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Thread: 2010 Garden Thread

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    2010 Garden Thread

    Never too early to start thinking about gardening. At the end of last year, I had some ripe bell peppers left on the vine. I decided to try drying these out in my smoker, then grinding for paprika. While Hungarian paprika peppers are the most coveted, my research told me any sweet pepper could be dried for paprika.

    It worked so well, this year I am expanding my garden to include 12 different kinds of peppers for drying and smoking to create a flavor and heat profile. I have ordered my seeds and plan on starting them inside in a few weeks. They include:
    Jalapeno
    Cayenne
    Anaheim
    Alma Paprika
    Serrano
    Hungarian Paprika
    Poblano
    And a 7-pepper collection including
    Beaver Dam Pepper: Bull Nose Bell Pepper: Chiltepin Chile: Datil: Fish Pepper: New Mexico Native Chile, Chimayo: Sheepnose Pimento:

    So let the 2010 gardening season begin....


  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Paprika? Say, I never thought about trying that, I think I will try this next season! After the peppers have been dehydrated they must be ground up - what did you use to grind up the peppers? Can you describe the whole process in a little more detail? Have you used the homemade paprika yet - how does it compare to the store-bought variety?






    I just finished reading The ‘All New Square Foot Gardening’. Mel has convinced me to quit using my existing soil for new annual vegetables entirely, and so this year I am constructing at least three raised beds filled with 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 course vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. Already, half of the ‘back’ garden is planted with asparagus. I will probably add another 10 asparagus plants (that wonderful perennial vegetable) and devote the rest of that garden plot to another perennial – strawberries! I haven’t entirely decided yet what to plant in the raised beds this year, but will certainly include: tomatoes, green peppers, peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and cucumbers at a minimum. Will post more on the big plans later.

    Junior has already petitioned me for a ‘BIG garden’ this year (he had an 18” x 18” last year that I created for him out of desperation to keep him away from me while I was trying to get work done – he ended up out-producing my pea crop 3:2!). I intend to construct a 3’ x 3’ raised bed for him.
    Last edited by Maister; 18 Jan 2010 at 10:14 AM.
    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

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    YEA!!! The 2010 garden thread has been trotted out for the new year!

    This will be my third (or fourth?) year gardening and I think I finally know what will grow well and what I want to grow and eat. This year I know little things like giving my tomatos more space, to pick the cucumbers early, using mushroom compost, etc. I am also going to intall some weeping watering lines, and other enhancements.

    Yea!! Time to get cow-s**t on my hands! Yea!
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I followed Square foot gardening last year and had a bumper crop of tomatoes...and I mean BUMPER. My neighbors were completely amazed. Highly recommend it. I actually planted the tomato plants in my front yard (code enforcement was threatening me all summer) because it's the northern exposure. But I'll move it to the backyard next year.

    I received a round of seed brochures this month. Just not sure what to order. I don't want to grow stuff from seed (yet), but I nervous about receiving plants in the mail. Any advice on good roma tomatoes would be appreciated. I plan on canning sauce and salsa this year.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Paprika? Say, I never thought about trying that, I think I will try this next season! After the peppers have been dehydrated they must be ground up - what did you use to grind up the peppers? Can you describe the whole process in a little more detail? Have you used the homemade paprika yet - how does it compare to the store-bought variety?
    I use a $9 coffee grinder from your favorite big box store to grind my spices. I dried these completely in my smoker. I didn't have a dehydrator at the time. (Santa was nice to me I have one for this year). It is pretty hard to hold the smoker below 160° for the 6-8 hours it took to get them completely dry. You really only need a couple hours in the smoker to get a smoky flavor and then move them to a dehydrator. Or dry them completely in the dehydrator for no smokiness.



    Here they are in the smoker. The ones at the top of the picture are future chipoltes. The bells are on the bottom half of the picture.

