What's Growing in Your Garden This Year?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mudbug, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Herbs, flowers, vegetables, etc...

    Any perennial favorites you can't wait to come back up again?

    Trying anything new? Anything in particular you're excited about? Something you've heard of and always wanted to try?

    Or how about the old staples which have become garden traditions from year to year like maybe lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, etc?

    Any heirloom vegetables growers out there?

    It's that time of year!

    :bounce:
     
  2. phoebe

    phoebe

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    I've gone from never having seen a vegetable growing, to being a complete kitchen garden addict! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
    Right now I have 6 foot sugar snap peas, cukes, lettuces, carrots, rosemary, thyme, mint and Italian parsley. And I'm waiting to see if the broccoli I worked so hard to save from some nasty (and well-fed :( ) cabbage loopers will actually produce something more than thick stocks and big leaves.

    I'm also growing tomatoes from seed for the first time. I've got the following combo of hybrid and heirloom coming up at about 1 1/2 to 2 inches:
    Caro Rich
    Stupice
    Druzba
    Green Zebra
    Cherokee Purple
    Lemon Boy
    Sweet Chelsea
    Tomatillo
    Sun Gold
    Brandywine OTV
    First Lady
    Emerald Evergreen

    And I bought a Kellogg's Breakfast, Brandywine Sudduth, and Aunt Ruby's German Green at Tomatomania last week.
    I'm planning another round with some other varieties a bit later in the season along with some peppers and dill.


    I have to do a lot of planting in pots because of limited yard space, but if this weren't a rental, we'd tear up the lawn and make more gardening areas. :D

    Sometimes I just stand in front of the plants--particularly the "babies"--and just stare at them. I know it sounds goony, but I'm just amazed by them.
     
  3. kthull

    kthull

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    For the past five years, I had four rotating garden beds going and tried a big variety of foodstuffs: herbs, snowpeas, zucchini, acorn squash, green beans, spinach, lettuces, tomatoes (several varieties), sweet and spicy peppers, melons of all sorts, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, beets, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.

    Unfortunately, because of repeated hits of disease, bunnies, ground squirrels, birds and large insect population where I'm at, I decided to scrap the beds last fall and will be rethinking the whole thing.

    My habeneros and jalapenos grew best of all the peppers, so they're a given. Tomotoes, roma and beefsteak only this time. Probably only one Zucchini plant. Tons of spinach and a few herbs I guess. And I'll likely restart my garlic in the fall. Homegrown garlic is truly awesome.

    Maybe if I tone it down, I'll attract less wildlife.

    I'm eager to see if the blueberries produce (they were new last year) and I picked up a couple blackberry bushes yesterday to mingle with my raspberries. And last fall I planted two Montmorency cherry trees. With luck I'll get something in a year or two. Oh yeah, we're also looking to plant a couple paw paw trees this spring. Those should be interesting too.

    Oh, how I love my garden. If I can only cut down on the problems!
     
  4. mudbug

    mudbug

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    phoebe,
    Sounds fabulous!

    kthull,
    What specific type of disease and pest problems(other than those mentioned)? Maybe we can help.
     
  5. jim berman

    jim berman

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    We have a very (VERY) modest parcel, so we have some dwarf basil, sweet basil (huge pesto fan, my family is!), as well as sage, lavendar (for sorbet), chamomille (for tea) and some yellow globe tomatoes.
    Looking to do beets this year. Anybody have input on growing success?
     
  6. kthull

    kthull

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    Thanks for the interest mudbug. I finally got the new garden bed in this weekend. Now I have a single, large 6' x 20' plot. Over 50 bags of new soil and I'm ready to roll.

    I planted blackberries in the corner a couple weeks ago. Now that the dirt is in, I planted two long rows of spinach and put in two sets of zucchini seeds. In a couple weeks, I'll drop in tomato and pepper plants and that will be it.

    As for my garden ailments, the most troubling is powdery mildew. I do my best not to water the tops of the leaves and only hit the ground level when I water, but when I water the lawn, the garden gets nailed. I suppose I could water that section by hand, but I'm not that devoted (yet!). I make sure to water only in late morning or early afternoon to give enough time for evaporation, but still the zucchini and acorn squash got it bad. So much so that it's getting into my wife's flower beds.

