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happysmileylady

How does your garden grow?

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah DH refuses to build me any beds, we just don’t have the time or materials money this year while we are doing so much inside. I can work with containers or the existing ground though, I just don’t know how and my last two attempts at a container garden failed big.

The soil is the most important part; even more than sun.  You can grow all sorts of things in part sun.  The failure probably wasn't on you.  If you have heavy clay, it takes a LOT of work to amend it.  If I had to work with what I had, I'd experiment with a few seeds in pots and buckets I already own. (Make sure they have drainage holes.) I'd look to next year for an in-ground garden and start doing "lasagna gardening." 

For no money and little effort, you can mark off a small area where you want your future garden.  SMALL . . .like 4x4 or 4x8 don't go nuts.  Put down a layer of cardboard or paper then just use that as a dumping ground for leaves, grass clippings, veggie scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, even the occasional shredded document or two.  By spring you'll have some nice rich soil for FREE and you didn't have to dig at all.   If you build it, the worms will come and do all of the hard work. With the size of your family, you MUST produce lots of compostable veg in a short time.    

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We do have bunnies, I’ve been dumping their Timothy hay/sawdust and poop on the patch on the south side to try and protect it it from weeds and fertilize it a bit, since apparently bunny poop is an excellent cold fertilizer??

What is this cardboard thing?  I didn’t realize that was fertilizer.  We do have a mulch pile for weeds, grass clipping, veggie scraps, and egg shells. Can I potentially use that? Any YouTube links or book recs?

We do have a TON of earthworms in our beds and in the yard, big fat ones 😂

Edited by Arctic Mama

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7 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

We do have bunnies, I’ve been dumping their Timothy hay/sawdust and poop on the patch on the south side to try and protect it it from weeds and fertilize it a bit, since apparently bunny poop is an excellent cold fertilizer??

What is this cardboard thing?  I didn’t realize that was fertilizer.  We do have a mulch pile for weeds, grass clipping, veggie scraps, and egg shells. Can I potentially use that? Any YouTube links or book recs?

We do have a TON of earthworms in our beds and in the yard, big fat ones 😂

Yes!  That sounds perfect. The cardboard on the bottom just helps kill the weeds on the ground so you don't have to dig and the works use it as bedding.  It's a "brown."  When you're making compost you want a 2:1 brown:green ratio.  Your leaves and cardboard are brown and your grass clippings and feed scraps are green.  The hay and bunny droppings are GOLD.  After the bottom layer of cardboard, I'd shred any more that I added, but my yard is leaf heavy so "brown" is never an issue for me.  

You're already attracting the worms, so you got started without even realizing it!  I'd probably frame out the "garden" area with some sticks from the yard so that when I sent a child to toss in veggie scraps they'd have a target to hit.   You can always frame it with wood later if you want.  It doesn't matter if you don't do it right away.  If you have pots with old soil in it, it's probably depleted and mixing your bunny droppings into those will get your container plants going. 

Is it weird that I'm jealous of your bunny poop?  I do have a friend who offered to give me some 30-year-old chicken droppings.  😆  I've included a photo, but you don't have to have even layers.  Just dump stuff in together.  The worms will mix it up anyway.

FYDAPP4I9QWI8DK.LARGE.jpg

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1 hour ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I do.  I grow mine in the fabric bags to save space.  They do very well. 
 

 

 

1 hour ago, mathnerd said:

am growing potatoes for the first time this year. They have just started leafing out.

Ok, two questions.

First....have you done them from grocery store potatoes?

Second....have you done them in 5gal buckets?

I have seen plenty YouTube about growing in 5 gal buckets, and I would love to try two buckets of purple potatoes and 2 buckets of yukon gold.  The purple ones are hard to get here without special effort or expense...and I just like the yukon gold lol.  I was looking up on local websites, a bag of purple seed potatoes is like $20+, and gives way more than I want.  (so I guess maybe a 3rd question is, can I save seed potatoes to use again the next year?)

Yukon gold is easy to get a hold of and I can get enough from the store cheaply enough that I am ok just buying them at the store.  But the purple, to get them in bulk and not in way over priced teeny tiny roasters, that's about a 45 minute drive (which I might make this week anyway.) 

 

 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

 

Ok, two questions.

First....have you done them from grocery store potatoes?

Second....have you done them in 5gal buckets?

