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The 2013 Garden Thread

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posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 09:41 PM
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I searched on this topic and discovered that others are hoping to have a gardening forum instituted on ATS. This is my contribution to that movement. (And note my choices of forum were Survivalism or Food/Cooking. Suggestions about which would be more appropriate given the content of this thread are welcome).

Every year I keep a written and photographic diary of my garden to inform my future attempts (and perhaps even future generations - I learned a thing or two about growing carrots from an old notebook of my grandfather's). To date I have kept this diary in a notebook and have posted the pictures on *cough*facebook*cough. (I own a business - cut me some slack). I thought ATS might be the right community to delve a little deeper into this practice of sharing ideas, successes, failures, etc. I have shared information with my future self - why not find a way to share it with "present others" who might benefit from my accomplishments (...and failures...oh this is gonna be fun.... )

I often feel that gardening these days is considered a "hobby" - and rightly perhaps. Food production and "gardening" seem to have found themselves in a nasty divorce. If you have ever canned 90 pounds of tomatoes and expected a supermarket shelf worth of goods for the work you put in well... you will know the sting of disappointment of which I speak. And yet inexplicably you may feel compelled to do it all again. Why do we do this when food is so cheaply available, and for so much less effort? Is it for the "vanity of it"? Is it just about better food (and how better is it really)? Or are we exploring something deeper, more primal?

What is "gardening" anyway? The term brings to mind both proper ladies with tea roses and floppy hats as well as manure, a shovel, and shorts that may cross the bounds of decency. Why do we garden? What is our end goal? And how do we justify our means of getting there?

These are things I consider every year when I start out; what I try to revisit as I'm "in the thick of it"; and what I reflect on once the garden is "put to bed." That's why I find this record of every season so valuable for myself, and if you have not adopted this practice I hope you might be encouraged to. If you already do this as second nature I hope you will share your own garden stories. God knows I'm no expert and could stand to learn a thing or two this year.

With that I will close this intro and start to pull together my 2013 "garden opener" (like an intro thread to the thread I guess). My intention for my opener is to outline my plans for 2013, my predictions, my hopes, and to explain what I have planted/prepped to this point. Anyone who feels like participating feel free to create your own "opener" even if I haven't yet managed to stop obsessing over my grammar long enough to post mine. I find for honesty's sake it's best to record your plans as soon as possible - BEFORE you try to explain away or ignore how wrong you were later. (Note: for those who tend to chide the prediction threads and just happened to stumble in here ....stick around, you aint seen nothin yet.)

And of course the goal is to keep the thread going with updates about how everyone's plans are manifesting in reality. Or they could just be mine - but be here they will!

I wish you an interesting 2013 growing season, with bragging rights and lessons learned aplenty.

otherpotato
edit on 10-4-2013 by otherpotato because: Added note about choice of forum




posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 


My green thumb applauds you starting this thread.....imagine this as green...


Des



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 09:47 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 


Thanks Des. Now I gotta put my money where my green thumb and is commit to my plans under the watchful eye of ATS... Always fun when you make rules you yourself have to follow. Um....



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:00 PM
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Okay, I'll jump in early and try to contribute as things 'grow'.
We started a vegetable garden years ago when the kids were young. It was THE best way to get them excited about eating veggies. Planting was very close to playing in the dirt for them, and caring for the baby plants made them emotionally invested in making them grow. Harvesting made them compete to find the biggest vegetable or find the hidden bush beans. It was always pick some eat some, and many times they never made it to the dinner table. I think the most memorable was the first time planting potatoes. The poor things were ravished, the kids picked EVERYTHING, not just the large ones but ALL of them. They came in covered in dirt with shirts pulled up like makeshift baskets full of potatoes. We had to wait a couple of days to let them dry out a bit and the kids were going nuts waiting.

Other things they have made tradition is sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Even squash wasn't safe from roasting seeds. It's these little things that when looked back upon, make gardening so much fun. They are older now and are too busy to be fully excited, but they have their requests for planting, and when we go to the local spirit days they always come home with seeds from the nearby university's agricultural dept.

I like to think their love of (raw) veggies is due in part to these activities.



