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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-07-2011 02:53 PM

We got our first things in the ground here this past weekend and I'm excited to see how it turns out. We planted potatoes using a plan for a box that grows with the plants. Supposedly if it all goes well, we can get as much as 100 lbs. of potatoes out of 4 square feet of space. You can read more about it and see pictures here. I'll try to post how it goes.


Our last frost date is still 4-5 weeks out. We're starting seeds this week, but what things do you guys plant out directly this early? I'm wondering if onion sets and carrots, beets, spinach and kale from seed would make it if I sowed them now. Appreciate any thoughts.



04-01-2011 02:05 PM

Mine is set up like aliall's.  Except instead of them being stacked on a shelf they are next to each other on a banquet table. I have the lights dangling from the ceiling in our basement.  Luckily, this basement had a bunch of nails perfectly spaced for this just sticking in the rafters.  Win!


Craft_Media_Hero- Sorry to hear about the tomatoes.  What a bummer!  Only about half of my tomatoes have sprouted.  I think it's due to my watering technique.  The water sometimes gets splashed in there and I bet the seeds settled somewhere toward the bottom of the dirt.  This makes me want to scream as I waited 50 days for these stupid seeds to come in the mail.  The ones that have sprouted are mostly the ones I saved from last year from non-heirloom organic plants.  If those end up doing better, I may never bother with heirlooms again.  We had quite a few volunteer tomatoes from our compost last year and we saved those seeds too and they are doing well.  *sigh*


I think I may need to start watering my plants from the bottom up again.  I had success doing that last year.  I had to put my coconut pots in a big tub and put the water in the big tub and let it soak up from the bottom instead of watering from the top.  It makes me want to cry having to redo some of these plants.  So much time wasted.

04-01-2011 12:06 PM

aliall - Thanks for posting! I have an unused plastic shelving unit just like that! I thought it would be too hard to rig up lighting, but you've proven me wrong. :) I suppose it is too late for me to start seeds now (also zone 5)? I have to admit, I've also been scared that if I start my own seeds and I grow weaklings, I won't get as good of results as just buying transplants at the nursery. redface.gif


I squinted at my bare beds from the house this morning and saw tiny dots of green! My peas, lettuce, and turnips are coming up!!! It is a JOYOUS day when I see the first signs of sown seeds. I get excited like a little kid. 

04-01-2011 07:38 AM

Originally Posted by RosieL View Post



Will some of you post pictures of your seedling setups?


There are some pictures of mine here


03-31-2011 03:59 PM

Well, I'm officially The Tomato Slayer. Pretty much all of the 12 or so that I started from seed have died from damping off except for a few hardies that are hanging out in the bathroom window :(


My soybean plants also croaked--I transplanted them right before three days of lashing high winds and kicked myself daily over it while watching the wind slowly destroy them. They were so pretty, too!


Oh well! I re-seeded the soybeans and hope they have enough time to mature in our relatively short growing season--if not, they will still enrich the soil. As far as tomatoes go, I think that I'm just going to buy starts from the local nursery and keep working on starting them indoors, maybe get a grow light and see if we can do an indoor plant for winter tomatoes (I was able to do this with cherry toms for a couple of years).


What's sprouting outside: the first snow peas! and garden peas, too! mustard greens, some green onion bottoms that I stuck in the dirt from our store-bought salad onions, I think a marigold or two, maybe more spinach plants than I'll be able to handle, a few different varieties of broccoli, and our first black-eyed peas! Yay! joy.gif Oh, and my sis gave me four strawberry babies.


I really should start some more seeds indoors, but this is a pretty busy week for me, so I think I'm just going to chill on it and keep watering the outdoor garden.


There's so much that I want to grow! I'm having to reign myself in a bit since this is my first real garden and I don't want to get in over my head.



About the strawberries--where is the best place to plant them? I was thinking of doing those topsy-turvy things hanging in our main garden space coz I'm feeling stingy with the square footage that we have and since I might want to move them to a more permanent place later down the road. Has anyone used the topsy-turvy's? Will my strawbs come back next year if they're in the TT container?


Happy gardening to all!


