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Old 01-16-2005, 11:01 AM   #1
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Cooking Gardens

Springtime dreaming. It will be a long time before I'm able to plant anything, but those of you who plant herb and veg gardens, what are you planning on growing this year? I put the word out that I was looking for a favorite from childhood, lemon cucumbers, and a freind immediately gave me an heirloom seed catalog witht he seeds in it. There's my start. I have a small but very productive herb garden (two actually, because I won't allow mint to live with my other herbs, but won't do without it). My gardens are all small (main herb garden is 2-3 ft wide, about 8 long, veg gardent is 3X8, but going to grow some this year I think, and mint gardent is 2X1). Oh, I do have a separate tomato garden now!!!! Anyway, point is, any of you grow your own vegs, and what suggestions do you have? I used to write a gardening column in Florida, but it's entirely different growing in FL and HI than here in he midwest. What do you grow, what works, what doesn't ..... wherever you live!!

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Old 01-16-2005, 11:29 AM   #2
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one of my favorite things in my garden is my rhubarb plant.
it is a perennial, that needs virtually no care - I get a spring and a fall crop.
rhubarb jam, rhubarb cake, strawberry-rhubarb pie and my favorite -
stewed rhubarb over vanilla ice cream!

I can hardly wait for spring!
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Old 01-16-2005, 11:37 AM   #3
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I just moved to Alabama so I'm all excited about getting a garden going this spring. I'll be starting from scratch so I'm a little intimidated, but looking very forward to it! There's a ton more sunshine here and a lot more heat than what I'm used to so there will definitely be a huge learning curve.

I gardened in Seattle at a pea-patch since I owned a condo and didn't have room for much besides herbs and some a tomatoe or two along side my flowers on my patio. A pea-patch is a community garden. The one we used was in a park owned by the county. They took a couple of acres and tilled it up and plotted out 10' X 20' gardens and then folks "rented" the space by the season. Many many people had been using the same area for years. It was such a pleasure to meet people there and talk about our successes and failures and learn from one another. I'm really going to miss that aspect of it.

Seed books have been arriving in the mail, I splurged on a huge gardening book (A-Z Encyclopedia of Gardening Plants from the American Horticulture Society), I've been checking out the local nurseries trying to get a feel for those I can count on as a source of information as well as plants.

I have been eyeing the yard trying to figure out the best spot to plant in. I have some challanges with the house being built into the side of a hill and being surrounded by tons of trees but I think with a tad bit of clearing I'll find that perfect spot. *bats lashes at SO* (I'll be needing help! =P)

I'll probably do most of my herbs right up here on deck. All thrive nicely in pots and I love nothing more than having a handful of whatever I need being only two steps from my kitchen.

I have not decided exactly what I'll plant yet. I'll figure that out once I decide how much room I'm going to give myself to work in. I know from experience that I have a tendency to dream bigger than is practical so I'm trying to keep things very managable to start with. =P

Z
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Old 01-16-2005, 11:43 AM   #4
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Gee, how in the heck did I wind up with a "T" at the end of garden? That's strange.
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Old 01-16-2005, 07:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasabi woman
one of my favorite things in my garden is my rhubarb plant.
it is a perennial, that needs virtually no care - I get a spring and a fall crop.
rhubarb jam, rhubarb cake, strawberry-rhubarb pie and my favorite -
stewed rhubarb over vanilla ice cream!

I can hardly wait for spring!
My cousin in Norway made mean batches of rhubarb wine in her basement, questionable name as it was 90 proof. But it was wonderful. Too bad she is now in Vallhallah or I could get the recipe.
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:06 PM   #6
 
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We have a pretty high maintenance backyard, in terms of gardening, but its mostly Margaret's, as she is happiest tending to her flowers and plants, whereas I'm more into mowing the lawn and tending my "specialty crops"...

I will usually grow 8 tomato plants (buying them as "bedding outs" from local greenhouses), usually four each "Beefsteaks", "Early Girls", or "Better Boys" (tho' I don't know if these are "heirlooms", I've been using these types many years)

Likewise, I'm up for English "Burpless" cucumbers, usually four of these, plus bell peppers, Sheppard peppers, and, generally, a "project" of the year, be this a "hot" pepper, cantaloup, melon, or something a bit off the beaten path for Ontarian growing...(I have fun with it!)

