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Thread: The 2007 Garden Thread

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The 2007 Garden Thread

    It’s nearing the end of January and that means it’s time to start the first garden-related activity of the year. Time to go through the seed catalogues and decide what to plant and where to plant it.
    Burpee seed catalog is usually my first choice but there are many other sources out there.
    http://seeds.thompson-morgan.com/us/
    http://www.burpee.com/catalogrequest...equestmain.jsp
    http://www.gardenbazaar.com/directory/cz_1E0.html

    Browsing the seed catalogues is a particularly pleasant activity this time of year because it’s cold, grey, and wintery outside (well, this year was strange because of the delayed winter but it’s finally here) and the photos inside the seed catalogues by contrast always seem to depict halcyon summer days. The vegetable pictures are usually the best – featuring many images of ripe, plump, tender, fleshy orbs of tomatoes, hanging pendulously on the vine (huh, the pages are stuck together – wonder how that happened? )….but I digress….

    Last year’s big garden disappointment here was the sweet corn (lost most to moles/critters) so this year I’ve decided to go into cool weather vegetables in a big way: lots of cabbage, peas, spinach, broccoli, chard, lettuce, and radishes. Pumpkins worked out well last year (I STILL have a pumpkin we grew in our garden sitting on the kitchen counter with a witch, turkey, Xmas tree, and an hourglass painted on it – hoping it’ll make it to Valentines Day) and I’ll probably grow a couple of them as well. I’m glad I didn’t plant a lot of tomatoes last year, as I understand the crop was somewhat disappointing for many other area growers. This year, though, I have a hunch is going to be a good year for tomatoes so I’ll probably plant 8 or 10 and have enough for salsa, ketchup, and canning to get us through next winter.

    One other thing that worked out quite well last year was starting everything from seed indoors – the only transplants I bought from a greenhouse were a few replacement plants. This year I’m going to anticipate a few replacements and start a few extra plants so I hopefully won’t have to visit the greenhouses at all. Mrs. Maister has in years past usually spent in the neighborhood of $100 when she bought her flower flats. Last year I started a flat of zinnias indoors and they transplanted/grew wonderfully. I’ll try to start six or seven flats from seed this year and see if I can’t keep her under $20 this time.

    I actually map out on graph paper where I intend to plant everything. I’ll bet I’m not the only planner-type who maps out their proposed garden layout each year. A big change appearing on the map this year will be the addition of an 8' x 4' section exclusively for herbs.

    So what are y’all planning for your upcoming gardens this year?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    We should have lots of fun with the garden this year since the girl will hopefully be more help than hindrance.

    Last year she plucked alll the leaves off one of the eggplant plants - but we ended up with 3 or 4 eggplants anyway! Pretty good for eastern Canada!

    So we will probably try the eggplant again, plus stick with the old standbys of peas, carrots, beans (yellow mainly but also some pole), lettuce, tomato, peppers, squash around the sunflowers, cucumbers and zuchini. Oh and lots of garlic (allready in the ground) and onions/shallots.

    I also plot things on grpah paper as we have 9 6x6 foot raised boxes. I find it is much easier to to the planting schecule this way so that not every ripens at the same time.

    We also have som smaller raised beds with herbs mainly but also just a little aspargus!

    We think we may try leeks this year - anyone else plant these - any advice?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    For me, gardening this year will be a first-time event. The house we bought has NO LANDSCAPING in the front, so I'm learning about what will grow and look good there. We have a porch railing on one side, so I'm thinking low color there, stuff that can handle direct morning sun. Then on the other side some bushes and ground color, carried around the side as well, will really brighten up the place.

    In the back, things will be a bit easier, since there's a corner garden that some previous owner started, then abandoned. I planted some pansies there earlier, and they did great. I don't know yet about vegetables, but I am going to put in some color plants and more bushes. I think this first spring will be more about starting some stuff in the front, since the house looks so bare.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Ah, yes., winter. The time of year I decide what plants I will order that the deer will kill by fall. But the cycle of anticipation followed by disillusion steels me for the vagaries of being a planner.

