes and ate zucchini and tomatoes all summer (lots of Zucchini spaghetti). I made 8 pints of basil pesto.

Would love to expand to pole beans and bell peppers. Suggestions for how to maximize growing space in our 18 by 2 foot garden space?

The easiest way is to some early season fast growing greens.  Spinach, lettuce, and arugula can be planted a month or 2 before your warm weather crops go in the soil.  I buy larger packs of seeds for this.  I either transplant seedlings that I grow or I direct sow the seeds.  I plant them thickly at 2" spacing.  As the plants grow I thin and eat every other plant as they need more room.  Once it is time to plant the warm weather summer crops I thin out a spot for the transplant and continue removing greens as the transplants need more room.  By the time the transplants start to take off the greens will  need to come out due to bolting from the heat leaving room for your summer crops.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2018, 11:49:57 AM »
I'm in!  My favorite time of the year.  :)

This year will be a bit scaled back, due to our house construction taking precedence over our time. I'll still grow a few summer basics (tomatoes, various greens, beans, peppers),  and we have lots of perennial fruit, veg, and nut trees that I'll be caring for (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, apples, cherries, pears, grapes, figs, asparagus, leeks, hickory, walnuts).  Just can't handle the full blown vegetable garden this year with the other demands.

Brand new for me this year are 3 paw paw trees and 4 persimmons I planted this past fall.  Very curious to see how they came through the winter, and what they do this spring.  Also I am going to try some bench grafting of a nice old apple tree we have.  We'll see if it works!  And last but not least -- I'll be trying my hand at some mushrooms this year.  Excited about that.   

My challenge continues to be the GD deer here.  I've been gardening a long time but have never seen anything like it.  They are eating things deer aren't even supposed to like.   I have to protect everything from them, even tomatoes.   It's nuts.  Deer netting works, but snakes get caught in it sometimes and die, which makes me sad.  Still searching for the perfect solution.   DH says that next year, after our house is built, he will build me an 8 foot deer fence around the whole garden if I want.  It may come to that. 

Teachstache

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2018, 01:49:57 PM »
Following this. We have a 2 ft by 18 ft spot along our backyard fence in which we grew 9 tomato plants, 4 basil, 4 zucchini plants, 1 eggplant and 2 rosemary plants. We canned 20 pints of tomatoes and ate zucchini and tomatoes all summer (lots of Zucchini spaghetti). I made 8 pints of basil pesto.

Would love to expand to pole beans and bell peppers. Suggestions for how to maximize growing space in our 18 by 2 foot garden space?

The easiest way is to some early season fast growing greens.  Spinach, lettuce, and arugula can be planted a month or 2 before your warm weather crops go in the soil.  I buy larger packs of seeds for this.  I either transplant seedlings that I grow or I direct sow the seeds.  I plant them thickly at 2" spacing.  As the plants grow I thin and eat every other plant as they need more room.  Once it is time to plant the warm weather summer crops I thin out a spot for the transplant and continue removing greens as the transplants need more room.  By the time the transplants start to take off the greens will  need to come out due to bolting from the heat leaving room for your summer crops.

PKate, we have good sun 12 hours in our front yard. It's 15 feet by 30 feet. Our side yard has a 65 year old oak  tree that shades our 1 story house. We'd like to plant some fruit trees (apple, pear, plum, possibly cherry). I'd also like to plant some raspberry & blackberry canes. Trying to figure out if we have space for all that.

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2018, 04:22:42 PM »
Space is and light are always a premium when it comes to gardening in a small lot.  Are you in the right climate and soil conditions to grow the fruits you have listed? 

In terms of  space I would plant dwarf fruit trees that have more than variety grafted on the tree so you won't need 2 of each for cross pollination.  Unless your neighbors have fruit trees than you can go with a single variety per tree.  Here is one source for combination trees.  http://raintreenursery.com/fruit-trees/fruit-trees-combinations?p=2&product_list_limit=all

You will have room for 3 dwarf fruit trees or 2 semi dwarf fruit trees in the front yard.  This spacing is based on their full size.   

