Author Topic: So...who enjoys gardening?  (Read 127579 times)

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Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #105 on: December 03, 2006, 06:10:21 PM »
Redhead

My favorites for slicing are Oregon Spring, First Lady, and JTO-99197. My favorites for sauce are Bellstar and Red Agate F1. We like to try 1 or 2 new ones every year, too. We get our seeds from Johnny's Seeds in Albion, ME; I think the "JTO" must indicate "Johnny's Trial something" but they never did get around to coming up with another name for that one. I love the flavor of the heirlooms, Brandywine, et al, but we have to be very careful in the Northeast because we are guaranteed to have fusarium wilt, tobacco mosaic virus, and early blight spores in the soil. The heirlooms just don't produce here before the vines start to die off, sometimes as early as July 4th  :'(. Washington Cherry is a good container variety. One year we grew a very small cherry, Matt's Wild Cherry. It was as sweet as anything, but what a mistake. It took over the garden; overran all the other tomatoes and most of the other vegetables. It was the devil's spawn  :devil: I had volunteers come up the next 2 summers!

We should get our catalog between Christmas and New Year's - yay!

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #106 on: February 19, 2007, 01:21:46 AM »
Wishful thinking here in the northeast. I ordered my seeds and onion sets for the summer already (and got the seeds), and I don't even need to start anything for another month! My eyes are MUCH bigger than my urban 12'x30' plot, too. I don't know where I am gonig to put all the things I want to try this year. As much as I do NOT want to cut down a lilac and a philadelphius (sp?) I may need the space. It's the last bit that gets enough sun. I may also have to try to eradicate a 100-year old trumpet vine (right!) which grows against the building for a proper melon patch. Hmmm. maybe if I put the butternut squash there instead - that could be a match for that trumpet vine.

Did anyone else start thinking spring early? No fair responding, you folks in permanent summer climates!

Offline peter

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #107 on: February 19, 2007, 05:00:14 AM »
Betsy,

OK, I'm typing in from the land of eternal traffic gridlock, I mean summer.  We can go for years without having the temps drop below freezing but not this season.  We had a major "cold snap".  That's what we call it here.  8)  It lasted for about 4 days, dropping below freezing only at night.  Everyone's subtropical plants turned black and wilted overnight, as did all my tomato plants.  One day I had a 7 foot by 30 foot plot of tomatoes, and the next morning, nothing.  Oddly, I had a lot of tomatoes on the vine and they continued to ripen.  An odd site to see these red globes in the middle of this dark gray muck.  The other side of the endless summer story is weeds all year long.  8)

I'm like you and always buy more seeds than I could ever plant.  When I first moved back to SoCal after living in NYC and Cambridge, MA for over a decade, I went absolutely nuts with a Shepard's Seeds catalog.  Last year I discovered http://www.seedsofitaly.com.  I did show some restraint with the clicking of the mouse but I never got around to planting those seeds.  I'm comitted to getting them in the ground this year.  Here's what's in my arsenal.
beans:  (I love them sauted with olive oil.)
Borlotto Lamon
Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco
Meraviglia di Venezia
I think the beans need to wait until May for planting.

and some greens which I'll plant in March:
Cima de Rapa Foglia d'Olivio (olive leaf rape)
Broccoletto Cima di Rapa (I love cima di rapa..it's similar to broccoli but with a very thin stalk and leaves)
Agretti  or Roscana (have no idea what this is...just going by the picture which looks a big chive)
The last two I picked up at a shop in Florence this summer. 

What kind of onions are you planting?  Do you replant you tomatoes in the same spot each year or move them around?  I know those tomatoes really deplete the soil.  I tend to stick to the same spot and therefore get erratic yeilds from year to year. 







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QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #108 on: February 19, 2007, 07:29:40 AM »
Hi Kids! Peter, you needing shades there too? It was 70 on Friday, 75 yesterday....glorious in the garden after I got home from our fiber guild meeting. So the Easteners won't hate me, today it was "only" about 63, with scattered showers and big wind. Brrrr, California style.

Betsy, we're just a little ahead of you, that's all. Still too cold for a lot of stuff, including most veggie seeds outside. The cats always think I've made mini litter boxes if I try to start seeds indoors or in the garage under lights, so I tend to buy transplants of stuff like tomatoes. Fortunately we have a couple of nurseries that get more unusual varieties.

I'm in the citrus growing area of Middle California, so you all know about our 20 days of hard freezing nights and the devastation it caused. I'm in a thermal pocket, so with Christmas lights and covers made of old sheets and "stash" fabric I saved my lemon & orange trees and fruit. But this is a desert, so we are normally pretty dry and get hot, hot, hot in the summers. Anything tropical around here is now mush. I've spent a ton of time- several 7 to 8 hour days, plus  partial days- out in the yard getting it cleaned up.  I pruned, ripped out some shrubs to lighten things up, and cleared one area for veggies. We don't usually get frost later than now, and I'm eager to get planting. I'll start digging this week and will start putting tomatoes in the beginning of March. I'll use gallon milk jugs, bottoms removed, as hot caps to keep them warm. When I do it right, we can have a lot coming out of the garden by Memorial Day.

