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The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

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

Postby fantasia » Oct 05, 2011 10:48 am

No love in this thread. ;)) I'm not surprised. It's been a rather horrid summer for gardeners I think. Either that or everyone is sick to death of it by now and with the arrival of cooler weather (yay!!) everyone is thinking snow instead of growing things. Except me of course. ;)

Well, as an update to the previous thread, the watermelon that has the white arrow pointing to it grew big and strong and weighed in at 68.5lbs at the fair. Here's a picture with its third place ribbon. :D
Giant Watermelon of Doom
Image

The first place watermelon weighed in at 121lbs so I have my work cut out for me for next year. ;))

I also entered a pair of sugar pumpkins that took second place. :)
Pumpkins
Image

And finally, a much smaller watermelon (only 34lbs if I remember right) that took first place in the long green striped category. :)
Blue Ribbon Watermelon
Image

Other updates... my sister and I dug our first sweet potato plant a few weeks ago cause neither of us have ever grown sweet potatoes before and didn't know when it would be ready. We got some sweet potatoes off of it and they were DELICIOUS!! Definitely a keeper for future years! :D But they weren't quite ready yet (they were small) so we left the other three plants alone. Perhaps when it freezes? We're not sure.

My husband and I decided to invest in a small vineyard for the farm so we planted 29 grape plants last weekend. (It was supposed to be 30 but one plant was dead on arrival.) 9 Concords, 10 Mars, and 10 Reliance. I've no idea what to expect from this, but if they do well, we have plans to expand. :D

And finally, my garlic arrived today so that gives me something to plant. ;)) It's officially the most expensive thing I've ever ordered, and when I opened it, I found out why. They sent full garlic bulbs, like the kind you grow in a store. I figured they'd just be garlic seeds. But even getting these is a learning experience. I thought you were supposed to pull these after a year or two or they'd start to go bad. I guess not. So now I don't know when you're supposed to pull them and use them. Anyways, looking forward to some tasty garlic next year! (I don't know about you all, but I am a garlic addict. ;)) )
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Oct 10, 2011 7:23 am

Yep, this summer was, overall, a drag for gardens here as well. Even the one cherry tomato plant I planted in the spring gave up the ghost early on. And it looked so healthy for awhile. *sniff* It might have been the excessive heat, yes, but to compensate, I may have over-watered it. :ymblushing: Ah well, there's always next summer, except there's nothing quite like a fresh-tasting tomato that you have grown yourself, and we really missed that this year.

fantastia, how wonderful about your produce, CONGRATS! *loves the look of a healthy harvest* With all the work and love you put into your gardens, I'm not surprised you came away with some valued ribbons. :D

Cool about the sweet potatoes (are they the same as "yams"?) and the new vineyard, wow! I've mentioned this elsewhere, but we live fairly near 'Vineyard Central' (Niagara), so have had wonderful access to delicious grapes over the years. When our kids were young, I'd juice dozens of cans of concord grape juice. Soooo good in the middle of winter, and great to give away as gifts also. Say, will they send you a replacement for that one dead plant?

Garlic? Yuppers, the more garlic, the better, in my opinion. Love that stuff! All the best with your ventures, fk, and keep us posted (as I'm sure you will ;))). :D

fk, your photos remind me of Toronto's 89 year old Royal Winter Fair (each November), and its huge produce competition, probably my favourite part of the Fair. (Well, it might be tied with food-tasting, lol. And the animals are pretty cool too.)

Now that fall is here, I find our flowers do even better. They look more vibrant against any grey skies and thrive in these cooler temperatures. I planted a lot from seeds this year: the ones that have done best are the zinnias ... gorgeous and prolific, and tall! (Those are not my photos, but almost could be. ;))) I also planted some morning glory seeds along part of our pool fence, never dreaming they'd take over that entire space, blocking out view of pool and anything beyond. ;)) They're really beautiful, but quite in the way there. Not sure where else to plant them next year, and may have to save these lovely vine-like flowering plants until we have more property, and fence space. :P

People know I love plants, so tend to kindly gift potted beauties to me on any special occasion. Some, after weeks of thriving in the house, begin to naturally fade, at which point I plant them in one of the gardens, instead of composting them, only to find they perk right up in a while, and flower again before winter. Love that!

