Page 1 of 46

The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 03, 2010 11:37 am
by fantasia
There have been threads like this in the past and I've never gotten involved (shame on me), but in the past three years, I've really gotten into gardening as a hobby during the spring, summer and fall. I just love it. So, I thought I'd start this thread for other fellow gardeners since planting season is just a few months away.

I guess I'll start off by saying that I have an unhealthy obsession with tomatoes. :P Which is funny because they're not something that I eat all that often, but I love growing them. There are so many different types and colors that are fun to experiment with that the vast majority of my gardens thus far have been dedicated to tomatoes.

As this is my first post, I figured I'd keep it somewhat reasonable and just talk about tomatoes for now, even though I grow a LOT of other veggies (and fruits!) besides that.

I also start my tomatoes from seed rather than plant because I get cabin fever in a serious way after Christmas that I can't wait to start growing things any longer. Yes... I have already started my tomato (and pepper) seedlings. :ymblushing: ;))

This year I'm growing...
Honeybunch Hybrid - This is a grape tomato that's your stereotypical grape tomato. Small, red, really sweet, great to eat right off the vine.
Italian Ice - Another grape tomato, but it's actually white. This is one of my favs because it tastes like candy.
Black Pearl - Another grape tomato thats... black. A new one for me this year, I don't know what it tastes like, but according to Burpee if you refrigerate this tomato, it tastes like a Concord Grape. Yum.
Red Lightning - A cherry tomato that has red and and yellow stripes on it. A new one on me. It looked cool so I had to try it. :P
Juliet Hybrid - My very favorite tomato EVER. If I could only grow one tomato plant a year, this would be it. The best description I can give it is that it's a small Roma that grows in bunches like a grape. I have canned these in the past and used them later to make spaghetti sauce. It's also the primary tomato I use in my awesome salsa. You can also eat them right off the vine as well... they're very good.
Tangerine Mama/Golden Mama - These are practically the same tomato except one is orange and one is yellow. These are most definitely a sauce tomato as they're not very juicy, though I've never used them that way before. I just put em in my salsa. :P
Razzle Dazzle - Introduced to me by Burpee as I'd NEVER heard of it before, this is a fantastic hamberger tomato. It's also a really unusual color... sort of a mauve rather than red.
Brandywine Pink - One of my first heirlooms. I didn't grow any of these personally last year, a co-worker of my husband's did (I gave him the plant... it was out of a variety seed packet), and it was AMAZING. Just a really, big, huge, awesome, pinkish tomato. :))
Black Krim - The second of my heirlooms. It's black/dark purple. A new one on me... hope it's good!
Burpee's Supersteak - The third of my heirlooms. Came in a variety packet so I had no choice but to test it out. :P This is probably the most stereotypical of my heirloom tomatoes. :)
Big Rainbow - The fourth heirloom. It's big, it's yellow, it's lumpy. Can't wait!
Aunt Ruby's German Green - The last heirloom. I just discovered this in a book last night... I'd never heard of it before so I ordered some seeds off of amazon to test em out. :D And... it's green. LOL

Alright, that's enough rambling from me for now, but I shall return later to discuss other things I like growing. :P

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 03, 2010 5:44 pm
by Shadowlander
My lawn is buried under snow right now (a oddity for North Carolina) but I'm trying to think ahead to Spring. We have about 2 acres of land but there's a part of it that I can't access with the's overgrown with weeds. Giant weeds. I was thinking about getting back there in the next month, ripping them all out, tilling it all up, and spreading wildflower seeds all over the place. There'd be nothing like looking out the back window and seeing a solid field of flowers 20 feet long by 10 feet wide. :D

Fantasia_kitty, I love tomatoes myself, but they don't like to grow for me. The only thing I plant that ever seems to grow the way it's supposed to are greenbeans. Everything else dies. :-\ I love cherry tomatoes but love the regular beefsteak hybrid as well. I might try my hand at onions this year too...

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 04, 2010 10:32 am
by stargazer
Our yard also lies under a couple feet of snow, though that's par for the course here. Our growing season is a lot shorter (it can snow well into May and frost can come as late as early June), but I still grew up with a family garden. There's just nothing like garden-ripened tomatoes! Yum! I eat them right off the plant, like other people eat apples. ;))

We have different hybrids here, bred for the shorter growing season, but I'm not fluent in which ones my gardening friends use (though Better Boy and Beefsteak come to mind. They also grow Roma and cherry tomatoes).

We have too many trees and the soil is rather poor on our lot, but long-time friends - Ryadian's parents - are big into gardening, with all sorts of raised beds and drip irrigation systems and so on, so I still get some fresh produce later in the summer. In addition to tomatoes they also grow bell peppers, beets, cucumbers, squash, herbs, and even sweet corn. They do start spring crops like lettuce and peas indoors, but we're still too deep into winter just now to begin doing that. ;)

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 04, 2010 6:59 pm
by wolfloversk
We don't currently have a garden, but I do have a few plants. I prefer hardy plants like cacti or Pothos (type of ivy)
I'd like to have an indoor garden at some point so I can grow some of my own food.

