Gardening 2016

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:31 am

Hard to believe with yesterday's 12-14" snowstorm that it is time to turn attention to gardening, but one can always dream.

The seed catalogs have arrived and the garden shows are popping up like spring flowers and spring is less than a month away. A couple of questions:

1. What are you doing to prepare or plan for your vegetable garden?
2. How important is crop rotation in your garden?

Last year I constructed an enclosed garden with seven raised plots which was filled with a garden mix compost. The results were very good. I added compost and leaves in the fall and will add more this spring. Should I be concerned with rotation of vegetables from plot to plot? Is the need for rotation mitigated by the use of compost and a mixture of bagged topsoil or bagged manure?

I have another location which has been used for potatoes and I am shifting the plantings about 6 feet over. Other than that, I have used a location for pole beans for several years. Should I be concerned at that location?

Thanks,

Ed

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12104
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Toons » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:38 am

"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

mjdaniel
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:20 pm
Location: Temecula, CA

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by mjdaniel » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:40 am

I have a raised bed garden, and this will be my fourth year. I grow tomatoes, peppers, pickling cukes, zucchini, fava beans, edamame, and herbs like dill, cilantro, etc. I try not to plant the same thing in a bed from year to year. I chart what I plant for that season and review during the winter when I make out my new plan. If you Google garden crop rotation guide you will get plenty of charts to show what not to plant in back to back seasons. I am about to start my seeds indoors since I am getting about 6 weeks near putting them in the garden. Good luck to you

greenfire
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:05 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by greenfire » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:19 am

I'm speaking as a very experienced gardener who has been growing fruits and vegetables in a 3000 sq. ft. plot for the past 38 years. Crop rotation is essential in a large plot. I'm not convinced that it is of as much value in smaller plots since things like fungus, blight, pests, etc. don't have as far to travel. While compost is wonderful with many benefits, I don't think it really makes that much difference in terms of the above mentioned things - for example, I've been growing tomatoes - have rotated them every year to a new spot - never had any problems with blight. then about 8 or so years ago all of a sudden I was hit by late blight. And now I have it every year. Even if I rotate - even if I pick up every stem, leaf and fallen tomato and throw it away in plastic bags instead of composting, the blight is just now with me. (so instead of freezing 20 or 30 quarts of tomato sauce like I used to, now I am lucky to put away 10 quarts.)

What I'm doing now is dreaming of pruning the shrubs. the veg. garden is way too wet to work in (western mass.) And the weather around here will really be unsettled until May. I have my seeds. I may not start seedlings this year due to vacation travel plans. Not really much one can do until things dry out.

In terms of your potatoes and beans, I would try and rotate and not grow every year in the same place. Over time you may have problems unless you move them to new locations at least occasionally.

barnaclebob
Posts: 2294
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:31 am

Onion starts are 5"tall and the beds have been turned. Peas and spring cabbage planted yesterday. No asparagus yet.

saladdin
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 5:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by saladdin » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:25 pm

I don't go out of my way to rotate. Local Extension office tests my soil and I follow their fertilizer recommendation.

I also use pesticide and herbicide so I guess I'm an evil gardener.

barnaclebob
Posts: 2294
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:29 pm

saladdin wrote:I also use pesticide and herbicide so I guess I'm an evil gardener.


Anyone who has had to deal with wireworms will turn to the dark side too. Luckily permethrin is the only non organic pesticide I need to use. BT takes care of the rest of my problems.

saladdin
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 5:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by saladdin » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:50 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
saladdin wrote:I also use pesticide and herbicide so I guess I'm an evil gardener.


Anyone who has had to deal with wireworms will turn to the dark side too. Luckily permethrin is the only non organic pesticide I need to use. BT takes care of the rest of my problems.


I use the same. Local coop has fair prices on it if Amazon doesn't.

User avatar
Flobes
Posts: 839
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:40 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Flobes » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:20 pm

Garden is quite buried under its blanket of deep white snow.

User avatar
dwickenh
Posts: 831
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by dwickenh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:21 pm

I will be turning my garden once it dries out due to recent snow. I grow Okra in the same rows closest to the house to trap the heat for the Okra. I do not normally rotate any crops and they do fine each year. I also enjoy raising "bag" spinach and lettuce by using Bagged garden soil on sawhorses. I just cut the top of the plastic bag, put holes in the bottom, and plant my spinach and lettuce into the bagged soil. It keeps the rabbits out due to the height of the sawhorses and produces a great amount of spinach and lettuce.

