Author Topic: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread  (Read 188700 times)

Erin

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Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« on: February 16, 2012, 12:33:23 PM »
I live on 5 acres, and the past 2 years I've planted/harvested a garden with varying levels of success. Growing our own food allows us to reduce our food expense, carbon footprint & improve our health...pretty mustachian behaviors methinks. However, there are areas I would like to improve on this year. Specifically:

Canning & Freezing (and not wasting)
Purchasing seeds/plants on the cheap
Methods of planting/growing/pest control
Going full organic

Questions:

I've always purchased my seeds/plants @ TSC (Tractor Supply Company for you none-country-folks) & Home Depot. I'm sure there are internet options that would minimize my expenses, but I don't know of the best sites. Any suggestions?

What have you grown from seed/plant and had success with (i.e. I always buy my romaine lettuce as plants rather than seeds, which is more epensive but I would happily switch to seeds if people have had success with them)
Any organic pest control ideas?
Any planting tips of what to plant when and with what?
Any ideas on how much of certain things you have use? After a few years I'm beginning to learn more on what vegetables were not worth growing and which were - for us, lima beans were dumb as manfriend doesn't eat them and he's the chef. I like them raw but apparently there's arsenic in them.


Anyone want to start (or continue) growing your own food with me?  I'd love to hear from some experienced gardners and also have newbies start out (even if you are renting with tiny space, herbs & tomatoes grow great in pots and small places) on the gardening path.

What I grew successfully (in Michigan climate): Red onions, yellow onions, cauliflower, green/red cabbage, radishes, green bell peppers, several varieties of hot peppers, mild hungarian peppers, okra, white eggplant,yellow was beans, lima beans, roma tomatoes, beef eater tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cherry/grape tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins (which are great for Halloween freebies as I'm big on decorating with them), spaghetti squash, acorn squash, zuchinni, yellow squash, oregano, cilantro, basil, spring onions, chives, flat leaf parsley, rosemary & pole green beans.

What I grew with little success: Snow peas (something is going awry here), purple egg plants, carrots (they take forever to germinate and have never worked out for me), yellow & red bell peppers (pests ALWAYS destroy), watermelons & CORN (which after 2 years is our arch nemesis and we canNOT get it  to successfully grow).

I also have ducks and chickens which dessimated my tomato/romaine lettuce/raspberry/strawberry patches/spaghetti squash over the past few years, so we are working on stricter reinforcements/fences/nets for the gardens this year (manfriend snagged a trampoline net someone was throwing away on garbage day and one of those golf course subdivision nets - so we have plenty of free netting to defend from our free range asshat birds).

Please feel free to add responses/questions/gardening support :)

palvar

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 12:35:35 PM »
I live in a row house in Philadelphia, so I don't have a ton of space for gardening.  However, we've been working hard to grow the herbs that we use - they are so expensive in grocery stores!

We've had great luck with rosemary and basil, but cilantro has never worked out for us.

Guitarist

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 12:51:24 PM »
Great winter plant: garlic.

Though, don't get that junk you find in the grocery store. Find an heirloom grower willing to sell you a bulb or try something from a market. There is such an abundance of types and tastes of garlic. So much sweeter and not as harsh as the stuff you find in the store, although you may consider trying it the first season with the store bought stuff so you get the hang of it. Also, they apparently repulse rabbits and some other pests.
Each clove grows a bulb and you can keep one or two plants each harvest for planting. It never ends!

Though, if anyone knows a good way to store it after you harvest it, please share.

velocistar237

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 01:59:59 PM »
Though, if anyone knows a good way to store it after you harvest it, please share.

Pickled garlic is a yummy snack.

AJ

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 02:30:01 PM »
Funny, carrots are literally the only thing I've ever successfully grown from seed :)

I have a seriously black thumb, but we moved to the edge of town onto 3 acres a year ago, so I'm itching to plant a big garden. Every gardening attempt I've made (and there have been many over the years) has failed:

1) started seeds in a small greenhouse, but too late in the year. It was too hot and they got scorched.

2) Tried planing tomatoes in home-made topsy-turvy planters when I didn't have garden space and was too cheap to buy the real ones. Either those don't work, or I have the wrong kind of plant (used Amish Paste starts I got a good deal on). They only grew to spindly little stalks while their traditionally-planted brothers grew quite tall.

3) Got watermelons to grow about the size of softballs before the hens got out and ruined them.

