This evening I spent around 25 minutes puttering around in my garden. Enjoying the weather before it gets too hot. It’s been a long learning experience for me. I haven’t gotten a ton of vegetables out of it. I lost all my zucchini and squash plants to some kind of disease first go around just as they were getting ready to bear fruit. The second set that I grew got completely eaten to the stem once it grew some big leaves. I tried again. I have two plants growing currently. One has blossoms, so I’m hoping it’ll turn into something edible.
Most of the carrots I’ve grown have been these tiny little tasty nubs. Ridiculously small. Some an inch long.
The radishes I’ve grown… They’re all over the place. I had some that were supposed to be sweet but they ended up being crazy spicy! It threw me for a loop.
My tomatoes… Geez. I bought an actual tomato plant instead of seeds since I’d been having very little luck with everything to that point. I bought an heirloom tomato, Cherokee Purple. I specifically got a heirloom plant because I watch a home gardener and he said heirloom plants will grow “true to type” so you can keep the seeds and they will grow the same exact kind of tomato. My plant was growing pretty well. I screwed up and didn’t stake it properly. We had a really bad storm and my plant’s stem snapped and I figured it was completely done for. Surprisingly, it didn’t die. It started to bear fruit and I was excited that I would be able to finally taste the tomato. Well… I go out to check, and half the tomato is missing and it’s full of flies. I’m so bummed. I smash what’s left of the tomato into the dirt and cover it up.
It’s been months now and I still haven’t eaten a single tomato from my plant. Barely any tomatoes have grown. The few that did, got stolen. I’m guessing squirrels. My planters are waist height so it’s not any bunnies. The first tomatoes I stuck back into the dirt have grown into 8 more plants. I have distributed them amongst a few planters and now have everything trellised. My original plant is somehow still surviving with it’s super broken stem. I’m surprised at how big it’s grown. It’s probably three feet tall and it’s branches are crazy. I didn’t prune it at all.
I have one tomato that looks promising and a ton of blooms that I’m hoping turn into tomatoes. I’m guessing I’m going to need to get some kind of netting to keep the squirrels out. As much as I enjoy squirrels, I want to eat some tomatoes already! They always hang around and eat the acorns from my oak tree.
While I was weeding, I pulled some plant that looked different from everything I had seen before. I kept digging. I found a peanut attached at the bottom and a shell close by. Dangit. I had already broken the plant. Too bad. Guess I could of grown some peanuts.
@RiotDemon Cherokee Purple tomatoes are delicious! I grew some a few years back in one of those topsy turvy planters and really liked them. I hope you get some this year.
When they get to be just about ripe but you think you don’t want to pick them just yet, you have to watch them carefully. They are prone to splitting open. I guess they can swell really fast at the end or something.
@djslack I had one of those topsy turvy things! My ex bought it for me as a joke and I was actually really excited about it. It did not do well here. Even though the tomatoes I grew said to plant in full sun, it got way too hot in the bag. Dried out the soil too fast. It might of worked okay with more shade or if I watered twice as much. I just couldn’t keep up.
Tomato splitting… From what I’ve read, it’s usually due to fluctuations in watering. If the soil dries too much and you get a hard rain, the tomato grows too fast for the skin to catch up. I have a watering system that’s set for a few minutes every six hours to try and prevent that.
I’m glad they are delicious. Hopefully my patience pays off!
Ah, gardening. This year’s started very slow for me, due to a ton of various and sundry things that just keep surprising me. Still, my wallflowers have produced like crazy, and the smell is so fragrant that they can probably smell them in the next county. The bees love them, and it warms my heart to see bees in them. Last year I saw almost no bees, and it really worried me. It’s nice to see them return.
My pink dogwood is in full flower, and beautiful (of course). I have an amazing crop of dandelions, which are in every single garden bed I have. Pity that I’m going to kill them all; each and every one.
The Iris are nearly ready to start sending up stalks to bloom. That will be a show. The various Lilies (Day, Chinese, etc etc) are all competing to see who blooms first.
If I can get beds cleared soon enough, I’ll put in green beans, and maybe some tomatoes. No summer squash this year; maybe next year.
I almost forgot. I need to plant some marigolds, although they’re mostly happy to come up from seed they’ve left from the year before. The Four O’Clocks will also be up soon.
@olddognewtricks Dandelions can be a significant source when you have a yard where they’re the first to bloom. My wallflowers bloom first, and the bees rarely go near the dandelions. The wallflowers have an astonishing fragrance, and brilliant color, and the bees go from the east side bed, to the west side, as the day progresses.
