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Am I right in thinking that unlike some of the other gardening threads (which do have lots of relevant info), you are growing only in containers? Or do you have some open ground?

Herbs - haven't ever experienced cats falling foul of herbs. After all, herbs by definition don't have poisonous leaves. Double-potting can be good too, especially for herbs with delicate leaves, but not all plants like to be double-potted. I stuff the gap between the two pots with sphagnum moss.

For hot places, I think that tropicals such as yard-long beans/snake beans, malabar spinach, or okra are good value. Climbers take up less space, tropicals won't go all celeb on you in hot weather, and they are pretty pest-resistant too.

If you have a library, why not pop in before the spring gardening rush starts, and see if you can borrow something on container gardening? I bought "Bountiful Container" a while back, but while it was interesting and inspirational, I didn't find much new gardening information - because I have a shelf of garden books already. But for a new gardener, it gives you a heap of sensible information covering a wide variety of topics, and lots of ideas as well. it's not the only such book on the market, though.

One thing that I don't always agree with is the soil mixes - seems to me that the light, free-draining soils recommended are usually too light for hot climates/hotspot patios etc.  I add some heavier soil, a good dose of organic material, and mulch  - often a stone mulch of pebbles.

I'd love to hear what soil mixes other people with hot summers like for their containers!

Yes, I am growing only in containers.

I went to the library to look that book up and think I will just purchase it. It was not at the library.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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There's also "Vegetable Gardening for Dummies". :laugh:

And Googling "container gardening" gets you "goodles" (I think I may try to trademark that word  :wink: ) of hits like this one:

"Guide to Container Gardening "

Thanks for the links! That was some good information!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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  • 1 month later...

this is a comprehensive site for composting Takadi and if you just google "how to compost" all kinds of info ...how to compost

I have a heap compost pile for weeds and garden waste like grass clippings..and a bin composter for food ..so vermin does not get in there :raz:

the bottom line is you need three things ..green/kitchen waste (things like weeds ..egg ...vegetable trimmings ect) brown waste ...like dried leaves or straw ...dried wood chips ...and something kind of high nitrogen something ...like grass clippings or manure ..or you can buy a box of composting stuff at the garden store that helps break down the other stuff...

keep it damp an turn it once in a while ...and voila the best soil you will ever have!

I am excited you want to do this ...win win I tell you!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Wow it looks a little daunting...seems to have a great deal of science behind it. I always figured that you just dump whatever that is considered trash into a huge pile and let it rot, lol.

I've bought some thai basil and hot pepper plant seeds, so I can't wait to give this a try

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I dont use any science ..but yes it is a scientific process...I just make a pile and layer it with what I just told you ...it is very easy to compost! that link was a suggestion and it has a good list of things you should and should not put in your pile ..use a bin if you are going to do food scraps ...to keep rodents out

also JimH gave me the tip of putting your kitchen waste in a bag toss it in the freezer and then it helps break it down faster in the bin ...I can already see how this helps the composting happen faster

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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also JimH gave me the tip of putting your kitchen waste in a bag toss it in the freezer and then it helps break it down faster in the bin ...I can already see how this helps the composting happen faster

Hmm I wonder why is that. Maybe freezing helps break down cell walls?

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also JimH gave me the tip of putting your kitchen waste in a bag toss it in the freezer and then it helps break it down faster in the bin ...I can already see how this helps the composting happen faster

Hmm I wonder why is that. Maybe freezing helps break down cell walls?

exactly! it is a pile of mush when it comes out ..I have just been tossing the frozen bag of vegetable trimmings into the bin and letting it thaw there

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I just ordered a Naturemill composter (automatic, indoor composting). I don't have space for the traditional method and wasn't sure if I'd ever get into the whole worm thing. The Naturemill seems to have gotten good reviews and looks very easy to do. I'll be putting it in the garage, though, not the kitchen.

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I just ordered a Naturemill composter (automatic, indoor composting). I don't have space for the traditional method and wasn't sure if I'd ever get into the whole worm thing. The Naturemill seems to have gotten good reviews and looks very easy to do. I'll be putting it in the garage, though, not the kitchen.

Wow that looks great, and not a bad price either! I was gonna ask about wattage and see if it just ends up wasting electricity, but it only uses 10 watts.

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I thinned my escarole this morning and then tossed it with olive oil and vinegar salt and pepper ...I love those tiny greens!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Am I right in thinking that unlike some of the other gardening threads (which do have lots of relevant info), you are growing only in containers? Or do you have some open ground?....I'd love to hear what soil mixes other people with hot summers like for their containers!

