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Mlle. Zabzie

A Gardening Thread

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2 hours ago, A wilding said:

Interesting. Ticks are a problem in the Scottish Highlands also. My wife has to be very careful there (she has a special tool for pulling them out of your skin in one piece) but I also have never had one.

Is Lyme Disease a problem there also? When I was reading about ticks last year I remember some expert talking about how Lyme in the US is a major public health failure, that it could be better controlled / mitigated, etc. 

47 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

You should think about it.  Like I said, I'm kind of a hippy dippy organic gardener, I make my own compost, etc. etc., but I do draw the line at tick risk.  And snakes.  I really hate snakes.  We have lots of them.  Most of them are harmless but they completely freak the f*ck out of me every time I see them.

Yea I probably will. We want to do our own compost as well and have been contemplating backyard chickens. While we do have room for the latter I’ll have to check if any point in our yard is actually far enough away from neighboring houses. We just bought our house in December and there are a number of things to do so I’m not yet completely sure that I will get to all of that this year, or even if I’ll be able to establish a garden. I might end up just kinda putting in the ground work for next year.

I do, however, have grandiose plans! I’m thinking I might create a small irrigation system using rain barrels. And that got me thinking about if I could use Arduino sensors to monitor soil moisture and use the house WiFi to automatically turn on a pump to water the garden if the dryness hits a certain threshold. This to go along with my back yard weather monitoring station, of course! Probably total overkill for what I think will be an approximately 150sqft strip of a garden but I think it will be a fun project.

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1 hour ago, S John said:

Is Lyme Disease a problem there also? When I was reading about ticks last year I remember some expert talking about how Lyme in the US is a major public health failure, that it could be better controlled / mitigated, etc. 

It does occur - I can see Mrs W's point in wanting to be careful - but is still relatively rare.

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2 hours ago, S John said:

Is Lyme Disease a problem there also? When I was reading about ticks last year I remember some expert talking about how Lyme in the US is a major public health failure, that it could be better controlled / mitigated, etc. 

Yea I probably will. We want to do our own compost as well and have been contemplating backyard chickens. While we do have room for the latter I’ll have to check if any point in our yard is actually far enough away from neighboring houses. We just bought our house in December and there are a number of things to do so I’m not yet completely sure that I will get to all of that this year, or even if I’ll be able to establish a garden. I might end up just kinda putting in the ground work for next year.

I do, however, have grandiose plans! I’m thinking I might create a small irrigation system using rain barrels. And that got me thinking about if I could use Arduino sensors to monitor soil moisture and use the house WiFi to automatically turn on a pump to water the garden if the dryness hits a certain threshold. This to go along with my back yard weather monitoring station, of course! Probably total overkill for what I think will be an approximately 150sqft strip of a garden but I think it will be a fun project.

Compost is super easy. We got a bin on Amazon for not that much. It isn’t a fancy one at all-just a black plastic corral. We followed the directions on layering and voila. Haven’t had to turn it or anything. We also have an irrigation system with sensors. I can’t claim credit for it because the prior owners installed it. 

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Irrigation systems can have sensors for moisture or, at lower cost, can link to an online weather report for local rainfall.  Our sprinklers stay dormant if there has been rain above a certain threshold in the prior two days.  Less hardware needed for that.  I can change the threshold on my app controls.

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2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Irrigation systems can have sensors for moisture or, at lower cost, can link to an online weather report for local rainfall.  Our sprinklers stay dormant if there has been rain above a certain threshold in the prior two days.  Less hardware needed for that.  I can change the threshold on my app controls.

Not super concerned about the cost because it’ll be a DIY system. The soil moisture sensors themselves aren’t very expensive. The bigger challenge will be deciding how to get power to them, how to house what will probably come as exposed electronic components against the elements, and how to put it it all together into a working system. I’ll have to figure out a threshold for dryness and then figure out how to get the message from the sensors to a pump attached to the rain barrel. Probably I’ll worry about the automated part later and just have the sensors alert me when I need to go out and turn the pump on for a bit. But it would be cool if it could do it on its own if we are out of town or something.

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I broke down and bought all the pansies this weekend (and a couple of ranunculus and some bulbs that were hardening outside at the nursery because I think the $*[email protected]# squirrels or chipmunks ate the ones I planted last fall).  Yay pansies!

