Author Topic: Planting / Growing your own 2018  (Read 9985 times)

Rosy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #50 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 #51 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 #52 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 »

birdie55

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2018, 07:29:57 PM »
When ever you get the soil tested, it will tell you what the nutrient levels are at that time.

I tend to have my soil tested in the late fall, after I pull my warm season garden plants.  If I needed a lot of additions to my soil, I would probably add them in the fall and let them get rained in over the winter.  Otherwise you can add in spring before planting. 

I don't think the snow would change anything.  As soon as you get into your garden plot, take a sample and then go about planting or doing what you normally do.  But I can't stress enough that you need to fertilize each season you plant.  The plants take a lot of nutrients out of the soil as they grow.  Once you get a test result, it will make suggestions on what to do.  And do it when you can, when it makes sense. 

Mongoose

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #54 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.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2018, 10:03:15 PM »
I'm still waiting for my 2018 seed catalogue....

Heading into what is now my fourth year of vegetable gardening (fourth year of FIRE too...this is NOT a coincidence) a tradition has developed whereby I take my preferred seed catalogue down to the Baja with me, where I take my time to develop my gardening strategy for the upcoming season. This is pretty much where my plan comes together. And I would highly recommend checking out the West Coast Seeds catalogue - it has some wonderful content above and beyond the seed selection itself. And at the risk of coming across as a paid shill for the company, the seeds are great too - in my experience the germination rates seem much higher than some other varieties I've tried over the past several years.



I was pretty much determined NOT to build any new beds this year, but as I look at the list of items I want to plant, I think at least one more 4X12' bed may be in the cards. I may post my planting wish list soon - a mixture of directly sowed crops and indoor starts.

Another thing I find myself thinking about is the very nature of the land on which I have enjoyed learning about the process of food growing over the past 3 years. The parcel of land itself is 5 acres...perhaps one acre of it is cleared...with the majority of it being typically dense PNW forest. My garden lies within this clearing, surrounded by a ring of steadily growing Douglas firs and cedars. My desire for my garden to be more successful with each passing year is clearly going to run headlong into the issue of slowly decreasing amount of sunlight reaching my garden site. As it stands now, I'd say the amount of light reaching my plants is just above adequate.

Some sort of tree cull in order to increase sunlight to my garden site....doesn't quite sit quite right with me.

My DW is in charge of the herbs and the bees. I'm strictly the veggie guy. ;)


THE LIST

Kale & Collards - Lacinato (as requested by a prominent forumer), Red Russian, Champion Collards
Peas - shelling: Green Arrow
         - snow: Oregon Sugar Pod II
         - snap: Super Sugar Snap
Radish - Wasabi, Amethyst
Spinach - Monstrueux de Viroflay,  Olympia
Broccoli - Everest, Green Magic
Cabbage - Tiara, Integro (red), Copenhagen Market
Cauliflower - Amazing, SKYWALKER
Lettuce - Super Gourmet Salad Blend (5 different varieties)
Peppers - Ancho (Poblano), Serrano, Ghost Chili (freakin' HOT)
Tomatoes - Parthenocarpic: Oregon Spring, Siletz
                  - Early: Early Cascade
                  - Main Season: Super Fantastic, Caiman
                  - Cherry: Sungold, Red Robin, Sweet Million
                  - Roma: La Roma, Pazzano
Quinoa - Brightest Brilliant Rainbow (gonna try this again - wood bugs be damned)
Onions - Ailsa Craig, Rossa di Milano, Walla Walla
Beets - Boro, Red Ace
Carrots - Yaya, Scarlet Nantes, Sugar Snax
Fennel - Orion
Turnips - Purple Prince
Okra - Clemonson's Spineless
Tomatillos - Toma Verde
Beans - Bush: Tri-colour Bush Bean Blend
            - Pole: Kentucky Blue, Purple Peacock
Squash - Table Queen, Vegetable Spaghetti, Black Beauty Zukes, 8-ball Zukes
Cucumber - Patio Snacker, Lemon Cucumber, Marketmore
Potatoes - Early season: Warba
                 - mid-season: Yukon Gold
                 - Late: Gemstar

My Swiss Chard patch has been growing non-stop for a few years so no need to plant more. That....and it's Swiss freakin' Chard - of all the crops that have proved to be invulnerable and eternal it had to be THAT. But perhaps I just haven't yet discovered how to make this substance taste good.

