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I grow vegetables using a loose Square Foot Garden method. The last two years weren't a pretty scene - I was pregnant 2 years ago and then last year was busy with an almost-toddler - but now I think I'll finally have the time to keep up with it properly. Several years ago I built a masonry-walled raised bed but our neighbor's trees are slowly shading it out. :( In the long term we may switch to several smaller (4'x4') raised beds on the other side of the yard which gets more shade.

This year I'm planning to grow tomatoes, peppers, green beans, onions, carrots, radishes, and an herb garden. I also have raspberry plants in large containers and I usually pick up a flat or two of annual flowers to plant in large planters on our deck. I'm feeling all Martha Stewart right now and have plans to empty, scrub, and spray paint/stencil our plastic planters so they coordinate, so I haven't planted the flowers yet.

I picked up a kids' garden kit for our little girl and we started the seeds for it last weekend (oregano, basil, roma tomato, and bell pepper). I have a feeling I'm going to need to get seedlings for her because we just don't get enough sun for indoor seed starting, but it'll be fun for her regardless.

Oh, and I'm trying a pallet garden this year too.

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  • Frumpalicious

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I haven't had a garden in 3 years, but I'd like to have one again. No tomatoes, though, I got shit-tons of them and only my dad and sister would eat them (most of the tomatoes went to a family friend who couldn't possibly eat them all, either).

If you ever do decide to grow tomatoes again you can chuck the extras, whole, into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze them. When they thaw the skins will slip right off and you can toss them into soups, chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.

In the long term we may switch to several smaller (4'x4') raised beds on the other side of the yard which gets more shade.

We have a series (maze?) of 4 x 4 raised beds and it works out really well.

I went out in the yard today and noticed that the raspberry and blackberry bushes we planted two years ago are spreading like crazy this spring. Can't wait for those to produce.

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I priced how much it would cost to rent a tiller this year- It looks like the little one is well within my price range, though the one just up from it would be better, but costs twice as much.

I have lots of compost/manure that needs to be worked in, and I can't do it by hand this year.

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Its a sunny day in Boregonia, my bark will be dropped and spread by noon. Yipeee!!! The soil is still cold, so I'll get some starts going this afternoon, French and African marigolds and some spectacular zinnias.

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Frumpalicious

I just wanted to check in with everyone.

All of the beans, tomatoes, garlic, and flowers that I planted never came up. So, when I sifted through the beans, I realized that none of the seeds were still there. The squirrels had taken all of them. :-(

The herbs are doing fine, I transplanted them into larger pots. One of my lavender plants died, and I have no idea why. I made sure the soil was well drained and I watered sparingly. The jalapenos and bell peppers are thriving.

We started our summer crops in a little greenhouse container, so maybe we'll have better luck with those. :-)

Edited: I can spell. I promise.

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We had a late, hard frost for a few days in a row and it killed all of my tomato plants , some of the peppers, and most of the carrots. We started more seeds in starter trays and are going to replant them as soon as we can.

We've got a ton of greens though, and most of the other stuff is sprouting well. I'm also starting some onions and celery from kitchen leftovers. The celery is growing OK, but the onions are doing awesome (1 onion ended up giving us 7 sprouts).

I've also finally gotten my lavender seeds and some other flower seeds, so I've started the lavender in the refrigerator and will be seeing if I can actually manage to grow them that way (you start the seeds in the fridge, then take them out after a couple weeks, not actually grow them in there).

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Ugh, Raine, that is so disappointing. I hate losing plants that way. Hopefully your newly planted seeds will germinate quickly and you won't be too far behind.

My kale is already going to seed; probably because of the crazy warm/cold/hot/freezing weather we've had lately. Oh well, I will replant late summer. Tomato seedlings have just popped up. I should be able to plant them in another four weeks or so. My grandpa always said "Not before Mother's Day," for the non hearty plants, and he gardened for 70+ years so I always follow his advice.

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Deleted03

I have one lemon balm seeds who emerged, still giving them time.

