Here's the gardening thread!

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

So - how's the composting going? My composter (and contents) is frozen solid. That link I posted earlier today has an interesting observation:

[b]According to David Howard it is possible to make good compost in 4-6 weeks if you take the time to turn it often. Otherwise if you only turn it once a week it may take up to 12-14 weeks.

If you just let it sit there you are making soil conditioner not compost! [/b]

Drat. I haven't turned my compost contents since last November.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Boom Boom:
[b]So - how's the composting going? My composter (and contents) is frozen solid. That link I posted earlier today has an interesting observation:

[b]According to David Howard it is possible to make good compost in 4-6 weeks if you take the time to turn it often. Otherwise if you only turn it once a week it may take up to 12-14 weeks.

If you just let it sit there you are making soil conditioner not compost! [/b]

Drat. I haven't turned my compost contents since last November.[/b]


Mines pretty frozen too. I actually have two bins. One that I let cook and stopped putting scraps in over the winter so I would a have some to use, while the winter scrap one gets up to speed again.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by jrose:
[b]That sounds so fun, ElizaQ.

Thanks for bumping this! It's the perfect time to start thinking about gardening (because believe it or not, Spring is here ...Kinda!)

And there are still a few [url=http://www.seeds.ca/ev/evpage.php?lang=EN&p=5]Seedy Saturdays[/url] left through Seeds of Diversity

This is a great list of events for gardeners across the country.[/b]


Yes Seed Saturdays are great. I didn't get to one this year but went to one a couple of years. ago in Vancouver. Mom did though and picked up a lot of different veggie seeds to share.

jrose

The tyee has an excerpt from [url=http://thetyee.ca/Books/2008/03/12/CheGardena/]A Gardener's Manifesto[/url] online now. Seems like an interesting read!

quote:

Landscape architecture was born amongst the estates and mansions of Victorian Europe, and seems inextricably bound to long, gracious sightlines, and a full-time gardening staff. There is literally nothing in the patrician history of landscape architecture that we 40 x 100 suburban wage slave mortals can relate to. Not yet anyway. What we need is a Leon Trotsky -- nay, a Che Guevara -- of landscape architecture, who can invade its aristocratic domain and pillage principles and pleasures that rightfully belong to us common folk.

It is no wonder that landscape architecture has no currency for the average person. The discipline has gone from serving the estates of the idle rich to being the complacent lapdog of corporate high-rise and big-box architecture, where a lonely strip of bedraggled cotoneaster drowning in bark mulch and surrounded by vast tectonic plates of concrete is called "landscaping." Corporate views of landscape architecture often approximate S&M: the emphasis is on restraint. Some examples are so bad they literally suck the oxygen from the streetscape.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I saw the movie "Breaking and Entering" through my TV satellite programming recently and it was good - and a landscape architect (played by Jude Law) was one of the central characters, and he showed another leading character (Robin Wright Penn) how to make a garden on her property - all quite well done. I can't remember any more from the film, though, it was a few weeks ago.

Landscape architects are quite busy in places like California, New Mexico, and Arizona - I used to vacation in the southwest and I have photos of really nice gardens built by landscape architects in NM and AZ.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I did landscaping for my parents when I was barely a teenager, and when we built a house out in the wilds of an undeveloped Nepean Township in the 1950s. I did the same thing in a later move to a new house in Kanata, and what I planted back then remains alive and flourishing today.

I now own a property on the Quebec coast, and we have a very short growing season, so it's a tremendous challenge to do anything garden-wise here. The original owners cut down all the beautiful trees that grew on this property, and over thirty years the wind has blown most of the original topsoil out to sea (the trees would have acted as a windbreak against this happening) so the property has a lot of places where the ground is sunken and very low. I'm starting grow bushes and small trees but these will take many years to grow. I've built a few gardens encircled by rock to keep them from blowing away, and my veggie garden is anchored by a fibreglass wall all around. If I had sufficient funds, I could do a whole lot more, but it's really expensive to hire the local contractor and his truck and loader to bring in topsoil from miles away. Thirty years of wind damage to this property as a result of cutting down all the trees is hard to overcome.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I saw a reference to hot and cold composting someplace, so I decided to check these out. According to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting]Wikipedia[/url] hot composting is active, while cold composting is passive.

excerpt:

Active (hot) composting is composting at close to ideal conditions, allowing aerobic bacteria to thrive.

Passive composting is composting in which the level of physical intervention is kept to a minimum, and often as a result the temperatures never reach much above 30°C (86 °F).

excerpt:

Home composters use a range of techniques, varying from extremely passive (throw everything in a pile and leave it for a year or two) to extremely active (monitor the temperature, turn the pile regularly, and adjust the ingredients over time).

