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Old 02-04-2009, 09:32 AM   #1
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Talking Spring 2009 Gardening Thread

Just starting us up as I have to run to an appt. with a student. What's doing in your plans for this year's garden? Ordered seeds or plants yet? Where do you order?

Looking for tips? We have a lot of great gardeners in our Beachy forum and they just might have the answers!

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Old 02-04-2009, 09:38 AM   #2
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I would love to plant a garden, but I am clueless as to how.
I though it would be easy just plant some seeds and water them and watch em grow, but the more I check into it the harder it seems
Like knowing when to get the seeds in the ground & PH levels and additives (i have that red GA clay) so I'm a little scared and just shop at the local farmers market
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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Cmartin, don't overthink it - just do it. Forget about ph. I garden in clay too, only it's blue grey Leeds County clay. Start small - maybe some green beans and tomatoes this year. I'd throw in some flower seeds too - cosmos do well and are great "just for pretty" as an old lady in the Village used to say. Where are you in GA so I can tell you when to plant?
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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I live near Thomasville Ga, on the FL/GA line
any help would be great
Thanks in advance
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
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I sometimes listen to a gardening expert on the radio, and his advice would be fine if you could devote your entire day to working in the garden. I have gotten some good tips from him, but I neither have the time or the money to devote to following all his advice. I think as long as you till up the soil and add some composted manure to it, most any plant will grow just fine. Just make sure to keep it well watered and weeded out, and maybe add some fertilizer every now and then. Some plants actually grow better without being fussed with.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:30 AM   #6
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And if it's new soil that's never been gardened, you sometimes will be just fine without the compost that first year.

Cmartin: You are in Zone 9b and your last frost date is around April 1. I'd plant around the 7th for beans and set out purchased tomato plants about the same time. Cucumbers should wait until mid-month.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:09 AM   #7
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Ruth - What zone am I and when should I be planting? I'm doing seeds this year instead of plants for a lot of my vegetables and would like to know if I should start them early in the greenhouse or if I'll be fine starting them outside.

I'm doing a lot of containers this year - vegetables and flowers.

Last year I had a great experience with tomatofest.com for heirloom seeds and I think I'll order with them again this year. Last year I planted Brandywine along with others and I think this year I'm going to order Brandywine, Earl of Edgecomb, and Cherokee Chocolate. I'll also plant regular tomatoes to use for canning, etc.

I'm also going to plant a few varieties of peppers (probably bell, banana and maybe poblano), cucumbers, spinach, green string beans, and radishes. We already have a banana tree and are hoping to plant some citrus trees.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with flowers this year. I usually have to go to the nursery a few times to get an idea of what they have and then go home to make plans. I have a few hibiscus plants that I cut way way back last year and they are coming back nicely.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:18 AM   #8
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I am strictly amateur - no green thumb here, but I try every year and experiment and I think that's the way to get started. I usually plant some tomatoes, green peppers, zucchinnis, and last year I tried an eggplant. I haven't started from seed before, I just buy the seedlings. I compost and dig some of that in every year. I have a little plot out behind my garage, about 25' x 8'. This year I want to move it to a different spot that I think gets a little more sun, and maybe build some raised beds. I don't know if I'll be able to get DH motivated to help me with this, but he does love the garden tomates.

I don't do much with flowers beyond putting some petuniuas in the urns on the front porch. There are day lilies someone else planted, some peony bushes, and a forsythia bush that wants to take over my side yard, but that's about it.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:23 AM   #9
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We're well into the planning stage of our gardens this year. DH usually handles most of the work on the vegetable garden and I take care of the herbs. We are able to grow plenty of produce for just the cost of seeds, some potting soil for my herbs, the extra H2O and some insecticide if need be. (We get the fertilizer free from various "operations". )

I'll be planting basil, rosemary, dill, parsley and thyme in the herb pots. For the veggie garden, we'll do squash, zucchini, beans, peppers, fennel, spinach and lettuce.

I've also been daydreaming about flower beds this year, but we'll see if that works out. It would be quite a bit of work to get them going.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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Ruth, can you share the site you use for looking up zones (or did you use a book)?