Besides, you believe me to be far more efficient than I am. I haven’t done much outside. It’s COLD, and I don’t like the cold. Wallflowers are an amazement, truly. I planted six tiny plants from the nursery, years ago, and they’ve done their level best to take over the yard every year since. I dig up some of each color several years ago, and stuck them in the back bed, and they took to it instantly.
Nothing like opening the door early in the day and hearing that humming sound that says the bees have found my flowerbeds. They just roll back and forth, in ecstasy, and it’s a near perfect spot for them to do so, sheltered from the weather, and passersby, and with the bed of blooms.
I tried to grow roses in front of my house, but they all ended up dying. I think it’s just too much sun in the front of my house. East facing with no shade.
When I moved in, there was a gardenia plant that was doing really well. It did too well. I don’t like the smell of gardenias and it made me sick every time I had to walk outside. My neighbor at the time used to live in my house before I did and said he would come take it out so he could replant it at his house. I waited forever. Eventually I couldn’t stand the smell anymore so I cut it to the ground. My neighbor got upset.
It grew back. Eventually my brother took a chainsaw and cut the stump into the dirt and whacked away at it for a good long while. Whatever roots we could feel branching out, we cut away. It took probably an hour, but it finally stayed away.
Basil just sprouted. Last year’s parsley has bolted, so I’ll grow swallowtail butterflies. The big pot of mint is happy. Chives desperately need repotting. I did start more parsley, but it’ll take awhile. I needed to get calendula started last month. Topicals aloe and comfrey are pretty happy.
@OldCatLady I have a garlic chive plant that’s several years old. I stuck it in a plastic bucket and kinda forgot about it until the bucket started disintegrating. It’s the only plant I haven’t managed to kill except for a rose bush that is probably ten years old and moved homes with me.
I transferred it to my raised garden and it’s thriving. I have to remember to use it when cooking.
I bought a small composter. I figured I could at least add another element to my terrible gardening. At least I can throw scraps and leaves in it and eventually I’ll have some compost to throw on top of my planters. I figure if I keep amending my dirt I’ll eventually grow some great stuff.
@cengland0 I’ve thought about ripping out the palm tree I have in my backyard to grow a fruit tree instead. This thing drops palm fronds like crazy and doesn’t bring me any joy. I figure a fruit tree would at least be a little useful.
@cengland0 not much. My backyard has two oaks and the annoying messy palm. I was looking into trees that grow in this area that don’t get too crazy tall so I could maybe grow them under my oak. The one oak is huge and beautiful and shades probably 1/3 of my backyard. The palm is right outside of my patio door so it’s a pain if I don’t trim it back often.
My front yard has a different type of palm tree, but I don’t mind it that much because the palm fronds don’t fall. I have to cut those off. It’s right at the edge of the street where the yard waste people pick it up so it’s super easy.
Once I get moved onto city sewer I suppose I could plant trees where my septic field is now. I just don’t know if it’ll clash with the palms. I get much more sun in the front.
@Weboh I am in Florida but what do you see in that photo that makes you believe I have greening disease? The tree is very healthy and produces more fruit than I can consume myself so we give lots of it away.
@cengland0 The leaves are yellow green and asymmetrical. That bubble that some of the leaves have is a sign it’s been fed on by the insect that spreads the disease. Most of the other leaves that I see in the picture aren’t symmetrical either, which is a sign the tree has it.
Normally, by the time you see the effects of the disease in the tree dropping fruit prematurely and bearing bitter fruit it’s too late to save the tree (the disease attacks the roots and by that time the roots are 70% gone). It’s good that hasn’t happened to you yet.
Even if your tree isn’t infected, it’s still a good idea to fertilize and water it regularly. In Florida, there’s a very good chance the tree will get infected at some point, so it’s a good idea to read up on the disease.
Well due to the bird feeder what “grows” here are birds, squirrels and cats/kittens. I “picked” a kitten not so long ago (Tigger) from that garden.
Actually I live in an apt building and can’t have a garden. I do have an aloe plant I haven’t managed to kill yet even though the cat knocked it over the other day. At the moment I propped up the main stem with a table knife, hopefully it will survive this. Does that count?
Only food item I have is basil (not enough sunlight). But lots and lots of other stuff is in full bloom. Roses, hostas, hellibore, dianthus, peony, posey, daffodils already come and gone, coreopsis, caladium, red polka dot, white polka dot, ferns, perilla, fuschia, coral bells, elephant ears are coming up now, rhododendron, iris, there are 3 large flowering plants that I don’t know what they are yet… blooms not on. And I know I recently planted a couple of other things but can’t recall what they’re called at the moment. My challenge is keeping the deer from eating them. I have to spray them with some real stinky stuff every so often.