I was an extreme passive compost type person for the past year, but this year I think I will turn active, because composting is such a slow process, and I need that compost!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I have a vermicomposter (worm composting) but all my worms have died for the second time. Well, the worms died just once, but this is the second round. I cannot continue to buy more worms only so that they may alight from this world the sooner. My heart cannae take it. Neither can my wallet. Cripes, but they are expensive! Anyone else have experience with this, the place where tiger worms go when they die? Where their star is prematurely extinguished as fast as any chance to assuage my white-liberal guilt?

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Rebecca West:
[b]A friend of mine who lives in the Yarker/Camden East area[/b]

Hey, that's neat. I went to the rural high school that covers that district. I didn't live in the rural area north of the 401 like Yarker/Camden East though. I lived in the suburbs south by the lake. We all got bussed to a central village where the high school was located.

[ 24 March 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Michelle

ElizaQ, you're planting tomato seeds today!? I assume you're starting them indoors?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Darn. I sent off my annual gardening order, and I get this by way of reply:

"Thank you for contacting Veseys. Unfortunately we can not supply Russian Olive this season due to crop failure."

I thought Russian Olive trees were hardy and could be grown just about anywhere. I wonder what caused their crop failure?

mgregus

I'm late to the gardening scene this year and new to it in general but still hoping to expand my tiny container window garden. So far I have small basil and rosemary plants and some cherry tomato and strawberry (!) seedlings. The potential for strawberries, no matter how few, has me very excited. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] In April, I planted oregano, cilantro, and more basil seeds, and those are coming along slowly, probably because planting was so late. There are beginner organic gardening workshops in Ottawa being put on by Just Food through the Community Gardening Network that [url=http://www.spcottawa.on.ca/ofsc/en/community_garden_network.asp]look interesting.[/url] All in all, I'm looking forward to a fruitful container gardening season!

jrose

Sounds wonderful, M.Gregus! Are you still receiving your organic food boxes as well? If you are, sounds like you're going to have quite the delicious summer!

My basil took a turn for the worst earlier this week, and I've made it my personal mission to revive it. I actually feel bad for forgetting to water it for a week and bringing it to the brink of death. It seems to have perked up a bit!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Too cold here to plant anything outside, but I've started my tomatoes inside - a bit late this year, because we're having a very cold spring and summer so far. I probably won't get them into the greenhouse until mid-June or later. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I've got most of my garden put in, started last weekend. I have zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkins, brussels sprouts, tomatoes (early girl, sweet 100s, romas and two heirloom varieties - German striped and brandywine), peppers (purple bell and cayenne), cukes (English and picklers), seeded peas, beans, beets carrots, chard, lettuce and spuds. The wild girls each have a small section where they've planted nasturtiums, peas and carrots. Ms B has radishes and some marigolds and Ms T has left room for pansies and some marigolds.

I'm excited to see how the heirloom tomatoes turn out. It's going to be a fairly crowded plot. I just hope the forecast for close to freezing temperatures in the next week change...

al-Qa'bong

I put most of my backyard garden in over the last couple of weeks. I sowed spinach and coriander about two weeks ago, and it's up decently.

Last week I put in broad beans, swiss charge, lettuces, green beans, peas, carrots, a pale courgette from smuggled seed, and beets; plus I transplanted basil, Roma and "Manitoba" tomatoes, cukes, Italian parsley and aubergines that I started in the house.

I had a minor wind disaster with the transplants. I bought a couple of mini-greenhouses from a liquidation store (it has an Italian name like "Bella Maria" or something).

Last week, just as I was about to take the flats out of the greenhouses and set them on the ground to harden off, a gust of wind blew one of them over, spilling flower sprouts all over the place. I was standing right beside it!

Anyway, unless it rains, tomorrow I'm heading out to the allotment to put in spuds, corn, mogettes (a type of dry white bean popular in la Vendйe), yet more broad beans, red and yellow onions (they're soaking in a bleach solution now - onion maggots are a huge problem here. I used the bleach cure last year and had decent results) and some more carrots and beets.

I have more tomatoes to transplant, but will hold off on those since there's a possibility of frost Monday night.

I planted garlic last fall and it's up nicely. I've never planted garlic in the fall before, even though in the 80s I read an article in [i]Harrowsmith[/i] about a guy who was a garlic specialist - and he sowed his bulbs in the fall. I've tried garlic only a couple of times,and haven't terribly impressed with the results (small, pain-in-the-butt-to-work-with cloves) although I still have a few of last year's bulbs hanging up in a braid in my kitchen.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Pale courgette? Sounds interesting. We have green and yellow zucchini -- looks beautiful in a dish with the green and yellow.