4) Made a great bed for jalapeno pepper starts, but the cats liked it too :(

I was successful at getting decorative corn, kale, and zucchini to grow from starts, though.

If at first you don't succeed, convince yourself next year will be better! I'll follow this thread and let you know if I grow anything edible this year :)

Guitarist

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 02:36:57 PM »
Though, if anyone knows a good way to store it after you harvest it, please share.

Pickled garlic is a yummy snack.

But how do you save the ones you want to plant in the fall?

Skinnyneo

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 02:57:43 PM »
For those with not a whole lot of space I found this.  http://www.windowfarms.org/buildyourown  Seems like a bit of work to put together but might be worth a shot.

Sparafusile

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 05:27:16 PM »
A quick search for "marigold as pest control" returned this promising looking site:

http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/pest-control-plants
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woodworker2010

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 06:49:35 PM »
We have a DC row house and a postage stamp square footage of grass.  We planted some flowers and had good luck last year with green beans and greens.  Relatively good luck with strawberries (ever bearing variety--couple of quarts from April-June).  This year, we're expanding with raised beds in our side yard (we're fortunate to have a corner lot).  Planning to do more beans (easy to freeze--just put them in Ziplocks after you pick them...probably should wash first, I guess).  More lettuce greens, carrots (had a few last year), and squash...It's a lot work, but the cost savings in lettuce alone is worth it.  Plus, its safer and healthier...win, win, win.

dancedancekj

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 11:05:51 PM »
I've found that greens are the easiest things to grow. You can start harvesting almost as soon as they sprout.
Spring includes pea shoots, lettuce, spinach, and other miscellanous greens. Summer includes swiss chard, kale, water spinach/kangkong, and watercress. Fall is yet another chance to grow the spring greens.
I do tomatoes every year. Cherry tomatoes (Super Sweet 100) and some kind of heirloom tomato and usually either early girl or beefsteaks.
Zucchini and squashes do relatively well, as do potatoes - they're all pretty easy.
I also grow shit tons of herbs. Mint (chocolate, spearmint, peppermint), lemon balm, basils (Thai, cinnamon, Italian, lemon) lemon verbena, lavender, oregano, cilantro, and chives.

Most of the stuff you can grow pretty easily from seed (Minus some things that either need early starts, like tomatoes, or that are cultivars that need to be propagated, like mint). I rarely direct sow, since the results are somewhat spotty, but I do a lot of my veggie starts either indoors under a simple T8 shoplight with two 6500K "Daylight" bulbs, or via the Winter Sowing method http://www.wintersown.org/. The Winter Sowing method is a fantastic way to start seeds easily with little to no attention, with a very high success rate! It also recycles used pop bottles and milk jugs, so can be done very Mustachian-ly (you just need some good potting mix)

I have also been composting the past couple of years. I'm looking into vermicomposting, as well as aquacomposting using goldfish/koi/carp (they'll eat almost anything, being the living garbage disposals they are :D) Being a single person, I don't generate all that much food waste, but I've been able to create a decent amount of compost over the past couple years. I also am able to shred any loose papers and add them to my compost as well, and it's kind of fun to know that I'm eliminating a lot of waste processing on my end.

Gah, it's still winter though, and planting season is still months away :(

Mike Key

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 04:51:39 AM »
I had a lot of success with growing Corn, Tomatos, Pumpkins, Watermelon and Cantaloupe back home in VA.

Having just moved, I'm not sure what to grow since the weather here in FL is so different. We do have a fruit tree and I want to start some container gardening, but I haven't formulated a plan yet.

I just spent a few minutes with Google, and I wish I could find it. Before I went paleo I read an article about a man who lived on a half/arce lot like many of us in a neighborhood and he replaced both the front and back yard with crops.

I was really impressed because he was growing his own wheat and producing his own flour for his family of four. They also produced enough leafy greens for regular salads and raised chickens for eggs. And a host of herbs, spices and vegetables.

I do believe there was a youtube video of him walking thru all he's planted.

Live stock is out of the question for us, but there are a number of leafy greens and vegetables that are expensive (especially if you want organic) that I'd like to grow myself. Such as Kale and Asparagus.

Good luck in your endeavor.
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shawn

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 05:24:29 AM »
We are going to do MUCH gardening this year.