03-31-2011 03:04 PM

We have skunks, ground squirrels, and raccoons here as pests, and was told by a garden guy to sprinkle blood meal around the perimeter of the garden to keep them out. I haven't tested it yet, but will be this summer!


03-31-2011 02:10 PM

hey ladies!

 so idk if this is going to work but it worked for my younger brother in a different situation and ill let you all know later in the season. here it goes:

a few years ago my brother was getting critters in his shed (im not sure exactly but i think skunk, raccoons cats and such) and he took some dog fur and put it around his shed and the problem went away, he also tried this w/ his FIL's barn/shed and that worked too.

So what im thinking is to take some dog fur and sprinkle it one the outside of the garden to keep critters away so i don't have to spend money on a fence and have to work around it. Does any one have any opinions on why or why not this may work? i am open to any suggestions 


03-31-2011 05:17 AM

In my third season of growing, I still haven't ever started seeds inside. I buy plants (which was a disaster last year for my kale and broccoli...I brought in white cabbage butterflies) or start as much from seed in the ground. I think that I'm held back by my lack of setup and lack of knowledge of how to get things going. I do have space in my basement, but I'd need to get lights set up and probably a space heater (it's cold down there). 


Will some of you post pictures of your seedling setups?

03-30-2011 01:40 PM

Finally got a few things planted! In the 2 raised beds we built last year I planted seeds for:


Shell peas




Red Beets



DH made me a wonderfully useful tool! We use the SFG idea of plant spacing. I noticed a lot of veggies I plant are 9 plants per square foot. I tend to do whole rows though so that is a lot of little holes to make.


DH made me a wooden hole stamper. It has a grid of 9 hole stamps made from a cut up dowl. And it has a handle so I can just stamp on the down the row. DS can follow adding the seeds.


I also checked the Farmers Almanac online for best planting dates – per the moon cycle. I am happy to say most fall on the weekend when I am not working. That is very helpful J



03-27-2011 07:59 PM

I'm so excited to be a new gardener this year!


I have a very small yard and we utilize the space with our outdoor furniture when we have company so I don't have much space to devote to a garden.  I'm going to try my hand at container gardening.


I also took a leap and started from seed:


cherry tomatoes

regular tomatoes (not beefsteak, I forget the type)



bell peppers









i think that's all. 

03-27-2011 04:19 PM

Hi everyone! I recently joined MDC because we are TTC our first, and have stumbled upon this forum. I'm very excited, having read a bunch of the threads already and realizing what a great sub-forum you guys have! 


I seem to be a black thumb when it comes to non-edibles, but I really love vegetable gardening. This year will be our third season of veggie gardening in four 8'x8' raised beds (terraced, because we built them into a slope). We have had a lot of success, aside from mites on our tomatoes late each season which I haven't successfully dealt with yet. (I'll be asking more on that later). Otherwise we've had: 

  • snow and snap peas
  • string and french beans
  • tomatoes (six to eight plants)
  • summer squashes
  • cucumbers
  • melons (amazingly tasty and successful this year, planted on a whim)
  • pumpkin (planted from seed on a lark LATE last summer and got three nice ones)
  • lettuces
  • collards
  • beets
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • hot peppers (serrano, tobasco, jalepeno)
  • dill, parsley, cilantro, basil
  • little deck herb garden of: chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme
  • garlic and shallot cloves - pleanted last Fall and it looks like they over-wintered well. I have no idea what to do with them now that it's Spring.
  • asparagus - planted crowns last year and think I killed them, but maybe they'll come up anyway


I want to make a flower bed (annuals from seed) in my front yard but am really hesitant to do it. I think I do okay with the veggies because I eat them...I think about them every day. But I neglect the landscaping that came with the house, and have never done any flower seeding of my own. I was hoping to sow some zinnias, black-eyed susans, and something else that's shorter, and hope for the best. I really want sunflowers too but I don't know where to put them. I am thinking about marigolds in the veggie beds, but I'm reluctant to relinquish space. 


Anyway, that's my intro. I'm excited to read up on what you are all growing, and hopefully will learn a lot from your experience. 



