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Old 02-11-2011, 02:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Any Gardeners?

If you are like me, you are looking forward to spring and planning the garden.

I've always grown flowers, but last year I did a vegetable garden for the first time after YEARS of talking about it. It was pretty much a flop because we had such a brutally dry summer. I did have a nice crop of lettuce though.

Well, now that I'm eating so many veggies, I'm really looking forward to eating them fresh from the garden this year. I don't know if I'll have any better success, but I'm going to try again.

I received my first order of seeds the other day and I'm looking forward to an early spring planting of Peas, lettuce and spinach. I also have seeds to try growing alpine strawberries. It'll be next year before I get any fruit off them, but I can be patient.

What are you planning for your garden this spring?
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Kay

I'm so glad that you mentioned specifically lettuce grown from seed. I used to garden a lot but got fed up with all my continuous failures. Over here, Sydney, veggies have become terribly expensive due to the floods in Queensland.

I would like to grow lettuce, tomatoes, and maybe something else. All in pots.

Although I have had reasonable success with tomatoes in the past, my lettuces are always a disaster. I plant them in potting mix, and do everything the packet says, but the seeds germinate and that's it. The ungrateful little wretches just die. I've tried many different types of seed, different types of lettuce but it's always the same.

Do you have any tips on how to make them grow? I must be doing something wrong. To make matters worse - everywhere I look people say that lettuce is one of the easiest things to grow! I feel like such a twit!

If you could solve this mystery, I would really appreciate it.

Kind regards
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Me, me, me, I'm a gardener. We still have a foot of snow on the ground, so it's hard to think spring yet. But I'm getting revved up all the same. I don't grow too many flowers, just the few around the house planting beds. But I put in a massive veg garden. I'm planning the following:

tomatoes, cherry, roma, big boy and early girl (maybe even some mortgage lifters)
peppers, hot, belle, banana and jalapeno
corn, white, yellow and bi-color
broccoli
cabbage
Brussels sprouts
peas
onions (why I bother IDK, they are a disaster every year)
beets, beets, beets, beets some for the deer, some for the people, some for the rototiller and some for the Lord
sunflowers, cause they amuse my mother
herbs, basil, dill, coriander, sage, thyme
potatoes, sweet, red, yellow and maybe some blue
popcorn, cause it amuses me
beans, bush (green, yellow and purple), pole and lima
cucumbers
squash, zucchini, spaghetti, acorn, butternut and buttercup
pumpkins, super, pie and carvers
goose neck gords
raspberries
asparagus
strawberries
carrots
watermelon
cantaloupe
turnips (maybe)
radishes (maybe)

Ooooh weeee, all that thinking about garden made me tired.

Having never even been to Australia, let alone grown a garden there, I can't say what your lettuce issue might be. Could be the soil doesn't have the correct ph balance. This might have as much to do with your water as your soil. Here in the States we have agencies that we can contact for information on what to do with various soil conditions. Seems to me that lettuce needs a sweet soil, and potting soil is acidic (as it's mostly peat moss), so you might want to sweeten your soil with pot ash or just use the local topsoil and amend it with organic compost.
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Last edited by almeeker; 02-16-2011 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmmm--I've never planted a garden, but it seems like a great idea. With veggie prices increasing all the time it might be worth it.

I'd love to grow some tomatoes and romaine. Peas would be good, and I do love onions. Oh, and fresh strawberries would be outstanding!

I have a little rototiller attachment for my weed wacker that would be fine for a small patch. And, it would be less lawn that I'd have to mow .

As soon as the snow is gone and mud season is ending I'll see about getting some soil turned up and get some seeds. (I'll probably be back here looking for advice--the only thing I've ever planted has been some flowers many moons ago).

Regards,
Michael
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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As far as lettuce goes, last year that was my best crop. I grew leaf lettuce. Red Sails was my favorite variety. Lettuce doesn't like heat. I grew mine in fairly shallow, self watering patio boxes on my deck. They didn't get full sun there, and I think that is a good thing when it comes to lettuce.

We are having a warm spell now, and it is making me itchy for spring. I am very jealous of almeeker's garden, but I know I have to keep my garden small because I've got a limited attention span.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecompco View Post
Hmmm--I've never planted a garden, but it seems like a great idea. With veggie prices increasing all the time it might be worth it.

I'd love to grow some tomatoes and romaine. Peas would be good, and I do love onions. Oh, and fresh strawberries would be outstanding!

I have a little rototiller attachment for my weed wacker that would be fine for a small patch. And, it would be less lawn that I'd have to mow .
I spend about $500-$600 on my garden annually, and it yields $4,000-$6,000/year in groceries, give or take. I only really count the cost of the groceries I can or freeze, not the ones we eat fresh out of the garden. So it's definitely worth it. The return on a garden investment is usually between 5-10 times the cost of planting and maintaining it. But that is only true if you're willing to do the work. A lot of people are all gung-ho in the beginning, till up half the yard, spend a fortune on plants and seeds and then stand back and let the weeds and pests take over. Don't think you're getting out of any lawn work my friend, pulling weeds is much harder than riding that lawn mower.