And once I get back north I expect to see my garlic crop poking through the leafy mulch blanket I covered the bulbs with in late October.

I really, REALLY, can't wait to get back North to my little island and get started.




« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 08:34:45 AM by Jon_Snow »

Nancy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2018, 08:30:42 AM »
@Jon_Snow the picture and the description of your other location are gorgeous. I think you PNW garden/forest is my dream. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2018, 10:43:59 AM »
Zone 5b, in a lower density urban neighborhood. Once you subtract the house we have about 4500 sqft to work with, plus weíre a corner lot and we can use almost all of the sidewalk strip to grow in. We have about 40 4x8 raised beds plus perennials tucked in a number of other areas. Most of the useful garden space is in the front yard and the sidewalk beds. The backyard is in deep shade, which is perfect for the livestock we have (see below).

Been doing this for several years and still feel very much like a novice sometime despite my obsession with learning about all sorts of farming systems. In many ways my skill level is still catching up to my very ambitious scale. The previous two years I also had additional 5,000sqft plot. Perfect soil and solar aspect but far away and just too much for me even being a stay at home parent, since I homeschool and that takes up an increasing amount of my time as my kids get into the middle and junior high grades. 

My garden beds were formed with purchased compost that didnít end up performing very well, so Iíve had mixed results. Hopefully rabbit manure lives up to its reputation as garden magic and will improve yields and vigor over the next year and more.

No new human edible species this year but always trying new varieties. Main crops I grow are raspberries, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, snap peas, potatoes, garlic, zucchini. Also have some not super productive blackberries, assorted herbs, and a bunch of young fruit trees. Some of the trees got girdled pretty bad as I forgot to protect their trunks.

Also growing comfrey plus adding echinacea, shrub willow, and sweet potato (for their greens) for my animals. We have a laying flock of chickens and raise meat rabbits. Currently producing about 45% of our non-dairy animal protein needs, would like to get this to 75% by the end of the year.

If anyoneís interested I can post a video of my place I took last fall. Not very impressive this time of year, lol.
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Rosy

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #58 on: February 16, 2018, 10:55:51 AM »
^^^ yes - video please:)

@Jon_Snow
Quote
My Swiss Chard patch has been growing non-stop for a few years so no need to plant more. That....and it's Swiss freakin' Chard - of all the crops that have proved to be invulnerable and eternal it had to be THAT. But perhaps I just haven't yet discovered how to make this substance taste good.

Try fixing it with smoked bacon - super tasty that way. Just fry the bacon halfway, chopped in little pieces,  then add the swiss chard with some onion (red ones seem to compliment it better than the milder yellow - but that's a question of taste preference) and white pepper. No salt since the smoked bacon will have plenty salt.

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2018, 11:01:38 AM »
This is off my old YouTube channel, still need to create one for my new (and final) name of Buntastic Gardens.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMPBzVUlg8

I recorded it, intending to use it for my session at CMC last year but didnít end up using it because the weather was so nice that we all wanted to sit outside.
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Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #60 on: February 16, 2018, 11:22:55 AM »
@Jon_Snow the picture and the description of your other location are gorgeous. I think you PNW garden/forest is my dream. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the kind words @Nancy

I have waxed on extensively elsewhere on the forum about how wonderful my island spot is. It's not just the great climate and location for gardening and orchards...but the wild berry foraging opportunities as well as the bounty that the Salish Sea provides right off our doorstep...it all makes me want coffee not my blessings that this is one of the places I call home.



@Jon_Snow
Quote
My Swiss Chard patch has been growing non-stop for a few years so no need to plant more. That....and it's Swiss freakin' Chard - of all the crops that have proved to be invulnerable and eternal it had to be THAT. But perhaps I just haven't yet discovered how to make this substance taste good.

