Gardening: What are you growing ?

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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Athena on April 21st, 2017, 10:07 am 

Oh yes, gardening is great for gaining an appreciation for farmers.

This might be a good day to buy some lettuce starts and plant it in the box. I think I see sunshine. I have decided to use lettuce starts this year, so I am sure of what is growing. The mixed lettuce seeds give me plants I can't identify and then I don't know if I am growing lettuce or weeds. I have eaten some bitter stuff thinking it was lettuce. And I think I like the idea of using twigs to discourage the cats.

I will look into Scat too. I am not a cat person, so I know nothing about their ways or how to keep them away from my plants. I know our airport uses cougar poop to keep the deer away. Evidently not too far away is a sanctuary for cougars. Isn't it great that a sanctuary can be at least partly funded by what the animals produce.

About soil. Before the community garden plot, I just took good soil for granted. I have lived in places with great soil. The plot has terrible soil. I have used different manures. Hum, this reminds me, it is time to get a bucket full of fish scraps. Where I planted mostly salmon heads and backbones, was the best producing area of my garden. My dog dug up one and for two weeks I worried if he would get sick. Next year I boil the salmon to kill the parasite that can kill a dog. That was a lot of work. I don't have a dog this year, so I can just bury the salmon scraps.

I wish I had a flame thrower to scorch my ground. I have bugs that live in the ground and come out and destroy squash plants. Any idea for that problem?
Athena
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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Serpent on April 21st, 2017, 2:35 pm 

Athena » April 21st, 2017, 9:07 am wrote:Oh yes, gardening is great for gaining an appreciation for farmers.

We try to remember that when stuck on the highway behind a very slow, very ripe fertilizer spreader. In late summer, the harvesters lumber along at a majestic pace. Hay trailers, we stay right away from: I've seen two of those topple over, and the giant bales roll off.

The mixed lettuce seeds give me plants I can't identify and then I don't know if I am growing lettuce or weeds.

I use a mix of seeds, but mix them myself from Romaine, red and green curly, Boston, and oakleaf, maybe some beet. Not a fan of arugula, and mustard outgrows everything and bolts before the other leaves are edible. If I want to eat dandelion, I pick it outside, where we also have a patch of heritage* sorrel.
(* That just means some relative brought the seed from Europe, many years ago. I could get it here now, but wouldn't mix it with other plants, as it's a super hardy perennial.)

Isn't it great that a sanctuary can be at least partly funded by what the animals produce.

Yea! Especially predators - not famous for their productivity.

I wish I had a flame thrower to scorch my ground. I have bugs that live in the ground and come out and destroy squash plants. Any idea for that problem?

Most of the things that live in soil are necessary for growing things. Scorched earth is even less famous for productivity than cougars.
Cutworm? Could be a couple of other things. One remedy is collars on the plants. Cut the lower end off plastic beverage bottles and push the cut edge down into the soil over each seedling. This prevents anything crawling to it over or just below the ground and also keeps it warm and moist - a little individual greenhouse. Twist off the cap for air circulation; put it back on for cold nights.
I've heard diatomacious earth sprinkled over the surface works; wood-ash might. I've had good luck with just the ground cover. Of course, I also plant more squash than I expect to survive. Last three years have been bad for them - not sure why only one in three lived to harvest.
Six nice dwarf cucumber plants are thriving, with tiny fruit on, in the indoor buckets. Containers may be another way to protect them.
If you want to read up on pests, I recommend the Rodale problem solver book - every public library carries that; it's well organized and has a sensible, straight-forward style.
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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Athena on April 22nd, 2017, 2:38 pm 

I made a note of the book and will check the library.

The squash beetles are not so easily controlled. They crawl and fly and multiple a lot! The first couple of years I ignored them and still had good harvests, but last year I lost all my zucchini. I didn't even think that possible! But I just read mulching can increase the problem, and my garden was well mulched. I will avoid the mulch and police the whole community garden and make sure everyone is well informed.

Besides avoiding squash this year, I will follow this advice, so maybe next year it will be safe to plant squash again and everything I plant this year has some protection.

http://thefreerangelife.com/control-squash-bugs/
You can also help control squash bugs by planting repellent plants with your squashes. Two of the most commonly used companions for squash is nasturtiums and white icicle radishes. Plant them throughout your squash beds for the best results. Other plants such as oregano, marigold, calendula and dill can also provide some protection.