Peter, those Italian beans sound fabulous! I usually just do a bush green bean and Renee Shepards 3 bean salad, bush version. It has a purple, yellow and green bean in a mix. Yummy. Wow- what a big plot of tomatoes. Jealous, yes I am! I tuck veggies in around rose bushes and use herbs as ground cover so I can get more in. I've also got 8 fruit trees total. My veggie beds are small, so I do either French Intensive or square foot gardening. That has let me pack a bigger variety into a small space.

 There's just the two of us and I grow mostly for fresh use, so I get by without big plots. But I'll probably do 6 to 8 varieties of tomatoe, about 2 dozen plants total, anyway. And a lot of other stuff.

Peter, there is one place I like to grow tomatoes that I dig some of the soil out and replace it with planter mix and soil from elsewhere in the yard. It's not so much the soil depletion as build up of wilts, blights and other stuff in the soil that concerns me. So I'll only do tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in the same spot 2 years in a row, then they all need new homes. I hardly grew anything last year, so the soil got a nice little rest.

Glad to know others are eager to be out there too.

Rene Marie

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #109 on: February 20, 2007, 03:42:10 AM »
... after living in NYC and Cambridge, MA ...  What kind of onions are you planting?  Do you replant you tomatoes in the same spot each year or move them around?

Peter: Cambridge!  :o Goodness, I lived there for years, and now only have made it to the next town west, Belmont. I pass through Harvard Sq every day on my way to work.

For onion plants, I ordered "Onion Collection B" (Includes one bunch (60-75 plants) each of Ailsa Craig Exhibition, Red Burgermaster, & Super Star plants); King Richard leeks; and Red Bulls. For seeds, I ordered Gold Coin (Very flat, yellow.Matures to a medium-small, yellow cipollini onion) and Evergreen Hardy White scallion seeds. Scallions are so easy to grow. I do not understand why they are so expensive in the store.

And on the tomato question, I try to move them around a bit, but with less than 2x the space you have, I don't have a lot of wiggle room. Plus, I tend to have other solanum plants, such as peppers and eggplants, which similarly leave their marks on the soil. Getting around the vegetable plot in August is a bit like playing Twister among the tomatoes etc.  ;D

By the way, you'll find those frost-bitten tomatoes won't taste too good, if they haven't already rotted on the inside. And I recommend old sheets over them the next time you have plants to protect. tomaotes really don't care for any temp lower than the low 40sF.

I tried some seeds my mom brought home from Italy with mixed results. The fava beans did not, um, thrive, shall we say. The tomatoes picked up all 3 of our northeastern soil fungi problems. One of the other beans did all right. The radish seeds she brought me from France really do well, however.

QueenBee I had to laugh at 2 things: The cats getting into the newly planted seeds, even in the garage  ::) and the vision of any of my own fabric stash draped over some sensitive shrub or tree !  :) And since we make and can our own tomato and pizza sauce, I grow way too many tomaotes on purpose. This year I better have a good crop, too, as we really need to can this year or we will have to, gasp, purchase canned to tomatoes!

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #110 on: February 20, 2007, 08:38:32 AM »
Betsy, I'm with you on the scallion topic. Easy, easy for home growing. I start with sets myself...we are too laid back out here to wait for seeds. ;D Your onions sound yummy.

Yes, the lemon tree looked hilarious.....I took pictures. It really was a sight. I fastened it all together with clothes pins. ;)

I confess to having never canned tomatoes, save for making tomato preserves. The program no longer exists locally, but at one point I was certified as a Master Food Preserver by the University of California thru co-operative extension. We really delved into food safety issues and I came away even more afraid of most home canned vegetables than I was when we started. Too many variables for me, and the recomendation is to boil most of them for several minutes, which wipes out so many nutrients. Combined with a very sensitive digestive system, I'm a big chicken. I will however freeze sauces. We bought a very large upright that holds a sub zero temperature so it is usually filled with  good stuff.

I do can all sorts of sweet spreads and fruits.Not afraid of those...plus I really like all the blue ribbons from the fair.

For tomatoes, my all time fave is Patio Prize. It's a cute little determinite shrub type with firm Ace size salad tomatoes. They do great in pots, or as a border, and tend to ripen up pretty much at the same time here. I've also gotta have Yellow Pear, a really heavy producer, and Sweet 100, a small cherry.

Our entire lot here- we are city slickers- is 66' x 110'. Take out for the house, garage & driveway, as well as patios & there is not much left for growing. I trellise on the fences, have free standing arches that I train up, and we grow a lot of miniature size stuff, like itty bitty watermelon. By July the front yard turns heads, what with melon and zucchini vines trailing into the rose bushes. Twister in the garden sounds tame Betsy. Some years mine seems more like Mortal Kombat.

More soon Dears.