    Paprika has very little flavor. When tasted by itself, I thought the homemade was overpowered in smoke. But when I mixed a batch of my BBQ rub it was definitely better over the store paprika. It had a much bolder flavor.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    strawberries!
    Last year was my second year with strawberry plants, and the first year they produced. I will have to tame them this year or by next, they will have half my backyard.
    Last edited by Maister; 19 Jan 2010 at 8:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon View post
    ILast year was my second year with strawberry plants, and the first year they produced. I will have to tame them this year or by next, they will have half my backyard.
    Too many strawberries? There are worse problems in this world one could face.
    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

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Too many strawberries? There are worse problems in this world one could face.
    Ditto that. I am thinking of killing some more of the grass in my front yard and letting them loose to do their thing.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
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    Be careful when you grind those red jalapenos to make your chipotle powder. The powder itself can get into your eyes and nose and burn like crazy. I did a batch over the christmas holiday and needed to grind them in the basement (too cold outside) while wearing goggles and a wet bandana over my face!!!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    My living space is rather tight, but I really want to grow my own herbs and stuff. Has anyone ever tried the AeroGarden?
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    This year I'm focusing on replanting the three beds that were destroyed when we had the house foundation worked on in the late fall.
    The bed in the front will be completely redone. I'm ripping out all the annuals and perennials. I will remix the soil, adding in more compost, etc. to aid in my efforts. I've already decided nothing "big" - meaning both height and width - because it can overpower the porch railing (my Lantana obscured a portion of the railing, and the Rock Rose covered part of the porch). Met with a certified master gardener for a chit-chat, and will have another before putting plants in the ground. I'm thinking of going with yellow, orange and white blooms. All must be high heat, sun and drought tolerant - front of the house gets direct sun from about 8am to 6pm in the summer.
    The side bed will be more difficult. Part of it gets dappled sunlight, the rest is in shade. I have to rip out a bush and a couple of other items, but I haven't decided what to put in yet. I'm not that keen on hostas, but I need some shade plants that can take the summer heat in Texas.
    The last bed is in the backyard. It gets partial sun, and so far hasn't proven all that great as a bed. Nothing survived the foundation work, so I'll be starting from scratch. I wanted some sunflowers, but the area doesn't get enough sun to make them really pop. Here is where I will probably experiment with color, and possibly some veggies from seed.
    The larger front bed needs work, but not for the same reason. The bushes look great, but the area with the annuals is hideous. I really let it go last fall, and grass and weeds are in heaven. There's a lot of work to be done there! And the Canna lillies are killing me. I hate the way they take over the bed, and even though I spent a day taking them out, there are more again. I will try again to get most or all out, and will be more ruthless about digging out stray ones. Those things breed like rabbits!
    Overall, it looks like several weekends to get it all done. I will force my hubby to help. He usually leaves all the decisions - and work - about landscaping to me, but there's no way to get some of the stuff out of the ground without help. And the local Ace has equipment rental, so I may be using a larger tiller this year.
    "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

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    This year I am going to try a different Office Crop than last year. Thats right, I grew corn, hops, and pumpkins in my office last summer. The 2010 office crop will be:

    2 Tobacco Plants
    3 Sweet Corn Plants grown from the viable seeds from last year
    1 Hops Vine
    4 Peper Plants
    300 Amaryllis seedlings started for gifts at the County X-mass dinner

    I have been told I can grow anything in my office I want as long as it is not illegal to posses!

    The outdoor garden will consist of:

    Scores of spider plants
    20 Amaryllis bulbs
    Pepers
    8 Corpse Plants
    Corn from seeds from last year (I am going to try and develop a shade tolerant species of corn)
    6 Silver Maple Banzai trees (I have 6, 14 inch trees that started in my other pots on their own last year. Got a Banzai book and am ready to start tortur.... I mean growing my own Bonzai trees!).
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Alrighty, I'm getting some of the seeds ordered and have more or less decided on what to grow veggie-wise this year.

    The list as it stands:
    veggies
    green peppers and jalapeno
    tomatoes (mix of heirloom and hybrids, determinate and indeterminates)
    pole beans
    bush beans (wax and green)
    sugar snap peas
    lettuce
    corn
    radishes
    carrots
    spinach
    cucumbers
    pumpkin
    zucchini
    onions
    beets
    asparagus
    chard (thanks Mud Princess!)

    fruits
    strawberries
    blueberries

    spices
    parsley
    dill
    oregano
    basil
    thyme
    cilantro

    There is of course the larger question of how much space to allocate to each crop and I'm still working on that, but I intend to grow about the same amount of beans as we did last year, more salad crops - lettuces, cukes, radishes, carrots, etc. and a little less sweet corn. No cabbage. Intend to double the amount of asparagus, and continue to experiment a bit more with beets, and also introduce swiss chard this year (and possibly horseradish - we'll see).

