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Old 02-24-2010, 10:59 AM   #21
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The only thing I've never managed to kill before it's old enough to actually use, is mint. I do keep it potted in a 5 gal. pot on my deck so it doesn't take over the yard. I don't do anything to it except maybe water it in extreme heat, and from Oct. through March I don't even do that.

Snow... Ice... it dies back, but then reemerges in the spring... all by itself.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:43 PM   #22
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The only thing I've never managed to kill before it's old enough to actually use, is mint. I do keep it potted in a 5 gal. pot on my deck so it doesn't take over the yard. I don't do anything to it except maybe water it in extreme heat, and from Oct. through March I don't even do that.

Snow... Ice... it dies back, but then reemerges in the spring... all by itself.
NOTHING kills mint, not even marauding cats!


JamesS, if you are looking to augment a crappy produce section, then I have to agree that tomatoes are the way to go. They need a ton of sunshine and heat though, it sounds like your patch isn't very sunny. Also, they need to be protected from the marauders.

What about a raspberry patch? Or blueberry bushes? They spread like a demon though.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:11 PM   #23
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It's funny you mention raspberries. There's been a wild patch in the corner of the yard for darn near thirty years. I think some more berries are a given. I'm a smoothee fanatic, so having enough berries on hand to freeze sounds like a winning idea.

The house is about a mile from a winery, and in the last couple of years grapes have migrated to the yard. They weave themselves into the trees at the edges of the woods. It's a shame they taste awful. Probably make decent wine though. On the bright side, the dogs aren't interested in them. I was worried about that when they first turned up. I even tried destroying them and met with no success at all. They're seriously hardy.

I don't think light will be a problem for the tomatoes. Right now, I'm leaning towards hanging them. I'll build some structures on the western edge of the yard. It gets the most sunlight of any area....easily evidenced by the snow. There's none left there, while most of the yard still has six inches or so.

He's quite the looker isn't he:
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:26 PM   #24
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yes he is, and i am a cat lover. lol
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:27 PM   #25
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James, your Golden is absolutely adorable! And, like babetoo, I'm a cat person. Almost makes me want a puppy...till I remember back to my youth, cleaning the back yard from our Springer...

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......... Just wish I could get the tomatoes to get red! I get plenty of growth, and LOTS of tomatoes, but not many get red. I think the problem is not enough sun.
I grew tomatoes good enough in a garden with less sun than desirable (probably 5-6 hours full)...warm, fresh off the vine is the best! I never tried this hint I read, but it might help. When the toms are big enough but not reddening up take a spade and cut into the earth about a foot (? or maybe a little closer) away from the stalk, Cutting the outer part of the roots makes the plant think the growing season is ending, causing the fruit to ripen. You can also pick off the buds so the plant sends energy into the tomatoes. And select a tomato that ripens in a shorter time than other varieties as long as its flavor is what you're looking for. Finally, at the end of the season just uproot the plant and hang it in a cool, freeze-proof spot (we had an attached garage I could use about a month after pulling up) for them to keep ripening. If we had to pull green ones off at the end I'd wrap each one in newspaper and layer gently into a big metal can. It's what my Mom did, and we would end up with the last of the tomatoes on our Christmas salad. Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:13 PM   #26
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I know it's a bit of an odd question, but I really don't enjoy any aspect of gardening, and I do have plenty of room and time.

What I will say is that I am increasingly frustrated with the only grocery store less than an hour's drive away. I just can't get decent produce, much less herbs...
As much as I love garden tomatoes and other veggies and herbs, I have given up on vegetable gardens for several reasons.

There's the tedious work of tilling, weeding and pruning. This is a regularly recurring task as long as there are plants growing.

You have to be sure the garden is watered enough but not too much.

You have to deal with bugs, fungi and various other things that attack your plants.

You have to hope there is an adequate amount of sun and not too much rain.

Then if you do all that with great precision, and eagerly await the looming harvest, you wake up one morning and find any number of different animals have helped themselves to your almost ready to harvest foods.