Rene Marie

Offline redhead

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #111 on: February 20, 2007, 04:12:25 PM »
I received my seed orders last week.  I ordered a compact summer squash variety and my first choice sweet pepper, Gypsy, from Burpee.  From Renee's Garden, I ordered Crimson Carmello slicing tomatoes, Italian Pompeii italian type tomatoes, some fancy french green pole beans, heirloom cucumbers, and the Rouge Vif D'Etampes pumpkins.  I hesitate to grow such a sprawling thing as pumpkins, but my three-year old and I just love them.  I also bought a compact zucchini variety, but I can't remember what or which vendor I used.  Completing my garden, I have a stash of previous years' seeds for cherry tomatos (sungold and cabernet grape type tomato) and a variety of other peppers.  We will probably add poblanos this year.  Finally, I have an asparagus planting, heritage raspberries, and rhubarb.   

For you Sheperd's fans who don't know it, after Whiteflower Farm or whoever it was bought her seed business and then ran it into the ground, Renee Shepard started another online seed business.  Her selection keeps expanding.  Here are pictures of a few of her items that I purchased.





I start my seed in eggshells, but I don't think I have eaten enough eggs in the last month or two to start planting.  Maybe next week.

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #112 on: February 20, 2007, 06:57:47 PM »
Redhead, I'm drooling now. Your choices all sound so good. Of course, doesn't any part of summers bounty sound good right about now? Warm days tending the garden, sipping lemonade, eating foods that were on a plant just minutes before.... I forget about the reality of hornworms, snails, the 106 degree days, etc.

 We have a local hardware store that carries an extensive selection of Renee's veggie & flower seeds. It let's me get a quick fix.

The lemon cukes are great, but I grow Japanese cukes rather than the Armenian. The skins are less ridged and don't toughen up quite as much during the really hot months. Plus we have a really large Armenian population here so I grew up being inundated with the cukes.

Redhead, what part of the country are you in? I've forgotten. Tomatoe seeds need to be started in early January here to be set out early. If I get them in too late my harvest suffers. We heat up pretty fast and they stop setting fruit for a few weeks or months.

You're all making me want to try some new varieties this year, especially some beans.

Rene Marie

Offline peter

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #113 on: February 20, 2007, 08:10:07 PM »
Betsy, I was in Cambridge 89-93.  My 4 winters there are my badge of courage.  I was there for the big October 91 Nor'easter.  So you lived in Cambridge?  How nice.  I was going to grad school--architecture--and was so sleep deprived the entire time I didn't get to know the area as much as I would have liked.  I lived 2 blocks behind Gund Hall for 2 years then Peabody Terrace for 2.  That is one extensive onion collection.  I wish we were neighbors so we could swap our backyard bounties.  I love leeks!  I didn't know scallions were easy to grow.  I should get some of them going.

QueenBee, you must be in the Fresno area if you're in Armenian country.  My maternal grandparents were Armenian and part of that huge influx of immigrants fleeing the Turkish atrocities.  A lot of them went to Fresno, MA and Los Angeles around 1917.  How does the heat determine what you can and cannot grow?  I'm in Southest LA county on a city lot, 50'X100'.  My house is so small that I have a 50'X50' backyard.  I created really large areas to grow veggies.  I'm not always organized or motivated to keep them filled so I spend a lot of time fending off weeds in those areas.  And I have an 80 pound dog so I have to be creative with my plantings and still allow him access to chase the neighborhood cats back there.  No worry cat lovers.  He's much too slow to catch them and also not aggressive enough to actually attack.  He does like to bark and let them know they're on his turf, not vice versa.  ;)   Ah, what was the topic here???   I forget.   >:D  Oh, yeah, so I steer away from sprawlers like squash and cukes.  I love cucumbers and buying them at the market is a real crap shoot. 
'
Redhead, that is interesting info about Shepards/Whiteflower farm/Renee's.  Can you expand on that?  I remember Whiteflower Farm a bit.  Who doesn't love a good "run that business into the ground" story?   >:D  I guess that shows you how old some of my seed packages are.  I still have some Shepard seeds.  I keep them in a ziplock with those silica bags you get in packages, in the refridgerator.  And assume a lot of them will be duds.  Anyhow, I was just looking at them yesterday and thought I recognized the package art on the images you posted.  Those beans were taken right off the Shepard seeds package.

Well we know who'll have lots of fiber and nutrients in their system this summer.   :)
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Offline redhead

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #114 on: February 20, 2007, 09:10:26 PM »
Queenbee, I'm in agricultural zone 6 here in Tennessee.  It's warmer on either side of the state, but I live in the middle where at least one time a year that frozen Canadian air just barely reaches with one icy pinky finger.  I am starting a little earlier than usual this year, mainly because I just want to.  Tax day is a favorite day to set out transplants, but I find it doesn't hurt to wait a little while, because it stays pretty cold at night for a few more weeks.  The plants sit out and shiver, growing very little, while the slugs have a field day.  A few weeks of waiting and I find that the plants can grow faster than the slugs eat.  Thanks for your comments on the cucumber varieties.  More to try next year, I guess!  I never thought to grow cukes before, but my husband requested them.