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:03 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 


If I were you. I'd cross post this in the Survival Forum, with a link to this thread.. There are many old gardeners, and new ones there. Looking at using gardening as a food source now. The economy has so many people looking to augment already stretched budgets. But they just don't know how to do it in the dirt, like so many already do.

Your thread will be a learning experience...for many.

We do need a dedicated forum for all aspects of gardening. Hopefully, your thread will lead to that.

Des


edit on 10-4-2013 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:11 PM
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reply to post by shadow watcher
 


I love this - thank you for the reminder that part of what this is about is teaching the next generation.

Can I ask you how old your kids were when they started helping? The reason I ask is that I have always felt there is a maturity level needed to properly understand how to navigate a garden - where to walk, what's a weed vs. what isn't, when to water, when to pick.... I have held back from letting the kids help in a "serious" way (aka working the garden) and I want to get them more involved this year. Mine are two very mature 7 year olds, one very immature 10 year old, and one autistic 8 year old. So you could say I have a gaggle of second graders. Is that an appropriate age to put them to work (so to speak).

Note I have no problem admitting I am something of a control freak. I consider my garden plants my babies and feel a great responsibility for their well being!



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:15 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 


Des I actually sent a message to the mods about this because after I posted I realized that I wasn't necessarily happy with it being here once I read the forum tagline.... Seems an inappropriate place for the subject matter. Doh!

When one "cross-posts" what does one do? Replicate the entire thread in a new forum? Or just say "hey - I posted this, here's the link." Never done that before - never had to!

A thread without a country...



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:19 PM
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Originally posted by otherpotato
reply to post by Destinyone
 


Des I actually sent a message to the mods about this because after I posted I realized that I wasn't necessarily happy with it being here once I read the forum tagline.... Seems an inappropriate place for the subject matter. Doh!

When one "cross-posts" what does one do? Replicate the entire thread in a new forum? Or just say "hey - I posted this, here's the link." Never done that before - never had to!

A thread without a country...


You are going into a completely different forum, the Survival Forum. Where people are posting questions/threads about gardening..with no discernible consolidation of gardening information. It's scattered like buckshot.

Since it's in the Survival Forum, it's hard to keep the talk on topic as it will wander off into what kind of BOB should I get. what if my car doesn't have enough gas to get to a safe place....next thing you know, gardening is lost to the other chatter.

I'd re-post your OP of this thread as a new thread in the Survival Forum. At the bottom, I'd add the link to this thread, inviting all to join in, to share experiences in growing things for whatever reason.

Since they are very different forums, I see no problem in doing that.

jmoho...

Des



edit on 10-4-2013 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:20 PM
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We have had a Garden for the last three years. Mostly Tomatoes, Carrots, and Corn. Over these years we have tried different types of Peppers, Radishes, and last year had some crazy Sunflowers. Didnt know why they called them Sunflowers all these years, but when I woke up the morning after they were fully bloomed the Flower was facing East. During the day, the flower moved with the Sun and ended the day facing West.

Anywho, when the tax return comes I am planning on building an Aquaponics system which I have done alot of research on and should be really cool. Nothing like fresh fish and any vegetable you can think of.



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 10:29 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 

Thank you for your interest. Well, we had them 'exploring' at about 4 or 5 years old. We would point and name the plants, then we would let them water them with the can. It was all pretty supervised while their mom was pulling weeds. She finds weed pulling relaxing. I was the herder who kept them occupied. We gave them their own plants to care for (we helped a bit when no one was looking) and they really came to enjoy themselves. It was hard answering the repeated question of 'are they done yet?', but the great thing was once the plants started, there was always something to pick all summer.

As they got older they wanted to be more involved. Since I am the family cook, I extended the class to the indoors. We would wash and clean what they picked and then chose how to cook them. Guaranteed clean plates on those nights. They beamed telling their grandparents all about their plants and what they ate. It really was a great time for all. My youngest is now 6 and he is crazy about tomatoes. He will devour a bowl full at a sitting, so he is in charge of the cherry tomatoes. Those things grow like crazy here. He chose some really interesting tomato seeds recently and I am hopeful some will take.