I am looking forward to another season of growing.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

User avatar
dianna
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by dianna » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:26 pm

Q1. What are you doing to prepare or plan for your vegetable garden?
Starting research for larger raised planter beds. Don't know whether to purchase or DIY. Beautiful area for a row of several of them with great sunlight. If anyone has suggestions on the raised planter beds they have purchased or made, I welcome suggestions!

Q2. How important is crop rotation in your garden?
Not for ours (yet).

mjdaniel
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:20 pm
Location: Temecula, CA

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by mjdaniel » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:12 am

I used these instructions from Sunset magazine. The beds look and function great:
http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-p ... bed-how-to

gd
Posts: 1231
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 am
Location: MA, USA

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by gd » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:03 am

You all ever consider putting your locations in your profile, or at least your posts? These sort of threads are pretty pointless otherwise.

HoopDiddyDiddy
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:37 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by HoopDiddyDiddy » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:25 am

I was all excited to see the topic only to find that y'all are talking about food crops and I only do ornamentals :annoyed

YttriumNitrate
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by YttriumNitrate » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:39 am

deleted.
Last edited by YttriumNitrate on Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

barnaclebob
Posts: 2294
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:31 am

dianna wrote:Q1. What are you doing to prepare or plan for your vegetable garden?
Starting research for larger raised planter beds. Don't know whether to purchase or DIY. Beautiful area for a row of several of them with great sunlight. If anyone has suggestions on the raised planter beds they have purchased or made, I welcome suggestions!



I made my raised beds from 12"x1" cedar (the 1" dimension was actual not nominal, not sure about the 12" dimension but thats not as important) with some big lag screws to hold it together. Drill a pilot hole first or the wood may split. They've held up well for 3 years now. Cost was about $350 for the equivalent of 4 or 5 4'x8' beds. Get your wood from a lumbar yard and not a big box store if you want some better advice on what wood to chose and how to fasten it together. They should be able to cut it to size if you are uncomfortable with a circular saw.

I dont know if this is a function of the bed height or the new dirt but my 12" beds seem to get fewer weeds than my 4" beds that were dug down too.

User avatar
Info_Hound
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:47 am
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Info_Hound » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:54 am

I am waiting until after Mother's Day to do anything in the garden. Garden location - Fort Collins, CO.

For the past 3 years in a row I have had measurable snow in mid-May covering my lawn and garden beds.

I mix in compost and peat using my daughter's labor as her gift to me as a Mother's Day gift. She says it's a good deal as it keeps me happy, busy and out of her hair once the soil is enriched and turned. :mrgreen:

Mike Scott
Posts: 676
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Mike Scott » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:27 pm

We rotate even though it probably makes little difference in even a large garden. Next thing is to get the chickens moved out of the garden and then wait a couple of months for the ground to dry enough to till. The stuff in the cold frame is still doing well. It is also about time to finish pruning the fruit trees.

furikake
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:13 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by furikake » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:52 pm

I'm a novice, this is only my 3rd year planting, so I'm still learning. I don't plant the same thing at the same place. First year I built one raised bed, second year 2 more, this year 2 more. I do turn the soil and add compost to existing beds and use a mixture of soil mix+compost+manure in new beds for this new season.

I put some seeds in yesterday, but it froze last night, so we'll see if they come up or if I have to redo. :-D

likegarden
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by likegarden » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:38 pm

My vegetable garden no longer receives enough sun, so I did only little harvest last year.
But here in zone 5 I am already gardening, since November 15 of last year. That is I am growing perennial seedlings in my basement under 24 hrs light. I grow 50 mostly streaked hostas, which will be good looking the end of April when I will repot them and put them out, though they will be moved into the garage in case of frost forecast. The end of August most of those plants will be 1 ft tall.
Happy gardening!

User avatar
Elsebet
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Elsebet » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:08 pm

MP173 wrote:1. What are you doing to prepare or plan for your vegetable garden?
2. How important is crop rotation in your garden?


1. It was sunny and in the 60's this week in Issaquah, WA which is unusual for Feb. We took advantage of it and manually turned over the manure layer we put on the beds last fall. Also added some lime to the beds. I was happy to see lots of wriggling worms. I have a google sheet that I use to plot out my beds so I will just work on finalizing my plans and making notes of when I need to start seedlings. I'll also check my seeds and see what I need to order. Looks like rain for the forseeable future so plenty of time for that.