Peter, about White Flower Farm, I am repeating scuttlebut I read a year or so ago on the web when I was asking my perennial favorite question, "what tomatoes do we like best?"  The scoop can be found here.

http://davesgarden.com/gwd/c/50/

Sarah





QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #115 on: February 20, 2007, 10:56:09 PM »
Oh, Busy Bees!
Redhead, the Armenian cukes are terrific and I don't think your summer is as severe as ours dry heat wise. I'm thinking you get more humidity. Sometimes the skins of various produce really toughens up here in an attempt to hold moisture. What ever type, I suggest you stake or trellis the cukes up right away if you have any slug or snail activity. They love cukes. Plus, if they are suspended, they usually grow straighter and they are clean. No garden mud to rinse off.

Tomatoe wise I've had great results buying the little transplants early and putting them into first quart then later into gallon containers. Put them where it's sunny and warm, usually on concrete, and they'll grow like weeds. As they get bigger I repot them until the soil has warmed up enough. They get a good root system and often have set fruit before they reach their final home. Protect them on cold nights.

Bingo Peter! I'm in eastern Fresno County, pretty much up against the Sierra foothills. Were about 5 minutes from the hills and on the way to Yosemite and lots of National and state parks. Thanks for making me feel like we have a big lot. ;D I'm laughing at your dog story. My pair are Border Collie & we think Chow mixed, so big, smart, and crazy all in one. When they were pups I looked out the window and Sheba was running thru the yard ,ears flying back, with an uprooted Jalapeno pepper plant in her teeth. Peppers were flying left and right. The scene was repeated a few days later with a tomato plant. The next season, after watching me pick apricots, I watched her brother Buford walk up to the tree, stand up and snap the entire branch off. He was dragging it to the patio when I finally caught up with him. Now the side area is fenced off so I can grow there. On the other side a small area is fenced with wire fencing and I can do about 7 tomatoes there. Dogs.

Peter the heat comes into play here as far as fruit setting. I grabbed the book: For tomatoes, the blossoms will only set fruit if night time temps are between 55 & 75 degrees, and daytime temps are from 60 to 90 degrees. Peak of summer our nights can stay in the 80's with days from 95 to -yikes- 115. Some years we are already into adequate temps by now. If I plant early enough, baby them a little if we have a cool spell, etc., then by the time we get a heat whammy there are lots of fruit on the vines and we get a killer harvest. If we have more temperate weather when they bloom mid season I can keep them going until early December. Although they are a perennial in ideal conditions, our summer is too harsh so I start over every year.

Boy, I'm long winded. ::)

BTW, elsewhere on the web I'm known as Garden Girl. Now you know why. I almost changed it here, but wasn't sure if it would confuse people too much. What do you think?

Rene Marie

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #116 on: February 20, 2007, 11:09:16 PM »
I forgot. If you want to shrink the space needed but still get a good yield, take a look at Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It's from Rodale Press. NAYY. It was recommended to be by one of the hardware guys where I get seeds and transplants years ago. Really changed the way I veggie garden. It's a form of intensive gardening, where you prep the soil really well and grow more in a smaller space. Uses less space, so you spend less time out there fighting weeds & bugs, watering, etc. Also uses less water. We are on meters here, so I pay for what I use, and a big garden in a hot summer can be a real shocker when the bill comes.

He has you grow cukes and melons on verticle structures. They look pretty good, stay clean, ripen faster, have fewer pest & disease problems. Only down side is smaller yield per plant. A big upside is I can grow more varieties in the same space. Nothing like a tomato platter with 7 or 8 varieties on it.

Ciao!

Rene Marie

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #117 on: February 21, 2007, 02:27:51 AM »
Boy, once the gardeners in us get going, the sewing machines sit idle, I guess! How interesting what different climate/weather issues we all deal with.

Peter - I lived in North Cambridge, off Mass Ave near Alewife Brook Parkway in 82-84; Porter Sq area from 86-91; and college was Wellesley, so we were always in Cambridge on weekends in the late 70's (class of 80) between Harvard & MIT. And, QueenBee, I am also in Armenian country here. The next town west, Watertown, has one of the largest expat Armenian populations in the country.

Like Redhead I am, technically, in Zone 6, being so close to the ocean, but we have an icy hand on most of the winter. The ground freezes hard for up to a good 3 months. I don't dare put out the transplants until at least Mother's Day and most people put theirs out Memorial Day, probably because it's a long weekend more than anything. On "tax day" (or Patriots' Day here in MA, 3rd Monday in April) we plant our peas. Peas started on Patriots Day yield actual peas by the 4th of July, as the saying goes.

QueenBee I try to get things to grow up as much as possible, mainly because I am trying to plant too much for my space. I keep threatening to trellis my indeterminate tomato varieties and this year I promise I will. I ran the cukes up the chain link fence along the back last summer - no sense building extra when there's a wall where you need it. And the melon variety I want to grow is a small-fruited one, so training them up shouldn't be a problem.

OK now I am getting VERY ANTSY to start my seeds! And I can't really for a few weeks or my seedlings will be growing into the lights on my seed-starting bookcase!