So far, so good!
@RiotDemon Initially. They are now in my yard every. single. night. (and most days). They will chew down everything in sight if given the chance and especially after rain (which we’ve had a lot of lately) my yard and flower beds are full of hoof prints. They are pretty but they are quickly becoming vermin. I have to use a tall step ladder to fill my bird feeders because I had to raise them. The deer will drain those also. They get up on their hind legs and smack (and break) the feeders also knocking the seed out to eat. lol. I was pulling some ticks off of myself last week too. They’re still beautiful to see but… (Oh and btw… I used to keep a veggie garden all the time and the squirrels never touched a tomato. Other critters did… but never a squirrel. Have you seen this?)
@lseeber that sounds like a pain. That’s too bad they are a nuisance.
I have not seen them in my garden. I haven’t seen anything except some small flies and other random bugs here and there. I never see any birds in my yard. I read that squirrels eat a really varied diet, and with the amount of squirrels I see, I assume it would be them.
I’m an extreme novice at gardening. This year I planted carrots, zucchini, brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli, all from seeds. The zucchini and carrots are the only ones that have come up for sure.
I expect they’ll all be killed shortly by chipmunks.
I planted fruit trees, raspberry bushes and blackberry bushes. I am not sure all the trees are going to thrive. It’s been a week and two have some leaves coming out and the other two stll look like sticks. Same with the raspberry bushes one has leaves two still look like sticks.
I have to amend my soil a lot before I can start a garden. We have a mix of sandy and clay soil. I thought about raised beds but I don 't really have time this year maybe a project for this winter.
@olddognewtricks I watched so many videos before I did any gardening. I didn’t want to deal with the bunnies and my back hurting from a low garden. It’s so nice to be able to stand up straight and stick my arms out at a normal height to pick weeds.
I love this guy and he talks a lot about raised gardens:
@RiotDemon I read one that used straw/hay as the building block. The straw/hay would decompose adding nutrients back into the ground. But for me right now it is mostly a time thing. I am more concerned with getting those stupid sand burrs pulled up.
My old apartment had several planters in the yard that I used to grow tomatoes. I lost a lot of the fruit to the plague of squirrels who would take one bit of the orange not-quite-ripe tomatoes and then drop the remainder on the ground.
My new place doesn’t have any outside space for me to use. However I have a couple of nice south facing windows. My daughter and I are growing some flowers and beans. Plus I was given an Aerogarden (small hydroponics unit) that I’ve started a couple of tomato plants in. That thing puts out a lot of light for 14 hours a day, so my plants should be able to catch up.
In the ground: Peas, cabbage and lettuce.
It was 31 degrees this morning.
In the greenhouse: Ancho chilies, Jalapeno chilies, 2 types tomatoes, 3 or 4 types winter squash, cucumbers, tons of basil, more lettuce types, pole & bush beans.
Most all else gets direct-seeded in a few weeks I hope, like the corn, carrots, zucchini, etc…
The rhubarb is growing like crazy, the hops are just starting to grow, the raspberries are just peeking out & have grown 6", All the herb plants are growing great!
The peach trees are done blooming, the pie cherry trees and the plums are in full bloom. The early apple trees are beginning to bloom as are the blueberry bushes. A few of the strawberrys should be blooming this next week. The late apples, the fig, kiwis and grapes are not doing anything yet.
Our garden is 1/3 the size of what it was when we had 2 kids at home…
Just the vegetable garden was about 7000 sq ft.
The orchard & berries & stuff is still the same size.
Getting too old for huge gardens.
I do still have the same Troybilt tiller I bought new in '82 & it still starts on one pull of the rope.
@daveinwarsh@moonhat Same here… when whole family was still home I had a half acre garden (no idea what the sq footage of that is) and loved watching the good stuff grow and harvesting and canning/freezing and then eating the stuff. Such a satisfying thing. Fortunately for me… guy next to us had a farm and he’d come over with whatever that big machine you drive and cut up the ground with the discs and stuff is called, and have my ground all broken up for me in about 30 mins. That was great!
@daveinwarsh@lseeber oh that makes me long for whatcom county where I grew up… we lived on 2 acres where my dad grew over 200 rhodies, so pretty in the spring! And a couple summers during college I had a job driving a pea viner combine, night shift, so fun! I still love that smell of silage etc when I drive by fields in the summertime…
@daveinwarsh@moonhat I like the smell too… especially very early in the morning before the world is awake. But NOT when they’ve spread their darn chicken manure out! They love their chicken manure around here.
