Gardening


#1

I am growing chillies again, after last years disaster (I was ill for a month and all but four of my plants died, the survivors didn’t even flower until December. They seem to be surviving winter on a window though)

I won’t give a list of everything I’m growing but some of the more interesting ones are:

Pimenta da Neyde - Purple peppers, purple flowers, purple plant
Calusa Indian Mount - supposedly decended from 2000 year old seeds found in an archaelogical dig
Carolina Reaper - Superhots aren’t that interesting IMO, but I want to see if there is anything I can do with these
Capsicum Galapagoense - they are difficult to get to germinate, flower and set fruit, but I managed to grow some seedlings this year
Various other wild chillies

I’m also growing some heirloom tomatoes but they aren’t that interesting in comparison.

It’s too early to have any photos yet, but I’ll take some later.

So what interesting plants are other people growing this year?


#2

Okra, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, curry tree, chocolate habaneros and the usual kitchen herbs and salad. Oh, some tomatoes, too but that doesn’t come as a choice. Fricking fuitbats get at them and spread the seeds everywhere.

Keep thinking about having a bash at growing cardamom too. Maybe this year.


#3

Unless Britain has one of its occasional awful summers I should be OK. The climate here in Oxford is just a little cooler than Seattle and I know that people are growing them outdoors there. As long as I don’t put the plants outside before the middle of May they’ll be fine.

I grew a lemon drop plant two years ago thinking it would be OK indoors. By July it was trying to escape out of the top of the window. I also had a rocoto which took up the entire width of the window.


#4

I am super super excited about the tulip bulbs I managed to get down this year in my flower beds. I’m praying there will be mounds of them and they will be continuously blooming all spring. That’s the plan. I also have some flower seeds I bought at Giverny that I plan to sprinkle on top of the beds and I haven’t the slightest idea what “zone” Giverny is in by I’m hoping it looks amazing - sort of like a really bad miniature Giverny. :smile:

Food wise - we did well with zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers last year so we will do those again plus herbs - those are a must. Pumpkin seeds I salvaged from our farm box will go in too. We have crap soil + critters so we are still working out what actually will grow.

We will continue to sow red and white clover into our yard to have it fix nitrogen into our soil. And last year we put in nasturtiums and French marigolds and they were wonderful - bloomed forever, looked fantastic, and cheap - we will be doing loads and loads of those.


#5

So did your Calusa make it that year? My buddy grows bonsai and peppers and not a whole lot else, but he usually goes for the superhots–which I won’t even bother with. A few Bells, some jalapenos, and I’m good for the capsicum.
I was actually hoping to find a gardening thread on BB to ask opinions on the use of rainbarrels and whether or not it’s good to add the chemical/bacterial death drops to keep the mosquito larvae at bay since I’ll be using the water in the garden.
Frankly, I find heirloom stuff to be the neatest thing going if you can find the associated story to the plant. I had a book on heirloom veggies but it disappeared two or three moves ago.


#6

Not a lot of odd stuff this year, except for the cardamom. A billion herbs, and a lot of standards. Next year I am gonna get back into growing tobacco, my orchid space should be set up, and the greenhouse finished.

On the flower side I have two dozen varieties of bearded lilies, half a dozen varieties of roses, and I’m trying to figure out where to plant poppies and columbine.

Along one of my fence lines I am going to get a dozen or so pinot noir vines (when I can find the supplier I used last time), and I already have Cascade and Nugget hops coming out of my ears.


#7

This may sound weird… But if you are using rain barrels for irrigation and you are worried about mosquitoes, toss a few small koi in them. They will eat the mosquitoes and add gentle fertilizer to the water.


#8

!!
!!!
Had a koi pond at another house and by christ that had to be one of the best things ever. I know I’m not alone in saying I could watch them all day long. But is the water aerated enough for them? It’s a 50+ gallon bucket with no waste removal or water circulation to speak of other than incoming via rain, and outgoing via my water can. Will the temps fluctuate too much … Okay, I’ll do it!

Edit: Good lord, you’re way ahead of me. I’ve got 160 sq ft double-dug and planted with veggies, another 100 full of that godamn fucking horrid English Ivy that needs digging and amending among other small patches of possible arable ‘land’ (maybe another 100 sq ft altogether).

I’ve only got a few flowers out there, some zinnias, cosmos, mostly calendula to stink off the bugs/grubs, and of course my beloved coneflower. Ivy damaged the little fence alongside the property, but if it was rebuilt…grapes. I hadn’t thought of grapes! Someday I’ll get my buddy out on the Eastern Shore to use his crazy-large property to grow some grains for malting, after which point I’ll get nothing done and become drunken and fat most of the time.


#9

Ha!! Someday I will too as well. I found a video a couple years ago on how to convert a dryer into a roaster, but I may just go with smoking over a flame.

Luckily I don’t have ivy problems, but the blackberries are endemic. I don’t dare even compost them when I dig out the roots. And the effing slugs wiped out a third of my basil.


#10

Oh, and regarding koi, I raised them for years and they are tough little creatures. Keep the barrel shaded, and if you can add an air stone they will like it. If the water temp goes over 85f toss in a block if ice.