I did not notice anyone mention composting above.  I have the benefit of lots of room so I have a manure compost pile that will eat almost anything.  I recently have started a worm bin in the house.  It is clean and convenient.   I have applied the worm tea from the bin to house plants with great success.  My son and I hydroponically regrew some scallions in a cup of worm tea.  They have reproduced 3 times so far!  Having composted mulch available to aid any growing cycle is beneficial.

kolorado

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 05:46:13 AM »
Check out SQUARE FOOT GARDENING. Did it last year. It's raised beds filled with a special mixture. So low maintenance and easy it was crazy. I put in one hour a week to weed and harvest from my three boxes and got over 75lbs pounds of organic produce over the season.
I invested about $200 in the materials for my beds/mix/seeds/supports. I bought mostly Burpee seeds from Walmart at $1 each. Ace hardware tends to run $.10-.50 pack sales but they're too far away from me. I started only my tomatoes and peppers from seed.
I'll be able to use my beds again this year for just the cost of Spring seeds. Based on last year's numbers I expect to grow $80-120 worth of organic lettuce, spinach and peas in my beds for just $4. Unfortunately we're moving so I won't get to garden into the summer. :(

Erin

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 07:13:52 AM »
We are going to do MUCH gardening this year.

I did not notice anyone mention composting above.  I have the benefit of lots of room so I have a manure compost pile that will eat almost anything.  I recently have started a worm bin in the house.  It is clean and convenient.   I have applied the worm tea from the bin to house plants with great success.  My son and I hydroponically regrew some scallions in a cup of worm tea.  They have reproduced 3 times so far!  Having composted mulch available to aid any growing cycle is beneficial.

Shawn - could you elaborate a little on a "worm bin"? I'd be interested in that for gardening & fishing reasons (it's not mustachian when I have to go buy Walt's crawlers and could be digging up my own worms). Do you buy worms? Dig them up? How do you start this bin you speak of?

We do manure tea from our horses in the summer. And also the rain barrell for watering (even though we have a well so water is not an expense for us).

I'm also really interested in ordering garlic and growing that!  We are garlic/onion junkies - but I don't know anything about growing garlic. I will read up on that one :) I think I'll grab a few gardening books while I'm getting my financial books @ the library this weekend!

MEJG

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 07:20:05 AM »
One of the huge reasons I want to own, and I want to own a few acres (5-10 ideally) is to grow a lot of our own food.  Alas, we're staying with family at the moment and will probably rent for another 1-2 years.  We'll be planting, probably in pots, this spring.

If you're interested in a truly economical, environmental and healthy way check out these books http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/ at the library of course!  I found them truly truly inspiring.

The principles are to plant in groups and settings that are almost self sustainable relying heavily on perennials.  This will minimize your inputs (time, fertilizer, additives, pest control etc) and maximize your outputs (fruit, veg, beauty and peace).  It's kinda like companion planing on crack.  It combines a lot of permicultre and old world ideas. 

It details how to create whole mini ecosystems.  Of course it can't give you a list of exactly what to plant because that will depend on your climate and soil as well as what you like to grow and eat.


Erin

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2012, 07:24:22 AM »

If you're interested in a truly economical, environmental and healthy way check out these books http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/ at the library of course!  I found them truly truly inspiring.

Thank you for this suggestion! The farmers almanac my mom bought me last year actually had a lot of suggestions for what to grow next to each other (and what not to). I would like to delve further into this as we actually have a few different spots to grow in and could easily separate/plant together things that were mutually beneficial or a drain on each other. I read somewhere recently (maybe even here, I can't remember), ideas of what foods to store together because some foods cause each other to over-ripen quickly, or to last longer.

Has anyone ever grown kiwis? I always thought of them as tropical, but manfriend insists they would do great here in Michigan.

gestalt162

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2012, 11:01:25 AM »
I live in Western NY, and have had great success with Snap Peas. You may want to try them. Watch for wilt.

I've tried square foot gardening as well- it's the system I use now. Next year I think I'll switch to the grow biointensive method, which doesn't require boxes or tons of soil additives (but is more labor intensive at start). We rent a duplex, but have a large back yard, and 80 sq. ft. of that is dedicated to herbs and vegetables.

The parts that I've skimped on the most in the past are starting seeds indoors and having deep enough soil for my plants to grow, so I'm trying to improve on those things this year.

