12 votes

What are you doing in your garden?

It's been a while since we had one of these topics, and I love to read about everybody's gardening efforts. So, tell us what you've been doing, how its been going, what you plan to do next, etc.

19 comments

  1. cmccabe
    Link
    This was the first year our apple tree had enough fruit for us and the deer, so we had some apples. Our persimmon tree didn’t fare quite as well, but we do have five or six not-yet-ripe persimmons...

    This was the first year our apple tree had enough fruit for us and the deer, so we had some apples. Our persimmon tree didn’t fare quite as well, but we do have five or six not-yet-ripe persimmons that seem to have escaped in a spot the deer can’t reach. Hopefully we’ll be able to eat those in a week or so.

    7 votes
  2. [2]
    Thra11
    Link
    My chillies appear to be doing really well, but they were really late starting to flower and fruit this year. Hopefully we'll get enough sunshine this autumn to keep them ripening and won't be...

    My chillies appear to be doing really well, but they were really late starting to flower and fruit this year. Hopefully we'll get enough sunshine this autumn to keep them ripening and won't be left with a load of half-ripe chillis. They're in a cold frame and the winters here are mild, so I'm still optimistic.

    Last year I grew a variety of different chillis from seed. This year I had a couple which survived the winter and bought in a few more as seedlings. Some of the new seedlings are silly / super hot varieties, so I'll need to find some new recipes when they're ripe (suggestions welcome!).

    For some reason, the dahlias have been absolutely amazing this year. Most of them have been there for several years now, and while they usually do ok, we've never had the abundance of foliage and flowers we have at the moment.

    This winter, I'm going to try growing winter spinach for the first time. I've got some seeds which I'm going to sow in small batches starting this weekend. I got a few different varieties ("Giant winter", "Matador" and "Medania"), so hopefully at least one will suit the conditions in my garden and taste nice.

    6 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      I have a single Anaheim pepper plant I bought last year. It gave us 1 medium-sized pepper last year. This year, it has produced 2. One is about 4-6 inches long! The other is smaller at only about...

      I have a single Anaheim pepper plant I bought last year. It gave us 1 medium-sized pepper last year. This year, it has produced 2. One is about 4-6 inches long! The other is smaller at only about 2 inches. They're both still green, but hopefully will be turning red soon. (There was a third small one, but it fell off and died before it was ripe.)

      I'm not much of a gardener. The plant seems to spend most of the year fruitless, then suddenly I notice there are 1 or 2 peppers on it. I should really read up on how to be a better gardener. :-)

      5 votes
  3. streblo
    Link
    A couple of weeks or less before our first frost up here, so just trying to get everything cleaned up for the most part. Have an 8'x8' bed set aside for garlic which I need to plant this weekend...

    A couple of weeks or less before our first frost up here, so just trying to get everything cleaned up for the most part. Have an 8'x8' bed set aside for garlic which I need to plant this weekend -- going with russian red this year.

    5 votes
  4. patience_limited
    Link
    I've had a bumper crop of tomatoes and tomatillos this year thanks to early heat and heavy rains. All heirloom varieties. Aside from the usual struggles with seedlings damping off indoors, nearly...

    I've had a bumper crop of tomatoes and tomatillos this year thanks to early heat and heavy rains. All heirloom varieties. Aside from the usual struggles with seedlings damping off indoors, nearly every plant thrived and over-spilled its cage.

    It's starting to wind down as temperatures have dropped, but the vines continue to flower and set fruit. I'm still averaging a kilo or two each of ripe tomatoes and tomatillos per day. In a couple of weeks, I'll have to dig out the green tomato and apple chutney recipe. Not bad for maybe 5 square meters of raised bed space given over to Solanacea. Also, if you haven't tried ground cherries (a tomatillo relative), they're low-yield but easy and taste amazing - like a cross between pineapple and pear.

    Other beds were devoted to beans, peas, greens, herbs, etc. Many of those didn't do very well with high heat, moisture, and deer incursions. I'm taking notes on which varieties to plant or experiment with for next year. "Shiraz" snow peas were very heat tolerant and high-yielding, so if you like purple vegetables, this is an awesome choice. Likewise purple baby bok choy.

    As /u/Thra11 indicated, I'm going to have to tent the chilies in another couple of weeks. I've gotten a couple of pounds of Thai, Chinese, and Mexican peppers in, but the habaneros and ghost peppers are mostly still green. I started them indoors in February. However, they usually take six months from planting out to harvest, and they're not getting full sun anymore at this time of year.

    We've got to stake a young apple tree this weekend that was overfull of fruit, and I might bring in some late rhubarb. Plenty of flowerbed and general yard cleanup as well - a lot of work has gotten postponed while the spouse recovered from surgery.

