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The Coastal Gardening Topic


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How is everyone doing with their vegetable/herb gardening?

I have some successes and failures to report. On the positive side of things, my redcurrant bush is almost near its peak and I have enough mesculin and spinach to pick for salads every day. It's amazing what a couple of small patches can produce, as long as you're willing to go through all of the washing and slug-picking that is required.

My sugar snap peas are starting to produce, but I wish we had double or triple the plants. Although not as sweet as some I've had, I was amazed to find that our fresh-picked snap peas required less than half the blanching time of regular store-bought snap peas.

On the failure front, I had to rip out the savoy cabbage as they bolted early, only to find that they were also infested with slugs (despite my best efforts). I won't be planting them next year.

The basil that I planted earlier in June is also in extremely poor shape. What a waste. Next year, I think I'll wait to buy and plant basil until close to Canada Day, to ensure best results. The basil that I planted last week is doing great.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I've been growing radicchio with excellent results (ie. very little maintenance.) I've thinly sliced the leaves, mix it with chick peas and sliced red pepper. Toss it with a dressing made of lemon, olive oil, flaxseed oil, fresh ground black pepper and freshly ground curry mix (The Cape Herb & Spice Company.) It tastes out of this world. The best thing is that I simply tear the outer leaves and let the rest grow. I've had a few rounds of salads made from the same plants and they are now slowly starting to flower. The radicchio are in pots to control pests and I've got them on a table outside.

I'm experimenting with other plants to see which are the most hardy so I can plant more next year. Red lettuce, cherry tomatoes, tumbler tomatoes (very bountiful), kale (Rainbow and Russian), Swiss chard, pac choy, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, spearmint, acorn squash, zucchini, corn, garlic chives...these are the most successful so far. I've got other things under observation - jalapeno, sweet red peppers, golden berry, thornless blackberry, basil and other herbs that are regenerating from last year.

I have not used anything other than water and plant companion plants to ward off pests. I've thrown "garlic water" on susceptible plants, coffee ground, and manual removal of pests. I'm aiming for sustainable gardening and trying to convince family and friends to replace a portion of their grass and flowers and grow food. Next year, I want to grow edible weeds and flowers for practical and esthetic purpose.

Growing your own food has been very grounding, rewarding and educational. I wish I started this long ago.

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I am in the middle of landscaping the backyard, and about to build a kitchen garden. Is it too late to plant a kitchen garden this season? I was thinking about some tomatoes, maybe some herbs... any advice for a novice gardener?

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I am in the middle of landscaping the backyard, and about to build a kitchen garden.  Is it too late to plant a kitchen garden this season?  I was thinking about some tomatoes, maybe some herbs...  any advice for a novice gardener?

It's definitely not too late to start.

Herbs that you can plant and enjoy this season, and will generally survive over the winter, include the following:

Winter savory

Marjoram

Bay

Oregano

Rosemary

Thyme

Sage

There are others as well. You can also pick up a lot of this stuff at cut-rate prices when the garden centers (Rona, Canadian Tire) begin to clear out their stock at the end of summer. That is, if you can wait.

I would browse around a few garden centers and see what they have left for vegetables. I'll post on that later.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I am in the middle of landscaping the backyard, and about to build a kitchen garden.  Is it too late to plant a kitchen garden this season?  I was thinking about some tomatoes, maybe some herbs...  any advice for a novice gardener?

It's not too late. I've planted some seeds in some peat pods and they are germinating. Even the tomatoes are germinating and I planted them in peat pods two weeks ago. With this recent heat, it's coming up like weeds. BTW, I kept some seeds from those sweet yellow tomatoes purchased from Milan two years ago at the Farmers Market and these are the ones above.

I also put out some seedlings of lettuce and kale in some pots and they are coming up nicely. I started these last week.

You can probably start some squashes as well. They grow remarkably well. Tonight I found the culprit slug eating at my zucchini plant. I put out some cheap beer for them to swim in. The trick is not to put it too close to your plants. You want them to steer away from your precious bounty.

I plan to plant garlic bulbs when the squashes are harvested. I've had my first taste of scapes and I'm hooked. The Farmers Market charges too much for them. I got it cheaper at the UBC Farmers Market. Even cheaper if I grow my own. Make sure the bulbs that you plant are organic or they will not sprout.

I missed the UBC Farmers Market presentation on Winter Gardening but I plan to purchase the book by Linda Gilkeson called, "Year-Around Harvest." This book describes winter hardy vegetables that you can grow and simple cold protection methods. She will also be doing the same presentation on Aug 15 and September 22 in Richmond. Also this Saturday, July 7, UBC Farmers Market is having a Summer Fest. You can learn sustainable gardening tips and get an idea as to what you can still plant this month.

The weather looks very good this week so I hope you get a chance to put in some plants.

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"How is everyone doing with their vegetable/herb gardening?"

Very well thanks.

We're eating snap peas every night. The shelling peas are starting to plump up. They're about 90% for freezing, but we'll eat some soon.