On tomatoes for a beginner, buy plants at the local greenhouse. I would recommend a couple of varieties, cherry or grape (just a single 4 pack is PLENTY). Maybe a box of romas (they make really good sauce). Something that gives an early crop like Early Girl or Ready Ripes and something that makes a big beefy tomato, like Big Boy, Beefsteak or Super Beef. Cherry are probably the easiest to raise, followed closely by roma.

I don't grow romaine, our soil conditions aren't ideal for it, I grow leaf lettuce which is very easy. All you do is throw the seeds down and pray for a little rain. Lettuce does best in the cool part of May and September, so I plant it twice.

Fresh peas are so awesome, but they have to be planted early, like end of March, no later than the end of April to be sure. They grow best on a fence and like a little "Pea and Bean starter". It takes A LOT of pea seeds to grow a pound of peas, so I would recommend that you get a variety that grows nice pea pods. Somehow that's a more satisfying experience than shucking peas for an hour.

For onions, buy the mini bulbs, not the seeds or the sets. You're growing season is short, so you don't have time to waste. They also need to go in early, like May or so.

Strawberries are harder. Buy the plants in April or May and put them in the ground, they are sort of nice looking ground cover so you can plant them in the flower beds if you want. The whole first season you just get to weed them and cut the blossoms off, you won't get fruit until next year. But hold on to your socks because next Spring you will have berries coming out of your ears. You do need to cover them with straw over the winter, hence the name.

For something really easy in your climate I would suggest broccoli and cabbage. They are frost hardy and can be planted very early like the end of March. They also do fine if you plant them the first week in June. Other vegetables in that same family are brussell sprouts and cauliflower, but they need a long growing season and MUST be planted early or you'll never get a harvest.

Another easy veggy you should consider is bush beans, they come in different colors yellow, green and purple and once they start to yield it will be all you can do to keep them eaten up. They have very few calories and even a little protein and are soooo good right out of the garden.

Sorry for going on and on, but I'm getting geared up now...
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Last edited by almeeker; 02-18-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almeeker View Post
I spend about $500-$600 on my garden annually, and it yields $4,000-$6,000/year in groceries, give or take. I only really count the cost of the groceries I can or freeze, not the ones we eat fresh out of the garden. So it's definitely worth it. The return on a garden investment is usually between 5-10 times the cost of planting and maintaining it. But that is only true if you're willing to do the work. A lot of people are all gung-ho in the beginning, till up half the yard, spend a fortune on plants and seeds and then stand back and let the weeds and pests take over. Don't think you're getting out of any lawn work my friend, pulling weeds is much harder than riding that lawn mower.

On tomatoes for a beginner, buy plants at the local greenhouse. I would recommend a couple of varieties, cherry or grape (just a single 4 pack is PLENTY). Maybe a box of romas (they make really good sauce). Something that gives an early crop like Early Girl or Ready Ripes and something that makes a big beefy tomato, like Big Boy, Beefsteak or Super Beef. Cherry are probably the easiest to raise, followed closely by roma.

I don't grow romaine, our soil conditions aren't ideal for it, I grow leaf lettuce which is very easy. All you do is throw the seeds down and pray for a little rain. Lettuce does best in the cool part of May and September, so I plant it twice.

Fresh peas are so awesome, but they have to be planted early, like end of March, no later than the end of April to be sure. They grow best on a fence and like a little "Pea and Bean starter". It takes A LOT of pea seeds to grow a pound of peas, so I would recommend that you get a variety that grows nice pea pods. Somehow that's a more satisfying experience than shucking peas for an hour.

For onions, buy the mini bulbs, not the seeds or the sets. You're growing season is short, so you don't have time to waste. They also need to go in early, like May or so.

Strawberries are harder. Buy the plants in April or May and put them in the ground, they are sort of nice looking ground cover so you can plant them in the flower beds if you want. The whole first season you just get to weed them and cut the blossoms off, you won't get fruit until next year. But hold on to your socks because next Spring you will have berries coming out of your ears. You do need to cover them with straw over the winter, hence the name.

For something really easy in your climate I would suggest broccoli and cabbage. They are frost hardy and can be planted very early like the end of March. They also do fine if you plant them the first week in June. Other vegetables in that same family are brussell sprouts and cauliflower, but they need a long growing season and MUST be planted early or you'll never get a harvest.

Another easy veggy you should consider is bush beans, they come in different colors yellow, green and purple and once they start to yield it will be all you can do to keep them eaten up. They have very few calories and even a little protein and are soooo good right out of the garden.

Sorry for going on and on, but I'm getting geared up now...
Wow! I didn't think about how soon this will happen. IDK about the March thing--there will still be a ton of snow and we generally get a big storm the end of march, first of April. The frost isn't usually out 'till the end of April or thereabouts.

Broccoli is a great idea--they have massive fields of it up in the more Northern part of the state (I'm pretty much in the middle part of the state), so it must be suited to a short season.

My patch won't be anywhere near as big as yours! And I really don't have that much lawn, being surrounded by woods. I'm sure the critters will enjoy the produce as well!

Thanks for all the advice--I'll be back for more when we get closer to the time.

Regards,
Michael
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47 M 5'8"

May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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