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I have no access to outdoor space but I do face south and get a lot of light so I've had a few indoors plants these past few years.  This weekend I decided to deal with them and ended up tossing three.  A jade plant was all droopy and sad looking.  The parsley and mint plants I started growing a year ago from seeds just were jungles of messiness and never looked right.  So out they went.  I took my second jade plant and broke it up between two pots because it was getting out of hand...waiting with baited breath to see if they survive after the initial trauma.  Then I took my snake plant and this palm plant out of their pots and stripped out the outer layers - they were getting too bulky and needed to be thinned out.  Repotted them with new soil and hope they will survive.  And then did a new pot of basil and a new pot of mint and they seemed happy immediately.  The basil looked like it doubled in size in a couple of hours.  I mean I know it didn't but it really just bulked up after being put in new soil and watered.

Anyone have any success/experience with growing tomatoes indoors?  A small amount in a not huge pot?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, lady narcissa said:

I have no access to outdoor space but I do face south and get a lot of light so I've had a few indoors plants these past few years.  This weekend I decided to deal with them and ended up tossing three.  A jade plant was all droopy and sad looking.  The parsley and mint plants I started growing a year ago from seeds just were jungles of messiness and never looked right.  So out they went.  I took my second jade plant and broke it up between two pots because it was getting out of hand...waiting with baited breath to see if they survive after the initial trauma.  Then I took my snake plant and this palm plant out of their pots and stripped out the outer layers - they were getting too bulky and needed to be thinned out.  Repotted them with new soil and hope they will survive.  And then did a new pot of basil and a new pot of mint and they seemed happy immediately.  The basil looked like it doubled in size in a couple of hours.  I mean I know it didn't but it really just bulked up after being put in new soil and watered.

Anyone have any success/experience with growing tomatoes indoors?  A small amount in a not huge pot?

IME any fruiting plant is tough to do indoors (other than pineapple) the toughest part being that even regular glass windows cut out a huge spectrum of light that plants are used to.  You can definitely do it but even watering becomes very important, and especially once the blooms set to fruit.  I'd daily check the soil moisture either by lifting the pot up or probing with a finger.  And probabaly start feeding at regular intervals after a month or so of watering.  

I've had good luck with indoor herbs but tomatoes have been iffy.  Open windows when you can and put a fan on the plants when you can't to make them strong, and at least once a month water them in the shower or under a sink to wash off the dust -- will help a lot with pest control (scale and aphids love indoor tomatoes)

Edited by larrytheimp

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@larrytheimp Thanks, that is super useful information!  I'm somewhat bored with my low maintenance don't need to be watered that much plants.  I think a high maintenance needs to be checked on frequently and fretted over plant would be more my thing so that is good news.  At least it seems worth experimenting with this summer.

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Posted (edited)

I came here specifically hoping that someone would be gardening.  I should have known it would be Zabzie!  <3

Dahlias are my true love.  @Fragile Bird,I grew a bunch from seed last year and so I have a ton of tubers.  It's not quite time to put them out yet...I'll probably wait another 3 weeks or so.  I also have a ton coming that I ordered last year. I'm doing another big bed that's going to be dahlias, with a viburnum and a hydrangea as anchors.  I'll probably do some lamb's ear in there as well, and some white candy tuft.  I ordered more flowers last night for my shade garden, and a bunch of Asiatic lilies for a bed that I'm reworking.

Mr. ES is terrified of my gardening habit.  He loves to grow things, but he likes to grow vegetables and fruit trees.  I have to have flowers.  I 'like' veggies and fruit trees, but I'm in love with flowers.  And hostas.  This time of year, I stop cooking, cleaning, laundry - basically everything but my regular job and gardening.  I'm up at 5 and as soon as it's daylight, I head out.  I garden until 7 or so, get cleaned up, work, take a stroll through the yard a couple of times if I can, grab some random weeds, and after work, I'm back out there.  It's my happy place.

Regarding the tick situation, I had a form of Lyme about 7-8 years ago.  When they finally figured out what it was, they called it Southern Tick something or other.  This was back when they said there was no Lyme down in my neck of the woods.  It took me forever to find a dr. that would treat me - I had the classic bullseye.  I finally found a dr. who blasted me with antibiotics and knocked it out, but it took 3 rounds.  I have never felt so bad for so long.  It made me have such sympathy for people with Chonic Fatigue and similar.  I am more scared of ticks than I am snakes.  I don't 'like' snakes, but as long as I have a hoe, I'm good.  I actually killed a copperhead a couple of years back with a walking stick.  In flip flops.  I don't recommend it, but I couldn't walk away from it and keep working that flower bed, wondering where the S.O.B was.  So I nailed it with a stick.

