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Click here for the 2019 Gardening topic with hints, experiments,
results, and just plain what's happening in our gardens this year

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 Post subject: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Jan 29, 2018 1:35 pm 
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Here's this years general gardening discussion topic. You can find prior years topics here:

2017

2016

2015

Hint: to see the latest posts, go to the pages links above this post's date (above, on the right side) and click on the highest page number.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Jan 29, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Last year I did not have a vegetable garden - and I sure missed it. No fresh lettuce, no herbs for my salads, no canning. Never again. From now on, I'll have a vegetable garden as long as I am physically able. Plus, I sure missed dreaming about what to plant, what successes I would have, dreaming about the warm sunshine on my precious plants. I missed going out in the early morning coolness to just look every plant over, to check on its progress, does it need watering.

I am pouring over my seed catalogs, comparing varieties, seeing what's new, dreaming. I plan to have several succession plantings of lettuce. Instead of one large row of Oregon Sugar Pea Pods, I'll have two so I can can the excess. (that sure looks funny, doesn't it).

I have not finished the lower portion of the vegi garden yet so will do so this year. Several years ago, I reduced the size of my vegetable garden. Big mistake. So I broke the sod again two years go and got ties to line the beds.

The pocket gophers really like the perennial onions and chives I got from my father over 25 years ago and have almost decimated them. I plan to add an area in the lower garden completely underlined with wire mesh so the gophers cannot get to the onion/chive roots. This will take a lot of soil moving and digging. Somehow my dreams don't usually include the aches and pains and tiredness that result from realizing my ideas. Just how wonderful the dream will end up being.

I can't wait to feel the warm, loose, garden soil on my hands. That fresh, rich organic scent. The feeling of being part of the long history of farmers and gardeners who also dreamed and planted and reaped.

What are your early plans? Have you started any seedlings yet?


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Jan 29, 2018 7:24 pm 
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Hi TillerBee and fellow (or fellerina) gardening folks!

Hope seeds are getting started!

Sigh, no garden for me this year. After almost 25 years I have decided to move back East. Back to MA, which has always blessed me with good gardening karma. My listing agent will be out tomorrow so we may be on a fast moving train. I did order seeds and have some nice starts, and I did also order some seed potatoes which will go to friends. The potatoes from Pinetree Garden Seeds are all non GMO and produced really well last year. So if anyone is interested let me know. Also will have a gardening supply sale in a bit.

I will really miss my life here, and will maintain my rural lifestyle in MA. I will keep everyone posted as I will be downsizing. Be well, all!


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Jan 30, 2018 7:02 am 
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TB, so glad to hear you are planning a garden this year! :applause: :applause:
I love hearing your gardening stories and seeing your photos!
Can we expect a video of you doing the can can? :lol:

MD, Oh my that's a huge life change. You will be missed around these parts. But at least in MA you'll be able to grow more things and more easily. So we still expect some photos in future years of your garden. (Please!)

My garden plans are similar to last year. Due to a very bad injury last winter I could not start many things by seed and mostly relied on purchased starter plants and direct seed planting. As I am still recovering from that injury, I have decided to do that again.

I plan to only start broccoli in the house from seed, as the varieties that I prefer can not be store bought. Plus I like to get them planted outside in May, so I have an early crop that typically lasts all season long.

Every year I try to plant something new in the veggie garden. However this year I plan to stick with the tried and true.

And no Swiss chard this year! I grow some every year because it grows so well and is so incredibly beautiful (shiny dark green leaves, colorful stems and never any pests!). But I don't like to eat it and neither do the chickens. So it is now banished from my garden, to be replaced with a much larger crop of mustard greens!

I also plan to plant a few things more densely than usual so that I can donate more food to the MRC food pantry this year.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Jan 30, 2018 8:38 am 
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mummydog wrote:
I will really miss my life here, and will maintain my rural lifestyle in MA. I will keep everyone posted as I will be downsizing.

mummydog, I'm so sorry to hear you're leaving our mountain community and hope you'll let us know how your gardening is going in your new home. Somehow, I think we'll be real jealous of your vegetables. Please do send pictures; sometimes I think about my Maryland gardens and just sigh.

CooknThyme wrote:
Can we expect a video of you doing the can can? :lol:

Well, no... I think my "can can" days are long gone.

CooknThyme wrote:
And no Swiss chard this year! I grow some every year because it grows so well and is so incredibly beautiful (shiny dark green leaves, colorful stems and never any pests!). But I don't like to eat it and neither do the chickens.