    So pretty soon I will order more asparagus, some plants that attract butterflies (my son loves butterflies) and a shade tree. And some time in the fall, a deer will trample my wire enclosure and use my shade tree to rub the velvet off his horns.
    It seems no matter how sturdy I make the enclosure, the deer must get through.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmf View post
    We should have lots of fun with the garden this year since the girl will hopefully be more help than hindrance.
    So around what age do kids start to appreciate gardening (or at least not be a big hindrance)? I confess I'm eager to get junior involved in gardening (he's 18 months now) and was hoping to introduce him to an activity he could enjoy for the rest of his life (yeah yeah, I know you can't make kids interested in any particular activity but you can at least introduce them to it). What types of garden tasks should one introduce their children to first?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    So around what age do kids start to appreciate gardening (or at least not be a big hindrance)? I confess I'm eager to get junior involved in gardening (he's 18 months now) and was hoping to introduce him to an activity he could enjoy for the rest of his life (yeah yeah, I know you can't make kids interested in any particular activity but you can at least introduce them to it). What types of garden tasks should one introduce their children to first?
    For my daughter it was at age 3. I gave her a small barrel that she could plant what she wanted in there and took her to the garden store to pick what she wanted out and helped her plant it and take care of it. The trick is to curb the over enthusiastic tendency to care the plants to death. That following fall she helped me plant bulbs and in the winter she helped pick out seeds that we started indoors.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I haven't put much thought into my garden yet. But now that this thread is started, my gardening wheels are turnin. I would like to set up an area for perennials, but it doesn't work well with my current layout. My garden shares the yard with a large dog, so I have to protect my plants well.

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    Cyburbian
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    Maister,

    I gave my kids there own plants last year. They helped plant the seeds, water, transplant into the ground, water, staking, water, harvest, and water. They still occassionally tell me they are going to go outside and water their pumpkins. The world typically ends when they get outside and see that they are gone. This year we will expand their plants to include grape tomatoes (their new favorite food) sugar peas, and some other large vegetable. They love seeing the plants grow and checking on them daily, especially when they first sprout. They are 3 1/2.

    Our gaden will be moved this year. I spent all last season improving the soil on the west side of our house. I am hoping reducing the unbearable afternoon sun will improve performance and require less watering. new this year is a rain barrell on that side of the house.

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    The trick is to curb the over enthusiastic tendency to care the plants to death.
    Quote Originally posted by cololi
    They helped plant the seeds, water, transplant into the ground, water, staking, water, harvest, and water. They still occassionally tell me they are going to go outside and water their pumpkins
    Well this is inspiring news! It sounds like at least some kids get real excited about gardening. I was thinking about having the boy 'help' me plant radishes this year - I figured because they only take about 3-4 weeks to grow he'd see results real quick and what 2 year old doesn't like getting something NOW (and 3-4 weeks is about as close as one can get to NOW in the world of gardening). Come to think of it 3-4 weeks is probably no different than 3-4 years to him....still an eternity

    Oh, and on a different note, who here has grown asparagus before? I'm toying with starting some this year (from rizome) and maybe by 2010 I can start to harvest.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    ...So what are y’all planning for your upcoming gardens this year?
    I ordered grape vines this evening. I'm finally installing that vineyard I've be threatening the last couple of years. Other than that, my neighbors will simply be happy that I raked the leaves off my front yard. All that gardening gets in the way of my margarita and pool time.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    I ordered grape vines this evening. I'm finally installing that vineyard I've be threatening the last couple of years. Other than that, my neighbors will simply be happy that I raked the leaves off my front yard.
    I've considered starting grapes here too - a neighbor has vine going in their backyard. Unfortunately, the climate around this part of Michigan (45 miles inland from Lake Michigan) is condusive to only a few varieties of hardy grapes. Niagras grow well around here - they may not be ideal for wine (which I really really want to make at home but that's a different thread) but they're good for eating.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    I ordered grape vines this evening. I'm finally installing that vineyard I've be threatening the last couple of years. Other than that, my neighbors will simply be happy that I raked the leaves off my front yard. All that gardening gets in the way of my margarita and pool time.
    I'm not hiking up my skirts and playing Lucy Ricardo and dancing around in those grapes!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    I keep my garden growing year round.

    at my pub

    I have over 8 different types of plants growing in the windows of my pub all of the time. Some are seasonals that I have kept alive for over three years. Some of the seasonals have been flowering for all of those three years.

    They add a touch of life and class to what would otherwise be a very plain alcahol dispensing depot of sheaf construction. Curtains suck! So I turned my window at the pub into a living memorial for plants that belonged to my grandmother and my father before they died. I water them at least once per week by hand.

    I am waiting for the annual flowers to come out now on 4 of my plants. They have been kind of dormant since October. The last two years about this time I have managed to get 5 fist sized deep red flowers out of each plant near the end of Jannuary or February.