My fiance and I have turned into canning fanatics. It started with pickles and jam (we give them away for Christmas presents and got tons of compliments) in a boiling water canner (ie. large pot). We then got a pressure canner/cooker off Craigslist, so now we can can virtually anything. Our favorites have been making soups, stocks, spaghetti sauce, and chili, and canning leftovers for a rainy day.  More work and investment than freezing, but it saves you the freezer room. Seriously, start canning some pickles and jam this year- you will not regret it. My peach jam with farmer's market peaches is hands down the best jam I've ever had, it literally tastes like summer, and my grape jelly from a blend of local grapes is phenomenal as well.

Once I retire, I plan on spending much of my free time gardening, growing enough for my family to eat, and maybe selling extra at farmer's markets.

velocistar237

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2012, 11:09:49 AM »
But how do you save the ones you want to plant in the fall?

Here's a start of an idea, which needs to be adapted from art to real food storage techniques:

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/saving-food-fridge-it-will-taste-better-may-even-last-longer-and-reduce-your-energy-bills.html

The basic idea is to prevent sprouting by storing your garlic with ethylene-producing fruits. I have no idea if that would get you through the whole winter. There's probably a simpler solution, but I am totally ignorant when it comes to this topic.


Check out SQUARE FOOT GARDENING.

I'd like to plant a garden, but I'm even more scared of gardening than I am of investing. Does the Square Foot Garden technique give step-by-step instructions, including what to plant and when, for a particular climate?

Mrs MM

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2012, 11:52:32 AM »
Ah gardening... a huge love of mine.  We go away every summer for 6+ weeks, so lately we haven't been planting veggies as much, but this year we're getting back into it.  My main goal is to grow stuff that we actually use a lot. 

We already have some herbs that are perennials: mint, chive, sage, oregano

I plan to plant:
- lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and green onion for salads
- squash for squash soup - yum!
- maybe carrots and garlic...
- I'm going to have a little plot for our son, so he can plant whatever he wants there (we have a lot of seed packets from prior years that he can go crazy with).

I'm thinking of making the cucumbers and squash climb up something to make some fun passageways in the yard for the little guy (and to help keep squirrels at bay, maybe?).

We had a lot of luck with these in the past (although I've never tried squash before).  We even had cilantro sprout all over the place one year after a particularly robust growth where we couldn't even keep up and it ended up seeding.

We failed miserably with strawberries and corn (squirrels ate them both) a couple of years ago.

I'm also going to attempt to make a sunflower house for our son somehow or one of those teepee things with beans covering it.  Our climate here is very dry and hot in the summer, so certain plants don't do as well.

I always have grand plans.

I also loved "square foot gardening" and "roots, boots, buckets and shoots" (which is more for kids gardens). 

onehappypanda

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2012, 02:36:48 PM »
I love this thread!

If anyone has any tips or resources for gardening out of containers or pots, I'd love to hear them. I'm a renter in the city, which normally means no yard. Even when I do have a yard, I'm reluctant to plant things in it in the event that I need to move. But containers are moveable! So I'm thinking of starting with basic herbs to cut back on grocery costs, but I'd love other suggestions.

gestalt162

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2012, 02:55:21 PM »
I'd like to plant a garden, but I'm even more scared of gardening than I am of investing. Does the Square Foot Garden technique give step-by-step instructions, including what to plant and when, for a particular climate?

Yes. In the book, Mel Bartholemew breaks it down step-by-step for you in different chapters, with some advanced techniques like trellising at the end. If you have never gardened before, his book is pretty approachable, and the process is pretty scalable- you can start out with a 4'x4' garden your first year and grow on that. He even throws you charts in the back showing when to plant and harvest most popular vegetables.

How to Grow More Vegetables (my 2nd gardening book) is a nightmare read, but has lots of good advice, and a solid, proven-out system. I'm looking forward to implementing it next year.