Our basil sucks too ... I'm going to go get another plant or two.

We have about 140 garlic plants that are almost ready to harvest. We made a pesto from all the scapes and have been using it on EVERYTHING. it made about a litre of pesto. We also mode a pesto from excess arugula (walnuts instead of pine nuts), also very good.

The tomatos are coming along, and the hops have just started to generate bracteols.

I'm happy to report that my experiment of transplanting beet and parsnip seedlings seems to have worked. (Conventional advice is to not transplant for any root veg, but rather to thin when the leaves are around 3 inches). I transplanted the sprouts as early as I dared, and they seem normally healthy and generating good veg.

Our strawberries did not do well this year. Not sure why, but the farmers from glen valley reported the same thing, so might not be our fault. Onions are looking great ... bulbs are about 2" across on the biggest plants.

It looks beautifull out there now ;)

[edited for formatting]

Edited by mtigges (log)
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The weather looks very good this week so I hope you get a chance to put in some plants.

Thanks for the tips, maxmillan and sarensho... I will get to work and report back later with the results!

Edited by the g-man (log)
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I'm growing mainly herbs on my balcony garden (after one crazy summer with 5 heirloom tomato plants that completely took over my balcony and despite being planted in tubs the size of garbage cans still dried out twice a day with their monster root systems and ended up with blossom end rot).

I've had to replant all my perennial herbs like Rosemary, Bay, and Sorrel that were killed off by the cold last winter.

I bought a new kind of Sorrel that has leaves that look like Beet leaves. It grew really well except.....it has absolutely no lemony taste, the whole reason I like Sorrel. Luckily it's not too late to score some real Sorrel plants but what a disappointment.

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Thanks for the tips, maxmillan and sarensho...  I will get to work and report back later with the results!

As far as vegetable seeds go, you could plant patches of lettuce every 30-45 days. This would keep you in lettuce well into fall. Most of my experience is with mesculin, but I recommend trying mesculin mixes from different vendors, as the actual lettuces can vary widely.

Although not glamorous, you could also plant carrots. Broccoli as well from seed.

Don't forget to pick up some chives, easy to grow and requires no maintenance whatsoever.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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We now have kabocha seedlings popping up unexpectedly all over the place. Like asparagus, it feels like Christmas every day. (If you've ever seen an asparagus patch in action, you know what I mean.) The seeds got into the ground courtesy of our compost, and our family's regular consumption of kabocha squash.

We've also got a few other seedlings of indeterminate origin, so it should be interesting to see what they develop into.

Laura: You can prune that rosemary by taking out the lower branches and forming a ball if you want. That's what my neighbor did.

http://www.papagenos.com/blog/template_permalink.asp?id=140

My rosemary is only about two feet wide and tall, and most of it is quite straggly, but the ends are very healthy and harvestable. Considering what I read on that gardening website (thanks mtigges) and here, it seems my rosemary was lucky to survive yet another winter without any protective intervention on my part. It's planted in my garden exposed to the elements year round!

I think I should wait until the end of the season and prune it all right back, give it some more love over the winter in the form of mulching or even a burlap wrap, and let it come back with new branches next spring. Meanwhile, it might be a bit unsightly, but I've still got gorgeous fresh rosemary for my cooking! And thanks for the pruning advice, sanresho, but given the state my rosemary is in, I'd have a hard time shaping this rosemary without losing all its leaves that are growing on its extremities.

Since those tips are so healthy you might consider air-layering a few branches. What kind of mulch are you using? I live in the damp too and have found quarter-minus gravel is a great mulch for my Mediterranean plants.

Can you explain 'air-layering'? I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Can you explain 'air-layering'?  I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Ohhhhhh. I get it now, thanks! Yeah, that would work. I've been able to grow new bushes from actual cuttings, so the layering thing would definitely work for my rosemary. Should I start this now?

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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Can you explain 'air-layering'?  I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Ohhhhhh. I get it now, thanks! Yeah, that would work. I've been able to grow new bushes from actual cuttings, so the layering thing would definitely work for my rosemary. Should I start this now?

I think that it's a bit late in the season to establish a plant that will survive this winter.

Early to mid spring would be the best time. :smile:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Can you explain 'air-layering'?  I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Ohhhhhh. I get it now, thanks! Yeah, that would work. I've been able to grow new bushes from actual cuttings, so the layering thing would definitely work for my rosemary. Should I start this now?

I think that it's a bit late in the season to establish a plant that will survive this winter.

Early to mid spring would be the best time. :smile:

Dang. I jumped the gun and pinioned down several of the more flexible branches of my rosemary under different kinds of weights - small rocks, mainly. OMG, have I destroyed the whole rosemary plant? :sad:

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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Can you explain 'air-layering'?  I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Ohhhhhh. I get it now, thanks! Yeah, that would work. I've been able to grow new bushes from actual cuttings, so the layering thing would definitely work for my rosemary. Should I start this now?