I have seen plenty YouTube about growing in 5 gal buckets, and I would love to try two buckets of purple potatoes and 2 buckets of yukon gold.  The purple ones are hard to get here without special effort or expense...and I just like the yukon gold lol.  I was looking up on local websites, a bag of purple seed potatoes is like $20+, and gives way more than I want.  (so I guess maybe a 3rd question is, can I save seed potatoes to use again the next year?)

Yukon gold is easy to get a hold of and I can get enough from the store cheaply enough that I am ok just buying them at the store.  But the purple, to get them in bulk and not in way over priced teeny tiny roasters, that's about a 45 minute drive (which I might make this week anyway.) 

 

 

Yes to both.  I save a few that have sprouted starting in late winter.  I don’t cut the potato up like some do.  I just throw it in the bag or bucket.  They are easy to grow.  I prefer the Yukons, too.  Currently, I have yukons, sweet potato, purple and reds.  The reason I went to the fabric bags mainly is I could do a bigger crop than the 5 gallon buckets.  They have ones now that have a flap you undo to harvest the potatoes.  Don’t forget to drill a couple of small holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. 
There is a way to grow them in a trash can in the yard.  You cut the bottom out of the can and fill it with dirt and potatoes.  When it is time to harvest, lift the bucket and the potatoes are right there.  If you have ground space, you could that with the 5 gallon buckets. 
We have even done corn in a 5 gallon bucket one year.  It did work and produced us some nice ears. 

Edited by itsheresomewhere
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46 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Yes!  That sounds perfect. The cardboard on the bottom just helps kill the weeds on the ground so you don't have to dig and the works use it as bedding.  It's a "brown."  When you're making compost you want a 2:1 brown:green ratio.  Your leaves and cardboard are brown and your grass clippings and feed scraps are green.  The hay and bunny droppings are GOLD.  After the bottom layer of cardboard, I'd shred any more that I added, but my yard is leaf heavy so "brown" is never an issue for me.  

You're already attracting the worms, so you got started without even realizing it!  I'd probably frame out the "garden" area with some sticks from the yard so that when I sent a child to toss in veggie scraps they'd have a target to hit.   You can always frame it with wood later if you want.  It doesn't matter if you don't do it right away.  If you have pots with old soil in it, it's probably depleted and mixing your bunny droppings into those will get your container plants going. 

Is it weird that I'm jealous of your bunny poop?  I do have a friend who offered to give me some 30-year-old chicken droppings.  😆  I've included a photo, but you don't have to have even layers.  Just dump stuff in together.  The worms will mix it up anyway.

FYDAPP4I9QWI8DK.LARGE.jpg

THIS IS SO HELPFUL THANK YOU!

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36 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

 

Ok, two questions.

First....have you done them from grocery store potatoes?

Second....have you done them in 5gal buckets?

I have seen plenty YouTube about growing in 5 gal buckets, and I would love to try two buckets of purple potatoes and 2 buckets of yukon gold.  The purple ones are hard to get here without special effort or expense...and I just like the yukon gold lol.  I was looking up on local websites, a bag of purple seed potatoes is like $20+, and gives way more than I want.  (so I guess maybe a 3rd question is, can I save seed potatoes to use again the next year?)

Yukon gold is easy to get a hold of and I can get enough from the store cheaply enough that I am ok just buying them at the store.  But the purple, to get them in bulk and not in way over priced teeny tiny roasters, that's about a 45 minute drive (which I might make this week anyway.) 

 

 

Yes. My potatoes are from store bought potatoes. I regularly buy the Organic Baby Potato medley bag from costco. Some of them sprouted and so I cut them into 2 pieces with enough eyes in each half and left them on a plate on the countertop. The sprouted part grew 1-2 inches long which is when I planted some in a grow bag and some in a trench in the ground. the costco medley contained purple, yellow, cream and red varieties of potatoes and all the colors sprouted 🙂 They are probably not sprayed with growth inhibitors because they are organic, so they are a cheap source of seed potatoes. My local high end nursery does not carry the purple ones, so they might be harder to find. I think that I saw them listed on Baker Creek's website, though.

In a bucket or grow bag, make sure that the potting soil is very loose (add peat moss or perlite), put 2 inches of potting soil on the bottom, lay your seed potatoes (4 per bucket) and cover with 2 inches of soil. Keep adding more soil as they grow. You can dig out the potatoes early if you want baby potatoes, which is what I am planning to do!

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3 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah DH refuses to build me any beds, we just don’t have the time or materials money this year while we are doing so much inside. I can work with containers or the existing ground though, I just don’t know how and my last two attempts at a container garden failed big.

