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Thread: 2014 Garden Thread... AKA, grow your own!

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    2014 Garden Thread... AKA, grow your own!

    Since Maister has the winter blues... (and given the weather it is understandable) I am going to kick of this growing season.

    I found that we can buy organic seedlings (often non GMO) at a local farmers market in the spring so instead of starting my plants by seed, I am going to buy seedlings. Also, per Maister's suggestion, I picked up a copy of Square-Foot Gardening and will be putting my raised beds up closer to the house within a fenced in section of the back yard.

    I am also going to need to fence in my beds. Even with this harsh winter, we have noticed at least 5 rabbits in our back yard. Our dog is not doing a great job of keeping them away and these brave little fur balls have even gone as far as coming up onto the porch.

    Finally, I am going to do a combination of flowers and food in some of the landscape garden beds.

    What are your plans for this seasons gardens? Will it be food, flowers, combination of the two? What are you going to do differently this year than what you did last year?
    You get what you give.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I already placed an order for flowers with Michigan Bulb, which offers a half-off discount in winter, for delivery in spring. This year I am planning to scale back the vegetable garden since I am single and do not eat all of the veggies I once planted. Portions of the space will be dedicated to perennial crops like blueberries and gooseberries. I am also planning to plant many new trees. I found a source for pinyon pine (pine nuts), and will add another cherry and persimmon to the orchard. A few hickory trees will also go in. Quaking aspen, witch hazel, and various pine and spruce trees will be used in different parts of the yard.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I was leafing through the Park Seed catalogue last week and saw some interesting tomatoes and green beans I might order, but to be honest I haven't even cleared off the Christmas decorations yet from the dining room table I use to start seedlings in the spring. Junior talks a good game about what he wants to plant/grow this season but it seems I ended up doing the lion's share of his garden work on top of my own last year and don't want that to happen again this year. Bottom line: last year was a disappointment garden-wise.





    At least the pictures of the veggies in the seed catalogues turn out perfect every year.

    EDIT: Okay, I can't stay Debbie Downer all garden season. I wish I had a Maine garden hod. If I had one of these my garden would be a guaranteed success. Someone should buy or make me one.....



    http://stores.mainegarden.com/-strse...Categories.bok
    Last edited by Maister; 20 Jan 2014 at 2:32 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

  4. #4
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Still no dirt of my own to dig in

    I miss having a yard of my own to plant in or even a balcony to have a container garden. I used to grow all manner of flowers and ornamentals, herbs, and a few veggies here and there.
    "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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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I think I'll rake some of the bark and crap that's in my garden. Try to get a good soil base for the spring. I'm not sure what to plant. I'm not a huge gardener. I'll do the usual tomatoes and herbs, but I want to try for something more. I'll have to go get a starter kit so I can get some seeds going.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    This year I am planning to scale back the vegetable garden since I am single and do not eat all of the veggies I once planted. Portions of the space will be dedicated to perennial crops like blueberries and gooseberries. I am also planning to plant many new trees. I found a source for pinyon pine (pine nuts), and will add another cherry and persimmon to the orchard.
    I'm not single but I am kind of coming to this point as well. I have been an enthusiastic vegetable gardener for years and for a number of years I made efforts to increase the size and number of beds and keeping the planting/interplanting schedule as tight as possible. Thing is, life seems to constantly get in the way and between injuries, illnesses, parenting and other obligations I find I simply don't have the time available (and sometimes inclination) to grow as much as we'd like, or even keep up with basic gardening tasks. I think it's better to have a smaller garden that's better tended than a larger one that's gone to seed and overgrown with weeds.

    Perrenial crops are nice because they tend to require a little less work, time, and attention. I'm looking forward to a bigger blueberry harvest this year as the bushes have continued to grow and the soil acidity I've worked for years to achieve gets closer to optimal. I'm toying with the idea of planting either grapes (Niagara) or possibly an apple tree in the front yard. Any experience with espaliers?

    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 michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    Still no dirt of my own to dig in

    I miss having a yard of my own to plant in or even a balcony to have a container garden. I used to grow all manner of flowers and ornamentals, herbs, and a few veggies here and there.
    If you have a window, you can have a farm!
    http://www.windowfarms.com/build-your-own/

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I'm not single but I am kind of coming to this point as well. I have been an enthusiastic vegetable gardener for years and for a number of years I made efforts to increase the size and number of beds and keeping the planting/interplanting schedule as tight as possible. Thing is, life seems to constantly get in the way and between injuries, illnesses, parenting and other obligations I find I simply don't have the time available (and sometimes inclination) to grow as much as we'd like, or even keep up with basic gardening tasks. I think it's better to have a smaller garden that's better tended than a larger one that's gone to seed and overgrown with weeds.

    Perrenial crops are nice because they tend to require a little less work, time, and attention. I'm looking forward to a bigger blueberry harvest this year as the bushes have continued to grow and the soil acidity I've worked for years to achieve gets closer to optimal. I'm toying with the idea of planting either grapes (Niagara) or possibly an apple tree in the front yard. Any experience with espaliers?