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #118 on: March 01, 2007, 03:02:25 AM »
Well, spring is sprung, so to speak. We went for a drive to the foothills yesterday- HAD to get out of here, just too much trauma. There is a Blossom Trail thru the orchards and many of the fruit trees are in full bloom. The big bee boxes are in place and they were buzzing around. Snow is down to about 1300 feet, and the sky has been so clear, we could see across the valley to the Eastern slopes of the Coastal Range.

Temps will be scratching the 70's by the weekend and I should be back out into the garden, but I just don't care now. So, perk me up!!! Get me some nice *garden dreams* chatter going. FYI. when we were posting earlier in Feb. the *favorite son* cat, Howie, had just gotten sick. It turned out to be his kidneys, so at that point, despite heroic efforts by us , the vet & the cat, it was just too late. We lost him Monday morning, on the 26th. I'm just glad I had gotten him out into the garden again on Friday; he went into the kitty ICU Sat. AM and never came home.

So now I've lost all the excitement about the garden. If I can't get it going again pretty soon, we can pretty much forget about a nice veggie harvest or new flowers.. Right now I'm just sort of resenting all the new growth, new life, renewal aspect of spring. It sucks. Help me out here, if you can, ok?

Rene Marie

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #119 on: March 01, 2007, 03:21:06 AM »
Rene Marie
I am so sorry about Howie. Losing a cherished pet is always so hard.  :'(

I am also very jealous about your 70's, though. I hope I would be outside and elbow deep in dirt if I had the chance, loss or not. Honestly, I am sure that's how I would cope with loss - get outside and get dirty. The smell of freshly-turned dirt is better than perfume to me. Only baking bread smells better. Digging and working outside is therapeutic for me, not sure if it's the smell or the physical effort. I find that in mid-april when I prepare the pea plot and get those babies in the ground, I can much better handle the daily grind of work. It's the worst time of year at work for me, from mid-March to Mother's day, and just when I need to spend more time outside preparing the garden.


Offline peter

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #120 on: March 01, 2007, 03:23:25 AM »
Rene Marie,

I'm so sorry to hear about you losing Howie.  I still remember putting my first dog down and it's been about 7 years.  Our pets are just so innocent and loving, it's difficult to see them go.  There's some comfort in knowing you gave him a wonderful life, which I'm sure you did.  Yes, you need to be distracted.  We'll all do our best to get you revved up for soil turning.  

The winds have given us some rare clean air eh?  I gasped just today when on the freeway, being elevated I could see all the different mountain ranges to the north, with the San Bernadinos blanketed in white.  How old was Howie?  

take care,
Peter
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QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #121 on: March 01, 2007, 04:02:51 AM »
Betsy & Peter- thanks! Howie was 11 1/2, so no little snot nosed cat, but a real power player.  We've got a cool vet, who also feels that if they are not in pain to let them go on their own. Once it got bad the Little Man spiraled down really fast, then he perked up the last morning to say good bye. I joke with my husband that at this point I can go thru all the phases of grief in about 20 minutes.

Howie was a house cat who only went outside under strict supervision, so he's not so heavily imprinted onto every surface out there like he is in the house. I'm a wreck in the house right now. I actually went on 3 seperate walks today to get away from all of it.

Oh, Peter, the air is so clear! Also cold here today, to warm up in a few. It's been breezy, great clouds and visibility. And I'm out there feeling like Scrooge! *Humbug! Why is it sunny?! Don't you people know the cat is dead?! The cat can't enjoy this, why should any of you!* Something along those lines.

Yeah, the little guy was spoiled rotten, and he gave as good as he got. He really embraced life, so I'm trying really hard to get back there myself.

The soil here is almost water logged right now. We have gotten some good rain starting last Thursday. I've got spots out there that appear very moist, so no earth turning 'til about this time next week. And I super cleaned the front yard in early Feb, so not much to do out there until I can dig. Betsy, I think it's both the effort & the smell that is healing in the garden. Plus the dreams of what is possible, picturing your ideas and then seeing if you can get conditions right for them to happen. I got myself out there this afternoon with my tape to see how many paver stones it'll take for a small patio addition to the front porch. It's a large covered porch,10' wide and 7' deep, with an alcove for the door area that is 4 1/2' wide and totals 11' deep. I've got a comfy bench and little tea table and I want to pave out into the planter there under the eave so we've got a better place for potted plants and stands while keeping some leg room.

Well, back to reality for a while....

Rene Marie

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #122 on: March 01, 2007, 07:06:28 AM »
QueenBee, maybe a memorial garden?   :grouphug:

I had just planted Queen Elizabeth roses -big, beautiful, pink grandifloras- when I got the news my sister had died.  At first, I wanted to rip them back out -pink was her favorite color, and I was afraid that everytime I saw them in bloom I would feel miserable.  And, at first, I was.  But as time went by, I started thinking of the good things, and really remembering her life without crying.  Now, I've planted the whole front yard in pink -peach trees, pink roses, and pink annuals here and there. 

Maybe you could plant flowers the color of his eyes and coat, make a little pebbled (kitty litter) area with a bird bath or a sculptured mouse.... It might take a year or two, but planning and doing really help with the healing. :)
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QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #123 on: March 01, 2007, 05:57:56 PM »
DragonLady, thanks for the big hug.

