The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

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

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 04, 2013 4:46 am

Virginia wrote:And this is probably a stupid question, but can you buy mint seeds and, if so, do they have to be specially bought or would someplace like Wal-Mart have them?


I've never had much luck with growing plants from seeds, but I suppose you could. Your best bet is to go to your local garden centre, or a place that sells vegetable plants. They'll have an herb section, and you could get one there ;)
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby Aslanisthebest » Aug 05, 2013 9:53 am

Jo, I didn't know marigolds help with rodents! Thanks... I'll have to remember that. I've seen a mouse once in the yard, so I'll have to do that as a precaution if I grow beans....

Your updates on your garden are delightful to read!! :) Yes, I agree - I don't enjoy the hauling the hose part of watering, but it's definitely worth it to examine each plant and take account of their progress.

Thank-you for the tips on pruning! 3/4th sounds like a good idea.

Ara, ditto about the clumsy tomato plants. ;)) I currently have three cages surrounding one plant that's decided to grow and then bend horizontally in every possible direction.

Thank-you for the pruning insight! I'm guessing that what I did to my container plant hurt it considerably. I was almost as ruthless with the ones in the ground, but they seem to have recovered to some degree. I'm a bit afraid to prune anything at this point.

Valia, yay about the blackberry jelly!! :) I was wondering - what kind of preservative did you use? I've been wondering about various healthy types of preservatives, and have been interested in seeing what others have used.

Sooo, coming in to say that my garden is doing GREAT! Better than when I last posted, at least.

The tomatoes... my one heirloom tomato is doing wonderful. Something happened, and now it has more fruit growing than I can count. I'm so thrilled!! I need to get a picture of the leaves to ask you guys to help me find out if it's a Brandywine or not... It certainly has the "Amish heirloom" look, if you know what I mean. ;))
Surprisingly, all my heirlooms did very well. My roma plant did not do that good (Though, I believe it's an heirloom, so I can just collect the seeds.). The Alicante is coming along nicely; one is ripening, and there are a lot of flowers on there.

My eggplant is doing beautifully. No fruit yet, but plenty of lovely flowers. I am forever loyal to the eggplant as a home garden plant - last year it was my only hope, as it's the only thing that produced. :P

The zucchinni is just... *le sigh* Didn't work out! :( The plant was getting out of control, and a little bit gross with ants getting everywhere, so I had to cut it and try replant part of it... I have no idea. I put it in a very cramped-up spot, so that's probably the problem.

I got one okra! Eeep! It's exciting to see these things that you see in the market grow before your eyes. We sliced the okra up, put it in a few teaspoons of oil, threw in some caraway/ajwain seeds, turmeric, red pepper, and salt and microwaved it. It was good. :P My other okra plant (the one that's at least 4' tall) has plenty of flowers and fruit-looking things. I looove okra, so I'm hoping to get at least a half pound of it so I can make a decent-sized dish.

I'm delighted to report that the peppers have taken off. I don't remember having this many blooms on the plants ever!

My watermelon is doing okay. No more growing other than the two. (I'm wondering if it was the trellis method, or just overall poor conditions.) But the two are growing in their hammocks like cute wee little babies. I'm going to get some pictures this week, once the weather gets a little more convenient to do so.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Aug 06, 2013 2:46 pm

On the subject of pruning tomatoes. The only tomatoes I find worthwhile taking the time to prune are your big beefsteak heirloom varieties. Everything else, I don't care. ;)) Pruning a tomato plant will help direct its energy into the fruit instead of the greenery, but for the majority of plants I've ever grown, they just produce smaller tomatoes and that doesn't matter much to me. Only the heirloom varieties that produce a few tomatoes a year are the ones that I kind of baby.
And generally the only thing you want to prune on a tomato plant are the sucker branches. If you don't know what suckers are, here's a pic...
http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago ... uckers.png
The regular branch only grows a certain distance and then stops. Suckers are a new primary shoot that keeps growing.