    Pest-wise, the most destructive are the critters I've mentioned. Bunnies are ruthless around here, but fencing can contain them. Not sure what is stealing my blueberries and strawberries. It's either the ground squirrels or the birds. Maybe the installation of a dog house will help that. I have a crazy fast rat terrier that would love to keep constant watch outside.

    I'll see how it goes with more room for the veggies. I know overcrowding can lead to plant stress, inviting disease and bugs. I'll keep you all posted.

    Anyone out there grow rosemary? I planted some for the first time and don't know what to expect.
     
  7. isa

    isa

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    Ever since I moved I've had no success with my container garden. I've decided to limit myself to peas and an hanging basket of cherry tomatoes. Of course I'll do many herbs and pansies to be candied later in the season.


    I can not believe it is spring and I've kept my rosemary indoor since last summer and the plant is thriving.
     
  8. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Jim,
    Ah, another herb lover! Are you looking for something specific on growing successes?

    kthull,
    My pleasure. Wow, 50 bags of new soil? I'm assuming this is a raised bed? If not, I'm curious - where did you get your bagged soil ... and have you had your own (ground) soil tested?

    I ask because it's unusual for a gardener to buy that much bagged soil. Usually they call a place for "yards" of dirt because the cost is much less and you really should know what to look for when buying soil.

    I would suggest watering in the early morning (4 am early) with a timer and a soaker hose (under mulch) preferably. Keep in mind that dew forms in the early morning and can take most of the morning to evaporate. If you're watering in the late morning or early afternoon, you're actually extending the potential time the foliage is wet.

    If you have an overhead sprinkler system for the lawn and it can reach your veggie garden and flower beds, try putting it on a timer to water around the time dew has formed. I don't know your area but somewhere around dawn. This will knock off the dew, water your plants, and give plenty of time for your plants to dry out.


    If you're having that much of a problem with powdery mildew, sounds like they're not getting enough sun (at least 6-8 hours), and/or that they are too close together and preventing enough air circulation and ventilation around the plants. Also, you may be overwatering. Let your plants dry out for a couple of days by not watering them. The roots need oxygen equally as much as they need water.

    It might also be the sign of some other disease... (still wondering about the soil)...

    I'd be much more worried about getting that powdery mildew zapped over pests at this moment. It will weaken each plant and make them more suseptable to pests and disease.

    Your "crazy fast rat terrier" should do the trick. I have two cats which take shifts and do a fabulous job keeping critters out.

    You may also consider companion planting. Mixing flowers, herbs, and vegetables to create a biodiverse environment to bring in the good bugs to eat the bad bugs and make it harder for the bad bugs to find their next meal. Here is a good book you might want to check out the next time you're at the book store.

    Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham

    Rosemary is a tender perennial, you'll want to bring it inside over the winter because it will die if it gets too cold. Otherwise, it's pretty much a carefree plant, don't overwater herbs, they like poor soil and "dry feet" (let the soil dry out).



    Isa,
    Oh no! Don't give up. What happened with your container gardens? What did you try to grow and what were the results? There are specific varieties available expecially for containers. If you didn't have a problem, what would you want to grow?


    phoebe,
    What stages are your vegetables at?
     
  9. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Oh goody; I love talking gardening stuff. :smiles:

    So far I've had really nice results from the tomato seeds and most of the plants have been transplanted to beds or 15 gal. pots and seem to be doing pretty well. Two volunteers I potted and two of the plants I bought at Tomatomania are making fruit, but my babies are a bit too young still for that.
    And I've had a great time giving away plants I just don't have room for. I had no idea so many would germinate, so I found a stash of small plastic nursery pots in a dumpster and have been giving plants to friends and colleagues. They're more excited about the plants than they were about the tomatoes last year! Go figure.
    Birthing the seeds was too much fun so I've got another flat going with the following tomatoes and peppers::bounce:

    Black from Tula
    Sungold (my others grew too fast and keeled over)
    Dr. Wyche's Yellow
    Kellogg's Breakfast (I wanted to sprout my own though the "Mania" bought one is doing fine)
    Healthy (a bell pepper)
    Miniature Yellow Bell
    Jalapeno
    "Lipstick" pepper

    I'm also growing the following in pots:
    Genovese Basil
    Dukat Dill
    Fernleaf Dill
    Garden Purslane
    "Homemade Pickles" cucumbers
    mesclun
    cilantro

    And I'm trying Guardsman Scallions between the bedded tomato plants.