Try fixing it with smoked bacon - super tasty that way. Just fry the bacon halfway, chopped in little pieces,  then add the swiss chard with some onion (red ones seem to compliment it better than the milder yellow - but that's a question of taste preference) and white pepper. No salt since the smoked bacon will have plenty salt.

Ah yes...bacon. When all else fails, that is often the nuclear option isn't it? :)

Off the Wheel

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #61 on: February 18, 2018, 03:19:24 PM »
@Jon_Snow the picture and the description of your other location are gorgeous. I think you PNW garden/forest is my dream. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the kind words @Nancy

I have waxed on extensively elsewhere on the forum about how wonderful my island spot is. It's not just the great climate and location for gardening and orchards...but the wild berry foraging opportunities as well as the bounty that the Salish Sea provides right off our doorstep...it all makes me want coffee not my blessings that this is one of the places I call home.



@Jon_Snow
Quote
My Swiss Chard patch has been growing non-stop for a few years so no need to plant more. That....and it's Swiss freakin' Chard - of all the crops that have proved to be invulnerable and eternal it had to be THAT. But perhaps I just haven't yet discovered how to make this substance taste good.

Try fixing it with smoked bacon - super tasty that way. Just fry the bacon halfway, chopped in little pieces,  then add the swiss chard with some onion (red ones seem to compliment it better than the milder yellow - but that's a question of taste preference) and white pepper. No salt since the smoked bacon will have plenty salt.

Ah yes...bacon. When all else fails, that is often the nuclear option isn't it? :)

I also love using my swiss chard in place of spinach in saag paneer. So good.

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #62 on: February 18, 2018, 04:50:17 PM »
This is off my old YouTube channel, still need to create one for my new (and final) name of Buntastic Gardens.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMPBzVUlg8

I recorded it, intending to use it for my session at CMC last year but didnít end up using it because the weather was so nice that we all wanted to sit outside.

I Love front yard gardens, food forest, sheet mulching and most food growing awesomeness. Here are photos of my garden from last July.
https://imgur.com/a/oRX2N

  I also suggest using cattle panels for tomato supports.  They hold up to heavy indeterminates wind storms and thunderstorms.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #63 on: February 18, 2018, 07:34:58 PM »
I also love using my swiss chard in place of spinach in saag paneer. So good.

Thanks for that OtW. It's been my experience that using Swiss chard as I would spinach hasn't been all that successful. I just find the chard to be bit "stringy" and not as tender as cooked spinach. Perhaps I'm not harvesting the chard early enough? I confess that I tend don't tend to harvest it until the leaves are quite large. I won't give up on it yet. ;)

And I just checked out the saag paneer dish...oh wow. Right there is some fine motivation to grow lots of spinach this year.

And further putting a damper on my original plan to cut kale production way back was my experience with KALE PESTO about a month ago. It was surprisingly, mindblowingly great.

Hanging out in this thread has really got me excited to get my hands in the dirt again (though from reports filtering down to me from the North, the dirt is still probably in a MUD state). And again I find myself pleasantly surprised at what at first I thought might be fun post-FIRE "hobby" has really become an integral part of my LIFESTYLE.

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #64 on: February 18, 2018, 07:47:17 PM »
I find chard is best when the plants are 6 inches tall.  Unfortunately so does my local wildlife. 

I find a kale like Red Russian is a great substitute for spinach in many recipes and it doesn't bolt when the weather gets hot. 

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #65 on: February 18, 2018, 08:06:55 PM »
I find chard is best when the plants are 6 inches tall.  Unfortunately so does my local wildlife. 

I'll definitely try to harvest it earlier this year. As for the wildlife comment....I have 10' high deer proof fence about the entire garden perimeter....otherwise things would go very badly, very quickly. PKate, I saw the images of your garden on the previous page....looks great.

I find a kale like Red Russian is a great substitute for spinach in many recipes and it doesn't bolt when the weather gets hot. 