Bella, here is a good comparative picture of a Brandywine leaf vs every other tomato leaves. Brandywine is on the left.
http://leslieland.com/wp-content/upload ... leaves.jpg

Well I picked my cantaloupe. :D They were good, but not great. I think the problem was we have suddenly gotten a TON of rain :O and I think it watered down the flavor of the fruit. Anyways, I'm still super excited about it so I will definitely be planting them again in the future. :D

Also, our grapes on the farm have started to have some success! The Mars variety have started to turn and I ate a lot of yummy grapes over the weekend. ;)) We have a lot to learn though because the bunches are not ripening uniformly. I think that's a pruning problem. (Speaking of which, Anna, you cut off way more than 1/3 of the plant each winter. ;)) ) We'll be working on this in the Fall and Winter. :)
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 07, 2013 6:50 am

I always pruned my Roma tomatoes, and I must say that when I do so, I'm usually pretty ruthless :)). I'd usually end up having a pile of suckers that was larger than the plant itself. I've never had problems with my Roma's being "shocked" by losing so many leaves. They've always produced TONS of tomatoes.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby Aravanna » Aug 10, 2013 9:36 pm

Are you referring to mom's hibiscus FK? Those things overgrow every year, so I don't feel too sorry for them. :P And I've heard that grapes need to be trimmed back pretty brutally every year, but you should probably consult an expert on how exactly.

Okay, picture time! I promised some of my more unusual flowers and I'll throw in the picture of when our produce peaked. We've used a lot of it now. Oh, and let me know if the pictures are too big and they make the page load really slow. I tried to scale them down.

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The blackberry lily. It looks like an iris until it blooms.

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My canna

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The yellow hibiscus is blooming!

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Top Row from left to right: Bell peppers, jalapenos, Grandma's Pick Tomato zucchini
Next Row: Edamame, Juliet Hybrid tomatoes, yellow summer squash
Bottom Row: Green beans, sungold tomatoes.

That edamame was an experiment this year. They produced all at once so that's the whole crop of those. We boiled them in water just like a sushi bar and they were tasty! Everything else is pretty typical I think. The one Juliet plant I have is currently keeping up with five Grandma's Picks. However, that's about to change. They're currently covered with orangy tomatoes.

Not sure what to do with the yellow squash. Unlike zucchini which I can make into bread, I'm afraid the squash is going to go bad.

Anyways, I've planted a fall crop of neon Swiss Chard, kale and two kinds of lettuce where the edamame was, but it poured the night after I put the seeds in (Wednesday?) so I'll be curious to see if anything comes up or if it all comes up in one spot. :P
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Aug 14, 2013 12:42 pm

Aravanna wrote:Are you referring to mom's hibiscus FK? Those things overgrow every year, so I don't feel too sorry for them. :P And I've heard that grapes need to be trimmed back pretty brutally every year, but you should probably consult an expert on how exactly.


Yep, I was referring to the hibiscus. I can't believe they can survive that much hacking but hey, the clearly like it cause they grow another 10' by the end of the year. :P

Yeah, I've looked at dozens of material on pruning grapes and I've driven by vineyards and they do get chopped back a LOT. I just have to quit being a wimp and get out there in the winter when they're in hibernation. /hates cold

Ara wrote:Not sure what to do with the yellow squash.
You can blanch, shock, and freeze them and then eat them throughout the year. :)

I have a goal to get myself out to my garden tonight or tomorrow. It has been raining SO MUCH that I haven't had a chance to pick anything lately. I'm kind of scared what I'm gonna find. I've looked out through the window and my couple grape plants have practically tripled in size :-o and I can barely see over the bushy asparagus. 8-}

Does anyone have any experience with dividing flowers? I've got some daylilies as well as another plant I don't remember the name of that I need to break up next year as they're crowding themselves out.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 14, 2013 1:43 pm

FK wrote:Does anyone have any experience with dividing flowers?


I've divided Irises and Hosta before. . . but I don't know if that counts.