03-26-2011 07:13 AM


Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post

You have to be really careful with free compost.  A lot of people use fertilizers and pesticides on their lawn that those get into the lawn clippings, which make up the free compost.  I would only feel safe doing this if I was adding activated charcoal in with it to (hopefully) soak up all the potential chemicals. 


Good point.  After taking that into consideration I called around to a couple of nurseries to see if they carry organic garden soil in bulk.  One carries it for $35/cubic yard (as opposed to buying by the bag at around $70 per cubic yard which were the prices I was finding before).  I'd much rather pay the $100 or so for what we will need and keep my peace of mind about my homegrown veggies not being toxic.  One of the purposes of my garden is to see if we can eat more organic produce for less money (less money eventually, probably not this year with the start up costs), not a great start if I'm getting contaminated compost from the very beginning.


In other news my DS is attempting to sabotage my garden endeavor.  I am sprouting my seeds on paper towels in a tupperware container so I don't waste dirt and window space on duds.  I brought the containers out to check if any sprouting action had begun when the baby required my attention for a minute.  When I came back my DS (2.5) was in the process of shaking up the tomato seed container.  ARGH!  I got a packet each of regular and cherry tomatoes that were a mix of varieties dyed to identify and because I want to try all of them I had them layed out the in the container clearly labeled.  Not anymore.  If I hadn't mixed the two packets (cherry and regular) I'd have been fine but since the colors overlapped, I couldn't tell which green seed was regular and which was cherry.  It still wouldn't have been a big deal if I had more of each of the varieties but for one type I only got two seeds and for another I only got one seed.  I ended up having to restart all except for three varieties, which I can't tell apart but didn't have more of.  Now I have the excitement of waiting weeks to figure out which mystery plant is which.


By the way, I'm still miffed that only the mixed tomato packets had any sort of identification on them.  I was hoping for a least "This packet may contain any of the following varieties" or something on all the packets of mixed seeds and was disappointed to find out that they just say "Mixed _____" without any clue what it may contain.  This summer as things start ripening I'll have a heck of a time figuring out what varieties I'm eating since 85% of what I got was mixed seeds.  How difficult can it be to add something like that to the label? 

03-24-2011 09:45 AM

Originally Posted by aliall View Post

Check your county waste services.  Ours composts yard waste and gives it out to residents for free (I think wood mulch is $7 a truckload).  We paid a lot to a guy that will dump compost in our driveway until we figured out we could get it for free.  (Well, it costs us a six pack to borrow my brothers truck...)





You have to be really careful with free compost.  A lot of people use fertilizers and pesticides on their lawn that those get into the lawn clippings, which make up the free compost.  I would only feel safe doing this if I was adding activated charcoal in with it to (hopefully) soak up all the potential chemicals. 


03-24-2011 07:36 AM

I always feel inadequate for joining the Food Growing Mom's group here since I don't have 100's of anything. But I am itching to discuss my little garden! My pea plants are 6" high so far and the radishes are poking up. Waiting on some lettuces and greens to sprout. My Danvers carrot seeds are in the ground, purple carrots will go in the next few days. Seed potatoes should be on their way here any time now. The bush green beans and summer squash I'll plant sometime next month and I'll buy 10 tomato plants at the farm market then too.


The weather here since I started planting the earliest stuff has been flooding rain, then very warm, and now windy and cold. It's been interesting.

03-23-2011 11:57 AM

Ugh --- we just got more snow overnight too!  Finally we were so excited to have seen the grass (after being under snow since November) .... and now all the grass is covered by 6 inches of fresh new snow.  :(  And I was so ready to plant peas!

03-23-2011 11:17 AM

Check your county waste services.  Ours composts yard waste and gives it out to residents for free (I think wood mulch is $7 a truckload).  We paid a lot to a guy that will dump compost in our driveway until we figured out we could get it for free.  (Well, it costs us a six pack to borrow my brothers truck...)