My herb beds are partly together, basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, spearmint. Still looking for Italian parsley. My lavendar made it through the winter, as did the thyme and one of my oregano plants, but the other one bought it. Not sure why, it's usually much hardier than lavendar. We've seeded coriander in a bunch of different spots, too.

You'll have to keep us updated on the garlic, Al Q, I've never tried it.

We've cleared the old canes out of the raspberry patch and the apple tree is starting to bloom. I hope this bloody wind lets up soon or it'll blow all the blossoms off.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm worn out from weeding and tilling my big veggie garden and small greenhouse all afternoon, but it was good work. I'll probably fertilize everything tomorrow if it doesn't rain. I have a small plot of wildflowers and shrubs doing nicely, although the shrubs need fertilizer. I've been feeding the birds since I moved into this new place* (July 2006) and, like last summer, I'm likely to see a few sunflowers come up near their feeding stations. I wish it was warmer - for two weeks it hasn't been above 12C, and we've had a lot of rain. More cold weather in our forecast next week (was 3C last night, expected to be 4C tonight). [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

*I've lived on the Quebec Gulf coast since August 1995.

al-Qa'bong

quote:


Originally posted by Timebandit:
[QB]Pale courgette? Sounds interesting. QB]

Mme. Bong found them for me, since I couldn't get hold of any cousa seeds. Here's the seed packet:

[url=http://frenchdb.vilmorin.com.au/detail.asp?iType=49&iPic=607]http://fren...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I have a small round rock garden that I put tulips in two years ago; last fall I added a couple of wildflowers. The tulips didn't come up this year, but the wildflowers are starting to bud. There's an empty space in the middle, and I'm torn over whether to put roses in there, or herbs and spice plants. I have a corner of the enclosed back yard (enclosed to keep the dogs out, and to make a bird sanctuary) that I could use for herbs and spices, and maybe one rose plant. I think I'll do that, just to see if herbs and spices can grow here. If not, then next year I'll just put in more roses. I want roses all over the place.

John K

I'm an avid gardener. The inner city of Edmonton where I live is an excellent place to grow a wide range of veggies and herbs. Edmonton has rich, black soils, long summer days and a frost free season from early May until early October. I will concede that the urban heating effect does help extend the season by several weeks in this part of the world.

Much to the consternation of my Calgary relatives, I have never failed to harvest every last ear of corn, and most years almost all tomatoes are picked red.

One of the joys of urban gardening is being able to be completely organic, thanks to composting and never having to worry about drought.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Gardening as a metaphor for life - any thoughts?

ETA:

"Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners." - William Shakespeare

"We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between, we garden". (from the movie 'Fletch Lives')

[ 25 May 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

George Victor

I hope that death finds me planting cabbages, and neither concerned about death or the state of my garden.
(paraphrasing Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-92) French essayist and philosopher known mostly for his Essays, said to have influenced Shakespeare and Bacon.

mgregus

The variety of herbs, produce and flowers that people are planting sound wonderful. I added to my own "garden" this weekend with herbs that I picked up at the Glebe-wide yard sale. Now I have two varieties of mint (safely in containers, where they can't spread and take over a garden or yard!) and oregano. After some transplanting into bigger pots, everything looks to be doing well. Oddly enough, I find that I have to move my basil away from the afternoon sun even though it's supposed to like full exposure, because it wilts.

jrose, I'm still getting my food box, and continue to LOVE it! The great thing is, with the changing seasons bringing different produce, it's like a whole new box every time. Right now, I have a box delivered every 2 weeks and when I run out, just supplement it with trips to the farmer's market.

jrose

quote:


My basil took a turn for the worst earlier this week, and I've made it my personal mission to revive it.

I managed to bring it back to life! It was my good deed for the weekend!

Mgregus, I hope you had fun at the Great Glebe Garage Sale! It's one of the best parts of living in Ottawa [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

quote:


Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
[b]

Mme. Bong found them for me, since I couldn't get hold of any cousa seeds. Here's the seed packet:

[url=http://frenchdb.vilmorin.com.au/detail.asp?iType=49&iPic=607]http://fren...


Very cool!

Did you get frost last night?

We did. The blond guy is away overnight, so the wild girls and I went out to cover the plants... Howling wind, too, which made it that much worse, had to find rocks and such to anchor the covers. The girls worked together suprisingly well, although there was some whining about cold hands (not that I blame them, it was just nasty out there!). We got home cold and wet (it was still raining, too), but we got it all covered up, finally. Haven't been out to see if the covers stayed put, yet.

