There seem to be quite a few of you here who garden. I am interested to learn more about this! We just bought our first home in March and since I was so busy with wedding planning all summer I didn't have a chance to do much more than just plant in my window boxes and in planters on the front porch. I have just changed out to mums on the front porch, but I am wondering what else can I do?
I am particularly curious about bulbs. How do they work? When do I plant them? Where do I find them? Where do I plant them (in the ground?) What type should I choose?
Secondly, I am sure gardening provides some great exercise. Do you all count the gardening time as workouts? How do you feel gardening has a positive effect on your health?
I think this sounds like a very wholesome, nurturing thing to get into but I don't know where to start. Anyone who would like to share, it would be much appreciated!!
:) thanks, lauren :)
09-14-2004, 02:55 PM
I love to garden but I have a feeling that gardening in Kansas would be very different than Texas. We have to chill our tulip bulbs in the refrigerator to get them to sprout and they only last the one year since it doesn't get cold enough in the winter.
I haven't been counting the gardening as exercise unless it is particularly heavy gardening. I look at how much work it really is - not based on how much I sweat since it's 90 degrees here so you always sweat.
Sorry I can't help more but hopefully someone here lives in a climate more like yours.
09-14-2004, 03:23 PM
Thanks, Barb! I used to live in Texas -- Dallas, for three year after college -- so I know about the sweating. :) Always. It doesn't sound like a great bet to do bulbs there. Hmmm...I am not sure about it here, either. I mean, it gets hot here but it certainly gets cold, too!
We'll see what I can come up with. Maybe the gardening will just make me feel more at one with nature and therefore more apt to want to excersice and take care of myself? I mean, I love outdoorsy stuff, it's just that I don't have one great place to direct those energies right now. :)
09-14-2004, 04:00 PM
Lauren, I count gardening as exercising! I love it!! I can tell it's "exercise", because when I start doing it again in the spring after a long winter, I find my muscles are KILLING me! :lol:
I purchase most of my seeds from catalogues, and start them under a couple of grow lights in the basement.
We have a small city garden, but we're still able to grow quite a large amount of perennials, herbs, annuals, and vegetables.
I don't know where you live in Kansas, but you might be interested in this site...
I love it when I hear people say they're getting interested in gardening... I'm so happy for you! It's very rewarding. :yes:
09-14-2004, 04:15 PM
Lauren, gardening is great and a good workout too! Plus, I think it's good for the soul...something about digging in the dirt and the whole, "One is closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth" thing. :goodvibes:
I read somewhere that gardening is the best exercise we can do, bar none, for bone strength and density. Something about the way it works makes our bones much healthier! I wouldn't count it as cardio, persay, but I would definitely count it as exercise. :yes:
As to bulbs, you can find lots of great gardening guides to give you tips, but I've found (as a CA girl who now lives in upstate NY) that the locals are the best people to ask. Ask your new neighbors (great way to get to know them, too!) what they do. In CA we did just what Barb said (though we dug them back up and put them back in the fridge each year so they kept blooming), but in NY, you put them in the ground in the fall, before the ground freezes (listen to local news to hear frost reports). Give them some bonemeal (or bulb fertilizer) then, and again in the spring. Technically, that's all you have to do.
However...nothing is as easy as it seems. ;) Squirrels, bunnies, and deer can be the bane of your existence (and evil neighbor kids, of which I have a couple :rolleyes: )...the first will dig up the bulbs and eat them, the latter two will eat the leaves and flowers. Technically, deer hate daffodils, but I have seen them eat the flowers anyway. Guess those ones didn't get the memo. ;)
You can purchase all different kinds of bulbs online and sometimes I have had better luck with them. They provide lots of support for how and when to plant. If you buy ones that say "naturalizing" they are likely to propogate and come back year after year bigger and bigger (as long as everything else works out...).
Some other issues are wetness...if the ground is too wet or you plant in a location that doesn't get much sun, the bulbs rot (I had 150 do that to me the first year I planted here...). You can do all sorts of things to keep the squirrels away, such as put chicken wire over the bulb before covering it in dirt, or sprinkling gravel over it (neither will harm the bulb). You can also put them underneath to protect from gophers. Bulbs, in general, like sandy and well-draining soil.
Your life will be much easier if you get a bulb planter, and get a nice one, like Fisker's or something ergonomic. Here's how to do it. Look at the diagram that comes with the bulbs (or look online) and figure out how deep to plant them. The bulb planter should have marks on the side to indicate inches, but if not, measure with a tape or ruler and mark the depth. Then, sink the planter into the ground to the mark, squeeze the handle, and twist it a bit as you pull it out. Lay the planter on its side. Plant the bulb in the hole you made, with the pointy part up and the dried roots (looks like the bottom of an onion) down. Then, move to the next spot and sink the planter in. The dirt from the first hole will spill out the top...that's okay, it's what you want to happen. Plant your bulb in the hole, and push the dirt next to it into the hole to cover the bulb. Pat down firmly. Plant and continue this. When you get to the very end, take the dirt from the full planter over to the first hole and dump it in, patting down around the bulb. Sprinkle area with fertilizer or bonemeal and water. Water a couple more times before ground freezes, then ignore until Spring. In the Spring, once the last freeze is past, fertilize again. This might be after they bloom...some guides I've read recommend that.
09-14-2004, 04:21 PM
Wow! This is AWESOME information! I knoew you all could help me with this. :)
I am going to check it out and ask around and I will let you know what I find out about planting. I have some great areas just in from of the house where a few little things popped up last year (just a few Irises, etc.) so I need to weed it first and get going!
I will let you all know how it's going and I'm sure I'll have more questions SOON!
09-14-2004, 04:28 PM
Another great resource is your local gardening center. Not a big home improvement store - most of their workers don't know what they're talking about. But a true nursery should have employees that know what grows best in your area, the soil type, weather conditions, etc.
My advise is to start small or you can get overwhelmed very quickly. It's one thing to say you want to dig a perennial bed, and it's a whole nother thing to actually dig it, plant it, and maintain it. So start small. Find a small corner in your yard and plant a small bed. See how much work it is and if you truly like it. If so, then add another bed or expand the existing one. That way you keep it interesting and you don't find yourself overwhelmed by all the work and upkeep.
09-14-2004, 04:49 PM
Lauren, go to a nursery in your area and ask a bunch of questions. One of which should be who has written books about gardening in your climate. It is so very different everywhere.
Then, go to the library and take the books out... They will be a great resource on what to plant where, how to take care of the plants, etc.
Also, the nurseries tend to sell only plants that will thrive in your area. Don't be afraid to ask questions. That's how we all learn.
Another thing to do is to wander around the neighbourhood, find out who has the nicest garden and when they are out working strike up a conversation. I have even offered to go help on a day off just to learn about their gardens. People are generally happy and proud to share that information.
09-14-2004, 05:06 PM
Peggy, perfect suggestion. :yes: I ask people about their gardens all the time! They often offer to give me a tour. I ask lots of questions about plant names, why they like it, why they decided to plant it there, etc. Neighbors are great!