    Lumber is on sale this week, so I'll get the materials to construct those raised beds and will start the earliest seeds indoors next week - parsley!
    Last edited by Maister; 04 Feb 2010 at 4:00 PM.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Alrighty, I'm getting some of the seeds ordered and have more or less decided on what to grow veggie-wise this year.

    ...
    chard (thanks Mud Princess!)
    ...
    Save me some, 'k?

    My SO is serious about trying to grow hops in our backyard this year. He's been doing a lot of home brewing lately. It should be interesting to see whether hops will thrive in our microclimate. I have no idea; do deer or raccooons or other critters eat hops??

  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    Save me some, 'k?

    My SO is serious about trying to grow hops in our backyard this year. He's been doing a lot of home brewing lately. It should be interesting to see whether hops will thrive in our microclimate. I have no idea; do deer or raccooons or other critters eat hops??
    Hops is a vining plant and as such requires virtually nothing but enough sunlight to get it growing. Once it starts it pretty much grows itself (and they'll grow over 20' too). The only trick of the trade is to do the pruning properly to maximize cone production. I'm no expert but there's tons of literature and plenty of websites on hops growing out there, what with home brewers being the do-it-yourselfers they are.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon View post
    I use a $9 coffee grinder from your favorite big box store to grind my spices. I dried these completely in my smoker. I didn't have a dehydrator at the time. (Santa was nice to me I have one for this year). It is pretty hard to hold the smoker below 160° for the 6-8 hours it took to get them completely dry. You really only need a couple hours in the smoker to get a smoky flavor and then move them to a dehydrator. Or dry them completely in the dehydrator for no smokiness.
    Awesome! I dry my hot peppers in the oven. Ours goes down to 140 or so (its an actual "oven dry" feature and I forget the temp) and you crack the door. It can take up to 18 hours or so, but the results are great. I air dried some as well, which are super tasty, but they take a long time (weeks). We live in a very dry climate and so I would be worried about mold in a more humid setting.

    I'd like to try smoking some, though.

    I skipped hot peppers last year, but am going forward with gusto this year. I love me hot peppers! Definitely will do jalapeños and srerranos. Probably some chiles as well. Beyond that, I want to try some unusual heirloom varieties.

    I'm hoping to get lettuce and spinach in the ground by the middle of February. I direct seeded these last year and we had a tremendous yield. This year I will do them in succession plantings - every week or every two weeks for a month or two in strategic places in the yard. This way, when one patch is coming to an end (here they bolt pretty quickly once there is some decent sun) another is ready for picking. I will plant from sunny to shady to extend as long as I can.

    My kids don't generally eat straight lettuce, but when we were picking our own last spring, they couldn't get enough of it!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  16. #16
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    wahday, before you plant I'd like to make a final pitch to encourage you to go to the local library and borrow 'The All New Square Foot Gardening'. Based on what you've written in the past about your gardening experiences I can tell you'd be one who the book 'speaks to', and would likely derive much benefit from its contents (if nothing else more freetime thanks to needing to do less weeding and watering).

    Edit: I forgot I will also be planting a couple of jalapeno pepper plants too in addition to the bell peppers (for use in paprika making - I've got all the equipment)
    Last edited by Maister; 04 Feb 2010 at 3:41 PM. Reason: add peppers

  17. #17
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    wahday, before you plant I'd like to make a final pitch to encourage you to go to the local library and borrow 'The All New Square Foot Gardening'. Based on what you've written in the past about your gardening experiences I can tell you'd be one who the book 'speaks to', and would likely derive much benefit from its contents (if nothing else more freetime thanks to needing to do less weeding and watering).

    Edit: I forgot I will also be planting a couple of jalapeno pepper plants too in addition to the bell peppers (for use in paprika making - I've got all the equipment)
    I've been meaning to do that very thing, so this is my chance. Plus, as my wife so graciously pointed out yesterday, I have some overdue items I must return...

    There is a neighbor around the corner from me who had a couple of square foot gardens out front last year. The did wonderfully! I walk the dog by the place everyday, so I got to see every subtle change.