This has been a crappy spring, weather-wise. I hope it shapes up soon. The forecast for tonight is not good, though -- below zero again for tonight.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Took me the whole day to hoe my veggie garden into rows for planting, but I'm done, and even found time to plant twelve garlic bulbs!

As soon as it warms up a bit, I'll be planting everything else.

The wildflowers are all starting to blossom - some very nice ones, too.

I should have a lot of sunflowers this year, the birds (that I've been feeding everyday for two years, incluing a family of Mourning Doves) have scattered sunflower seed all over.

al-Qa'bong

quote:


Originally posted by Timebandit:
[b]

Did you get frost last night?

The forecast for tonight is not good, though -- below zero again for tonight.[/b]


We have a frost warning tonight again, too. I covered everything last night, and again an hour ago, and I hop this is the end of this sort of activity for five or six months.

On the sprouting front, spinach was up a few days ago...and then birds started eating it. I put tomato cages over the row for now.

Peas and beans popped up today, and a few of those French courgettes are up as well.

The rhubarb's doing great, although I had to pull a lot of seed stems off today and yesterday.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Finally got 2/3 of the gardens and greenhouse planted today!

Even though it's just 10C, I worked up quite a sweat.

Still have carrots and lettuce to plant, and
the tomato plants to move inside the greenhouse
when it warms up a bit, but I'm getting there.

Am rigging up aluminum foil pie plate scarecrows
to keep the birds out of the garden now. They're
welcome to the birdseed I leave for them in their
regular places, but not in the gardens.

Wish it would warm up. Had all the electric
heaters on this morning - it was 4C early today. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

jrose

quote:


My garden consists of four little pots of herbs growing in my window.

Same with me, Michelle. My rosemary has seen better days, but I can't even keep up with how fast my oregano, chives, and basil are growing!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

It's still to cold to move my four varieties of tomato plants (now 40 in number) from inside my house out to the greenhouse. It's an impressive garden - three kinds of beans - green, yellow, and purple. Three varieties of lettuce, two varieties of carrots, and onions, radishes, spinach, and I think eleven herbs and spices. I just hope it warms up with lots of sun to help everything grow. I decided not to plant cabbage or potatoes this year - they take too much space.

[ 07 June 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

al-Qa'bong

Ze courgettes are doing well, and most of the garden is up, although I've had to reseed some lettuce, beets and Swiss charge because little seed-eating birdies have been devouring my rows. One of my mint patches hasn't sprouted yet, although the others (next to the house) are doing well.

In other news, a family of nuthatches has built a house inside Moose Dupont (the dead weeping birch tree that stands huge and immovable in the middle of the backyard rink in the winter). It's fun watching them haul food into their house and listening to Mrs. Nuthatch nagging the old man to keep bringing in the groceries.

Digiteyes Digiteyes's picture

Decided not to do an allotment garden again this summer: it was an experiment to see if I liked gardening enough to consider retiring to a plot of land and growing more of my own food when I retire.

But I loved the tomatoes and the basil!

So this year I bought 4 San Marzano tomato plants from my trusty local garden shop, and have planted them in my front garden, in among the roses and foxgloves. My front garden gets sunshine: my back garden is completely shaded, which won't grow veggies.
To help protect (and I hope, confuse the raccoons) I also planted four jalapeno peppers.

I figure the combination of reds and greens should work well in my front garden :-D

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Digiteyes:
To help protect (and I hope, confuse the raccoons) I also planted four jalapeno peppers.

Where did you get the jalapeno seeds from, or did you just harvest the seeds from peppers you had at home? And, do you know what climate zone they are hardy to?

I don't think I can get jalapeno seeds from Veseys, never seen them advertised there.

Digiteyes Digiteyes's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Boom Boom:
[b]

Where did you get the jalapeno seeds from, or did you just harvest the seeds from peppers you had at home? And, do you know what climate zone they are hardy to?

I don't think I can get jalapeno seeds from Veseys, never seen them advertised there.[/b]


I bought plants that had already been started (I don't have any south-facing windows in my home, so I can't really start seeds well: everything gets far too leggy and falls over).

Here, I found the page on Vesey's for [url=http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/organicseed/certified8/earlyjalapeno]o... jalapeno[/url] seed.
They say it's an "early jalapeno" -- maybe it would work with your shorter season.

Maybe next year? Don't know if there's enough time this year for you to plant seeds and get them to the fruiting stage. Maybe if you plant them in pots and move them in to your greenhouse at the end of August.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks - I missed that. I might start these seeds next winter or early spring.