    It's funny but although I love flowers, I'm really only interested in growing food. :D
     
  10. phoebe

    phoebe

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    And Mudbug, what are you growing? Actually, I get the feeling that a better question might be what aren't you growing? ;) And how much space is everyone working with and what conditions?
     
  11. kthull

    kthull

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    Thanks again for the insight mudbug. It is a raised bed and we have all clay soil, hence the need for new stuff. As for ordering by the yard, I've always considered it, but never planned that far in advanced, so that's why I bag it.

    I would have never thought to water that early, but I'll give that a shot. Plus, I won't be packing the plants in as tightly as I tend to do, so it sounds like that will help too.
     
  12. jim berman

    jim berman

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    Mudbug,
    Just looking for any insight on the planting/feeding/watering/harvesting of beets. Pretty much the whole sha-bang. Anything you (or anybody else) can offer would be most appreciated. I might even send you some of my crop, should it be successful. Thanks!
     
  13. kthull

    kthull

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    Jim:

    I grew beets from seed two years ago and they were just phenomenal. In fact, I may toss a few in this year too since you've refreshed my memory. I planted them in an area of my garden with rich, soft, deep soil. Besides that, I don't recall doing anything special with them.
     
  14. mudbug

    mudbug

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    phoebe,

    >I love talking gardening stuff

    Me too! (as you can tell). It's so refreshing to hear about a home gardener starting vegetables from seed. It's a dying breed. Not to mention the fact that you are growing heirlooms! Are you involved in any gardening organizations?

    How do you use your dill and purslane?

    If you haven't already tried the Cherokee Purple Tomato (heirloom) I highly recommend it. I never like tomoatoes at all until I tried that one.

    It would be nice to be in a more mild climate to be able to grow more varieties for a longer period of time... I may have to trade seeds with you! Are those you listed new to you or repeats?

    My own garden is claylike so I've been working on my compost pile. All my life I only grew vegetables, I got into seed and plant trading and that resulted in a lot of perennials. The good thing is that I'm not emotionally attached because they're not vegetables so if I've lost any, that's ok. I planted what I received last year and I'm a convert. Perennials are a good thing, as far as a listing, I don't keep as close track of anything I can't eat... I'm sure you all understand.

    What am I growing? LOL! Actually, as far as vegetables, all I have in my yard are radishes, garlic, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower, and purple cabbage. I have a little herb garden with regular and variegatd sage, variegated and regular oregano, Cuban oregano aka Spanish thyme (mosquito repelling plant) variegated and green - haven't tried to eat it yet but there are recipes for it, rosemary and creeping rosemary, lovage, english mint, a couple of kinds or thyme, comfrey, chives, garlic chives, scallions, tarragon, pineapple mint, and spearmint. Will likely find more in a couple of weeks.

    Outside the herb garden I have horseradish, rhubarb, bluberries and blackberries.

    Still in pots are about 10-12 different heirloom tomatoes and I don't even like tomatoes!

    I have a friend with a greenhouse who is starting Asian vegetable seeds so I will have to follow up with a list of what germinated.

    I participate in helping with a local demonstion garden in town. It has several beds including native plants, vegetables, scented herbs, dying herbs (colorants), culinary herbs, perennials, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, turf, hardscape, really a little of everything. I'll have to verify the size of the vegetable garden, it's pretty big with very rich soil, they've been building the organic matter in the soil for at least 5 years, so it's the ideal place to "demonstrate" to the public.