One caveat I have is that it's really helpful, if you have the option, to use a Sunset gardening book (or their website) to find their climate zones for your area. They used to only do the Western U.S. but now they have books for other regions. They divide up the regions into a very large number of sections based on climate and other factors. This helps you be much more precise in figuring out if something will live in your area.

For instance, I'm in zone 5 in upstate NY. So is my mom in Washington State. But she lives in this weird area where they get almost no snow or rain. The temperature is really different from here! So she can grow all sorts of things I have no hope of growing. According to Sunset, she's zone 1. I'm zone 42. VERY different.

Anyways, whenever I find something I want to grow that is listed "(any number)-5" or "5-(any number)" (meaning my area is at one end of the growing range), I usually check Sunset to make sure it'll really work here. There are a couple of things I'd love to plant, but Sunset says there's no way they'd survive, so I haven't wasted my money.

I'd love help getting my morning glories and sweet peas to sprout; I end up with so few each year even though I score the seeds and soak them for 24 hours before planting. Frustrating!
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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Here's one of the many websites that will tell you your zone and last frost date.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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Woo Hoo! Glad to see other gardeners/ interested in being gardeners people here. An excellent book for beginners or those with limited space is Square Foot Gardening. It's mostly focused on veggies but flowers can certainly be included.

I am a Landscape Architect by profession so I'm definately into growing all sorts of things. I finally have my veggie garden fully functional this season with drip irrigation (we live in a hot climate and I am a mess at hand watering daily) so I should be able to grow a lot more than I have in the past.

However, you don't NEED a super deluxe set up to grow good veggies. Just loosen your soil, add a little natural organic matter like compost (and this is true no matter if you have sand, clay etc.) and follow the planting instructions for the various types of seeds. Water regularly. You may or may not NEED to fertilize if you use organic matter. I only lightly fertilize and only use pesticides when absolutely necessary.

Planting a garden is an act of faith. Fortunately, it's a rather inexpensive act. Just try it and you'll be surprised how easy it really is and how GOOD everything tastes. There's nothing quite like the taste of a homegrown tomato. My daughter loves to go to the lettuce patch and cut some leaves off for our dinner or pull up carrots. It's fun. Try it!
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:37 PM   #13
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For Canadian Gardeners, the USA Zones are different from our Canada ones. Beachgal is USA Z5 but I am a USA Z4 which is Canadian Zone 5!
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:43 PM   #14
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I'm being lured away from work by the gardening siren

I don't have a huge garden space and have yucky soil. I love raised beds. They are easy to maintain and are flexible. I have 6 3' x 3' vegetable beds, a bean tepee, an herb bed, squash hills and a few perennial beds (we call those the intentional weed plantings). I love getting the garden in each spring but refuse to be a slave to it all summer. I'm a big fan of mulch and square foot gardening.

I am planning to extend my growing season with cold frames again. I did a little of that last spring and plan to try a little more this year. Has anyone worked with them before?

On the zone question - although everyone is in 1 zone you often have micro-zones around your house. Those are the warm and cold spots where things grow differently. It's worth spending some time figuring out where the sun hits and when. Sometimes that extra warm or cold will let you grow something different.

I could spend all day on this but have to get back to work!
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #15
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Gardening fool here.

I'm fortunate to live rural and have a large garden space. Seed orders were placed in January; I'm just getting ready to start some cool weather crops in the greenhouse, and it's time to direct-sow others.

I keep a horse and chickens, among other things, and even if they served no other purpose they're invaluable for the manure (but of course they do!). I really appreciate those fresh eggs now I'm on SB!

I compost everything that can be composted: Garden waste, kitchen waste, leaves, grass clippings, manure, you name it. This month I will muck out the hen house... I let the manure compost directly in the garden for a few months before planting. I usually save that wonderful mix for the tomato beds.

I grow/produce most of my own food, so I have no cause to complain about what's available in the fridge!

Will enjoy sharing tips and tricks with others here. Happy gardening!!

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