I recommend that you watch how this lady gardens in containers. I started watching her videos after she was featured in the media. She has a method of filling her containers and she has a lot of tutorials and most of her videos explain how to do that (and how to attract hummingbirds!). Since she uses huge containers, she does not need garden beds. You could try this if you don't have a raised bed. 

 

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42 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

Yes. My potatoes are from store bought potatoes. I regularly buy the Organic Baby Potato medley bag from costco. Some of them sprouted and so I cut them into 2 pieces with enough eyes in each half and left them on a plate on the countertop. The sprouted part grew 1-2 inches long which is when I planted some in a grow bag and some in a trench in the ground. the costco medley contained purple, yellow, cream and red varieties of potatoes and all the colors sprouted 🙂 They are probably not sprayed with growth inhibitors because they are organic, so they are a cheap source of seed potatoes. My local high end nursery does not carry the purple ones, so they might be harder to find. I think that I saw them listed on Baker Creek's website, though.

In a bucket or grow bag, make sure that the potting soil is very loose (add peat moss or perlite), put 2 inches of potting soil on the bottom, lay your seed potatoes (4 per bucket) and cover with 2 inches of soil. Keep adding more soil as they grow. You can dig out the potatoes early if you want baby potatoes, which is what I am planning to do!

For us- I do not add the soil over time.  I fill the fabric bag/bucket completely.  We did an experiment with both methods and found out we had the same yield in both.  So I stopped doing the add soil method. 
 

Arctic Mama-  rabbit poop is an excellent fertilizer.  You can use it dry or soak the poop in a bucket of water until dissolved.  I add a bit of dry to dirt mixture when planting and do the water method over the summer. 

Edited by itsheresomewhere
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Harvested three large bags of lettuce today. 

Dill, basil, parsley, chives, cilantro, rosemary, sage, and mint doing great. Thyme and oregano are a little puny. 

Lettuce was good, but it may not last much longer because it's getting hot. 

Tomatoes look fine, but I've had no success with them in recent years. Got hybrids this time. We'll see. 

Flowers are good, but I need more perennials. 

It all needs to be weeded!!!!

Edited by ScoutTN
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What zone is everybody in?  You guys all sound like your gardens are WAY ahead of mine. 🙂  I'm Zone 3a.  I know - it makes for a challenging gardening season. 😉  Frost tonight so I went out and covered all the frost-sensitive veggies and annuals with sheets.  Tomorrow night, too, by the looks of it.  The nice thing is that I can get away with growing things like lettuce and spinach pretty much all summer long.  My leaf lettuce and spinach are only just sprouting.  French breakfast radishes are only about 2 inches high.  A few sugar snap pea plants sprouting.  A few multiplier onions coming up.  But I do have asparagus growing wild along my pasture fence line and I found a few morels out on my property.

And I love pansies because it never really gets hot enough here for any length of time in the summer to finish them.  I found these pre-planted at the local nursery - I think they're adorable. 🙂

 

IMG_4636 cropped.jpg

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We have giant yellow squash, 7 zucchini ripening, tall tomatoes with flowers but no fruit yet. The basil shot up - I just harvested to make pesto tomorrow. The pepper is a bit shaded by the giant squash leaves - hopefully it will bloom soon and get a pepper or two. Cilantro is growing fine in the middle of all this. Strawberries are in a pot on the other side of the house.

In this pic, the garden was just planted - I cannot believe how everything has shot up within a few weeks. Dh did put fresh, organic soil down. That may have made a difference.

Zone 9b USDA

 

Then

Garden -  Veggies.jpg

 

And now...

Garden 2020.jpg

Edited by Liz CA
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Gee thanks everyone, I fell down the YouTube gardening video hole after the container garden vid and it’s now 1:15 in the morning 😂

I have all the videos now, but I’m a book person.  For someone in zone 6a/b (I think?) who is a total noob, what books on actual gardening technique and science would be helpful to me?  Like, if you could take three with you through a nuclear apocalypse, which would they be?

 

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Just now, Arctic Mama said:

Gee thanks everyone, I fell down the YouTube gardening video hole after the container garden vid and it’s now 1:15 in the morning 😂

 

 

But you will be the master of container gardening now!

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So, I tried to transplant some zucchini, butternut squash, and eggplant from seedlings I started myself, and almost none of them seem to be doing anything.  I got some zuccchini and eggplant replacements, but I don’t have a source for squash.

If some of my plants are just sitting there, tiny, doing nothing but also not actually dying, is there any hope for them?
One of my seeded zucchinis is starting to flower from the tiny base, but there’s no stem or leaf growth, which seems very bizarre!

