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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:22 pm 
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torque wrote:
i was supposed to set up a seed exchange with 4 other people, and not one has responded to my emails! so i am saying "too bad" and not taking the damn thing on myself. i take off my hat to you supercarrot, i don't have the gumption to do it.

eek! it's done. in the past year, i attempted to do a co-op purchase of plant material two times, and both times the people flaked. ...after i made the purchases. :-/ now that there's an organization/"group feel" to it, i'm hoping people will be more likely to carry through. (and maybe i'll require up front payment when we make a joint purchase, which isn't as easy as meeting once to exchange, but if i need it to protect myself, then so be it.)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:36 pm 
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torque wrote:
so i wonder if anyone knows about adding sand to dirt? neighborhood lore is that fifty years ago this area was a sand quarry, and when they took out the sand they left the layers of red clay (which is all we have now). I have a big pile of sand from a construction project in the corner of the yard- think i can just dump it in the extra clay-ey beds and mix it around? (some beds are more clay than others depending on what i did with them over the last two years- some got sawdust and some got good compost, others were just growing collards so i didn't bother. these ones i need to fix up this year).

In school we were always told that adding sand to clay soils is how you make concrete.... But maybe if you have enough organic matter to add at the same time, it could work? You might do a small trial area first. I've only had a heavy clay garden once, and then for only part of a season, but I've never seen veggies grow so fast! So mineral-rich clay has some good points.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:42 am 
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Jill wrote:
adding sand to clay soils is how you make concrete....

aack!
i just threw a little into a bed that has a large amount of organic trash (i do dig and dump in the garden for the time being til the compost setup gets done).

clay has a lot of minerals, it's true, the brassicas seem to really do well. I feel like so much of my garden life revolves around soil modification- we don't have the kind of materials i would normally use (peat moss, bark or chips, buckwheat hulls, etc) to emend the soil and i often feel i'm trying to do the impossible.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:09 am 
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it's not that big of a deal. some natural soils are a combo of clay and sand. the organic trash will definitely help.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:06 am 
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My deck raised garden is doing pretty well. Have some seedlings sprouted up but... it is supposed to snow tonight. Plan to cover with a tarp but really, snow? C'mon.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:08 am 
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we also are having unseasonably cold weather. it's the equivalent of snow on the first day of school. bad, bad, bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:02 am 
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Yes yes yes to the bad weather. It's been 20+ degrees for two months, so I figured it was time to put out the tomatoes, aubergines, zucchini, and peppers. Of course, the next day it goes down to 0 degrees and the day after it snows. FFS.
Last year it went the same way with heavy floods the day after I put the plants out... I really hope they survive this time.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:08 am 
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we got ice last night, but i don't have anything particularly tender out there yet, so i didn't bother covering anything. but it is a bummer.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:19 am 
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i put a space heater out on the porch with my plant babies last night and covered the flats with domes. it really made quite a difference! i didn't even put it on very high. my only casualties were about half of my zaatar oregano seedlings, but i was a dummy and didn't water them enough (since it seems i previously overwatered all of the greek oregano, so i was being conservative with these), and then they stayed under a dome that must have gotten too hot in the sun and dried them out. oops! well, at least i'm selecting for drought tolerance? :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:00 pm 
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My garden is really taking off now! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Everything needs to be staked, pruned, transplanted, fertilized. Ahhhhhh...it's all happening at once! This is only a small fraction of my plants, but I think the chaos is well represented in this photo.

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Untitled by veggie_172003, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:49 pm 
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Any advice on some ground cover plants that will grow well in the shade and fast, before the weeds set in? When we moved in, the corner back bed was pretty barren but it had a couple of lilies growing in it so I just ignored it. Well, apparently that was their last year because they are all super forking dead. The previous owners had just put down landscaping fabric and a few inches of mulch, so obviously weeds grew right through that shiitake, I just tore up the landscaping fabric. I have a tiller so I can till everything, but I can't afford more dirt since we're making my boxes this year so I really need plants that I can just stick in whatever dirt. I did pull the mulch off of the fabric so I can till that under and maybe a little compost.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:39 pm 
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vinca minor/periwinkle is pretty great. (but i don't know if they grow fast from seeds, and starts aren't really all that cheap) maybe white clover? great for bees! you can plant the clover while the vinca is growing in. i'm sure they'd live harmoniously when the vinca is all grown up.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:31 am 
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Yeah, I've read a lot about people using clover as a quick ground cover. It's good at adding nitrogen back to the soil, too. Buckwheat is also a good smother crop but I don't think it's year round coverage.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:04 am 
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i planted 4 thyme starts and 6 winter savory starts last week. yesterday i noticed that 2 of the thymes were gone and one popped out of the soil. i put that back in. (as well as the tiny lupine that also popped out) i just assumed it was heaving since it got down below freezing. and then today i saw the culprit! it's a bird! i guess thyme starts are the perfect nesting material. i saved the start that he dropped in the street, plopped it back in to the ground for the 3rd time, and then i put a flat over top of it. hopefully that discourages him. i then went to investigate the lupine (popped out again) and the savories. looks like those may have rooted enough, cause 3 were untouched and the other 3 were bare, but it looks like the roots are still on the bare ones, possibly. i put a milk crate over the surviving savories for now. if the lupine is dug out again, maybe i'll bring it back in and pot it up in a larger pot to let it grow some more roots before putting it back out in the world. now i know. bad timing for planting anything that looks like brush. (and if you do have to, maybe cut it all off so it looks invisible above ground.)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:18 pm 
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We have a garden Something that comes at night, digs around and eats things. Not sure what it is, but I think I've stopped it for the time being. There was a hole under our fence that it kept redigging, so I filled it in with scrap wood, then packed mud over that, then put a potted Christmas tree in front of it. Doesn't seem to have come back yet.