    5 votes
  5. monarda
    Link
    This year was mostly a dud gardening-wise. I left early spring (right as things were starting to grow) and came back in late May, at which time the jungle of noxious weeds, brambles, and whatnot...

    This year was mostly a dud gardening-wise. I left early spring (right as things were starting to grow) and came back in late May, at which time the jungle of noxious weeds, brambles, and whatnot were doing a fast encroachment of the house. That took a few months to get back under control, and by then I'd missed the window to get a serious veggie garden together.

    It worked out that I didn't do much because an old family friend asked to use the overgrown side garden to try their hand at their first veggie garden. They made a lot of mistakes, but did well enough with their basil and green beans, that we've been eating a lot of both. The tomatoes were put into the ground too late, and so far there's only been one that has ripened. I doubt there's enough heat and light left in the season for anymore, but my friend is happy just seeing the plants grow.

    Two great things came out of their first attempt: One, and I think this is the best one, they spent a lot of time working on the beds and self reflecting which led to them putting themselves into rehab, and two they have the gardening bug now and are keen to help me get my raised beds built this fall. I'm going with something similar to this design, but mine won't look as nice since I'm using used metal roofing I salvaged from an old barn. We'll plant garlic in one which I think will be a great thing for my friend, since it's darn near impossible to get garlic wrong, and we all love garlic! We'll do do a mix of early and late garlics.

    I was able to get some of my medicinal plants into the ground. I planted a patch of elecampane (Inula helenium) and several patches of arnica (Arnica chamissonis) both of which should be ready to harvest next fall. A few years ago I planted a few valerian (Valeriana officinalis) that I never wanted to harvest because I love the the look of them, but they have now started reseeding nicely throughout the garden and in the next few weeks I will do a big harvest. There's way more than I will use in my lifetime, so I'll make a big batch of fresh root tincture to give away and dry some for making tea. Then there's the self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) that most people consider a weed, but that I absolutely adore. About six years ago I noticed a small patch in the lawn, but the following year, I didn't see any. The year after that, I "weeded" that area of grass, and the self-heal came back, so I harvested the seeds and threw them in one the perennial beds. The next year I had a little patch in the perennial bed, but not enough to harvest. I just kept scratching the soil around it each year to get more germination from the seeds, and the patch has grown big enough now that I'll be able to harvest the cobs next year! I like having plant medicine in the medicine cabinet from plants that I cultivated :)

    Besides harvesting the valerian, making raised beds, and planting garlic, I'll be moving a large hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) from it's current place near the front door (it gets way too big for that spot and requires too much pruning) to another part of the property where I can still enjoy it's blooms and let it get as big as it wants to get. I've been afraid of moving it because I didn't want to kill it, but last year I took a bunch of cuttings that all rooted, so if it dies, I can replace it. If after all that, I feel up to it, there's a unruly bush fuchsia that I want to take out of the front perennial bed, and plop it somewhere else. Its friend that use to grow right next to it, I moved last year, and it was a beast to get out. I've agonized over moving this one it because it sits in front of my living room window, and the hummingbirds visit it frequently. I think it has to go. There just isn't enough room in the bed for it, and it obscures the view of the rest of the yard.

    5 votes
  6. [8]
    vord
    Link
    Getting a worm compost going. It's amazing how fast those little guys will chomp down almost anything you throw at them. Sadly not much else...moved during prime planting season and the existing...

    Getting a worm compost going. It's amazing how fast those little guys will chomp down almost anything you throw at them.

    Sadly not much else...moved during prime planting season and the existing garden beds need substantial work before they're suitable for planting. Some of the flower beds out front/sides though have bumblebees, honey bees, and monarch butterflies almost continually though, so that's nice.

    Hopefully over the winter will be able to dedicate time to fixing up the raised beds, ripping out weeds, and getting the soil ready for spring planting.

    And we re-planted a tree that was starting out in one of the garden beds when we moved in. It seems to have taken to the ground so look forward to seeing it mature. Gotta make sure to keep it pruned though...I don't wanna have to rip it out because it gets too tall or wide.

    4 votes
    1. [7]
      beanie
      Link Parent
      A worm compost!? I am open to any advice! I haven't started a worm compost, but it is one of my goals! If you have any articles/reference materials, I'd love to file it/read it for when I get to...

      A worm compost!? I am open to any advice! I haven't started a worm compost, but it is one of my goals! If you have any articles/reference materials, I'd love to file it/read it for when I get to that point of starting a worm compost!

      4 votes
      1. [6]
        vord
        Link Parent
        Here's a half-decent starting point. Mine sounds more impressive than it is. We've got a huge number of red wigglers all around me (see also: the giant flocks of birds hanging in my yard). So my...

        Here's a half-decent starting point.

