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  1. 20 percent of my seeds have sprouted. Early results are encouraging. I never even plugged in my grow lights this year!
  2. By mid-December Ds is excited about Christmas, Dh is excited about Winter vacation from work, but I am giddy over my seed catalogs! Baker Street came this last week and it is drool worthy! Anyone else get some great seed catalogs in the mail yet? What might others be excited about growing this coming year? Anything you wish you could grow, but do not have the climate, space, soil, whatever?
  3. When and why did such a stringent rules start? I understand not having a car up on blocks as a permanent fixture or throwing out appliances in your yard instead of taking them to the dump, but what made them not allow gardening? It just seems wrong.
  4. The gardening topics on the board reminded me of my favorite gardening tip to extend the tomato season: when frost hits, pull up your tomato vines and bring them inside to let the tomatoes continue ripening. I've heard you can hang them upside down or wrap them in brown paper, but I just lay mine across some boxes in my garage. We had a salad on Christmas eve with delicious tomatos from the garage. My grandpa used to do this when he lived in Fairbanks Alaska, the growing season was short but he would get tomatoes through November by hanging the plants in the garage to ripen.
  5. We are seriously considering this and will soon set up a trial run in the basement. Dh is on board, and it's a go! Anyone here have experience and/or advice? I'm planning to start with the Dutch Bucket system first, then the PVC pipe system, all under a light in the basement. I will start with tomatoes, lettuce, peppers.
  6. I started growing flowers from seed last year. It took three sowings before I managed to raise Geum Mrs Bradshaw to wave delicately through my new flower bed. Even the last lot I wasn't sure would survive because they were covered in aphids in our porch, but once outside they shrugged off the greenfly and are as healthy as could be in the border. But they are yellow. They are another form of geum. I already have all the yellow I need (perennial sunflower, allium moly, coreopsis.....) I wanted orangey red. I'll contact the vendor, but all they will do is send me another packet. Here we go again....... At least, after last year's experience, I'm pretty sure I can get the germination right first time. L
  7. I just discovered beet greens last year--they were delicious, don't know why I had only thought of eating the roots before. What other greens should I be growing/eating? What are your favorite greens and how do you like to eat them?
  8. Ive been looking into homesteading for multiple reasons and I would really love to give it a shot. We may be moving to a more rural area soon. Some questions I have: How do you suggest getting started? Do you find that it saves you money? How much land do you use? (we are reading the Backyard Homesteading claiming a quarter of an acre is enough.. we would possibly have up to 3 or 4 acres, but obviously would want to start small.) Any other thoughts, tips, tidbits you would like to share. What animals do you raise? What fruits, veggies, etc? What is the most challenging? Etc. Any additional information you would like to share would be appreciated.:bigear:
  9. My tomatoes and peppers refuse to turn red. I have had large tomatoes on the plants for weeks and weeks now staying the same size but not turning. Same with my peppers. Now the growing season here is coming to an end really fast. You can feel fall in the air and our fall here is just a quick stop until it is full on winter. Is there something I can do to get them to hurry on? Or am I doomed with tons of green tomatoes and peppers. Side note when I am referring to the pepper I mean hot ones like cayenne. Can I even use them green? My plan was to dry them and make cayenne pepper once they turned but they are refusing to do so. Thank you for any help.
  10. Help. My garden was great a month ago - chugging along, quite productive. Now something is demolishing it. I'm used to wildlife snacking on a few morsels - a lettuce plant here, some tomatoes there, etc. Whatever this is is terrorizing my garden. I planted an eggplant plant that was about two feet tall, full of blooms and when I came back the next day there was nothing left but the stem. My cantaloupe, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes have been devoured - fruit, leaves, everything but the stems. The cucumbers alone are untouched. This is my third garden in this spot and we've never had this problem. Lettuce, beans, tender crops have always done well. A few slugs and snails but nothing big. Any ideas who the culprit is? More importantly, any ideas how to stop the destruction?
  11. I'm thinking about starting a pot-style herb garden on my deck. Any suggestions from those of you who have had success with this? Or things that went wrong? Thanks!
  12. Two questions :). 1. If you grow onions, do you ever pull white onions & use them in cooking before the leaves fall over since you're not going to store those anyway? 2. How much do you prune your indeterminate tomatoes (survey question)<
  13. How are your gardens out there doing? This morning I had to thin out lots of tomatoes... to help my squash improve... and it was time to clip the artichoke (that was a test to see how it would do... next year, lots more artichoke!!!)... and I use up the jalapenos as fast as they grow! We are also ready to try the first couple of corns... How about you?
  14. Hello gardeners, What do I do with a rosebush that has not been pruned in over a year? Do I attempt to do it now, or wait? I have a black thumb, so I need good advice from people who can grow things better than I can. :001_smile: Thanks!
