I planted a new gardening thread

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
I planted a new gardening thread

I know, I know. Get off my back, will you? I should be planting beans or brassicas or something. My garlic is poking through, isn't that enough?

To be honest, it's the potatoes I'm worried about. Get them in the ground already!

Slumberjack

I so look forward to outdoor plantings after a winter of hydro.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm two months away from planting here.

Michelle

I have little perennials poking up in the front postage stamp.  Still pretty threadbare looking, but it was kind of neat to see the stuff I planted last year coming up again.

MegB

It's been so freakishly warm here in London I could've planted stuff last week, but who knows what kind of weather is coming down the pipe.  Will this April still be the cruellest month?  I'm pleased, confused and mortified.

Pogo

Cool.  When did you plant the Garlic?  What kind?  I hear that it is a perfect candidate to plant in our winters.  We have a 3'x10' area cut out of our back lawn.  Herbs and lettuce are going in.  Still thinking on what else to add.

MegB

Garlic can be really invasive.  Not as much as thyme, but still needs to be cultivated.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Garlic you plant in October. Each clove you plant (point end up) will (should) yield a whole bulb come early summer. You also get scapes in spring to eat. I haven't had a problem with it being invasive, but I always harvest the entire crop which will usually last the whole season if you don't eat it. Then you can plant what you have left for next year.

Michelle

Hey, if it's invasive, I should plant some cloves of it in the city portion of the front lawn (in the grass between the sidewalk and street).  That could be fun!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Seeds straight from your fridge

Re-growing celery (also works for romaine and bok choy, apparently!)

Re-growing green onions (or leeks or any cooking onion!)

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The sun is up - finally! - but the ground is still too frozen to work here. Still snow on the ground, and puddles of water everywhere. We need a month of warm weather before we can garden here.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Question: what would be great ground cover for land beside the road? Every spring folks drive on the land border to avoid potholes and deep water.

6079_Smith_W

Yup. 

Don't try it with biennials like carrots or parsnips though, unless you just want a bunch of seed . 

And really, who wants to grow parsnips anyway, for any reason other than that mentioned in the first chapter of Margaret Craven's book?

I'm tossing the end of a 50 pound onion bag into the ground this week.

Even better, ginger and turmeric can be stored just as easily in a pot of soil  as in the fridge. 

(edit)

I am surprised that despite our non-winter, the garden is not quite ready for planting anything other than roots, tubers  and legumes. Four years ago I had tomatoes in the ground a few weeks before this. A few late snows and freezes is the difference. I don't mind though, because it all means a bit more water in the ground, and we didn't get much snow this year.

 

6079_Smith_W

You mean to help cars get around? I have always thought cobblestones or whatever those roadways made out of blocks of wood is called to be best.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Ha! No, I would like a natural ground cover to protect the land from the occasional tires in the spring. Hardy grasses, weeds, whatever. The regular grass I planted there has now disappeared and is mostly sand - looks terrible. I want something green that can stand some punishment such as vehicles driving over it once in a while. There's very little topsoil - it's mostly sand.

 

macktheknife

I planted a ...Boom Boom! I'm sorry but my humour runs to the juvenile.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I have very bad osteo/arthritis in both hands, but still managed to plant my tiny greenhouse today. I should have over 200 carrots and about 50 cucumbers if all goes well.

My main veggie garden - it's huge - went kaput last year because of weeds. Tomorrow I'm going to try to clear a small portion of it, and plant radishes, lettuce, and beets (not all will grow, though). About 50 of each. But, first, I have a hell of a lot of weeds to pull - and that's the tough part for me.

janfromthebruce

Boom Boom when you plant your garden this year, why don't you make raised beds and put straw down so you keep the weeds down. And once the plants get big enough put straw around them too to keep the weeds down. That will be easier on your osteo/arthritis and also keep the moisture in. Just a thought.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, that's a great idea, and one I've considered for a while. Someone here builds big gardening boxes for senior citizens, and I'm waiting my turn. Can't get straw here, though. When I start the housing renovations soon, there's a big wooden box that the new door came in, and I'll use that - next year - unless it gets here really soon.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I've always wanted to grab straw for mulching my garden but I find it hard to come by. I should talk to my neighbour because he puts some down in the spring, but he caught me stealing one of his snap peas last summer (they looked so nice, I just wanted to see what they were like! He's such a good gardner) so I've been reluctant to approach him since. (*blush*)

Right now I have no idea what my garden looks like. I'm on the road out east and I have an amateur looking after it for me. It's mostly peas and potatoes, so I'm hoping he won't have much to do. The raspberry trellis was about to explode when I left, as where the strawberry bushes. Hopefully there will be some berries left for me when I get home!