    When I was in HS and early college, (before I switch from LA to Planning) I worked at a greenhouse where we would custom make espaliers. Much like anything with gardening it takes time but it can be worth it. In fact we found that you can get a higher yield per tree. The biggest issue that we found was you need adequate airflow between the tree and the wall or fence and if you are setting one up by scratch, you need to make sure that the bindings are not so tight that it chokes off the buds on the horizontal branches.

    Here is a good how to video:
    You get what you give.

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Has the news of the continuing California drought given anyone pause to consider starting your own vegetable garden to help soften the blow of what is almost certain to be steeper prices for produce across the board? That's what happens when Mother Nature stomps on the most productive agricultural region on earth. This drought will likely have global impacts on food supplies/prices.

    So this year I am going to do less experimentation and go back to raising the most productive plants I can. Lots of tomatoes, beans, and carrots this year. you can grow a heck of a lot of food in less area than you think. http://www.organicgardening.com/lear...getable-garden
    Some of the other advantages to growing your veggies include improved food safety: it's nice knowing exactly what's feeding your plants - you're the one doing it, improved flavor and nutrition: yep, that stuff you buy at the grocery store was bred in large part for it's ability to ship and store. Fresh produce from your own garden is more tender and you don't have to worry about losing any nutritional value due to shelf time, it's great exercise and can be a fun activity the whole family can participate in.
    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

  9. #9
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I will be visiting Eastern Market on a regular basis.
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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I have had such awful luck growing veggies at my house that this summer I am leaning towards taking out the above ground plots and re-seeding the areas with grass. All of my efforts can then go towards my much more successful flower beds. We may do a few potted cherry tomatoes though and my parents, who have much more space and sunlight (and a pond from which they can water endlessly), are going to let my daughter pick out some plants to plant and tend to at their house this spring and summer.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    New thing this season is I bought some conduit to bend into frames onto which I'll fasten some shade cloth to beat down the sun and heat we get here at ~5700 feet. Just can't find enough varieties that don't get sunscald.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    I don't have a yard, so no opportunities to start a garden. Whenever I can afford a house, that will be one of the things I want to do. I want to create a natural wall design with espaliers as well.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Any experience with espaliers?

    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'm getting my new garden in the new house prepped. I raked out all the leaves and wood chips (I hate wood chips). Now I just need to pick up the piles. Next I have a friend coming over that actually knows something about gardening, unlike me, and she'll give me some directions on how to prep the soil and suggestions on what to grow. I'm still thinking a small herb patch, some tomatoes, peppers, and maybe some beans. I think the wife wants some lettuce and spinach to go along with it.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I have had such awful luck growing veggies at my house that this summer I am leaning towards taking out the above ground plots and re-seeding the areas with grass. All of my efforts can then go towards my much more successful flower beds. We may do a few potted cherry tomatoes though and my parents, who have much more space and sunlight (and a pond from which they can water endlessly), are going to let my daughter pick out some plants to plant and tend to at their house this spring and summer.
    Many gardeners commented that 2013 was an awful year. It certainly was for me, when I doubt that more than 20% of the seeds I planted germinated. Oddly, the flower beds did alright.

    I will be converting some of my vegetable beds into perennial crops this year, which I hope will help with the amount of time I spend maintaining them.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  15. #15
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I have had such awful luck growing veggies at my house that this summer I am leaning towards taking out the above ground plots and re-seeding the areas with grass. All of my efforts can then go towards my much more successful flower beds. We may do a few potted cherry tomatoes though and my parents, who have much more space and sunlight (and a pond from which they can water endlessly), are going to let my daughter pick out some plants to plant and tend to at their house this spring and summer.
    Before you do that let me say just one thing............

    asparagus.

    Shhhhh!
    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 ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Before you do that let me say just one thing............

    asparagus.

    Shhhhh!
    Back in the day I had a landscape design and construction business. I put in a half-dozen or so asparagus beds and one of the joys was seeing the smile on client's faces when they discuss how much they enjoyed homegrown asparagus. I did one for a buddy and they had to fence it off to keep the dogs out.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  17. #17
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    It's in the 40's today! Sadly, this still won't be enough to melt much of the ice and snow that's on the ground. The traditional date for planting peas is St. Patricks Day but that won't be possible this year. Oh well.

    This upcoming season we are going to focus on growing as much food as we can in the existing beds. To that end I expect to plant lots of tomatoes 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

  18. #18
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I got the kids a couple of those starter green house things and had them plant the wildflowers I got at the last state conference. If they can leave it alone we might get some nice plants.

