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Old 02-01-2010, 04:08 PM   #1
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If you don't enjoy gardening, is it worth it?

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.

Tomatoes are very hit or miss, once in a while I'll get some with decent flavor. Most of the time, they're pink, bland and grainy. Lettuce is iceberg or nothing most of the time with a little escarole now and again.

I can pretty much always get decent parsley, occasionally decent cilantro, but they only carry pre-packaged (fresh) basil and chives...nothing else.

I'm thinking it may be worth the work to put in some tomatoes (maybe those wacky ones that hang from a bucket), lettuce, peppers, cukes, and herbs this spring. What do you all think? When should I begin? Where can I get quality seeds or plants, I'm guessing the local hardware store isn't the best place? How about Aerogarden's can they turn out enough quantity to justify the expense? It would look kind of pretty on top of the refrigerator.

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Old 02-01-2010, 04:38 PM   #2
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Aerogardens work great, but probably will not justify the expense. Although, its nice to have fresh basil, dill, thyme, oregano, chives .... in the middle of the winter. If I didnt have cats, Id keep it in my kitchen. But, the cats love to chew on the growing plants, so I keep it in the basement.

Gardens themselves can be very rewarding, but require a decent amount of work ( watering, weeding, pest control...). There is little to no comparison to going outside and picking your own fresh veggies, but you would definitely have to weigh the convenience to the effort. Container gardens ( grown in pots right on the deck) are convenient. You have more control of the weeds, pests and sunlight ( could be moved around if necessary). But dry out quicker, and still need maintenance.

About this time of year many of the seed catalogues are sent out. Most , if not all can be ordered online also. Some of the seed companies Ive used in the past include Burpee, Vesey's , Johnny's...

burpee.com
veseys.com
johnnyseeds.com

Im sure there are many others. Ive had no problems with any of the above.

Be sure to check your Growing Hardiness Zone.
This will help you determine which plants can grow best in your area ( based on length of day, frost, temperatures ....)

Here is a site that can help you find your zone just by adding your zip code.

National Gardening Association

Also, some seeds need to be started a few weeks prior to the actual growing season. And some its just easier to find a good nursery that sells the baby plants because they are more predictable. Usually not too expensive though. Maybe a few dollars for 6 plants ( tomatoes, peppers, .....)

Some plants require more space than others ( squash, pumpkins, melons ..)
And some like to grow " UP" cucumbers, peas , pole beans.

I can go on forever , but Im sure this is a good start.

larry
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:51 PM   #3
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I'm not much of a gardener. Like you I didn't want the work.. But I went ahead and put a small one in last year.

For someone like me ( newbie) I had a great time.. The tomatoes were just wild beyond belief.. I planted, if memory serves me correctly, like 22 plants! LOL...Was worried that what was started from seeds wouldn't make it. They were the best producers. The work I was dreading it would be, wasn't much at all. The garden revolved around what I like in salsa. Kept it simple..

To this day that little garden is still giving back long after it's been removed. Dehydrated a lot of tomatoes. I have a thing for sundried tomatoes in dishes. Made the best ketchup that I've ever had in my life. Learned how with the patience of a saint ( Kadesma, here on DC ) how to make Tomato soup from scratch. Seriously from scratch.. My kids want her to adopt them :)

Let Burpee be your seed guide. They just released the 2010 seed catalog. You can request one if you want...

New For 2010 - Vegetables - Burpee

Welcome to DC...

Munky.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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Thanks to the both of you. I think I may just give it a try.

Something just crossed my mind though. How about the local wildlife? We live on a few acres carved out of a pine forest. The pine trees have reached the age that a lot of them are falling down...and creating the perfect habitat for a wide, wide variety of critters. On a daily basis, we see, rabbits, deer, foxes, possums, bald eagles and less regularly, raccoons, squirrels and the occasional turkey.

Are these likely to cause me problems?
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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Thanks to the both of you. I think I may just give it a try.

Something just crossed my mind though. How about the local wildlife? We live on a few acres carved out of a pine forest. The pine trees have reached the age that a lot of them are falling down...and creating the perfect habitat for a wide, wide variety of critters. On a daily basis, we see, rabbits, deer, foxes, possums, bald eagles and less regularly, raccoons, squirrels and the occasional turkey.

Are these likely to cause me problems?
LOLOLOL



yes



We have 2 feet of woven wire topped with 3 strands of electric to keep out bunnies, groundhogs and deer.

Start very small, or do the container suggestion.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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Ouch...forgot about the groundhogs. We have at least one living under the lawn shed.

Then there's the resident beasts too. Kali, my Labrador absolutely loves green pepper and tomato. I suspect she may turn into a garden ninja.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:32 PM   #7
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it doesn't take long for the word to get around among the animals....salad bar at JamesS'!
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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the hanging plant containers get a c grade from me. i planted tomatoes in each, different kinds of plants. i planted lettuce, green onions etc in pots. the watering was very time consuming. course i am 71 years old and not all that steady on my feet. i did not get as much produce i had hoped. won't do again. this year, maybe one tomato and will only do plant of things hummingbirds like, i like pots for flowers etc. no weeds and easy to water if all keep in one places such as my porch. one of hanging containers fell. the weigh of the soil and the recent rains did it in. the other still hanging but is tattered. so much for using year to year. if you do decided to use them. put as little dirt in as you can. just my take on things. you might love it.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #9
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I live in VA too, and have done a bit of raised bed gardening. 2 years now. I primarily want to grow tomatoes and cucumbers, in that order. I don't think I get enough sun for tomatoes, but the cukes are dynamite! You haven't tasted cukes till you've had them fresh from the garden! 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.

