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Planting a Garden...

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by KeyFin, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Any gardeners here with some basic tips? I'm on 5 acres and could plant in a variety of areas....flat, gentle grade, full sun, partial sun, etc. We were going to start with a variety of peppers since we cook with them often, but I haven't researched prepping a garden or what materials to use yet.

    Any advice would be welcome...asking mainly because we're locked down and it's something to talk about. =)
     
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  2. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Dirt is the biggest thing, in my experience. My wife and I have attempted to start a garden at both our old house and our new one, and haven't been able to overcome the fact that we apparently have the world's worst soil, which has been referred to as "dead" by some experts. We can barely even grow grass. Or in some places, even weeds.

    We've tried to mix in various things with the dirt to give it life and encourage the plants to grow, but with very limited success so far. So that would be step one! I hope that you make it further than we have.
     
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  3. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, I appreciate the advice! We were wondering if we should start by planting seeds indoors and then transplanting them in a month. I've never grown anything before though so I'm not sure.
     
  4. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    That's what my wife has been doing. We have some pumpkins, melons, squash and beans all in pots that she started a while back. We also have some potato eyes that we've been keeping in a dark corner in the basement that might be ready to go into the dirt. Its warm enough to go outside now, but....of course, the whole global pandemic thing puts a cramp into running to Lowes to buy more soil and such. So, we're going to hold tight inside for a while and see what happens. Tomatoes grow really fast, so we're just going to start those outside.
     
  5. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    We figured out a way around that last night!

    Have you tried WalMart Grocery yet? You order food/items online, select a pickup time, then they load it in your car. You pay online so there's no contact at all.....so last night, we ordered topsoil, tiny solo cups and basic groceries. The trick with WalMat is that you can only book for today or tomorrow, and that "tomorrow" slot opens at midnight. So if you stay up it's easy to get a time slot.

    You can't quite order anything with the app, but about 75% of the store is available including their garden section.
     
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  6. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Have you tried buying/adding earthworms? I had neighbors who complained of similar issues and did that with some pretty good success.
     
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  7. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    We asked about that, but were told that it wouldn't do any good. The soil itself is just too acidic and worthless. Apparently, parts of our county are known to be that way. Adding lots of fertalizer, and/or just replacing the dirt was the best choice.
     
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  8. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a gardener but I've done some extensive research because it's something I'd like to do. If you take anything from my advice, you should run it through the web and double check me.

    1) As Unlucky said, you want to have great soil. There is no magic recipe because all plants are different. I personally believe in doing it organically so that the plants can grow as they would in nature to a degree. Also lowers our footprint in the world. However, you're going to want to find out the correct PH levels for each plant and adjust your chose base soil accordingly.

    2) Certain plants need more or less time in the sun. Make sure you know the area and how the sun hits it during the different seasons. You may not have the perfect spot for everything you want to grow, but you can do your best.

    3) If you grow any vegetables, which I'd totally recommend, you want to swap out which spot you're growing in. I honestly forget the reasoning, but if you grow the same vegetables from the same soil repeatedly they say it causes issues unless youre resoiling after batches.

    4) You may want to consider making your own compost. It's cheap, easy, and if you get into it at all you can try your hand at making new mixtures of different composted foods and whatnot.

    5) Start small. 5 acres is a lot, so dobt overwhelm yourself. Get accustomed to gardening and grow it outward. If you try too much at once you might give up.

    6) If you have money, you could always hire or consult professionals.
     
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  9. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    5 acres would basically be a farm, not a garden!
     
  10. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the advice! For now, we're starting with pepper varieties (bell pepper, jalapeno, Serrano, habanero, etc.) because they're supposed to be easy to grow. We have about 30-40 seedlings planted on our dining room table for now (in Miracle Gro) and we're hoping for 10-15 sprouts since we don't know what we're doing. My brother in law has grown veggies for years so he's going to come till a small area of my property this weekend and show me some basics...we probably won't be ready to plant for another month though since we can't just buy small plants at the moment.

    We're also thinking about doing a few fruit trees....researching what will grow well in the carolinas outside of peaches and apples. I'd like to add maybe a plum and something from the orange family....I'll update as our little experiment grows!
     
  11. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    You have much bolder taste than I do, lol. Anything spicier than a green pepper is far too much for my mouth.
     
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  12. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I mean, we don't eat them off the vine or anything...but putting a habanero inside a pot of chili gives awesome flavor and just a touch more heat. I'll mainly use the peppers for veggie omelets in the morning since that's the healthier way to go.
     
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  13. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Oh I get it. I just have extremely sensitive taste buds, and am a very picky eater. I know lots of people like to eat things at varying degrees of spiciness, and to each their own certainly. I'm happy sticking to potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and romaine lettuce. I'm a mild, mild guy, lol.
     
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  14. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    We thought about potatoes, corn, carrots and such...but they seem like they'd be a lot more work (and in a much bigger area) for a fairly minor yield. For instance, my wife thought about green beans for a moment and then realized how much work it is to prep and preserve them...I honestly have no idea how a can of them in the store is less than a dollar.

