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getting ready for spring gardening

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Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
This was my first time ordering online, and I forget why I went to Veseys, but their catalogues fill my needs - almost. I wouldn't order online if there was a garden shop or nursery here. I'll have a look at the Stokes catalogue.

I want a good veggie garden but also flower gardens, trees, and shrubs - I have a lot of landscaping to do here.


Farmpunk
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Joined: Jul 25 2006
BB, you can't go wrong with either Veseys or Stokes. Over the years I've found, and my farming and gardening friends have found Veseys a little less reliable in terms of seed quality. I'm sure someone else has had similar experiences with Stokes. I believe that Stokes has a larger seed stock...

At any rate, I've been very impressed with my Stokes stock.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
quote:Originally posted by Farmpunk:
Over the years I've found, and my farming and gardening friends have found Veseys a little less reliable in terms of seed quality.

Arrrggghhhhh! I sent a large order to Veseys last week. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
Just remembered there's a good supply of used green treated 8" x 8" thick wood beams at the dump from a bridge construction project. It ocurred to me these will be good to use as a base for the new greenhouse (probably similar to the one pictured above) I hope to build with old glass windows I have lying around in the barn. Might be good for property and garden edging, and maybe as a base for a fence. They're old beams so I imagine the green chemical has soaked through and dried and poses no health problem. Comment?

oreobw
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Joined: Jan 13 2007
If by "green" you mean pressure treated then most garden people do not use them around beds where anything is grown for human consumption. They are okay for general plants, flowers, shrubs, etc.

Also, if you saw them up do it outside in a breeze.

There are two methods of pressure treating wood, one was banned recently, I think due to arsenic leaching, the newer kind is better but I still would not use them near anything I was going to eat.

I just re-built my front deck and used pressure treated wood. No problem here as I'm not going to chew on the deck. Also, okay as a greenhouse base as plants in the green house would be in pots.

Sorry, if the above is obvious.

[ 10 February 2007: Message edited by: oreobw ]

[ 10 February 2007: Message edited by: oreobw ]


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
Yes, "pressure treated" is the expression I was looking for. Thanks for the reminder not to use them around veggies or fruits. I'll stick to using them as the base of the greenhouse and some fencing/property edging. Just back from the dump and found the wood is covered by a heavy layer of snow, so will have to wait a while before I can get at them.

Farmpunk
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Joined: Jul 25 2006
BB, don't worry about Vesey's seed stock too much. I'm partial to Stokes because their service has been outstanding, and because I've found some varities that work very well for me, here.

What did you order, BB?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
If the stuff from Veseys doesn't do well, I'll order from Stokes next year. Although, the staff at Veseys have been helpful in making sure I don't order anything outside my hardiness zone, although somehow I did get three packets of herb seeds that need a warmer clime.

I've ordered catnip, an indoor herb garden, four varieties each of: cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, turnip, watermelon, carrots, onions;
six varieties of beans; one variety of corn and spinach. I can be more specific if you wish. There's some other stuff but it hasn't arrived yet.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005

I have no beer made right now so I tried something new to stop the slugs getting my peas.   Hydrated lime is a powder sold in farm and building supply stores.  I grew the seeds inside and planted them out when about 2 inches high.   This year I put about a spoonful of hydrated lime round (without touching) each pea plant.  the reason is that slugs and ground catapilars love them. and will munch them down in a second. It has been 3 days now and the peas are still unharmed.  Hydrated lime is calcium hydroxide. It is caustic and it gradually turns into calcium carbonate which  is almost inert. (Limestone).

You must be aware of the caustic nature of hydrated lime, so be careful handling it.   Even so, I think it might be safer than using slug pellets.

I dont know if anyone else has tried it?

Brian


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

 

It's actually been the mildest winter in our history, so I ordered my seeds for planting. We still have frost every night - there's no snow anywhere here - and the ground is still pretty hard, so I don't know exactly how much earlier I'll be able to plant than normally is the case.

Here's what I ordered, for our Hardiness Zone 3a and below:


Vista Watermelon
Red Baron Onion
Burpee's Rhubarb Swiss Chard
Stir-Fry Collection Veggies
Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Lettuce Collection
Seaside Mix Wildflowers (can tolerate some salt spray)
Cucumber Collection
Carrot Collection
Bird & Butterfly Mix Wildflowers (designed to attract butterflies and small birds)
Indigo Radicchio
Helenor Organic Turnip

 

 



(cross posted to another forum)

 

 


PraetorianFour
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Joined: Nov 16 2009

Can anyone suggest some nice plants for an office that are easy to maintain for someone who has no idea about gardening or plants?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

PraetorianFour wrote:

Can anyone suggest some nice plants for an office that are easy to maintain for someone who has no idea about gardening or plants?

