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Gardening 2020

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    Gardening 2020

    We are still covered in snow. But yesterday, it just seemed a bit like spring in the air. The longer days help with this observation I think. We may still get more winter, and my veggie garden is frozen solid and white. But yesterday, I started.

    I've started celery indoors, in small pots. I've never started celery before. I grew some a couple years ago, from a six pack I bought at the local garden center (which is an AWESOME place called "Desert Hills"). And I'd always thought that celery was difficult to grow, but was proven wrong when a young friend who was an extremely inexperienced gardener successfully grew it in her garden, much to my amazement. So the next year, I bought the six pack, and had fresh celery whenever I wanted it, all summer long. So last year, I went looking for the six pack of seedlings at the garden center. There weren't any. I looked at other garden centers too, with no luck. Apparently, the local yuppies in Vancouver had decided that "celery juice" is the key to eternal life and health, and you couldn't even buy celery at the grocery store either. Or if you could, it was expensive due to the demand. And that extended to seedling six packs as well, apparently. It was THAT BAD!!! I was enraged. It was too late by then to start from seed, so I had no celery last year. But the seed store sold me a packet of seeds, and told me that February was the time to start them. So they got STARTED yesterday.

    Wish me luck. Probably this year, the celery juice fad will have moved on, and the six packs of seedlings will be available, but if not, I may have enough seedlings to repopulate the earth. I hope. I have notoriously bad luck with starting seedlings indoors. Time to get started on the veggie garden!

    Just to keep this equine oriented, my last winter's manure pile was delivered into the garden last fall, currently frozen in piles, ready to spread (once melted) prior to rototilling in this spring. Horses and gardening go together great! "Sustainable farming".

    We are having a very early spring here in the other Vancouver area-- I need to mow my lawn for heaven's sake! I am going to be amending my existing raised beds with quality soil this year. I plan on potatoes, carrots, green beans and beets for veggies. I used to grow tomatoes but they don't ripen here until late August/September and my husband hates them so they seem a waste.I am shifting one extra bed over to my dahlias (already have two). I'm also planning on a redesign of my back yard flower beds as well as adding annuals to the bed that fronts the house. I have shrub roses in there but need more color.

    I usually put giant pots of geraniums along the front walk/porch and have wintered last year's plants over in the garage, along with my 15 year old scented geraniums. I love them, as I can rub my hands through the leaves and have the best "cologne" in the world.

    My artichokes are doing great and fully expect a bumper crop this spring. I cannot wait! Fresh chokes are the best!!
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


      Oh yes! I have my seeds, most of them, and my indoor starting supplies. Last year I started a bit too early, LOL, so will wait a couple more weeks.

      Sticking with the basics this year: tomatoes, zucchini, cukes. Things like that. But for the rest of my gardening?? HMMM. I have a gift certificate to Joy Creek Nursery in Scappoose, and am planning a trip there around Mothers Day.

      I also have some (more) bareroot roses on order.

      I've been out weeding and pruning as the weather allows. I planted some new things last year and I'm looking forward to how they do this year. I have one bed that's not finished and that I need to do some rearranging in, so will work on that.

      I bring home buckets of manure from the barn and dump into my gardening area. The blueberries love it!

      Last year I planted some Blackcaps and I'm hoping they produce this year.


        Original Poster

        Calvincrowe OOOOHH! where do you find artichokes? I've been wanting to try planting them, can't find them anywhere. Those are Jerusalem Artichokes right? The tubers? Perennials. Do deer eat the plants- do you know? I have a bed available, but it is outside of my deer fenced garden area. The deer ate the squash I had in there last year, they eat the flowers as soon as they come out! And the leaves, you wouldn't think they would, but they did, the buggars. We have alfalfa everywhere, and the dam deer eat the squash plants! So I'm looking for something durable, little work involved, that will survive deer. And substantially cold winters. And perennials are nice. I could learn to eat artichokes I think.


          Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
          We are having a very early spring here in the other Vancouver area-- I need to mow my lawn for heaven's sake!
          Same except what looks like overgrown lawn is actually a marsh and you'll sink

          I did a lot of tomatoes last year, brussel sprouts, potatoes, multiple crops of carrots, sugar snap peas, corn, lettuce and spinach, squashes, tried melons (failed somewhere), blueberries, and planted fruit trees. This year I'm going to continue the carrot trend and devote a whole raised bed to them I think, lots of potatoes, sugar snap peas and some regular shelling peas, spinach, lots of squashes of different types (soft and hard skinned varieties), corn, no melons or brussel sprouts and probably no tomatoes or maybe just a few plants from the farm store. This is year two for the asparagus I planted so I may sneak a few stalks off those. I'm also doing a lot more flowers, a LOT. Like... I over-ordered seeds I need to put in some bunny fence for my already fenced garden, I have five ground level holes for squashes to move them out of the raised beds, so I have room for flowers.
          COTH's official mini-donk enabler

          "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


            NancyM No, real artichokes with pokey spines and all. I lost one but the other is growing like gang busters.

            I plan on adding zucchini to my list too. Oh and I usually plant a bunch of pumpkins next to my manure bins for our art program at school. They do sculpture with them.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              Love that this conversation has already started this year. I'm planning on spending some time this weekend to sketch out what to grow in my established beds (I have 4 raised beds that are 5x20 feet each).

              I love growing potatoes in the one area that I re-feed with manure every year. I had some great luck with shallots last year, and love to have red onions in the garden. A summer crop that was really nice was Shishito peppers ... we toss them in olive oil and grill them - delicious! Bizarrely, every one of my raspberry bushes died last year, and I want to replant this year.


                How fun! I'm in N Texas and can, theoretically, keep something growing in my garden all year long.

                Just pulled the last of my radish and turnips, and have a few cabbage, brussels sprouts, and mustard greens nearing maturity. Transplanted beets, cauliflower and bok choi in a make-shift cold frame this weekend. Have tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, herbs and a few early spring flowers germinating and/or under lights in my craft room right now, too.

                I have trouble using my horse manure, because fire ants ALWAYS take it over January I tossed down some cardboard and will see if I can keep the ants out of a small compost pile.


                  loving this thread. With the longer days the birds are singing a lot and it feels spring-is, even if temps will be horrid over the weekend.

                  Need to start peas in March outdoors here in SE PA. Beets maybe a little later. I have trouble hardening off plants started indoors (think 100% mortality) so I wait to plant outside. The catalogues have TONS of attractive flowers this year....
                  Forward...go forward


                    Originally posted by Alpha Mare View Post
                    I have trouble hardening off plants started indoors (think 100% mortality) so I wait to plant outside. The catalogues have TONS of attractive flowers this year....
                    Once all my indoor started seedlings have decent "true leaves," I turn on an oscillating fan or two - they grow much stronger in the breeze and fare better when hardening off. I live on a VERY windy property and need sturdy plants, lol.


                      I ordered my seeds. I started planning what I will plant where. I don't start indoors, because DH and I travel a lot, and the seedlings can't be taken care of.

                      No tomatoes and peppers this year. These were diseased last year, and the best advice seems to be to not plant them fo a couple of years.

                      Friday night it is supposed to be 14 degrees F. here, so nothing much will be happening for a while.


                        I made it outside yesterday during a dry spell and managed to knock out a goodly amount of pruning/clean up in my backyard beds. Then, I just couldn't stand it anymore and went to a local nursery for some "plant therapy". Ended up with 4 roses, a handful of summer bulbs, couple other odds n ends.
                        Still too cold to plant them, but something to look forward to.


                          Too early to start anything yet. With a frost date of Memorial Day, it is best to start things in late March.

                          I learned more about "winter sowing", sowing annual seeds in milk bottles kept outside, no real care. They transplanted pretty well to the garden. This is an idea you might try if you don't have time or room inside for starting seeds. Lots cheaper than buying started plants in 6-packs.

                          After this present cold is past I will be pruning my yard trees and shrubs while they are still frozen. No bugs to get in the new cuts, cause problems. Lots of shrubs bloom better on new wood, so the haircut is great for flower production.

                          I will be doing tomatoes, a mix of small varieties lIke cherry, grape, pear in red or yellow and the dark skinned ones.. They are such nice snacks to grab a handful on the way to the barn! I do not fertilize with horse manure, it produces too many grassy weeds. They also do well in big pots if you don't have space in beds.