2. I'm a WSU Master Gardener and so can say with some authority that crop rotation is very important in every veg garden! Legumes are an easy thing to rotate around or plant as a cover crop in the fall since they fix nitrogen in the soil. Some veggies have pests/diseases that others are immune to, so it's very important to rotate to reduce that risk. Not to mention some plants like corn are heavy feeders and will deplete the soil in an area more quickly if not rotated.

Remember, bad gardeners grow weeds. Good gardeners grow plants. The best gardeners grow soil. :)

User avatar
blueblock
Posts: 834
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:06 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by blueblock » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:37 pm

Reading all these posts makes me feel like a real underachiever.

We usually just plant a couple or three tomato bushes, a cucumber plant and a few pots of herbs (chive and parsley get their own pots; oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme share a pot), and leave it at that. Well, and we have a rhubarb plant in the yard that makes for some pretty tasty upside down cake.

Most of our tomatoes go for sauce-making, though we keep plenty aside for summertime BLTs on toasted sourdough bread. And there are still enough left over to make nice occasional gifts to our non-gardening neighbors.

Despite tilling, we do get a few tomato hornworms, but the braconid wasps usually get to them before we do, so there's little damage. Otherwise, we do nothing except till in some composted manure before planting.

mouses
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by mouses » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:08 am

I'm trying an experiment this year. I wind up with Poland Spring one gallon containers because the town water is disgusting, so I buy Poland Spring for my pet's water dishes. Before I got around to taking a bunch to recycling, I saw an article about sawing them in half to make mini greenhouses. So I'm going to try that with carrot seeds and radish seeds in my very large planters on the deck. I'm doing more planting in the latter than in the ground nowadays, due to back issues.

Leemiller
Posts: 880
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:42 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Leemiller » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:16 am

We have deer and rabbits so I'm looking into raised beds, have even seen some sold that would require no bending over since they are about at waist level on slits.

We did plant some mint and basil which did very well with no work, well until some bugs started to eat them....

I'm in Md, close to DC.

saladdin
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 5:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by saladdin » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:46 am

Leemiller wrote:We have deer and rabbits so I'm looking into raised beds, have even seen some sold that would require no bending over since they are about at waist level on slits.

We did plant some mint and basil which did very well with no work, well until some bugs started to eat them....

I'm in Md, close to DC.


I use coyote urine sprayed on cloth that I have hanging around my garden to keep deer out.
Now, if something other than my .22 would work on squirrels...

peppers
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by peppers » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:30 pm

We are in Zone 5b, northern Illinois so it is too early to put our plants out yet. We have some herb plants that we kept growing through the winter and they are coming along nicely. Today, is a sunny day so I have the plants by the patio door inside the house, good southern exposure.

My prior year antagonists have taken notice and are sitting on my deck railing, eyeing the green vegetation.

Sorry squirrels, today is not that day. No oregano or rosemary for you. :twisted:
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."

wolf359
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by wolf359 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:35 pm

Sugar snap peas can be planted now. Take a shovel, lift the snow and dirt, throw the seeds in, drop it back down. They'll pop up on their own when the time is right.

They're great against a wall with a trellis for climbing. They improve the soil. When it gets warm enough for everything else to grow they're about to die out. You then mulch the dead pea plants back into the soil.

You don't have to soak them -- they'll absorb the water from the melting snow.

MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:58 pm

Wolf:

Thanks for suggestion on the sugar snap peas. Here in NW Indiana, the 15" snowfall has melted this weekend. I will plant the peas tomorrow and see what happens.

Also, soon I will start my recycling bin spinach. Using city supplied recycling bins which are about 18" x 24" and about15" tall, I plant spinach and lettuce and cover with an old window. This has worked the past 4 years. Will attempt that this week.

BTW, I am working up plans to rotate the plants. Shouldnt be too much of an issue.


Ed

itstoomuch
Posts: 4837
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:17 pm
Location: midValley OR

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by itstoomuch » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:28 pm

fava beans are in bloom
Kale is beginning to show heads.
Mustard greens are beginning to show head stalks.
garlic chives show 5 inches growth
Plums, pears, blueberries are well into bud break
Planted australian peas last month, and will plant lettuce in mid march.
midValley Oregon. @600ft.


it's going to be an early spring. Flowering plums are in full bloom at lower elevations.
Rev90517; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax 25%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

mouses
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by mouses » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:02 pm

MP173 wrote:Also, soon I will start my recycling bin spinach. Using city supplied recycling bins which are about 18" x 24" and about15" tall, I plant spinach and lettuce and cover with an old window. This has worked the past 4 years. Will attempt that this week.