I had sort of thought of that too. It's interesting, how the anger part of grief makes us want to destroy the beautiful things that remind us of who we lost. I certainly understand your response to the loss of your sister. How hard that must have been. I keep reminding myself how that pain and anger will change, with time, and it is replaced with happier thoughts. I imagine that has been the progression for you. But I'll tell you; yesterday I was wondering how much concentrated Roundup it would take to completely deforrest this place. And the day before you could have picked this place up for pennies on the dollar.

I like the memorial garden idea. We had talked about some sort of memorial/monument outside for him. Your pebbled area with a mouse or birdbath was clever. Thank you. I've been letting it roll in my head for a few hours, and it hit me. Roses. Howie loved to eat roses, except for the dark red ones, which can be better. I have about 35 roses now, and could never use anything on them except a soap spray for aphids, as Howie always got up on the table and chowed down. He could destroy 2 or 3 big ones at one setting. And he always purred and made little "mmmm-mmm" sounds while he ate them. So I'm thinking a rose needs to be there.

I've got an idea starting to form, that ties in with something I was already contemplating for awhile, so I'll let you all know soon.

Rene Marie

Offline DragonLady

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2007, 07:54:30 PM »
Quote
I like the memorial garden idea. We had talked about some sort of memorial/monument outside for him. Your pebbled area with a mouse or birdbath was clever. Thank you. I've been letting it roll in my head for a few hours, and it hit me. Roses. Howie loved to eat roses, except for the dark red ones, which can be better. I have about 35 roses now, and could never use anything on them except a soap spray for aphids, as Howie always got up on the table and chowed down. He could destroy 2 or 3 big ones at one setting. And he always purred and made little "mmmm-mmm" sounds while he ate them. So I'm thinking a rose needs to be there.

My cats love to eat roses, too.  That's what prompted planting the big bushes -I couldn't bring in a single bloom without it being consumed within seconds.  Now, I plan to put in about 50 more QE's, to completely hedge in one section of my yard.  It's just taking time, because my nursery never seems to have get than one or two every year, and they wanted to charge too much to special order a whole lot for me. :(

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Offline Jeanne

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2007, 09:37:34 PM »
Queen Bee, I am very sorry to hear about your loss.  We have a 13 year old cat, Pookie, who can't always jump up onto the bed anymore and I don't even want to think about losing her.  If you live in a warm enough zone you could plant a Howea in honor of Howie.  Howea is the Kentia Palm or Foster Sentry Palm and is hardy to zone 9.
Jeanne
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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #126 on: March 02, 2007, 01:23:26 AM »
Jeanne, thank you. The Howea is a possibility, I'm in zone 9, bordering on 8. I'll look it up.
DL, sorry you can't get more of the QE's easily. Here I would be able to, as there are a couple of places that specialize in roses. My favorite one lets you preorder for bareroot and gives a 15 to 20% discount when you do. Their philosophy is the customer is saving them money, as the plant will definitely be sold. I think I had to prepay, but big deal.

So on the north side of the house is a nice area that would be visible from the kitchen sink window as well as the breakfast nook. It's about 17' to the side yard fence there. It would be flanked on one side  by a Bleinheim apricot tree, beautiful pink blossoms now, followed by apricot (duh) colored fruit.
The other side would be my Wonderful pomegranite, with orangish blossoms, followed by fruit that starts red, turns green, then red (pomegranite red, duh again)  as it ripens. I keep a large plant saucer under the apricot tree full of water, originally for birds, but the cats use it for a watering hole.

This is the perfect spot. Howie was an apricot color short hair Tabby. I'm thinking an arch/arbor up against the fence, between the trees, with a climbing rose going up one side. The area will also need some plants that attract butterflys, bees and birds. Howie loved to chirp at anything flying and was an absolute connisour of crane flys. Did you know those long legs crackle when they are being crunched up?

The spot is partly sunny, and right now only has Miners Lettuce growing under and near the apricot tree. And there is already an angel statuette under each tree. I was planning on developing that area this year.  My dye table has been there for a couple of years and I started working on a new place for it this past fall.

You guys are terrific. The poor cat is gone, but I think this will turn into a fun project to help me get over it. Since we have several other cats, all getting older now, and the dogs are 10, this is an area I can add to for all of them.

Rene Marie

Edited, because I cannot spell, and 2! cats are helping me type this
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 01:26:38 AM by QueenBee »

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #127 on: March 02, 2007, 01:43:16 AM »
Oh!  It sounds like it will be both beautiful and serene -and will smell wonderful, too.  And the apricots will be great for canning and making sauces....  What a lovely, and fitting memorial for your beautiful kitty. :thumbsup:
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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #128 on: March 03, 2007, 11:16:34 PM »
Oh!  It sounds like it will be both beautiful and serene -and will smell wonderful, too.  And the apricots will be great for canning and making sauces....  What a lovely, and fitting memorial for your beautiful kitty. :thumbsup:

All true, DragonLady. Thanks for helping to get my mind going.