This is my fist time trying to grow any of those 3 things. I’ll replace them all if there’s no hope, but I don’t want to yank anything that has promise.

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14 hours ago, WendyAndMilo said:

I’m in zone 6b/7a but it likes to pretend to be other zones depending on the day.

I think I live in the same zone.  I'm convinced that my house is 7a, but my community plot a mile away is 6b.

12 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Gee thanks everyone, I fell down the YouTube gardening video hole after the container garden vid and it’s now 1:15 in the morning 😂

I have all the videos now, but I’m a book person.  For someone in zone 6a/b (I think?) who is a total noob, what books on actual gardening technique and science would be helpful to me?  Like, if you could take three with you through a nuclear apocalypse, which would they be?

 

I'd start with this one because it will take you from set-up to harvest without getting too complicated.  https://elemental.medium.com/coronavirus-may-be-a-blood-vessel-disease-which-explains-everything-2c4032481ab2

We have the first edition and I still reference it all the time.  After that, I'd look more toward regional books.  What you can grow really well can sometimes be geographically specific.  

For pure gratuitous gardening inspiration that will give you some confidence, watch this when you get a chance.  Someone helpfully put the entire season on one video.  It's on youtube, but it's a BBC series so you don't have to endure DIY video.  

 

6 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

So, I tried to transplant some zucchini, butternut squash, and eggplant from seedlings I started myself, and almost none of them seem to be doing anything.  I got some zuccchini and eggplant replacements, but I don’t have a source for squash.

If some of my plants are just sitting there, tiny, doing nothing but also not actually dying, is there any hope for them?
One of my seeded zucchinis is starting to flower from the tiny base, but there’s no stem or leaf growth, which seems very bizarre!

This is my fist time trying to grow any of those 3 things. I’ll replace them all if there’s no hope, but I don’t want to yank anything that has promise.

It's possible that your plants are focusing their energy on growing roots first and you'll see more leafy growth after that.

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I finally have most of my garden in. Still have to put in the rest of the kale and some eggplant, and I'd like to add more herbs. Dh did a great job with the fence.  We have sooooo many bunnies. Wild ones, not ones I can collect manure from, lol - though they're probably doing their part fertilizing the lawn!

Eta: I'd also like to add some marigolds outside the raised beds...

 

20200529_161523.jpg

Edited by Matryoshka
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Everything that will be in is in. I think I planted my salad greens too close, they look a bit sad and like they can’t decide whether to grow. Rosemary plant also somewhat sad. On the other hand oregano returned from last year in a spot I forgot I had planted it, ditto dill, mixed greens and  ditto some...green beans? I threw some store potatoes in that had started sprouting and they’ve leafed out nicely. Need to hill them today.

any rosemary tips for me? So fickle. 

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2 hours ago, madteaparty said:

any rosemary tips for me? So fickle. 

Rosemary seems to like hot, dry, sunny, so don't over-water. Maybe keep it in a pot and shift it around and find the location it likes best in your yard -- or even on a dry, warm, sunny windowsill inside?? At least, rosemary thrives here in the desert southwest of the US (zone 9a/b) in that environment. 😉 Rosemary is a low maintenance, thriving sprawler here, not fickle at all for us. (It's just about anything ELSE that is a trick to get it to grow here, lol.)

Alas, due to the pandemic and having to shift my classes to all-online, I lost my gardening season here (which has to happen in late winter/early spring, before the 100˚+ temps hit in May), and just didn't have time to do much of anything plant-wise. 😢 

However, this seems to be the year of unexpected volunteers... I had one of the most fantastic wildflower displays ever in my front yard -- all NOT where I had actually planted seeds, but from where they dropped/blew from last year. And I had volunteer red-leaf romaine lettuce plants pop up in some containers, so I've had lettuce all spring, yea! Also a few random cilantro plants that seeded themselves in strange places in the backyard 😂 Also, even though it is completely buried in (volunteer) Bermuda grass about 3 feet high, I am getting some tiny blackberries forming on the buried vines! And finally, back in March a friend gave me a few of her volunteer cherry tomato plants (about 2-3 inches tall), which I planted in pots. All but one survived, and are now about 12-14" tall, and I am getting a few little tomatoes forming! So, huzzah for volunteers! 😄 

We have a pair of wild desert bunnies that come in and out of our backyard in our very urban neighborhood. Fortunately, they didn't find my volunteers. They seem content to hang out near our woodpile and eat the new green shoots of weeds -- go bunnies! Maybe they'll drop some free fertilizer on their visits, as well. 😉 

I do have herbs in pots doing well, and have been making regular cuttings all spring to dry and store for winter use: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, mint, and bay leaf. And last week, when my next door neighbor shared some delicious home-grown tomatoes from her excess, we've been eating those with a little olive oil drizzled on top, plus snippets of fresh oregano and thyme. Yum!