It claimed every one of our cauliflower starts though. Not looking like a cauliflower year for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:37 pm 
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i caught a GORGEOUS bird eating my little dino kales. i've been trying to grow these things for years and i guess they must be birdie crack. they also have completely demolished my green beans too, just ripping off pieces of the tender leaves. i've never seen anything like it. (at least the culprits are pretty)

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:29 pm 
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damn bird stole it again! straight through the side of the flat! (i initially saw him pulling up an onion, and when i went out there to replant it, i went to check on the thyme. grr.) so i snipped off the tops of the last remaining thyme and put them in water. hopefully they'll root. and i put some CDs out there on sticks. hopefully they're reflective enough. blergh. at least the robins only steal the worms. it looked like this guy was a mourning dove.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:36 am 
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I'm starting a potted garden on my porch this year and I just built two small 1.5 by 3 feet planters with my dad yesterday. Since I'm not planning on living where I am for more than a couple years, just plywood bottoms with this plastic-y fake wood on the sides. Not deep enough for carrots but hopefully deep enough for brussels sprouts, kale & zucchini! I've got a couple planter bins that came with the house and I might wander around to see if anyone's putting any container like things out with the trash that I can use.

As for soil, I've got a Mahoney's near me http://www.mahoneysgarden.com/ I'm not sure what soil to get? Thoughts? Also, fertilizer? My mom uses a fish/something one so obviously that's out but she may bring me horse manure (from the horse she has, not just random horse manure). I'm a bit out of my depth! I've never done this before!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:07 pm 
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lillianp, you can mix top soil, compost, and perlite (you should be able to find these at a garden store) and have a pretty good mix. To do it veganically, check to make sure the compost doesn't contain bone meal, feather meal, fish, or chicken poo (most organic brands do)! Or, buy a "potting mix" if you don't want to have to mix the stuff yourself...you can't control the ingredients as easily, though. You can buy a vegan powdered fertilizer online and it's pretty easy to find chemically-derived fertilizers at the store. I'm not sure about using horse manure on things you want to eat directly because of food safety reasons. Also, it might burn your plants. I would google that a bit. You may need to compost it first and even then I'm not sure if it's safe to put near veggies.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:38 pm 
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Couroupita, that's a good point about the horse manure. Only reason i was even considering it was my mom said she'd give me some (and she's the gardener in my family). I'll see what Mahoneys has for that mix of stuff. What's perlite?

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:23 pm 
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We can't grow anything here because of the deer and squirrels. Last year we watched a squirrel systematically take all the tomatoes off all our plants. He ate one, threw away the rest. Giving up on most things except a few herbs, but I'm going to try to grow a strawberry plant for Molly.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:49 pm 
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Lillianp, in my area people throw out broken dressers or just plain drawers alllll the time. We have a huge collection of random drawers liberated from alleys that we use for all sorts of things- smaller ones as a spice rack in the kitchen, larger onesnmounted on brackets in the living room for bookshelves and stacked by our door for shoes. I just turned some into planter boxes for our porch by drilling some drainage holes on the bottom. You can also sometimes find wine crates in the trash, or wooden produce crates behind little bodegas. If you use produce crates (or even milk crates), you can line them with trash bags to make free planting boxes.


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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:57 am 
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lavawitch wrote:
We can't grow anything here because of the deer and squirrels. Last year we watched a squirrel systematically take all the tomatoes off all our plants. He ate one, threw away the rest. Giving up on most things except a few herbs, but I'm going to try to grow a strawberry plant for Molly.


That happened to me and my neighbor! A squirrel was stealing our tomatoes. I blamed our fallen/half eaten tomatoes solely on Chester until I actually saw a squirrel run up a tree with one and I almost fell over laughing. Chester totally ate the cherry tomatoes though, I could see him from our bedroom window, he'd wander into the mass of plants and then they'd start to shake.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:08 am 
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lillianp wrote:
Couroupita, that's a good point about the horse manure. Only reason i was even considering it was my mom said she'd give me some (and she's the gardener in my family). I'll see what Mahoneys has for that mix of stuff. What's perlite?

I think it's worth looking into manure if you can treat it first or whatever you have to do! I mean, if it's already there...

Perlite is a white porous rock. It helps keep the soil from packing down, which is important for the roots to be able to move around and for water drainage. They add it to potting mixes. It's not critical, but it helps a lot. I tried to grow carrots and radishes in a compost/topsoil mix and they're totally stunted because the soil is just super compressed now. It's a bummer!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden Chat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:33 pm 
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I was looking through my flickr account for something else, and I came across a photo I took of the mustard squirrel eating my tomato in a tree.

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