The weather (and my mood) have improved. Today will be 69, and the next 10 days are forcast at 70 to 79. Yes, next weekend will be almost 80 degrees!  Soon after that we usually get a brief cool down, then a rapid march, 7 to 10 degrees per day, into the mid 90's. We will have the occasional 1 to 2 day cool down, otherwise it will remain from 95 to 110  (or higher!) thru Halloween. Blink and we miss Spring here.

I found a great large urn to use out there, and 2 of my sewing mentors are Master Gardeners, so I'll get their input too. Then a neighbor just had a friend give him about 150 of those 1' cement paving stones, and he's giving me the surplus from his project for my porch area patio I mentioned earlier,as well as what I need for my dye area. Under the table will be sand, small gravel, then some pavers, for the legs, and a mixture of river rock and 1 to 2" round rocks. I don't usually spill, but the area can be rinsed down and any dye powder will settle low & not get disturbed.

Hope you all get time in your gardens if weather permits.

Rene Marie


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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #129 on: March 04, 2007, 08:02:09 PM »
Rene, I'm so sorry about Howie.  It's so hard to lose any kitty, but the special ones are the worst.  We're still missing our Catso.  It's been almost a year now, and I know how you feel about gardening, when your cat's gone.  I think you've gotten some wonderful ideas though, and I hope you're able to do a wonderful Howie Spot in the garden that will make you smile and think of him when you see it.  Much better than letting things go.  I know....

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Spring Report - What do you have blooming?
« Reply #130 on: March 05, 2007, 12:35:05 AM »
I spotted a lovely patch of daffodils in bloom yesterday.  They were on the south facing slope on a roadside drainage ditch and undoubtedly in a warm microclimate.  But if they are blooming, others can't be far behind.  So what is blooming in your neck of the woods?  My Witchhazel has been blooming since Christmas, but it doesn't count since it is a winter bloomer.

By the way, I grew up calling those cheery little yellow flowers "daffodils" (from Daddy's, Texas side of the family); "jonquils" (Mama's, Missouri family) and "narcissus" (friends and neighbors).  When I got to college I learned that Narcissus is the genus name and was taught that, in general, daffodils were the large flowered Narcissus that produced one bloom per stalk and jonquil was the smaller flowering Narcissus often with several blooms per stalk.  The vast majority of the students I currently teach called them  "Easter Lilies".  To me an Easter Lily is a Lilium longiflorium , the plant with several large fragrant, white trumpet shaped blooms, that will show up in church on Palm Sunday.  This name disagreement is always a good illustration of why I insist that my students learn scientific name as well as common names.
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Offline redhead

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #131 on: March 05, 2007, 01:00:03 AM »
My tomatoes are starting to germinate!  No sign of the peppers coming up yet, but they always seem to take longer.

Oh, and QueenBee, I still remember the last precious pet that I lost.  It was like she left this huge void in the household that took so long to close up.  And I mean huge, too, she was an English Mastiff of remarkable personality.  I'll never have another dog so special, I'm sure.  I will be thinking of you as you work through your loss.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 01:02:50 AM by redhead »

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Re: Spring Report - What do you have blooming?
« Reply #132 on: March 05, 2007, 04:48:08 AM »
The vast majority of the students I currently teach called them  "Easter Lilies".  To me an Easter Lily is a Lilium longiflorium , the plant with several large fragrant, white trumpet shaped blooms, that will show up in church on Palm Sunday.  This name disagreement is always a good illustration of why I insist that my students learn scientific name as well as common names.

Aren't plant names funny things?  Even worse than bird names for regional differences, I think.

There's an English Art Song that talks about the "Lent Lily" which turns out to be the daffodil.  That was a new one for me.  I agree about Easter Lilies being the large white ones.  Are they the same as the "Madonna Lily"?  (Another name challenge!)

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #133 on: March 05, 2007, 06:19:19 PM »
Liana, thanks for the name "Lent Lily".  I will add that to what I tell my students.  Madonna Lily, Lilium candidum, and Easter Lily, Lilium longiflorium, are closely related and do look a lot alike.  Madonna Lily is native to West Asia and Easter Lily is native to East Asia.  The US Pacific Northwest now leads the world in Easter Lily bulb production.
Jeanne
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QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #134 on: March 08, 2007, 01:18:11 AM »
Such nice people here....thank you for the additional kind comments regarding Howie. I'm pretty much past the shock, but boy we sure miss him.

I've worked on clearing his garden area....it's coming along. Probably won't get my dye table moved until I've finished my SWAP sewing, so nothing going in until early April. Besides, I've got to get the veggie beds prepped and planted.

It was 80 degrees yesterday. The orchards are blooming, mile upon mile, of gorgeous blossoms. We took a drive up to the hills and the Kings River, then down to Visalia, about 50 miles away, to enjoy the scenery. Wonderful. In downtown Visalia the streets are lined with Bradford pears, all blooming, and the planter areas were full of various daffodils, the big guys, and wind flowers. It was spectacular; we ate at a side walk cafe to really enjoy it all.