Edited by Lori D.
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10 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

So, I tried to transplant some zucchini, butternut squash, and eggplant from seedlings I started myself, and almost none of them seem to be doing anything.  I got some zuccchini and eggplant replacements, but I don’t have a source for squash.

If some of my plants are just sitting there, tiny, doing nothing but also not actually dying, is there any hope for them?
One of my seeded zucchinis is starting to flower from the tiny base, but there’s no stem or leaf growth, which seems very bizarre!

This is my fist time trying to grow any of those 3 things. I’ll replace them all if there’s no hope, but I don’t want to yank anything that has promise.

How long have your seedling been outside? I find that it takes a bit of time for seedlings to get over their transplant shock, especially if they were started in a warm house and are now outside where it's colder. I'm zone 8a, but in the PNW where it never gets very cold, but also seldom gets very warm. 

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

Everything that will be in is in. I think I planted my salad greens too close, they look a bit sad and like they can’t decide whether to grow. Rosemary plant also somewhat sad. On the other hand oregano returned from last year in a spot I forgot I had planted it, ditto dill, mixed greens and  ditto some...green beans? I threw some store potatoes in that had started sprouting and they’ve leafed out nicely. Need to hill them today.

any rosemary tips for me? So fickle. 

I just heard today that you’re supposed to cut your rosemary back hard in the spring. I kept mine alive all winter. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to do that! Maybe I’ll cut one side back and cautiously observe. 

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11 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

 

If some of my plants are just sitting there, tiny, doing nothing but also not actually dying, is there any hope for them?
 

My seedlings tend to grow like my youngest, in spurts. I’ll add a tiny amount of fertilizer for the squash seedlings and just wait. My husband’s sunflowers also grew in spurts 😂

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21 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Gee thanks everyone, I fell down the YouTube gardening video hole after the container garden vid and it’s now 1:15 in the morning 😂

I have all the videos now, but I’m a book person.  For someone in zone 6a/b (I think?) who is a total noob, what books on actual gardening technique and science would be helpful to me?  Like, if you could take three with you through a nuclear apocalypse, which would they be?

 

 

Apocalypse?

1) Rodale’s Encylopedia of Organic Gardening

2) Bill Mollison: Permaculture a Designer’s Manual

I’ll think about number 3 😊

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And number 3:

How to Grow More Vegetables, Ninth Edition: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine https://www.amazon.com/dp/0399579184/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_lfY0Eb0ZPX3QA

 

Though I came close to choosing something by Eliot Coleman. But he’s in Maine, so Jeavons won out ...  as I think maybe Northern Calif is a bit closer in seasonal issues.  Jeavons and Coleman are both excellent...   a few others also came to mind.  😉

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Y’all, I started six more types of seed today. I don’t know WHERE I think I’m going to put this stuff if it sprouts. I have a problem. 

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10 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Y’all, I started six more types of seed today. I don’t know WHERE I think I’m going to put this stuff if it sprouts. I have a problem. 

I can’t bear to toss any extras that I’ve planted (assuming a not-100%-germination-rate) so I have 24 eggplants, 15 watermelons, 50 lettuce.... right there with ya.

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Okay thanks to @happysmileylady hand holding in the garden center and way too many Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy videos on YouTube, the kids and I set these up yesterday,

TADAAAAA!

90BB3A29-76E4-49F7-A6F1-211FBBEA1E3D.thumb.jpeg.9c4fab1c479deca9fc0ea14bedb1e29f.jpeg
 

We had an ant intrusion and major weeds so we already had cleared most of this south side bed, this was just the impetus needed to really get going.  I’m going to mulch over the top of the cardboard today.

In the sideways pics below, I have two tomatoes and chocolate mint and strawberries, the herb bed in the middle, and two more cherry plants with bell peppers.  The little planter temporarily is holding zucchini and eggplant because I lost the energy to make one more big bed box 🤣 I had also cleaned out the sunroom and rearranged it already so I was running on fumes for gardening.