03-22-2011 05:48 PM

Ugh, we just got snow the other day too! So much for the first day of spring. I don't have tons of room in our bay window so I'm sprouting my seeds first in wet paper towels in my nice and toasty laundry room. That way I won't be taking up room in the window/pots with dud seeds.  Of course, if they ALL sprout, I'll still run into the same trouble.  We have to finish building the raised garden soon so I can start some things outside.  I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary, but because of the terrible drainage issues we have it seems to be.  Now I have to finish pricing soil to fill the bed, any suggestions as to inexpensive resources for it?


03-21-2011 07:22 PM

After a few days of 70 degree weather, this morning we got...snow. We can't plant anything in the ground until May anyway, but had been feeling so productive getting the beds set up and the yard weeded.  Sigh.  I am so very ready for some dirt-digging weather.

03-21-2011 07:33 AM
GardenStream Last week was bad for us. I had strep and felt awful and DS1 has mono. This is going to be my week to finally get some things going.

I'll start these seeds today:

orange bell pepper
sweet chocolate pepper
siling cara pepper
yellow monster pepper
yellow marconi pepper
large sweet antigua pepper
gypsy pepper
red marconi pepper
king of the north pepper
banana pepper
poblano pepper
golden greek pepperoncini
jalapeno pepper
fish pepper
serrano chili pepper
white lisbon bunching onion
black beauty eggplant
copenhagen market cabbage
nero di toscano cabbage
romanesco italia broccoli
calabrese broccoli
buttercrunch lettuce

It seems like a lot of peppers, but I'm really cutting back after last year. We had way too many hot peppers last year!

I'll also get more lettuce and spinach going in the cold frame today.
03-21-2011 01:21 AM

Wow, shaywyn, that sounds amazing! Part of the excitement of gardening, I think, is getting to nose around in what others are doing, compare notes, and "show off" a little with one's own beautiful fennel or whatever. I miss that, what with our huge veggie garden in the middle of a field, far from neighbors. I love a community plots (I worked in a large one run by women during my Peace Corps stint in El Salvador), and also front yard veggie gardens. It really brings neighbors together, and allows folks to learn so much from each other.


For all gardeners, old pros and new beginners, this is a great site:


Happy digging!

03-20-2011 01:21 PM

Thanks for starting this thread Farmercathy! I used to be quite active in this forum but have lived in an apartment with nowhere to garden for several years and eventually tapered off in my posting.

This year my girls and I have joined a wonderful gardening club at a local university. It really is an amazing program. The university is letting the club use acres and acres of land for an all organic co-op type program. Each child gets a 4ft by 4ft raised bed in the children's garden, and families get one or more 4 by 10ft raised beds depending on family size.

However, the community garden is amazing! We will have a huge pumpkin patch next to the children's garden, huge corn field, and we've already planted hundreds of pounds of potatoes. There are raspberries, blackberries, asparagus, horseradish, rhubarb, and grapes already established. We'll be planting hundreds of tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash, gourds, several different grains, you name it, we'll be planting it! It is a teaching garden so there will be some experimenting going on, including 4 kinds of rice, three upland rices even one paddy rice. There are gardening lectures once a week and two community garden work days but anyone can stop by anytime and work on their garden in an absolutely beautiful landscape. Everything is strictly organic and the coordinator of this program is quite fond of heirlooms. Oh, and it's a totally FREE program. All supplies and are supplied, thanks to a grant. You only have to purchase your own seeds if you want to grow something different than what they have. Yay!

In my little bed I already have three kinds of peas, spinach, french radishes, carrots, parsley, arugula, a few onions and some garlic.Yesterday we helped get the frames of two greenhouses built. We helped build the raised beds, too. This is all very exciting and I feel my gardening soul truly coming back to life. I've had to grow stuff in pots outside my apartment but share an entryway and people throw cigarette butts in my stuff and kids have vandalized or stolen my tomatoes every single year. I am most happy that my girls are getting this amazing experience. My older dd remembers mama's garden and working and playing in it, but my younger dd does not, even though she was a little gardening girl at the time, too. So, did I already say how happy I am? love.gif

Anyway, thought I would share with fellow gardeners and subbing. Hope to check in here often and see what everyone is up to!

Happy Gardening!

