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vineyridge
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:38 PM
I live alone, so don't need a huge garden. In the distant past my vegetable gardening was done with rows just like row crop farming, and I knew how to plant those. The idea of a bed is completely new, and I have no idea how to proceed.

I've just marked off the bed and am in the process of putting down plastic edging. I've already spaded by hand one foot at one end, and the physical labor is exhausting. But I'm planning to spade in manure from the horses to add to the tilth. Got an old dog crate that is 4 x 3, I think, which will be erected at one end of the bed.

So what can one plant in a bed this size? I'm thinking 3 tomatoes, 3 bell peppers, 2 eggplant, and marigolds for insect control will take up 8x4, but what should I do with the other 4 feet?

Heliodoro
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:52 PM
Cucumbers, beans, lettuce all come to mind as they don't require a ton of space like squash does or overtake the garden, like raspberries do.

Sunflowers are nice as a back row and the birds love them!

Alagirl
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:57 PM
all kinds of herbs. Chives, parsley basil....

You don't have to go in blocks though. you can under plant, edge the bed in marigolds, put garlic in, also good for pest control. sunflowers, something for the eye...

A bit of spinach, or lettuce. though they get to be meh when it gets warm (I just got a bunch of different kinds and mixed it together, my own 'mesclune'.


What else... drawing a blank here...
I'd say peas, but it's to late for the english kind now. A couple of strawberry plants for snacking (remember, they are perennial!)

4Martini
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:03 PM
Personally I love peas and green beans. I would put in a trellis and grow those. You can also do zucchini and cukes on a trellis to save space.

Alagirl
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:07 PM
oh on Zucs...since you are alone, I think 1!!! mount is plenty....or all your neighbors will hide from you till fall! :yes:

Wraper2
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:19 PM
Sunflowers are nice as a back row and the birds love them!

Horses love them too!!

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:27 PM
My beds are 4x12 on the outside, making them 3x11 on the inside. I can get essentially three rows across.

They say tomato, eggplant or pepper plant needs about 1 square foot. In my typical "Italian food" bed, I get 7 tomatoes down the center, 8 peppers down one side, and 4 eggplants down the other. I put a marigold on each end, with a basil plant on each corner. I put three nasturtium in the center of each long side. You could also put your 3 peppers and 2 eggplants down one side, and use the other side for a row of beans or carrots or lettuce.

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:32 PM
Try the Gardeners.com planner. http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KGPJS

You can enter your bed size, then drag and drop what you want into the grid and it will show you how many go in each square foot. Then you can print it out.

JB
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:34 PM
You would LOVE to get a book on Square Foot gardening (http://www.squarefootgardening.com/):)

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:38 PM
Check out Square Foot Gardening and rotational gardening...cool season first (radishes, spinach, lettuce, peas etc) while warm season plants are sprouting in pots and then plant the warm season stuff and harvest and then repeat cool season in the fall. Also in beds you can plant a lot closer together than in rows, use edges for herbs etc. Use poles, wire panels etc to grow vining stuff on so you dont use up square footage...ie...you can grow things like cukes or cantelope up a trellis rather than have them sprawl. Use determinant type tomatoes so they don't grow all over the place (or bush type) or cage them.

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2011, 03:52 PM
Or prune them. Tomatoes don't have to be unruly monsters. If you aren't an heirloom fanatic, and just want one good tomato plant for sandwiches and stuff, a single Celebrity plant would probably keep you in maters all summer. I stopped planting that variety because I just couldn't eat them fast enough.

Rotating crops just requires a little study and some trial and error. You can plant peas and lettuce in the early spring and have them out of there in time for bush beans or summer squash to have a full season.

Cukes don't really want to climb, but with some training, you can keep them on a trellis. For some reason, mine always seem to grow to the east, so I always put them on that side of the bed and police them daily to keep them on the up and up.

vineyridge
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:03 PM
Should mention that the bed is oriented North/South. That means shade from tall plants or trellis in either the morning or afternoon depending on which side they go in. I would consider putting in a few okra plants of the classic variety, but they grow very tall. Should I have oriented the long side east/west?