It will be low to mid 70's for a few days, then next M-W they are saying 81 to 83. Good grief! The soil went from water logged to the sunny areas need watering. I blinked, that's all. Everything is really waking up out there.

Rene Marie

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #135 on: March 08, 2007, 01:58:45 AM »
How lovely for you, ReneMarie, to have such warm days. We are in our longest, coldest, snap yet this winter in the northeast. It won't break until Friday mid-day and then Saturday and Sunday we could have a lot of rain. It's been in the 0 to 10 range overnight, extraordinarily cold for early March here in Boston. I thought I was done with my heavy coat - good thing I hadn't taken it to the cleaners for the season yet!

I have a few days off next week and will get my seeds started - about 8 weeks before I can put them out.

And Jeanne, to answer your question, I thought I saw a brave tulip starting to come up last weekend, but this terrific cold we've had since Sunday night has kept everything else from making its first appearance. We often have crocii up by now - not this year. That groundhog was wrong this year I think, after all!

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #136 on: March 15, 2007, 01:32:11 AM »
We've been sticking in the 80's for several days-should be mid 60's. Record highs the last 2 days. Peter, you must be sweltering. I saw mid 90's for LA area yesterday. We'll be back to upper 70's this weekend and days to come.
Everything is growing like a weed. Especially the weeds!! :o I actually have to water some things today; always a joy, as we are metered and pay for what we actually use. Not complaining; it's completely fair.

Hubby went & got the giant terra cotta urn yesterday as an early birthday present. I'm going to channel my inner Martha and do a mixed planting of verticle as well as trailing stuff. I'm going to get some of the terra cotta sealer they sell; it works pretty well to make them last a few years longer. It's not the super cheapy Mexican terra cotta, but it certainly isn't the high end Italian stuff either.

Will start the veggie beds on Monday. Weekend is fiber guild and Diane Ericson class, dinner out next two nights, and of course, corned beef and beer on St. Pat's Day Saturday. Who has time to garden or sew?

Rene Marie :celebrate:

Offline BetsyV

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #137 on: March 15, 2007, 02:08:12 AM »
After last week's frigid temps, we nearly hit 70 today.  :o

I was able to work in the driveway, getting my seeds started. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra (as an ornamental, personally I can't stand to eat the stuff), coleus. It's way too early to do any yardwork, the ground is still frozen HARD a couple of inches down. I need to review my other seeds and see if anything else needs 8 weeks. I don't think so, though, the next bunch need about 5 weeks I think.

It sure is hard to find big bags of sterile seed-starting mix. I really don't like to have "dirt" shipped; it seems a little silly, but then no one here has it until it's too late, really, if they get it at all. Oh well, I bought the stuff that had the least amount of fertilizer. We'll see what happens. I have some plain peat moss I can mix in and stretch it out, too.

Offline redhead

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #138 on: March 15, 2007, 02:35:48 AM »
I'm going to channel my inner Martha

I don't have an internal Martha, more of an internal Bertha... :hunting: urban survivalist. 

QueenBee

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Re: So...who enjoys gardening?
« Reply #139 on: March 16, 2007, 08:12:48 PM »
Hi! I need to rant, gardenwise, for a minute or two. Ok? I need to call a customer service line for something unrelated and don't want to take this out on the poor soul who is lucky enough to get my call.
RANT ALERT! ONLY READ IF YOU LIKE RANTS!
My mood :hunting:
My nice neighbors- ok, she is sweet, he is a dolt. I keep wanting to suggest "divorce" to her. Ok, their yard is a pigstye. Since they moved in, 3 or 4 years ago, it has ranged from lawn over watered and mowed 1 or 2 times a year, with lots of weed and a nandina hedge that literaly grew 4 feet one year it was so over watered. Oh, did I mention he used to be a *gardner*, among about 12 other things? Not bad for someone in their mid 20's. >:D It's ranged from that to last year they had the nandina ripped out-the only line of defence against weed seeds- then the "lawn "tilled, then nothing but overwatering. The weeds were up to 6 or 7 FEET tall! I never knew what mature Johnson grass looked like!!! Well, they became the poster child for why we need community service officers for code enforcement. A picture of it was in the community magazine, with my house in the background, that went into 125,000 mail boxes. Grrr.  They cleared it again- only because they were cited, then nothing until today. The weeds ranged to about 2 foot tall, all going to seed due to the heat.

Today, the #%$@@&* yard person they hired came and tilled it all under, leveled it, supposedly for a lawn, etc.

He piled all sorts of crud in my yard, dug into my yard, put about 20 shovels of dirt clods onto some flowers and a rose bush. The rose is about 4 foot into my property. I am LIVID. I didn't see it until they had left and my neighbor was gone also by then. There is no reason for so much as a twig to be in my yard from this. I have railroad ties along the property line from the fence to about 12 feet from the front. They dug up my yard from there forward as though they were inside their property. Then they angled over into my yard even further.

I left a pretty nasty pair of messages on their machine, then called the hubbies cell and gave him an ear full. It concludes with all taken care of this wekend or the attorney & police are called on Monday, per my husband. I said I was livid.

If you read this, thanks for the rant. Rene Marie

 

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