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Gardening: 2012 Season


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#1 Chris Hennes

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:09 PM

Well, for those of us in the southern US it's getting on time to be ordering seeds and starting stuff inside. Heck, my cilantro simply self-seeded and grew straight through what little winter we had, I've been eating salsa more-or-less continuously. I've started my tomatoes and tomatillos a little early this year:

Tomatoes.jpg

Those are all Porter's Pride tomatoes since they are the ones that grew the best last year (it was hot here, the other tomatoes didn't set fruit). I'll start the peppers in a couple more weeks.

What's on your food-growing agenda this year?

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#2 heidih

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

I keep it pretty small in my old kiddie pools.

The tomatoes will be set out in large pots. I have saved seeds of Berkeley Tie-Dye started in a green house where I was afforded a tiny spot. I have not decided on the rest but have been perusing Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes site and will head over there to pick up my selections next month. She sells lusty starts in 4" pots.

Right now I have broccoli, radishes, mustard greens, parsley, green beans, black kale, sugar snap peas and one still producing chili going. I will cut back on the mustard and sub in chard in a while.
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#3 HungryChris

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:15 PM

It's a little early here in CT, but not too early to make plans and I have decided to start tomatoes, peppers and pickling cukes from seed rather than buying them this year. I have not had much luck in the past, I think because I got started too early and things got spindly before it was time to plant. I will give it another go and try to plan things a little better. The thing I am most excited about is the shishito peppers I want to grow. I have looked high and low and even tried to encourage local plant folks to at least start a few flats, but without luck. I've come to the conclusion that growing them myself is the answer. I bought a few packets of seeds from Kitazawa Seed Co. and my plan is to start them on income tax day with hopes of putting them in the ground the first Saturday in June. We'll see.


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#4 HungryC

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:31 PM

We haven't had much of a winter this year, but I did pull up all the dead pea vines, put down a thick layer of compost, and top-dressed with a load of leaf mould as mulch. Will try to get the tomato transplants (mostly beefmaster, better boy, Celebrity, a few Early Girls) in the ground this weekend. Our historic last frost date is Feb 21, and the forecast for the next two weeks looks pretty warm, so I'm gonna chance it...Lots of thai basil overwintered, as did a couple of pepper plants.

#5 DMS

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:36 PM

A bit early here in Michigan. I've already ordered all my seeds though. Garlic and shallots were planted in the fall. Our last frost date is probably Memorial Day, so I usually time back from that. I am not growing any peppers this year which I would have started first, but a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes some of which I save year to year here. Other than that, bush beans, nasturtiums, a mini-broccoli, leaf lettuce, spinach, Charentais melons, some pickling cucumbers and my herbs. Most of this is in a 4x8 ft raised bed and a few pots - I use the Square Foot Gardening method. I need to sit down and figure out what I need to start indoors and what can go outside. Fun!

#6 KennethT

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:44 PM

The tomatoes will be set out in large pots. I have saved seeds of Berkeley Tie-Dye started in a green house where I was afforded a tiny spot. I have not decided on the rest but have been perusing Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes site and will head over there to pick up my selections next month. She sells lusty starts in 4" pots.

Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes is a great supplier of hard to get heirloom starts... I had a very successful Goose Creek tomato plant growing hydroponically in the windowsill of my NYC apartment on the 21st floor for the majority of last year... I have another that will be shipped as soon as there is no fear of freezing while in transit.

I'm in the process of upgrading the "leafy green farm" of my windowsill garden - I had a bunch of fun things growing since the summer, but then I had a leak issue and decided to start over again after it was fixed. But before the issue I was growing pineapple sage, lime thyme, coconut scented geranium, variegated lemon scented geranium, chocolate mint, various types of leaf lettuce, and chinese broccoli (gailan). Most grew really well, but the mint was a pain since the roots took over the entire garden. The herbs all came as starts from Well Sweep Herb farm, and the lettuces and gailan started from seed from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds.

Edited by KennethT, 07 February 2012 - 01:46 PM.


#7 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:01 PM

We're having winter instead of summer here in Ecuador, which means fabulous weather for tomatoes and lettuces but terrible for pretty much everything else I wanted to grow this cycle. I had Romanesco planned (which needs more sun to head up than it would get - winters here are rainy and cool to cold), and most of my more tropical starts (Chayote, Camote, Natal Plums, Barbados Cherry) and practically all of the edible flowers are simply giving up the ghost. I'll have to wait for the rains to end again before I can give them another shot. At least my Hildegaard's roses are blooming well - I'll have good rosewater for Turkish Delights.