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 05, 2010 5:06 pm
by fantasia
Shadowlander, have you ever had your soil tested? Most gardening centers will sell pretty inexpensive self-testing kits... that might show if your tomatoes aren't getting enough nutrients.

stargazer, you're going to have to convince Rya's parents to take pictures for me. I've always wanted to do a drip irrigation system but don't have a clue how to get it set up.

So the second thing that I grow rampently are Peppers. I'm not actually a huge fan of bell peppers... they just don't grow well here (too hot) but I do have pretty good luck with hot peppers.
This year I'm planting

Habeneros - not as scary as you think. I mean you certainly have to be careful of them, but adding about a quarter of a gutted pepper into a vat of salsa is just the right amount of heat for me. :D And they're sooo pretty.

Jalapenos - I actually don't care for this pepper at all. I don't like the sour flavor that it has. But I'm growing them this year because everybody else in my family LOVES them.

Cayenne - Don't do what my husband and I did last year and take a small bite off the tip of one... bad idea. But these are great for drying and I used these more than any other pepper last year.

Poblano - New pepper! I know nothing about it other than it's toasty. :)

Anaheim - Last year I got a mutant anaheim pepper in a random packet of seeds. These are SUPPOSED to be somewhat toasty and that didn't happen. Instead I ended up with a vasty superior "green pepper". Tasted exactly the same as a green bell pepper and about 10x more prolific.

California Wonder (Green Bell Pepper) - I keep trying different varieties of bell peppers to find one that grows here, though I'm about to give up. ;))

Flavorburst (Green/Yellow Striped Bell Pepper) - Same as above. :)

Random packet! - Yeah, I got these last year, and I'm never getting them again cause I only got two peppers out of it that were actually supposed to be there. The others were random bell peppers. :)) But they were supposed to include a Hungarian Wax pepper so I'm trying them again this year in the hopes that I'll get that pepper plant... and to use up the rest of the seeds. No more random packets after this. :P

So far my only plants that I've had come up are the Jalapenos and Cayennes. I'm sure the rest will start popping up before the weekend is over. :)

Oh, and my Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes arrived in the mail today so I popped a couple of those in some dirt. :P ;))

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 06, 2010 12:02 pm
by Aravis Narnia
I do not know if this counts. But I found out today that my Garden in a Bag has sprouted! I planted the seeds about a week ago. Today I checked it- and there are several sproutlings! Can't wait till the plants blossom.

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 06, 2010 2:30 pm
by Shadowlander
Fantasia_Kitty, I love hot peppers of all varieties, although they don't love me ;)). If you pickle the jalapenos (which I pronounce Juh-LAP-in-ohs) they come out quite good. Cayenne....well, what can I say? can't eat them straight (unless you're the Evel Knievel of pepper eating) but they're tasty and my favorite hot sauces use it as the main ingredient. Habaneros are *not* to be trifled with! They can hurt ya!

One of my AF buddies had a garden at his house several years ago and he grew his own hot peppers. One year he planted a small patch of watermelons next to his habanero plants and the watermelons ended up absorbing some of the heat off of the peppers. A hot and spicy slice of watermelon is...shall we say...interesting to say the least? ;))

Have you considered planting Serrano peppers? They're somewhat similar to jalapenos but considerably hotter (Jalapenos rate at 8,000 Scovilles, Serranos at 22,000....Habaneros are in the neighborhood of 300,000 I think). I ate one raw at work on a dare from my coworkers and it was....something. =)) Tasty but rather painful!

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2010 8:34 am
by fantasia
Shadowlander wrote:Habaneros are *not* to be trifled with! They can hurt ya!
I agree with you 100%. I handle them with the utmost care. ;)) Lots of handwashing afterwards too.

My crazy husband however can eat them raw, if they have been gutted. I know that's sorta not the point as all of the heat in the pepper are the seeds and that white fleshy stuff (which I'm blanking on the name right now) but still.

Shadownlander wrote:Have you considered planting Serrano peppers?
I've not tried them yet. What are they typically used for?

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2010 2:35 pm
by Shadowlander
You use Serranos pretty much like you'd use any other pepper. I've seen them used in salsas, as a spicy additive in a meatloaf, or even as a topping on a cheeseburger. Think of a Serrano as sorta like....a super jalapeno. :D

Fantasia_Kitty wrote:My crazy husband however can eat them raw, if they have been gutted. I know that's sorta not the point as all of the heat in the pepper are the seeds and that white fleshy stuff (which I'm blanking on the name right now) but still.

Your man! Wowsers! :-o I don't know that I could make it past the first nibble, let alone eating the whole habanero fruit. I saw on a hot pepper special on TV that the heat-producing capsacin isn't so much the seeds themselves but the rind of the seeds, as well as the white stuff you're talking about (its name escapes me as well). But the fruit is still plenty hot too. Serrano is about as hot as I can get eating straight from a pepper...I was barely able to breathe.