    We're thinking about spices too- maybe oregano, basil, wild onion, etc. It's more of a hobby at this point than anything; we mainly want to see if we can grow something just for the experience.
     
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  15. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    My wife has had some luck growing spices in pots inside. She likes them a lot more than I do, and has grown basil and oregano.
     
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  16. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    I do a ton of gardening. have 7 flower gardens, 3 veggie gardens and built a big greenhouse. Important notes for my gardening:
    • well aerated dirt - this is best accomplished by a raised bed garden. you can also use a ground garden, but I would suggest renting a tiller to open up the soil. can also be accomplished by a shovel, but it's a lot of work
    • type of soil is important. if you have good topsoil, you can mix in a little compost and you'll be good to go. If you have crappy soil (like clay that is common everywhere) you need to mix in better soil and compost to get it to grow
    • place your garden in reach of a hose so you can water in dry times
    • One trick that has worked wonders for me when I grow my tomatoes, and I believe it also works for pepper plants. when you plant your plant in garden (presuming you are buying a plant or transplanting a good size seedling), put a cracked egg at bottom of hole (or pot if you are planting in a pot). this provides big boost of nutrients as the plant grows. I did side by side comparison of a tomato plant with and without the egg. the ones with eggs grew 2-3 times bigger.
    • the biggest key for gardening: understanding the vegetative vs fruiting stages of the life cycle of a plant. vegetative stage (growth stage) requires different fertilizer (nitrogen rich) for growth. fruiting stage is when plant starts to flower and getting ready to reproduce (producing the veggies). requires different fertilizer.
     
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  17. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    corn is pretty hard without lots of land. also tricky knowing when to water them.
    carrots and onions are easy, especially if you have a raised bed garden (aerated dirt). you just plant the seeds and harvest in fall. one of my dogs loves carrots and he'll actually pull them out of the ground to eat.
    potatoes are not too bad to grow, but you also need more space.
     
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  18. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    on a related note. for those living in small spaces with unfavorable yards for growing, the aerogarden works pretty well, especially the bigger units. hard for me to grow lettuce outside because of the billion rabbits on my property (which is adjacent to wetlands). Use the aerogarden for lettuce. I also use it to get many of my flowers and veggies started before I transplant outside. On Leap day this year, they had a 50% off sale that made it worth buying. It's an investment, but I'll never have to buy the small potted veggies again that I use for starters in my garden. The tiny unit they sell for spices works, but not nearly as well.
     
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  19. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    I live in a large space with a yard unfavorable for growing anything, lol. This will be our third summer here, and I'm delighted to have some sort of various grass and weeds covering about 75% of the dirt!

    We've looked into the raised box gardens, but are worried about the wood rotting. Have you had to deal with that? If so, what was your solution? We get a lot of rain some years, and its generally pretty humid.

    To this point, my wife has had her greatest success growing flowers in the mulch that surrounds the house. Some species seem to really love it. Beyond that, things have been pretty bad. This was going to be the week that she took time, with me as her forced labor, and really made an effort to start the garden anew for the year, but the global situation has put an end to that. So we'll probably focus on just fixing up the natural plant life that's already here this season.
     
  20. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, thanks for the tips! We've had seeds planted in little tiny cups for about a week now and we don't see any sprouts yet...hoping we get at least a few though. If not, we'll try round two. We do have red dirt/clay here but things seem to grow well...we have flower beds here that we haven't touched since we moved in, but they spit out tulips and other flowers like clockwork every spring. This used to be a heavily planted property maybe 15 years ago, so most of our time outside has been maintenance and cutting back overgrown areas. I can't tell you how many times I've cleared an area of overgrowth/brush and then three months later, it explodes with flowers we didn't even know were there.

    We were told the prior residents spent $40k on plants alone...no idea if that's true or not. We do have 4 varieties of Japanese Maples all 6+ feet tall, so I'm thinking they did spend a small fortune. I honestly probably need to get a gardener out here to clean all the beds the right way and tell us what we have.
     
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  21. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    I bought the treated wood for box gardens. (2 x 8's). climate is pretty harsh in New ENgland. Imagine I'll get several years out of the boxes. they are already 5-6 years old and still strong.

    alternative is just a raised bed with no box, that's what I just built this past week. For those of you with crappy soil or clay, plants can certainly survive in that, but if you're starting a new garden, I'd suggest doing 50/50 mix of topsoil and clay and till together. allows roots to better grow but also get used to the acidic nature of clay
     
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  22. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    I tried a number of fruit trees when I lived in Texas and couldn't get them to last past a year. I would do some research to see exactly what you need and actually invest in things like soil tests if you want a good shot. Also be aware that some fruit trees don't grow fruit unless you have other trees nearby that can cross pollinate.
     
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  23. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    The more I research, the more I'm thinking of having an arborist come out to the house and help us get started. It might cost us a $100 but at least we'd know what we could plant and what to avoid. With even small fruit trees starting at $40-75, it seems like a good investment.

    Our back yard has about a 3 acre field that gradually slopes down to a pond and there's maybe 6 trees total back there. So we were thinking of doing a single row of fruit trees on one side between us and the neighbor if possible. They grow peaches, strawberries and apples within a few miles of us so I'm guessing the soil is decent...I'll definitely share what I find out going thru this process!
     