Tomatoes will be caged. I only plant Marglobes and Rutgers, the old fashioned hybrids. Might get a Beefsteak for the 3rd plant.

Definitely green beans and or limas on a trellis, but wondering again about shade. Haven't planted crawling ones, but always went with bush beans We used to plant lady peas or crowders, but they crawl everywhere. I guess there's a reason they are called field peas.

It's too late here to plant cool season veggies--that means lettuce, radish, carrots, green peas, etc. are out. It's almost too late for summer squash and zucchini. One of each should be more than enough. I've heard that planting tomatoes on the outside of a compost bin is a good thing, so I could spade around the dog crate and plant there.

I'm so used to having so much gardening space for everything that trying to imagine how to grow sprawlers in a small space is mindboggling.

SGray
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:19 PM
have heard on several gardening shows (Victory Garden for one) that '3 sisters' works great -- corn, beans, squash grown together -- the beans use the corn as a trellis and the squash grows around the bottom -- and each provides aid to each other

vineyridge
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the Gardener's Supply Website. It's really helpful.

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:31 PM
You can grow sprawlers on the edge if you don't mind stepping over them.

My beds run pretty true north to south with a little extra sun on the west side, so with the tomatoes down the middle, each side gets a little shade. I've found bell peppers actually prefer a little filtered sunlight on the east side. Bush beans though, did better on the west side for afternoon sun than they did on the east side. If you plant your tomatoes across the north end instead of down the middle, you won't have to worry about it at all.

deltawave
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:31 PM
Hard to have success with corn in a small plot.

My bed is about 8x8 and I normally do one tomato, 3-4 bell peppers, one whole row of broccoli, one cuke, one zucchini, some leeks, and the rest is for experiments. Not all of which work out, like the asparagus that the dog used for a nest and the "mini" pumpkins that sprawled everywhere! :lol:

One corner is for basil and parsley, and the mutant potted strawberry plant that will NOT DIE. I may do some bush beans this year--not wild about things that climb.

My garden sits on the east side of my barn and really likes the afternoon shade. Our summer days are LOOONG and it's just too much sun for a lot of veggies.

SGray
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:51 PM
ahh deltawave -- you are much wiser than I (my thumb is fairly brown -- I have to plant only indestructable varieties)

http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html
says at least 10x10 for success


I currently have some tomatoes, fennel, herbs in pots and have not yet killed them -- but give me a little more time

2DogsFarm
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:59 PM
I tried 2 of the 3 Sisters last year - pumpkins planted at the base of sweet corn.

Something ate the corn before it had a chance to grow more than a foot tall.
But the pumpkins were HU-MONGOUS!
I planted both on my compost-based "barn garden" - really just a pile of stall cleanings right outside a fenceline.
This year potatoes are going there along with another try at sweet corn.

OP:
I have a small Just Me garden - maybe 16' square with four 8' square beds at each corner & paths across the middle.
I get plenty of produce from these beds & really only plant 3 of them as the 4th has a rhubarb plant that takes up the space.
3 or 4 tomato plants give me enough for eating & surplus to freeze, a couple zucchini plants more than keep me, friends & coworkers in zukes.

I've experimented with eggplant (fail), bell peppers (fail), onions (major fail) & potatos (Success!) along with basil & butternut squash (Major Success!!).

This year I wintersowed seeds for carrots, beets, corn & cucumbers.
All sprouted and as soon as we have our last frost (near Mothers Day) the seedlings will go into the ground.

Don't worry about planting more than you can use. You can always freeze the surplus - I don't even bother to blanch or cut up things - just wash & fill freezer bags.