Like @Mlle. Zabzie, I am constantly fighting the critters.  Between the deer, the goldfinches (and I can't get to upset about them.  They're allowed to tear up my blooms.  I love them.) and the moles/voles, I am constantly battling something.  I had the most gorgeous tuberose, and the little $#@# voles ate it.  I hate them so much.

@lady narcissa, I am going to be following your indoor gardening progress closely.  I have an enclosed sunroom, and have always wanted a citrus tree in there, but was afraid to tackle it.  I'm 'okay' with indoor gardening, but not great.  Outdoors, I do wonderfully, though.  I'm blessed with amazing dirt.  It's such a gift!

Gardening cures a world of bad feelings, depression, doubt, fear for me.  It's so therapeutic.  Winter is so hard...I don't know how you lovely northern friends do it.  It's part of why my sunroom is so important to me; I can at least grow some stuff in the winter months.

ETA:  Zone 7b here...I love the long growing season, but the heat sort of sucks.

Edited by Elder Sister
addition

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A word of warning on Lambs Ear.  It gets everywhere.  I am constantly removing it from unwanted places.

I adore dahlias too.  However, they are so high maintenance up by me.  Maybe if I pot them and just over winter the pots in my garage?  I dunno - by the time I get them in the ground they barely seem to have enough time to achieve any kind of bulk.  Maybe I need to fertilize them more? 

I’m totally doing a wildflower mix on the barren spot by my well again.  I have never been able to get grass to grow there, and last year I had the most gorgeous drift of flowers.  Alas, that’s a mid-May (at the earliest) thing.  

Right now I am enjoying my pansies.  In mid April I will put in carrots, and maybe cauliflower and peas.  

 

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Posted (edited)

I have Lamb's Ear everywhere, and love it.  And I'm constantly giving it away.  

And for the bloom time and the 'showiness', dahlias are worth the effort for me.  They are high maintenance, for sure.  There's no way they would over-winter in the ground here just because of the cold/damp.  They rot so easily!  But I do the same thing with my caladium bulbs and elephant ears, so it's not that big of a deal.  And they're remarkably easy when it comes to pest/disease resistance.  

ETA:  Mr. ES and I keep trying for a wildflower patch here, but it's impossible with the weeds.  They get choked out.  If anyone has any tips, I would gladly take them.

Edited by Elder Sister

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38 minutes ago, Elder Sister said:

I have Lamb's Ear everywhere, and love it.  And I'm constantly giving it away.  

And for the bloom time and the 'showiness', dahlias are worth the effort for me.  They are high maintenance, for sure.  There's no way they would over-winter in the ground here just because of the cold/damp.  They rot so easily!  But I do the same thing with my caladium bulbs and elephant ears, so it's not that big of a deal.  And they're remarkably easy when it comes to pest/disease resistance.  

ETA:  Mr. ES and I keep trying for a wildflower patch here, but it's impossible with the weeds.  They get choked out.  If anyone has any tips, I would gladly take them.

Plant wildflower that are basically weeds?  Last year I chopped up my barren "lawn" area, did the "scatter" method like I was planting grass seed, covered it up with straw and waited.  There were probably some unwanted thistle somewhere in there, but honestly one couldn't tell.  

Maybe I will try Dahlias again....They definitely can't over-winter here (I'm zones and zones North of you) but mine never get all that big - short growing season I guess? My peonies on the other hand...monstrous, blowsy and beautiful.  Can't wait. 

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Great diy mister, just hook your garden hose to raised,  capped pipes or conduit, run a few tek screws into the pipes and then gently loosen the screws a bit and you will get a wonderful plant covering mist during all your sunny growing conditions.

You can run the pipe right through the middle of the garden at about 6 feet high, perhaps through some X bracing or on S hooks.

Anyways I've seen variations of this simple design in front of stores out in the arid Southwest and it creates a wonderful misting.

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33 minutes ago, Chataya de Fleury said:

The only reason why I would consider selling my townhouse is to have a good lawn. My postage stamp is looking so sad and weed-filled. The landscapers don’t really care, as it’s green so they mow it. I’m a little bit more picky.