Raspberries and blackberries are  easy to grow but you will need to be prepared dig out runners and off shoots or they will take over.  They will fit in with the trees. 

Grass will be the biggest competitors for nutrients.  So I use wood chip mulch that we get free from tree trimming companies when they are in the area or we pick it up from our town dump.  I also plant strawberries, irises, daffodils, and chives around the base of my trees.  This helps keep the grass at bay, gives me an additional harvest and helps the tree out.


If you eliminate the lawn it will give you space to grow more annual veggies in the front yard till the fruit trees shade out the space.   Herbs, Rhubarb, zucchini, kale, garlic, edible flowers, lettuce, eggplant, and peppers can all be tucked in landscaped shaped garden beds and look great.  Pole beans on a trellis look amazing particularity with a variety with pretty flowers like Scarlet Runner Beans or Rattlesnake Pole Beans.  I love having sun flowers, nasturtiums, borage, johnny jump ups, and various herbs like thyme, sage, chives, and dill flowering in the garden beds.  They add color and you can eat them too.   
 
Sheet mulching is a great way to smother grass and quickly create a landscaped look for gardening in the front yard.  I also mulch my garden beds once the plants are established.  I use wood chips and mulch hay.  That way everything has a clean look and I save on watering and weeding. 

I do most of my gardening in my front yard.  I don't have to worry about any restrictions since I am in a semi rural area that is zoned agricultural.  We are still working on making our garden productive and beautiful.


This is my lower part of my front yard garden. I plant a good chunk of my annual veggies here along with the asparagus bed, raspberries and blackberries.



This is higher up the hill and directly in front of the house.  The trees are dwarf apples and pear.  The raised bed is to the left is full of flowers, apple trees, blueberries, and currents.   The beds on the right I use for some annual veggies and behind them is pear tree with strawberries as ground cover.  To the right of the photo we are building a garden pond between the upper and lower part of the garden.

 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 03:23:59 PM by PKate »

MrsDinero

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2018, 07:16:05 PM »
I was waiting for this thread to show up!  I learned so much from out first garden last year, including what vegetables we really don't like.

This year, I am focusing focusing on less than last year, but in greater number.

I will be planting:
Peppers
Onions
Beets
Carrots
Tomatos
Beans
Jalapenos
Pumpkins
Squash
Potatoes
Kitchen Herbs

I am also going to plant about 4-6 more fruit trees.

I thought about growing some lettuce but the farm down the road grows a wonderful variety and sells them cheap, so I see no need to grow my own.

I'm also going to learn to can this year. 

One thing I would like to do is build a greenhouse to extend the growing season.
I am going to use the spare bedroom as my seed starter.  It gets great natural light, is warm, and best of all I can keep the kids and pets out of the room. 
~~Mrs. D.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 07:55:33 AM »
We're thinking about starting our tomatoes indoors pretty soon. And bell peppers. It'll be awhile before we can plant outdoors.

New this season: my parents have developed some health issues so we'll be doing more helping out with their garden over the season. Should give us a nice bunch of produce as well. Nothing happening until mid-April when we will need to look for a break in the weather to prepare the soil.

We are going to till a small area of our yard this year. I would love to have a large garden but it's just not possible on our current property. Tomatoes haven't been doing great in containers so I identified a bit of ground that we can fence the dog out of (he eats our tomatoes off the vine just before they are ripe!!!) that actually gets some sun. We have a lot of shade. Not sure what we'll grow besides tomatoes and peppers. Currently have 3 blueberries in the front yard for which we need to make removable bird netting as well.

Cezilous

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 08:22:46 AM »
This year, though, it's very likely that we're going to be out of the country for a week right around the time the community garden opens. I am not that concerned about the actual community garden; I can always just plant that when we return, and there's not much that can go in the ground here in April anyway, pretty much just greens and some herbs.