Fairview Horse Center
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:03 PM
1 cucumber and 1 pepper will feed a person easily, but the cucumbers I have had have needed more space than the squash! How to I grow them on a trellis? I love fresh green/yellow beans, so they are a must for me. Cantaloupe?

vineyridge
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:38 PM
If I were to make a bed of nothing but barnyard muck, which is mostly composted manure + a bit of soil + straw and hay that the horses have scattered around, can I grow a couple of watermelons?

From my choice of veggies, you certainly can tell what region I hail from. :) Some of them didn't even make the Gardener's Supply website, although I'm not sure that limas aren't included in generic "beans". They don't even have field peas mentioned on their website.

Has anyone here tried Jerusalem artichokes. Native, tall sunflowery looking plants that have tubers. Down here, once started, they are very, very perennial.

deltawave
Apr. 7, 2011, 06:47 PM
I have had NO luck with melons in my compost+soil mix gardens. This may be due to too much sun and not enough water--melons are VERY thirsty. I have not tried since relocating my garden to the east side of the barn, however.

People will mutter dire prophecies about a problem with melons when using compost from horses who are fed hay that is grown commercially--something about the stuff used to treat the hay not composting well--but I haven't been able to find anything definite on that score. I have sworn off things that grow on vines for a couple of years after last year's butternut squashes from hell. I think I *still* have a few in the tack room! :lol:

But temptation being what it is, I am thinking about grabbing some young melon, pumpkin, and squash vines at the Farmer's Market and tucking them behind the compost pile, where it's shady and isolated, and letting Mother Nature have her way with them. :D

JB
Apr. 7, 2011, 07:13 PM
If I were to make a bed of nothing but barnyard muck, which is mostly composted manure + a bit of soil + straw and hay that the horses have scattered around, can I grow a couple of watermelons?
Absolutely! You may have to water more often due to the composition of the soil not holding as much water, but I have grown some pretty serious squash-things in my compost pile without doing a thing. It was a bit shaded though, so didn't lose water like a "real" plot would


From my choice of veggies, you certainly can tell what region I hail from. :) Some of them didn't even make the Gardener's Supply website, although I'm not sure that limas aren't included in generic "beans". They don't even have field peas mentioned on their website.

Gardner's Supply isn't where I'd look for a variety :) Park Seed and Burpee are 2 good ones with a huge variety.

Zwarte
Apr. 7, 2011, 07:54 PM
I'd think you'd want to look into getting a mini-tiller - they come in gas (2 cylinder and 4 cylinder) as well as electric. This would help you manage your soil, manure, weeds and to some extent, your desire to work in the garden when it gets HOT by reducing the drudge factor.


Google mantis tiller , or Honda tiller fg110 for starters.

SmartAlex
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:12 PM
A Mantis would quickly throw most of your material out of the raised bed. The neighbor we share our garden has one, and I refer to it as the "bastard son of a chain saw" and keep my shoe laces away from it. We had better luck with the small Toro working up the beds after we built them. And, since the initial tilling, all I've had to do was work the beds by hand. I imagine some lasagna gardening will be sufficient for the next 10 years or so. The Mantis IS excellent for breaking up virgin wilderness though. I use it on our woodline to establish a bed for ground cover. It will cut into stuff the Toro just skips over.

As for the Jerusalem Artichokes, I hear they are pretty invasive. Or make that, pretty AND invasive ;)

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:12 PM
Check out www.eldoradoheirloomseeds.com too. They have a great kit (might be a bit more seeds than you really need but share with a neighbor!) and tons of info. All heirloom varieties, no genetically modified and some really interesting plants dating back long years.

Kestrel
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:49 PM
I have one of these: http://www.blackanddecker.com/outdoor/GC818.aspx It would be perfect for raised beds, or at least the top 8" or so. That would probably be fine, since raised beds don't compact like in-ground beds that get walked on. You could probaly do a 12'x4' bed on one battery charge. I have multiple batteries for mine.

vineyridge
Apr. 9, 2011, 04:10 PM
Got another 2' deep spaded, cleaned and as many nut grass nuts removed as I could find while working the dirt with my hands this morning early, which means that I now have 4 x 4 done.