        Mine sounds more impressive than it is. We've got a huge number of red wigglers all around me (see also: the giant flocks of birds hanging in my yard). So my process looked like this:

        • Picked my least-broken garden box, about 16 sq ft as my dedicated composting bin.
        • Scraped off top 2 inches of dirt, as was full of weeds. Swapped that with a bunch of topsoil from the ground.
        • Start adding veggie scraps and coffee grounds (paper filter and all), including stuff that has started rotting (not molding) in your fridge. Yard waste, especially leaves and grass clippings, is fantastic.
        • Amend with worms found around the yard periodically. Helps I have a young child to aid in that. We call the bin the worm hotel.
        • Water periodically.

        To add new matter, I would mix up the bin a bit using a shovel, mostly leaving moat recently used corner alone. Then dig a hole in the oldest spot, add in the new stuff, mixing with the dirt a bit, then leveling off the bin.

        It's so much more effective and quick compared to the old spinning bin thing I tried at my last place. By the time I rotate all the way around, 90% or more has already been fully digested. If I notice it's taking too long toss in some more worms.

        Haven't come up with a precise plan for the winter yet though.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          Thra11
          Link Parent
          So are these worm composters completely isolated from the soil? (As opposed to composters which sit directly on the soil and have holes in the bottom to allow worms to enter)

          So are these worm composters completely isolated from the soil? (As opposed to composters which sit directly on the soil and have holes in the bottom to allow worms to enter)

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            vord
            Link Parent
            Either will work. My setup is closed, so worms need to be added periodically. I intend to setup an open one when I've got time next year.

            Either will work. My setup is closed, so worms need to be added periodically.

            I intend to setup an open one when I've got time next year.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              Thra11
              Link Parent
              Interesting. Is there an advantage to the closed setup? (unless you don't have a suitable patch of ground to put it on, in which case obviously there's no point having holes in the bottom) We have...

              Interesting. Is there an advantage to the closed setup? (unless you don't have a suitable patch of ground to put it on, in which case obviously there's no point having holes in the bottom)

              We have a "Green Johanna" hot composter. It sits on the soil, food and garden waste goes in the top, worms come up through the holes in the base plate, and after a few months, you can get compost out of the door at the bottom. We got ours about 5 years ago, and it's been really good, producing lovely compost with minimal effort. I would highly recommend it, although I just looked it up and the price is way more than we paid (They have a load of schemes with local councils in the UK to offer discounts. It's currently £130 full price or £80 discounted in my area. When we got ours, it was £28. £80 is probably still decent value, but it's more of an investment, where £28 was a no-brainer).

              2 votes
              1. vord
                Link Parent
                No advantage in particular, just a convenient spot I already had available to use. It is above ground though, so I'm contemplating trying to move it into an enclosed area in the ground. It'll...

                No advantage in particular, just a convenient spot I already had available to use.

                It is above ground though, so I'm contemplating trying to move it into an enclosed area in the ground. It'll survive the winter better.

                2 votes
  7. [3]
    rmgr
    Link
    It's spring here so I've sort of scattered corn, silverbeet, radish, kale, strawberry, cucumber, zucchini, beetroot, beans, sorrel, dill and a bunch of flowers around the yard. I tend to take a...

    It's spring here so I've sort of scattered corn, silverbeet, radish, kale, strawberry, cucumber, zucchini, beetroot, beans, sorrel, dill and a bunch of flowers around the yard. I tend to take a fairly chaotic approach to gardening so it's sort of whoever survives wins.

    I've also got an unreasonable amount of tomatoes and chillis started from seed in pots so once those are strong enough I'll put them in the ground too.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      monarda
      Link Parent
      when you say scattered, do you mean scattered seeds, or scattered plants? I really like the scattered, live or die approach.

      when you say scattered, do you mean scattered seeds, or scattered plants? I really like the scattered, live or die approach.

      1 vote
      1. rmgr
        Link Parent
        I've experimented with spreading seeds around but I find I lose too many to birds so this year I just went a bit apeshit at my local garden store with seedlings

        I've experimented with spreading seeds around but I find I lose too many to birds so this year I just went a bit apeshit at my local garden store with seedlings

        2 votes
  8. [2]
    NoblePath
    Link
    Cursing the squirrels, who got all my tomatoes.

    Cursing the squirrels, who got all my tomatoes.

    2 votes
    1. nukeman
      Link Parent
      If you want to try an interesting experiment next year, they make liquid hot pepper to be applied to birdseed, you could try applying it to your tomatoes. I can’t guarantee it will all wash off,...

      If you want to try an interesting experiment next year, they make liquid hot pepper to be applied to birdseed, you could try applying it to your tomatoes. I can’t guarantee it will all wash off, however, and the liquid is incredibly strong (think >= habanero).

      1 vote