  15. If you've dealt with this, what has worked for you? One popped up in the yard yesterday and seems to be living under the shed. It must be new, because I haven't noticed any damage to the garden...yet. This morning I watched it meander around the middle of the yard, nibbling at the lawn, then it scurried off back to the shed. I really don't want to kill this thing. I don't want it to die under my shed if I poison it, and I don't have a gun to do the job quickly (plus, we're in the middle of the suburbs--I can just imagine the neighbors' reactions :lol:). I could get a humane trap, but then I worry that I'm leaving some family of groundhogs to die a slow death or that I'm dropping the thing off somewhere to be killed in some other groundhog's territory, etc. I've seen the liquid and granulated repellents (e.g., fox urine), but...ick! and they don't seem to work in general anyway. So if you've dealt with this, what worked for you? TIA!
  16. I know it's late, but now I have time and a tiny patch of sun. What would you plant right now? Some greens? A few tomato plants? I have about ten square feet in Central MD. What are my sure bets?
  17. I would like to plant some things around the boarders of our house, but I am inexperienced at gardening. Any suggestions for ideas, books, websites, etc.? Thanks. :001_smile:
  18. I have a question about raised beds based on the earlier (current) thread about tilling them. One of the responses recommended the Pioneer Woman's blog for instructions on how to build them. She has incredibly detailed instructions, which are great, but complicated. Do I really have to screw and re-screw and level and stake the frames? I was kinda thinking I would build some temporary-ish beds out of bricks this season and see how things go (we rent so any garden I do this year won't be my "forever" garden anyway). Or at the very most just make very simple wooden frames and go from there. Do I really have to stake the frames? Can I just make them out of the bricks and concrete blocks we already have loose in our yard?
  19. what the heck do I get rid of those pesky beetles with? My knock-out roses are beautiful but the beetles are devouring all the leaves. Any ideas?
  20. I have lofty goals. We'll see if we meet them. First off, our chickens were killed by a stray dog who was hunted down by area guys because it had also tried to attack a child. Since our county budget no longer affords more than one part-time employee for animal control, this was the only way to keep everyone safe. We've decided, for now, not to get more chickens until we can get the entire yard privacy fenced to help keep the strays out. There are an increasing number of stray animals in this neighborhood. So, no eggs for me this year! We will not be gardening here. We've had to work so hard to amend this soil and still do not have the crop yield we'd like. Meanwhile, my dad's property is amazingly fertile with little work. So, we are helping him expand his garden - doubling in size, and the boys will be weeding and watering for him throughout the summer. The family garden will contain - green beans, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes for canning and grape tomatoes for dehydrating, onions, sweet bell peppers, mild/banana peppers, cauliflower, radishes, dill, basil, buttercup squash, and canteloupe. They also have a large raspberry patch. Our home strawberry patch is slowly expanding and we'll probably get three quarts this year (I'll pick a flat at a local you-pick place). However, I've been told it will double every year after this for a few seasons and then level out. So, apparently, we'll eventually get 10-12 quarts per season from it. The puppy dug up our grape vine - Thompson green seedless and would have given us our first large clump this season - STUPID COCKER SPANIEL! GRRRRR.... as he sits here at my feet looking up with innocent, brown eyes. We'll buy a quarter of organic beef from our local organic dairy farmer. We'll also buy a bushel of corn on the cob, leeks, a few brussel sprouts, potatoes, two bushels of honeycrisp apples, and some snow peas from our favorite Amish farmer who doesn't use pesticides or herbicides. The boys and I will pick blueberries at a you pick farm that doesn't spray anything and my dad and I will pick blackberries on state land. I do have a couple of black-cap (smaller, earlier variety of blackberry) growing along the house and I'll get a quart, maybe if lucky, two this year. I'll make a berry pie and then we'll freeze the rest to have another pie at Christmas. My goal is to dehydrate the following: 2 quarts grape tomatoes - doesn't sound like much but five quarts worth will fit on jar. 20 red bell peppers Several bunches of leeks 3 heads of celery - I buy organic celery very cheaply in season at a Mennonite grocery store so it isn't worth fussing with to grow ourselves. Basil strawberries (these are such a yummy snack and rehydrate nicely for berry pies too) apples - the kids like apple chips for snacks I'll can: 35 quarts of pasta sauce 28 pints of salsa (I also use this as taco sauce) 14 jelly jars of zesty California mix 91 pints of green beans 42 pints of pinto beans (dry, organic pintos come from the Mennonite grocery and cost me about 48 cents per jar including the lid - I reuse rings.) 