Drat I wish I'd saved those. The town here went to giant every two weeks automated pick up bins and said to take the type above to be recycled themselves.
Last edited by mouses on Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

kazper
Posts: 610
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by kazper » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:15 pm

I enjoy gardening. Sadly, gardening hates me.

No matter how much effort I put into it, I don't receive much yield. DW has threatened to shut down my operation for the last few years because money output is not worth the amount grown. Only reason she hasn't pulled the plug is because she knows it brings me joy...and much frustration...but still joy :?

Considering the possibility of giving up growing vegetables and converting it into a weed garden. I am a whiz at growing those! :oops:

mouses
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by mouses » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:35 am

kazper wrote:I enjoy gardening. Sadly, gardening hates me.

No matter how much effort I put into it, I don't receive much yield. DW has threatened to shut down my operation for the last few years because money output is not worth the amount grown. Only reason she hasn't pulled the plug is because she knows it brings me joy...and much frustration...but still joy :?

Considering the possibility of giving up growing vegetables and converting it into a weed garden. I am a whiz at growing those! :oops:


Have you had the soil analyzed? Ag extension places will do it for a modest cost. The other most likely cause is growing stuff that needs sun in shade and vice versa.

flyingaway
Posts: 1532
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by flyingaway » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:32 am

My wife usually plants vegetables in the Spring, then it is my turn to manage them the whole year. Usually we harvest a lot of tomatos a peppers and gave them to friends. It is, however, far cheaper to buy vegetables from supermarkets than to grow them.

To reduce my work load, I have planted a few fruit trees and started learning fruit tree grafting last year.

wolf359
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by wolf359 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:10 am

kazper wrote:I enjoy gardening. Sadly, gardening hates me.

No matter how much effort I put into it, I don't receive much yield. DW has threatened to shut down my operation for the last few years because money output is not worth the amount grown. Only reason she hasn't pulled the plug is because she knows it brings me joy...and much frustration...but still joy :?

Considering the possibility of giving up growing vegetables and converting it into a weed garden. I am a whiz at growing those! :oops:


First, try container gardens and raised bed gardens. You add all the soil, so you can control nutrients, pests, and weeds. My best results are from growing in pots and raised beds.

Second, automate. Get a drip irrigation system on a timer. That alone has rescued my garden when I have neglected it.

Third, try for the simplest, most carefree plants. I love snowpeas right now because you plant them, they spring up on their own, and that's it.

Swiss chard is another favorite -- it seems to be ignored by pests and is very easy to grow by sowing direct.

I prefer purple pole beans -- they grow high, are easy to spot when mature, and climb above the weeds. They cook up green. They're great in a small space.

I also grow permanent edible crops. I don't have to replant them year after year. I had asparagus for a while -- I didn't plant it. My housing development is on a former farm, and some asparagus was growing wild for about 15 years in our HOA's common property adjacent to my lot. Unfortunately, they cleared the area and I don't have the room in my yard for the asparagus. But it grows well for years with no care.

I planted blueberry bushes around the house. I first planted 2 and had to net them and fight the birds for them. I later went to 12, and although we lose about a third of the crop to birds, we have more than enough for us (and neighborhood kids). Blueberries take about 3 years before they start producing, and are at year 5 before they are at full production. They are then supposed to last 25-50 years.

We also planted raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. They don't take much care, other than containing them. They are in fact invasive species (weeds), and will take over the yard if you let them. That makes them easy to grow. Strawberries are fun for the kids. We went from 6 plants to over 150 by tucking them around. Most of my strawberries grow vertically in a tower. Otherwise, they grow in spare space outside the garden.

In years where I'm not ambitious in the garden, we'll just grow peas, beans, and broccoli. In ambitious years, I'll target things you can't get in the stores -- purple carrots, rainbow chard, pink spinach, yellow raspberries, pink blueberries, giant blueberries (size of a half dollar).