kolorado

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2012, 09:38:04 AM »
Square foot gardening also has several message boards where you can talk to people in your area and even copy exactly what they do. The biggest two reasons I chose SFG is that I tried traditional gardening with techniques I learned from working in my parents traditional garden. It was just too time intensive. I simply don't have 10 hours to spare every week to weed, hoe and check water levels. Now I see why my mom always sent me out to weed. :/  The second reason is that we have to pay for city water. The special soil mix for the raised beds really holds moisture as well as claimed. I watered my three little beds just twice a week and I could usually pass that chore onto my 6 and 8 year olds. It was so easy and pleasurable to spend 5-10 minutes in my garden every day.
Lots of land is not required to grow most of your food if you do it the SF way. I could grow nearly all the food we'd need for a year(family of 5) in raised beds of 2000 square feet. That's less square footage than the average suburban front lawn. Adding pathways for easy access ups your area to grow but you can work around that depending on how you place your beds. I could get all my boxes and pathways in a 45'X90' area. That's about 1/10 an acre.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2012, 09:11:25 PM »
How to save garlic?  When you harvest leave a a clove in the ground.  It's a bulb - they are made to overwinter in the ground. You can also cut the stalks and use them like you would green onions, except they are garlic flavored.  Gives you access to garlic all summer long.   As a very messy gardener I never had to replant garlic.  Carrots will reseed if you leave a few in the ground all season long.  Radishes too.  1 or 2 radishes wil make thousands of seeds, so I like to gather them and sprout them in the winter to eat as sprouts (peppery taste!)  There are lots of edible perennials.  Rhubarb and asparagus come to mind. 
Permaculture is brilliant.  I took the design course and learned so much.  ALso, your county extension office probably offers master gardener classes.  It is very fun to tell people I am a master gardener.
Heidi

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2012, 09:44:26 PM »

We had a lot of luck with these in the past (although I've never tried squash before). 

We have really really good luck with squash out here (I'm in Louisville, CO)...both summer and winter squash.  Seems to thrive in our sun, hot days, and cool nights. 

I've never had much luck with tomatoes, but I think it's a soil issue (a friend suggested I need to add lime).  I can only get the little cherry tomatoes and roma to grow w/o getting bottom-end rot.  Do you guys do anything special with yours?

onehappypanda

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 02:02:24 PM »

We had a lot of luck with these in the past (although I've never tried squash before). 

We have really really good luck with squash out here (I'm in Louisville, CO)...both summer and winter squash.  Seems to thrive in our sun, hot days, and cool nights. 

I've never had much luck with tomatoes, but I think it's a soil issue (a friend suggested I need to add lime).  I can only get the little cherry tomatoes and roma to grow w/o getting bottom-end rot.  Do you guys do anything special with yours?

I went to a garden seminar today and the lady said that tomatoes were especially sensitive to soil conditions. She suggested a soil test that would check for various levels of nutrients in the soil, so you know exactly what you're lacking in. Adding what you need should help all your plants, but especially tomatoes. 

She also said that if you have a walnut tree nearby that it can kill off plants in the garden. Their roots let off a toxin that keeps other things from growing very well near them, and tomatoes are sensitive to the toxin.

I'm not a gardening expert so I'm going off what they said in the seminar, so take that with a grain of salt.

zinnie

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 10:34:07 AM »
I'm planning to give this a try this year, so I'll be following this thread. Until now I've only done herbs and tomatoes in pots but we're in the process of building a raised bed garden for the front yard. It's the biggest flat area we have in our yard but it's still pretty small so I've been looking for veggies that grow well in small spaces.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 10:36:11 AM by zinnie »

Gerard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2012, 06:27:31 PM »

She also said that if you have a walnut tree nearby that it can kill off plants in the garden. Their roots let off a toxin that keeps other things from growing very well near them, and tomatoes are sensitive to the toxin.

Yeah, juglone: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/fruits/blkwalnt.htm
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kudy

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2012, 10:14:42 PM »
I'm planting seeds for the first time tomorrow.  In the near future, I'll be building a 2nd 4x8 raised bed, which will likely be all tomatoes this year :)
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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2012, 12:19:19 AM »
For those with not a whole lot of space I found this.  http://www.windowfarms.org/buildyourown  Seems like a bit of work to put together but might be worth a shot.

Thank you for giving me a project for my days off this week! 

I started today and had many of the materials to start.  I figure including the nutrients and growth material I should be under $60, which seems like a lot, but fresh basil and mint will cut down our grocery bill.  As an added bonus I was able to use a dowel rod, pcv pipe, air line, water jug and soda bottles (this will be their second repurposing) that were just taking up space, and were dangerously close to getting tossed in an effort to get rid of 100 items. 

kudy

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2012, 02:35:13 PM »
Sprouting!
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R62

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2012, 05:12:31 PM »
Hi, All.   Long time lurker, first time poster.

We are urban dwellers who also are SFG inspired.  Over the course of a few years we have removed all of the lawn on our tiny sliver of city property and put in gardening beds and berry patches.  It's a little crazy looking, and akin to living in a community P Patch.