James, where in VA are you? Maybe we can work out a co-op!
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:23 PM   #10
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Good thought vagriller, but Hampton is quite a haul! I live in a rural area in the Northern Neck. The closest places anyone has ever heard of are Fredericksburg and Richmond, but they're an hour's drive.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:44 PM   #11
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Bummer! Well if you enjoy tomatoes and cukes, it's definitely worth the time and effort. And if you do it right, it's not that hard.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:24 PM   #12
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I think your best bet would be container gardeining or raised beds. Start off small and see if you like it before putting in a large in-ground bed. Be sure the spot you pick will get AT LEAST 8 hours of direct sun, the more the better, but that is a minimum.

Starting seeds takes patience so you might want to buy seedlings your fist year for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and your herbs. If you want to grow lettuce/spinach/greens then go for the seeds. You can get decent seeds at places like WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

You can grow a tomato plant in a 5-gallon bucket or similair sized pot very nicely, same goes for peppers and cucumbers. ( I started out with pots and buckets myself before moving up to raised beds) If you plant a raised bed you might want to consider some wire fencing (chicken wire, etc) to keep out the 4-legged neighbors.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:35 PM   #13
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Sunlight may be an issue too. As I mentioned, I have a few acres cleared in the middle of a pine forest. The trees are very tall. There are places in the yard that never get direct sunlight. Thankfully, there's a large stretch along the west side that gets lots of light....it also backs up to the largest stretch of woods and consequently has the most tracks in the snow at the moment.

Raised beds sound kind of fun. I was looking at pictures on one of the seed company sites, and they're pretty too. If I don't think the veggie gardening is worthwhile after the first year, my fiance can use them for flower beds.

At this point I'm leaning towards experimenting. I've got a huge deck that's being overrun with honeysuckle, that could hold a lot of containers. It would be a simple matter to put up some arched trellises to hold buckets, and install some beds (with ample security!). Maybe some strawberries too!
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:20 PM   #14
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Raised beds sound kind of fun. I was looking at pictures on one of the seed company sites, and they're pretty too. If I don't think the veggie gardening is worthwhile after the first year, my fiance can use them for flower beds.

At this point I'm leaning towards experimenting. I've got a huge deck that's being overrun with honeysuckle, that could hold a lot of containers. It would be a simple matter to put up some arched trellises to hold buckets, and install some beds (with ample security!). Maybe some strawberries too!
Raised beds are possibly the best way to garden. Since you must put all the dirt in, it is very loose, and great for growing veggies. You can mix the soil with peat moss, compost, and whatever other organic materials you like. Also I believe it makes it easier to install fencing around it. I put a 32" high chicken wire fence around it, and it keeps most critters out. I know that deer could easily get their necks over it, but not too many problems with deer in my residential area. And remember deer can jump greater than 6' high, but you only need a fence higher than the lowest of your neighbors fences.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:05 AM   #15
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gardening habit is the best , not just you can eat or consume food through you garden but it also benefits to those who are fun of gardening ... to the women who had a age of 30 plus this activity can really help you , it will straighten your hips and help prevent scoliosis .
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:07 AM   #16
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JamesS, why don't you look at root crops like potatoes, carrots, onions etc? They are less labor intensive and might be more satisfying if you don't like the work of a garden but enjoy the rewards.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:26 AM   #17
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JamesS, why don't you look at root crops like potatoes, carrots, onions etc? They are less labor intensive and might be more satisfying if you don't like the work of a garden but enjoy the rewards.

IMHO if you only grow one thing, grow tomatoes. That is if you like tomatoes! There is nothing better than garden fresh vine ripe tomatoes. Unless of course it is those tomatoes along with garden fresh cukes in a salad! To each his own of course, but when I can get a 10lb bag of spuds for $3 I don't bother. Same thing with corn on the cob. When I can get them 6-8 ears for $1 there's no way I'm going to grow them. It is true though that root crops would be far less work.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:37 AM   #18
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JamesS, why don't you look at root crops like potatoes, carrots, onions etc? They are less labor intensive and might be more satisfying if you don't like the work of a garden but enjoy the rewards.
I'm looking at this as more of a remedy for the limited produce selection at the only grocery under an hour's drive away. In particular, the only fresh herbs I'm likely to find are parsley and cilantro. While they have tomatoes and peppers, they're very inconsistent. With the tomatoes they're usually hard as a rock, pink and grainy inside with almost no flavor. The peppers run the gamut, although they do lean towards good ones. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, spring onions and the like, they pretty well always have, and they're decent quality.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:18 AM   #19
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I'm looking at this as more of a remedy for the limited produce selection at the only grocery under an hour's drive away. In particular, the only fresh herbs I'm likely to find are parsley and cilantro. While they have tomatoes and peppers, they're very inconsistent. With the tomatoes they're usually hard as a rock, pink and grainy inside with almost no flavor. The peppers run the gamut, although they do lean towards good ones. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, spring onions and the like, they pretty well always have, and they're decent quality.
I believe you can grow herbs fairly easily inside the house in a pot. I've not yet done it though.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:35 AM   #20
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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.
Nothing is done easily in the house with an evil Golden Retriever pup present:
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