I enjoyed success with Red Russian a few years ago and it's on my planting list again this year. I believe our Summers in the PNW are cooler than yours, but yes, eventually our spinach bolts too. Always a sad occurance - though the spinach haters amongst us probably cheer inwardly. :)

PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #66 on: February 18, 2018, 09:12:19 PM »
The deer only jump the 7 foot fence during drought years.  My big problem is all the critters that dig under the fence.  I find row covers work well at protecting seedlings till they are big enough to not be so tender. 

furrychickens

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #67 on: February 19, 2018, 04:45:32 AM »
Have never quite figured out spinach in my climate so I buy it. Deathly allergic to chard.

I usually have decent luck with successions of mesclun type lettuce mixes.
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Mezzie

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #68 on: February 19, 2018, 06:30:55 AM »
We're just about set up. Here's the plan:

Planters #s1&2: Herbs that we use often (cilantro, basil, thyme, chives, thai basil, mint, parsley, sage). My responsibility.
Planters #s 3&4: carrots, sunflowers, squash, strawberries. Husband's responsibility.
Planter #5: Monarch butterfly garden (various milkweeds). My responsibility.
Front flower bed: California native wildflowers. Maybe some saffron. My responsibility.
Back flower bed: Roommates may use it. If not, snap peas and tomatoes. Shared responsibility.

We already have a small but hardy rosemary bush, tenacious lemongrass, and a ridiculously productive lemon tree.

I'm toying with the idea of adding a dwarf avocado tree and dwarf orange or tangerine tree.


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Tris Prior

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #69 on: February 19, 2018, 11:06:13 AM »

I also love using my swiss chard in place of spinach in saag paneer. So good.

Chard is also really, really good in spinach artichoke dip. Which of course has like 4 kinds of dairy in it and therefore is not all that healthy. Still, SO good.

I tend to not care for cooked greens but sauteeing chard in sesame oil with a little garlic is surprisingly good.

I get maybe a couple weeks out of my spinach each year before it bolts. I usually buy plants for it, too, because I've rarely gotten seeds to germinate - and if they do then the seedlings keel over pretty quickly. No idea what I'm doing wrong.

Serendip

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #70 on: February 19, 2018, 12:25:10 PM »
So excited to read through this thread :)

We have been growing for 3 years in a community garden plot and a small patio space..we were just debating whether to grow 2 of our own boxes or 1 box with a CSA box to supplement but have decided to go for growing our own (and will visit the farmer's market when necessary)


 I use all sorts of greens to make vegan saag paneer and to be honest, it was so delish with radish greens and borage leaves.
 You can mix whatever you have and I find it a tasty way to eat greens
recipe : https://www.veganricha.com/2013/10/palak-tofu-tofu-in-spinach-curry-vegan.html

We have a short growing season (mountain region) but the community spot has good sun exposure (and that sometimes means wind)
We also have bears in the area so can't grow anything which is considered an attactrant (ie..berries)

There is a communal herb section with sage, lavender, thyme & borage but I tend to still grow lemon balm, rosemary, mint & basil on the deck since it's nice to have access to.
We have a huge hop plant which needs some taming..sometimes friends use the hops for home-brewing beer but I also just love the plant..it's so wild looking.






PKate

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2018, 12:42:22 PM »
We're just about set up. Here's the plan:

Planters #s1&2: Herbs that we use often (cilantro, basil, thyme, chives, thai basil, mint, parsley, sage). My responsibility.
Planters #s 3&4: carrots, sunflowers, squash, strawberries. Husband's responsibility.
Planter #5: Monarch butterfly garden (various milkweeds). My responsibility.
Front flower bed: California native wildflowers. Maybe some saffron. My responsibility.
Back flower bed: Roommates may use it. If not, snap peas and tomatoes. Shared responsibility.

We already have a small but hardy rosemary bush, tenacious lemongrass, and a ridiculously productive lemon tree.

I'm toying with the idea of adding a dwarf avocado tree and dwarf orange or tangerine tree.