Ghislaine

Our garden is looking great due to an amazing early spring. 

Potatoes, peas, beets, beans, onions, cilantro, carrots, turnips, romaine....all are up and looking huge!

I think we should have potatoes any day now :)

It is so exciting! 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Awesome, Ghislaine -- well, except for the turnips ;) Garden potatoes are one of my favourite things. Add peas and purple sprouting broccoli and you have my perfect garden.

Ghislaine

Catchfire, turnips are good! 

Have you ever cut them in cubes and roasted them with a little brown sugar? You cannot harvest until after a few frosts. 

I forgot I have parsnips too :) We love those in the ground until next spring. 

Michelle

We finally tackled the jungle in the backyard this year.  radiorahim made an attempt last year, but this is the year we really did something about it.  Due to benign neglect over the past few years, the entire backyard lawn was given over to more weeds than grass, and the weeds grow as tall as us in just a few short weeks, even after cutting them back!

So, this year, we decided to do sheet mulching in most of the backyard, except for the sides where we've let the more or less wanted stuff keep growing. For those who aren't familiar with sheet mulching, here's what we did.

radiorahim cut the weeds/grass with the lawnmower everywhere.  Then we laid down landscaping fabric over the lawn and pegged it down.  Then we got 20 bags of that cedar chip mulch stuff, and put a 2 inch layer over the landscape fabric.  What this does is makes it really hard for the grass and weeds to grow because the landscape fabric (which is black and a bit rubbery, but also breathes and lets water through it) doesn't allow any light, so the weeds just die and compost under it.  At least, that's the theory, although I understand that some hardy weeds do sometimes manage to poke through.

So, what I described above is what you do if you don't necessarily want to plant anything in the space you're trying to sheet mulch, and we don't, for now. We may decide to at some later time, in which case, we can always just clear away some of the mulch and create a raised bed on top of it.

If you do want to plant in the area you're mulching, here's a good way of sheet mulching that apparently works great (I haven't tried it but my mom has): Mow down the weedy or grassy area where you want to make your gardening bed, and leave the clippings in place.  Cover the area and clippings with really good compost, concentrated if you can.  Then cover it completely with cardboard, not leaving any gaps - make sure you overlap well where two pieces of cardboard meet.  Then put a good, thick layer of seed-free compost and soil down on the cardboard.  Then put a top layer of mulch, which could be dead leaves, twigs, or the wood chips I mentioned above.  And then you can start planting right away in it!

The cardboard will ensure that the weeds beneath it don't get any light to grow, and the compost under the cardboard will help the weed clippings and roots decompose quickly.  The cardboard itself will eventually decompose, after the weeds are dead, and then eventually you have a nice rich composted soil layer under your new soil and mulch.  Again, weeds will come back eventually since the seeds are always blowing in the wind here and there but it's a good way to start from scratch if you have a completely uncontrolled weed problem, and the top layer of mulch will be more discouraging to weeds than open soil.

Michelle

Boom Boom, one of the things my mom puts down for ground cover in well-walked areas (e.g. between the cracks of patio stones) is creeping thyme.  Not sure if it's hardy enough for vehicle tires, but you never know.  It's pretty darn hardy, though, from what I've seen, and it's also pretty and smells nice.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks Michelle, I'll look into that.  I'm also trying to get a local contractor bring a load of topsoil so I can raise the edge of the property a bit to discourage folks from driving on it in the spring when the snow melts. Every spring it's an awful mess here - no sewer grates, so the water from  melting snow just accumulates and eventually flows into my yard.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yeah, I've already put a few rocks there, will add more soon. My zone is 3A... will have to look for a different ground cover, but there's lots at the link you provided.

Michelle

Might want to ensure they're good for your zone.  I forget which zone you're in - I looked up Sept Isles and it was Zone 3, but I'm not sure how far away from that you are. Ideal zone for creeping thyme is 4-8, but who knows, maybe there's a good hardy variety out there that can withstand zone 3.

Also, have you considered maybe doing some sort of rock garden feature there, with large rocks and hardy stuff growing in them?  Could be pretty, and no one's going to drive through a pile of rocks!