However, I feel bad now. Most of my mint did not come out, so I kind of dumped the cells out after 20 days (the paper said they would emerge within 12 days) and transferred some of the basil seeds because there were too many per cell, some cells I left the soil in there, stopped watering. Last sunday I decided to dump this soil and start lemon balm seeds in the remaining cells. I feel bad because in one of the original cells, I've had a basil seedling starting (I don't know how) and now I see a mint seedling too. O_o. In one of the cell where I have mint, another seedling started too (that's like a month since I put them there!)

So when they say it takes betwen 10-12 days for seeds to sprout, what do they mean? All my basil started within 3 days, except that weird loner, my basil barely started and now I have two new seedlings out of the blue... I'm just confused... lol

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chickenlady

I love to garden and will plant mine as soon as I have enough consecutive days of good weather and my yard drys out.

This year I have all heirloom seeds and I am planting:

Purple Cherokee tomatoes

Black krim tomatoes

Mortgage lifter tomatoes

Cosmic purple carrots

Atomic red carrots

Iceberg lettuce

Red cabbage

Green cabbage

Rhubarb

Black watermelon

Blue bush beans (green beans)

Yellow crookneck squash

Purple bell peppers

Onions

Red potatoes

Purple and white radishes and

Cantaloupe

I love color varieties in veggies so I find out of the ordinary seeds :D

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I love to garden and will plant mine as soon as I have enough consecutive days of good weather and my yard drys out.

This year I have all heirloom seeds and I am planting:

Purple Cherokee tomatoes

Black krim tomatoes

Mortgage lifter tomatoes

...

I don't know what zone you are in but I've successfully grown all of the above here in the PNW. May I suggest some green zebra tomatoes or some long keepers to add to that. The zebras have a good acidic flavor to go with the purples and blacks. The long keepers can be picked and stored green and will ripen over time. I've managed to have fresh long keepers in Dec some years.

edited but unsuccessful at fixing my quotes.

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Arete

Sophie,

I have some ideas/suggestions about your problem. First off, it most definitely should not take 20 days for basil and mint seedlings to appear. Basil will usually sprout within 7 days and mint in about 10. Some things you can consider:

-were your starter cells in a place with good light? You need either an east or south facing sunlight exposure, or you need to put them under grow lights.

-Did you keep the soil evenly moist?

-Were your cells exposed to low temperature, for instance below 45 degrees Farenheit?

-Were you using seeds from a pack you bought last year or older? It can sometimes affect viability.

You may want to reseed your basil and mint directly into the containers they will spend the summer in. Sow heavy and then cut back with small scissors when the seedlings come up. Hope some of the info is of some use. Keep trying. It will be worth it.

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Arete

Frumpalicious, are you going to try the chicken wire that ilovetchotchkes suggested?

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Frumpalicious
Frumpalicious, are you going to try the chicken wire that ilovetchotchkes suggested?

We're looking at chicken wire, but I can't justify paying $60 for something when I'm not even going to use the entire roll. I ended up using my boyfriend's old shelves. They're squares that you put together in different ways with plastic tabs. They have a two inch grid on them, so they're pretty useful. I'm going to use them for the tomatoes and cucumbers (if they ever sprout!).

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Deleted03
Sophie,

I have some ideas/suggestions about your problem. First off, it most definitely should not take 20 days for basil and mint seedlings to appear. Basil will usually sprout within 7 days and mint in about 10. Some things you can consider:

-were your starter cells in a place with good light? You need either an east or south facing sunlight exposure, or you need to put them under grow lights.

-Did you keep the soil evenly moist?

-Were your cells exposed to low temperature, for instance below 45 degrees Farenheit?

-Were you using seeds from a pack you bought last year or older? It can sometimes affect viability.

You may want to reseed your basil and mint directly into the containers they will spend the summer in. Sow heavy and then cut back with small scissors when the seedlings come up. Hope some of the info is of some use. Keep trying. It will be worth it.

Thank you,

yes the basil that emerged recently seems malformed. My mint seedlings all look super thin and not sturdy... I watered everything evenly for about 2 weeks and the cells that did not give anything I just left them afterwards until I took the soil out and replaced it...

