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Is Spring Springing?


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#1 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:08 PM

I know some of you are digging out from under snow : ( but I'm getting into full swing gardening mode : ). We are already eating fresh asparagus from the garden and we got our potatoes planted last week. This year I did something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I carved out a piece of my barn and made it into a greenhouse . We have about 100 tomato plants, mostly roma but some new heirloom tomatoes called mortgage lifter and brandywine. We also have eggplant, squash and peppers starting in the greenhouse as well as some flowers: zinna, nicotiana, cosmos and marigolds. Depending on the forecast I'm hoping to start setting things out in the garden next weekend.

I'm also putting in a new plot about 25 x 25 feet that is physically far away from my current garden so I can really rotate my crops and hopefully see a decrease in bug problems. Our tomatoes have been attacked by stink bugs the last couple of years. I got my very old tiller worked on this winter so have tilled the new garden once, cleaned out the goat pen, spread manure over the ground and tilled it again. I still need to put a fence around it to keep the chickens out.

By they way: a shout out to Tractor Supply. I went there to buy my poultry netting today. They generally have low prices. I wanted a 150' roll which they sold me but when I went out to load it up the loading guy couldn't find it. They had 50' rolls but I knew that the 3 50' rolls cost $25.00 more than the 150 ' roll. So I asked the clerk if I could get 3 50' rolls for the same price as the 150' roll. She called the manager over and she agreed. I can't say for sure but I bet not every big box home supply store would do that. Thanks Tractor Supply!

Anybody else got the gardening bug this year?

#2 Darrel Manson

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:10 PM

My apricot tree has a full load of blossoms and is beginning to leaf out.

We still have time to figure out if we're going to do a tomato or two.

We do need to do some relandscaping in the front, and finish adding color to the back yard.

#3 Joel C

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 09:16 PM

Horticulture? Meh. I live in CO. Here, the closest thing we get to a garden is potted plants bought at Wal Mart.

And I say this as *ANOTHER* snowstorm is hitting as we speak.

#4 Christian

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 10:49 PM

Late last fall, my lawnmower, leaf blower and weed trimmer all stopped working at the same time. I couldn't start any of 'em. Threw out the gas, put some fresh into the mower. No luck.

So my hope is that once spring arrives, all three pieces of equipment will magically start back up with no problem.

But I'll probably have to haul all three units to a repair shop, where the fixers will tug on the starter cord one time and get the things to work just fine. And maybe they'll charge me a couple hundred dollars for the privilege.

It's only money. There's always more on the Money Tree is our backyard.

Edited by Christian, 08 March 2008 - 10:49 PM.


#5 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 10:50 PM

We've been doing the cold&snow/warm/cold&snow/warm thing for so long now that it is affecting sewer lines and basement floors, not walls. I speak from personal knowledge. We just picked up a mere 2 inches of snow to add to the 6 we received Thursday. There's a good chance that half of that will be gone by the end of next week if the last month is any indicator at all.

Gardening? Ha! Now that the pine trees are finally gone from the back yard, we will be regrading the yard and starting over with the driveway (both deferred maintenance) this summer. The overpaved driveway has so far drained two inches of ice/water into our detached garage this Winter. We've had worse Winters in the past, but this one has been quite destructive.

#6 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 08:56 AM

QUOTE (Alan Thomas @ Mar 9 2008, 01:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When I visited Houston last week, it was absolutely wonderful and surreal to see tulips in full bloom everywhere. I am delighted to report that my early tulip leaves have poked up through the soil. Now if I can just get the beds cleared out without killing whatever else might be working its way up...


Texas can be brutally hot in summer but winter in Texas is like spring and fall up north. I spent four years in Iowa going to graduate school and got back to Texas as soon as I could. In those four years I had enough snow and below 0 temperatures to last me a lifetime. I guess I prefer warmth to cold. And once you get acclimated, as long as you drink tons of water, working outside in 100+ temperatures is no problem. As long as you don't mind sweating like a racehorse.

#7 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:43 PM

If I am sweating standing still, I define that as unacceptable. I describe brisk late Fall winds in the face, or walking out into a bracing cold as knowing I'm alive. Walking out into high humidity where it feels like you are swimming instead of walking I describe as wishing I were dead. I guess I'm a Viking.

#8 Darrel Manson

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 04:49 PM

Rich, as you dig out of the snow this week, keep me in mind. We're planning a trip to see the wildflowers blooming around here. Then later in the week we head to Arizona where I can take in a few ball games.

#9 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 06:30 PM

You bet. Though catching ballgames sounds pretty good. The office mgr at church is in Lakeland this week.

#10 Darrel Manson

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 04:31 PM

Did a 4 day weekend in AZ last Thurs - Sun. Caught a couple ST games (KC/LAA and SD/Milw.) Beautiful days for ballgames. Spend a day out walking the Lost Dog Wash Trail in Scottsdale - loads of flowers in bloom. Plenty of wildflowers along I-10. Came home via I-40 amidst snow flurries - heavy flurries a couple of times.

Still haven't made it to Santa Rosa Plateau, the plan now is to try tomorrow.

#11 Darrel Manson

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 07:03 PM

Did finally make it to the Santa Rosa Plateau today. Quite beautiful. The Vernal Pool is full and filled with tadpoles and fairy shrimp (aka Sea Monkeys). Loads of flowers: poppies, red maids, miner's lettuce, yellow carpet, blue dicks, ground pinks, and the wonderful chocolate lilies.