What I'm not sure about is, do I still try and start tomatoes and peppers from seed? I usually start them in early to mid-April so they're ready to plant out by the time it's warm enough. I can put the grow light on a timer, but I do not have anyone who would be willing to come in and water the seedlings, rearrange them under the grow light daily, move the grow light up once they get tall enough that they're right on top of the bulb, etc.

We will be out of the country from 4/30 - 5/18 and reading this just made it click for me that if we do seedlings, we need to figure out how they'll survive while we're gone.  Thank you for the reminder.  I'm wondering if maybe we can take them to my sister's place for care, since she also does seedlings, though I'm not sure she's going to have room..

We built three 8' x 4' raised garden beds in our backyard in 2015.  I'd like to seriously grow some vegetables that we can use this year.  One garden bed got turned into a wildflower bed last year, so I'm not sure if we can undo that choice.  So I have two beds.  I'd like to do spinach however something usually eats the leaves and lays larvae on the underside of the leaves so I never really got to eat it in the past.  I'm reluctant to try again for not getting to eat it again.  I don't want to use chemicals or sprays.

Ideally, if it were a perfect world and I still had my gardening patience, I'd try:

Spinach
Kale
Rainbow Chard
Lettuce
Cauliflower
Broccoli
1 Tomato Plant
Bell Pepper Plant
Onions
Kitchen Herbs (in a separate garden right outside our kitchen side door - very convenient)

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 08:59:54 AM »
I am getting sooooo antsy for my community garden's seed swap which is the first weekend in March. Because this determines, to a large extent, what I'm going to plant. Free seeds! Hooray!

I'm thinking of doing the peas in my backyard this year, since I won't be able to get into the community bed to direct sow them until nearly May. I direct sowed on opening day in late April last year and that wasn't enough time for them to get going before it got hot. I got exactly 1 pea pod and then it got into the 90s and they dropped dead. Also tried starting indoors and transplanting and they didn't like that. I don't have a good way to fence them against bunnies, in the backyard, though. Thinking of putting them in a tall pot that I had a raspberry bush (that died) in. Can bunnies jump 3 feet? Probably. I guess I could put chicken wire around the pot.

Right now I'm sort of leaning toward starting the tomatoes and peppers the day before we leave. It's not that warm in our apartment and I don't use heat mats or anything, so often they don't sprout in 6 days which is how long we'll be gone. Worst case scenario, they sprout, drop dead from lack of light, and I start over. Since all my seeds are free I'm just out the cost of the little seed-starting pods (not frugal, I realize, but I have the best results with them for whatever reason.

I really need to start saving for necessary garden expenses like soil and chicken wire and fertilizer. I meant to put aside holiday sales money (from my side business) toward that but instead we decided to take a trip and then had massive vet bills. Oops.

Folks with only one raised bed - how often do you typically replace the soil, if ever? At our community garden, they tell us to just top off with fresh compost (which unfortunately they had to stop providing to us). That worked fine for me for a few years but last year my tomatoes didn't do nearly as well and I figured that it's because I've been growing tomatoes in the same soil over and over again. Also had more problems with disease than usual, while the few tomatoes I had in the backyard (brand new raised bed and soil) went crazy and looked so healthy. Wondering if I should a) dump all soil and replace or b) add compost as usual and amend the soil (with what?).

I know the real issue is growing the same crop in the same spot repeatedly, but I don't have another spot to put them, and don't want to skip tomatoes for the, what, 3 years it's supposed to take for the soil to replenish itself. I can put them in different parts of the bed, to some extent, though I feel like that'll shade out other plants that I want to grow. Has anyone solved this?

Off the Wheel

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2018, 10:38:27 PM »
Does anyone have experience growing a medicinal garden? I'd like to plant chamomile, calendula, echinacea and a few other things to use in DIY home and beauty things, but what else am I missing?