On the other hand, I'm hoping to harvest the country's first 10,000 foot altitude bananas in the upcoming months, and this is perfect weather to stimulate the apricot tree into a second bloom period (yum, apricots!).
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#8 Paul Bacino

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:36 PM

Kiddie Pool Pots!! Nice
Its good to have Morels

#9 Goatjunky

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:00 PM

I will be doing mine in kiddie pools this year too, got several on clearance and helps a lot when you have three boxer terrors running thru the yard. I have started my tomato seeds and am very excited about them. I bought several packets of an heirloom mix that includes flame orange, green zebra, yellow pear, tigerella, San marzano, black krim, and costoluto genovese. Last year a wind storm decimated my tomato plants so i have high hopes this year. Really excited about my "pineapple" tomatillos too. Couldn't get them before. Seeds sold out. I will be doing dancing spirit peppers, cantalope and cucumbers also

#10 Chris Hennes

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:07 PM

What are pineapple tomatillos?

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#11 qrn

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

well since we are a--deep to a tall indian in snow its a bit early for that stuff here,we have a local place where we go on may 15 and buy the tomato plants for the summer,last frost here is about then,and they will have plants that have blooms on them at that time...so we get a good start..unless we build the greenhouse we have been considering,to start stuff guess that plan will continue for the future...
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#12 Goatjunky

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:24 AM

Tomatillos that are supposed to have a pineapple flavor to them. I haven't had them yet, but cant wait.
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#13 Chris Hennes

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

It figures that it would snow now... first flakes we've gotten all winter. I think the cilantro made it through OK, though, that stuff is amazingly hardy. How did it come to be so associated with Mexican cuisine? It's hot there!

I think the tomatillos that I am growing are just the normal kind (at least, I hope so), but I'm looking forward to hearing about your pineapple-flavored ones.

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#14 annabelle

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:03 PM

Chris, be careful not to set any plants in your garden until around income tax day. I've gotten ahead of myself a few times and had to rebuy after a snap freeze.

We're doing less this year: Better Boys and plum tomatoes, cukes, eggplant, bell and jalapeno peppers and an herb and salad garden. No corn because we get raccoons. I hope we actually get something this year after last summer's blast furnace!

#15 Chris Hennes

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:12 PM

Good advice: I typically cheat with mine for a while. After hardening them off I still continue to move them into the garage overnight, and then back out into the sun during the day. I'm not putting in that many plants, so it's doable. Now if the heat would just stay down this year...

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#16 annabelle

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:47 AM

I usually do the hardening off, as well. We have a greenhouse that is attached to our garage, so the plants go in there at night. I'm a little concerned about my elderly cat (who is living in there now that she is addled with old age at 20 years)trying to eat the tomato seedlings. I think I'll just grow a box of wheatgrass for her as a decoy.

We have a great many plastic jugs that originally held hard pretzels, the big ones from Sam's Club, that we sawed the bottoms off of and use those to make a shelter for the plants if it gets unexpectedly cold after they are in the ground. We take the lids off and the jugs act like mini greenhouses and also protect the young plants from our relentless winds and freakish hail storms.

I've lived here for ten years and the weather is still a puzzler to me.

#17 Shelby

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:51 AM

WOW is it an early spring/summer, or what??

We've been working on the garden for a few weeks now. It doesn't look like much from these pictures, but, I swear, the garden looks decent. I really hope that we get more rain and less heat this summer, though. I think we're up to around 25 tomatoes planted so far. We're going to have a total of 40. I'm staggering the planting.

OH, and my husband ran across a bunch of old windows on a property of ours, so he built a greenhouse on to the back of the garage! He used some of the windows for shelves so that the sun gets to everything. It wasn't finished quite early enough to have a lot of things started this year, but we'll have a ton next year. :)

Greenhouse:

garden 2012 002.jpg

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Asparagus:

garden 2012 001.jpg

Garden from afar:

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Onions, lettuce, spinach--that didn't hardly come up for some reason, cilantro from last year that stayed alive all winter:
garden 2012 010.jpg

Tomato that we had inside the house. We got a whopping 4 tomatoes from it over the winter lol. It's not doing so well now:

garden 2012 007.jpg

Tomatoes, eggplants, Peppers--banana, bell, anaheim and jalapeno:

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garden 2012 009.jpg

garden 2012 008.jpg

#18 Shelby

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:54 AM

I have to go get some squash from the garden center--the ones we grew from seed up and died. Also, they were out of basil, so I gotta go back for that.

Watermelons that sprouted from seed on their own:

garden 2012 012.jpg


Kind of far away, but that's another melon patch next to the wheat. If the racoons stay out, we should have a lot of cantaloupe and watermelon:

garden 2012 013.jpg

#19 HungryC

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

Thought y'all might like to know that I'm picking the first tomatoes of the year....the Red Beefsteaks were especially early. Had a caprese salad on Sunday! Zucchini are producing, too.

#20 Blues_Cookin

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

Very jealous about the tomatoes HungryC!

I have a couple questions for the group - first, I can never seem to get my cilantro from going to seed. Anyone have a trick that works? Second, any recommendations on a food/pet friendly insecticide for potted herbs?

Thanks :-)
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#21 Chris Hennes

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

My cilantro self-seeds like a weed. How are you trying to start it?

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#22 KennethT

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:00 PM

Very jealous about the tomatoes HungryC!