The window is facing west, I only have west facing windows and one north and well I can't really put anything on the north one. But now I put everything in front of the patio window which has brighter light.

I have enough basil so that's fine for that, I'm now concerned about mint.

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chickenlady

@experiencedd

I tried the green zebra last year and did not like the taste of them at all even when I used them to make sauce. I just got a greenhouse at Lowes and got all my seeds started today.

Edited because I screwed up the quote as well so I'm putting a direct reply

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Glass Cowcatcher

Thank you,

yes the basil that emerged recently seems malformed. My mint seedlings all look super thin and not sturdy... I watered everything evenly for about 2 weeks and the cells that did not give anything I just left them afterwards until I took the soil out and replaced it...

The window is facing west, I only have west facing windows and one north and well I can't really put anything on the north one. But now I put everything in front of the patio window which has brighter light.

I have enough basil so that's fine for that, I'm now concerned about mint.

If you buy a decent sized mint plant, or know someone who has one, you can usually cut off some of the branches and runners to propegate instead of growing from seed.

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We're looking at chicken wire, but I can't justify paying $60 for something when I'm not even going to use the entire roll. I ended up using my boyfriend's old shelves. They're squares that you put together in different ways with plastic tabs. They have a two inch grid on them, so they're pretty useful. I'm going to use them for the tomatoes and cucumbers (if they ever sprout!).

Just curious- did you start the seeds inside or just in the containers outside. Tomatoes tend to do better if you start them inside in smaller pots (I use jiffy pots), then transplant them outside. I've done cucumbers both ways, but the plants were stronger when I started them inside.

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ilovetchotchkes

We're looking at chicken wire, but I can't justify paying $60 for something when I'm not even going to use the entire roll. I ended up using my boyfriend's old shelves. They're squares that you put together in different ways with plastic tabs. They have a two inch grid on them, so they're pretty useful. I'm going to use them for the tomatoes and cucumbers (if they ever sprout!).

We picked up 2 rolls at Home Depot for like $8 each!

However, I like your creative solution too!!!!

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I seperated out my tomato seedlings into their own pots last night. I have a lot of tomatoes, if they all survive. But, they are all at the true leaf stage, which is encouraging. When I transplanted, I buried them up to their first set of leaves.

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Swamptribe

Dear god, don't use mothballs around food plants. they are highly toxic and banned in some areas.

Basil needs heat, and full sun.

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nolongerIFBx

I can see one bean and some lettuce and spinach coming up this morning.

PS- Swamptribe, I'm using the marigolds to help with pests. At least, I hope!

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Deleted03

Other question: When should I start pinching my basil? They have 5 sets of leaves right now, is it too early?

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Swamptribe

I'm always iffy on when to start pinching. Either leave it too late, or too early. I pinch my basil every time I make sauce. (ever few weeks, make big batches). Not that my comments are in any way helpful.

this afternoon I was picking tommy toe tomatoes in the yard, and gave some to the little boy next door. Next thing I knew, he asked me if I grew apples. Said no, but gave him one from the fruit basket. Then he brought his brother by and asked for an apple for him, a blue one if I had it. Gave him one green one. Next they asked for some juice. My 22 year old son looked at me and said "Give a mouse a cookie...". Did get to give the boys some lessons on gardening and wild life though.

Was so excited, went to a native plant nursery this week with a friend. Picked up a Bee Balm that I can grow here. Plus a native milkweed and some white sage. All good for butterflies and bees.

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Frumpalicious

Just curious- did you start the seeds inside or just in the containers outside. Tomatoes tend to do better if you start them inside in smaller pots (I use jiffy pots), then transplant them outside. I've done cucumbers both ways, but the plants were stronger when I started them inside.

I actually did start the tomatoes indoors. I put them in plastic Dixie cups with little holes in the bottoms. Then I put the cups into a plastic container with saran wrap over it and put it somewhere sunny until they were about four inches tall. I've been hardening them off for the past few days now.

I don't know how it happened, but the cucumber seeds sprouted tall, stringy, white mushrooms. I chucked them after the amusement wore off.

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