I've learned that stevia does not like to be in a pot. It just isn't thriving.

My rosemary isn't growing a lot, but it is still looking very nice despite my neglect. I swear, I haven't watered it in a week, and it still looks great ;)).

The spearmint is doing okay as well, but it looked a little dry and sad, so I gave it a drink today. It's starting to flower ;)
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby fantasia » Aug 20, 2013 7:10 am

Valia, if you see this, how is your peppermint plant doing? ;)

Well I discovered to my great sadness yesterday that having torrential amounts of rain in a month comes with a cost. My onions have completely rotted away. DiGs, I think I remember having a conversation with you in this thread a couple years ago about how you can't grow root vegetables because of the amount of rain you get where you are. I think that's what happened this year. On the plus side, my peppers... :-o
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Aug 20, 2013 9:42 am

Aravanna wrote:I think the best thing to do with mint is just stick it in a pot to curtail it's thuggish ways.

Good idea!

Valia wrote:It actually went so well that I went over and made another batch (as well as some blackberry syrup) this morning. ;))

:D

Bella wrote:Sooo, coming in to say that my garden is doing GREAT!

Yayayay! :D 'Twas great to read your update, as always, Bella! The Brandywine plant has such unusual leaves ... so pretty—thicker, kinda wavy, if that's the right word—and quite different from our other tomato plant leaves. Oh, I see fk posted a comparison photo, good stuff!

:) for your eggplant; :( for your zucchini. :) for your okra! I first had okra in Nigeria ... really scrumptious! And :D for your peppers too.


It's exciting to see these things that you see in the market grow before your eyes.

Yes, indeed! :D

But the two are growing in their hammocks like cute wee little babies. I'm going to get some pictures this week, once the weather gets a little more convenient to do so.

Awwwww, so cute. ;)) How are they progressing now?

Cool about the cantaloupe, fantasia. Hopefully the next time, the summer won't be quite so rainy.


fk wrote:Also, our grapes on the farm have started to have some success!

:D

I used to juice concord grapes. We had a juicer and went at it for a few days in-season. Oh man, the end result was sooooooooo tasty!

Aravanna, those are beautiful photos!

I have never heard of "edamame". Interesting. Do you eat the pods also?

Has anyone ever had spaghetti squash before? A friend grew it once, and we had fun making a 'spaghetti' dinner out of it, complete with sauce and all.
;))

fantasia wrote:Does anyone have any experience with dividing flowers?

We divided a rose plant a few years ago. For the first couple of years, they kind of struggled, although still produced leaves and blooms, but this year they are finally taking off. I have heard many types of lilies can be divided with relative ease. My neighbour split her some of her hostas and they worked/survived well.

:( about your onions, fantasia. :) for your peppers!

And speaking of which, my pepper plants, especially the green, have come along nicely. We are getting a fair few, so I have frozen some for sauces, and gave some away on Sunday to our company, who were thrilled to receive them. The red plant isn't quite as productive as the green, but still doing well. They do take their sweet time to turn red though. ;))

Further update on veggies:

Peas are done, but I planted two more rows last week, which should be ready to harvest in mid-late September, I would guess.

Beans are slowing down, although we are still getting a good pot's-full for every two rows. They are delicious in a skillet with a few cut-up carrots, amidst some garlic and onion, mmmm!

We are harvesting a few long cucumbers weekly. The first couple weren't as sweet, albeit still tasty; but the ones we have had recently are like cuc-candy. ;))

Still picking corn cobs and gobbling them down. I am amazed the squirrels are not on to it yet!!! I planted some late, so have yet to begin to harvest two other rows, which have not yet come to fruition. :)

The grape and sweet million tomatoes are finally really beginning. Bringing in a medium-size bowl daily (. I could eat those until I turn red! ;)) The large varieties—Jet Star and Brandywine—have lots of medium to large green ones, so just waiting for them to turn, at which point we shall be having lots of BLT dinners! :D