Gardening is normally not cost effective in the US. Sometimes the price of tomatoes goes high and it's worth it to grow those. But broccoli, beans, lettuce, and corn are often cheaper or at most break even on price. The main benefit is to know what's going into your food, the difference in taste (peas, beans, corn, and blueberries taste better when garden fresh -- you have to grow them to believe it), and the ability to pick a variety you can't buy in the stores. (I also grow gooseberries and currants, but I would guess nobody knows what those are. I only found them because I was looking for fruits that grew in the shade.)

Fourth, if all you can truly grow is weeds, grow weeds. Specifically, grow purslane and dandelions, which are edible. My DW objected to my purposely growing dandelions in the garden (it's overgrown with WEEDS!) but she didn't recognize purslane as a weed. Still, I grew it primarily in pots to isolate it. The disadvantage to growing weeds is that they will take over everything if you let them. For example, don't grow mint in the garden -- you'll never get it out.

User avatar
dbCooperAir
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by dbCooperAir » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:12 am

Last fall I tilled up our 20' x 40' garden and got a pile of milkweed seeds that were growing around my shop (did not what them there) and converted the garden to a milkweed wonderland for the butterflies. From my understanding milkweed is in short supply.

We have a number of smaller steel tubs, like wash tubs that we use for flowers on the deck. Thinking of growing some tomatoes and not sure what else in the tubs. Last year at the local green house they planted about 6 stocks of sweet corn in a pot, I may give that a whirl, would be a good conversation piece while on the deck!
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

kazper
Posts: 610
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by kazper » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:28 pm

wolf359 wrote:
kazper wrote:I enjoy gardening. Sadly, gardening hates me.

No matter how much effort I put into it, I don't receive much yield. DW has threatened to shut down my operation for the last few years because money output is not worth the amount grown. Only reason she hasn't pulled the plug is because she knows it brings me joy...and much frustration...but still joy :?

Considering the possibility of giving up growing vegetables and converting it into a weed garden. I am a whiz at growing those! :oops:


First, try container gardens and raised bed gardens. You add all the soil, so you can control nutrients, pests, and weeds. My best results are from growing in pots and raised beds.

Second, automate. Get a drip irrigation system on a timer. That alone has rescued my garden when I have neglected it.

Third, try for the simplest, most carefree plants. I love snowpeas right now because you plant them, they spring up on their own, and that's it.

Swiss chard is another favorite -- it seems to be ignored by pests and is very easy to grow by sowing direct.

I prefer purple pole beans -- they grow high, are easy to spot when mature, and climb above the weeds. They cook up green. They're great in a small space.

I also grow permanent edible crops. I don't have to replant them year after year. I had asparagus for a while -- I didn't plant it. My housing development is on a former farm, and some asparagus was growing wild for about 15 years in our HOA's common property adjacent to my lot. Unfortunately, they cleared the area and I don't have the room in my yard for the asparagus. But it grows well for years with no care.

I planted blueberry bushes around the house. I first planted 2 and had to net them and fight the birds for them. I later went to 12, and although we lose about a third of the crop to birds, we have more than enough for us (and neighborhood kids). Blueberries take about 3 years before they start producing, and are at year 5 before they are at full production. They are then supposed to last 25-50 years.

We also planted raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. They don't take much care, other than containing them. They are in fact invasive species (weeds), and will take over the yard if you let them. That makes them easy to grow. Strawberries are fun for the kids. We went from 6 plants to over 150 by tucking them around. Most of my strawberries grow vertically in a tower. Otherwise, they grow in spare space outside the garden.

In years where I'm not ambitious in the garden, we'll just grow peas, beans, and broccoli. In ambitious years, I'll target things you can't get in the stores -- purple carrots, rainbow chard, pink spinach, yellow raspberries, pink blueberries, giant blueberries (size of a half dollar).

Gardening is normally not cost effective in the US. Sometimes the price of tomatoes goes high and it's worth it to grow those. But broccoli, beans, lettuce, and corn are often cheaper or at most break even on price. The main benefit is to know what's going into your food, the difference in taste (peas, beans, corn, and blueberries taste better when garden fresh -- you have to grow them to believe it), and the ability to pick a variety you can't buy in the stores. (I also grow gooseberries and currants, but I would guess nobody knows what those are. I only found them because I was looking for fruits that grew in the shade.)

Fourth, if all you can truly grow is weeds, grow weeds. Specifically, grow purslane and dandelions, which are edible. My DW objected to my purposely growing dandelions in the garden (it's overgrown with WEEDS!) but she didn't recognize purslane as a weed. Still, I grew it primarily in pots to isolate it. The disadvantage to growing weeds is that they will take over everything if you let them. For example, don't grow mint in the garden -- you'll never get it out.


