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Gardening!

post #1 of 278
Thread Starter 

I know a lot of us are into gardening and some might want to start, so I thought we could have a thread to share advice and ideas! 

 

We are unsure if we're staying in this house.  There is a slight, slight chance we could move again this summer if we find a house we love and want to buy, but more realistically we'll move next summer.  Or we what might buy this house and stay here.  Since we don't know, I don't want to put a ton of effort and money into a ground garden and fence (to keep out the rabbits).  So I am delving into container gardening!

 

I have been reading up on what can be grown in what and creative containers.  So far I have gotten some used pots from friends and neighbors to grow peas.  I also plan on repurposing clementine boxes and plastic coated re-useable grocery bags to grow herbs and lettuce.  My neighbor is getting rid of her Little Tikes turtle sandbox and by drilling some drainage holes in the bottom, we can turn that into a large container for shallow rooted plants like radishes, greens, etc.  Lastly, I found out that hamburger restaurants often get their pickles in 5 gallon plastic buckets.  After calling around, I discovered that Burger King throws out about SIX buckets a week.  I just asked to have them set aside for me and they'll call me when they have several.  I'll use these to grow tomatoes.

 

We have a local landscape recycling center that makes compost from local yard waste and sells it along with top soil at an affordable price.  So that's where I'll get my growing media.  I have some stakes, tomato cages, and chicken wire from my garden last year, that I can re-use.  My main concern now is the rabbits....  My dad is suggesting that I prop everything up on cinder blocks.  I haven't been able to track down any used ones.  Any ideas?

 

What are you all doing with your gardens this year?

post #2 of 278

Oh my, I feel so behind in gardening land this year..  I finally got my garden beds weeded this week and put fresh dirt in my patio planters.  I still need to fluff and turn over the dirt and re-string my vertical trellises.  Currently my chickens are living over my garden beds, so I really need to wait until my DH moves them to the back part of the yard before I start planting for early veggies, lettuce, etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My raised beds are 12x4', 8x4", 8x24' and 16x24'.  I also have a raised strawberry bed around the base of a fir tree.  Outside of my garden beds I have 3 living raspberry bushes (I've planted more, but only 3 lived), 9 blueberry bushes, 2 black currants, 2 gooseberry bushes, 1 cherry tree, 1 pear tree, and 2 grape trellises.  Most of my fruit plants are still small and immature, but should be lovely in another few years.  My dh and I have been slowly converting our yard to edible landscaping.  Our backyard is under 100' fir trees, so our sunlight is limited, but we've managed to grow things in every little space that gets enough sun.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 After I get my bed turned over, I plan on planting lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, peas and kale until May when I will plant the warm weather veggies.                                                                       Jaimee, I got my cinderblocks for free on Craigslist, they do come up if you watch it a lot.  I have a craigslist app on my phone that notifies me when something I want comes up.  If you're quick, you can often get great free things!  I don't have any advice about rabbits since I don't struggle with that here.  Our biggest issue is slugs, which I've given up and use poison for.  I just keep it out of the beds and away from the veggies.                                                                                                                                                       

post #3 of 278

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf2y2LRrQs8&list=UUWkU0bmY9Mo69SXksYq-mfw&index=6&feature=plcp                                            Here is a video from last August.

post #4 of 278

I am going to be doing some container gardening on my patio this year, but I'm not sure I'll be progressing much more than that. I had planned  to have some nice raised beds when we moved in here, but last year I was pregnant and didn't have the motivation to build those and get it started, and now we're wondering how long we're actually going to be living here, anyway - so I wonder if I should build them. We need to build a dog run, first - which will happen regardless - and then we may put just a few beds down. I am hoping to have the dog run built by May. I think it would be too late to start anything then, huh?

post #5 of 278

The planting day (after the threat of any possible frost) in the Pac NW is May 15th.  I've planted things all the way into June before with good success.  It doesn't really get warm here until July, so it's perfectly fine. If you're going to grow tomatoes or something like that I recommend getting large starts from a nursery.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaLady View Post

I am going to be doing some container gardening on my patio this year, but I'm not sure I'll be progressing much more than that. I had planned  to have some nice raised beds when we moved in here, but last year I was pregnant and didn't have the motivation to build those and get it started, and now we're wondering how long we're actually going to be living here, anyway - so I wonder if I should build them. We need to build a dog run, first - which will happen regardless - and then we may put just a few beds down. I am hoping to have the dog run built by May. I think it would be too late to start anything then, huh?