One of my favourite flowers of all is the autumn mum, which are so picturesque (and often huge) in the fall, and can then be planted to bloom again each year.

A funny tidbit: I really enjoy Indian corn, so hung an attractive small display out on our mailbox, only to find that the squirrels can reach it, so at this point, one week later, 3/4 of each cob is bitten clean off. :)) Those little imps. ;))
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Oct 19, 2011 10:18 am

Jo wrote:Cool about the sweet potatoes (are they the same as "yams"?)
They're actually not. (Though I admittedly had to look up the difference and here's what I found.) Yams and sweet potatoes are two completely different types of plants, but the tubers are so similar in appearance and taste, that they're pretty much used for the same thing.
More info on the subject here if you're interested.

Jo wrote:Garlic? Yuppers, the more garlic, the better, in my opinion.
;)) Well, I got four full bulbs planted out at the farm, donated one to my parents, and have been lazy about planting the last three in my own backyard. :P Shame on me. ;))

Tonight we're supposed to have our first freeze of the season. Where I live it's only supposed to get to 32F so I have my stuff covered and it should be fine. However, at the farm, it's supposed to get down to 26F :-s We made an emergency trip up there on Sunday to bury our grapes in straw. It's supposed to warm back up again and I don't want them to go dormant yet. The more established their root systems can get, the better. But if they do go dormant, so be it. I did actually manage to get a picture of them this time, but it's on my husband's camera phone and I can't retrieve it cause he has it at work. :P I'll try to remember to post it later.

One thing though, we have this horseradish plant out there that's supposed to be dug after the first hard freeze..... I'm really rather nervous about doing that, but I suppose if I'm going to plant it, I ought to be brave enough to dig it back up again. :P :))
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Nov 06, 2011 7:35 am

Well, the 2011 gardening season has pretty much come to a close. We've had a couple hard freezes now and for the most part everything has shut down til Spring.

~At the farm the baby vineyard is in full hibernation. I'm praying they got a good root system established and will be back in full force next spring. :)
~Several of the leafy greens are still going out there. The lettuce that reseeded itself looks good. The swiss chard looks good. The carrots look good. All of the onions that we didn't dig are growing back again (they had been mowed off). And the turnips look good.
~We dug a celery plant yesterday and brought it home. I'm definitely growing celery from this point on. It's 100x more potent than the storebought stuff, and judging by the darker green color, I imagine it's got more nutrients in it too. Got that cleaned and refrigerated.
~We dug our horseradish. I was expecting to get walloped in the face by it, but I couldn't even smell it. It grows kind of weird, sort of like long skinny carrots. We made our own horsey sauce last night (which is what I call it ;)) ) and when I started peeling the horseradish tubers, then I could smell it. but it wasn't really strong until we blended it with vinegar, sugar and salt. It wasn't too bad. :)
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Jan 02, 2012 7:43 pm

Mmk, it's January, which means I can bump this thread up guilt-free even though I started buying seeds last week.... *ahem* ;))

FK'S GARDENING SEASON HAS BEGUN!!! \:D/

I've hit up some of the local stores to start buying seeds on my list (yeah, I already have a list) and have a nice pile of seed packets growing on my desk. I also weeded out (no pun intended :P ) my seeds that are more than two years old.

Somebody I bought seeds from last year sold my name to other seed companies and I've already accrued 13 seeds catalogs. ;)) I don't mind, I've gotten some really interesting ones I've highlighted some stuff to buy in.

At any rate, I plan to get my order in to Burpee for the rest of my peppers I know I'm growing this year by tomorrow. I also plan to start some of the really early seedlings within the next week or two. My current list....