Yesterday my granddaughter and I planted beets and spinach by adding bags of dry soil to the ground. She seems more interested in the garden this year, so I am more willing to invest money into it.

I need to plant the lettuce starts I bought yesterday in the box by the apartments. The peas and tomato I planted are looking good. It would be nice if the lettuce is still growing when the tomatoes ripen. If I ever get a chance to speak with God, I will make the suggestion that lettuce and tomatoes ripen at the same time.

We try to remember that when stuck on the highway behind a very slow, very ripe fertilizer spreader. In late summer, the harvesters lumber along at a majestic pace. Hay trailers, we stay right away from: I've seen two of those topple over, and the giant bales roll off.


Yeah, not fun to be behind those. A good time to pull off the road and have a picnic or stop at a cafe and have ice cream. We came upon a cattle truck that had tipped over, and the cattle was wondering all over the road. I would not want to be that truck driver.
Athena
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Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Serpent on April 22nd, 2017, 6:00 pm 

I wouldn't want to be those cattle! Or any cattle, really...
I'll try planting more herbs near the squashes this year. Before, I always kept oregano separate, because it tends to invade, basil in pots, so I can bring them inside in late season, and dill has not done well. Nasturtiums are attractive, will grow anywhere, and you can eat the flowers. What's not to like?

It is too bad about most lettuce being cool-weather plants, while tomato is a sun worshipper. Maybe if you start Romain and some variety of head lettuce in a special row, you can leave thhose to develop longer than the green leafies, and let the tomatoes catch up? I've had very poor luck with that. Our summer is just too hot; everything bolts before it heads up properly. We usually make do with staggered plantings, as with peas.
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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Athena on April 23rd, 2017, 12:38 pm 

Laugh, what's not to like is the taste of flowers. In early spring dandelion flowers can taste good, and they can be good for a person, but you can never be sure a dog didn't pee on them, so I buy dandelion tea, instead of eating the flowers along the bike path. I have eaten other flowers and they can make a salad interesting, but I would not say I enjoy the taste.

Do you use your dill?

My plot had herbs when I first took it over, but I am not a cook and don't know my herbs, and grass was embedded in the herbs. In an effort to get the grass out, I destroyed the herbs. Now I have only two small patches of herbs. I am thinking of buying a large pot with pockets around it and filling the pockets with herbs. Do you think that would work?

I will be sure I have Romain. Also, swiss chard can stand the heat.

I hope to have staggered plantings and to get at least two crops of cool weather produce. The Brussel sprouts do very well in our winter. The first year I planted them near fall and they got covered with bugs so I didn't harvest them. After a freeze, the bugs were gone and the Brussel sprouts were delicious.
Athena
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Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Serpent on April 23rd, 2017, 5:31 pm 

Athena » April 23rd, 2017, 11:38 am wrote:Laugh, what's not to like is the taste of flowers.

I'm not mad keen on dandelion flowers, either - except in wine. I sometimes use the very youngest leaves sparingly. Eh, pee comes off in the wash and rinse; so long as there's no nuclear fallout or asbestos....
Nasturtium flowers taste peppery; mustard flowers are even spicier; day-lilies and squash blooms are bland, but the one is nice pickled or stir-fried in the bud and other, fried in batter when full grown. Delicate ones like violet and pansy are hardly worth the bother of picking, they've go no meat on 'em, but look nice on cakes.

Do you use your dill?

I've never seen a dill pickle without! In my youth, a favourite dish was vegetable marrow (white summer squash, which is more substantial than the spaghetti type), which my mother always cooked with sour cream and finely chopped dill. Unfortunately, my partner has hated it the same length of time I've liked it, so we compromise with parsley - not as interesting.

Pot with pockets... Do you think that would work?

I got one as a present once. It looked really good, and the young herbs did all right, but the earthenware pot - too large and heavy to bring inside - cracked in the winter. The earth freezes and expands ... unless you maybe let it dry out before hard frost... But that means no perennials, like rosemary and thyme. Thyme is a favourite; very good on mushroom dishes. I don't know how to use hyssop or lavender; don't like chamomile and rosemary is hit or miss, but the common basic herbs: parsley, sage, oregano, basil, dill and thyme have become indispensable in both of our culinary repertoires.