Last year (2011) was the first year I tracked the "value" of our production:   $748 (excluding the bits of herbs and leftover things we forage out of it during the off season).   "Value" was determined by replacement cost - either from the grocery store or the local farmer's market, depending on where I would normally buy that particular item. 

It is, of course, worth more to me than the actual dollar value in terms of both quality of food consumed and overall satisfaction with time and energy invested. 

What we don't eat straight from the garden is either put in storage (ie cold basement), or canned, pickled, frozen or dehydrated in some form.

This year (2012) we are growing:

Asparagus
Basil
Butternut Squash
Carrots
Chili Pepper
Chive
Cilantro
Corn
Dill
Garlic
Leeks
Lettuce
Onion
Parsley
Parsnip
Peas
Pickling Cukes
Potatoes
Raspberry
Rosemary
Sage
Shallot
Spring Onion
Spuds
Strawberries
Thyme
Tomatillo
Tomatoes
Turnip
Zucchini

This is an exciting time of year:  seeds and sets are going in with some regularity, and each day is full of promise.    Kudy has sprouts and so do we:  our lettuce is showing, as are the first asparagus tips.

Would enjoy seeing more pictures from other gardeners as the season progresses.  Will try and post the same, as well.







spacecoyote

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2012, 02:24:26 PM »
For those asking about storing garlic over winter: do you have a relatively cool, dry spot in your home? I've left mine in our basement the last few years and just go down and get them as needed. Maybe I'm just lucky, but there hasn't been much sprouting to contend with...the little that is there I just chop off before using the clove. Also, you need to let the bulbs cure after you dig them up before storing them - leave them somewhere sheltered from sun/elements where they can dry for about 2 days. For this, I set them on a soil screen/sifter (hardware cloth stapled to a 2x4 frame) in my shed. Garlic has been the most consistent, pain-free producer for me, so I can't recommend it enough...just checked up yesterday on my 27 sprouts that I planted in fall to overwinter.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my garden this year and learning from the mistakes of last year. Primarily, not being too over-ambitious with my plans...last year was a disaster for me. But I've got some kale seedlings right now and just planted peppers and broccoli this weekend. I'm proud of myself that I did the leg work on creating a planting schedule for myself this year so I'll have a nice structure to follow. The PDFs here: http://www.botanicalinterests.com/articles/view/54/Sowing-Guides/category:seed-starting have a lot of good info for when to plant things (indoors or outdoors).

Landor n Stella

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2012, 08:29:01 AM »
  Garlic has been the most consistent, pain-free producer for me, so I can't recommend it enough...

++++1 to this. Garlic is so easy and delicious. Curing is very important, like spacecoyote says, before storage. And if you do get sprouts, it's easy to chop it all up and mix with a little water and freeze in old Ice cube trays. Then you have little serving-size amounts of garlic ready to drop into whatever you are making. There's a few other ways to store in the freezer, but I find the ice cube trays the most convenient. This Ice Cube method can also be used for storing fresh herbs (like basil and cilantro) for later. Pop them out of the trays when fully frozen and move them to a freezer ziploc for space-saving.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2012, 11:06:53 AM »
I grow tomatoes, green beans, sugar snaps, squash, collards, lettuce, asparagus, blueberries, blackberries, walking onions, cilantro, rosemary, thyme. 

Live in North Carolina and am usually successful with tomatoes, green beans, with the lack of winter -sugar snaps have been great and lettuce too.  Collards and turnips were good and cilantro and parsley went all winter long. 

Squash and peppers haven't been very productive...I need more sun. 

Still waiting for blueberries, blackberries, asparagus, and kiwi to produce. 

I'm probably doing it wrong, but I'm lucky if I break even on gardening. 

Seed packs are 4 for a $1 at Dollar Tree. 

zinnie

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2012, 12:07:50 PM »
Sprouting!

Exciting, congrats! I swear each new sprout that comes up is the most exciting part of my day.

I finally finished my raised garden bed, roped each section off, put drip irrigation tubing in it, and filled it with planting mix. If all goes well I'll have beans, carrots, squash, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, jalapenos, santa fe peppers, and sweet potatoes. I chose all of these items because gardeners in my area said they were easy to grow, and I researched and bought disease-resistant seeds for this season. I put the beans and carrots outside on Sunday and inside I have the rest sprouting. Here's to hoping these survive! I've been good at herbs from seed so far but that's about it. In pots we have basil, thyme, oregano, mint, and dill, and we have rosemary bushes around our house. But that is the extent of my gardening experience--I'm so afraid this is going to be a massive failure!