    We'll be putting in zucchini and 42 different varieties of tomatoes this morning, half the tomatoes will be heirloom. Off the top of my head, what is currently in the ground are various beans (including a pole bean tee pee in the center with Italian Romano, Asian yard long, and Kentucky Wonder, cucumbers (vining and bush), peas, beets, eggplant (four varieties including Rosa Bianca), 16 varieties of pepper (half hot, half sweet), cabbages, lettuces, cauliflower, carrots, five varieties of radishes, turnips, mustard greens, yellow and red onions, 2 varieties of corn, canteloupe, beets, and kohlrabi.

    The produce is donated to local organizations and food banks.

    It will be fun to see everything grow as I have not planted many of these vegetables myself until now.




    kthull,
    No problem. Sometimes you can find a place that can deliver soil by the yard within a week. I'm sure it depends on your local suppliers.

    I strongly recommend you get your soil tested, the cost for me was only $11.00 and I know exactly what state my soil is in and if it needs amendments so I'm not wasting money on fertilizers or things I don't need by guessing, etc. You didn't elaborate on what type of soil you got and there is a lot out there that is not good or needs to be amended.

    Do you use mulch?

    If you have specific problems, each state has it's own Extension Service with county offices that provide horticultural information usually free of charge if you call. Here is a link to your state of Illinois Extension Service, the Illinois Soil Testing Labs, and an Illinois Gardener's Checklist.



    Hi Jim,
    LOL! Beets? I think the key is timing, getting them in the ground early enough while it's still cool, consider soil temperature and air temperature, make sure the soil contains organic matter and is loose and well drained, water regularly for plump beets. They are easy to grow.

    Satisfactory soil temperatures for beets are between a minimum of 40 and maximum of 75 degrees. But they grow best and produce more between 60 to 65, the optimum temperatures.

    Here are a couple more sources you may find informative:

    Growing Beets
    More on Growing Beets

    :bounce:
     
  15. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Hi Mudbug,

    I just got back from the local farmers' market where I bought a lemon thyme plant (as well as a common thyme to replace one that's turned into tumbleweed :( ) and I think I'm in love! :D CC mentioned it when I was asking about thyme in another thread and I've been reading about it in another forum (Gardenweb). What a glorious scent!!!

    Anyway, I am indeed growing Cherokee Purple. It's one of the ones from my earlier round of seed sprouting:
    Caro Rich
    Stupice
    Druzba
    Green Zebra
    Cherokee Purple
    Lemon Boy
    Sweet Chelsea
    Tomatillo
    Sun Gold
    Brandywine OTV
    First Lady
    Emerald Evergreen

    I grew CP from a plant last year and loved it as well as Green Zebra, First Lady and Caro Rich. The others are new to me but ones that were talked about on the Tomato Forum at Gardenweb. By the way, I'm "toad" there. It's the only gardening org. of any kind I belong to but I'd love to find out about others. Any suggestions?

    I haven't yet saved seeds (and wonder if my plants are too mixed or too close together for that :confused: ). But anything you would like is yours. I bought most of my seeds from Tomato Growers, Baker Creek, Territorial Seed Co., and a few from Seed Savers. This is all new to me and I love it!
    :bounce:

    In the past I've used dill with fish or in salads like a Greek Salad or what David calls a "farmer's salad." But now that I'm growing my own, I'll be looking for other uses.
    As for the purslane, I first tasted it in Nice, tossed in and around an omlette. The waiter only knew the French name and was sure it was untranslatable :rolleyes: , but we found out that pourpier was purslane and it just started coming up yesterday. But other than tossing it in salads, I really don't know what to do with it, so I'm planning on posting something in the cooking forum.

    That demo garden sounds wonderful! Is this your profession? I can't tell you how much I would love to spend hours more a day every day than I do in the garden (even with clay for soil!!!:D ).

    Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to take a "work" break and grade some papers. Then, as a reward, I'm going to transplant a Brandywine OTV and probably a Sweet Chelsea into 15 gal containers. I cannot believe that you don't like tomatoes!!!:crazy:

    And ktull, what do you plan to do with all the beets? Do you make borscht? (I adore borscht but David is, shall we say, much less enthusiastic).
     