P.S. Interesting bit of trivia: Iceland's hardiness zones are 7 on the coastlines and 6 inland. Weird for such a northerly country, huh?  But their trees take decades to grow and mature.  We saw trees there that looked like 10 year-old trees here, and we were told they took 30 or 40 years to get to that stage.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

There are folks here with really spectacular gardens - mine is smaller, but I'm happy with it. :garden

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sure is taking the lilies - and other flowers here - a long time to bloom, but there's a lot of them, the stems are long, and with another week or two of warm sunny weather, this place is going to be spectacular. The bushes (hostas) are in full bloom with shiny leaves and have spread throughout the garden. Not bad for a very difficult gardening area.

Michelle

Hostas are amazing.  No work, they like the shade, they're perennials, and they're pretty.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yeah, I'm going to have a whole bunch more next year. Veseys sells a new breed of hostas that actually flowers.

Michelle

I thought most hostas would flower eventually.  The ones I've had have always flowered.  The one we have in the front garden got pretty pink flowers shooting up.  Maybe I was just lucky and got flowering ones?

Timebandit

Most hostas flower, but you may have to wait a while for them to mature.

We just finished landscaping the front yard.  Too shady for a lawn to grow properly and had gotten pretty weed-infested.  I wouldn't mind so much, but we will be putting our house up for sale next year so we needed to make it pretty.

We dug up the lawn, put in 120 landscape bricks and a whole bunch of perrenials, including hostas, huechera, asiatic lilies, bleeding heart, foxglove, violas, columbine, iris, day lily (reduced a monster day lily in the back yard by 2/3 - couldn't dig it all up, had to go after it with a filleting knife!), and in the sole sunny bed spurge, russian sage, daisies, Icelandic poppies and lupin.

I'll probably cedar chip around most of it to keep the weeds down, but that's for another weekend.  Some time after I stop walking around like an old lady - my back is pretty unhappy with me!  But it looks great, so far.

Michelle

Pics or it didn't happen!  ;)  Kidding, of course.  I'd love to see it, though - it sounds beautiful!

As for hostas - I wonder if maybe the cool temps up where Boom Boom is might make a difference to whether hostas flower for him?  Because every hosta I've ever seen in my own yard or my mother's flowers eventually.

Timebandit

I'd post pics, but can't figure out how to do it on here. 

Yes, could be cooler temperature and shorter season might mean they don't bloom so easily. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

That surprises the heck out of me! I've had hostas for four years now, and none of them have flowered - this is the first year I've seen a flowering stem pop up.

(couldn't respond earlier as our phone lines, and thus our Internet, went out for 30 hours)

Timebandit

I wonder if it might have to do with the ph of the soil, too, Boom Boom.  I had one near spruces that didn't tend to flower, evergreens make the soil more acidic.  Can be corrected with wood ash, if you have it - you've got a wood stove, right?  I used fireplace ash on mine. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Never thought of that. However, I dump the fireplace residue over the cliff - and the weeds there are doing very well. Hmmmm.... must be a connection. Laughing

Caissa

Any tornadoes near your garden, TB?

Timebandit

No, not so far!  But last week was the 100th anniversary of the tornado that ripped through the city (and my neighbourhood) and caused a great deal of death and destruction.  You can see our house on the edge of some of the old photos - it was just newly built.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Cyclone

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I thought this was cute:

Brian White

I have a new drip irrigation idea (not mine) to show you that is really neat   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNlomeIaOKs 

I thought it had already been done but there were some aparent flaws and that was why people weren't using it. But my guess now is that nobody even tried this and it is so darn simple! My dripper irrigation was way more complicated and I wasted 3 weeks playing with it.  D A R N ! 

Also from England a rainwater diverter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8BONjopPhQ

Anyways, pallet gardening is going really well. It has a playlist at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL00C41C26C91A76BB&feature=view_all Worth a thought for next year, for anyone who wants a bit of work in winter to make gardening in summer way easier.

Brian

Michelle

Catchfire wrote:

Seeds straight from your fridge

Re-growing celery (also works for romaine and bok choy, apparently!)

Re-growing green onions (or leeks or any cooking onion!)

I love these regrowing ideas!  Someone in one of the comments after one of those articles mentioned something about "regrowing" garlic.  I know that you can just plant the garlic in the ground in the late fall and get new garlic the next year.  But I'd be interested in a windowsill way of doing it if it exists!  (Just did a search but I'm not finding anything on that - oh well!)

According to some commenters, this works well with herbs like basil as well.  The herb I'd like to try this with is cilantro.  They sell fresh cilantro in such huge bunches that there's no way for me to use it all before it goes slimy in the fridge.

Michelle

I really like the idea of container gardening, but my dilemma is that I don't want to be using tons of tap water for gardening, and containers dry out so quickly.