This is actually in a raised garden. I think either weed seeds blew in or they were hidden in the soil I used.

I actually switched to drip irrigation on a timer last year. Worked ok, but made me feel disconnected from my garden. I enjoy going out and checking on things. With things being automated, I didn't feel as much of a need and often skipped normal visits.

Hoping this year goes better.

User avatar
4nursebee
Posts: 895
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by 4nursebee » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:34 am

Last fall we started a raised bed wicking garden and have now taken the top back off, carrots are still alive.
Last week we started our first worm farm.
4nursebee

wolf359
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by wolf359 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:58 am

kazper wrote:This is actually in a raised garden. I think either weed seeds blew in or they were hidden in the soil I used.

I actually switched to drip irrigation on a timer last year. Worked ok, but made me feel disconnected from my garden. I enjoy going out and checking on things. With things being automated, I didn't feel as much of a need and often skipped normal visits.

Hoping this year goes better.


For me, drip irrigation prevented my garden from dying if I missed a visit at the wrong time. You still have to go out regularly and check on things, to deal with weeds and pests. It's just that skipping those things just makes more work later, but isn't necessarily fatal. Raised beds are very forgiving if you don't water when they need it, but plants in pots are not.

My local library runs a demonstration garden by their main entrance. They sterilized the soil by covering it with a black plastic sheet for six weeks in May and June. This started their garden late, but they had virtually no weeds. (They don't do it every year.) I've also seen them sterilize using clear plastic. I've never tried it, so I don't know the difference, but I want to try it one year.

MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:47 am

Location: Northwest Indiana.

Snow total was about 1 inch Friday night/Saturday morning but the snow melted and forecast is for temps in 50s and lows above freezing for the next 10 days or so.

Sunday - I planted spinach and lettuce in my recycling bins (cover with window). Also planted a small row of spinach in raised bed and a few sugar snap peas. Yes, it is early for both, but I couldnt help myself.

Also planted 12 cauliflower, 8 brocoli and 4 cabbage in starter boxes for transplanting later.

Ed

kazper
Posts: 610
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by kazper » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:21 pm

wolf359 wrote:
kazper wrote:This is actually in a raised garden. I think either weed seeds blew in or they were hidden in the soil I used.

I actually switched to drip irrigation on a timer last year. Worked ok, but made me feel disconnected from my garden. I enjoy going out and checking on things. With things being automated, I didn't feel as much of a need and often skipped normal visits.

Hoping this year goes better.


For me, drip irrigation prevented my garden from dying if I missed a visit at the wrong time. You still have to go out regularly and check on things, to deal with weeds and pests. It's just that skipping those things just makes more work later, but isn't necessarily fatal. Raised beds are very forgiving if you don't water when they need it, but plants in pots are not.

My local library runs a demonstration garden by their main entrance. They sterilized the soil by covering it with a black plastic sheet for six weeks in May and June. This started their garden late, but they had virtually no weeds. (They don't do it every year.) I've also seen them sterilize using clear plastic. I've never tried it, so I don't know the difference, but I want to try it one year.


I've been thinking mulch might help suppress the weeds. I was reading through Gardenweb (a garden forum, search google) a few weeks ago. Mostly they recommended clear plastic sheeting. Possibly to conserve the soil food web by allowing some light through, if I remember correctly. Either method should work. I'm worried about the bugs that the mulch might attract. That and my plants/seedlings being buried by mulch that has blown around.

MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:53 pm

Quick update and a question.

Cold weather has returned here to NW Indiana. Peas are coming up (barely) as is a couple of spinach plants. My seedlings in the house seem to be doing fine.

Question...what should be done to foster growth with the seedlings. Some are now a couple of inches tall. In the past I have had so - so luck. Should I add some sort of soil nutrient? Transplant to a larger container? I have broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage so far. Also leeks are barely up.

Ed

kazper
Posts: 610
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:45 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by kazper » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:06 am

MP173 wrote:Quick update and a question.

Cold weather has returned here to NW Indiana. Peas are coming up (barely) as is a couple of spinach plants. My seedlings in the house seem to be doing fine.

Question...what should be done to foster growth with the seedlings. Some are now a couple of inches tall. In the past I have had so - so luck. Should I add some sort of soil nutrient? Transplant to a larger container? I have broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage so far. Also leeks are barely up.