Very windy this week, not very warm, not sure I'll move the tomato plants to the greenhouse this week - may wait until next week, hopefully it'll be warmer. I had my furnace going a couple days ago! In almost the middle of June! [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Okay, I'm waay to late, and probably doomed to failure, but I impulse-bought a tiny Roma tomato plant (about 10" high) to go with my usual potted herbs on my window. Does it have a chance? Should I plant it in the ground if I can? How should I care for the poor runt?

Digiteyes Digiteyes's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Catchfire:
[b]Okay, I'm waay to late, and probably doomed to failure, but I impulse-bought a tiny Roma tomato plant (about 10" high) to go with my usual potted herbs on my window. Does it have a chance? Should I plant it in the ground if I can? How should I care for the poor runt?[/b]

I got mine in the ground in mid-May, and they're not much taller. We can expect growth spurts on tomatoes when the weather stays warm.

What zone are you in? I'd say plant it if you can... plant it deep, and the bottom few inches of the plant will become additional roots that will help it grow better.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yeah, I'm in the U.K. I have no idea what the gardening season is here, except that it seems to be all the time. But maybe if I can still plant it, it will have a chance. I'll plant it deep, like you said. Thanks!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Tomatoes like heat, so potting it is a good option, too, if it's late in the season. I'm thinking of building a raised bed for my tomato patch next year so the roots get more heat and they'll theoretically produce a little sooner.

I think you've less to worry about vis length of growing season, Catchfire -- it doesn't get as cold as early where you are as it does here!

al-Qa'bong

I started my tomatoes indoors in March, and they're still only 4-6 inches high. They'll come around once it warms up.

It hasn't been very warm yet this year, but my spinach has started to bolt already.

Pogo Pogo's picture

quote:


Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
[b]I started my tomatoes indoors in March, and they're still only 4-6 inches high. They'll come around once it warms up.

It hasn't been very warm yet this year, but my spinach has started to bolt already.[/b]


They keep saying that the sun is coming. Sure could use it.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Our first warm weather this year - after many weeks of rain, cold, and wind - and the [email protected]#$!!! blackflies are making it almost impossible to do any gardening! [img]mad.gif" border="0[/img]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I had no idea cats could be such bastards.

ciabatta

Does anyone have any tips for keeping potted rosemary alive indoors?

Mine is on a windowsill with lots of nice sun, but it seems to get a white mould on the leaves.

I've sprayed it with chamomile tea, and with a tea I made from thyme, in the hopes that their antiseptic properties might kill the mould. This seems to half work, but I don't know if it is due to the tea or just the physical force of spraying the leaves with water.

oldgoat

[url=http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetablepatch/a/Rosemary.htm]From this site...[/url]

quote:

The biggest problem with growing rosemary indoors is its tendency to get powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a white, powdery fungus that can develop if the surrounding air is humid and there is not enough air movement.

Powdery mildew won't kill your rosemary, but it will weaken the plant. Keep the humidity low by allowing the soil to dry somewhat between waterings, keeping the plant in sunlight and, if necessary, running a fan for a few hours a day to create a breeze.


ciabatta

Thanks oldgoat.

al-Qa'bong

quote:


Originally posted by Catchfire:
[b]I had no idea cats could be such bastards.[/b]

I had cat trouble last year, so I got a trap from the Animal Control people. I managed to trap one cat, but another wily bugger kept eating the bait and escaping, not to mention continuing to violate my flower beds.

His owners moved away over the winter, so things are better now.

I checked the allottment yesterday. It looks like hell. The corn and onions are barely up (I planted around Victoria Day) and the peas, carrots and beets are sketchy too. I bought Norland seed potatoes, and they're doing well, but only two out of 30 of my French spuds are up. It ain't the seed, as I planted the same potatoes in the back yard, and they're fine.

I think we need some heat to get things going.

A killdeer has a nest in one of the gardens at the allottments. I was walking around, checking out my neighbours' progress, when I heard her squawk, then saw her going through her broken wing act. I looked around quickly to make sure I wasn't stomping on her nest, then found it, safe and sound. The bird was getting rather distressed by then, so I played along and followed her until she lured me a safe distance away.

[ 17 June 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]

Bookish Agrarian

There is really only one solutions to cats and gardens. Give up you will never win.

Although we have had success with a line of electrical wire placed on very low voltage. They seem to sniff it and then walk off to greener pastures like eating our free range eggs before we get to them.

Now raccoons nothing works short of a witness relocation program and in that case it is usually urban raccoons that are dropped of to pester me. Although CBC overnight seems to keep them out of the corn.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

By my reckoning, I have five cats and the neighbourhood's greatest poop spot. Things do not bode well.

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