Hamilton Beachbum

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2012, 01:26:21 PM »
Hi

My wife and I grow a large garden.  This is our 5th year and we are still determining what works best in our location.

I have public picture albums on Facebook of 2010 and 2011 gardens, I can post the links if anyone is interested. 

HBB

spacecoyote

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2012, 12:39:01 PM »
I'm so afraid this is going to be a massive failure!

There are no "failures" in gardening, only lessons. And compost fodder :) At least, that's what I tell myself when something goes wrong - I've definitely had my share of gardening fails, so putting a positive spin on it takes away some of the sting.

zinnie

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2012, 01:18:39 PM »
I'm so afraid this is going to be a massive failure!

There are no "failures" in gardening, only lessons. And compost fodder :) At least, that's what I tell myself when something goes wrong - I've definitely had my share of gardening fails, so putting a positive spin on it takes away some of the sting.

Love this, thanks.

dancedancekj

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2012, 09:55:37 PM »
This crazy warm weather caught me off guard regarding garden preparation! I'm scrambling to get my planting beds done for spring veggies before the weather gets too warm (and the lettuce starts bolting/turning bitter).
I'm going to be growing massive amounts of pea shoots as well this year. Easier and faster to grow than pea pods, I just bought dried green peas from the store ($0.99) planted them in a pot, and they are sending up sprouts in less than a week. I should be ready to harvest them in two weeks for salads and stir-fry components.
Trying out growing tomatoes and eggplant from seed this year under an LED light to cut down on the power bill for sprouting seeds.

onehappypanda

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2012, 10:27:08 PM »
Just got my herbs into containers this week- oregano, basil, and rosemary. Hopefully this'll help cut down on grocery bills as fresh herbs are expensive.

I'm planning on doing lettuce containers this coming week. I wanted to do them last week but with highs int he 80's I was afraid it'd be too hot. Hopefully we have some normal spring weather coming or it might be a huge fail. Also planning on peppers and tomatoes in big containers when it's warm enough, and staking them.

Very jealous of all of you who have your own backyards and can do a real garden!

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2012, 08:57:11 AM »
Very jealous of all of you who have your own backyards and can do a real garden!

Do you have a front yard?  Nearby abandoned city lot?

http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/11/vegetable-garden-controversy-revelation-front-lawns-are-useless/
http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/

Brett

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2012, 06:52:11 AM »
Sprouting!

Exciting, congrats! I swear each new sprout that comes up is the most exciting part of my day. ... But that is the extent of my gardening experience--I'm so afraid this is going to be a massive failure!

I know exactly what you mean, everyday when I get back from work I check on my plants, and today I saw that my green beans are sprouting. I feel like a proud father, which admittedly is making me stall on the decision to harvest some of my lettuce. it's my first harvestable crop and i'm feeling too pleased with how well it's doing to cut it just yet, though I did eat a leaf that broke off during transplanting to a larger container. That was exciting. The first thing I've eaten that I grew for myself. Good luck with all that veg, you're going to have a great year growing all that for the first time.

Brett

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2012, 06:55:04 AM »
Does anyone have any experience growing rosemary in a container? I use the stuff all the time so figured it would be a good thing to grow and hopefully the container will limit how large it can grow.

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2012, 08:47:14 AM »
Does anyone have any experience growing rosemary in a container? I use the stuff all the time so figured it would be a good thing to grow and hopefully the container will limit how large it can grow.

My aunt has like six rosemary bushes that refuse to die, but I've been unable to get any to survive in a pot.  I know it can be done, I'm just not sure how.

Brett

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2012, 10:14:38 AM »
Does anyone have any experience growing rosemary in a container? I use the stuff all the time so figured it would be a good thing to grow and hopefully the container will limit how large it can grow.

My aunt has like six rosemary bushes that refuse to die, but I've been unable to get any to survive in a pot.  I know it can be done, I'm just not sure how.

I know that if you have a bush the things are nigh on indestructible, this will be my first attempt at growing it. I guess I'll just have to figure it out as I go along for now. How far did yours in the pot come along before dying?

sol

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2012, 02:37:48 PM »
How far did yours in the pot come along before dying?