  16. kthull

    kthull

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    Phoebe, when I grew the beets a couple years ago, all I did was boil them. I had only eaten beets from the jar as a kid, so even in its humble preparation, they were tremendous.

    For this time around, I read about roasting them in a gardening book. It said to wash and trim the beets (don't peel), brush them in olive oil and roast at 400 for about an hour or until a skewer easily goes through. Then, when they're cool enough to handle, peel the outer skin and the book claims "you're in for quite a treat."

    That's the plan, anyway.

    I have a tomato seed question. When I first started gardening, I had high hopes for starting with seeds, but I killed all my tomato and pepper seedlings. I admit, I didn't have the patience, conviction, space or ideal growing conditions to care for them. But every year, I compost the spent plants into the garden beds, which usually includes some unripe, overripe or critter-eaten tomatoes. And, each year I get plants from the year before shooting up in random spots. That leads me to think it might work to directly sow the seeds, even though I'm in Zone 5 and any book I've read does not recommend it.

    Thoughts?
     
  17. mudbug

    mudbug

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    phoebe,

    Fabulous. Since I live nearby, I have attended the last three Festivals Baker Creek has held (2 spring, one fall). I believe there is seed saving info at the Tomato Forum at GardenWeb in the FAQ, if not, I'm sure a quick search will yield results without having to post the question there. I'll put together a list for you next week of what inventory I can trade.

    Not my profession, but I have definitely developed an avid interested in learning. And one thing is for sure, horticulture is never ending....

    LOL - yes, I'm a rare breed that actually grows vegetables other than tomatoes. I don't know what the percentage is but I think I once heard that out of all home gardeners, 90 percent grow flowers, trees, turf, etc, 10 percent have vegetable gardens and 70 percent of those 10 percent veggie growers grow tomatoes. That leaves the rest of us to grow all the other veggies! And an even smaller number actually start their gardens from seed!

    The Demonstration Garden is 2400 square feet, confirmed that today.

    I'm beginning to like tomatoes, just have to find the right ones. Those supermarket tomatoes have no flavor which is probably why I never liked tomatoes, now I'm into heirlooms...

    ;)



    kthull,

    If you get plants shooting up, transplant them into your veggie garden where you want them. Can you give specifics on how you started your seed? What type of conatiner, what light and temperature conditions? What type of soil?

    There are always exceptions, if you think you can direct seed, go for it.
     
  18. kthull

    kthull

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    mudbug,

    When I attempted growing from seed, I went ahead and got one of those seedling kits (ok, stop laughing) and used grow lights. It was five years ago, so I don't recall much more than that, except that there really was no good place to keep them where I could regulate the temperature and keep them out of my wife's line of sight. Turning the dining room into a greenhouse wasn't in her plans. :D

    That's why I switched from seed to plants. If I ever strike it rich, my next house will have a killer kitchen and some room for a cold frame (maybe even a longer growing season ;) ) . Seed varieties are so much more interesting than what's available at the local nurseries.
     
  19. mudbug

    mudbug

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    kthull,

    Nothing wrong with seedling kits. Cold frames can be very inexpensive if you still want to try building one.

    Yes, the varieties out there are amazing. If you want to try again, let us know.
     
  20. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Hey Kevin,

    Since this is the first year I've tried starting tomatoes and peppers from seeds, I don't think I'm the one to ask. Mudbug would be much better equipped to answer your questions. If indoor space is a problem (it certainly is for me) take a look at the "Winter Sowing" as well as the "Tomatoes" forums at GardenWeb. I believe that winter sowing means sowing outside but not directly in the ground yet.

    Here's the general website: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/

    Also, I just used flats with little compartments, filled them with soil-less seed starting medium, stuck in the seeds, watered and put the flats on top of an out of the way bookcase in the hall sort of close to the floor vent of the heater. In 3 days they germinated! Then they went outside in the sun in the day time and went back up on the bookcase at night. If it was overcast, they spent part of the day on my desk under my desk lamp. Nothing fancy.