D5D019BB-DE94-4978-8912-6A9F8B116EC7.thumb.jpeg.c76aacaf36c2cab44c9801d50be95c6b.jpeg

66972685-80EF-4963-964C-01B77FC6586D.thumb.jpeg.6d56d7090d926b36a027a230b8ecb2c4.jpeg

40F8DF37-59CE-41CE-99F2-1EEF7CEEDB8E.thumb.jpeg.e04d7662532b39620fd32f884fb2a281.jpeg

 

I think I’m going to go back and grab some bean types and maybe some onions to add in, and I’m going to try plenty my green onion bottoms from my window sill as well and see if they’ll grow more.  I’m a total noob but I hope half of these do decently!

Boxes are quarter sticks for drainage on the bottom, a quarter bunny poop/hay/my own compost, and the top half is miracle gro.  I HAVE ZERO IDEA HOW MUCH ADDITIONAL WEEKLY FERTILIZER THIS IS GOING TO NEED THOUGH!?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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17 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Rosemary seems to like hot, dry, sunny, so don't over-water. Maybe keep it in a pot and shift it around and find the location it likes best in your yard -- or even on a dry, warm, sunny windowsill inside?? At least, rosemary thrives here in the desert southwest of the US (zone 9a/b) in that environment. 😉 Rosemary is a low maintenance, thriving sprawler here, not fickle at all for us. (It's just about anything ELSE that is a trick to get it to grow here, lol.)

So I do have it the hottest spot, on a warm deck even. But I think I am watering too much. It's not dying, but it's not growing either. Thanks for the tip!

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

So I do have it the hottest spot, on a warm deck even. But I think I am watering too much. It's not dying, but it's not growing either. Thanks for the tip!

Yes, it sounds like you've got everything except the amount of water down. Also, if it's just not growing, maybe it's waiting for the air temperature to heat up a bit more?? And... rosemary can be a slow grower. So it might just require some patience. 😉

This article looks to be helpful: The Spruce: "Rosemary Plant Profile" -- it says to let the soil dry out before watering again, so maybe overwatering is the problem, as you say.

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On 5/29/2020 at 10:13 PM, Arctic Mama said:

Boxes are quarter sticks for drainage on the bottom, a quarter bunny poop/hay/my own compost, and the top half is miracle gro.  I HAVE ZERO IDEA HOW MUCH ADDITIONAL WEEKLY FERTILIZER THIS IS GOING TO NEED THOUGH!?

NO! Don't add any fertilizer every week! 😵 Too much nitrogen (from fertilizer) will lead to lots of leaf growth and no produce. And too much fertilizer can burn plant roots. You don't need to do more than once a month during the growing season, and not at all while your tomatoes and bell peppers are flowering, as fertilizing then can make the flowers drop, and then you get no fruit. 😞 In fact, since you used Miracle Gro soil AND you have bunny poop in your soil, I would wait at least 3months before fertilizing (if at all this first growing season), because the Miracle Gro already has fertilizer in the soil mix.

Also, when you go for fertilizer, I suggest using fish emulsion -- it is fish poop sludge that you dilute with water. It breaks down more slowly, so you get the fertilizing benefits over more time, and it fertilizes in smaller amounts so there's less chance of burning plant roots. BE SURE TO DILUTE according to directions -- 1 TBSP per gallon of water for vegetable plants. Yes, it stinks like fish, but the smell dissipates after 2-3 days.


PS -- your "bin" gardening looks great! 😄 

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you Lori!  I’m so excited, I’ve been wanting to try gardening for years, and my oldest daughter has been trying without success too.

I have a massive aquarium, I wonder if I can just use my filter mulm and maybe mix in some menhaden fish meal to make a fertilizer?  I have tons of both 🤣

I am also emptying the bunny litter box weekly, how does that factor in, do you know, @Lori D.?

The garden center lady seemed to say she alternated watering and fertilizing every day, so she was fertilizing multiple times per week.  But that sounds like overkill with such rich soil already. However I’m also an idiot and don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m open to explanations and instructions!

So for fertilizing I have 1) and endless source of fish poop and 2) and endless source of bunny poop and Timothy hay.  Technically I have a pound of menhaden fish meal in the cupboard too.  What should I do and when? Mix them up in a gross soup in a few months?  Just keep tossing them into my compost/mulch pile?

Edited by Arctic Mama

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Thank you Lori!  I’m so excited, I’ve been wanting to try gardening for years, and my oldest daughter has been trying without success too.

I have a massive aquarium, I wonder if I can just use my filter mulm and maybe mix in some menhaden fish meal to make a fertilized?  I have tons of both 🤣

I am also emptying the bunny litter box weekly, how does that factor in, do you know, @Lori D.?