    I'm afraid to start planting anything for outside, but I'm with Maister, I want a bunch of tomatoes and other veggies. Maybe I'll plant it later in the month or early April.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I've converted my raised bed to a strawberry patch (easier to buy carrots from local farms than grow my own) and will be attempting to expand my haskap berry shrubs. I also plan to build a secondary coop that will be dedicated to meat chickens.
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Spent the weekend working the garden. My wife and kids wanted to help which means they picked what seeds I started growing last month and tried to help in the garden, but I ended up doing all the work.
    We have a big raised planter that hasn't been worked for a couple years since we just bought the house. There are some Iris, tulips, and daffodils already growing, they just came up on their own. I went and bought a bunch of peat moss, compost, and garden soil and worked it all together. We pulled a couple of the tulips so we would have more room for veggies. The tomato cages are in the ground and ready. I dug up a couple holes for the new rose bushes and a place in the front for the tulips, but since the weather went to snow this morning I decided to wait until tomorrow or this weekend to get the planting done. I have about 30 cherry and 20 early girl tomatoes starting along with about 20 bell pepper plants and a few cantaloupes. My wife is hoping to get enough that she can can some of the maters and we'll end up eating a lot of the rest. I'm so excited, this is my first year that I've been able to at least try to establish a garden. We'll see what I get out of it. And no more snow, stupid weird weather.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  21. #21
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Spent the weekend working the garden. My wife and kids wanted to help which means they picked what seeds I started growing last month and tried to help in the garden, but I ended up doing all the work.
    We have a big raised planter that hasn't been worked for a couple years since we just bought the house. There are some Iris, tulips, and daffodils already growing, they just came up on their own. I went and bought a bunch of peat moss, compost, and garden soil and worked it all together. We pulled a couple of the tulips so we would have more room for veggies. The tomato cages are in the ground and ready. I dug up a couple holes for the new rose bushes and a place in the front for the tulips, but since the weather went to snow this morning I decided to wait until tomorrow or this weekend to get the planting done. I have about 30 cherry and 20 early girl tomatoes starting along with about 20 bell pepper plants and a few cantaloupes. My wife is hoping to get enough that she can can some of the maters and we'll end up eating a lot of the rest. I'm so excited, this is my first year that I've been able to at least try to establish a garden. We'll see what I get out of it. And no more snow, stupid weird weather.
    That sounds like a respectable effort. A week ago I got our two temp (8' x 6) greenhouses up and placed them over two of our 8' x 4' raised beds. This weekend I got about 50 sugar snap peas sowed, 16 lettuce (assorted variety), and 22 spinach. This is much less than I had hoped but I kept getting sucked into helping with taxes so I guess I'll shoot for modest sowing efforts during the weekdays this week.

    Junior already got his tomatoes, peas, and red cabbage sowed. So he's doing better than I am this spring.
    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

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I've got a few things out in pots: herbs, green bell pepper, and jalapenos. I also found a raspberry (RJ's favorite berry) that should do well here, but I'll probably have to go online to find a cross-pollinator (small city, only 2 independent nurseries, plus Home Depot and Lowe's).

    I also put in some lily bulbs (growing fast) around the dogwood and got 2 new confederate jasmine vines for the relocated trellises between us and the a$$hole neighbors.

    We're also planning to re-sod the whole front yard in a couple of weeks.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    My inner yard looks like it should be leveled and resodded. It is very uneven and there are big patches of mud from where it has been torn up by the dogs chasing each other. I will be rebuilding my fence again this year. Four feet is not enough to keep Shadow inside if there is a squirrel, rabbit, or other fresh food to pursue. The outer fence will be made of cedar posts with 2"x4" wire mesh fencing strung between. I am using 3/4" conduit at the top and bottom to keep it rigid. Inside of that I need to install a second fence to keep the dogs out of the flower gardens. I am inserting 4' rebar in the ground, spaced about 5" apart. Every 4-5' I am using a thick branch. Then I am using another branch at the top as arailing. I am drilling holes to pass the rebar through, and screwing the railing to the posts. This fence is three feet tall. This will likely be an all summer project, with a little bit done at a time until the whole fence is built.

    My order from Michigan Bulb was delivered over a week ago; about three dozen tender young plants. Given the weather, I was not ready to put them outside. They are growing in plastic containers in my living room and looking out the front window at freshly fallen snow. I have not started to think of vegetables yet, but I will be scaling back the garden this year.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I think this weekend after the planting I'll get to work restoring the lawn. I don't need to be the guy with the perfect lawn, I just don't want my lawn green because the weeds keep it that way.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    That sounds like a respectable effort. A week ago I got our two temp (8' x 6) greenhouses up and placed them over two of our 8' x 4' raised beds. This weekend I got about 50 sugar snap peas sowed, 16 lettuce (assorted variety), and 22 spinach. This is much less than I had hoped but I kept getting sucked into helping with taxes so I guess I'll shoot for modest sowing efforts during the weekdays this week.

    Junior already got his tomatoes, peas, and red cabbage sowed. So he's doing better than I am this spring.
    22 spinach? That seems like a lot to me. How far apart did you plant them and how much spinach do you eat?
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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