Flowering cactus - and they last forever. The occasional liquid cactus food mixed in a bit of water, and transplanting eventually into a larger pot, are all the care they need. 


RevolutionPlease
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Joined: Oct 15 2007

You could also try a Spider Plant

 

Quote:

It is a popular houseplant. The most widely grown is the variegated cultivar 'Variegatum', with one or two broad yellowish-white bands running along the length of each leaf, but natural, entirely green plants are also grown. The Spider Plant is an especially popular plant with beginners, as it is easy to grow and propagate and is very tolerant of neglect, being able to thrive in a wide range of conditions.[2]

Spider plants have also been shown to reduce indoor air pollution.[3]


PraetorianFour
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Joined: Nov 16 2009

Thank you very much.  I'm going to see if walmart has them.  I'm slowly going to turn my office green, I'll start with the odd tidy subtle plant and by the end my office will be a shrine to the nature gods  (=


RevolutionPlease
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Joined: Oct 15 2007

If you can find someone who has a spider plant you won't need to purchase one as I'm sure they'd give you a baby to start.  They're so easy to multiply.  I would never pay for one.


al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003

Quote:

Thank you very much.  I'm going to see if walmart has them.

 

As was so eloquently stated on another thread, "gah...."


PraetorianFour
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Joined: Nov 16 2009

Oops! I didn't mean walmart! Bad PraetorianFour! (=  There is actually some kind of garden green house looking thing near my house I'll swing by there and see if they can set me up.

Is there any sort of rule or law or anything I should be worried about? Can i get a hard time for having a plant in my office?  Can someone find it offensive or be allergic to it ??


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

PraetorianFour wrote:

Can anyone suggest some nice plants for an office that are easy to maintain for someone who has no idea about gardening or plants?

The "ZZ Plant": very attractive, although a little slow growing it does grow steadily. Your biggest risk is overwatering, otherwise the plant is extremely hardy - you have to work at it to cause it any harm. Very tolerant of cold draughts, does not require direct light especially if you have fluorscent overheads. Try to find a small one at your greenhouse as larger ones (over 12") are dreadfully overpriced. This plant does have large blooms, (about once a year), stalk and bloom are a lighter green than the leaves.

zz plant

 

Also nice is the old standy-by, Rubber Plant: very suitable for low-light conditions. Generally very hardy, but soil must be kept moist. Do not put in direct sunlight. May need staking as it grows over time, but is also slow growing. A little trailing ivy in the pot also looks very nice.

Rubber Plant

 


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Veseys has this Top Ten list for beginning veggie gardeners:

 

  • Tomato - Mosaic Mix and Tomande. Start tomato seeds indoors in mid-April or 6-8 weeks before last frost. Do not put plants outside until all risk of frost has passed.
  • Beets - Merlin. No thinning is required. Plant in early May, as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Lettuce - Baby Leaf Blend. Plant in early May, as soon as the ground can be worked. Sow every 2 weeks for a continual crop.
  • Peas - Sugar Sprint. Does not require a trellis. Plant treated seed in early May, as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Radishes - Rebel. Plant in early May, as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Carrots - Napoli. Best tasting early carrot. Plant in mid-May or 2-4 weeks before last frost.
  • Beans - Goldrush and Valentino. Plant treated seed in early June.
  • Cucumber - Sweeter Yet. Plant first of June after risk of frost has passed.
  • Zucchini - Richgreen. Plant in early June, after all danger of frost has passed and when the soil has warmed to 21°C.
  • Pumpkin - Neon. Compact plant. Best pumpkin for pies and Halloween. Plant in early June, after all danger of frost has passed and when the soil has warmed to 21°C.
  • I've never had luck with growing beans, peas, or pumpkin here - probably not warm enough.