Seeds to start this month
~Celery (did surprisingly well last year despite the severe drought. Hoping for even better results this year...and more rain)
~Broccoli
~Cauliflower
~Brussels Sprouts (same as Celery)
~Peppers

New-to-me things I'm going to plant this year
~Parsnips
~Sunflowers
~Peanuts (excited about this one :D )
~New varieties of peppers and tomatoes
~Pole beans (I've only ever grown bush beans)

So here's to a fantastic 2012 gardening year with lots of rain!! :ymapplause: But not too much rain. ;))
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby Gymfan15 » Jan 03, 2012 8:59 am

You've never grown sunflowers before? Those were a staple when we used to have a garden, lol. They are so fun, and easy. We weren't amazing gardeners by any means but I can't remember any dying on us. ;)) They are so pretty and HUGE! Aww, and now I'm homesick for them. ;))
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby Wifester » Jan 03, 2012 2:17 pm

OK, I admit - I do not have a green thumb. Does anyone have any tips on what to work on for beginners? (plants, equipment, sites, etc.) I will take all the advice I can get. It would be nice to grow our own veggies and save some money.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 03, 2012 2:35 pm

Hello Wifester! Welcome to NarniaWeb. I've heard a lot about you, and it's great to have you here!

You say you want to grow your own veggies. Any kind in particular that you'd like to grow?
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby stargazer » Jan 03, 2012 5:48 pm

Welcome, Wifester! Glad you've joined us.

Which veggies you can easily grow also depends somewhat on your climate. Cool weather crops like lettuce or peas may need to be grown early in the season, for example, if you live in a warm area. (Or, as is true here, the growing season is significantly shorter, which dictates to some extent what we grow, or may influence our choice of shorter-season hybrids).

In my fairly limited experience, those basic veggies (like tomatoes, peas, and green beans) are fairly easy to grow successfully, given reasonably cooperative weather.

Kind of amusing that this thread has started up again now that we finally have snow on the ground. ;)) (Yet those spring seed catalogs have started appearing here too).
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 04, 2012 6:08 pm

FK wrote:Pole beans (I've only ever grown bush beans)


In my experience, pole beans produce more beans per seed than bush beans, but they're trickier too. Mine have always been really succeptible to drought so make sure that you keep the soil loose around them so that water can get down in there. Good luck with those!

We haven't gotten a burpee catalog yet, which really surprises me. I don't know how much I'll have in my garden this year. Last year I was the only one who did anything to it. One person cannot maintain a garden without it looking like a jungle (which it did). I only got six of the twelve cabbages I planted (some were given away but others died on the plant). The broccoli didn't do well at all because we had such a dry summer. I didn't get any peppers, few peas. My okra was eaten by deer. Cucumbers dried up. Just overall a bad year for everything except tomatoes.

Of course, when you have to plant, tend, weed, water, till, pick, and freeze EVERYTHING by yourself, you can only expect disaster.

So this year I'm going to assume that I'm not going to get any help again, and will probably only plant a few tomato plants, and maybe some broccoli and cucumbers.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby wolfloversk » Jan 04, 2012 8:21 pm

Wifester wrote:OK, I admit - I do not have a green thumb. Does anyone have any tips on what to work on for beginners? (plants, equipment, sites, etc.) I will take all the advice I can get. It would be nice to grow our own veggies and save some money.


I know they aren't veggies, but I find cacti and succulents as great indoor plants for those such as myself who tend to forget to water them. All they need is a well lit room, and the occasional re-potting. If had mine survive well with a month with no water. And they do work in Northern climates (I live in the North East) so long as they're not exposed to really cold conditions (But most do well at room temperature). Also cacti are slow (really slow!) growers.

As for vegetables, I wish I could offer more assistance, but I fear it doesn't fall in my realm of knowledge. I do know however if you plan on making an outdoor garden, you should be aware of what soil type and climate you have. In my area, the soil is very poor and rocky, but corn survives well (except for last summer when we got completely drenched). Though I'm guessing you probably have heard this.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby Wifester » Jan 04, 2012 9:18 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:You say you want to grow your own veggies. Any kind in particular that you'd like to grow?