21 pints kidney beans (same as above) 7 pints navy beans (same) 21 jelly jars black beans (same deal on organic black beans, jelly jars cost me about 30 cents a jar - lid is same size and cost) 21 pints peaches a few pints of mild pepper rings Chicken breast - free range, not certified organic will go on sale for $2.00 a lb. and I'll can about 40 lbs. in pint jars. This is the best dump and go meat for a huge array of recipes. It's yummy, tender, quick, and I can get a way with less meat per person without the kids realizing it. I'll get 1.5 jars per lb. due to adding water and herbs to make broth. so about 30 jars. If my energy levels and budget can withstand it, maybe I'll try to do 50 lbs. Sometimes when I look at this list, my brain twitches. We'll freeze the bushel of corn which is about 42 ears. I'll also freeze the snow peas, hopefully at least four gallon baggies of broccoli, a gallon baggie of cauliflower (not a highlight of the children's diet - they barely tolerate it), some green beans for casseroles and soups, carrots for using in soups and for roasting with chicken or beef, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and some strawberries. We'll store a few buttercup squash. We don't eat that much of it. No new plans for improvements to the property this year. We will be debt free in October 2013, possibly as early as August of that year, and then we'll be fencing and getting laying hens again. With luck, we'll also be able to afford to fence part of my parents 7 acres. What we'd like to do is buy a young steer at the Amish livestock auction and then stick it to pasture for a summer, butcher in autumn before we'd have to buy hay. It won't be huge by then, but it will be fairly cheap by the pound and not be given any commercial feed, steroids, etc. or corn raised which is bad for their livers. I hope we can make it happen. My mom wants a donkey (good watch animal and if gotten young, can become very, very friendly) in the worst way and we'd really like to make that happen for her. Plus, it will watch out for the steer. What are all of you up to? Growing food, buying local, picking at you-pick, getting into co-ops, improving the property? Here's hoping I manage these crazy goals. The boys are prepared to eat us into the poorhouse! Faith
  21. I just started a garden about 3 1/2 wks ago. the only thing that is growing well are my red potatoes. I have had to replace my cucumbers and watermelon. The plants are not growing; they look like I just purchased them. What have I done wrong? Hubby says we need to redo everything and put mix some quality soil in the bed. I am wondering if I dig the plants up carefully and mix a good soil in and replant them..will they be ok? I have 4 squash, 1 zucchini, 4 peppers, 2 tomato, 2 watermelon, 1 cantaloupe, 8 sweet potato--none of these are showing signs of growth. I have fertilized, water twice a day and they get plenty of sun. Thoughts, ideas? Oh another question. I am also growing a tomato on my patio and it is growing great--other than the stinking tomato worms!! I planted basil in with my tomato and they are eating it! I pulled off 8 baby worms this morning. I am new to gardening so I really need some advice.
  22. I will mail a package of heirloom seeds mixed with compost (instant garden) to the first 10 people who post on this thread and pm their address to me. The mixture includes many types of carrots including Cosmic Purple as well as European Mesclun salad, cilantro, Little Gem lettuce, spinach, Five color Silverbeet Swiss chard, Arugula, and Rocky Top lettuce. I forgot to order more kohlrabi and Bull's Blood beets, that would make it almost perfect. You just sprinkle some of the mixture on a pot of soil or a raised bed and water. In exchange, I would love to see photos and updates of how the instant garden fares in different parts of the country. Is anybody in?
  23. Or something else? DH and I are making ourselves crazy with this decision. We're strongly considering raised beds, but I really don't want to use pressure treated wood to grow my otherwise organic vegetables. He says untreated wood will only last 2-3 years, then we'll have to face the expense of rebuilding again. We could also do in-ground planting, but that means sod removal and doesn't confer the benefits of the raised beds (far fewer weeds, no bunnies in our garden, etc.). So I need some thoughts. WWYD? If you have experience with raised beds, did you use untreated wood? If you garden in the ground, are the weeds/bunnies obnoxious? Please help us decide before the whole planting season is over! :lol: TIA!
  24. I have been thinking of getting a greenhouse. I live in the Northeast and get very cold winters. For those of you who have a greenhouse, do you or can you, start growing flowers in the winter? Are you able to have a container garden in the winter months? If not, when is the soonest you should start your plantings? And what does your greenhouse look like? And what do you grow?
  25. I'm thinking about Sunshine Daydream -- she's the 2012 AARS Winner. I seldom buy roses that aren't fragrant, but I'm a sucker for buttery yellows. I'm also thinking about Sugar Moon (white hybrid tea). As soon as it warms up, I'll be heading out to Heirloom Roses to wander through their gardens and scout out other ideas. Anyone else want to share their 2012 plans? I'm dreaming of spring (even though it's been snowing here in the Pacific NW).
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