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Thread: Winter & the Gardening Bug

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Winter & the Gardening Bug

    Generally around this time of year I start feeling pretty down and my thoughts are instinctively drawn to gardening on a sunny spring day. This year is no exception. I am really into 'square foot gardening' (for those not in the know, its a gardening techinique that involves growing lots of veggies in very little space)
    www.squarefootgardening.com
    I usually take care of the vegetables and the wife usually plants/cares for the flowers (at least the annuals). I like to grow: corn, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, herbs, broccoli, green peppers, hot peppers (all kinds), zucchini. Have had limited success with other crops including: carrots, lettuce, pumpkins, watermelon and squash. Since there's nothing in Michigan that can be done outdoors this time of year, I'm forced to push the early gardening envelope by starting seeds indoors in a few weeks.
    Any other avid gardners out there? I envy you folks in climates that can maintain a garden this time of year!
    Last edited by Maister; 12 Jan 2005 at 1:17 PM.
    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

  2. #2
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    I tried to grow some tomatoes and green peppers last year but they did not do too good. I think the soil has to be prepared better this year. I also tried to grow basil indoors but it died.

    Next year I will try to improve results. The link is helpful.

    You might try growing sprouts, it is fun and you get results right away. They are tasty too. Even I can grow them.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    My apt is in the canopy of a tree... so I am lucky to get enough light to turn off the automatic night-lights in my living room. I do have several houseplants, including an avocado tree. But beyond that, nothing much will grow.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  4. #4
    Since it has been unseasonably warm here, Mrs. G has gotten bitten by the bug sooner than usual. Yesterday she pulled some vine off my antique white lilac. But with an average frost-free date in early May, she really can't do much but tend to the small jungle/forest of houseplants she has inside.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I don't do much gardening.. although the backyard in my house is quite nice year long; but that's probably because we get no snow.
    And in Santiago, I'd be lucky if I have a few plants... I won't have much space either... and definately not the time to take care of them.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    veggies

    Last summer was bad for gardening here. Too cool and too wet. I saved my hot pepper seeds and will probably start some of them indoors in March. My house faces south so this year I'm going to plant some peppers along the front of the house next to the azelias. See how it works. Guy Clark had it right in one of his songs: "Just two things that money can't buy. True love and home grown tomatoes."
    WALSTIB

  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Since it has been unseasonably warm here, Mrs. G has gotten bitten by the bug sooner than usual. Yesterday she pulled some vine off my antique white lilac. But with an average frost-free date in early May, she really can't do much but tend to the small jungle/forest of houseplants she has inside.
    Yeah, we got hit with the same freaky warm front and had unseasonable weather for a day or two. I took advantage by turning over the fall leaf mulch soil one more time.
    Now I've got the seed catalogue out (really more to look at the pictures than anything else. I don't think I need to order any more seeds) and am contemplating what this spring's garden layout is going to be and how to apportion space for crops and timing the planting/harvest for various plants. BTW - studies show that square foot gardening appeals to planners more than any other vocation....
    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

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I have a 6-8 square foot garden behind my garage. I will probably use the methods on the webpage to bolster my crop next year.

    Last year I grew celebrity tomatos (good general purpose, good flavor), green, yellow, and purple peppers, banana peppers (sweet, for the kid's sake), and plum tomatos.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I have a 6-8 square foot garden behind my garage. I will probably use the methods on the webpage to bolster my crop next year.

    Last year I grew celebrity tomatos (good general purpose, good flavor), green, yellow, and purple peppers, banana peppers (sweet, for the kid's sake), and plum tomatos.
    If you do decide to incorporate the spacing elements of the square-foot system I also encourage you to incorporate the planting/harvest schedule too, its an integral element of the system. You would, however, need to purchase a book to get the schedule - unless you tell me what part of what state you live in and what crop you wish to plant and I'd be willing to look it up for you.

    I see Tom R lurking. I know you're a gardner. What do you think about square foot gardening?
    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
    Cyburbian clare2582's avatar
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    My dad and I used to do "square-foot gardening" together when I was a kid- there was a show on PBS and everything. The host was this amish looking guy.

    I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate some gardening element into my life besides houseplants. The landlord said I could plant pretty much what ever I want wherever... but not sure that interests me... planting my own flowers/plants in someone else's yard...

    Anybody know anything about container gardens or anything like that? What are some alternatives for renters?

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R
    Last summer was bad for gardening here.
    Our summer was much cooler than normal last year. Luckily, I planted a fair amount of cabbage, broccoli, radishes and cauliflower which mature quite well in cool weather. Tomato harvest was slightly below average, zuccini/summer squash were fair-poor and beans were a complete bust (although not entirely for weather reasons)
    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

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by clare2582
    My dad and I used to do "square-foot gardening" together when I was a kid- there was a show on PBS and everything. The host was this amish looking guy.

    I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate some gardening element into my life besides houseplants. The landlord said I could plant pretty much what ever I want wherever... but not sure that interests me... planting my own flowers/plants in someone else's yard...