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  24. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    Probably not a bad idea. Ultimately I have no idea what I did or didn't do to kill all of mine. Over/under watered, didn't treat them for winter (it was in Austin, Texas, so not really a big thing), bad soil, etc. The overall land there was garbage though, so I'd lean toward that.

    I am semi-interested here in Michigan, but the variety isn't as available due to the weather. Focusing on year 2 of our garden - this time with labels so we know what we planted where and don't need to play the "weed or vegetable" game. :tongue2:
     
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  25. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    trees are tricky to get them past the first year.
    • research which fruit trees do well in your area (very few up here in boston)
    • find a sunny spot that is in area you can water when needed
    • if you have crappy soil, dig extra wide hole and mix in good and bad dirt 50-50
    • planting depth and making the right crown of soil over root ball is something I've seen make a big difference. want soil to cover root ball and also to slope down from the trunk to the edge of the root ball so water drains to edges of roots and not stick around the trunk where it will rot
     
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  26. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    I've noted that Lowe's always offers a one year money back guarantee on trees that they sell. I wonder how hard it is to actually get the refund, assuming that I would keep my receipt.
     
  27. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    Good advice. I know the "soil" in the Austin, Texas area was horrific. About a half inch of dirt, then hard clay for 2-3 feet then clay just loaded with rock. One of the reasons trees don't grow tall in that area. I actually rented an augur to make a bigass hole and filled it with dirt. I didn't mix good/bad though, and I probably didn't slope it correctly. Honestly, pretty much everything that could go wrong seemed to! :headwall:
     
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  28. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    I actually did that - I took the dead tree back in and got either a refund or credit, can't recall which. They can look up purchase history pretty easily, I returned a number of things without a receipt and they were quite good about it, no hassles and often got a straight refund to my card over store credit.
     
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  29. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    I try not to buy trees or shrubs from lowe's/home depot anymore, especially later in the year. their trees tend to be in the pots a lot longer and get rootbound. not healthy and makes it harder to thrive. plants and flowers tend to be in better shape at the box stores, but for the bigger more expensive items, I go to the local nurseries.

    if you do buy a rootbound plant, you can easily cut and loosen the roots to give it a better shot to grow normally

    https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-tell-if-your-plant-is-rootbound-847788
     
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  30. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets Club Member

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    Most landscaping supply yards will deliver. A yard of good soil from one of these places is 1/4 the price of buying bags of dirt. I spend about $35 for a full size pick up bed full of dirt every year and then there are local stables everywhere that give away composted manure so I mix a load of that in. I usually get my dirt ready and my garden cleaned up and organized in March around St Pattys and that lets it get all happy before the plants go in. If you don't compost regularly you can just use grass clippings to continue to mulch and feed your garden. As long as you don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers on your grass anyway. Keep a pile next to the garden and add it when its getting dry and brown.

    Ive only got about 400 sf of garden but I've got dwarf fruit trees and a queen size bed frame strawberry patch (literally, it was a queen waterbed frame) I plant snow peas and early lettuce and spinach from seed After Easter. Peppers are hard to grow here so I get starts from our local food bank, they have a nursery and a greenhouse to help support themselves, and I grow those in 5 gallon black buckets to help keep soil warm. Soil temp is big. If you put your plants in when the soil is too cold they wont flower and you'll have low yields.

    Raised beds, at least 6" above ground, mine are 12 make for good drainage and higher soil temps. Have to have those in the NW to grow anything.

    I grow peas and lettuce and spinach. Green beans, zucchinni and yellow squash, plum tomatoes and some beefsteaks, bell peppers were good for the first time last year and chili peppers. I roast and dry the chilis and grind my own chili powder and flakes, make pickled green beans and can tomatoes. The rest I usually only get enough to eat fresh salads and add extra veggies to soups and sauces.

    Time and money investment I probably break even, may be cheaper just to buy it but I enjoy it, my youngest likes helping me with it so it has lots of value on top of the food.

    We used to have a couple dozen rose bushes and big flower beds too but I got rid of most of those. If I can't eat it I'm not wasting time and money growing it.
     
  31. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Yeah, my wife gets so mad at me that I don't want to eat the things that come out of the gardens of people that we know, but it all just doesn't look and feel right to me. I need the stuff from the store.
     
  32. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets Club Member

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    I just used some old cedar fencing to make mine. Lasted five years so far. Lots of people use railroad ties around here too. Or you could use landscaping bricks and pavers. I find that stuff free all the time on Craigs list, people giving away their extras or tearing out old flower beds and stuff. If you aren't worried about it all being perfectly matching you can build a big garden over time, free. You can even find free dirt, just might not be high quality but if you mix it with free manure it can still work well.

    Can you tell I'm a cheapskate? I hate paying retail for anything. I'll buy secondhand every time.
     
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  33. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    if it's grown/harvested correctly, tastes so much better from garden than most stores. at least with the veggies that I grow (tomatoes, peas, jalepenos, mini-cucumbers)
     
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