Our garden isn't big, but we manage to get lots from it. We wind up canning much at the end of the season too.



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 11:24 PM
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reply to post by hoochymama
 


Sunflowers...

See, I have always added a plant clipping to my beta fish tanks. I let the plant root in the water and the plant sucks up waste while the fish gets a natural housekeeper for free. I have always done this but never considered the implications for growing food. Let me know if you get this off the ground - I'd be interested in hearing the results.



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by shadow watcher
 


Great advice, thank you... I'm funny about my tomatoes. I only sort of like them raw. For example I will always order tomatoes on a sandwich or salad but tend to pick about half of them out. The nightshade family - everyone's favorite!

Good luck this year...



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 11:48 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 


I have a growlight system so I start my seeds early and all mine have already sprouted.
Every year I grow peppers (either bell or jalpeno), this year is no differnent, also growing some heirloom tomatos, and some sunflowers, my brother is also growing onions and corn though he planted way to much so I dont know what were going to do. Though the problem is the canadian winter is persisting a little too much, but its not may yet so im sure the snow should be gone by than.



posted on Apr, 11 2013 @ 01:53 PM
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I'm still hoping to do some planting this spring, but so many projects at home, on my plate...we'll see.
If not this year though, definitely next. When I do, I'll post pics.



posted on Apr, 11 2013 @ 02:49 PM
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I am still waiting not so patiently for spring here. I have my greenhouse cleaned out and I am just waiting for the temps to stay above freezing at night. After that happens I will be starting lettuce, spinach and peas in there until the garden beds thaw out. I have dug out my garden gate from the 4 feet of snow, and the hinges need to thaw and I will start digging out the beds after that happens. Luckily the 4 shelves of seedlings are keeping me busy with green right now.

Thanks for the thread, I will live vicariously through your gardens until mine thaw!



posted on Apr, 11 2013 @ 07:23 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
I'm still hoping to do some planting this spring, but so many projects at home, on my plate...we'll see.
If not this year though, definitely next. When I do, I'll post pics.


Gazrok. I challenge you. One 5 gallon clay pot on your porch. One tomato plant in pot. Then eat the fruits of very little labor.

Let that satisfying experience jump start you for next Spring.

Des



posted on Apr, 11 2013 @ 10:26 PM
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In another thread I am chatting about my making of beer and wanted to add here that I have been growing hops in my yard for years. I really enjoy being surrounded by wild edibles in my yard. Throughout the warm months we like to stroll the perimeter and see what we can forage. Wild chives, mint, black berries, blue berries, rhubarb and lots of other stuff out there for us to share with the wild. The funny thing is there's whole sections of yard that when mowed smells of onion.

I guess the garden extends beyond it's little borders.

Gaz, you should definitely have a little something to grow.



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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As promised, here are "my" (otherpotato) predictions and plans for my 2013 garden. Call this my stake in the ground. (For reference I live in the northeast, on the increasingly fuzzy line between zone 6 and zone 5).

PREDICTION ONE: This year's problem child will be....Tomatoes

Why: Every year I seem have one crop that overwhelms me to the point that I curse that plant and it does poorly the next year. For example two years ago (2011) we were overrun with cucumbers. To the point that after pickling in every way possible I was practically assaulting people to take them as they were walking by my house. So last year I got no cucumbers at all.

Last year (2012) I may have had the largest tomato crop ever attempted by a single human being. They just would not stop. One of them weighed in at almost three pounds and measured six inches. I can't talk about it without sobbing.

How my prediction is holding up: My Roma tomato seedlings are croaking in a major way. I think they may be done for. The Brandywines (last year's six inch tomato) are keeping on. It's still early yet to recover and I reseeded Roma's. Determined to not be a self fulfilling prophecy....

PREDICTION TWO: This year's bumper crop will be...Broccoli

Why: We have never tried broccoli from seed. Last year we bought plants and had a decent crop - and discovered all the kids love broccoli (woot!) So I decided this was the year to make a year's worth of broccoli a priority. Given that broccoli can only be frozen for storage we will likely need to invest in a new fridge/freezer unit.