Yes, I am growing only in containers.

Water, water, water. Container gardens require a lot of water, esp. if it's a sunny spot. Plants such as tomatoes require a lot of water in the best of circumstances, even more so when planted in containers. If you shop around you can find tomatoes bred specifically for patios (ie. containers). Hardy plants such as herbs need to be watered often or they'll become tough and bitter. Container gardening can be wonderful, despite the challenges. Enjoy!


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On the composting issue, Starbucks has a "Grounds for Gardens" program that is just wonderful.

Click here for info

About once a month, we drop off a 5 gallon bucket with lid at our local Starbucks, pick it up two days later full of used coffee grounds, and we have a "green" layer on our compost pile. Earthworms adore coffee grounds, and will consume them and provide you with lots of castings. The big drawback to coffee grounds is that they tend to acidify the soil or compost, so should be used with lots of browns, and some dolomitic lime wouldn't hurt or maybe a bag of bone meal. My soil is very alkaline, so I could pave the front yard with coffee grounds and it wouldn't hurt the ph. Dump household coffee grounds in filter and all, and the filter will provide some brown material.

For additional browns, I have used broken down cardboard, newspaper and old phone books. Newspapers and phone books are now printed with a soy based ink. Additionally, the pigments in the ink contain some wonderful micro nutrients such as iron and magnesium.

A handful of Epsom Salts in a planting hole or sprinkled on a compost pile adds pure magnesium, which frees up iron and calcium in the soil and makes it available to the roots.

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I live in NJ, and we produce some of the best tomatoes in the world in season. As for saving the seeds, that won't work for hybrid tomatoes. Hybrids result when several breeds are crossed together, and the seeds will likely revert back to one of the parent tomato plant types.

Basil will grow all summer if it is not allowed to bolt (bloom and go to seed -- once they go to seed their life cycle is over, and the basil just gets bitter). I plant basil among my tomato plants. That keeps them from getting too much sun (which makes them bolt). When the basil plant sends up what looks like flower stalks, you need to pick them off right away.

I do a combination of container and raised bed plantings. Make sure the soil is friendly to the plant you are seeding there, and if you fertilize be careful what sort of fertilizer you use. Add a 5-6-5 or something similar when your plants are setting fruit.

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Basil will grow all summer if it is not allowed to bolt (bloom and go to seed -- once they go to seed their life cycle is over, and the basil just gets bitter). 

What about sage, rosemary, tarragon, etc... do you allow them to bloom? TIA

Skipper

PS: This is my first post, sorry if I am not doing it right.

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Well, it has been a while now and my little garden project is coming along and a lot easier then I thought it would be. My cucumbers, however are not doing so well. The plants I put in individual pots are fine (these are burpless cucumbers) but the ones I planted in a row in a window box style container are not doing well at all and I may have to pull them up. The yellow pepper plants are coming along, but I am noticing sections of the leaves missing. I put sevin dust on them (I am not trying to go organic here, not until I learn more) but the leaves are looking like someone took a bit out of them. despite that, they are nice and green. the rosemary is looking amazing! I am surprised because everyone told me rosemary was the hardest to grow and it is doing the best.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Basil will grow all summer if it is not allowed to bolt (bloom and go to seed -- once they go to seed their life cycle is over, and the basil just gets bitter). 

What about sage, rosemary, tarragon, etc... do you allow them to bloom? TIA

Skipper

PS: This is my first post, sorry if I am not doing it right.

Welcome your post was perfect and I am biased but posting in gardening is a great place to get started I think! I am not Batard but ...I do let my herbs flower ..it is part of the charm of these plants ..very good for the bees and butterflies... they love the herb blooms ..

I harvest the new tender shoots before, after and during the blooming and use the blooms in salads and to garnish plates...

the sweet woodruff is blooming today I will pick some and add it to a bottle of vodka ..in six months I will have a wonderful fragrant drink ..it is so easy to grow ..low ground cover ...loves shade and makes a great infused vodka!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Earthworms adore coffee grounds, and will consume them and provide you with lots of castings. The big drawback to coffee grounds is that they tend to acidify the soil or compost,

We don't compost, but we still grab coffee grounds from a local cafe to feed the roses. Our roses seem to be caffeine addicts :smile:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I just started composting for the first time by just piling up all grass clippings, yard trimmings, and shredded newspaper in one huge heap. It's one hot and heavy mess and it is awesome. Might get into worms and maybe get a biostack or something fancier like those compost tumblers (or the almighty naturemill) but just don't have the time yet or the money (I can't believe they charge hundreds of dollars for a plastic container)

Is there really an advantage of worms to regular composting though? Seems like alot of extra work for nothing.