My sister-in-law taught me a great way to cook greens that works well with spinach and Swiss chard. Put a little olive oil in a frying pan and saute chopped red onions until soft. Then add previously wilted greens with salt/pepper to taste. Cook until the greens are soft. This adds lot of flavor to the greens. I prefer spinach but do grow Swiss chard as it's more reliable than spinach and can take hotter weather.

CooknThyme wrote:
Due to a very bad injury last winter I could not start many things by seed and mostly relied on purchased starter plants and direct seed planting. As I am still recovering from that injury, I have decided to do that again.

Oh no, I hope you're much, much better this year. I too am thinking about buying more flower plants this year as I just cannot find seeds for some of the hanging plant varieties that are so attractive nowadays.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 5, 2018 2:29 pm 
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Great to think that it's time to start planting seeds inside with my grow lights and mats.
I started almost all of my own seeds last year
Question: Should I get all new seeds? Or can I use last years??
The best success from last year were: Cherokee tomatoes, YOLA green peppers, spaghetti squash did great
Last year my outside beds were not ready until late, so I am looking forward to starting to set things out early. I want to do delicata squash, they never got big enough last year.
By the time I got my broccoli and cauliflower out it was too hot, I think - so my "infrastructure" is in place finally !
Can't wait to see if my asparagus comes back, it had a good start last year.
Anyone have any luck with blueberry bushes up here??
beets, turnips, zucchini, yellow squash, etc etc.
By starting my plants in February, it's almost like Spring already !


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 5, 2018 4:01 pm 
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The only seed that I know of that doesn't last several years are onion and chives. I've used tomato seeds that were 10 years old. I do use squash seeds several years but they do get old and the germination rate goes down. Corn and pea seed last many years. Lettuce also does not last but 2 or 3 years.

I have had good luck with yellow squash and turnips but not beets or onions. And I love delicata squash and acorn. I don't get huge yields but enough for a year.

I hiked today in shorts and took off my coat along the way, it was that warm. This weather makes it even harder to think that outdoor gardening up here doesn't really begin until mid-June.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 5, 2018 5:23 pm 
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TB, I have cooked Swiss chard a 100 different ways. It's not horrible but it's just never very good. I'm not super keen on collards or kale either. But I go gaga over arugula, mustard greens, spinach and turnips greens ... cooked or raw I can eat them everyday.

Did you know that mustard greens have more nutritional value than kale! So why bother with kale (except the chickens prefer it).

MamaBea, most seeds keep for a long time, many for decades (except the onion family like TB said) if you keep them in a cool dark place. Germination % drops off with time but just plant more seeds.

MamaBea wrote:
By the time I got my broccoli and cauliflower out it was too hot, I think

Anyone have any luck with blueberry bushes up here??
beets, turnips, zucchini, yellow squash, etc etc.


Broccoli does not like heat or lots of direct sunlight (at our elevation). They LOVE our chilly nights so don't put them in a greenhouse. I use an old lace table cloth to provide shade directly above the broccoli. But they get direct sun early in the morning and late afternoon when there is a significant angle.

I start seeds indoors around mid to late March and then transplant outside in mid May. I typically start harvesting by late June or early July and finish up about mid to late Sept. The trick is getting them through late July and early August - mid day watering helps. I plant them pretty close together so that the soil stays cool. For me they are the most reliable producer of food and get a large portion of my garden. And the leaves are wonderful treats for the chickens.

Here's my broccoli bed on July 20th, 2017 after harvesting several central heads and the side shoots are forming nicely.

Image

Cauliflower can handle more heat but they like to set roots when it is cooler.

Zucchini is the only reliable squash that has grown (outdoors) for me up here at 9000 ft. The early types seem to be best for me. Most years I'll get a few yellow or patty pan but it's hit or miss.

I had blue berry bushes for 5 years and got nothing. :thud:
Their elevation limit seems to be about 7500-8000ft.

I'm allergic to beets so I've not tried them up here, but they did pretty well at the Conifer Community garden last year.

As for turnips, yes they grow fantastic in our climate!!! The purple top variety has performed the best for me. But one year the golden turnips were the top performer. Turnips greens are awesome either raw in a salad or when cooked.

I've not had great luck transplanting turnips. So I direct plant seeds outside in mid May (along with the carrots and radish). The turnips typically germinate within a week unless we get a lot of snow (keep snow off with row covers or mulch). Turnips germinate when the soil is about 45 degrees. Some years, depending on weather, I need to cover with black plastic about 3-10 inches off the ground.

Good Luck!


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 6, 2018 6:27 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
... This weather makes it even harder to think that outdoor gardening up here doesn't really begin until mid-June.