I now try to find the best local farm stand to get stuff I really like.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:45 AM   #27
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I believe you can grow herbs fairly easily inside the house in a pot. I've not yet done it though.
Yeah i also agreed that idea, were also did that since our home dont have enough space for us to have a garden , so what we did is putting a herb in pot.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:06 AM   #28
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Andy M,
I found that raised bed gardening alleviates the tilling and some weeding. I put weedguard on the underside of the wood frame that I assembled. This frame took literally 10 minutes to build with the "help" of a 5 year old (at the time) boy. I just watered the garden for a bit every morning, or at night if I forgot in the morning. Maybe 45 minutes, but sometimes I forgot and the sprinkler ran for hours! If you put the bed in the right spot the sun will take care of itself. I will admit I haven't figured out what to do about bugs and/or fungi. I'm reluctant to put pesticides on my plants. But it's not too hard to build a chicken wire fence and attach it to the raised bed frame. I think part of the problem is that some people bite off more than they can chew and get over-zealous with their inital garden. For a beginner I would try a 4' X 4' or 4' X 8' bed, and just 2-4 plants. You can drop a few herb seeds in between, or even in a pot on the patio.

But I totally understand people that don't want to bother. Personally I don't have a good place (not enough sun) to grow regular tomatoes. I will try cherry tomatoes this year in the hopes that they don't need as much sun. Anyone know this for sure? I do know that there is a really great farmer's market near me. Great produce, locally grown, and great prices too! I thought it would be more expensive but it's not!
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:14 AM   #29
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I think for this year, for many of the reasons Andy hit on, except perhaps for some berries, I'm going to go entirely with containers.

I've been reading about hanging containers for tomatoes and peppers. Some people are even putting certain herbs in the tops of the containers (others develop too strong a root system and prevent the water from reaching the tomatoes). It seems like a pretty ideal solution. With containers, you have absolute control over the soil and potentially the water. Plus there's no staking to worry about.

Another advantage is that I should be able to secure them from any wildlife that could reach them (except maybe squirrels and raccoons). I have about two dozen panels of gridwall leftover from my days as a retailer. It could easily be configured into a cage six feet high and perhaps twenty-four feet long by four feet wide. I don't think bunnies could climb it (even though they're great climbers), and deer couldn't get more than their muzzles into it. It wouldn't slow a squirrel down for a minute, but they don't like the pine trees, so it's rare that we see them.

The way I'm envisioning it, the tomato and pepper containers would be hanging inside of the cage, while the herbs would be in those long window box type containers across the top. I'll use wire ties to secure the pots and stakes for the cage in case it gets really windy.

Thinking about it, I have crates of wire shelves and baskets built to hang onto the gridwall. I could even put pots and containers around it with them.

It won't be pretty, but it strikes me as reasonably efficient.

There's bound to be a glaring flaw with this plan? What do you think?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:40 AM   #30
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There's bound to be a glaring flaw with this plan? What do you think?
Yes, that we don't live close enough to co-op on this deal! You work in a restaurant though, right? So you'll use it all for that anyway. I might have to try some container gardeing. It will be ideal to start the herbs and tomatoes anyway, and I can just do cukes and spinach in the raised bed.

How large are the spaces in the gridwall? 1" chicken wire is usually recommended to keep out critters like rabbits.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:49 AM   #31
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You work in a restaurant though, right?

How large are the spaces in the gridwall? 1" chicken wire is usually recommended to keep out critters like rabbits.
I haven't worked in a kitchen since the late eighties. I'm recently on my first retirement after owning a hobby shop for a couple of decades...hence a basement full of retail fixtures that I've been too lazy to put on Craigslist.

The grid panels are three inch if memory serves. A small rabbit could get through...but it would have to climb to get to the plants. I suspect a raccoon could get in too, but like squirrels they're pretty few and far between out here (but more dedicated climbers). Since the plants will be up high, not only would it have to get into the cage, it would have to climb up it.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:56 AM   #32
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The grid panels are three inch if memory serves. A small rabbit could get through...but it would have to climb to get to the plants. I suspect a raccoon could get in too, but like squirrels they're pretty few and far between out here (but more dedicated climbers). Since the plants will be up high, not only would it have to get into the cage, it would have to climb up it.
Gotcha! I just looked up the gridwall, and then realized that you would be hanging the containers up where the critters would have to climb (and it would make it easier to maintain. I think that's a great idea! But I wouldn't start off with a 24' long cage if I were you! And didn't you mention a golden retriever? I would think that the dog might keep some critters away.

You must post pics of this setup when you get it done though!
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:23 AM   #33
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24' may be a little aggressive for the first year. That would be room for a dozen or so containers. Really, I imagine three or four tomato plants and an equal amount of peppers would be plenty.