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2018, 06:32:41 AM »
Does anyone have experience growing a medicinal garden? I'd like to plant chamomile, calendula, echinacea and a few other things to use in DIY home and beauty things, but what else am I missing?

Love this idea! following along for tips as well.

My hope for my garden this year is to start seedlings next month;
Peppers
Onions
Squash (zucchini, summer, etc.)
Pumpkins
Spinach
Tomatoes
Lima beans

And be able to successfully transplant them into our raised beds. Last year we transplanted them too soon and they all died. :(

Nancy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2018, 06:49:32 AM »
Does anyone have experience growing a medicinal garden? I'd like to plant chamomile, calendula, echinacea and a few other things to use in DIY home and beauty things, but what else am I missing?

I'm going to try to grow some herbs as well. I got Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs book from the library. It's a good guide for a newb like me. I'm trying:
-echinacea
-nettle
-thyme
-calendula
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:25:21 AM by Nancy »

Sun Hat

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2018, 09:37:20 AM »
I grow and put up a lot of tomatoes, kale, zucchini and beets, along with smaller amounts of cucumbers, lettuce, carrots. oregano, basil and green beans to eat in season.

This year, I'm going to aim for a greater variety, and have ordered seeds for eggplant, brussel sprouts, rutabaga, leeks, snow peas and pie pumpkins and quinoa in addition to my staples. I'm trying the quinoa mostly as a novelty. In the past, I've also grown lentils for fun to see how they grow (it's very zen to pick and hull lentils, as they come in tiny pods, with one or two lentils per pod).

My rhubarb, raspberries and dwarf apple trees should be mature enough to produce a bit this year too.

I also grew jalapenos and cabbage last year, but with only 2 peppers per plant and slugs devastating the cabbage, I'm not sure if I'll try again this year. I have a short growing season, but my garden does get full sun, so short-season varieties tend to do alright. Even in my raised beds, my soil is very heavy with clay, despite my efforts to add composted manure and a lot of plant matter. I may try adding some sand this spring too. If anyone has had success in loosening clay soil, I'd love to hear how you did it.

@Off the Wheel If it'll grow in your climate, I'd suggest growing lavender for your medicinal/beauty garden. It's a delight.
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Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2018, 09:48:46 AM »

If you want to have your soil tested to see what needs to be added, University of Mass has a very inexpensive soil testing program.  I think I paid maybe $20 a couple of years ago to have it tested and that included the test to see how much organic material was in the soil.  You might consider that.

Also, if you have a county Master Gardener program through a university cooperative extension, you can contact them and ask for local vegetable information.

My garden org is pretty good about keeping us informed and does a lot of education so I'll probably ask them - though they did some blog posts about this last year and said the best thing to do is to not grow the same thing every year. Not going to give up my tomatoes, though, that's really the main point of me even doing this.

I'd like to get the soil tested but since I'm not even allowed in the community garden until the very end of April, I hate to sit and wait for a soil test to come back before I can plant anything. We go from freeze to boil pretty quickly here and I would like at least some lettuce before it gets into the 90s and it all bolts.

If I had gotten the soil tested at the end of the season last fall, would the results have still been valid for this spring, I wonder? Does the snow cover do anything to it? Because, that would've been a way to go, if I'd thought of it.

Rosy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2018, 10:33:25 AM »
Does anyone have experience growing a medicinal garden? I'd like to plant chamomile, calendula, echinacea and a few other things to use in DIY home and beauty things, but what else am I missing?

Try these:

1. Mint - I like spearmint for tea, but peppermint tea is the one you want for headaches and upset tummy and of course to alleviate sinus pain.
 3-4 drops of peppermint oil, hot water in a bowl - breathe it in for 15 min.-tent a towel around the bowl and your head, twice a day - morn and night. Set the bowl near where you are to help your breathing throughout the day.