So I think what I'm going to do is make "container" planters that sit on the ground with no bottoms.  So, they'd never move from their place, but they would kind of be like raised beds and kind of like containers.

We have an old wooden trunk with a rotting bottom to it that I'm planning to use in that way.  I'll put newspaper down in the front postage stamp (to sheet mulch the weeds below), put the wooden trunk with rotting bottom on that, fill it with soil, and then plant stuff in it, putting mulch as a top layer in the planter after I'm done planting.  So, it will still have really good drainage, directly into the ground (especially when the bottom wood and underlying newspaper eventually rot), it will be similar to a container garden in that it will be contained, but work like a raised bed as well.  Maybe I'll grow strawberries in it or something. :)

I think this is going to be my gardening mission this summer - lots of "found" gardening containers.  I also love the idea of using an old wooden dresser that way, as a planter - take out the drawers and use those as individual little raised bed planters, but then use the frame of the dresser itself as a large raised bed to grow stuff.  I also have a couple of small, decorative shelves with no backs, with nowhere to put them on the walls - they could be used in this way as well.

It's funny, I thought of these ideas, and then I googled to see what other people do with them and realized that there's no such thing as an original thought anymore - everyone and their uncle has done both of these things! :)

6079_Smith_W

Michelle wrote:

According to some commenters, this works well with herbs like basil as well.  The herb I'd like to try this with is cilantro.  They sell fresh cilantro in such huge bunches that there's no way for me to use it all before it goes slimy in the fridge.

The only one I can think of for which that won't work is parsley, because it is biennial. Once it passes one season and gets more energy it all goes into making seed.That said, I do have some of last year's parsley in the window. It's okay, but kind of thin with the lack of sun.

Cilentro is sort of like that in that within one season it very quickly bolts, so you might be better just saving some of your garden seed and re-planting it fresh.

One thing you can do with those huge bunches - make and freeze cilantro pesto.

Plus, for any of these to work you have to have the rootstock. You can extend the life of those bunches by putting them in water, but you can't plant them.

Michelle

My problem with making cilantro pesto is that I can't really eat it.  I can't tolerate high fat content foods these days, so anything packed in oil is a no-no for me.  I could make it for radiorahim, but even though he can tolerate it better than I can, it's probably no better for him than for me.  Although, I guess I could use it in a dish where I was planning to use a splash of olive oil in the cooking process anyhow.

One thing I've found with cilantro, though, is that it keeps way, way longer in the fridge if you bring it home, wash it all off, dry most of the water off of it by spinning it in the salad spinner, and then wrapping it loosely in either paper towels or just regular soft kitchen towels and putting it back in the produce bag.  It takes way, way longer to get slimy when you do that!  It's a little trick my mom taught me for most produce, including things like bell peppers you've sliced into and are saving the rest for later, green onions, etc.  I think it's the fact that the paper towel stays slightly moist but there isn't actual water sitting directly on the skin of the veggies.

I'm definitely going to try that regrowing trick that Catchfire posted a link to above for green onions, once my kitchen is no longer a dungeon hole (it's at the "gutted" stage of renovation right now).

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I have a huge wooden box  (as big as a casket)  that was used to ship new doors for the renovation project here, and I will use it as a planter. It's unfinished wood, though, and I'm wondering what is the most eco-friendly paint I can use on it if it will be a planter. Any advice?

Michelle

Boom Boom wrote:

I have a huge wooden box  (as big as a casket)  that was used to ship new doors for the renovation project here, and I will use it as a planter. It's unfinished wood, though, and I'm wondering what is the most eco-friendly paint I can use on it if it will be a planter. Any advice?

Hmm, no advice here.  Do you have to finish it?  I've seen some nice, rustic looking planters that are unfinished.

That said, there are a few ideas being thrown about in this discussion for eco-friendly wood finishes.

Oh, and Boom Boom, I saw an interesting idea online about large crate-box planters.  If you want it to be mobile, you could screw casters onto the four corners at the bottom and that way you could roll it if you wanted to move it from one part of your yard to another at any point, say, if you were going to keep it on your patio or something.  Here's the blog where I found it.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, I think it needs to be paintd as it's made of cheap wood - paint might make it last longer. Thanks for those links, Michelle.

Michelle

Mulching question - if you're growing things from seed, how do you mulch so that the weeds don't take over the stuff you're growing before they pop out?  And if you mulch after you plant the seed, then wouldn't the mulch also stop your seedlings from coming up as well as the "weedlings"?

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