Ed


What have they been in so far? If your medium already has some sort of fertilizer or additive, they don't really need anything besides water and sunlight. If they are sitting in seed starting mix, you might use some kelp or fish fertilizer in recommended amounts. Probably kelp moreso than fish fertilizer as that stuff stinks!

As far as moving them, that is up to you. If they are starting to look crowded or like they could benefit from more room, a larger container or some peat pots wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Make sure to transplant everything (including soil mix), not just the plant.

likegarden
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by likegarden » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:39 am

You can improve conditions for the seedlings. I have perennial seedlings (hostas) in my basement. Their pots are sitting in 1/2 inch of water with half strength tomato fertilizer under 24 hours fluorescent (shop) lights. The shelf where the trays sit is enclosed with old towels and walls and has 72 dgrs. They are all growing nicely, some are 7 inches tall already. Mine will be outside only after the last frost, we are zone 5. Good luck.

peppers
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by peppers » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:32 pm

peppers wrote:We are in Zone 5b, northern Illinois so it is too early to put our plants out yet. We have some herb plants that we kept growing through the winter and they are coming along nicely. Today, is a sunny day so I have the plants by the patio door inside the house, good southern exposure.

My prior year antagonists have taken notice and are sitting on my deck railing, eyeing the green vegetation.

Sorry squirrels, today is not that day. No oregano or rosemary for you. :twisted:


Update

I started my indoor planting flats today, using my seeds from last years harvest. The first round includes bell, melrose and jalapeno peppers. I will do a second set of flats around mid April.
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."

MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Thu May 05, 2016 6:13 pm

It has been about 5 weeks since the last discussion. Here in northwest Indiana the weather has been cold and cloudy. I might have a small amount of spinach next week. Also have had 4 small harvests of asparagus, but the stalks are coming on strong...I counted 29 stalks up this evening.

I also planted two blueberry bushes, hopefully we will have berries in a year or two. Anyone with suggestions for growing these plants?

My garlic is about 12 inches tall, potatoes are up, as are onions, leaks, carrots, and peas (about 10 inches tall).

The transplanted broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower are doing well in this cold weather.

Temps up to 75 tomorrow.

Ed

Dead Man Walking
Posts: 509
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:51 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Dead Man Walking » Fri May 06, 2016 2:36 am

I've been defeated by deer, rabbits, and ground hogs! I buy at the farmers' market.

DMW

MP173
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by MP173 » Fri May 06, 2016 6:46 am

Guns will take care of those "problems"....also fencing.

FWIW, I built "Fort Potato" last year which features a 7 foot fence. No issues.

Ed

likegarden
Posts: 2412
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by likegarden » Fri May 06, 2016 6:59 am

I use Liquid Fence spray against rabbits, have no deer. New construction got rid of woodchucks.
My 40 hosta seedlings (8+ inches tall) are ready to get outside from my basement and feel natural light and air. I think there will be no more frosts, or they will go into the garage for a night.

User avatar
Elsebet
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Elsebet » Fri May 06, 2016 2:31 pm

For deer we use multiple rows of clear fishing line strung around cheap metal fence posts that surround the garden. The deer can't see it, but when they walk up to the garden they feel the line hit them and will back off. Since they can't see the height of the obstruction they won't jump it. It's important to not hang anything on the lines that they could use to judge the height. It's hard to believe but it works for us and is super cheap. This fishing line fence needs to offset the garden quite a bit, otherwise they will stick their head through and nibble on things they can reach.

Here is a video.

Bunnies do not fall for this obviously and for the crops they enjoy we use chicken wire fencing.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 3124
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Gardening 2016

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat May 07, 2016 11:44 am

I'm here in St. Louis (zone 6B). I planted snow peas in early March, and they're growing like crazy. I had great success with those last year. Tomato and jalapeno plants I put in a couple weeks ago, so they're getting started. At the same time, I planted some radishes. First time for that, but I like white radishes and they never have them at the supermarket. Just thinned the plantings yesterday.

I don't have deer, but rabbits early and squirrels later are problems. The patch has a chicken wire fence, but a determined rabbit can get over it and of course squirrels laugh at it. Last year I purchased bird netting. This goes over the tomato stakes then is attached to the fencing with twist ties. In the early season, it's loosely attached as the rabbits don't like it at all. The squirrels are more determined and it is necessary to tighten it up well.

Earl
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Post Reply