    I'l be sure to tell Mr. Bartholomew Maister sent me...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    blight

    My relative's tomatoes in PA got wacked hard by the late blight last year. The Rodale Institute claims that the Striped German heirloom tomato is resistant. Hopefully this year will be warmer and dryer to help to keep the blight at bay. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20100...t_tomato_trial

  19. #19
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Maister the corporate shill

    Before Christmas I made an off-hand remark that I "misplaced last year's Burpee catalogue, maybe this year I should order more than one." Mrs. Maister said nothing at the time, but in the ensuing weeks I find myself bombarded by electronic and hard copy seed catalogues just about ......every....single....day! I'll bet I've received 10 in my mailbox in just the last two weeks alone! Anywho, one of the nice things about this is that it has allowed me to make a lot of comparasins between seed companies and their catalogues. Now I'm usually a promote local kind of guy but I will make an exception and put in a plug for a Maine Company: Johnny's Select Seeds. It's an employee-owned operation in New England, they've got a strong organic emphasis, but the most remarkable thing is the amount and quality of information they include about their seeds/plants in their catalogue. They tell you just about EVERYTHING you could want to know...planting, propagation, harvest, germination temps... you name it. They have an 800 number too you can contact if you have additional questions. Thing is, if you call it a human being will pick up by the second or third ring and talk to you!

    Park seeds is another respectable outfit. Who do you like?
    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

  20. #20
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Maister, I think I got on that list, too. I received 5 catalogs just last week. Sure, many are printed on newspaper, but I think any benefits of dipping into the refuse cycle is offset by all the trucks hauling these catalogs around the country.

    This weekend we are holding a Planning Your Vegetable Garden workshop - the first in a series that grew out of our community garden program and in partnership with two other gardening groups in town. Should be fun. We did this last year at this time and we had over 100 people show up! People are definitely eager to get into gardening.

    We talk about mapping your growing space (looking at sun, wind, microclimates, etc.), cold warm and hot season crops, planting strategies (rows vs. interplanting), raised beds vs. in-ground, direct seeding vs. transplants, strategies like succession and companion planting, irrigation issues, etc.

    I think the more I learn about gardening, the more I realize what I don't know. On one level, its a pretty simple, basic, even intuitive activity. At the same time, there is a whole world of specialized information about stuff like soil amending, hardening starts, nutrient content and so on that I'm only now beginning to understand.

    I'm hoping to get some cold season direct-seeded items int he ground next weekend - peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  21. #21
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Before Christmas I made an off-hand remark that I "misplaced last year's Burpee catalogue, maybe this year I should order more than one." Mrs. Maister said nothing at the time, but in the ensuing weeks I find myself bombarded by electronic and hard copy seed catalogues just about ......every....single....day! I'll bet I've received 10 in my mailbox in just the last two weeks alone! Anywho, one of the nice things about this is that it has allowed me to make a lot of comparasins between seed companies and their catalogues. Now I'm usually a promote local kind of guy but I will make an exception and put in a plug for a Maine Company: Johnny's Select Seeds. It's an employee-owned operation in New England, they've got a strong organic emphasis, but the most remarkable thing is the amount and quality of information they include about their seeds/plants in their catalogue. They tell you just about EVERYTHING you could want to know...planting, propagation, harvest, germination temps... you name it. They have an 800 number too you can contact if you have additional questions. Thing is, if you call it a human being will pick up by the second or third ring and talk to you!

    Park seeds is another respectable outfit. Who do you like?
    Park Seed Co. is located in Greenwood, SC where I finished my undergraduate degree
    "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

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    I may be a little early, but started my peppers and tomatoes yesterday. Bring on spring!!

  23. #23
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We joined savemattoon and started our parsley, broccoli and cabbage seeds indoors yesterday... yeah yeah, I know I said no cabbage earlier, but what do you say to a four year old who eagerly snatches up a seed packet, gazes up at you hopefully, and asks "Daddy, can we plant these?"

    If all goes well, we'll transplant the seedlings of these cool weather crops around the weekend of April 3-4.
    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

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Anybody have some ideas one where you can buy vermiculite? I follow the Square Foot Gardening, but I've always had to buy a teeny bag of vermiculite because that's all they have at Home Depot/Lowe's...it's for potting plants, not a garden.

    I've never been able to find a good supply....any ideas? I'd like to expand my raised beds substantially this year, but I'll be limited if I can't find vermiculite.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by southsideamy View post
    Anybody have some ideas one where you can buy vermiculite? I follow the Square Foot Gardening, but I've always had to buy a teeny bag of vermiculite because that's all they have at Home Depot/Lowe's...it's for potting plants, not a garden.

    I've never been able to find a good supply....any ideas? I'd like to expand my raised beds substantially this year, but I'll be limited if I can't find vermiculite.
    Start here: http://www.vermiculite.com/
    "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

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