How my prediction is holding up: They're still small but I have that "good feeling".

PREDICTION THREE: I shall finally get the squashes under control.

Why: I have finally figured out the producing patterns for this family. We are going with one summer squash, one winter and/or one acorn, and one or two zucchini. Maybe we will try spaghetti squash again. Wait, does that still sound non-committal? Crap.

How my prediction is holding up: Too early to know - not planted yet.

PREDICTION FOUR: My peas will be just as glorious as they were last year!!!

Why: Peas have become my thing. Peas and potatoes are the first crop I planted outside this year, but where potatoes just hang around forever doing nothing, peas give that satisfaction of "I made life grow!" very quickly. The flowers are gorgeous and you can eat the pods or seeds right off the vine. Good for freezing or canning, and as a food source it has lots of iron which most veggies don't. It's the crown jewel of any garden as far as I'm concerned. I heart peas.

How my prediction is holding up: They went in the ground April 6 and so far the weather has been kind. I saved seed from last year as a stretch goal but have no idea if those ones will sprout. They're commercial seeds so that's VERY interesting to find out.

THIS YEAR'S NEWBIE: Welcome watermelon!

First year ever doing this one. Kids all love em but my god, after last year's winter squash fiasco (I picked 16 off the vine and still have 7 left...) I'm not sure I can deal with another abundant vining plant - especially one that doesn't store well. This is a wildcard for sure. (BTW we're trying Sugar Babies).

How the gamble is holding up: Planted March 24, have two solid seedlings as of today. All I want is one solid plant...

THIS YEAR'S CHALLENGES: Poppies, peppers, and getting some good perennial herbs started

One year I had this lone poppy growing in my yard. It just sprang up out of the blue and I decided I should try intentional planting the next year. I mean how hard could it be? I got a poppy without even trying! Turns out it's not that simple. I'm three years in and have yet to make the starting poppies from seed thing work. In fact it makes me so depressed I might not want to talk about the dill, marjoram, and thyme failures... (....takes a moment...).

As for the peppers, we had one really good year that I cannot seem to duplicate. I think the issue with peppers is they have the world's longest growing season - by the time they ripen you're too done with gardening to care. This year I want my pepper plants to thrive.

How the delicate situation is holding up: I am not commenting for fear of disrupting the delicate space-time continuum. Check in later.

WHAT I ALREADY FAILED AT: Onions

Why: Because I am stubborn and feel I should be able to grow everything from seed despite all sane evidence to the contrary. No one grows onion from seed. NO ONE.

So there it is, my future failures laid out for all to see.... I desperately need to re-pot some seedlings tomorrow. Will update once the peas poke through. Check back!



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by shadow watcher
In another thread I am chatting about my making of beer and wanted to add here that I have been growing hops in my yard for years. I really enjoy being surrounded by wild edibles in my yard. Throughout the warm months we like to stroll the perimeter and see what we can forage. Wild chives, mint, black berries, blue berries, rhubarb and lots of other stuff out there for us to share with the wild. The funny thing is there's whole sections of yard that when mowed smells of onion.

I guess the garden extends beyond it's little borders.

Gaz, you should definitely have a little something to grow.


What zone are you in? I never considered growing grains a possibility - I have no idea why. Where is your beer thread?

I have been threatening to plant an entire border of raspberries in my front yard. I consider it a better "no trespassing sign" than any fence I could put up
Plus imagine all the jam. But I'm sure someone will tell me there's a law against "too much prickly bush."
edit on 12-4-2013 by otherpotato because: Asked about beer thread. Mmmm... beer....



posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by otherpotato
 


Just a little hint on your poppies, they need a freeze period, or at least a good long chill, before they will germinate.
I have personally found that tossing my seed out in late winter on the snow seems to do the trick. They come up as they may and I end up with them everywhere.
Good luck, they are so nice tucked everywhere!

Onions will work with time and patience, then again, I am one of the crazy people who does it. I actually tested my seed grown onions against bulbs, and mine grown from seed were sweeter and just as big at the end of the season. I also plant them in January. The seed works great for green onions all summer too.
edit on 12-4-2013 by woodsmom because: Added onion info






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