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Old 06-15-2011, 06:21 AM   #41
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As CWS shows, one person's answer isn't the same as another's! I just grow for two of us, and it is well worth is to buy seedlings and two varieties, 4 plants total, make enough tomatoes for us plus some to give away; and I do freeze enough to last me for months into the winter. One cucumber vine inundates us and we can't give them away. One year I over-planted basil (from seed) and wound up providing a local Italian restaurant. I wind up planting in the spring and realizing that my freezer is still full of pesto and I still have a jar of dried cayenne.

One thing I don't see here, maybe I'm just missing it, but look up your local extension. Here it is run out of the county, but in other places I've lived they operate out of a college. They'll usually have a master gardener course if you want to take it, but always have answers to gardening questions that are locally oriented, and they'll often test your soil for you and let you know what to add to yours for what you are growing.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:20 AM   #42
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Aw, Claire, I suggested the Extension office on the second page--you know I can't resist a plug for myself!!

Even with containers, you can still mulch--it helps slow evaporation. As far as animals, you might not have to worry too much, but I have a pesky little chipmunk who 'plants' mouthfuls of sunflower seeds in all of my containers, and I am constantly pulling up sprouts.

You will need to buy more soil sometimes. Rotate your crops between pots--don't plant the same thing in the same pot 2 years in a row, ESPECIALLY if you have had disease or pest problems. I use big pots (mostly for flowers, veggies go in the garden) and I thoroughly stir up the soil in the pot if I am going to reuse the soil, and then top off with new potting soil.

The cheapest potting soil I have found is called Pro-Mix, and I buy it from someone who has a green house. It comes in 50 pound bales and it is very dry, so it is quite a lot of soil once you get it wet enough to plant in.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:46 PM   #43
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hi I think growing from seed is better i think because of how the roots attach to the soil and when replanting a grown plant it somehow stunts the plant a little. I have done both this year I bought the plants because we just moved and i had nowhere to plant seeds. I would say though i prefer seeds if you can.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:19 PM   #44
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I've just been informed we have about 75 tomato plants still looking for a home...Might have to enlarge the field garden this weekend after all...oh, but it would involve fencing because of the deer...obviously, if we bought plants, we wouldn't have the problem of having 75 extra tomato plants...
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:32 PM   #45
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When gardening, I think you have to look at how much real estate you have, how good the soil is, how much time you have (not only for caring for the garden, but for processing the surplus) and why you want a garden. We garden because we are basically cheap. We live a very frugal lifestyle and have the lifestyle we want. We have the gardens to keep our food bill under control. The nice thing is that we grow things that I probably would't be able to justify buying very often--leeks, for example. So we have a lot of variety, and we can plant things like Russian blue potatoes, purple kohlrabi, purple peppers, red okra (okra is only in the frozen section here), a variety of tomatoes, beets and other root veggies, radishes, etc. I like the variety the different colored veggies add to the plate. We also have 9 freezers between the farm and the other two houses we own. My DH cans a lot of tomatoes and makes lots of spaghetti sauce that we freeze. We also can a lot of salsa, pickles, and sauerkraut. All of this takes time. I have to admit, my DH does most of it because he is more or less retired (has been since he was 38). I'm self-employed. When I work, I work a lot. And, this summer I'm working a lot. I have lots of deadlines, and I have to do eldercare in MN for 3 weeks the beginning of August. I don't have a lot of time for the garden because I also often work at least part of one of the days on the weekend. While I'm in MN the DH will be up to his eyeballs in beans, etc., while I'm gone (not to mention caring for the chickens!). We also grind veggies for the dogs and put those in the freezer. The garden feeds 2 adults and 4 dogs. But, my DH was a hippo in another life--I think he eats 1/4 his body weight a day in veggies...well, maybe not that much, but a meal in the summer is not complete without at least five veggies--and potatoes and corn dont' qualify as veggies in his book--they are strarches.

If you just want a "kitchen garden" or don't have time to coddle the seedlings, buying the plants make sense. But if you have a LARGE garden (I consider 3000 sq. ft. to be LARGE), then you take your chances by planting your own seeds.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:57 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowgrass View Post
Aw, Claire, I suggested the Extension office on the second page--you know I can't resist a plug for myself!!
I didn't have time to check it out before but I am now, I should find something here, there is a lot to look at!

Quote:
Even with containers, you can still mulch--it helps slow evaporation. As far as animals, you might not have to worry too much, but I have a pesky little chipmunk who 'plants' mouthfuls of sunflower seeds in all of my containers, and I am constantly pulling up sprouts.
Ohhh that's too funny!! I have noticed lots of little weeds growing in almost all my pots, they are a pretty green and have 2 small banana shaped leaves, I dont know what they are but they're growing in everything, so I've been pulling them out.


Quote:
You will need to buy more soil sometimes. Rotate your crops between pots--don't plant the same thing in the same pot 2 years in a row, ESPECIALLY if you have had disease or pest problems.
I did plant different stuff in the pots this year, I didn't even know what was in them last year because my labels either blew off or the ink faded in the sun!
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:10 AM   #47
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Sparrowgrass, I missed your post somehow. But a reminder isn't a bad thing!

I get a kick out of the animal thing. I've never run into this before moving to Illinois, but the squirrels here are voracious and imaginative. I swear, every year a new bulb flower appears and some disappear. I know for a fact I used to have peach colored lilies in one corner of the garden that are now blue (can lilies be like some flowers and change color with soil acidity?) Some years one of us will look out and say, gee, I don't remember that color of daffodil? Weird tulips will appear out of nowhere.

Animals and planting? I had a black walnut tree that had rotted from inside. About 8 years ago we had it removed (not cheap! But it was about to fall on my neighbor's house!). New doggie, Rosebud, has a talent for digging up ancient black walnuts to chew on. I mean, these have to be older than .... well, well over a decade old (the tree hadn't produced for years). But she manages to find the walnuts all over the yard.
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