    ElizaQ
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    Joined: May 27 2005
    I'm putting the final touches on my seed orders. I have a lot of seed saved from last year so I'll stay with the most of my tried and true varieties. I like to try a few new things every year though. Heirloom seed availability has exploded over the few years and there are just so many choices of interesting things to try. I get my seed from a variety of places. Terra Edibles, Veseys, Saltspring Island Seed Company and William Damm Seeds. I have over thirty variety of tomato seed on hand, some saved and some leftover from the past couple of years. I've tested all of them and have picked about ten that have done well here in terms of yield, bug resistance and taste. This year I'm trying out three new ones. Hendersons Pink Ponderosa : A large tomato up to 2lbs. I have yet to find a big tomato variety that does really well in my conditions. Most get chomped up by the zillions of doodle bugs I have around here. Instead if fighting this losing battle with these bugs I'm just searching for varieties that do well despite them. Most of the ones I am growing this year don't seem to be bugged by them for whatever reason. Japanese Triefle Black : A purple, potato leaf tomato that comes from Russia. I've had good success with other purple tomatos, they taste good and do very well in a variety of conditions including colder weather. I expect that's due to where they come from. Most purple varieties come out of more northern climes like Russia. Longkeeper: Midseason, medium size tomato that's noted for it's a ability to keep well in cool storage after it's picked as well as ripen from the green state.In some trial articles people were still eating ones they'd pick at the end of October into early January. I'll be starting about a dozen tomato plants next week. I've got a test space set up in the garden for planting them out about 6 weeks earlier then usual. The rest will go out at their regular time in June. I'm trying out a few new varieties of lettuce and a small melon called Minnesota. It only gets 3ft vines and can easily be trellised. I've had great success with melons and squash but end up with mega plants that take right over. A 20 to thirty foot vine is normal here. I'm trying out a small four by four test plot of wheat. Though I haven't decided on what variety. I do have the space to grow more if I want to but want to test it out before I put in the effort. I'm going a bit bean crazy this year. I don't eat a lot of green beans but love dried beans. I'm focusing more on pole beans to save space for other things. I'm planning to plant them along a couple of fence lines and pretty much anywhere else where there is even a bit of good soil so they can go up. Last year I trellised some so they went over the paths between the beds. I'm trying out about a dozen different varieties this year. Oh and chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I love hummus so I figure I should give them a shot. My biggest project this year is mushrooms. I'll be inoculating some areas of my property with more wild varieties like morels and crossing my fingers. I'm also building a small mushroom house to grow oyster and shitakes in a more controlled environment. It's basically like a regular greenhouse excepted it's insulated. It's possible to grow them year round. I'd also like to try out the regular button mushrooms and portabellos but they are a lot more work to set up in the beginning so that may or may not happen this year.

    Boom Boom
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    Joined: Dec 29 2004

    I didn't have much luck with tomatoes - I grew them in my small greenhouse, and I guess a combination of factors prevented them from getting full grown - lack of heat, compost, and sunlight. I'm not going to bother this year because they're relatively cheap at the store. I'm going to grow things that I've had success with, and that I sometimes can't get fresh at the store. The stuff I grow here generally tastes better than store brought. I wish it was a longer and warmer growing season here, though - I'd love to grow some fruits and berries. Blueberries, Red berries, bakeapples (cloudberries) and cranberries grow wild all over, but I've not had success at frowing them in my garden. I'd love to be able to grow melons and pumpkins, but, again, folks here have tried and failed.


    Michelle
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    Joined: May 10 2001
    Now that radiorahim and I have shacked up, I have a back yard! He's got wild raspberries growing out back there that come back every year, but I really want strawberries. I'd also like to grow some salad greens, like leaf lettuce, herbs, etc. Since I've never really had a garden that was my responsibility before, I'm not going to be too ambitious this year. Some fresh herbs and lettuce and strawberries will probably be enough for me, and if I do all right at it this year, I'll add to it next year. I wonder how hard it is to grow blueberries?

    Boom Boom
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    Joined: Dec 29 2004

    You can buy berry starter plants probably locally where you live, Michelle, and should have no difficulty growing them. Starter plants are available from Veseys and other online suppliers if you can't get them locally, but that would surprise me. I've had difficulty here because I live in a much more northerly climate than youse.

     

     


    remind
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    Joined: Jun 25 2004

    Not hard, Michelle,  my front yard is full of them, I just wait until they produce berries and pick em.... :D

     

    No really, what I do is make sure the area where they grow in, has additional winter snow piled up on it, as it seems they like early spring water to produce more clusters of berries. Before I started doing this, they would produce not much, as I do not water them artifically throughout the spring and summer.

     

    They are wild blueberries though, and  are basically low bush ground cover. But once you taste them you would never eat a tame blueberry again.

     

     Eliza, amazing what you are doing in expanding your gardens this year, what kind of wheat are you growing? And do tell us how your garbonzo beans turn out.

     

    Have started my tomatoes and pepper plants, and am a bit late in doing so. As such I hope they are not as late as last year in developing outside. This year I am adding to my raised beds and having a bigger garden as we think we have the conditions figured out.

     

    Sadly what has helped is our having to get rid of the old growth pine trees in our yard, the soil is much less acidic naturally, so we no longer have to compensate.