Chocolate mint for cooking (add a spoonful of dried leaves or fresh mint leaves to your buttered carrots - I like to use unsalted butter and add sugar or honey - yum).

My orange mint seems to have a little pick-me-up effect. So it's great for an afternoon herbal energy drink.
Mints work well for facials and masks.

... and of course, Mojito Mint:)

2. Fennel - tea - recommended for babies with colic and anyone with an upset tummy, digestion.
 I don't grow it, because I don't like the scent/flavor, it looks a lot like dill and I always grow dill - love it, so pretty and airy and the flowers look so cool. We love it in egg and fish dishes and sauces. I give the seeds to a friend who uses them for canning.

3. Lemongrass - 'cause I like to cook with it and use it for a herbal mixed tea on occasion, it isn't acidic like a lemon.
 
4. Aloe - just learned that there are Aloes that have stronger medicinal properties than the common aloe, which is the best thing ever for sunburn!!!
Great for face masks and wonderfully soothing and healing for little cuts too.
Of course, the medicinally stronger plants look rather mean and viciously spiky - not without some otherworldly appeal though:) My son gave me a couple, but never told me it's what he uses for a healing salve for leg pain - have to get more detail on all that.

5. Ginger root - looking into that for this year. If the plants look pretty enough, I'll find a spot in the garden and give it a shot.

6. Elderberry - birds seeded some in my garden, but they look nothing like the big elderberries I know from Europe. They are more like a tall bush - great for cough syrups and tonic and fine Elderberry liqueur or wine. I absolutely love the beautiful white lacy, frothy flowers - I know you can eat them, but they are so pretty:)
This year - I'll look for some seeded babies to plant in the back border of my garden. Then I'll have enough to make some delicious liqueur - never mind the medicinal uses:)

7. Lemon Verbena - the leaves have the most wonderful sweet lemon flavor. People are always surprised how good it tastes. I just make ice tea with it in the summer, mixes well with white wine for a refreshing wine cooler and I do like hot in the winter. It has plenty of other uses incl. for scent in lotions, I like to add it to homemade cleaners.

8. Rosemary - is a no-brainer for cooking, medicinal and household use. Last year I dried small bundles tied with ribbon - hung them from the curtain rod in our kitchen/dining area - run your hands against the grain and voila, you have dried rosemary for cooking and to put in little sachets in your undie drawer or to make your own cleaner. Mostly I use fresh for cooking and in the bath-invigorating.

9. Roses - rosa rugosas, for the vitamin C - rosehips-tea, facial tonics - not to mention scented potpourri. Who doesn't love roses:)

10. Books I recommend:
1. Rosemary Gladstar's book "Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health" if you are interested in the medicinal application of herbal teas, healthy tonics, oils, salves and tinctures.

2. A good book on herb gardening in general - for beginners, is "grow herbs" - starts with the basic know-how and has a nice 100 herb reference - author Jekka McVicar published by DK.

3. Fragrant Herbal (Crabtree & Evelyn) - author-Leslie Bremness - an oldie but a goodie if you love fragrance, want some sweet inspiration about pretty fragrant herb gardens, night-scented garden designs - information on aromatic herbs and use of essential oils.
Different potpourri recipes, an A-Z of herbs and interesting home decor uses.
I specifically liked their expansive recipes, mouthwatering pics, and appetizing vegetarian dishes. Not your run of the mill green stuff, but inspired cooking, romantic dinners, nighttime drinks and desserts everyone loves.

4. Another favorite has a rather misleading title in my opinion anyway - "The Home Apothecary". Tells you how to grow herbs, provides full information on everything from elderflower moisturizer to potpourris to sleep pillows to rosemary tonic wine to herbal shampoo to herb teas for everyday problems to cough and cold decoctions to marigold skin salve to hand and foot treatments - great pics and easy to follow instructions.

If you were to buy just one book on herbs - this one might be it.
You can always add a herb reference book from National Geographic later if you become more interested.   