    Anybody know anything about container gardens or anything like that? What are some alternatives for renters?
    square foot container gardening should be ideal for you. Back when I lived in an apartment I grew cayenne peppers, green peppers and green beans indoors (we had a western exposure too) with great success. I even grew corn once indoors!!! (granted it was kinda small).
    Go back to your roots and try the sq ft garden indoors.
    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

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    gardening

    Quote Originally posted by Maister

    I see Tom R lurking. I know you're a gardner. What do you think about square foot gardening?
    I tend to garden like I do everything else - somewhat un-organized and by the seat of my pants. My garden is small - mayby 20' X 15'. Too many things tend to take over. I had great cucumbers one year, but the were everywhere. If I move most of my hot peppers out front it will free up more room. Living by myself also affects things. With a good summer I get 4 tomato plants to produce more than I can stand. I would like to install raised beds. Maybe I'll get to it this year. Anybody want some excruciatingly hot Thai pepper seeds? (Send a pm along with a liability waiver.) Easy to grow and VERY productive. Just beware!
    WALSTIB

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    This year I'd love to plant a garden, I just don't know where to start and what spot in my yard to pick. I'd love to grow tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, and peas.. maybe that'll be my new project.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  15. #15
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R
    . With a good summer I get 4 tomato plants to produce more than I can stand. I would like to install raised beds.
    yeah, I hear you on the tomatoes. Mrs. Maister is now an expert canning/freezing technician Most people tend to overplant in the springtime and are left with task of too much thinning and too much crop to weed. One of the advantages of sq ft. gardening (alright I'll shut up about it already) is it gives a better idea of how much one might realistically be able to maintain and harvest. Personally, I've taken to laying down water permeable black plastic and cutting out holes for the plants at the appropriate spacing and just dispense with 99% of weeding for the season.
    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

  16. #16
    maudit anglais
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    We had a nice veggie garden last year - maybe 7mx8m or so. I've never heard of square foot gardening, but it looks intriguing...may have to look at that for this year, at least partially. Our butternut squash and zuccini did particularly well last year. The tomatoes, peas and beans were also good. The only thing that didn't turn out was the beets.

  17. #17
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    We had a nice veggie garden last year - maybe 7mx8m or so. I've never heard of square foot gardening, but it looks intriguing...may have to look at that for this year, at least partially. Our butternut squash and zuccini did particularly well last year. The tomatoes, peas and beans were also good. The only thing that didn't turn out was the beets.
    Yes, it sounds like the 0.304 square metre system is right for you...uh, never mind....I know lots of people that PLANT beets, but to be honest I don't know that many folks that seem to like eating them. My neighbor is always trying to pawn off a few bushels on me every year (don't plant them if your'e not gonna eat 'em, dude!). Seems like a lot of people had a really good pea season last year (I think your'e in the same/similar frost zone to me aren't you?). Do you grow your peas vertically?
    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

  18. #18
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Personally, I've taken to laying down water permeable black plastic and cutting out holes for the plants at the appropriate spacing and just dispense with 99% of weeding for the season.
    I used wood mulch last year and it cut down my weeding dramatically and any weeding that I had to do was a breeze with the loose roots.

    I just need to find good, cheap tomato cages. Lowes, Home Depot, etc only carried their damn heavy black aluminum $40.00 tomato arch or cone. I'm about to buy my own cyclone fence and just make'm myself.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I've finally narrowed it down to the two things I can grow easily: green peppers and tomatoes. In summer here, it can get too hot to grow much of anything, so I do the veggies in early spring. Besides, last summer, I bet lots of home gardens were wrecked by the hurricanes.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I made it outdoors last Sunday. My yard is still mostly dirt (and eroding some from the downspouts). I leveled and raked half of the back yard and began laying out a patio. I figure I can do it a bit at a time, and the gravel will have a chance to compact before I put down flagstones. I stuck a few tulip bulbs in the ground and a few more in containers, that will eventually go in the ground when I have prepared the beds.

    Sunday night I finished my landscape plan and sent it in to the HOA. I also got online and searched for suppliers of native plants in this region. There are not many.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    ,
    Sunday night I finished my landscape plan and sent it in to the HOA.
    You have to go to the HOA? Agh, how can anyone live like that??? Sorry, personal rant, personal opinion. That would totally tick me off.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    You have to go to the HOA? Agh, how can anyone live like that??? Sorry, personal rant, personal opinion. That would totally tick me off.
    No kidding. When I moved I transplanted many, many plants from the rich soils of Wisconsin to Colorado's clay. I did not bother to get permission from the HOA. I have started on the patio. Again, no approved plans. If they don't approve the plans, so what? I am doing what I like anyway.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  23. #23
    Our neighborhood has a herd (is that the right term?) of domestic bunnies gone bad. About 2 weeks ago a huge black and white heifer-looking bunny moved in to our spreading junipers. So much for all those plants I planted this past fall. He is pretty cute, though.

  24. #24
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Yes, it sounds like the 0.304 square metre system is right for you...uh, never mind....I know lots of people that PLANT beets, but to be honest I don't know that many folks that seem to like eating them. My neighbor is always trying to pawn off a few bushels on me every year (don't plant them if your'e not gonna eat 'em, dude!). Seems like a lot of people had a really good pea season last year (I think your'e in the same/similar frost zone to me aren't you?). Do you grow your peas vertically?
    Mrs. Tranplanner makes pickled beets and cans'em. I'm not sure if you're in the same zone as us...it's quite likely. Yes, we grow our peas vertically - an excellent use for broken hockey sticks!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    bunnies

    Quote Originally posted by Follow the $$
    Our neighborhood has a herd (is that the right term?) of domestic bunnies gone bad. About 2 weeks ago a huge black and white heifer-looking bunny moved in to our spreading junipers. So much for all those plants I planted this past fall. He is pretty cute, though.
    One word hasenpfeffer.
    WALSTIB

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