I have a couple questions for the group - first, I can never seem to get my cilantro from going to seed. Anyone have a trick that works? Second, any recommendations on a food/pet friendly insecticide for potted herbs?

Thanks :-)

I assume you're talking about potted cilantro, grown indoors, right? If so, I've found that the biggest thing that gets it to bolt is if it gets too hot. Contrary to what I've always heard - that cilantro likes full sun - I've had best indoor results when I keep it in partial sun, and I keep a fan on it so it doesn't get too hot. I find over 78degF or so, and it bolts.

ETA: re: insecticide, I like a product called Azamax (made by General Hydroponics) or any other version/brand of azadirachtin. It is OMRI listed, and has no residue, so it can be used even on the day of harvest. It can be used as a foliar spray, but also as a root drench, and is effective on most pests from aphids, mites, scales, etc. I have an indoor lime tree that this stuff has saved over and over again. It's a little expensive, but to me, totally worth it.

Edited by KennethT, 24 April 2012 - 03:07 PM.


#23 LindaK

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:21 PM

The mild, nearly snowless winter we had around here has been good for my perennial herbs--chives, thyme, parsley are going crazy. Even the rosemary lived (barely) through the winter, but oddly the tarragon did not, though it lived through some harsh winters before now. I'll plant another. Basil seeds go in once it's really warm. Not yet.

As for vegetables, last weekend I finally got around to planting lettuces, chard, and radishes. I threw in some nasturtium seeds too, peach melba, my favorite--pale yellow with a bit of raspberry in the center. Lovely in the garden and tasty in a salad. Since the soil has already warmed up, I'll put in cukes, beans, squash, and even tomatoes in mid-May, earlier than usual--ordinarily Memorial Day is the rule-of-thumb for them this far north. I can't wait!


 


#24 BadRabbit

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:53 AM

I started about 16 tomato plants inside but my garden only has room for 7-8 so I planned on giving some away (I had no losses this year). I planted Green Zebra, Black Cherry, Flamme, Blondkopfchen,Dagma's Perfection, and Kellogg's Breakfast.

Yesterday I went to start preparing my garden and to put down new soil only to find that my garden is covered in volunteer tomato plants from last year. There must be 20 of them. Now, I don't know whether to dig those up and try to give them away (I have no idea which strains they are as I grew 7-8 varieties last year) or carefully weed out the smaller ones and just let the hardy ones grow (they are bigger than mine I grew inside).

My concern is that they'll all turn out to be from one strain and I won't get the variety of tomatoes I want.

#25 rotuts

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:43 AM

many tomatoes are hybrids, with added resistance to Tobacco mosaic etc

the seeds from these tomatoes will not have anywhere near the characteristics of the parent. Unless they are true strain heirlooms, compost them. Try one or two if you have the room and see what happens.

#26 BadRabbit

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:51 AM

many tomatoes are hybrids, with added resistance to Tobacco mosaic etc

the seeds from these tomatoes will not have anywhere near the characteristics of the parent. Unless they are true strain heirlooms, compost them. Try one or two if you have the room and see what happens.


Most of the ones I grew last year were true heirlooms (Brandywines and Flamme) but there was a Green Zebra as well.

#27 rotuts

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:31 AM

well then based on how much room you have, keep a few strategic ones. Mostly for fun.

I used to save seems from heirlooms for replanting. It was fun. You have to ferment off the slime before you dry and keep them!

#28 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

Last year I did my first solo gardening attempt and wouldn't you know I picked one of the hottest years on record right at the epicenter of the drought (we were living just East of Austin, smoke from the Bastrop fires was visible from our house). The result was a lot of learning how not to do things, and not a lot to eat. Well in the meantime we have moved north of Dallas, and so I had a fresh opportunity to incorporate lessons learned.

Getting started on 1/21/12:
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Boxes completed and partially planted with some greens and root things on 2/27/12:
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All tomatoes and most of the peppers in by 3/13:
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And this is from yesterday, 4/24. Runner beans, squash, pickling cukes in the foreground, tomatoes and peppers visible in the back box:
292271_10101968887595354_8309198_80505809_1918719005_n.jpg


And the old garden? Well since we moved the week before Christmas, there has been a significant increase in rain over most of the state. When I returned to do some work for the new renters on March 19th, I was able to harvest the following:
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The collards, cauliflower, and broccoli had all bolted, and the folks that live there now don't appear to have even walked out there to look, because it's not that hard to figure out which one is broccoli. Sad to see the waste, but it did make me feel vindicated that I sort of knew what I was doing after all.

Edited by thirtyoneknots, 25 April 2012 - 10:44 AM.

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#29 Darienne

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:18 PM

And yesterday we had snow...
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#30 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:30 PM

And yesterday we had snow...


Just think though, around the time you're in the middle of peak harvest time, most of the gardens down here will have burned up and be infested with insects. Except, usually, the okra.

Texas does have its moment though, even up here. My dad's garden near Houston has been giving red tomatoes for at least a week now--I'm probably still 10 days from that point.
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