Flowers:
The flower gardens are quite spectacular, if I may say so. I wish I could have you all over and give you a guided tour. ;)) A nice surprise from the other day: when I planted in late spring, I sprinkled seeds various places, but 'though I kept the seed packets, I forgot in some instances what I planted where. ymwhisle Well, there are some mammoth plants coming up behind our bountiful zinnias, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they were, even after studying the seed packets. :P We had company over on Sunday and one of the fellows' mom's was an avid gardener, so he looks at the unusual leaves (with large buds at the end) and says, "oh, hollyhocks, nice". I jumped up and down with delight. ;)) And he was so pleased to have helped, lol.

I hope to be posting some gardening photos on FB today yet. However, I took the pics a few days ago, and some things have already grown/developed more since then. One of our sunflowers is probably 12' high. Not quite in bloom yet though.

This is probably our longest spell all this summer without precipitation ... nearly a week now. So I am out early most mornings, watering, and, like we said earlier, taking stock of each plant and variety with lots of TLC. I think our next rain is forecast for Thursday—probably thunderstorms. Sure hope that's true! :D

Ahhh, isn't gardening marvelous?!
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Aug 21, 2013 8:14 am

Forgot a few things (okay, it's nearly 24 hours ;))):

I planted poppy seeds for the first time this year ... by mistake behind the zinnias. I somehow read that they were going to be quite tall, but they were hidden and smothered instead. So, I transplanted them, and while not many of them lived through that, a few plants have revived with TLC and are blooming again. Will definitely get poppy seeds next year and plant them in a more suitable spot. The blooms are really pretty, very delicate.

There are some fun flowers coming up near the back of our yard, right by our doghouse—two different types. One I remember what it is: Bachelor's Buttons, which I have never grown before; the other I forget what seeds I planted there ;)) ... either phlox or aster. We shall see. Nothing is in bloom yet, and I don't recognize the leaves of the unknown plants. :P

I bought a perennial Heucherella (Foamy Bells) this past spring, hoping to fill in a blank area behind a spectacular Daisy, but it is really struggling. *sigh* Anyway, we shall see how—or if—it comes up next year.

My two white Daisy plants were a joy to behold. The blooms are mostly done now, but at their prime, wow! The one plant has a much nicer shape than the other ... who knows why that is. Maybe amount of light.

I picked a small bowl of yellow beans this morning. Nellie/Kimberly had picked the green ones on the weekend, so we have enough for a few more meals. Yum!

Whereas before I'd go out every few days and harvest the cherry and grape tomatoes, I'm having to do this every morning now, woohoo! And I saw the first green Jet Star beginning to ripen today, yay! No sign of reddish Brandywines yet though. We should be gorging ourselves with tomatoes fairly long into the falltime. :D
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 21, 2013 6:25 pm

Jo wrote:I have never heard of "edamame". Interesting. Do you eat the pods also?


Edamame is just soy bean pods. I don't know if they're cooked or not, and I've never had it.

Glad to hear how "happy" your garden sounds, Jo ;)). I too wish that I could get one of those guided tours.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Aug 23, 2013 12:22 pm

Okay, cool, DiGs.

They are very happy gardens, overall, yes. And so is their keeper. ;))

I picked the first of my big tomatoes early this morning ... two Jet Stars! \:D/ One is huge; the other, medium. Can't wait to slice 'em up and devour them. :D The Brandywines have still not yet begun to turn.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Wish you could've brought them here, Jo ;)). We had hamburgers on the grill tonight and had to settle for these little tomatoes from the grocery store that weren't much bigger than a ping-pong ball :(

Garden tomatoes are just awesome.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Aug 28, 2013 10:23 am

They are. What a taste! :x

And I picked our first Brandywine yesterday, woohoo! Going to let it ripen a tad more before devouring. At our dinner of tacos last night, I cut up the Jet Stars and we (2 out of the 3 of us ;))) gobbled them down.

My hollyhocks have their first blooms—a rich and stunning burgundy colour.