Would railroad ties do for the outside edging? They have been heavily treated with something. Or should I just go with 1 x 6s or 2 x 6s? Not going with pressure treated if I buy the lumber. Can't afford the plastic lumber and cedar isn't available here.

My plan is to put the outside edging down, then add and spade in the manure/compost/barnyard muck to make the bed properly raised.

Funny thing. I just saw an add for a hiller, which makes conventional rows, described as making raised beds. Gotta say that I had never thought of regular rows as "raised beds". :)

JB
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:14 PM
Any chance of finding old railroad ties? Most of the creosote has leached out and they are a lot cheaper than buying new.

Rows = "raised beds" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Your hand turning is so much better for the soil Tilling over time destroys its integrity. You'll be thankful in the end, assuming you can keep up with the work (which I know is not easy, but will get easier as it becomes more loamy)

jawa
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:27 PM
Here's another good seed site http://www.johnnyseeds.com/default.aspx?source=google_johnnys_seeds&gclid=CJic4IewkKgCFQVy5QodIE7DCw

JB
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:25 PM
Yep, Thompson and Morgan is another good one

Alagirl
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:29 PM
Got another 2' deep spaded, cleaned and as many nut grass nuts removed as I could find while working the dirt with my hands this morning early, which means that I now have 4 x 4 done.

Would railroad ties do for the outside edging? They have been heavily treated with something. Or should I just go with 1 x 6s or 2 x 6s? Not going with pressure treated if I buy the lumber. Can't afford the plastic lumber and cedar isn't available here.

My plan is to put the outside edging down, then add and spade in the manure/compost/barnyard muck to make the bed properly raised.

Funny thing. I just saw an add for a hiller, which makes conventional rows, described as making raised beds. Gotta say that I had never thought of regular rows as "raised beds". :)


pressure treated is fine to use, really. better than the railroad ties, though I would not hesitate to use them in non food applications.

But raised is everything that is not flat on the ground.

A nice book to read is by John Seymoore 'the self sufficient life' he also has a gardening book.

He does prepare the beds by digging deep and all that jazz, and then never setting foot on it again, only from the path next to it (he also used the good topsoil from the paths and put them on the beds.)

Here, another way to have raised beds:
http://www.biozac.de/biozac/biogart/huegel.htm

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:44 PM
You can use railroad ties...older is better but if they are newer ones simply use fence staples and put a layer or two of plastic inside and down to ground level...if using only one layer of ties you can even tuck the lower edge of the plastic under the ties so whatever water leaches anything out of the ties is directed outward from the root area of you plants.

Another thing you can do is simply outline the area you want to use with hay or straw bales...2 or 3 strand bales work very well...you lay them flat on the ground end to end like bricks and then just fill in the center area. In a year or two they are going to get pretty old and ugly so you pick them up and dump them in the compost pile and just use them the following year to make your garden even better. Old alfalfa is awesome due to all the nitrogen in it (around here one way to improve the soil is to actually buy rabbit pellets or alfalfa pellets for horses and blend into the soil...our soil has so little organic stuff in it that this is a real improvement...expensive but it jump starts things until a compost pile is working well). You can often find old bales with farmers/ranchers that are growing hay and just didn't get it all sold. The small bales here (3 strands, about 125 lbs each) get used in a row along the center of the top of the big hay stacks for the big bales (3 strands, 3x4x8 feet and 1250 lbs) and then the hay tarps are put over the stack..the small bales allow a slant to the tarps so water/snow doesn't pool and also allows for a tunnel for air circulation...they are good for about a year and then they sell them to me for $1 each....takes 8 to make a 4 x 12 space) AND you get bench seating to do your gardening work..no more being on your knees. Set your bales, put 1/2 inch layer of cardboard or newspaper down and fill the bed with your planting mix...compost, manure, peat moss, planting soil..whatever you are using ....the layer of cardboard/ newspaper keeps weeds/grass from growing up through and into the bed.

deltawave
Apr. 9, 2011, 07:27 PM
Ooh, kestrel, thanks . . . Just found one of those nifty cordless tillers on overstock.com for $85 and grabbed it! That will save me a half-day's aggravation every spring renting one for the half hour I need it. :yes:

vineyridge
Apr. 10, 2011, 12:11 PM
More progress report.