I've never made rosemary survive more than about six months in a pot.  Basil is easy to keep, and I usually just plant a few new seeds in an indoor pot every month or so do to keep the supply up, since it grows out and dies annually otherwise.  We have an outdoor herb garden in a sunny spot that used to have a bunch of stuff in it, but it went untended last year and the mint sort of choked out everything else.

I'm also considering trying to grow oregano, since we seem to use a lot of it and it kills me to pay so much for dried out herbs when the fresh kind are virtually free.

Brett

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2012, 05:59:55 PM »
How far did yours in the pot come along before dying?

I've never made rosemary survive more than about six months in a pot.  Basil is easy to keep, and I usually just plant a few new seeds in an indoor pot every month or so do to keep the supply up, since it grows out and dies annually otherwise.  We have an outdoor herb garden in a sunny spot that used to have a bunch of stuff in it, but it went untended last year and the mint sort of choked out everything else.

I'm also considering trying to grow oregano, since we seem to use a lot of it and it kills me to pay so much for dried out herbs when the fresh kind are virtually free.

Everytime I hear mint mentioned it's usually followed by a curse or comment due to it's invasiveness. Part of me thinks a garden full of mint would rock, get some rum and lime and we're in business.

Six months is longer than I expected you to say. Could it be due to the soil nutrients depleting or something? I'm pretty intrigued now. I don't know why it's taken so long for me to realise how much more sensible it would be to grow my own herbs and whatever veg I can. Fresh is so much better, and the act of taking care of the plants is really soothing. Having dirt under my nails has been great for my mood.

zinnie

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2012, 09:34:24 PM »
Quote from: Brett link=topic=75.msg5425#msg5425 date

I know exactly what you mean, everyday when I get back from work I check on my plants, and today I saw that my green beans are sprouting. I feel like a proud father, which admittedly is making me stall on the decision to harvest some of my lettuce. it's my first harvestable crop and i'm feeling too pleased with how well it's doing to cut it just yet, though I did eat a leaf that broke off during transplanting to a larger container. That was exciting. The first thing I've eaten that I grew for myself. Good luck with all that veg, you're going to have a great year growing all that for the first time.

Lettuce, nice! I might try that in the fall.

Brett, I agree that rosemary in a pot is near impossible. It just gets too big too fast and it's never happy. I'm guessing it's a drainage issue because the yard ones are happiest when they are bone dry. I've only had luck with it as a bush but clearly that doesn't work in all climates. Mint on the other hand works great in a pot for me. I use the shallow and wide pots that look like big bowls and just cut it down to the dirt before spring. It always seems to come back up again by just adding a little fertilizer, no matter how dead it looks. Right now my mint is the size of lettuce leaf basil, it's ridiculous.


Brett

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2012, 06:45:13 AM »

Lettuce, nice! I might try that in the fall.

Brett, I agree that rosemary in a pot is near impossible. It just gets too big too fast and it's never happy. I'm guessing it's a drainage issue because the yard ones are happiest when they are bone dry. I've only had luck with it as a bush but clearly that doesn't work in all climates. Mint on the other hand works great in a pot for me. I use the shallow and wide pots that look like big bowls and just cut it down to the dirt before spring. It always seems to come back up again by just adding a little fertilizer, no matter how dead it looks. Right now my mint is the size of lettuce leaf basil, it's ridiculous.

Lettuce grows ridiculously well in pots it seems. Definitely give it a shot. Drainage is the issue for rosemary you say. I wonder if the soil was mixed with gravel at the lower parts of the pot if that would help. I've got a broken plate I've been saving to use for drainage on something, maybe the rosemary will get it... In case it's not obvious I'm extremely stubborn and want to try things just to see if I can make them work magically. I'm completely sold on mint. I've always loved it, I just don't use it for cooking. I'll just grow some and then be force to figure out recipes, I guess. Cheers.

spacecoyote

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own...The Garden Thread
« Reply #49 on: March 25, 2012, 08:39:55 AM »
Drainage is the issue for rosemary you say. I wonder if the soil was mixed with gravel at the lower parts of the pot if that would help.

I don't do a lot of container planting, but I have heard that gravel helps. Just make sure that the pot also has sufficient drainage holes as well...all the gravel in the world won't help if the water ultimately has nowhere to go. My sister-in-law tried the gravel approach in a bucket with no holes and when we emptied the pots into the compost at the end of the season, I almost gagged on the rotting stench that came out of those pots. No wonder her plants didn't do well.