Now that there’s a topic here regarding gardening, I can ask the Meh community a question. I’m growing herbs but I don’t know which ones. It came in a package of 3 and I planted them all in the same pot. I’ll post separate images to each and see if anyone here can identify which herbs I have.
I know some of them have yellowed but this is right after they survived the winter. I expect with some fertilizer and time they will bounce back and be green again.
These could be part of the next “Look Smart Trivia”
@metaphore A background on where they came from: I used to participate in Amazon Giveaways and won a lot of crap. One giveaway was these herbs. They came already alive in a bop with a little soil but I had to plant them.
They came with a small booklet telling me which three herbs they were but never had a photo along with the name so I never knew which was which. Eventually I lost the booklet so I cannot remember which three it was. It was a very small 2" x 2" piece of paper so easy to lose in my unorganized house.
Your guess of it being rosemary, thyme, and sage sounds familiar but I’m not sure. I suppose if I looked those up on google images, I could confirm. Just thought the community here would be more fun.
@metaphore Hmm… Now that I google the images for Thyme, it matches more like the 3rd herb and not the second. But that 3rd one could be the sage you mentioned too. However, I’m pretty sure you’re right about #1 being rosemary.
@metaphore@RiotDemon The #1 herb, probably Rosemary, was very woody. I did harvest that one already and cut off each individual leaf with scissors and ended up with a huge blister. It was much harder than I thought it would be. Nothing like the Basil or Mint that I also get.
I dried out the #1 herb already and ground it down to a powder. It wasn’t easy. Tried it in my morter and pestle but that was unsuccessful. Finally used the grain grinder from my Kitchen Aid mixer. So it was definitely a woody herb – not soft at all.
@cengland0 I usually use rosemary by the sprig or pull the needles off by hand and use them as an aromatic while cooking. If you’re a sous vide kind of person, dropping a little sprig in the bag with a steak that’s been seasoned with salt and pepper and a little minced garlic is not the worst thing to do.
At our old house, our next door neighbor grew rosemary and had more of it than she knew what to do with. She always told us just to come over and pick some whenever we wanted. I brought a small plant to our new house but it didn’t survive the first winter.
@cengland0 Rosemary grows great here. We have plants 10 years old outside. The bees love their early spring flowers & I love the taste of it.
We pick a few ‘new sprouts’ or some leaves. Take some scissors & cut in small pieces, or cut with knife. We don’t dry it, it’s so much better fresh! All above uses are good. also… added to fried potatoes… yum!
Of all our herbs we grow, rosemary is my favorite.
@djslack Thanks for the advice on how to remove the needles. I’ll try pulling them off next time instead of cutting them with scissors. It’s too woody to cut with scissors.
Interesting you say you use the rosemary with a steak because when I got these plants, they were listed as barbeque herbs. That means they were supposed to be used with meats but I’m a vegetarian. They still smell good and I will use them with my vegetarian meals.
@daveinwarsh I was using the rosemary fresh but I needed to trim it down for the winter and I had a lot of it. Wasn’t sure it was going to survive the cold so I harvested a lot of it just in case.
I didn’t even know it was rosemary at the time, I just liked the smell and taste of it. Was putting it in my white rice and salads and it gave it wonderful flavor. But then what was I to do with all the excess that was drying out? I figured I could preserve some of it by drying it out and grinding it. I still have lots of fresh available this spring so I can use that as the primary source and the powdered if I run out.
I did the same with basil. Had so much of it that I couldn’t possibly use it all before winter started so I had to harvest it all, then dry it out, and then crush it into a powder. My powdered version is still green a couple years later while the store-bought crap is brown disgusting stuff. I think commercially they crush the whole plant, stems and all while I do just the leaves.
The basil plants seem to die every winter and never comes back so needs to be replanted each year. I didn’t do that this time because I have more of the herbs above that I don’t know what to do with yet.
@mehnyblooms I think you’re the winner with your guess of Oregano for the #2 plant. I looked up images of it and it matches perfectly. So that still leaves #3 as the mystery plant. It’s either Sage or Thyme, probably. Both of those images look like what I have.
@daveinwarsh@djslack@lseeber@mehnyblooms I tried the smell test on herb #2 and it didn’t smell like pizza. It was more of a sweet floral fragrance. It definitely looks like the photos of oregano but doesn’t smell too much like it.
" So that still leaves #3 as the mystery plant. It’s either Sage or Thyme, probably. Both of those images look like what I have."
I grow two types of sage, and it’s not like any sage. Sage has a larger and thicker leaf.
It’s similar to the thyme plants I have growing.
Maybe English Thyme?
@daveinwarsh If only I knew what Thyme tasted like I could sample it and compare. I’m not a chef and usually don’t add any spices or flavoring to my foods but I got these plants for free so I kept growing them.