    Michelle
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    Joined: May 10 2001
    Hey, that's what I should do in our front yard, which is just a teensy postage stamp - plant berry bushes!

    remind
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    Joined: Jun 25 2004

    Michelle, they are not exactly "bushes",  each little ground cover plant is abour 4-6 inches tall and they grow about 12-18" apart, and wild not planted, but yes, environmental sustainability  would indicate people should get rid of their "lawns" and plant something useful.


    bagkitty
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    Joined: Aug 27 2008

    Has anyone had any luck growing okra? Especially appreciate hearing from those at higher elevations with chilly nights. The sites of I checked state a growing period of 50-60 days, but all are US based sites and I don't know if they take overnight temperatures into account.


    Brian White
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    Joined: Jan 26 2005

    Just a note, if you grow runner beans, go for stringless varietys. They have been on the go for more than 20 years but the Canadian stores do not stock them.  It is a great shame.  Even asking for them will help because this year and next, they can put in their orders.  I have polestar that worked great in years past and other ones to try are lady Di and (I think) butler.     I tried okra and it failed miserably.  I also tried yardlong chineese beans and they failed miserably.  I think both of them need a bit more heat than we have here on van island.  The chineese beans were doing great until I moved them out of the greenhouse.

    My peas are still uneaten and I took a picture of a bird trying out a cob birdhouse yesterday. She tried out 2 actually but I was not quick with the camera.

    It has been an extremely early year here. daiseys are up, I blew a dandylion clock about 2 weeks ago, and rocket arigula ls in full bloom.

    If people grow rasberrys, try growing a few varietys.  I have one that fruits twice and one that fruits between those times. (Just luck) .  there are also saskatoon berrys and logan berry crosses to try for different flavours.   For composting, I use a 2 storey compost bin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I62qT-tmGWE  It gives very fast throughput of material and it is easy. You do not need to "turn" your compost with this type.   And by putting a plastic compost bin higher like that, you protect from rodents and give extra heat to the first stage of composting.

    Anyways, thats too much for the moment. I am sowing a row of broad beans today,  This is the first year i will do "community" gardeing. I am sowing some veggy on the city side of the fence for anybody who cares to take them. Alderman peas, broad beans rasberrys, and scorzornora with evening primrose and mallow for prettyness in a very mixed row.


    ElizaQ
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    Joined: May 27 2005
    Michelle, the main issue with growing blueberries is soil acidity. They like more acid soil and if you have that then they'll likely do well without much work on your part. If not you can always amend the soil if it's just a small area. You can easily test for that with a kit from a garden store. There's also the option of looking into berry plants that would be native to your area. I think TO falls in the Carolingian forest bio-region so you can look that up to get an idea of what berry plants would be growing there if there was no city. There are quite a few nurseries in the Southern Ontario region that sell native plants so they're not hard to source. If you want strawberries in a bed get them in this year as they take a whole year to really establish. You can however grow them in pots on a patio. You can get an actual strawberry pot that has numerous holes on the sides as well as a top. I also know people that grow them in hanging baskets. Remind. Not quite sure yet but I'm leaning towards Red Fife. I've been using Red Fife flour for the past while and it's really yummy. Since it was originally bred in Canada it's good for our conditions and I know it grows well around here. Saltspring Island Seeds sells a few varieties that they've tested for smaller growers as well. I wish I had room to test out a couple of varieties but don't think I can manage this year. I'm slowly increasing the size of my garden each year but since I use no dig techniques it's a longer process then if I just took a tiller to it. I also live on the edge of a marsh and the water line is high in the spring to the point where it almost floods large parts of the garden area and parts of the future garden area. Instead of fighting it I'm attempting to work with it and since there's not a whole lot of information out there about gardening this way (beyond just digging ditches to stop it from happening) it's a bit of trial and error. I know from an ecological standpoint it is one of the reasons my soil is so fertile so I'm attempting to find a balance in working with this natural process. Brian, I'm with you on stringless varieties. I don't like stringy beans. It's not such a big deal for me though because I'm growing most of my beans for dried use. I have a few bush varieties that I grow for green bean consumption.

    remind
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    Joined: Jun 25 2004

    Was wondering if you  were going to grow red fife, and suspected that you may be considering so.

     

    There is an Ontario farmr in your area that has started to make homemade pasta for commercial sale from red fife, also grown in the area....some friends had some and they raved about it.

     

    have not had any since I was a small child, as it went out of vogue, but I remember the hand milled breads and have not tasted bread that good in decades.


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