More corn is ripening. The last cobs I picked, while tasty, were not fully developed yet, we realized, after we husked them. I'm leaving these new cobs longer before I pick 'em this time.

Just cut up and washed loads of green and yellow beans for supper tonight. I cook them slightly first, then stir-fry them, along with carrots and mushroom, garlic and onion, yum!

We have had a good yield of cucumbers this year. The first few were not overly sweet, but since those, they have tasted like cuc-candy. ;))

The flower gardens are quite glorious. We are enjoying their aesthetic appeal immensely.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby ValiantArcher » Sep 02, 2013 7:17 am

DiGs wrote:Your best bet is to go to your local garden centre, or a place that sells vegetable plants. They'll have an herb section, and you could get one there ;)
Thanks for the advice, DiGs. ;)) And I actually did get a plant, but not quite that way...
Glad your spearmint is doing well! :)

Sorry about the delay in responding, Bella. :ymblushing: We used Sure-jell (I think), which just seems to be a common sort of pectin for jam and such. :) Mel told me recently about something she'd read about being able to use a mix of ripe and unripe blackberries to provide natural pectin, but I don't know the details. ;))
How's your garden doing? Did you get enough okra for cooking? (And, if so, what'd you cook?) And did your eggplant produce?

Ooh, lovely flowers, Ara! :D Woah, that's a good collection of produce! Are there any signs of life from your fall crop yet? ;))

Sorry for the delay in response :ymblushing:, fk! It's growing! :D Some of the sprouts are getting pretty long and starting to trail. Are they supposed to do that or are they supposed to be cut or something? ;))

So, for those who don't know, when I saw fk a month back or something, she gave me a peppermint plant! :D It's been growing a lot, though a few of the sprouts have died off and been replaced by others. I did repot it, but I'm not sure if there's anything I need to be doing besides watering it and letting it have lots of sun? Or if it needs a bigger pot... it's in maybe a five or six inch diameter pot now.

Ooh, your garden harvest sounds so delicious, Jo! Especially the corn on the cob---we tried to grow corn once when I was really little, but I don't think we got any. ;)) And that's a great story about the hollyhocks. ;))

You all are making me really want to plant a garden, but I think I'd better try to just keep the peppermint alive for now. ;)
Keep moving forward.
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Re: The thread for people who have Green Thumbs (Gardening)

Postby johobbit » Sep 17, 2013 9:43 am

Nice about the peppermint plant, Valia. I hope it continues to do well.

You all are making me really want to plant a garden

Do it. in 2014, just do it! ;))

An update: our beans continue to slow down; I don't know if our newer rows of peas will come to fruition, depending on how cool the next few weeks are; the peppers are still thriving, as are the tomatoes—both large and small (So Amazingly Delicious); after a good harvest of cucs over the past month, there are a few growing still, but they are beginning to diminish. As for the corn ... well, let me tell you: we had a very good yield this past while (tasty, sweet, tender), and were looking forward to a few rows I had planted later in the spring, but, alas, being falltime, the squirrels are hoarding up for the winter, for we came outside one morning only to find the three last rows of corn devoid of any cobs (and they were growing so well too :(( :P) and all the stalks knocked down. In one way, squirrels seem to small to raze the stalks like that, but we don't know what else it could be. Racoons, maybe?? Anywho, that was initially why I planted the corn ... for entertainment from the animals in our area. So it was a bonus we got to enjoy any at all. ;)) I still have cobs I picked mid last week in the fridge to eat sometime soon. Mmmm!

The flowers are doing very well. I especially love the contrast on grey fall days of their bright cheeriness. I picked up some gorgeous fall mums the other day—huge pots—of yellow and burgandy. Oh, our Stonecrop/Sedum plants have turned the most 'delicious' pinky colour with the autumn season nearly upon us. I don't think any garden of mine will ever be without this lovely perennial.

They look quite like this now:

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Wondering how your respective gardens are doing, Bella, fantasia, Aravanna, DiGs ...
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