The dogs never go after the wildlife (thankfully). They're both competitive hunting retrievers. Well, Kali, my Lab is anyways. Chase, the Golden is still trained, but since he's epileptic I won't let him swim in the winter.

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Old 02-25-2010, 12:46 PM   #34
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I will try cherry tomatoes this year in the hopes that they don't need as much sun. Anyone know this for sure?
Any that I have grown have required as much sun as regular tomatoes. Sorry about that. There could be a variety that I haven't tried that doesn't need as much though. I typically do sweet one millions. I've done others though.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:02 AM   #35
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Hi mmh sound so fun of gardening huh well very nice habit which i cant apply but i what i have known
gardening activities potentially provide an outlet for enhanced physical and emotional well-being. Increased physical activity can reduce the risk of some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression Hope i make a garden too ...
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:32 PM   #36
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When we put in a garden, we do think...GROCERIES, fresh ones and we make the best of what works that year.
We fortified the soil with manure and soil and mulch last year, what a great year. We started sheet composting in another garden space for this year too. Then, because we lost so many plants to sand hill cranes, bunnies and deer...once things came up, yum those tender seedlings, we put a temporary fence around the garden. We just stuck sticks around 4 feet tall in the ground around it, and strung some chicken wire around it. That helped immensely.
We overplant in double rows and put cardboard in between the rows, that helps with MOST of the weeds. We started some of our plants from seed in the house.
We had BEANS--still have a lot in the freezer and canned, pea pods, used those in chinese the other night. Tomatoes, peppers--green and hot. Tomatillos, still have frozen base for salsa. BASIL, still have it ground up with olive oil in the freezer to make pesto which is SO good. (I made some the other day, the first day it was SO HOT from garlic, then it mellowed, it's a beautiful thing.)
And we planted a garlic garden in the fall, and it will come to fruit next July, I'm excited to see how it did.
All in all, I'd do it all again. I think the composting makes the soil rich, the plants do better, the fruits of your labor are delicious.
If you can't get into it, then just do the parts you love, if it is tomatoes, then do them well, water and put a mulch around them. Good luck
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:59 PM   #37
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Tomatoes

I don't have much space and say yearly that I would like to grow a few things. We live in the city and I think a few containers would serve well. When looking at tomatoes, I keep gazing at heirloom tomatoes because they look so different and I like to experience different foods. Has anyone had experience with heirloom tomatoes? Are some varieties better than others?

Also other suggestions for cucumbers and other varieties of veggies for containers?

I grow herbs in place of flowers in flower bed in the front yard. It made for a pretty garden last summer.

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Old 02-27-2010, 04:30 PM   #38
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Heirlooms are great. I grow several kinds in my garden every year. Brandywine is a good tomato to start with and pretty available. The key to container gardening is to be sure to keep them well watered. Also, heriloom tomoatoes are "indeterminant" which means they will grow and grow. You need to be sure to stake them well and if they get too tall pinch them back.

There are bush varieties of cucumbers that do well in containers. Lettuces and spinach also do well in containers, as do bush beans and peppers. If you have large enough containes you can even plant some flowers like marigolds or zinneas in with the veg.
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Old 02-27-2010, 07:41 PM   #39
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I just read in one of my gardening magazines there is a new yellow squash hybrid out this season that is supposed to be prefect for containers. It is called Buckingham.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:21 PM   #40
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I don't have much space and say yearly that I would like to grow a few things. We live in the city and I think a few containers would serve well. When looking at tomatoes, I keep gazing at heirloom tomatoes because they look so different and I like to experience different foods. Has anyone had experience with heirloom tomatoes? Are some varieties better than others?

Also other suggestions for cucumbers and other varieties of veggies for containers?

I grow herbs in place of flowers in flower bed in the front yard. It made for a pretty garden last summer.

~Kathleen
Kathleen, I live on 8-1/2 acres, but garden around close to the house..I used a tub with a trellis and grew cucmber which i made some into 24 hour pickle chips...Tomatoes can be hung from the edge of a patio, I had several heirlooms
they are a little fussy but so sweet and good..Grape tomatoes in a 1/2 barrel like the cucumbers..I just bought a cloth planter and will plant gold potatoes in them no need to hill..I even plant basil and herbs in 1/2 barrels, It's easier for me this way and the yeild is great.
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