We are getting more into growing some herbs, such as oregano, basil, marjoram, etc...and try to stay away from chives, as these things go crazy here and become a "weed"..grow so fast that we can't eat them up fast enough, and nothing is worse than stiff, stalky "old" chives...

Noting that Stoney Creek is "famous" for its clay, we had to "sweeten" the ground with umpteen yards of "triple mix", sand and peat, in order to break up the soil and emplace some nutrient for successful attempts...

Since fruiting plants suck out a lot of nutrients, its essential to replace them, as well as guarding against the various raccoons, bunnies, squirrels etc that are wont to "raid" the garden...

"Bloodmeal" tends to frighten away the plant eating "animal raiders" by its scent, and arguably may help with the tomato's...

Gathering up all the dead leaves in the fall, and rototilling these through the garden, or "mulching" them over the perennials does the very best, and I'd recommend it to the List's gardeners, its "putting back in what you took out"!

I also use "Miracle Grow" powder, sluiced into a watering can to dissolve, on a bi-weekly basis, and have built "racks" for the various plant types to grow up around, in order to get straight cukes, and not have the plants rip themselves apart, but thats something for our shorter growing season here than in the States...

Feeds about 3-5 households, and accounts for a year-round supply of wine from the next door retired engineer (is this a "symbiotic" relationship?) who is especially fond of cukes and tomato's....

Note that he both begat and solved the raccoon problems...we all back up onto the Niagara Escarpment, with a creek and waterfall close at hand...a breeding ground for "critters"...he allowed a family of raccoons to esconse themselves near his backyard pool pumping house...

But when they commenced to tipping and spilling his garbage can, he (apparently! "Legend" as opposed personal witnessing!) "hot-wired" the garbage can lids, grounding them to the buckets, insulating with a "Glad Bag"...by about 0200 hrs one night, there were four dead raccoons in a Glad Bag, and the neighbourhood has been "suspiciously clear" of the critters since....

(Morale of the story is "Don't mess with Engineers")

Lifter
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:11 AM   #7
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lifter, the tomatoes you mentioned are all hybridized, not heirlooms. i think they are all burpee varieties. heirlooms are nice, but are overrated imho. i think it's the "romantic" notion of having a tomato the way they were grown many years ago. but, so long as you let your tomatoes sun ripen on the vine, they will taste as good as any heirloom, and have been bred to resist pests and diseases like verticillum and fusarium wilt, and tobacco mosaic and nematodes.
here is a good site for tomato disease info: http://www.earlmay.com/pamphlets/pam...hp?pamp=901686
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Old 01-17-2005, 01:10 AM   #8
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Earlier today I just went and bought some supplies and herbs for a potted herb garden I'm planning to have down at college.

Will consist of:
Basil
Thyme
Rosemary
Coriander
Flat-leaf parsley
Mint
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:41 AM   #9
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I don't know much about heirlooms; I wanted a specific variety of cuke (lemons), and will be growing that. But there is a reason Burpee and Park have worked so hard to make hybrids that work for your locale. When I lived in Hawaii and Florida I grew sweet 100 cherry tomatoes almost exclusively because they are so resistent to the plagues of sub-tropical gardening (in both locations disease, molds, bugs, birds, and in FL heat killed tomatoes before I could bring a full size one to ripeness). Here I experimented last year (previous years our ground hand been "poisoned" by a black walnut tree, it's just now recovering) and will only plant "Early Girl" in the spring. Has anyone out there tried growing Italian plum tomatoes in a barrel? Because I couldn't grow much in the ground I have two barrels I've used for "patio" tomatoes, but am wondering if the plum would work .... heck, ya don't don't if you don't try, right?
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:46 AM   #10
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Zerah, one of the great things about growing in the south is the fall garden, so don't forget it. I don't know how far south you live (there's a difference between winter in northern as opposed to southern AL), but in the south you can plant onion sets, brocolli, brussels sprouts, etc and get a second crop out of your garden. Lots of herbs will survive through a mild winter as well (NOT BASIL. It dies before the temps hit the freezing mark. But sage, thyme, and many others can handle winter)
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