I love ‘fish water’ for my plants. Some day I am gonna design a continues hydroponic/aquaculture system.


#11

I’m new to gardening in this area so I haven’t yet been introduced to the (likely long) list of pests here in B’more. Out in Cali the slugs, snails, or gophers/moles/vales/idon’tknow would take down a beautifully healthy broccoli stem right before my crying eyes.

Besides, I got started late this season and have been working like nuts to catch up. Just put in onion sets last night, but it’s a garden, and like a koi pond, I could happily work in the garden all day.

As to the koi, do you use a spout to get the water out of the barrel? My spout is too low so I just drop the can in and go…I’ll probably put in a large stone so the fish can hide if necessary. Hot damn, I can’t wait to do this! In fact, headed out now to chop down the dead tree in the back of the last large bed. I’d planned on planting an apple or peach, but again that’ll be new to me (fruit trees, that is).

Edit: You made me think of that awesome display at Epcot, the Cycle of Life or whatever that showcases a tilapia (I think) based aquaculture system.


#12

I remember that from Epcot! Might have been an inspiration for little me :smile: if you can elevate your barrel you can install a hose tap at the bottom. Even if it only a few inches (perhaps some cinder blocks?) You can drive a soaker hose.

Have I mentioned that in addition to coding, music, food, gardening, driving, animals, vinting, brewing, and bad puns, I enjoy plumbing? :smiley:


#13

Our conversation put me into a full-on gardening jag. Had to dig out the other bed that had a long dead cherry tree and a metric shitload of Ivy. Not sure what’s going in there yet…maybe corn and a few other things. My body hurts!
We definitely share a lot of interests, and I like that soaker hose idea. I’m good with plumbing but shite with carpentry, although I have a sizeable stack of red brick from the previous owner. Need to acquire a few more barrels (three, I think) to handle the two main downspouts, although I’ve also got to fix a bowed-out gutter (which will require a professional, or rented scaffolding, neither of which is fun).

And here’s a dumb question: “stocks” in a vegetable garden. Does that mean the set of regularly-grown veggies (tomato, potato, lettuce, cabbage, etc.)? Good lord I’m tired and not capable of high-level thinking.

All right. Coming back later with a fresh head and some seriously good gardening questions.


#14

That is how I think. Basically the easy ones, though cabbage can be a pain :smile:

I’ve been toying with potatoes growing in bags, suspended from the ground. So the moles and whatnot don’t get them. But not likely this year. But from what I’ve read you can grow enormous amounts of spuds in bags easily.


#15

Thanks for clearing that up–sometimes even the easiest things make my eyes cross.

Potatoes: I’ve heard of people using three or four old tires to build up a bed of compost and straw, and though I wouldn’t want to acquire freakin old tires just to grow some taters, when I dug out my beds in Cali I laid down chicken wire about two feet down to try and stop them (it didn’t work). That said, moles are satan-spawn and the day my cat decided she liked their flesh was a happy day for me indeed!


#16

Heh, mine too! Underground animals are endemic here, as are slugs. Almost all my basil is gone :P. I trap them, bait them, pick them, and nothing.

Copper lined raised beds, covered in nut shells!?


#17

Here’s a question: do you remove the suckers and flowers from your tomatoes? Generally speaking, I’ll remove the bottom few branches on a newly purchased plant and ‘bury’ it up to the remaining branches. I’m told this allows the plant some structural stability in the soil, as well as sprouting roots from the stem. And removing the suckers and flowers, at least until the plant is taller, lets the plant direct more of its energy into vegetative growth instead of flowering growth. Can’t recall where I read that, but the tomatoes are starting to take off and I was removing those bits just yesterday.

Other than that, I’m anxiously awaiting any sign of life in my onions and potatoes. Plants that make me wait to see any development do not jive with my modern patience-less self.


#18

I do remove suckers most of the time. But I don’t know how much it helps. The plants look better, but my sister in law doesn’t and she always has great outcomes too.


#19

I should remove them on one set of plants and let the others do as they want and see if the results are noticeable (not likely).

Now that I’ve cleared the last bed, I wonder–what plants can you not live without? Anything I’ve not planted that I should (given it’s ability to grow in the Northeast)? I’d like to find some okra seeds, and I’m not nearly capable enough to grow cardamom…even though I guess I could put up a mini-greenhouse on the recently cleared space.


#20

Honestly the only plants I can’t live without are rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil. And except for basil they are Sooo easy (gah, slugs love basil). I love growing Thai peppers, kung pao was my last batch, and aging/fermenting them into hot sauce. I still have some from four years ago, and the flavor has become sublime–the grassiness mellows out, and you can taste the complexity of the pepper.

Raspberries are another big one, but that is largely sentimental. As a kid I’d go over to my grandparents house, and they had huge raspberry bushes. I would spend an hour or so scouring them, and gawd they were good. I need to figure out the variety.

One last, and this is a bit more esoteric, gooseberries. They are like a cross between blueberries and cranberries. But the bushes have thorns :smile:

Okay, one more. Rowan trees. You use their fruit to make rowan jelly. And the neat thing is you can usually, around here, find people that have them but don’t know they are edible.