I have no idea about the veggies. Something hardy? I figured if I start looking now I might get motivated to do something this year. I will have to go to the library and pick up a book or two on climates in the south and what vegetables can be grown here. The previous owner of our home had corn in the back yard, I believe. I'd have to turn into a serious outdoor person to attempt something like that. Are there any veggies that are good to grow in containers?
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 05, 2012 1:31 pm

Wifester wrote:Are there any veggies that are good to grow in containers?


Absolutely! A gallon sized flowerpot is about the right size for a pepper plant (which will provide you with dozens of wonderful fruits!) Your climate is probably pretty good for peppers, but if they're in pots, you don't have to worry about them as much.

A five or ten gallon pot would be great for tomatoes, with each plant giving you close to a bushel of tomatoes (depending on the variety and how well the plant does). Romas and Early Girls are good all around favourites that are quite hearty.

I've also hear of people growing cucumbers out of pots (but I'm not sure how that works). Of course, the best thing for you to do is to pick what you want to grow, and then go about learning how to plant them. Feel free to pop in or PM one of us with questions! We're happy to help.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Jan 06, 2012 8:43 am

Wifester wrote:OK, I admit - I do not have a green thumb. Does anyone have any tips on what to work on for beginners?

I've been going through the list of veggies in my head that can be planted in containers and can survive some neglect, cause that's basically what you're looking for right? ;)

The one thing that sticks out at the top of the list for me is loose leaf lettuce. Once that stuff gets established, it's like a weed. ;))

I'm also going to second DiGs's suggestion of a tomato plant, they can take a bit of abuse. ;)) And the Early Girl is one that I"m pretty familiar with, but I do have to say that this is a determinate tomato, and what that means is that it's going to grow up, produce a set of tomatoes, and then die. Your black thumb didn't do it. ;) ;)) And a determinate tomato plant might be a good one to start with. :)

And a third suggestion with SL in mind ;)) are radishes and beets. Radishes are especially easy and they grow fast.

There are certainly others, so if there's any particular thing that you want to grow, feel free to ask about it here. :)

Now I have to ask you a question... are you asking about pots because you don't have the space to grow them in your yard? Cause pots cost a fair bit of money and so does the dirt you put in them. Plus it's a lot easier to kill a potted plant because you can over/under water them. :P
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 08, 2012 6:29 pm

FK wrote:And a third suggestion with SL in mind are radishes and beets. Radishes are especially easy and they grow fast


I hadn't thought of those. Radishes and beets would be great because (like FK said) they grow REALLY fast, and the tubers aren't that huge, and thus would do decently in pots (radishes probably moreso than beets)

FK wrote:I'm also going to second DiGs's suggestion of a tomato plant, they can take a bit of abuse. And the Early Girl is one that I"m pretty familiar with, but I do have to say that this is a determinate tomato, and what that means is that it's going to grow up, produce a set of tomatoes, and then die. Your black thumb didn't do it. And a determinate tomato plant might be a good one to start with.


They may be determinate, but this has never been the case for us. We usually get tomatoes off of the plants all summer long. Given, there's one huge bumper crop of them, but even after the plant starts to die we're still getting those things ;)).

And I can second the leaf lettuce suggestion, but I would advise keeping the pots up off the ground (like on a picnic table or something) because the rabbits will find it ;)). Spinach does really good in our soil, and it's SO easy to grow. The problem is that it doesn't grow for very long (a total life cycle of about five weeks) but the upside to that is that it doesn't take long to grow more from seeds.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby wolfloversk » Jan 08, 2012 7:12 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:And I can second the leaf lettuce suggestion, but I would advise keeping the pots up off the ground (like on a picnic table or something) because the rabbits will find it ;)).


Hmmm... Maybe I should convince my parents to plant some more lettuce then ;)) I've ran out of rabbit attracting ideas.
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