Have you looked into mixing  your own potting mix?  I found it to be cheaper than buying premixed bags if you use a lot of it. If you have a  source of free compost it is totally worth doing.   Here are some options.   I have found you can use coconut coir instead of peat moss if that is cheaper in your area. 

https://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-homemade-potting-soil-recipes-2/

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/4-diy-potting-soil-recipes-to-make-any-plant-thrive

I used to container garden when I lived in the city and I found large planters with multiple plants did much better than individual pots.   I found 10 to 20 gallon tubs with holes drilled in the bottom worked the best because they only need to be watered once a day during the hottest part of the summer.  I live in Northern New England so our summers are not that hot. 

I also found I needed to feed the plants a good organic plant food more often than a regular garden bed because the frequent watering would wash the nutrients out of the potting mix faster.    While this is not much of an issue for herbs it does make a difference in anything the produces a fruit. 

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2018, 03:48:29 PM »
Thanks for the links and tips!

We do compost, bug we haven't produced quite enough yet. I'd like to start vermicomposting, too.
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Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2018, 11:43:05 AM »
Well...

Despite the call for snow on the B.C. South coast I decided to head over to my island garden anyway...sort of counting on the moderating effects of a compartively warm sea (still chilly, but warmer than the surrounding air mass) to prevent any serious accumulations. This is USUALLY how it goes, even when nearby Victoria and Vancouuver (and even Seattle) get a decent snow dump.

Oops.


Now, it would have been a really nice bonus had the weather been mild enough to get some early peas or spinach planted, but I'm not that surprised this won't be happening. However, at the very least I had wanted to get some dolomite lime spread into my beds. The question I have is, can I still do it? Do I scrape the snow off the beds and add the lime? Or can I get away putting it directly on the snow, trusting it to find it's way properly into the soil once the snow melts?

Part of the issue I'm having is....I'm here, and I want to do SOMETHING. ;)

(And the picture above was from YESTERDAY. It's snowing again today...quite heavily at the present time)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 12:03:20 PM by Jon_Snow »

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2018, 11:52:57 AM »
Put it right on top of the snow.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #75 on: February 23, 2018, 12:48:11 PM »
Will do, chief. Thanks.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2018, 08:46:04 AM »
Garlic seemingly unconcerned with the unusual late-season snow event.



And the Swiss chard, while looking slightly bedraggled, still looks harvestable.


And some overwintering carrots are always appreciated. So sweet!

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2018, 10:48:45 AM »
@Jon_Snow So nice that you can begin your gardening! We are at a higher elevation so the snow will around for much longer and the boxes are barely visible :)


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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #78 on: February 26, 2018, 02:33:32 AM »
Some warmer weather arrived here in NC over the weekend. It's too soon to do anything in the vegetable garden, but I got a lot done in the orchard: 

-- Did a thorough pruning of an old pear tree we have that's still producing well
-- Fertilized and composted the young apple, persimmon, cherry, and pawpaw trees I've planted
-- Cleaned up the downed leaves from last year on the old banana trees to expose the 'nubs'
-- Pruned several bushes and trees that were damaged in an ice storm we had last month
-- Ordered 10 apple rootstocks for my bench grafting project. Very excited! They arrive next week

Next up:  We have several old grape vines here at our new place that start to look sick mid-summer. I need to educate myself about grapes and how to take care of them.



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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #79 on: February 26, 2018, 04:38:03 AM »
Some warmer weather arrived here in NC over the weekend. It's too soon to do anything in the vegetable garden, but I got a lot done in the orchard: 

-- Did a thorough pruning of an old pear tree we have that's still producing well
-- Fertilized and composted the young apple, persimmon, cherry, and pawpaw trees I've planted
-- Cleaned up the downed leaves from last year on the old banana trees to expose the 'nubs'
-- Pruned several bushes and trees that were damaged in an ice storm we had last month
-- Ordered 10 apple rootstocks for my bench grafting project. Very excited! They arrive next week

Next up:  We have several old grape vines here at our new place that start to look sick mid-summer. I need to educate myself about grapes and how to take care of them.

Nice! Reminds me that I need to do a little bit of pruning. Our oldest cherry tree needs some thinning out.

I know very little about grapes myself, but generally from what Iíve read pruning is the biggest thing, as it leads to better fruiting but most importantly airflow to avoid fungal diseases.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #80 on: February 26, 2018, 05:08:03 AM »
Nice! Reminds me that I need to do a little bit of pruning. Our oldest cherry tree needs some thinning out.