03-20-2011 11:17 AM

We still have snow on the ground, sitting around since last November.  I am so impatient to get peas and onions in the ground!

the other things on my list for  this year are:


Bell Peppers and tomatoes (starting indoors from seed)



Bush Beans

Lettuce Varieties


Kale (Russian variety and regular)

Beets (Red and Golden)

Swiss Chard

Baby Bok Choy



Okra (last year we planted okra here in MN, and we got blooms and lots of pods!)

Summer Squash (Yellow and Zucchini)






03-20-2011 10:39 AM

This is my first time with a "true garden" i have grown a few tomatoes here and there but that's about it. This weekend I got corn, green beans, 3 different tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, strawberries, grapes, mint, catnip and basil planted. I still have left to plant onions, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, jalapenos, watermelon and cucumbers. I am so excited to venture on this process with my two little ones watching them grow and awaiting harvest day.

03-18-2011 08:36 PM

So far, we have onions, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and chard seedlings.  I've planted peppers and I can see some of them just barely coming up.


Our snow finally melted, and it looks like my "plant and ignore" approach to overwintering the carrots may have actually worked!  I see green tops that look great, can't wait to dig them up this weekend!

03-18-2011 08:31 PM

I am a newbie here, as well!  I just roped off my 3 4x4 raised beds, and ordered my seeds.  I was inspired by our 70+ weather today---but we drop back into the 50's for a few more weeks.  I hope I keep the momentum going and get a good set of plants going.  Please share any and all tips for newbies you have!



03-18-2011 05:19 PM

Here's my plantings so far.

03-18-2011 11:48 AM

Joining in (if you don't mind!)  Last year we eeked out a very small garden and this year we're getting ready to plant more into our garden.  We're not doing raised beds, just straight into the ole earth.


I just figured out what zone we are (5b) but I'm starting to feel a bit behind in terms of picking out my seeds & selecting what to grow for this year.


Last year we did:

Black Cherry Tomatoes

Other tomatoes (I think a beefsteak & a plum)

Eggplant (which did not do very well)

Radishes (didn't do well again)

Carrots (not terrible, but soil needed to be looser to allow growth)

Potatoes (utter failure)

Onion (utter failure)



This year I think I would like to try:





Tomatoes -several varities


Cucumbers (for pickling)


Rhubarb (this has been with us since we've moved into the house)

Several herbs (mint, basil, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, chives, savory, italian parsley)

possibly some garlic or lettuces for the 2012 season.


03-18-2011 11:23 AM

I am feeling behind already. I really wanted to have some seeds started indoors already but we’ve yet to dig the window greenhouse out of the garage. I also wanted to have more raised beds made so we could get dirt into them on the soonest sunny weekend. But DH needs to actually build the bed frames using old fencing we have.


But it has been a TON of rain and some windstorms…. And I’ve been sick too and of course just as I get better DH catches it LOL


I did finish buying my seeds and got Golden Beets, Carrots, Mesclun Salad Mix and Green Cabbage. I cleared out things from our 2 raised beds that were leftover from last year. So I can at least get started on planning a few spring things there: peas, beets, lettuce, carrots.


Does anyone garden by the Moon cycle? Seems like a wonderful idea but the best planting days do not always line up with the best weather days or a weekend (if you WOH). At least it’s lighter out later now J



(Oregon zone 8)

03-18-2011 11:05 AM

I finally received my order from Heirloom Seeds last week.  I started my tomatoes, peppers, and other indoor seeds and now I'm just patiently waiting for them to sprout.  I also noticed that I have tulips in my new front yard!  Yay!  They're my favorite flower!

03-17-2011 01:18 PM

Great thread! I'm going to follow along and live vicariously through you for a while, as the season doesn't get started here anytime soon (I'm a Hawai'i transplant living in SWEDEN). My husband and I tend about 100 square meters of veggie gardens. We experiment with different varieties every year, but one of my main jobs is to steer him away from all the exotics he insists on trying and bring him back to the reliable and tasty cool-weather stuff. (And I'M the one from the tropics, and he's the one from Sweden!)


What I'm reading right now and highly recommend to any gardener and food-lover: Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life"



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