#12 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 10:23 AM

Our big landscaping project this year is the front four feet of our yard. We're on a small cul de sac, and every winter, the city puts a generous amount of road salt on our frontage. The grass (which I freshly planted last year after killing off the lawn with Roundup because it was beyond salvage) looks as if it had never been replanted. So after four years, I'm ready to give up on grass on that part of the yard.

But what should go in its place? Mud? Mulch with low perennials? Rocks? And how should I sculpt the area? Big box? Curvy? I'll have to post a pic of the yard sometime on my flickr acct.

Alan, you've done something similar, right?

#13 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:12 PM

QUOTE (Alan Thomas @ Mar 24 2008, 02:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow--good recall! Yes, we have done that.

I've got a big bunch of decorative grass that gets dumped on every year. So far, it's come back just fine. I've also got perennials--black-eyed susans and some low, spreading geraniums--in the unofficial "planter" between the sidewalk and the street. My front lawn otherwise is fine (crossing fingers).

Roundup can take weeks to work itself out. How long did you wait between spraying and seeding? I've read that there should be up to a four-week waiting time between the two.


Yes, the Roundup took 3 to 4 weeks to kill everything. We ended up leaving a patch of nimblewill between the yard and the flower beds becuase I was afraid of overspraying the bed. So I'll try a hand sprayer this spring and then manually putting seed down. The new grass came up pretty well---the only bad thing was the seed slitter had difficulties with some of the rocks in the yard that I was unaware of. Other than that, and the weeds that show up because of the abandoned lot next to us, i was pleased.

Looks like you have an optimal situation for your curbside with the natural boundary of the sidewalk. We don't have one, so that leaves me a little worried that I'll butcher the look of the yard.

#14 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 08:30 AM

QUOTE (Alan Thomas @ Jun 2 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just came across folia, a personal gardening/organization website. I have no idea if I will ever have the time to use it, but it looks promising.


Thanks for the link. The site looks pretty cool. Sort of a LibraryThing for gardeners. I was just trying to get my gardening a little more organized yesterday making a month by month list of what is to be planted in the garden, when to buy seeds and when to start seeds for transplanting.

Our garden got off to a great start but we have had two weeks of July weather the last part of May. Highs in the upper 90s and no rain. We have been eating onions, potatoes, swiss chard, yellow and zucchini squash and green beans. The squash vine borers are making short work of my squash plants. I hate those bugs!!! I have a ton of tomatoes on the vine that should be getting ripe soon, eggplants, jalapenos, watermelons, cucumbers, sweet corn and sweet potatoes planted but not bearing fruit yet. I just planted some okra and New Zealand Spinach yesterday. But if this heat and lack of rain keeps up it doesn't look good.

I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is about her families experiment in being a locovare for a year, mainly growing the majority of their own food. It is something I aspire to but as she attests to in her book it is an enormous amount of work.

#15 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 05:59 PM

My wife does the gardening in our household, not I, but I think we share a "horticultural hope" that our daughter will stop scooping the soil (and seeds and plants?) OUT of the garden and scooping sand from her sandbox INTO the garden.

#16 Darrel Manson

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 08:40 PM

We've been harvesting apricots. Even with a semi-dwarf tree we have far more than we can eat. Extra sweet.

#17 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:21 AM



We expect it to be hot in Texas in the summer but it got really hot, way to soon. We have had at least 12 days over 100 degrees so far. I don't mind sweating but by the time I get home in the evening it is tough to head out into the furnace-like heat to work in the garden. But apparently tomatoes love the heat. So far (I have been weighing) we have harvested over 75 pounds of tomatoes.

Last winter I ordered three varieties of tomato seed: Roma, Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter. I started the seeds in ziplock bags hung over our wood stove. We nursed the seedlings along and put them in the ground around March 15th. I staked them up and put bird netting over them and hand picked the stink bugs off the fledgling plants. Around the beginning of June the tomatoes started to come on and they haven't stopped. Man, are they tasty!! And no salmonella!! We have been eating them in salads, on sandwiches and I really like them mixed with cottage cheese, cucumbers, onions and basil (also from our garden). I also made some salsa and my wife is freezing the Romas to use this winter in soups, spaghetti sauce and stews. I am also giving them away at work.

In our consumer culture we have largely lost our connection to food. I truly enjoy the authentic experience of growing food. We are trying to grow more and more of what we eat. I am blessed!




#18 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 10:28 AM

While my tomatoes aren't as plentiful as Jim's, these fireballs are the tastiest tomatoes I've had in a long time! We planted 2 Romas and 1 Fireball (italian heirloom). Gotten about 15 lbs since beginning of August.



edit: meant to say "aren't" and thx for the photo compliment.

Edited by Buckeye Jones, 25 August 2008 - 03:27 PM.


#19 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 11:04 AM

QUOTE (Buckeye Jones @ Aug 25 2008, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
While my tomatoes are as plentiful as Jim's, these fireballs are the tastiest tomatoes I've had in a long time! We planted 2 Romas and 1 Fireball (italian heirloom). Gotten about 15 lbs since beginning of August.



Beautiful tomatoes! And a nice photo, I might add.

#20 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 03:47 PM

Tomato plant shopping this Thursday and Saturday. (Too lazy to start from seed this year).

On the must have list: Cherokee Chocolate, Fireball, maybe a Ferris Wheel.

what else are folks growing?