For me outdoor gardening starts in mid May. But I mostly grow frost tolerant veggies outside and put the heat loving plants in the greenhouse.

For things that can't handle a frost, like the nightshades and squash, yes I wait until early or mid June if I want to plant them outside.

Our growing season is soooooooooooo short, I do everything I can to get started as early as possible. Row covers, mulch, plastic, jugs of water, etc. are my garden buddies.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 6, 2018 9:13 am 
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CooknThyme wrote:
For me outdoor gardening starts in mid May. But I mostly grow frost tolerant veggies outside and put the heat loving plants in the greenhouse.

I do not have a permanent greenhouse, darn, so my heat loving vegis go out in mid-June. Maybe this year I'll try my Wall-O-Waters. They did great the years I used them but they sure are a pain to fill. I also use IRT mulch (plastic that lets the infrared rays through to heat the soil but not light that would allow weeds to sprout and grow) for tomatoes and some herbs.

And you are correct about mid-May, I do plant peas, pea pods, potatoes, turnips, and some very early vegis to get a jump on the season and so everything does not have to be planted at the same time.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” Einstein, very pertinent for gardens where it seems we have a week or two to get most everything planted.

I woke up this morning dreaming about my hopefully to be constructed permanent bed at the bottom of my vegi garden and what I will plant there besides my father's onions and chives. Lavender, perennial herbs like oregano, sage, winter savory, hyssop, thymes for harvesting, maybe horseradish.

I said "thymes for harvesting" because various species of thyme are some of the best plants in my open rock gardens which I spray with rodent and deer repellents - Mother-Of-Thyme, winter thyme, German thyme, short thyme. Hmmm, maybe this year I see if I can find a variegated thyme or a red thyme.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 7, 2018 2:32 pm 
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Hello!

I'm excited to start our FIRST garden this year. We're moving in May to some land where we'll be able to put down some roots ;)
Where have any of you gotten your seeds from? I'd like Heirloom so that I can save seeds from year to year, in hopes of saving $$ and making the breeds stronger for our climate.
We're starting small, and with things that grow faster since we won't be starting plants until May. I'm thinking Asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes from starters, and some herbs.
I appreciate your thoughts! I am so looking forward to digging in the dirt :D
-Sam


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 7, 2018 3:28 pm 
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Welcome Sam-

Starting small is a smart idea. Growing up here is very different than growing at lower elevations. Some of your "rules of thumb" won't apply up here.

Saving seeds is VERY smart. That way each generation becomes more and more acclimated to our low O2.

Personally,I buy most of my seeds from Territorial Seed Company
http://www.territorialseed.com/

or Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
https://www.rareseeds.com/

For starter plants my first choice for tomatoes and peppers is Hermit's Greenhouse/Steve Bailey/aka Mr Hermit. A local grower.
viewtopic.php?f=97&t=223287

Most other starters I go to Ace Hardware Greenhouse in Pine.

Pointers:
* Our native soil is crap. Most veggies will not survive. You can mix it 50-50 with manure compost and do okay. Most people do raised beds with all bagged soil/compost or trucked in soil/compost. There are some decent local soil/compost companies including, Rocky Mt Soil Company and Colorado's Choice (from O'Tooles down in Denver).

*Tomatoes are tricky up here. If you don't have a greenhouse then stick with the types that will set fruit early and set fruit even when night time temps drop below 50 (almost every night). My favorite outdoor variety is Stupice (their seeds save well). But check out the following list for other ideas.
http://store.tomatofest.com/Tomato_Vari ... s_s/47.htm

*Snow and frost dates: Our last snow is typically mid May and last frost is early to mid June. Our first frost (and usually snow too) is typically in early September but then we often have nice Sept & Oct temps for most every thing that will survive a light frost. But be advised it can snow ANY day of the year up here. It is not unusually to get a hard frost and/or light snow in the middle of the summer. So have a plan & supplies in place from the get go, how you plan to cover/protect your plants. You might not get a lot of advanced notice.

*Hail protection: Depending on your location you will get 1 to 12 hard hail storms during the growing season. I typically get 10-12 of them. You'll have zero notice for these storms. Without a permanent hail protection system in place I would never have a garden produce food.

*Critter protection: Before you build a bed put down hardware cloth to keep out the pocket gophers, ground squirrels and voles. Chicken wire is not good enough. There are many ways to cover/protect your garden from critters coming from above. Every year this forum is full of ideas for that. Go back and read some of the older posts.

Welcome again to high altitude gardening!
Good luck!


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