I think that it's a bit late in the season to establish a plant that will survive this winter.

Early to mid spring would be the best time. :smile:

Dang. I jumped the gun and pinioned down several of the more flexible branches of my rosemary under different kinds of weights - small rocks, mainly. OMG, have I destroyed the whole rosemary plant? :sad:

No! These are pretty tough plants. Make sure that the plants get regular waterings to establish the best root system they can before the rains begin (three months from now?). Are you planning to leave them in place or move them? If you leave them for the winter consider mulching them with quarter-minus gravel or another stone medium. You want to minimize any additional moisture around the main stem. While rosemary can withstand cold spells it's the wet that'll kill them or make them leggy.

No worries, lauraf. It sounds as if you'll have a veritable field of rosemary.:smile:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Can you explain 'air-layering'?  I'm thinking it's pretty much self-explanatory, but . . .. :wink:

I haven't mulched my herbs before, but I started composting this spring so hope that by the end of the fall I'll have some badass compost to work with.

I missed this! I'm sorry lauraf. :shock:

I've now tried twice to write how to do this and it's driving me nuts. I'm very poor at explaining even the simplest task in writing so I'll direct you a site that has best described what I did with one of my rosemary plants. farm-garden.com

Ohhhhhh. I get it now, thanks! Yeah, that would work. I've been able to grow new bushes from actual cuttings, so the layering thing would definitely work for my rosemary. Should I start this now?

I think that it's a bit late in the season to establish a plant that will survive this winter.

Early to mid spring would be the best time. :smile:

Dang. I jumped the gun and pinioned down several of the more flexible branches of my rosemary under different kinds of weights - small rocks, mainly. OMG, have I destroyed the whole rosemary plant? :sad:

No! These are pretty tough plants. Make sure that the plants get regular waterings to establish the best root system they can before the rains begin (three months from now?). Are you planning to leave them in place or move them? If you leave them for the winter consider mulching them with quarter-minus gravel or another stone medium. You want to minimize any additional moisture around the main stem. While rosemary can withstand cold spells it's the wet that'll kill them or make them leggy.

No worries, lauraf. It sounds as if you'll have a veritable field of rosemary.:smile:

Thanks Petite Tete. Will update, umm, in eight months? :wink:

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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I've harvested all the strawberries from my June bearing plant. The weather is now getting warmer and wonder if anything else will grow from this plant.

If not, what can I do to save this plant for next year? Is it possible?

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I've harvested all the strawberries from my June bearing plant.  The weather is now getting warmer and wonder if anything else will grow from this plant. 

If not, what can I do to save this plant for next year?  Is it  possible?

I don't think you have to do anything. Strawberries are a perennial so they will keep multiplying provided you have the space.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I've harvested all the strawberries from my June bearing plant.  The weather is now getting warmer and wonder if anything else will grow from this plant. 

If not, what can I do to save this plant for next year?  Is it  possible?

sanrensho is correct. You can however put a light mulch over them in October. Especially if they're in containers. Straw is best.

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Thanks to the above for answering my strawberry inquiry.

My zucchini plant is being ravaged by slugs. Not big ones, but baby ones that are eating the flower and tender stalk near the base.

I have placed beer nearby which is successful on non-rainy days. But with this recent rain I've been picking out the baby slugs and they keep multiplying. I know to keep the area dry come night time but right now that's hard to do. Should I cover the plant with plastic so the area around it stays dry? I've wrapped and sprinkle fresh oregano at the base hoping this will deter them.

What else can I do?

What are slugs good for anyways?

Edited by maxmillan (log)
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Thanks to the above for the strawberry inquiry.

My zucchini plant is being ravaged by slugs.  Not big one, but baby ones who are eating the flower and tender stalk near the base.

I'd be interested in a solution to this problem as well. The "safe" slug bait does nothing for the smaller slugs and the beer solution only worked for larger slugs in my garden.

I finally had to rip out two patches of mesculin and mizuna this week when they became infested with slugs. So it's back to watercress and spinach salads at our home.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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What are slugs good for anyways?

Slugs feed garter snakes and also feed ducks :-)

This is true, back when my mom had ducks [ducks feed raccoons) our neighbors used to borrow them to come eat snails & slugs from their garden on a regular basis.

Does organo really help, or does it just make the slugs tastier for the ducks?

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

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re: slugs

Copper wire or tape is reported to be an effective barrier:

http://www.eartheasy.com/grow_nat_slug_cntrl.htm

http://perfectperennials.tripod.com/id7.html

Thanks for the link. I read through it and think I will try some of the methods, especially the ammonia spray.

The oregano seem to work only on areas where I placed them. I wrapped the fresh oregano around the base of the zucchini plant but those little buggers still get at the stem end. I made a poultice with oregano and slathered it around the stalk part and that seem to work, too.

Now I see wood bugs eating some of the zucchini leaves. Either they are attracted to the trail of slug slime or the baby slugs are attracted to them.

Any advice on getting rid of or deterring wood bugs?

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