The garden center lady seemed to say she alternated watering and fertilizing every day, so she was fertilizing multiple times per week.  But that sounds like overkill with such rich soil already. However I’m also an idiot and don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m open to explanations and instructions!

So for fertilizing I have 1) and endless source of fish poop and 2) and endless source of bunny poop and Timothy hay.  Technically I have a pound of menhaden fish meal in the cupboard too.  What should I do and when?

I know! Starting a garden is so exciting! 😄

Check out this great article on making your own fertilizers: "Grow Network: Homemade Fertilizers--15 Simple and Inexpensive Options". Also, you might see if there's an organic gardening online group that you can join and ask your specific questions.

re: aquarium waste
When you are changing a portion of your water, you can use the waste water directly from a FRESH water tank onto plants. (Salt water aquariums will have waste water with too high of salt saturation to use on plants.)

I'm guessing the mulm is solid waste matter? It would probably need to be aged, to allow the chemical content to break down somewhat so that it wouldn't burn the plants -- and also diluted. I don't see any articles on using the mulm itself, although I bet you could add it to your compost pile. Here is an article on how to make your own fish emulsion: "Best Homemade Fish Emulsion". -- However, they are using the guts and/or whole fish, not the mulm. It sounds like it is a smelly process, and it has to "brew" for a month. AND it still needs to be diluted heavily with water when you go to use it. So if you were going to use fish emulsion, it would be easier and less smelly to buy a small bottle that would last you for years for the size of your tubs. 😉 But since you have other fertilizing options available, I wouldn't worry about buying fish emulsion.

re: bunny waste
Similar to using horse or sheep or goat manure -- it needs to be dried and aged, or composted, for a few months before using, to reduce the strength of the chemical content. Bunny poop may be less "potent" so it might not need to age as long as other mammals. Chicken poop is "hot" chemically, and it needs to age quite awhile, and you need to be careful to not add too much at a time to your compost. Is the litter in the bunny litter box sawdust or shavings? If so, that would be great, as that can all go straight into your compost as well. I don't know about commercial litter, if it's like litter for a cat box. That may be too chemical-y and not break down.

re: garden center lady & rate of fertilizing
Are her plants in pots, or in the ground? What size are they? All of that comes into play. Baby plants in rich soil in pots without a lot of drainage do not need much fertilizing. Baby plants in ordinary soil in the ground could use a little bit of fertilizing. Mature plants in the ground can use more frequent fertilizing. But that "fertilizing" could be super gentle and a "compost tea" or aquarium waste water once a week.

re: extra thoughts, lol 😉 
For what to do and when -- for at least the next few months you're all set. Now is when you might want to get started if you want to make a fertilizer, as it will take several months for that to either brew or compost to a level where you can use it and not burn your plants.

You might want to use some of that Timothy hay as a layer of mulch around your seedlings to help hold in moisture as your days get hot.

Also, be careful to not overwater -- because those tubs are plastic, not terra-cotta, that will hold in the water, as your only drainage is the holes in the bottom.

And be on the look-out for tomato hornworms! The moth lays eggs on tomato and pepper plants, and the caterpillar larva are voracious -- they can strip a 2-foot plant in just a day or two. I can't tell you how much I hate those things! They are so hard to see, too, because they blend in so well with the plant and hug the back side of leaves and stems. I go out once a day and look for damage -- if you suddenly see bare stems (all the leaves stripped) in one area, you've got a hornworm. When I finally see it, I just use clippers to snip the leave or branch off that it is on, and let that drop into an old plastic cottage cheese container. Then I trim off all of the stripped branches and half-eaten leaves, so it is easier to see the next day if there's another one in there -- again, I just look for the stripped branches, since I trimmed off all the previously stripped branches.


Have fun! 😄 Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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13 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

————> this is me, studying the entire post like a sacred text. 

😂 Well, that's probably the extent of my ability to help, lol. We're in such different climate zones that from here on, your best helps will come from any neighbors who garden, or from your local cooperative extension office, organic gardening group, or community gardens group. 

We'll want to see update pictures in a month to see how your garden is growing! 😄 

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1 hour ago, itsheresomewhere said:

Arctic-  be careful with the cardboard next to the house.  Termites find it to be tasty. 

That’s a good point!  We already have the traps baited, but’s that’s why I was going to mulch it and keep the covering low and away from the brick, there were issues with this a few years before we bought it.  