Also, swiss chard can stand the heat.

It can stand anything. It also tastes more like a weed than most weeds.
Naw, I'm just intolerant of strong greens since my taste-buds got zapped.

The Brussel sprouts do very well in our winter.

*Sigh!* I've never had a crop of them - or artichoke or broccoli.
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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Athena on April 24th, 2017, 12:19 pm 

For sure speaking of what to grow leads to what we enjoy eating and recipes. I am really getting into squashes, but can't do them this year. Gosh, it hurts to really want something I can not have, like plenty of squash growing my own plot. But maybe I could get away with summer squash because the bugs come late?

I think we have the garden pretty full, or will have when our own starts are ready to be transplanted. We will do as many peppers as we can and tomatoes of course. We have determined the stomach pain I had was not an ulcer so I can eat red tomatoes. I already planted a yellow tomato because it is lower in acid.

Why not Brussel sprouts, artichoke or broccoli? I always plant plenty of broccoli and love it raw or cooked. I chopped out my artichoke because it shade my garden too much and I really don't like artichoke that much. I eat maybe one a year when they are in season. I am sad that my asparagus has not returned. I was getting more and more if it every year.

Swiss chard may not be the best flavor but it is great when the spinach and lettuce die in the heat. The swiss chard I have has survived a couple of years and is all volunteer now. Even if a good freeze gets it, it has come back in the spring.

This weekend two sunny days in a row are predicted. Hurray! We will have rain until then and I hope it won't be too much rain. I think a need a week of sunshine to dry out my plot and I am so restless, I may die if I can't in my garden. I may have to just keep buying soil and adding to the top. I wish I had more money. Then I would just call for a truckload of soil and pile it on high.

Any idea for keeping #&((^%%$#@ grass out?! my plot is bordered by the kind of grass that spreads by roots. I have dug it out repeatedly and paid young men to dig it out, and of course, it returns. I am paying to use this plot and think the city should cover the paths to reduce the grass problem. I have covered areas around my plot with bark mulch, and the grass laughs at my efforts to hold it at bay.
Athena
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Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

Postby Serpent on April 24th, 2017, 8:47 pm 

Athena » April 24th, 2017, 11:19 am wrote: I already planted a yellow tomato because it is lower in acid.

Yellows are good. We also find some of the heritage varieties, like Cherokee purple and Brandywine less acidic than the hybrid reds. I particularly like bananlegs for its hardiness and long season. But the best low acid tomato of all is White Beauty, because it has a dense texture and doesn't run down your arm when noshing in the groves.
(I hate juice on my wrist!)

Why not Brussel sprouts, artichoke or broccoli?

I don't know. They fail to thrive, and I've never figured out what goes wrong - besides bugs'n'slugs. I've tried starting them from seed and buying them late in spring - no use. Can't grow cabbage, either, but that doesn't bother me. Maybe our soil is inimical to brassicas.
I don't miss the artichoke, but would dearly love to grow broccoli and Brussels. I may try broccolini this year - shorter growing season. It won't have the nice thick stems, though, which are so good, julianned, in coleslaw, stir-fry and won ton.

Swiss chard may not be the best flavor but it is great when the spinach and lettuce die in the heat.

My fall-back is kale.
I wish I had more money. Then I would just call for a truckload of soil and pile it on high.

If you ever do, be vigilant! We got hosed a few years ago. Paid $145 up front and what they dumped (in the wrong place) turned out to contain a lot of mulched garbage. Since then, for starters, we buy a few bags of soil at Loblaws, then recycle it to the outside garden.

Any idea for keeping #&((^%%$#@ grass out?!

Switch-grass, with rhizomes? No, in 30 years I've never won more than a couple of rounds against that devil. Double-dug the herb bed and inserted that corrugated plastic stuff (Restore $2 a roll) all around. Looked good the first season; all grass by the end of the second. Mostly, I pitchfork an pull, rake and pull, hoe and pull, cultivate and pull.... It comes back.
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