This season where the Bermuda grass has not come out of dormancy but the weeds have started growing is just so sad.

And then there is the fact that I don’t own the postage stamp, it’s community property, and the neighborhood dogs just LOVE the stop sign in my yard (I’m on a corner) and the lazy people won’t take their dogs to the dog park literally across the street. Grrrrr.

I used to be a lot more persnickety about the lawn than I am now.  As long as the weeds are kept short, and everything is weed-eated, I focus all my attention on flowers/vegetable garden/potted plants, etc.  I exclude clover though - I never mow the clover so that the honeybees have it.  

I just added up all the dahlias I bought that should be arriving in the next 3-4 weeks - 16.  I also have about 24 tubers in the garage to put out, but they're mostly dwarf.  I also have a bleeding heart to put out, an Empress Wu hosta, and a new variety of coneflower that looks gorgeous.

I may have gotten a wee bit carried away...

 

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2 hours ago, Elder Sister said:

I used to be a lot more persnickety about the lawn than I am now.  As long as the weeds are kept short, and everything is weed-eated, I focus all my attention on flowers/vegetable garden/potted plants, etc.  I exclude clover though - I never mow the clover so that the honeybees have it.  

I just added up all the dahlias I bought that should be arriving in the next 3-4 weeks - 16.  I also have about 24 tubers in the garage to put out, but they're mostly dwarf.  I also have a bleeding heart to put out, an Empress Wu hosta, and a new variety of coneflower that looks gorgeous.

I may have gotten a wee bit carried away...

 

You saw my pansy haul.....

Now I’m wondering if should order some non-dwarf dahlia bulbs and just promise myself that I will for sure dig them up and put them in the garage.  

I need to pull out the ladder and get my roses back on the trellis program....I might also need another trellis.  I wanted to put them on my pool fence, but they kinda look scraggly, so a trellis may be in my future....

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8 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Plant wildflower that are basically weeds?  Last year I chopped up my barren "lawn" area, did the "scatter" method like I was planting grass seed, covered it up with straw and waited.  There were probably some unwanted thistle somewhere in there, but honestly one couldn't tell.  

Maybe I will try Dahlias again....They definitely can't over-winter here (I'm zones and zones North of you) but mine never get all that big - short growing season I guess? My peonies on the other hand...monstrous, blowsy and beautiful.  Can't wait. 

And who doesn’t love a monstrous peony?

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My 3 year old daughter decided she wanted to do some planting in one of the raised borders. She picked out whatever flowers she wanted. It looks a dogs dinner but it kept her amused for an afternoon. 

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21 hours ago, Elder Sister said:

I have Lamb's Ear everywhere, and love it.  And I'm constantly giving it away.  

And for the bloom time and the 'showiness', dahlias are worth the effort for me.  They are high maintenance, for sure.  There's no way they would over-winter in the ground here just because of the cold/damp.  They rot so easily!  But I do the same thing with my caladium bulbs and elephant ears, so it's not that big of a deal.  And they're remarkably easy when it comes to pest/disease resistance.  

ETA:  Mr. ES and I keep trying for a wildflower patch here, but it's impossible with the weeds.  They get choked out.  If anyone has any tips, I would gladly take them.

The farm up the street does a bunch of wildflowers for cut flowers for their CSA.  One of the farmers told me that they wait to seed until, after the first weeds have come up.  When the weeds have started they amend the soil and till it again, killing the weeds in the process, then sow .  They do this with anything that isn't started first thing in the spring.  I guess this gives a decent head start and clears weed seeds from last fall, but sounds like a lot of work for a wildflower patch, and I'm not sure what happens later in the season when the fast life cycle weeds are everywhere and start encroaching.

 

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I like to look at pictures of flowers and gardens but I tend to avoid having flowers myself.  Their short lived nature always just makes me sad and I hate having to throw them out at the end.  But instagram has been great for following people with larger plots of land and seeing all their hard labor pay off with gorgeous results.  Is anyone on instagram and have any gardening accounts they like to follow?

@Elder Sister @Mlle. Zabzie Regarding dahlias...there is this...I guess I'll call him "gentleman gardener" (since he seems to do it for leisure) in England on instagram and he grows amazing dahlias.

Regarding tomatoes I am already torn between starting from seed or cheating and getting a plant already started.  And they what variety to get?!?!  There are too many choices!

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