    I have:
    Ivy
    Shamrock
    Spider plants
    and about 5 others I can't remember thier names

    The smoke does not seem to bother them at all. The odd music and the crowd also does not seem to bother them! If those plants could talk....well, they might make the other plants wilt!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Oh, and on a different note, who here has grown asparagus before? I'm toying with starting some this year (from rizome) and maybe by 2010 I can start to harvest.

    We have asparagus. We planted it about 6 years ago - it did really well for the first couple of year but recently we have suffered infestations of aspargus beetle so it has not do so well. My advice - I woud have planted twice as much in 3 times as much space, or more. I think we planted 8 roots originally. With that we only get enough for maybe two meals for two adults and a toddler.

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Oh, and on a different note, who here has grown asparagus before? I'm toying with starting some this year (from rizome) and maybe by 2010 I can start to harvest.
    The biggest thing about growing asparagus is soil prep. I prefer aged cow manure that I get from a farmer and age myself (horse manure will do but it has more weeds). Compost will do, but I don't like that stuff that comes in plastic bags from the garden center!

    Site your asparagus patch in a permanent site with lots of sun. Work the manure into the soil, going down about a foot at least. I'd use a big, heavy duty rototiller to do this even if I had to rent one because you want the soil well aerated and the manure/compost going all the way through. If you have clayey soil, you might want to consider a raised bed. I think the plants go about a foot or a foot and a half apart.

    Annual top dressing with either well-rotted manure or compost will keep your asparagus growing. You can also use a natural organic mulch that breaks down over time such as shredded pine bark (looks nice) or straw which also keeps down weeds. You can also mulch with grass clippings, but you have to make sure that the clippings don't touch the stalks.

    If you don't get "supermale" asparagus, you'll probably want to clip the tops before they go to seed so that your plants put more energy into their roots and stalks rather than into seeds.

    A well tended asparagus plot can last 25 years if organic matter is added annually.

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I live in Maine - we grow rocks and swamps

    so it's a Japanese Garden all the way!

    Besides, I live with a landscape architect so it's more of that role reversal stuff in my house - I leave all design decisions up to him

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    You "tomAtoe", I say "toMAToh".....that's my plan. Nothing else. (Daxx shame, because NW Ohio soil is some of the best in the world.)

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    Occupy Cyburbia!

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Guess I'll be out in the warm sunshine digging holes tomorrow. My grape vines were delivered today!!
    They came from Missouri? Huh?

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Guess I'll be out in the warm sunshine digging holes tomorrow. My grape vines were delivered today!!
    They came from Missouri? Huh?
    Don't worry, we'll put some weed and feed out there and coax some grass out and maybe the dog won't feel like she's being tossed out to do her biz in a jungle. Some tomatoes along with the grapes, maybe? Green peppers, yum!

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Introducing the Twin Palms Vineyard of ZG and RJ Gallo....

    Irrigating the newly planted vines (you have to look close).



    See, Twin Palms!
    I've always wanted palm trees.



    No veggies at Lowe's yet. They'll be planted next (tomatoes and bell peppers at my future roommate's request)

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Introducing the Twin Palms Vineyard of ZG and RJ Gallo....
    So how many years/decades before those little vines start producing?

  22. #22
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    So how many years/decades before those little vines start producing?
    If they don't produce fruit this season, I'll send you down to Publix to get some table grapes to peel and feed me by the pool.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    If they don't produce fruit this season, I'll send you down to Publix to get some table grapes to peel and feed me by the pool.
    Sure, as soon as you grow one of those palm frond/Egyptian things to fan me with...

  24. #24
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I was watering this morning and noticed my grapes are budding!! Yes....I can grow something.

  25. #25
          Downtown's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    So around what age do kids start to appreciate gardening (or at least not be a big hindrance)? I confess I'm eager to get junior involved in gardening (he's 18 months now) and was hoping to introduce him to an activity he could enjoy for the rest of his life (yeah yeah, I know you can't make kids interested in any particular activity but you can at least introduce them to it). What types of garden tasks should one introduce their children to first?
    Last summer Jack was 2 1/2 - he was able to pick beans and cherry tomatos - however, he would get a little overzealous with the tomatos, and pick green ones if you didn't watch him closely.

    He also liked dropping the seeds in the holes in the dirt, and just generally playing in the dirt. and running the garden hose.

    Kjelsadek - I love the barrel idea.

    maybe we'll start some peas indoors this weekend....


    we're just so limited on space. we cram way too many tomato plants into our garden.

    anyone ever try one of those upside down tomato plants? thinking about it for the deck this summer.

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