                          Deer can be a problem, they do like the expensive plants and the prettiest ones! We have a fenced yard with dogs, which helps keep them away. Open, untended fields around our farm do offer PLENTY of food opportunities so they have other options. A real traffic hazard on the roads though.

                          I do check for bulb leaves as the days get longer. They will appear even in the cold of late spring. With the crazy weather, nothing is "normal" around here anymore!


                            My husband and I moved into our little farm last fall. There are absolutely no garden beds, and the place is overgrown with junk trees, so he's been cutting down as many as possible in the areas around the barn and where we'd like our veggie garden in the back. We won't likely bother with starting many seeds indoors, just direct sow outside later in the spring. On cold winter days, we've been adding to our list of veggies we want to grow, and recently decided to do some watermelon and berries as well. I tend to do my herbs in planters. Can't wait to have a bunch of our own home-grown food this summer!

                            I am also planning out a pollinator-friendly perennial and wildflower garden in the front by the road, and have been daydreaming about some more formalized perennial beds nearer to the house - those likely won't happen for a couple years though, we've got enough other projects on our hands.


                              Originally posted by Cynical25 View Post

                              Once all my indoor started seedlings have decent "true leaves," I turn on an oscillating fan or two - they grow much stronger in the breeze and fare better when hardening off. I live on a VERY windy property and need sturdy plants, lol.
                              What a GREAT idea!!
                              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                Does anyone grow potatoes?? What's your favorite?

                                Recently I've been growing some of the newer "fun" varieties. One I grew last year was purple skin but yellow flesh. It started out slow but once it got growing it really over-produced. I'll have plenty from "leftovers" this year! Masquerade is the name.

                                I've also grown fingerlings like Russian Banana.

                                Anyone else?


                                  Original Poster

                                  Totally YES on the potato question. I grow them here "semi commercially". That is, I grow lots, and offer them for sale locally. My favourate variety these days is one that was given to me by a very old local lady who gave me 2 potatoes that someone had sent her, so I am not SURE of it's true identity but I suspect that they are "French Fingerling" potatoes... they have red skin, and yellow flesh, sometimes with a red ribbon through the flesh, and tend to be smaller, and oval, very sweet and nutty and moist. Except sometimes they do get big too! I think that they are a very old variety, a "heritage" variety. Have NEVER seen them offered as seed potatoes, and not normally offered commercially. They are the best tasting potatoes I have ever tried. I was won over right away, with the first crop of three plants, which produced a huge number of potatoes. I have kept seed every year since then, and have planted about 1/4 acre of them. They are a bit late maturing, so I grow a few Norlands and/or Caribes as well, mostly as early potatoes, and to get some BIG ones, just for fun. Biggest one last year was over 2 lbs- I weighed it. I store the crop in my tack room, packed in boxes with sawdust. I've grown some Russian Blues sometimes, they are too dry for my taste, but some of my clients really like them. We are still eating potatoes from last year's crop. I donate some to needy causes, sell some, and we eat a lot of potatoes. I am so spoiled by our own potatoes that I can't eat store bought potatoes any more, so sour and tasteless!! And I hate the crap they spray onto them. Potatoes (and their cousin, tomatoes) are about the only thing I can grow outside my deer fenced garden LOL. Although, the deer have discovered that the potatoes are under the ground, and dig them up and eat some of them, the buggars. Don't get me wrong, I love the deer, and many are quite tame. But they DO eat just about everything.


                                    NancyM I found them!! At “Maine Potato Lady” website. I may have to order!!


                                      Love this topic! My daughter and I just spent the afternoon going through my seed collection, planning what we want to grow this year, and plotting how to keep the chickens out! We have way too many seed packets, think at least 50 varieties of tomatoes alone, with dozens and dozens of different annuals and perennials, tons of veggies and herbs!
                                      Chickens are extremely fond of any leafy green plant, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, etc... so keeping them out of the garden once they know the bounty is in there can be difficult. I am an unrepentant seed collector too, if I see a plant that I like with seed, I'll pop it in my pocket to package up.


                                        Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
                                        NancyM I found them!! At “Maine Potato Lady” website. I may have to order!!
                                        I don't think you will be disappointed in them LOL! Try steaming them instead of boiling... magnificent!!! I choose the little ones for this treatment.