I spaded another six inches, set up the dog crate compost bin, and hauled a cart load of manure from the barn and dumped it in the compost bin, which is now about 1/3 full. I have another cart that is partly full to add that has lots of old hay. I also have a couple of stalls that really need stripping. :)

Would it work to just put down many newspapers and make mounds for squashy/melon stuff without going to the trouble to do the spading. Everything is/will be within a hose length from a faucet.

The spading is hard work, but I do think it's necessary.

I'm trying to do this without spending any money at all and just using what I already have on hand--and I have a lot on hand, including an old roll of weed block fabric. I was wondering if I could cover the whole bed with the weed block and plant THROUGH it? Would it control the nut grass (purple and yellow sedge) and the bermuda grass? My recollection is that I always had to fight those in the past, and the fight was often a losing battle.

Fairview Horse Center
Apr. 10, 2011, 12:15 PM
The first year I gardened here, I just dumped old manure in a pile, and spread it about 6" high with no turning the ground. It was about 3' x 12'. It was the best garden I have ever had. :lol:

vineyridge
Apr. 10, 2011, 12:19 PM
Now THIS gives me hope.


The first year I gardened here, I just dumped old manure in a pile, and spread it about 6" high with no turning the ground. It was about 3' x 12'. It was the best garden I have ever had. :lol:

One thing that I recall worked really well for tomatoes in the past was to use only blood and bone meal for fertilizer and work it into the planting hole. The bone meal gives calcium, phosphorus and potassium, and the blood meal gives nitrogen. I believe I may even have a box of each somewhere. Going to have to search.

Is Bonnie Plants only in the South? It's a very old company that produces transplants that are always healthy and grow well.
http://www.bonnieplants.com/

Bluey
Apr. 10, 2011, 12:53 PM
For the 4' end, how about half strawberries, half aspargus, that are permanent beds you won't have to replant every year?
Or carrots for the horses.:cool:

Alagirl
Apr. 10, 2011, 02:37 PM
safe some of the old hay to mulch!
In a good garden there should be no bare soil. keeps weeds out and water in. :)

vineyridge
Apr. 10, 2011, 04:39 PM
How about dead magnolia leaves for mulch? They are very thick and leathery and shouldn't allow moisture to escape. They don't break down quickly either.

JB
Apr. 10, 2011, 09:27 PM
Yes, you can cover with several (several!) layers of newspaper and make holes/mounds in it to plant, or plant and then do the newspaper. You don't HAVE to spade everything over, though for the first time, if the ground is really compacted, it makes a difference. Simply adding organic material on top every year, lightly scratching it in (better than really turning it over, you want the stuff on top and working down, not down and working lower) will make things nice over the years.

I would not use landscape fabric for a veggie garden.

CatOnLap
Apr. 10, 2011, 10:43 PM
I start new areas of garden by throwing about a foot and a half of fresh manure and bedding straight down on top of the turf in the fall- and during the winter I keep adding to it as it "sinks". In spring I bring up some well composted manure and spread it on top for about 4 inches. This grows mighty pumpkins,(had a 75 pounder last year), acorn & spaghetti squash and even melons if its watered and warm enough. Thats the first year. The second year, when its a little more civilized and soil like, I add topsoil and dig it together with more fresh manure and grow peas and tomatoes in it. I also recycled my paper feed bags as mulch around a lot of plantings last year and it cut my weeding way down. Just slit the bags open, and spread them out and covered them up with 4 inches of composted manure and shavings to hold them down, then watered them in.

deltawave
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:59 AM
Went looking for my wandering labrador yesterday and stopped at her usual place--my neighbors (1/4 mile away) who are never home. The dog wasn't there, but the neighbors were, we got to chatting and he wants my WHOLE compost pile, EVERY year. Woohoooo! Apparently he is an avid pumpkin hobbyist, who knew? :lol:

He was as good as his word, has his own tractor and trailer, and by the end of the day the pile was virtually gone. Just enough left for my proposed benign neglect pumpkin/squash/melons-run-wild experiment, which he told me would probably work great.