 

post #6 of 278
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaLady View Post

I am hoping to have the dog run built by May. I think it would be too late to start anything then, huh?

Not at all!  You miss out on the first wave of vegetables like radishes, lettuce, etc. but you can get a second and third wave in starting around that time and extending into the early fall.  Peas and onions need to go in early, but warm weather veggies like tomatoes (starts, not seeds) and cucumbers, etc. wouldn't go in until around May anyway.
 

 

post #7 of 278
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

 Jaimee, I got my cinderblocks for free on Craigslist, they do come up if you watch it a lot.  I have a craigslist app on my phone that notifies me when something I want comes up.  If you're quick, you can often get great free things!                                                                                                                                                 


Can you get CL's to notify you via email without a special app?  I don't have a smart phone.  I watched the video... your garden is freakin' gorgeous.  So luscious! 

 

post #8 of 278

Thanks for the reassurance! I am hoping to have the dog run complete in the next three weeks or so, so hopefully it will all be in place sooner than May, but I am trying to be realistic! Plus, I can do starts on the porch, too. thumb.gif

post #9 of 278

Thanks!  I don't think that Craigslist itself will notify you, but maybe there is a computer app or something?  It might be worth poking around the internet.  I love the app on my phone.  It searches Craigslist every 15 minutes and messages me when one of my searched items comes up.  It's so much easier than checking 20 times a day in the free section (which I'm known for doing too).  I've gotten TONS of free stuff from Craigslist over the years.  In my garden alone I've gotten:  the flagstone path, the bamboo for the fence, the cinder blocks and many of my pots. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post


Can you get CL's to notify you via email without a special app?  I don't have a smart phone.  I watched the video... your garden is freakin' gorgeous.  So luscious! 

 



 

post #10 of 278

In 2006, my (now ex) hub and I started turning our 1/4 acre city lot into an edible forest garden.  It's beautiful today, with maturing fruit trees, luscious berry patches, grapevines, and so so so on and so forth.  And I don't live there anymore!  I didn't have a garden last year for the first time in my adult life.  Probably a good thing, since pregnancy and health issues kept me from doing much.

 

But now!  We have a big front yard that our landlords are cheering us on to plant.  This weekend, we went out and marked out a big triangular bed.  We're going to put a keyhole bed in the middle, and then plant the triangular edges also.  We're planning on planting a fruit tree out there as well in May, and having a placenta party, which will double as a wedding reception, since we didn't do much back then.  Our front yard is by far the sunniest, so we'll have to put our fruiting veggies out there.  I'm glad our town is pretty okay with front yard gardens, though our neighbors are pretty keen on their lawns.

 

I planted five grapevines last week, smuggled out from a prison!  My DH today planted a bunch of potatoes, and we have a wee garlic patch.  Our back yard garden is sunny now, but will be fairly shady in a couple of months.  I'm hoping the potatoes do well.  I think we'll plant greens and what not back there, since the shade will be nice once the brutal summer kicks in. 

 

It's so great to be digging in the soil, to have my hands dirty!

 

carey

post #11 of 278
Thread Starter 

How realistic are grapes around here, Carey?

post #12 of 278

Pretty realistic.  Illinois used to be one of the biggest grape producers until the Prohibition.  I think they were mainly grown in southern Illinois, but there are wineries popping up all over the place in central Illinois too.  I planted several Concord grapevines at my old place and they produced within a year or two--incredibly delicious grapes.  Besides pruning once a year, I took basically no care of them, except to harvest.