Serranos look similar to jalapenos except they're a tad bit larger and longer. The one I had was green with just a hint of yellow running through it but I'm told they can be red or orange too. Now I'm giving serious thought to putting some down in the Spring. ;))

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 12, 2010 8:15 am
by fantasia
I keep a photo blog of my gardens on Facebook and so I took a pic last night of my current plantlings.


The tray on the left are my tomatoes. The tray in the middle are the peppers. The four pots on the right are the tomatoes that outgrew the tray and were in danger of being squished when I'd put the lid on. :P I also repotted them according by which garden they're going to (I grown tomatoes and peppers for a lot of people) so if you see one tomato in a pot and three tomatoes in a pot and think "What on earth is FK doing?" it's like that on purpose! ;))

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 12, 2010 1:58 pm
by wolfloversk
@FK: They're cute! (yes I think young plants are cute :ymblushing: I know I'm odd)
Do you grow your plants inside or do you put them outside when they're old enough?

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 12, 2010 2:39 pm
by fantasia
Oh.. outside, definitely. One of the few things I dislike about my house is the sheer lack of windows. I might have room for one tomato plant if I staked it or hung it. The sliding door you see there is the only place I can grow seedlings. All the other (four) windows are either puny or facing the wrong way.

Nothin' wrong with thinking plants are cute.... :D

Speaking of hanging tomatoes... has anyone ever tried it? I've always been curious to know how well it works outside of infomercials. :P

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 12, 2010 2:46 pm
by stargazer
That picture looks familiar. In a month or 6 weeks Ryadian's parents' basement will be similarly filled with little plants getting a head start on growing even if there's still snow on the ground outside. ;))

They use a bunch of fluorescent lights down there, though sometimes that makes the plants a bit spindly. But they recover quickly once they're outside.

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 12, 2010 4:06 pm
by wolfloversk
Yeah FK I have the same problem, I lost 2 cacti this year ( :(( )because my mom's making my keep them in my room, problem is a) it's a dark colored room, b) There's a bunch of fir trees in front of the window, and c) I don't have a table in there yet. At least my ivy plant is growing in there. We grew an outside garden a few years ago, but all of our tomatoes were eaten by catepillars, deer, and rabbits.

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 2:39 pm
by fantasia
Well, my herbs have been officially started today. ;)) Herbs are a funny thing with me. Usually when (on the rare occasion) I cook and a recipe calls for a tsp of fresh herbs of some kind, it drives me crazy to have to go to the store and buy this huge thing of herbs of which I use a minuscule amount and then the rest goes bad. And yet, last year I had a stellar herb garden and I used very little out of it. :)) Go figure. I guess the idea is that it's there if I need it. :P
So last years herbs consisted of...
Chives, Parsley, Cilantro, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Dill, Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme, Fennel, Chamomile, Garlic, and Sage. (I started Rosemary but it died. :( )
This year, I'm ditching the Fennel and Chamomile and probably Marjoram as well because I never used them... and instead I'm adding Lavender, Rosemary (try again), and Tarragon. :D

Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

PostPosted: Mar 11, 2010 8:44 am
by johobbit
I love hearing about everyone's gardening experience. I've seen fk's pics on FB, and they truly look like a cool and inviting work of earthy art. I can almost smell the different vegetables and herbs as I'm gazing longingly at the photos (such as her cute tomato tray above: don't they look like they're dancing?). *contented sigh* And yes, wolfloversk, I agree plants can be just plain ... cute. ;)) Enjoy those herbs, fk. For many years I've considered an herb garden, but have just never got around to making it work.

We have always had a fairly large vegetable garden over the years, but lately have had to cut back big-time because of a number of circumstances, not the least of which is that our area is currently over-run with bunnies, who eat everything. So cute, but wow, they have voracious appetites! :p

We regularly planted seeds for lettuce, cucumbers, green and yellow beans, and peas ... sometimes carrots. We've also tried radishes, brussel sprouts, corn, watermelon, and squash. Each year we also always have tomatoes (both cherry and regular size) and cucumber, but for both those we buy tiny plants early in the season.

Someday I hope to get back to having our garden again. There is something wonderfully satisfying about planting, caring for (weeding, which I actually quite enjoy, as long as it's in the cool of the evening), and harvesting one's own produce. And, oh my, it is tasty! Often the peas never made it to the pot, as we'd enjoy eating them raw straight from the garden. Same with some of the beans.

I'm excited to plant some tomato seeds indoors in another few weeks, and not only because I love the name—"Brandywine". ;)) I adore the taste of tomatoes, and have actually never yet grown them from seed. In the past I've always bought wee plants in early June, so this will be a fun adventure.

Does anyone else just love the scent of growing plants ... tomatoes, especially? Mmm ... :D

In our area (southern Ontario), we are warned not to plant before our May 24th long weekend as frost can still occur up to this date.