Looking at the images in a Google search, #2 looks more like Thyme than #3 does. Here’s an image from a search of Thyme.
So far the only thing I’ve planted this year is snap peas. Have a bunch of peppers and tomatoes that I started from seed back in February that are almost ready to go in the ground, just waiting on the weather.
Basil and cucumbers probably going into the ground this week.
Let some of my cilantro go to seed last year so hopefully some starts coming up soon might get some fresh seeds going if I don’t see anything in the next week or so.
From last year have a ton of strawberries, that have already started to flower. My thyme and sage are both looking good, sage doubled in size the last month. Hops have been coming in strong for a few weeks now and one plant is taller than me already.
Brussel sprouts from last year weren’t ready until February and then started to flower a week or 2 so now I’m just letting it do what it wants and deal with it when it’s done.
I have some tomato, pepper, and cucumber seeds started. I usually wait until mother’s day to actually plant in the garden due to late frosts. We used to plant potatoes on Good Friday but we found we eat way more rice than potatoes so it wasn’t worth fooling with.
I hope to visit a particular local greenhouse for our plants this year. They are kind of out of the way but their plants have been amazing in the past and worth the extra cost and drive.
@RiotDemon One yr hornworms devastated my tomato crop. I was trying to go organic. UGH. You can be looking right at those things and not see them! And they’re so gross to me… pulling them off. Have you seen any of those?
@daveinwarsh@RiotDemon Diatomaceous earth generally works best on anything with an ectoskeleton. I used it where I used to live for scorpions. Needs to be the food grade (not the stuff some use in pool filters) powder and don’t you inhale it. So… it sorta depends on what’s eating the tomatoes.
I am so fucked. Lowe’s plant clearance aisle is rarely safe for me, but today it outdid itself. For $34., I took home 2 hydrangeas, a big New Guinea impatiens, a Panama Hibiscus, delphiniums, lavender, perennial phlox, sunflowers, and geraniums.
@OldCatLady Haha… that’s like me. I keep a plastic tarp in back of my car because if there are any nice looking plants (on sale or not) that can grow in part shade and deer are less likely to chomp it… it’s going in my car and to the house!
@RiotDemon I thought maybe it might not be ripe yet. According to some quick reading, it looks like that’s close, although ripe might not be the right word. The bitter compounds in carrots develop quicker than the sugars, so young carrots can be bitter. One article I read talked about not harvesting them until after the first frost, but they also talk about planting them in July.
Apparently, cooking them can also remove some of the bitter and develop some of the sugars.
@djslack I did a little research as well. These aren’t young by any means. They are supposed to be ready in 60 days. I let them go longer because at 60 days they are super tiny. I had previously picked another carrot from this batch and it was around an inch long so I moved it to keep an eye on it. I picked that one today because the tops of the carrot were gigantic and starting to fall over. I could actually see the root popping out of the ground. That carrot was normal sized when I picked it so I decided to pick this one as well. I guess I should of tasted the first one before picking this one.
During my research I saw that carrots do not like anything over 80°. I guess I’m going to have to forget growing any more until next January.
@Barney haha, I’ve seen those carrot sculptures. I’ve had some funky ones so far. No genitalia though. I’m going to keep trying. Carrots are nostalgic to me. When I was a kid, I remember pulling them out of the dirt and wiping the dirt on my pants. Eating them fresh. Here it’s sandy soil, so I don’t recommend it unless you want grit in your teeth.
I should of bought all bagged soil. I bought in bulk and it turned out to be much sandier than their sample.
Ok, here’s a list off the top of my head (may not be complete…)
Tomatoes (regular and cherry and a couple of Campari volunteers from seeds in the compost that came from tomatoes from Costo/Sams)
Peppers (green and jalapeno, Party peppers next to go in)
Cucumbers, Yellow Squash, Zucchini
Cantaloupes (may still plant some watermelon again)
Egg Plants (Japanese and traditional)
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Apples, Pears, Peaches (not sure how they will do yet, we had a super mild winter then a late frost when they were blooming/setting fruit)
Figs (30 years old), Olives (new trees from Sams last year…)
Basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, cilantro, chives.
Will plant okra when we get back after a weekend in Atlanta for wife’s BD.
and that’s not to mention the dozens of different flowering/ornamental plants.
Keep a couple of piles of compost going all the time, using the grass clippings I collect with the bagger when I mow, scraps from the kitchen, paper from the shredder, and coffee grounds/filters from our house and the ER where I work.
Central AL is very conducive to gardening. An acre gives us lots of space to use.