 

carey

post #13 of 278

we're planning a garden this year. dh is going to build raised beds :) We're total newbs, so hopefully it goes well. We don't exactly know what we're doing but we're dreaming big! dh has been eyeing up seeds from fedcoseeds.com. Any experienced gardeners know anything about those? I wonder if we'd be better off with starts though. I have duck eggs in the incubator, and they will be free range once they're old enough to be outside full time. I've heard ducks dont do major garden damage unless they its something they love. Like strawberries. I'm thinking strawberries will live on our deck out of reach :) But ducks LOVE slugs and our neighborhood gets loads of slugs, and killed any hope of a garden last year. But this year.. we're ready.. my slug killing machines are due in 9 days ;) Muhahahahaha!! Oh yeah, so from what I hear, ducks do minimal damage to gardens, but they might destroy seedlings entirely. So..clearly I have research to do. I'm massively excited though. Our (rented) property has loads of blackberries, grapes, apples, plums, plus our chickens, ducks (almost) and when we add a garden I'm stoked about how much food we'll be producing!

post #14 of 278
I love fedco. I do starts for tomatoes and peppers but seeds for everything else. I haven't ordered seeds in years, got free shipping for $35 of seeds and they have lasted for 4 years now? I need more herb seeds and I know I'm supposed to get new seeds every year, but I'm still happy with my germination rate.
post #15 of 278
Thread Starter 

Territorial is good for seeds, too, especially heirlooms.  I get tomato starts b/c I don't have anywhere to start them in the house right now, but everything else I start from seed.  Soak your pea seeds overnight before planting!  And you'll want to get your cool weather crops in ASAP!

post #16 of 278

I've ordered from Territorial and Seeds of Change, both are good.  A very good way to get some extra seeds (which start to add up fast), is a seed swap with another gardener.  This year I had a couple of friends come over and we traded and filled in the gaps of what we didn't have.  I didn't have to buy any new seeds this year and I got some really interesting things.  Like the other people have suggested, I buy tomato starts and use seeds for the rest.  I don't know if you remember what my yard looks like, but we don't get a lot of sun, or I would buy pepper starts too.  I would probably keep the ducks out of your garden until all the plants are a decent size, otherwise the baby plants will likely get trampled.   Honestly, I gave up trying to manage slugs naturally.  There are ways to do it (I don't want ducks, too high maintenance), but they're all too $$ and too much work!  I use slug death OUTSIDE of my garden beds in a ring that circles the whole thing.  It's the only chemical that I use and I feel comfortable with it.  It works great! 

post #17 of 278
Thread Starter 

Yes, a seed swap would be awesome!!  I was thinking of trying to organize one next year once I've got my act more together.  I haven't gotten any of my seeds yet... eek!  I think I'll just need to buy some at our local co-op grocery store.

post #18 of 278

Rachel, it sounds like you have some awesome plans!

 

So, I'm pretty ignorant here... are the seeds they sell at places like Home Depot not as good? Do I need special seeds?

 

I haven't had a garden in five years! I really want to do some gardening this year. I used to love it so much. I had a really productive, large vegetable garden back the first time I was a SAHM and had a good yard. I remember most of the basics. But, I haven't started anything yet. Right now, our backyard is just grass. So, I either need to till a large area and amend the soil or build raised beds. Both sound pretty tough. I have a bright sun area where I want to put my main garden, and then a shadier area for lettuce. I need to double check with my landlord, but I really don't think he will care. We are planning to stay here for 3.5 more years (until dsd graduates from high school) so he pretty much will let us do anything to the place. smile.gif

 

I am getting so far behind, it's not even funny. The official planting date here is April 15th, but really it's been in the 80's everyday now for at least 3 weeks. I'm super looking forward to making my front yard pretty. I may end up just focusing on flowers and shrubs this year and doing vegetables next year. We will see. 

 

 

Also, I am soooo jealous of those of you who can keep chickens, ducks, and goats. Our county doesn't allow it in residential neighborhoods. Bummer. 

post #19 of 278
Thread Starter 

Amanda, you should be able to get several waves of greens even if you plant later- especially if you have a shady spot for them.  You could also do what I'm doing this year and plant in containers. 

 

And not all seeds are created equal.  You might be interested in organic seeds and heirloom seeds, which Home Depot might not have.  Plus, quality seeds have higher germination rates and produce higher quality plants.

post #20 of 278

Home Depot seeds are okay, and I use them all the time when I run out of something.  However, they have a limited selection and a very small selection of organic seeds.  The larger heirloom seed companies will have 20 kinds of cucumber, when Home Depot might have 2..

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