Edited by Arctic Mama

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6 minutes ago, WendyAndMilo said:

@Arctic Mama  How many holes did you drill into the bottom of your tubs and how big are they??  I can't figure out where you said...

Well the two blue ones had the cornered cracked out already from what we stored in them, but I drilled two quarter inch holes alone the middle front and back edges, too.  The silver one was newer and had no damage so I added six evenly spaced holes around the edge . We are in a very wet climate but one that gets very hot summers too, and the plants are on the south side, so I wanted them to be able to drain when it poured but not lose too much moisture during high summer, either.

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

Well the two blue ones had the cornered cracked out already from what we stored in them, but I drilled two quarter inch holes alone the middle front and back edges, too.  The silver one was newer and had no damage so I added six evenly spaced holes around the edge . We are in a very wet climate but one that gets very hot summers too, and the plants are on the south side, so I wanted them to be able to drain when it poured but not lose too much moisture during high summer, either.

Gotcha.  I will be interested in seeing how they grow!  My tomato plants generally have root systems 1-2 feet deep and I had one plant that kept coming back year after year which was 6 feet across even with a cage.  Is it possible to drill bigger holes in the bottom, just in case the roots need somewhere to go?  Then just move the cardboard out from underneath the tub a little bit. I'd hate to have you lose your plants mid-season from being root bound, especially since you have two tomatoes plus others in a single tub.

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On 5/28/2020 at 11:05 AM, happysmileylady said:

I am working on getting my summer garden in today.  Or getting it started at least.

My herb bed is cleaned out and I am getting plants in.  I have dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and the basil still has to go in.  I have enough space for one more....trying to decide what to put in.  What are you growing in yours?

And then there's the veggie bed.  I have red leaf lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower in there.  I put those in in early spring and with all the rain and cool weather, they have gone crazy!  

I put 6 lettuce plants in, just red leaf lettuce.  I lost one to a frost, but the remaining five have produced a lot.  I have been just cutting what we will use off the plant when we make a salad or tacos, but there are only 3 of us here that actually eat lettuce (though, at least DD9 and DS7 have tried it a couple of times.)  I had planned to pull it all out this weekend, figuring it was going to be too hot for lettuce already and it would have bolted, but most of May has been really cool.  So it's still good, but we can't eat everything we have and I really had planned to use the space for other things.  I dunno, I just hate to pull out a plant that is still growing strong and producing edible food.

Oh, update on our baby pumpkin plant, the frost over Mother's Day weekend got him.  I picked up one pumpkin plant to replace him.

The broccoli has done SO incredibly well.  The plants and leaves are so big, I can't even get between them to pull the weeds!  I have 6 broccoli plants, and all 6 have small heads on them.  I will probably be harvesting and pulling those this weekend.  I am not really wanting to try to coax any side shoots out of it, I need to get the other plants in.

And then, there's the cauliflower.  The plants are also *huge* but I am not seeing ANY cauliflower heads at all.  I had 6 plants, but one just never really took hold once I planted them in the ground, so I have 5.  I thought the cauliflower would be ready to harvest by this weekend too, but obviously it needs time still.  The tab says 75 days, but I only put it in about 60ish days ago, so it might need another two weeks.

 

I will get a pic to share in a bit, in the mean time, what are you growing, how is it doing?

Sage is the other herb that I love to grow so I have fresh!  

 

 

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Hmmm... It’s definitely possible.  The tubs are about 20 inches deep but if they’re really thriving I have several spots I could transplant, but we were concerned about how good (or not) my soil might be and this seemed simpler.  I could also just add a few more boxes when I thin stuff out, there is plenty of space on the south and west side.

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

Hmmm... It’s definitely possible.  The tubs are about 20 inches deep but if they’re really thriving I have several spots I could transplant, but we were concerned about how good (or not) my soil might be and this seemed simpler.  I could also just add a few more boxes when I thin stuff out, there is plenty of space on the south and west side.

Sounds like a plan! 🙂  

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I harvested my first broccoli today! It was just starting to get a bit loose and I might have still harvested too early, but it's still tasty.  

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Hey, @Arctic Mama, this book is a fun read. I’m not remotely interested in being a suburban homesteader, but it was an interesting book about how much you can grow on just 1/4 acre of land. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1603421386?pf_rd_p=3043e749-f4cb-4742-9000-22320ef47901&aaxitk=glebMXi8yP6jYX2Q.m3PHQ&hsa_cr_id=7781410700001&ref_=sbx_be_s_sparkle_asin_0

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