I know very little about grapes myself, but generally from what Iíve read pruning is the biggest thing, as it leads to better fruiting but most importantly airflow to avoid fungal diseases.

Thanks for the tip on grapes!  I will check out the pruning aspect. 

I am new to cherries, but I read that unlike other fruits they should be pruned in the fall rather than late winter.  I think there is some disease that is more likely to attack them after a late winter/spring pruning

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #81 on: February 26, 2018, 05:59:22 AM »
The butterfly garden is planted.

We'll start planting edible things next weekend.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #82 on: February 26, 2018, 06:18:32 AM »
Nice! Reminds me that I need to do a little bit of pruning. Our oldest cherry tree needs some thinning out.

I know very little about grapes myself, but generally from what Iíve read pruning is the biggest thing, as it leads to better fruiting but most importantly airflow to avoid fungal diseases.

Thanks for the tip on grapes!  I will check out the pruning aspect. 

I am new to cherries, but I read that unlike other fruits they should be pruned in the fall rather than late winter.  I think there is some disease that is more likely to attack them after a late winter/spring pruning

Duly noted. This tree got some kind of foliar disease last year and dropped a bunch of leaves early. Forgot to ever ID it an research a treatment. Orcharding is hard on a small property because one tree getting diseased or damaged puts such a huge percentage dent in your plan. Not sure Iíll keep replacing trees here.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2018, 09:12:22 AM »
I got my gardening season underway yesterday. 
I went through my seed collection and made a list of the very few packages of seed that I need to buy new.
I stopped into the greenhouse - not very much progress but I started to formulate a plan of how I want to set it up this year.  It is my fourth season trying to make it work without power or water source.  Yesterday was so sunny and warm that the roof vents were open.  I repaired them last year with parts that I ordered online.  Next weekend it gets planted if my husband can help me lift the large soil tray and I can get all the water jugs filled with water to help stabilize the overnight temperature.
I have been dreaming about my new garden site. It is almost a blank slate.  I am going to dismantle my neighbor's raised beds and garden the whole area very intensively so that I can grow enough food for my family of four and the six member family who owns the property.  It is going to be a big job but I am so excited.  It is six times bigger than my garden allotment of the last four years.  I am fairly certain that lowering the raised beds so that they don't dry out so darn quickly will really improve the productivity.
Loved the photos others have posted up thread.  I shall take some before shots next time I am in the garden.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #84 on: February 26, 2018, 09:27:22 AM »
{taps foot impatiently, waiting for my garden org's seed swap so I can start planning out what I'm going to grow}

It's next Sunday! Cannot wait! This week I need to take inventory of what I have and what I need.

It's getting warmer here but I know it is nowhere near safe to plant anything yet. Not falling for it! It's not even March yet, we can, and have, gotten blizzards in March and April before!

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2018, 06:35:59 PM »
I've just started my seeds! It's an early start for seeds, but I have a relatively short growing season, so I like my seedlings to be as robust as possible at planting. I'm so excited I wet my plants!
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #86 on: February 27, 2018, 01:40:17 PM »
I pulled out the grow lights and the heating mat.  Located the soil leftover from last year,  Looking for the waterproof trays and cell packs to get started.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #87 on: March 03, 2018, 08:32:10 PM »
I started my garden. Here's what I planted:

- romaine lettuce
- swiss chard
- red cabbage
- green peppers
- chocolate mint
- oregano
- chives
- broccoli

I've been enjoying the decorative house + outside plants that I've been growing for the last almost 1 year, so now I want to try edible things for the first time. In my head, I really like the idea of having a good sized veggie + herb garden. I just don't know what I'll actually think of it until I try. My current house doesn't have the space for much in the yard, but I do also own some undeveloped land in easy driving distance. That land I'm going to build a house on eventually. If I like gardening, I'll definitely set aside a nice sized area on that land to do that. I live in the south US, so I have a pretty long growing season to do all sorts of things if I make space for it.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #88 on: March 04, 2018, 01:00:15 AM »
A wonderful past couple of days in my garden. An early start on weeding is always a good idea before the b*stards get a serious foothold. The first day was mostly spent weeding the entire garden and working the soil a bit. My garden has a slight slope to it, the back portion of the garden slightly higher than the front. As a result, soil in the beds at the back dry out quicker and I concentrated on these, plunging my garden fork a foot into the soil and loosening things up. I dug around with a shovel a bit quite pleased to see that my soil is chock full of earthworms. As per usual I added a few bags of Sea Soil to each bed. Sea Soil, an organic compost, is a great product that I've been using for years and will continue to do so until I am able to get my own compost operation going.

I planted a bit more spinach today, after planting some yesterday along with some peas and kale. Frost is actually quite rare thanks to the moderating effects of the nearby sea, but overnight lows are still getting down to the mid-single digits Celsius so I have covered everything under a heavier duty fabric row cover for a bit of extra warmth retention. In all honesty, I'm probably jumping the gun planting anything right now...but I do this EVERY YEAR. :)

One more milestone today...my first Oya is in the ground - with a few varieties of kale planted around it. No need to fill it with water yet. (I will likely be referencing my Oya-love often in the future. For now, it is proving to be a great solution for watering in an off-the-grid property)


Currently I've got all sorts of varieties of lettuce and onions started indoors, with tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, and cabbages getting ready to go. I'm very excited about what this season may bring. I'm even tempted to start some quinoa indoors as some little insect jackholes munched them down to the nubs last year. I'm going to give this crop one more try.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 12:04:38 PM by Jon_Snow »

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #89 on: March 04, 2018, 04:55:03 AM »
@redbird I love chocolate mint! I think it makes the best tea, very soothing, and I like the flavor better than peppermint or spearmint, which are much more commonly used in tea. It also has, unsurprisingly from the name, the correct mint flavor for making mint desserts especially ice cream.

Itís not true mojito mint but Iím told itís also good in those as well.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #90 on: March 04, 2018, 08:56:49 AM »
We had somd gentle rain the last few days, and this morning I woke up to little sprouts coming out of the butterfly garden planter. I'm super excited!

Today my husband and I are going to put together the Garden Tower 2 and decide what all we're going to plant in it, and I'm going to start some herbs indoors.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #91 on: March 04, 2018, 09:06:17 AM »
Itchy fingers. I want to get started. But it's still too cold here and we are not out of the woods re big snows.

There are also absolutely no weeds sprouting up in the backyard so I am kind of waiting for that - the plants know what's what better than us overeager humans, yes?

I did see some crocuses sprout up in the yard, though! Spring is coming!

Going to the seed swap today. I have my list. Note to self: you don't actually need more tomato varieties right now. Hahahaha. Of course I'm going to come home with 10 more. But I really need to focus on greens; I'm down to nearly no lettuce/arugula/spinach.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #92 on: March 04, 2018, 12:32:00 PM »
It is a very beautiful bright day - but man is it cold out. I pulled out the potting soil and filled two flats with soil.  I have some 2017 California wonder pepper seeds and some 2015 basil seeds so I thought I would give them a go.  I have no idea how viable the seeds will be so I planted half a flat of each.  I will give them a few weeks and then replant with fresh seed if they don't germinate.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #93 on: March 04, 2018, 02:42:39 PM »
Mucked out the rabbitry from the winter. Spread it all on my mini orchard, thought it would go further than this actually, but as the bunnies keep pooping, I'll keep spreading ;) Would like to cover the perennial area over by my garage as well, then I'll compost additional bedding until late fall when I'm putting things to bed again.



Spotted some comfrey sprouting. Also saw the beginnings of daffodils and dandelions.



A bit early to start anything, might do some peas for a transplant experiment this week. But anything else will get too big for the pots I have before it's safe to transplant. Broccoli and kale in about two weeks. Solanums in about a month.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #94 on: March 04, 2018, 05:32:52 PM »
@Jon_Snow - looks beautiful! Are you by chance one of the Gulf Islands? My parents have a place on one, and I'm debating whether I want to start a low maintenance garden thataway.

ALSO! I just discovered they have Sea Soil at Costco!!! $8.49 for the big bag. I will be stocking up next weekend.

Today I met some people at my community garden plot to learn all about pruning from our resident expert. We hacked back some raspberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes, the grape vines, and the wisteria. And then I was prepped to do my own plants! Happy to see that some of the plants I thought might be dead are green and thriving on the inside (dormancy really is a thing) so hoping for fruitful (har har) blueberries, gooseberries and currants this year.

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #95 on: March 05, 2018, 08:22:34 AM »
@Jon_Snow - looks beautiful! Are you by chance one of the Gulf Islands? My parents have a place on one, and I'm debating whether I want to start a low maintenance garden thataway.

ALSO! I just discovered they have Sea Soil at Costco!!! $8.49 for the big bag. I will be stocking up next weekend.

Yes, my garden is on one of the Gulf Islands. My family has a long history there and we have several acreages scattered about our particular island. It all started when a descendant homesteaded there many generations ago. The only thing I'll say publicly is that it's NOT Saltspring. ;)

And that's a pretty good deal on Sea Soil...I'll likely hit up a Costco soon and load up my pickup until the rear bumper is dragging on the ground. :)

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #96 on: March 05, 2018, 11:46:20 AM »
Adding kale to my smoothies this week. As long as my stomach tolerates it okay (itís not been an issue before, but I have some ridiculously strong allergies to cabbage and chard) Iím going to add kale to my garden plan as itís much easier to grow here than the spinach I mainly use for smoothies. I have a bunch of lascinato (dinosaur kale) seeds on hand that are a couple years old.
 
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #97 on: March 07, 2018, 01:48:24 PM »
Started broccoli and brussel sprouts today. 
Planning on 2 gardens this year, a smaller one in the backyard with beds and grass clipping mulch, and a plot at the community garden. 

Debating whether or not to plant something else instead of potatoes at the community garden.  We do eat them, and they grow beautifully, but we live near tons of commercial growers and get every potato pest imaginable.  Plus super cheap to buy.  Maybe some husk cherries, or expand the fall broccoli/brussel sprout plantings?

Has anyone had luck growing carrots with landscape fabric?  Normally we mulch with grass clippings on top of cardboard, but it's a pain to get between the carrot rows, and the weeds always seem to take over. 

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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #98 on: March 07, 2018, 02:00:49 PM »
What many commercial growers do for carrots is use stale seed bed techniques. Get the soil consistently wet for a week, then let weeds flush flush for 1-2 weeks, cultivating shallow any time they show up with a nice sharp hoe or other weeding implement. Then direct seed.

If you have a flame weeder, an even slicker technique is to direct seed, with a few beet seeds in the same bed. As soon as the beet seeds germinate, flame weed all the weed seedlings, as the carrot seeds will germinate about 3-4 days after the beets.

I wouldnít use landscape fabric. Try growing without any mulch so you can regularly cultivate with a precision tool like a wire weeder or collinear hoe. For a small patch of carrots regular cultivation is a very fast job and will kill every weed without any bending over except whatever is in the row itself. The problem with thick mulch is that hand weeding becomes the only effective organic option for weed control as the mulch often gets in the way of any hoe you would use, unless youíre doing a Back to Eden style no-till system in which case weeds are very easily uprooted.
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Re: Planting / Growing your own 2018
« Reply #99 on: March 07, 2018, 03:33:37 PM »
I have baby tomato plants up. We start the tomatoes and peppers indoors to plant outside in early May. I put them in my bathroom cabinet until they sprout as it is warmest place in the house. I love baby plants! Makes me think of Spring...

This weekend we are going to start some other plants...butterfly plants and milkweed for DDs butterfly garden, a dwarf pomegranate, and a dwarf papaya. The butterfly plants and milkweed will be transplanted into the yard in early May. Both of the later should do well as potted trees. DS is very enamored with tropical plants so he wanted to try those. We're starting them from seed to keep the price down plus it's always exciting to watch the seeds sprout and grow.