I envy you that calendula does well for you. Here in Florida, I haven't had much luck with it. The chamomile has to be German Chamomile if you are using it for medicinal purposes.

I'm not an expert, just a gardener who loves herbs and saving money. Instead of bleach and chemicals, I prefer lemon and rosemary et al for my cleaners. Fresh herbs and spices for my cooking and herbal tea from my own plants which haven't been treated or sprayed - my garden is organic all the way.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 12:31:50 PM by Rosy »

Rosy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2018, 11:37:29 AM »
My spring gardening begins next week. Had some help from the kid, so I'm much better prepared than usual.

Rainbow Chard - does well in containers and will grow back if you don't rip it out by the root:)
Lemon Verbena - I managed to kill mine 'again' last year.
Golden potatoes - in a half barrel - sweet potatoes are going strong already in the other half barrel and some in the ground.
Tomatoes - two Roma - perfect for sauces and everything else
                 one Patio tomato - it's a cherry tomato, grows in clusters, perfect for Mr. R. to take to lunch.
Peppers - the four I planted in fall are doing fine, just harvested a big fat one for brunch on Sunday. Adding one small mild red.
Lemongrass - two or three as a border, now that I redesigned the garden layout. (not sure if there is one container survivor from last year)
Italian Basil - I think I'll just spend 99 cents each on two and buy some cheap seeds to throw in with the cherry tomatoes.
Geraniums - three red ones for my window box and the garden. I love geraniums!
Marigolds - to plant in with the lettuce seed.

Honeysuckle to climb up the garden shed wall - my favorite scent along with roses.

Still going strong:
Garlic chives-extremely garlicky
African blue basil - thrilled they made it through the winter - now I need to start one or two babies.
Lemon balm - nice surprise - usually they don't make it through our hot summers.
Parsley - looking good, both curly and flat.
Pineapple Sage - looks really good right now - pretty lipstick red flowers - I better harvest some for a tea mix.
Lavender - my, my, - I can't believe it - I found two last year that are blooming right now - looking fine. Trust me, lavender in Florida is a finicky business.
There will be sachets and a Herb de Provence spice mix. Yay:)
Bay Leaf - bush, seems to have recuperated from the plague:)
Lemon thyme - needs a little TLC - I may try some in my new Buddha head flower pot or maybe I'll find a spiky grass.
Mints - except I'll have to hunt down some Mojito mint at the big garden show in April.

Rural

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2018, 06:13:51 PM »
Discovered one of the public libraries in husbands grad school city has a seed swap, so I'm digging around to see what I can contribute and planning to start some Cherokee Purple seeds from there inside next weekend.

ETA for Rosy - I have the same  trouble with elderflower – too pretty, and besides, the flowers make elderberries! But I've discovered that the petals are what is really good in fritters, and you can gather those by waiting until the flower is past its prime, covering the flower head with a bag, and gently shaking it.  Many of the petals will drop into the bag, and you can fry them up in a batter. As long as you don't break the stem, the berries will still form at that point.  Obviously, you'll need a bunch of flowers if you're going to make very many fritters, but that applies if you do it the traditional way, too.

For the medicinal garden, let me suggest sage, too, for sore throats. And plantain if you can find seed and are in a suitable area. Also a little stevia makes a lot of teas more palatable.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 06:20:13 PM by Rural »

Mongoose

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #49 on: February 15, 2018, 08:21:33 AM »
It's time to plant our tomato and pepper seeds. Tilling up an area of the yard will have to wait a bit. And our milkweed seeds apparently need to be cold soaked for a month so we definitely need to get that started as well.

I was planning on taking out our shallow raised beds but am wondering. I could refresh the soil and have a good size area of herbs and salad greens. I think most of those would do fine with the shallower root space. The tomatoes we had in there before did ok but we thought they'd be happier in ground.

I ordered a few seeds today for some container plants...dwarf varieties of things we can't grow in ground here because it is too cold.