2024 gardening thread. What are you growing in your garden this year?

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Charmonium

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May 15, 2015
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I was going to do this last year but couldn't get my shit together. I'm more optimistic this year.

I have 3 or 4 window box planters and seeds for deer resistant flowers. Also a few bags of top soil. I'm just not sure when I should get them started. I do have some gooseneck grow lights so timing shouldn't be a critical issue. I also have poppy seeds but poppies have a "cabbage" phase and I'm worried that they might choke out the other flowers.

Once they're started, I'll put the boxes out on the retaining wall to give the place some color.
 
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bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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I was going to do this last year but couldn't get my shit together. I'm more optimistic this year.

I have 3 or 4 window box planters and seeds for deer resistant flowers. Also a few bags of top soil. I'm just not sure when I should get them started. I do have some gooseneck grow lights so timing shouldn't be a critical issue. I also have poppy seeds but poppies have a "cabbage" phase and I'm worried that they might choke out the other flowers.

Once they're started, I'll put the boxes out on the retaining wall to give the place some color.
Sounds like you have a solid plan to get your season started. How exciting! I do have one piece of advice for you. If budget allows don't use top soil in your containers. Instead get some quality potting mix like Ferti-lome or Fox Farms and make sure you have holes in the bottom of your containers for drainage. Trust me your plants will thank you!:)
 
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Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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Sounds like you have a solid plan to get your season started. How exciting! I do have one piece of advice for you. If budget allows don't use top soil in your containers. Instead get some quality potting mix like Ferti-lome or Fox Farms and make sure you have holes in the bottom of your containers for drainage. Trust me your plants will thank you!:)
Thank you. If I didn't already have 3 or 4 bags of top soil, I would certainly do that. But there must be some sort of fertilizer I can use to "upgrade" the topsoil. Yes? No?

For example, I have some fruit tree spikes that should enough nutrients for seedlings. Those suckers are huge, like 6" long and about 1-2" in diameter. And they fall apart really easily. I had to drill holes to get them into the ground in one piece. I could grind one up and use it for all of the planters. I'd just sprinkle some in the bottom of the window boxes. But then, would that burn the roots?

I could also get a bag of potting soil and use that with peat cups.

Advise? Suggestions?

edit - just to be clear, we're talking wild flowers here not finicky orchids or some such.
 

bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Thank you. If I didn't already have 3 or 4 bags of top soil, I would certainly do that. But there must be some sort of fertilizer I can use to "upgrade" the topsoil. Yes? No?

For example, I have some fruit tree spikes that should enough nutrients for seedlings. Those suckers are huge, like 6" long and about 1-2" in diameter. And they fall apart really easily. I had to drill holes to get them into the ground in one piece. I could grind one up and use it for all of the planters. I'd just sprinkle some in the bottom of the window boxes. But then, would that burn the roots?

I could also get a bag of potting soil and use that with peat cups.

Advise? