Author Topic: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019  (Read 27194 times)

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #200 on: March 14, 2019, 06:04:28 PM »
Wonderful thread (as always) and great to see everyone's plans coming together! I don't think I've participated in this thread for a few years, but I have previously learned a ton in here.

This will be my fifth season of growing my own food. How much I have come to love this process...the rhythm of physical work, the nuturing of the soil, the planting, and the eventual EATING...it has really suprised me. This has gone beyond the hobby stage. It has become an integral part of my lifestyle and its relationship to It's probably one of the most surprising developments of my post-career life. I've always had a strong connection to my land, my island...but I have found that once I made the decision to grow food there the bond became something even more profound.

My garden spot resides in a little forest clearing on a little island off the west coast of British Columbia. It is quite possible that this spot features the mildest climate zone in Canada. All sorts of evidence points to the fact that it resides in hardiness zone 9a - due to being on a small isle in a warm (at least compared to the Winter air mass) sea, I experience later frost dates and less sub zero temps than either nearby Vancouver or Victoria. Hardiness Zone 9a is seen in Northern California and as if to confirm that these are the type of growing conditions I get to work with...there is a majestic California Redwood that towers over my garden site. It is a blessedly long growing season...for Canada. :)

Now having said all that about the mild climate...February was brutally, unusually cold this year. There was snow...and there was a frost event in March which is extremely rare. And only last week was I able to finally plant some peas, lettuce and spinach outdoors. And even then, it might have been jumping the gun just a bit - but temps are about to jump higher so things SHOULD be okay. I've got a ton of things starting under grow lights in our city condo - much to my DW's eternal bemusement - ready to transplant them out into the garden at the appropriate time.

I have somehow managed not to build any new garden beds for the past few years having reached a point where it has become difficult to eat or preserve or give away the bounty grown. If things got any bigger I'd have to open up a roadside garden stand. That sounds a bit too much like work to me. ;) Currently I have 16 beds of varying sizes, but most are either 4x4' or 4x8' cedar sided raised beds....though I do have an handful of remaining in ground beds.

The list of stuff I'm growing this year is probably to extensive to easily list...but new additions for this year will be parsnips, turnips and rutabagas. And some new tomato and pepper varieties. As I am typing out this post I've got my seed binder and my Lee Valley Garden Journal opened up in front of me as I develop my crop rotation and planting strategy. The promise of Spring is tangible.

Fruit trees abound and salal and blackberries are in endless supply to forage for in addition to the veggie crop. For the fifth time since I FIRE'd, I cannot wait to see what this growing season brings. And I look forward to read about the gardening stories in this thread!

horsepoor

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #201 on: March 14, 2019, 09:24:19 PM »
So nice to read your words about your garden, Jon.  Looking forward to seeing some photos of it this year!

My LED lights arrived yesterday and I got them hung up tonight.  I used metal plant hangers attached to the wall since I only needed them to project out about 10".  I thought I'd want two more fixtures, but now I'm thinking I'll just add one more.  Either way, I'll wait a couple weeks to make sure these are performing well.

Still need to get my tomato seeds in.  I wanted to have that done March 1, but it will be done before I leave for a work trip on Sunday.

It's supposed to get into the 60's next week, so I'm planning to plant some things outside when I get home from my trip.  Probably peas and lettuce to start, and maybe transplant some of my kale, calabrese and cabbage seedlings.



Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #202 on: March 14, 2019, 11:00:52 PM »
Nice light setup horsepoor! Mine is a bit more...makeshift. One day I will be able to have a proper light setup in my island cabin or in a proper garden shed (with heat). As it is now, I've got some seedlings under lights, some seedlings beside windows...and then at some point I need to get them all in my truck and on the ferry and over the Salish Sea to the garden. Everything will be so much easier when the whole operation is consolidated on the island.

And yes, hopefully there will be lots of garden pics as the thread develops. I'll be sure to post some.

I doubled down on the seaweed I put on my beds in the Fall and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this. The stuff broke down completely over the Winter and my soil  has never looked better.

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #203 on: March 14, 2019, 11:41:00 PM »
This will be my first FIREd growing season, so I am looking forward to having more time to spend than just "put seeds in dirt, water, pray". 

I have two new garden boxes built, and all of my other beds weeded and prepped.  My yard has significant damage to small trees and large bushes from the unusual amount of snow we got this winter, so I've been doing a lot of pruning.  I have a lavender hedge that's been trimmed and tidied.  In the psat two weeks I've relocated about six or eight large and semi-permanent landscape plants to new locations.

I put in three climbing roses on a new trellis last year, and they went from 12 inches to 4 feet in one growing season.  I'm hoping they add 4 more feet this year.

My asparagus bed will be three years old this year, so for the first time I think we'll be able to harvest reliably.  My dwarf apple tree produced reasonably well last year after being a total bust the year before, but I don't think it gets enough water because the fruit are always pretty small.  I have two pomegranate trees that are probably at least three more years away from fruiting, if they ever do in this climate.  My strawberries look terrible right now, mostly because my dogs eat them, but I'm hopeful they'll recover once things warm up a bit.  My blueberries are about to turn three and are maybe two feet tall, so I got less than 30 blueberries from each of four bushes last year.  And as usual, we have twenty random blackberry bushes sprouting in various parts of our yard that need to get pulled, or else I'll have a huge bounty of blackberries and nothing else in my garden.

I have yet to start ANY seeds for my new garden beds, but I have family with a little backyard greenhouse that always give me more starts than I know what to do with, so I'm not stressed about it yet.  I'm planning to get some cherry tomatoes started this weekend, because my kids like them.

It's been nice to spend an hour or two on the yard and garden on warm sunny days this month, but it has really reinforced what a terrible job of maintenance I was doing when I was trying to work 40 hours per week and raise a family at the same time.  I have one landscaped bed that used to have irises in it that is now about 80% grass, and it's just overwhelming to even think about tackling it just yet.  I have vinca choking out my bed of black-eyed susans.  My rhodies haven't been fertilized since I moved in, and the only thing really thriving right now are the totally-indestructible daffodils that cover the city this time of year.  So it's been a challenge thus far, but I feel good about my progress so far this season, now that I have so much more time.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #204 on: March 15, 2019, 05:06:07 AM »
Welcome back @Jon_Snow!  I remember your lovely pictures of your garden last year.  Can't wait to see more.

Welcome @sol!  This is also my first spring as a FIREd gardener, and I'm really enjoying it so far.  Although I have to say FIRE is busier -- in a good way -- than I thought it would be.  Somehow quitting my job didn't magically free up 8 hours every day for me to spend in the garden.  :)

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #205 on: March 15, 2019, 08:05:14 AM »
I'm getting really itchy to direct sow my greens and peas - after such a long stretch of All Polar Vortex All The Time, the forecast is improving. Starting next Tuesday I'm seeing in my weather app a week of highs in high 40s/low 50s and no frost. WHAT. But I know I'll probably get bitchslapped by a frost if I do that. The seed was free, though, so if everything drops dead I can start over.

Most of the greens go into the community garden bed, which doesn't open until late April. I always feel like that's so late to start greens, but, it is what it is. The gate is literally locked until opening day (other than the garden cleanup volunteer day thats usually about a week earlier, but last year both volunteer day and the rescheduled day were snowed out.) :/

CalBal

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #206 on: March 15, 2019, 05:07:37 PM »
In between starting all my seeds, and now taking care of all my myriad baby plants, I found a whole bunch of bulbs that I had bought last year but never got around to planting: daffodils, tulips, crocus, and a few giant allium. They were in a bag that fell down and was hidden, in my unheated mudroom (unheated, but adjacent to my leaky kitchen door, so not precisely the same temp as outside, but closer than inside). Surprisingly, they have not dried out, but have all started sprouting. What say you, internet? Should I plant them in pots? Can I just put them in the ground (knowing that they will be less vigorous this spring)? Has anyone encountered this before, and what did you do? Nighttime temps here are still in the 20s, although we are expecting a big warm-up over the coming week (so much so in fact that they are forecasting 60s around a week out... :O ). I'd like to do something with them so that their cost isn't totally lost, the question is, what is the best thing to do with them?

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #207 on: March 16, 2019, 08:44:32 AM »
That's a nice surprise @CalBal.  Sorry I have no wisdom to share, but interested to hear what you decide to do!

I checked on my trees this morning and got a nice surprise of my own.  I have two young pears I planted last year, and I was thinking I'd have to wait on fruit until next year.  To my delight one of the trees (an Ayers) is flowering for the first time!  The timing of that will be great with my two Kieffers, which are also early flowerers.  They'll be good pollination buddies.  Nothing yet from the other young pear (Moonglow).  I'll be checking it hourly though, lol.  I had thought those two trees were only three years old -- whence the surprise.  Looks likely they are a bit older -- probably four.

In other big garden news, our massive deer fence project is nearly finished.  Should be done in the next day or two, and then fingers crossed that it works.  We went with an 8.5 feet high fence, which from what I've read should work even with heavy deer pressure.  We certainly have that -- herds of 15-20 patrolling through every night.   

Last but not least, I was down in the garden yesterday and saw a new (to me) critter -- a hispid cotton rat.  Apparently they have a burrow under one of my beds.  Cute little thing.  It was eating out of the compost pile.  Fingers crossed that they don't like kale and peppers. 
 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 07:02:33 AM by Trifele »

Off the Wheel

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #208 on: March 16, 2019, 08:58:23 AM »
I will jump back in! Definitely a novice gardener with more dreams than skill (or time) but I've had some success.

My first year (community garden plot and a patio containers) I had tomatoes, peas, lettuces, kale, carrots, blueberries and herbs I was happy with. The radishes turned out deformed, and the eggplant and peppers never grew.

Last year, we had a very cold, wet June, and then I dealt with months of health issues and personal trauma so the garden withered and went to seed.

This year, I'm pregnant (due in September), so I'm trying to plan a relatively easy but fulfilling garden. My husband will be around for the heavy lifting, but it's still my project and I don't want to overburden myself. My other challenge is that I tried to grow most things from seed last year (direct sow) and they just... didn't grow. (Maybe it was that cold, wet June.)

What would you recommend I grow as an easy maintenance (and easy harvest) plant? I'm in the cool, wet PNW (8b-9a hardiness zone.)

I'm going to review all my seeds this weekend - and think I may actually attempt to sprout them indoors this year, though I don't have a fancy light set up - but I'm thinking:

- Lettuces
- Swiss Chard
- Kale
- Peas
- Carrots
- Tomatoes (not from seed)
- Various herbs
- Brussel Sprouts
- Kohlrabi

@Jon_Snow as I think I told you, my parents also have a place in that Salish Sea... I would love to talk them into some fruit trees (apples and Italian plums grow well on their island), but what would the maintenance be? I'm only there once a month. They're there almost full time, but don't have interest in anything too involved.

alcon835

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #209 on: March 16, 2019, 05:54:55 PM »
Following! Just bought my first home and DW and I are dreaming of gardening! Getting lots and lots of ideas just reading through this thread.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #210 on: March 16, 2019, 06:37:03 PM »
Welcome back @Jon_Snow!  I remember your lovely pictures of your garden last year.  Can't wait to see more.

Good to be back. :)

In other big garden news, our massive deer fence project is nearly finished.  Should be done in the next day or two, and then fingers crossed that it works.  We went with an 8.5 feet high fence, which from what I've read should work even with heavy deer pressure.  We certainly have that -- herds of 15-20 patrolling through every night.   

Oh, does this ever strike a chord with me. First step where I garden is deer incursion prevention. An 8ft tall fence is all we need to keep the garden bounty safe from our local Black Tailed species. They are on the smaller side and thus their vertical leap is somewhat modest. Thankfully, have never seen a deer herd (derd?) that big. *shudders* Pulling up to the garden there is usually a 50-50 chance there will be a cervine or two loitering about. They try to look all casual-like, but there is a fervent gleam in their eye that I have learned to perceive.

I will jump back in! Definitely a novice gardener with more dreams than skill (or time) but I've had some success.

Welcome back OTW! I knew next to nothing when I created my first beds and stick seeds in the dirt back in the Spring of 2015. And things went more than fine. Sure, there were some setbacks...actually I've had setbacks in every growing season. But I have learned as much or more from my mistakes than from my successes.

This year, I'm pregnant (due in September), so I'm trying to plan a relatively easy but fulfilling garden.

Congratulations!

My other challenge is that I tried to grow most things from seed last year (direct sow) and they just... didn't grow. (Maybe it was that cold, wet June.)

This has been an issue for me as well. I have learned that wood bugs (called pill bugs or roly polys elsewhere I have learned) were eating the tender shoots of newly germinated seeds. As long as I pull back my leafy mulch early enough I have been able to mitigate this. Also, I don't think they really like the seaweed I put on the beds in the Fall - the salt content I would guess. By the time Spring rolls around the rains have washed away the salt but the wood bugs don't appear to have come back. It's learning stuff like this that I find very satisfying.

But even having outsmarted the seedling munching wood bugs, I have found it EXTREMELY helpful to start a bunch of stuff indoors. You are correct OTW, a colder than normal May or June can cause setbacks for direct sowing. I basically pursue a hybrid approach or direct sowing and indoor starts.

What would you recommend I grow as an easy maintenance (and easy harvest) plant? I'm in the cool, wet PNW (8b-9a hardiness zone.)

I'm going to review all my seeds this weekend - and think I may actually attempt to sprout them indoors this year, though I don't have a fancy light set up - but I'm thinking:

- Lettuces
- Swiss Chard
- Kale
- Peas
- Carrots
- Tomatoes (not from seed)
- Various herbs
- Brussel Sprouts
- Kohlrabi

We are Plant hardiness zone neighbours OTW. :) Apart from the carrots (these really need to be directly sowed) and the peas (because they grow so easily in the PNW) I have started all of those things indoors...mostly due to my previously mentioned seedling munching pest issue of the past. Lettuce you should be able to start outdoors right now. Tomatoes of course, need a bit of a jump start indoors in our region because they really can't go outdoors until late May - and that's assuming it's warmed up enough. May can be quite cool sometimes. I found Brussel Sprouts to be very challenging. If you get them to work, please share the secret! And what about cabbage? They are incredibly satisfying to grow and grow very well in our region - it really is BRASSICA HEAVEN here.

@Jon_Snow as I think I told you, my parents also have a place in that Salish Sea... I would love to talk them into some fruit trees (apples and Italian plums grow well on their island), but what would the maintenance be? I'm only there once a month. They're there almost full time, but don't have interest in anything too involved.

Yes, we have discussed in the past we are also island neighbours as well. :)

Interestingly, MY parents started a little orchard on their property perhaps 5 years ago. Apples, cherries, plums. No pears...and I'm not sure why as they grow very well on the islands. The trees are barely 7 feet tall yet they already droop heavily with their fruity bounties. I think they hire a fellow to do their pruning, but I have been meaning to learn how to do this myself. I really don't think it's akin to rocket science, but there IS a knack to it. It's on my to-do list.

I would tell your folks that some guy on the internet agrees with your assessment that they should start up a mini-orchard. ;)

Following! Just bought my first home and DW and I are dreaming of gardening! Getting lots and lots of ideas just reading through this thread.

Awesome. Turning garden dreams into reality is wonderful. Keep us up to date on your progress!

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #211 on: March 17, 2019, 08:15:45 AM »
Some of the pepper plants are up.  The really expensive variety (ack! what was I thinking when I bought 10 seeds for 9.95 with a 65% germination rate?) are up at 9/10 seeds.
The sweet banana are only half up but the mixed bells are almost all up.

@Off the Wheel - Congratulations.  Some plants are really fragile at germination. They may need heat and consistent watering of exactly the right amount.  Other seeds are only viable for a very short time. The germination rate of some types of old seed  drops off a lot.   You can test the germination by starting the seeds on wet paper towel and then popping only the ones that start to germinate into soil.  I use my free West Coast Seeds catalogue planting guide like a bible for the instructions of what they require for germination - sometimes it is soaking, roughing up, or starting out cold. 

I have never tried Kohlrabi or Brussel sprouts myself.  Carrots are hit and miss for me - and I have gotten to the point I just plant them every week and hope for the best.  Peas always work if the chipmunk fortifications hold during germination and the bunnies are kept at bay after. 

Today I am going to plant lettuce in plug trays for starting in the warm house under lights and in the planters in the greenhouse (no heat) I should probably not grow any brassicas in the greenhouse this year to rest the soil for a bit.  Last summer there was a profusion of cabbage whites on the kale at the end of the summer.

@CalBal - I have never been in your exact situation - the daffodils I forgot in the garage turned into a disgusting gooey mess.  But I have bought pots of hyacinths, daffs, crocus etc. in the winter and then planted them in the garden as soon as the soil was workable and had them come back.  They were able to get enough juice back into the bulb from their floppy leaves from that short time in the late spring to flower the following years (and still flower). 

@sol - I am hoping for asparagus this spring.  What is your guideline for harvesting? I am going to pick it if the spears are as thick as my baby finger but maybe that is not from scientific evidence. I don't know where I came up with that guideline.  If they come up thinner, I will hold off for another year and apply a very generous layer of composted sheep manure to the area right away.  I don't like eating asparagus that comes up through freshly dressed soil so I don't typically feed them until June.

turketron

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #212 on: March 17, 2019, 09:58:24 PM »
Posting mostly to follow, as I don't really know what I'm doing, my wife is the gardener, but I'm eager to learn more! We (read: my wife) started some bell and jalapeno peppers last weekend and tomatoes today. It's a pretty small set up, just a couple of lights and heating pads in our basement. My wife keeps the master list (I doubt she considers herself a mustachian, but her super nerdy spreadsheet of vegetable yield with prices, etc says otherwise) of what we plan to plant this year, which includes zucchini, pool ball squash, cucamelon, green beans, snap peas, basil & parsley (in pots), and luffa/loofah. 

Our backyard has 3 raised beds that are falling apart so our goal is to rebuild those this spring, but we have a really busy April and May so there's a chance that won't get done this time around. If not this spring, ideally we can get it done in the fall before the ground freezes. The previous beds were 4 separate beds crammed together (our backyard is on a slope) without room to walk between them. This made tending to the garden a pain, so we're planning to replace it with 3 beds plus space to walk between each one. Also looking at including drip irrigation and a better way to keep animals out, as we had some pests eating the tomatoes last year.

Another less-garden-related thing I want to get done in the backyard is to kill all the grass around our fenceline and put mulch down- we only have a reel mower and I don't want to buy a weed whacker, and getting the mower against the fence is a PITA.

chaskavitch

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #213 on: March 18, 2019, 06:49:08 AM »
Posting mostly to follow, as I don't really know what I'm doing, my wife is the gardener, but I'm eager to learn more! We (read: my wife) started some bell and jalapeno peppers last weekend and tomatoes today. It's a pretty small set up, just a couple of lights and heating pads in our basement. My wife keeps the master list (I doubt she considers herself a mustachian, but her super nerdy spreadsheet of vegetable yield with prices, etc says otherwise) of what we plan to plant this year, which includes zucchini, pool ball squash, cucamelon, green beans, snap peas, basil & parsley (in pots), and luffa/loofah. 

Our backyard has 3 raised beds that are falling apart so our goal is to rebuild those this spring, but we have a really busy April and May so there's a chance that won't get done this time around. If not this spring, ideally we can get it done in the fall before the ground freezes. The previous beds were 4 separate beds crammed together (our backyard is on a slope) without room to walk between them. This made tending to the garden a pain, so we're planning to replace it with 3 beds plus space to walk between each one. Also looking at including drip irrigation and a better way to keep animals out, as we had some pests eating the tomatoes last year.

Another less-garden-related thing I want to get done in the backyard is to kill all the grass around our fenceline and put mulch down- we only have a reel mower and I don't want to buy a weed whacker, and getting the mower against the fence is a PITA.

Just saying, drip irrigation is THE BEST.  If you feel confident installing it, it's totally worth it.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #214 on: March 18, 2019, 09:09:51 AM »
I posted this before but in case people didn't see it here is simple drip tomato watering system I plan on using this year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUbfpkNEslw

CalBal

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #215 on: March 18, 2019, 12:15:11 PM »
Beautiful weather this week! I am starting to put the baby plants outside, not really to harden them off (it is far too early, but that is a nice side effect) but to get some nice direct sun. They are going to sunbathe for an hour today. I reuse nursery pots for as long as possible, so you see a bunch of those in the photos.

Peppers and eggplants are looking good, I've got some cruciforms and artichokes going, A few lettice I'm going to put in a pot for early lettuce, and tender herbs are starting to come up (and sage and lavender and getting big at this point!). I'm (hopefully) going to start tomatoes today. And want to *try* to get carrots and such direct planted. I've never really had good luck with root veggies. Peas went in the ground last weekend (well, most of them anyway!).

Frugal Lizard, thanks for relaying your experience. I found a source on the internet that said you can pop them in the ground no problem as long as it isn't frozen (it isn't), they might not flower that year (because they don't have a lot of energy stores) but they should survive and bloom the next year, so I am going to try!

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #216 on: March 18, 2019, 12:30:16 PM »
Beautiful weather this week! I am starting to put the baby plants outside, not really to harden them off (it is far too early, but that is a nice side effect) but to get some nice direct sun. They are going to sunbathe for an hour today. I reuse nursery pots for as long as possible, so you see a bunch of those in the photos.

Gorgeous here now too...mid teens Celsius highs...how quickly is that frigid February in the rear view mirror..  And I've got some baby brassicas and onions doing a bit of "tanning" outside today as well.

I'll be ferrying over to my garden site tomorrow where I'll spend a sun drenched afternoon doing a bit of soil cultivating here, adding compost and fertilizer or lime there...and I fully expect to see some lettuce, spinach and peas having sprouted. If my peas have indeed sprouted I'll plant another row. I have learned over the past few years it's impossible to plant too many peas. More spinach too I think. I wonder if anyone has ever rued not planting enough SPINACH. :D

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #217 on: March 18, 2019, 01:05:12 PM »
@Roadrunner53 The eggs I buy come in plastic cartons which make great seed trays. The plastic top lets the light through but keeps nice humidity for germination. The tomatoes and peppers are about 1-2 inches tall and a few are starting on their first set of leaves. I'm going to transfer them into 4" pots this week.

This spring has been pretty slow to show up in my area. The first daffodils just bloomed this week. I finally direct sowed some peas, kale, swiss chard, and leaf lettuce. I'm going to plant a little every week in hopes of getting a good succession harvest.

@turketron have you thought about a flame weeder to remove the grass? We bought one to keep weeds down on our long driveway and patio without weedkiller. I think it would work as well on grass.

turketron

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #218 on: March 18, 2019, 01:48:56 PM »
@turketron have you thought about a flame weeder to remove the grass? We bought one to keep weeds down on our long driveway and patio without weedkiller. I think it would work as well on grass.

I had not, but I'll look into it! My first thought was to put down newspaper or cardboard with mulch on top. Thanks for the suggestion! 

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #219 on: March 19, 2019, 08:04:32 AM »
Bright sunshine here and the new snow is all sparkly.  (yes, it snowed again)
Inside the greenhouse the large blocks of ice in the garbage bin is almost thawed.  The planters are thawed and the soil is looking lovely.  I am going to start seeds in there asap.  My daughter asked me to wait until she can help or I would have done it yesterday. 
I have all kinds of onion family seeds planted in trays under the lights.  One light left.  I am hoping that I can move all them out to the greenhouse the first week of April to make room for starting tomatoes under the lights.  I like to be able to completely control all the lights and temperatures for the tomatoes.  I wish I had more than one heating pad.  I might take an a look online and see what another would cost.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #220 on: March 19, 2019, 09:00:19 AM »
Our deer fence is done!  Whew.  :)  We went with split rail at the bottom, with PVC coated 1" hex grid for the bottom 4 feet.  We chose the split rail for cosmetic reasons so it matched the other existing fencing we have.  We ended up skirting out the hex grid flat on the ground and staking it rather than trenching it.  For the top 4+ feet we went with heavy duty poly deer mesh with 2" squares, affixed with large poultry staples.  We thought about using a kit, but ended up DIYing it to keep costs down.  Our garden is about 60X65 feet. 

I'm cautiously happy about the choice of the hex grid (bottom portion).  That size should be just right to keep rabbits out, but let snakes and maybe even weasels go through.  And cautiously optimistic that the deer mesh on the top will discourage the woodchucks from climbing. (they're heavy, and I've read that they don't like climbing flexible/wiggly things. 

We're pleased with it.  Other than the split rail and poles it's very low visibility.  The flagging tape is temporary, so the deer can see it at night, and learn it's there.  From what I read we should be able to take the tape down in a couple months after they learn, and change their nightly path. 

ETA:  Sorry for the sideways pictures.  Not sure why they're doing that ... 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 07:03:16 AM by Trifele »

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #221 on: March 19, 2019, 09:31:04 AM »
@Trifele gorgeous.  I now have fence envy.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #222 on: March 19, 2019, 10:17:05 AM »
Thanks @Frugal Lizard!  I am reeeaallly hoping I can actually grow some vegetables this year. :)

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #223 on: March 19, 2019, 10:43:09 AM »
Yesterday I realized that one of my new garden boxes has the short end pieces sandwiched between the two long ends, instead of screwed onto the edges of the two long ends, and so that one bed is several inches off of matching the others.  This cannot stand.  I'm going to have to go out there and shovel out the dirt, take it apart, and put it back together the right way or else it's going to bother me for the rest of it's lifetime.

My dad and I are having 12 yards of potting soil delivered next week, to be mixed in with my existing garden soil.  Most of my starts will go in the ground that afternoon, along with more seeds.  I'll hold some back just in case we get another frost, but it's supposed to be 75 degrees today and right now that feels pretty unlikely.

My first asparagus spears are already poking up.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #224 on: March 19, 2019, 01:34:50 PM »
Our fava beans are doing well. This is our first time growing them so i need to look up when to harvest and how to cook them.

We have planted peas FOUR times and each time the little sprouts got eaten by the damn birds. No amount of caging or netting seems to deter them. I’m giving up and just waiting to put tomatoes in the ground now.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #225 on: March 19, 2019, 03:05:00 PM »
@sol so envious of your first asparagus spears! First of the season? How long have you been growing them?

@ysette9 I hear ya- last year the birds were so bad at eating our new pea shoots (even with bird netting) that we barely got a pod or two. We've also had a hard time with new lettuces and birds too. That's the wonderful part of my community garden being a "habitat" where people actively feed the birds. There are some things I just can't grow in the space without them getting eaten.

I'm excited to see the new leaves of flowers and onions I'm starting from seed. Want to start even more seeds but need to build or scrabble together some squirrel proof space for new seedlings. Fortunately have one space where I'm going to be able to direct start seedlings, so I will happily fill those beds up with new seeds! Spring Equinox tomorrow!

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #226 on: March 19, 2019, 03:32:47 PM »
@sol so envious of your first asparagus spears! First of the season? How long have you been growing them?

The first of my asparagus went in the ground in 2014, and then I added more of a different type in 2015.  We have not harvested at all, though we certainly could have last year.  The asparagus bed eventually grew to about six feet tall with huge fronds, by the end of last season.

This year I'm going to harvest as they come up.  Right now I have a single shoot about 4 inches tall, coming from only one of about 20 plants.  I'm sure there are a bunch more right below the surface.


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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #227 on: March 21, 2019, 09:16:14 AM »
This year I am trying:  camelot hybrid shallots, cabernet, zoey storage, chinook leeks, parade scallions, and ramrod bunching onions form seed. 
Just planted two small trays of bunching onions.  I was going to plant one to a cell and use really tiny cell packs but then I got thinking ahead to planting out.  I planted them four seeds to a large cell so I can just pop the entire cell in a row with no thinning required.  Hopefully I won't be cursing all these transplants in May. 

I went to a workshop on starting native herbacious plants from seed last night and came home with a number of different types of seeds that are now in the fridge for one more month of cold stratification. 

Greenhouse is still empty.  I really want to get going on that but have too much other stuff.  Hopefully this weekend between making maple syrup.  Everything is really late this year- usually I have already had a boil down.  This year the sap has only run a couple of days so far.  Yesterday was good, today is too cold again.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #228 on: March 21, 2019, 10:11:09 AM »
Yesterday was a glorious day in my island garden. When I drove off the ferry I made a bee line to - not the garden - but to another property where I have had our mason bee cocoons in storage over winter. My DW (the bees are more her domain) was very concerned that with the warmer weather the shed had become warm enough to cause the mason bees to start hatching in their plastic container. I thought that since the shed is sort of in amongst the shade of the trees, it shouldn't actually have got too warm in there...not enough to trigger the bees to start hatching anyway.

Oops. Yep, that's a mason bee. They look more like flies and are prolific pollinators. The goal is to put the cocoons into the little bee house we have, to have them emerge and do their thing in the garden.


I have put the rest of the cocoons in a refrigerator to hopefully forestall the hatching progress until we can get the bee house set up.


As for the garden itself I was pleased to find that I do have successful pea, spinach and lettuce germination. Most of the beds themselves are still very wet, so I used pitchfork to break up and loosen the soil to a depth of about a foot. I added bags of compost and tilled those in with a cultivator tool, working to break up the wet clumps. Very slowly, the tilth is improving. And it needs to, as I will be planting more things very soon. I am not as concerned with tilth quality in the beds I have reserved for transplants.

A few scenes from yesterday....as you can see, Spring has Sprung in the PNW.

My forest garden glade. Deer-proofed fenced garden in the background. Fruit trees blossoming like crazy.


Had company in the garden...in more of an observational capacity. :)


Today looks to be a repeat of yesterday. This is truly one of my happily places and it's great to be in a thread surrounded by people who understand this. :)

« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 09:13:11 AM by Jon_Snow »

ysette9

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #229 on: March 21, 2019, 10:19:02 AM »
I love photos of your garden and I love imagining you on your island in your happy place. It is like a little mental vacation for me here at work to imagine what it must be like there. Good luck with the bees and the sprouts.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #230 on: March 21, 2019, 11:30:27 AM »
Love your photos @Jon_Snow!  Your island place is beautiful.

Please teach me how to get my photos right side up, haha.   

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #231 on: March 21, 2019, 02:35:26 PM »
Love your photos @Jon_Snow!  Your island place is beautiful.

Please teach me how to get my photos right side up, haha.

Hey thanks! I have virtually zero talent in photography so I’m glad the pics manage to overcome this at times.:)

And your photos self right themselves when I click on them. Your deer fence and your property look great. Feel free to post much more. And did I read right that your are fairly new-FIRE’d? If so, I think you’ll find that as great as gardening is, when your thoughts are no longer cluttered with thoughts of w*rk, it becomes TRANSCENDENT. :) (pretty much everything is elevated, who am I kidding)

And I swear I saw you in a health\fitness thread too. Being more physically robust will only take your horticultural exploits to another level as well!

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #232 on: March 21, 2019, 04:56:34 PM »
And did I read right that your are fairly new-FIRE’d? If so, I think you’ll find that as great as gardening is, when your thoughts are no longer cluttered with thoughts of w*rk, it becomes TRANSCENDENT. :) (pretty much everything is elevated, who am I kidding)

Yes sir, just FIREd at the end of January.  Already w*rk seems like a distant memory.  I'm living the life that was on hold all those years and it is glorious!  I love being outside and in the garden, and now I can have my fill of it every day.  I love having enough time to just BE, and to watch the birds and other wild critters in their spring activities.  Sometimes I go hang out in the orchard for an hour or two with our chickens as they go about their day.  I'm very happy.  :)

ysette9

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #233 on: March 21, 2019, 05:05:39 PM »
And did I read right that your are fairly new-FIRE’d? If so, I think you’ll find that as great as gardening is, when your thoughts are no longer cluttered with thoughts of w*rk, it becomes TRANSCENDENT. :) (pretty much everything is elevated, who am I kidding)

Yes sir, just FIREd at the end of January.  Already w*rk seems like a distant memory.  I'm living the life that was on hold all those years and it is glorious!  I love being outside and in the garden, and now I can have my fill of it every day.  I love having enough time to just BE, and to watch the birds and other wild critters in their spring activities.  Sometimes I go hang out in the orchard for an hour or two with our chickens as they go about their day.  I'm very happy.  :)
Quotes like this are what keep me day dreaming and funneling money off into Vanguard whenever I can. God, I can’t wait.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #234 on: March 23, 2019, 03:00:30 AM »
And did I read right that your are fairly new-FIRE’d? If so, I think you’ll find that as great as gardening is, when your thoughts are no longer cluttered with thoughts of w*rk, it becomes TRANSCENDENT. :) (pretty much everything is elevated, who am I kidding)

Yes sir, just FIREd at the end of January.  Already w*rk seems like a distant memory.  I'm living the life that was on hold all those years and it is glorious!  I love being outside and in the garden, and now I can have my fill of it every day.  I love having enough time to just BE, and to watch the birds and other wild critters in their spring activities.  Sometimes I go hang out in the orchard for an hour or two with our chickens as they go about their day.  I'm very happy.  :)
Quotes like this are what keep me day dreaming and funneling money off into Vanguard whenever I can. God, I can’t wait.

Oh my gosh you are right @ysette9.  I'm not young by MMM standards (52) so I had a journey to get here, but this forum is what got me over the finish line.  You'll get there too!
 

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #235 on: March 23, 2019, 09:06:21 AM »
@Jon_Snow I'm envious of your weather! I jinxed myself and now it's been cold rain for 3 days. Good for the peas I planted, bad for all the rest of my plans... Booooo. I like how we can live vicariously through each others pictures though! That's a peaceful looking garden spot! Nice mason bees too. I haven't tried introducing any pollinators, but I get tons of mostly leafcutter bees and a lot of even smaller bees I haven't identified yet. (Also honeybees (someone might have a hive somewhere near, they can travel quite far but I sometimes have a lot) and a few bumbles. I even let paper wasps hang out in my shed ! They are awesome predators of some garden pests (I saw one munching on a hornworm once, and a grasshopper once as well - after that I decided they could 100% stay! It makes me smile to see them patrolling around the plants looking for food to bring back to the nest. They are very chill too unless you are literally like a foot from the nest.)

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #236 on: March 27, 2019, 05:13:35 AM »
I've been busy here prepping the beds inside my new deer fence.  I'm planning to direct-seed kale and plant some potatoes next week.  Should be ready to start planting everything else in about another three to four weeks.  Historical average last frost here is third week in April. 

My big project over this past weekend was to start moving some perennials inside the deer fence.  I dug up and potted six baby raspberries from our patch, which I'll plant inside the fence in the next few days.  I'm also moving in our four gooseberry bushes.  I decided not to move any blackberries inside; those guys are a bit too rowdy for an organized garden area IMO.  Also they can fend for themselves against the deer a bit better than the raspberries and gooseberries. 


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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #237 on: March 27, 2019, 06:34:21 AM »
My seedling cherry tomatoes are now in 4" pots. This is my first year doing seeds and so far I'm really happy with it. If even a handful of these survive it'll be much cheaper than buying plants at our local nursery (which is stupid expensive due to the HCOL area). The peppers and ground cherries sprouted, but they're still too small to transfer.

I planted three pear trees last weekend. We made full wire "domes" for them because a deer took out one of our juneberry/shadbushes despite a circle of wire. We're guessing the thing bellied up to the wire and ripped the small sapling out by the top. I got home and it had disappeared like we'd never planted it. sigh Now I understand why everyone's deer fences are so extensive. I guess I'm going to have to put our entire cottage garden inside our deer fence instead of just the vegetables. I might have to rethink plans for that entire side of the yard.

Does anyone know good plants to keep the deer occupied? Is it possible to distract them with something vigorous growing like honeysuckle in hopes they'll leave my flowers alone or is that a lost cause? Has anyone tried using fishing line to keep them out of flower borders. We don't want to fence our back patio, but last year that ate all our flowers to the ground.

I also planted a Lady of Shallot rose next to our front door. I'm really looking forward to how the peachy flowers will look against the pale green house.

cassafrass

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #238 on: March 27, 2019, 08:37:20 AM »
This is my family's first year in our own house and I'm ecstatic to try out a small veggie garden - something I've been dreaming about for the last 10 years. In the past while we were renting, it never felt like we had enough space or ownership in our yard to make the investment. But this year we have a third of an acre and huge aspirations!

My husband has been kind enough to agree to build me a bed and enclosure. This year, we're trying a 12'x3' bed to see how it goes with plans of adding more in the future. My biggest worry is that we have lots and lots of wildlife in our area, including a fat, lazy groundhog that ambles around the yard most mornings. My husband will be putting up some fencing for the deer, but I'm not sure how effective it will be in keeping out the groundhogs/rabbits. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

The plan this year is to grow:
tomatoes
bell peppers
broccoli
zucchini
carrots
kale
lettuces
radishes
basil/cilantro

Also, a friend will be giving me strawberry and raspberry plants and I have hopes of planting a few apple trees this year or next. I started some tomatoes/peppers/broccoli/zucchini a few weeks ago and my little seedlings are looking happy so far.   

In all, I'm feeling very optimistic and looking forward to getting the kids (ages 1 and 3) out in the garden with me to start cultivating some nature love in them.

I'm excited to read about and get inspiration from everyone's gardens!

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #239 on: March 27, 2019, 08:53:56 AM »
Oh I'm sorry to hear about your deer problems @coffeefueled.  Your story about the tree is so sad.  Our deer here eat everything, and I mean everything.  Along the lines of what you said -- I think the only thing that might work a little (other than full-scale deer fence) is if you can find something they like to eat that doesn't die from the browsing.  I've come to the conclusion that they are creatures of habit, and if there is a yummy thing they like, they will visit it every night.  Sometimes the deer will ignore other potential yummy things right next to it, because they're in the habit of visiting the first thing.  Go figure.

Example -- we have four elderberry bushes planted in a row.  The deer munch on bush number 1 every night, I think because it's right next to the path they walk, but they don't touch bushes 2-4. 

Some people try hanging Irish Spring soap (didn't work for us) or spraying various animal urines (we didn't try it, because we have real animals running around, so I figured it wouldn't work.) 

I also read that you can landscape to discourage deer, short of building an actual deer fence.  Supposedly deer don't like to jump over a double obstacle, even fairly low ones.  Something about their depth perception(?)  So I read that some people plant a double row of low hedges/plantings around their gardens and that works for them. 

But yeah -- for us, we had to go for the fence.  :(

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #240 on: March 27, 2019, 09:00:57 AM »
This is my family's first year in our own house and I'm ecstatic to try out a small veggie garden - something I've been dreaming about for the last 10 years.

Welcome @cassafrass!  Your plans sound fantastic.  I remember gardening with my kids when they were little, and the look on their faces when they pulled a big carrot out of the ground for the first time, or ate some fresh green beans.  The best.  :)

Not sure what your fence is made of, but you'll find out if the rabbits and woodchucks are going through.  Sometimes you'll be lucky and they're not that interested or motivated to break in. 

 

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #241 on: March 27, 2019, 09:48:11 AM »
Very excited to get back to gardening this year, even if we only plan on keeping it small. This will be our fifth year in our house and we've only managed a decent garden one year. This year, after we get the deer/rabbit/woodchuck/misc critter fence up, we plan to grow:
Tomatoes (cherries, romas, and beefsteaks)
Peppers
Zucchini
strawberries

I'd like to do more, but I know it's not realistic for this year. *sigh Maybe next time.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #242 on: March 27, 2019, 09:57:34 AM »
Curious whether anyone in zone 5 or colder and is growing blueberry bushes, has seen any signs of life from them yet?

I fear mine didn't survive the polar vortex. It's still early, though. Usually by late April mine are looking lively again.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #243 on: March 27, 2019, 05:33:40 PM »
I love photos of your garden and I love imagining you on your island in your happy place. It is like a little mental vacation for me here at work to imagine what it must be like there. Good luck with the bees and the sprouts.

I think any garden, big or small, is inherently a beautiful place. But yeah, stick one on a lovely little island in one of the most gorgeous regions of the world...yeah, it puts yours truly in his happy place. :)

I used to be in the very place you are in now. I will happily provide you with more opportunities for garden-imagery fuelled "little mental vacations" as the growing season continues.

Quotes like this are what keep me day dreaming and funneling money off into Vanguard whenever I can. God, I can’t wait.

I'll let you in on a little secret. It's worth the wait.

@Jon_Snow I'm envious of your weather! I jinxed myself and now it's been cold rain for 3 days. Good for the peas I planted, bad for all the rest of my plans... Booooo. I like how we can live vicariously through each others pictures though! That's a peaceful looking garden spot! Nice mason bees too. I haven't tried introducing any pollinators, but I get tons of mostly leafcutter bees and a lot of even smaller bees I haven't identified yet. (Also honeybees (someone might have a hive somewhere near, they can travel quite far but I sometimes have a lot) and a few bumbles. I even let paper wasps hang out in my shed ! They are awesome predators of some garden pests (I saw one munching on a hornworm once, and a grasshopper once as well - after that I decided they could 100% stay! It makes me smile to see them patrolling around the plants looking for food to bring back to the nest. They are very chill too unless you are literally like a foot from the nest.)

Well, I'm blessed to be located in a part of Canada with the longest growing season. Already I've got a few plantings of lettuce, spinach, and peas thriving. As always, I have to restrain myself from planting/transplanting ALL THE THINGS. Spacing out my various plantings has always been a weakness.

One of the great things about my little garden spot is that, on top of the Mediterranean-like micro climate of the island's which provides wondrous Zone 9 growing conditions, the garden itself is located in a circular clearing (the pics do a decent job of showing this), bordered on all sides by some good sized trees. One thing that can hamper growing certain things in the PNW is the lack of true HEAT. Sure, for a few weeks in the Summer temps can flirt with the 30's Celsius, but heat loving crops can sometimes lag here. But due to the garden's positioning, facing southward in the forest glade...when the sun is present, the place traps the heat - and the trees prevent the wind from dispersing it. I can always count on an extra 3 or so degrees of warmth here as compared to other locations on the island. Some of my family on the same island, closer to the sea, can be considerably cooler than my garden spot.

One notable drawback of the location....are the very same trees that help create this greenhouse effect. With every year, as the trees grow higher, I'm actually getting less and less direct sunlight hitting my garden beds. At some point, some very difficult decisions will have to be made. Might involve a chainsaw. I'm probably fine for several more years, but I still have considerable angst about what will likely have to be done.

And just as I was ready to declare my parsnip seeds duds...we have germination. Easily the slowest gerninating seeds I've experienced thus far.

Right now I'm in the midst of hardening off my brassicas that need to be put out in the garden by mid -April...because, in what has to be the worst possible timing in terms of getting my garden off to a great start...I'm heading to Mexico for a month shortly thereafter.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #244 on: March 27, 2019, 06:15:38 PM »
Curious whether anyone in zone 5 or colder and is growing blueberry bushes, has seen any signs of life from them yet?

I fear mine didn't survive the polar vortex. It's still early, though. Usually by late April mine are looking lively again.

I still have lots of snow on the ground, so I am not looking for signs of life from anything.

Trifele

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #245 on: March 28, 2019, 03:07:21 AM »
Welcome @Fae!  Good idea to keep things small while you get everything figured out.  Sometimes in those small rebuilding years we can get a lot of pleasure out of a few things.   And in the meantime we can all enjoy @Jon_Snow's 'garden porn' haha.

@Tris Prior -- will be interesting to hear how your blueberries make out.  When I lived up north (4b) I didn't grow them, so I don't know what their average wake up time is.  FWIW -- I'm in 7a now, had no harsh weather this winter, and my blueberries are still asleep.  They're various varieties of highbush, mostly 'Patriot.'

Fae

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #246 on: March 28, 2019, 05:44:58 AM »
Welcome @Fae!  Good idea to keep things small while you get everything figured out.  Sometimes in those small rebuilding years we can get a lot of pleasure out of a few things.   And in the meantime we can all enjoy @Jon_Snow's 'garden porn' haha.

@Tris Prior -- will be interesting to hear how your blueberries make out.  When I lived up north (4b) I didn't grow them, so I don't know what their average wake up time is.  FWIW -- I'm in 7a now, had no harsh weather this winter, and my blueberries are still asleep.  They're various varieties of highbush, mostly 'Patriot.'

Thanks for the welcome Trifele! I love your deer/critter fence, I may steal your plans when we put ours back up. In previous years I've found that skirting the fencing works better than trying to bury the fence deep enough. We went down 2 ft one year and the dang rabbits still tunneled in to get to our garden beds.

@Tris Prior- thanks for the reminder to check my blueberry bush after the polar vortex. I'm in zone 6A and my blueberry bush isn't doing anything, and I check it is still alive.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #247 on: March 28, 2019, 08:09:52 AM »
Was just over at the greenhouse checking out the germination rate of the greens and peas.  Some of the radish are the only signs of life - apart from the creature that is digging holes inside the greenhouse!  Maybe one of my cats needs to have a little vacay in the greenhouse this weekend and make the place smell unwelcome to rodents.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #248 on: March 28, 2019, 12:30:30 PM »
I have subscribed to The Misfits Market vegetables and the boxes of veggies are delivered every two weeks. Last week was my first week and fresh beets came in my box. I washed them, left them whole and cooked them in a foil package at 400F for about an hour and 20 minutes. Turned the oven off then left them in the oven for about an hour. Once they were cooled I put gloves on and peeled them and cut them up. I added olive oil, salt and pepper and they were soooo goooood! I have never grown beets before but I plan to do so in an animal water trough I have in the yard I use for container gardening.

coffeefueled

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #249 on: March 28, 2019, 01:10:49 PM »
A mystery creature ate juneberry shrubling number two today which has us worried about the newly planted pears. It definitely wasn't the deer because they're eating everything from the roots. I'm guessing some kind of mole. Does anyone know what I should do to protect our other young trees?