One less thing to worry about. :)

SmartAlex
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:39 AM
Regarding Landscape Fabric: I would rather fight with the weeds than the landscape fabric any day.

JB
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:45 AM
Yep, I only use the fabric in perennial beds.

SmartAlex
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:13 AM
Oh I hate it there too. It causes way more troubles than it solves for me. The only place I have it now is where the Lilly of the Valley refuses to die. I expect the Lily will win out in the end.

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:32 AM
One less thing to worry about. :)

I advertize mine on Craigslist every fall after I've used what I want/need. Gets it gone, room for more to build up through the winter and be ready for the next fall. People driving out here with trucks/trailers and shovels all the way from Reno (and sold a horse to one!)

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:34 AM
Saw a new one being advertized on DIY network yesterday...biodegradable..use one season and work into the soil in the fall. Looked like a good idea. I think it was available at Lowes.

vineyridge
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:37 PM
Do you all know about AM Leonard? They sell nursery supplies and have good quality things. www.amleo.com

They have all kinds of mulch fabrics and mats from natural sources that rot.

Alagirl
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:11 PM
For the 4' end, how about half strawberries, half aspargus, that are permanent beds you won't have to replant every year?
Or carrots for the horses.:cool:

Re: Asparagus: They last a whole lot longer than Strawberries. you really don't want them in a confined area like that bed...in an out of the way part of the garden, dig a trench and amend the soil liberally, since that will be the best time you can do so easily deep down. then plant your crowns and fill the trench back in. The first year or 2 you mostly let the green grow, then you can cut the sprouts. If you cover the row with a bock, or mount it you can harvest white sprouts instead of green.

But it's not something you want to work around on a small plot.
Strawberries only last 3 or 4 years...

deltawave
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:55 PM
I advertize mine on Craigslist every fall after I've used what I want/need. Gets it gone, room for more to build up through the winter and be ready for the next fall. People driving out here with trucks/trailers and shovels all the way from Reno (and sold a horse to one!)

Normally I get rid of most of mine via Freecycle and Craigslist, too, but it's always nice to have a big chunk of the pile disappear. :yes:

Emails from my "regulars" are already coming in, after an exceptionally warm weekend. :lol:

subk
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:25 PM
I got the veggies in yesterday. Tomatoes: Better Boy, Early Girl, Sweet 100, Bradley, Roma and a heirloom Mr. Stripy, one of each. Some peppers, some purple cabbage that I just put in 'cause I like that purple color, some snap peas, bush green beans (seeds) and I found some cucumbers (seeds) that aren't vines but more bush-like. And some lettuce plants that probably won't give me more than a few weeks of lettuce--it's a little late for it around here so I've interspersed leeks between the rows to take over the space as it gets too hot for the lettuce.

The herbs on the other side of the walkway are waiting for the blueberry bushes to go in first so they don't get trampled when we plant the bushes. But I got rosemary, sage, two different thymes, flat leaf parsley, basil, oregano, cat nip (like the cat will let that live for long) and stevia. I've thrown some bee balm and lambs ears in the mix too.

Since this is a kitchen garden I'll walk through every time I leave the house and not just a square bed in the back yard I've added flowers too. Yellow marigolds around the tomatoes, climbing nasturtium and morning glory seeds for the picket fence. I'm sure I won't be able to resist a few additions as I'm headed next week to get perennials for the back garden.