Edited by takadi (log)
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If there are worms in your vicinity, they will come if you dump out stuff they like. I don't know how they do it. There must be some sort of built in function that tells them where to go for dinner.

I've lived on two properties that were sans earthworms when I moved in - very sandy and devoid of organic material. They always found the compost pile and produced fertilizer and moved the organic material into the soil. You shouldn't have to raise worms specifically in order to reap the benefits. Unless you decide you want to sell earthworms or castings.

Those gazillion dollar glorified plastic garbage cans? Not necessary. A sheet of plastic, some water and a shovel will do nicely. I just filled about a third of a 6 by 12 raised bed with compost from a pile I started two years ago.

I've done "lasagna" type beds as well, and by the time they cooked and were ready for planting, earthworms were abundant.

Hot and heavy is good! Healthy compost pile.

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Earthworms adore coffee grounds, and will consume them and provide you with lots of castings. The big drawback to coffee grounds is that they tend to acidify the soil or compost,

We don't compost, but we still grab coffee grounds from a local cafe to feed the roses. Our roses seem to be caffeine addicts :smile:

I think all roses love coffee grounds! Roses, azaleas, rhododendron - even keeps my hydrangea blue.

It also makes me feel good to reduce and reuse. Extra benefit.

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This is also my first year planting a substancial garden (other than a few containers). I only lived in appartment buildings since last summer when my partner and I bought a house on a faily large lot.

We now have 11 raised beds and one larger traditional garden along with a few berry patches and a mini orchard. We are so excited!

Only problem: pests such as aphids, squirrels and rabbits! But I guess it has to be part of the deal.

We live quite far north compared to most of you so our adventure is only begining. Many plants are still indor waiting for warmer weather. We notetheless have other projects such as constituting a very large bed for perenials (rhubard, asparagus, sage, ...) where we could also experiment with growing morel mushrooms using one of those kits available in some garden centers.

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Takadi good for you ..you are on your way to making wonderful soil and reducing waste!!! ...dont spend money to compost short of buying a bin if you want .you can make a great bin with scrap wood if you want to ..it kind of defeats the purpose to spend bucks on compost that is supposed to be free wonderful soil!

Anne I use coffee grounds you are right we have so many worms in the compost heap I was thinking of selling them to the bait shop! ..well look where I live!!! we drink so much here it is becoming and issue in the Puget Sound ..our fish are getting a bit speedy!

our soil is very acidic (that is why we all grow great hydrangas, azaleas and Rhodies....but that also makes the plants uptake the toxic substances in the soil so I have to add lime ..I use the coffee grounds in the compost piles and then when I mix it into the soil I use lime to bring the pH up for the edibles

my garden is insane if you want to see my progress please feel free to click below

we are expecting great weather the next few days so I have a lot of thinning and need to eliminate this insane grass..

I am going to adopt a milk goat and three laying chickens this summer to help me with the weeds ..grass...blackberries and to provide some natural fertilizer (not that I really need it )

lets see pics Magictofu ..everyone do you have pictures to share?

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Takadi good for you ..you are on your way to making wonderful soil and reducing waste!!! ...dont spend money to compost short of buying a bin if you want .you can make a great bin with scrap wood if you want to  ..it kind of defeats the purpose to spend bucks on compost that is supposed to be free wonderful soil!

Anne I use coffee grounds you are right we have so many worms in the compost heap I was thinking of selling them to the bait shop!  ..well look where I live!!!  we drink so much here it is becoming and issue in the Puget Sound ..our fish are getting a bit speedy!

our soil is very acidic (that is why we all grow great hydrangas, azaleas and Rhodies....but that also makes the plants uptake the toxic substances in the soil so I have to add lime ..I use the coffee grounds in the compost piles and then when I mix it into the soil I use lime  to bring the pH up for the edibles

my garden is insane if you want to see my progress please feel free to click below

we are expecting great weather the next few days so I have a lot of thinning and need to eliminate this insane grass..

I am going to adopt a milk goat and three laying chickens this summer to help me with the weeds ..grass...blackberries and to provide some natural fertilizer (not that I really need it )

lets see pics Magictofu ..everyone do you have pictures to share?

Hah! Who would dare show photos after seeing the astonishing things you've done with your garden? You obviously have good taste, a good eye and a good back. To top it off, you have an incredible view of the Olympics.

By the way, the unidentified greens in one of your photos looks like young broccoli rabe.

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