If it sounds like a lot of planting, it is! We moved into our new house a few weeks ago so everything is starting at the beginning. I feel like I'm racing to get it all done as our last freeze date is later this week. There is a real sense of something good though as I've used two years of composted manure from my four horses in my beds!

JB
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:36 PM
Be careful about Catnip LOL - you may end up with a LOT more than you intended. If you are only planting it for the aesthetics, consider Walker's Low Catmint - not "uninvasive" like they say, but VERY polite about it.

Same with Lamb's Ears - around here anyway it can get pretty out of control.

SmartAlex
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:44 PM
I've never found catnip to be invasive. I have it fenced to keep it from being murdered by stray cats, and I still have to replant every couple of years.

Spearmint and Oregano... now THOSE I am continually having to corral. But nothing reseeds in my garden as bad as Bachelor's Buttons. I suppose each garden is perfect for an onslaught of some perennial.

JB
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:54 PM
BB :mad: :mad: :mad: I just pulled up a few dozen yesterday. It's funny - it was in a wildflower mix I planted in one strip about 6 years ago. It was well-behaved in there. Then about 3 years ago *one* plant escaped and since then it's been an uphill battle :(

I don't have trouble with oregano at all LOL

Oddly enough, I had butterfly bushes at my old house - 20 miles from here. I planted several at this house, and there are babies *everywhere* :mad: Same with my Beautyberry Bush - no volunteers there, bordering invasive here.

subk
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:52 PM
Saturday was the first time I ever used my own compost. I've been hoarding it for two years specifically for my new beds. There was something incredibly satisfying about loading it with the FEL, taking it to the house and amending my fresh soil with it. When my daughter said something about it being free, I smiled. Two years worth of grain, hay and pellets--not free just under utilized 'til now! :smile:

Thanks for the heads up on the cat nip, I forget it's a mint. At my old house I could never get much of a stand going as the kitties tended to demolish it--natural predators so to speak. :lol: If truth be known it isn't something I'd normally put in, but mr. subk is fond of the idea so I do it for him. Of course it's "his" vegetable garden too, I just plan it, plant it, mulch it and weed it.

I avoid all other mints too. Occasionally I'll put a pot of it beside the house and under the hose spicket and if it starts to give me the evil eye pitch it. I've never had a problem (or heard of one around here) with the lamb's ear and while I know bee balm can get out of hand it never has for me. Right now with some brand new gardens to fill a perennial that is quick on the uptake for some fill-in would be appreciated. At the old house the never ending battle was with inland sea oats, but that's just because by fall I get complacent about gardening and let it go to seed.

JB
Apr. 11, 2011, 06:35 PM
I *love* Rudbeckia for filling in. They are good self-sowers without being rampant, and the babies are SO easy to transplant in the Spring if you want to move them. Well, here anyway LOL

I love phlox for any edges that have an overhang. They spread fairly quickly, a smidge to an uphill side, much more quickly to any downhill side, so perfect for edges of raised/mounded beds.

The Walker's Low Catmint I mentioned is also a fairly fast growing perennial.

Russian Sage is great for some height, less with the lower varieties (about 2') and more with the taller ones (4-5'). Also relatively fast growing, but not solid, so they are nice if you want to see things beyond them.

Blueberries can serve many functions - great flowers in the Spring, pretty bushes in Summer, gorgeous Fall colors, AND you get the berries! The are also relatively quick growers, but don't expect full height in a year or two.

vineyridge
Apr. 11, 2011, 08:33 PM
You HAVE to interplant tomatoes and peppers with marigolds. It just works.

Alagirl
Apr. 11, 2011, 08:39 PM
also, Garlic is a wonderful addition to plants that tend to suffer mildew issues (like phlox)

JB
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:02 PM
Certain marigolds are better. The Guardian (http://www.parkseed.com/gardening/PD/1308/) is fantastic. One word of caution though- they self-sew like mad LOL Not necessarily a bad thing. Easy enough to pull out if you don't want them where they land (and they will land many places). These aren't as pretty as others though, the cutting varieties.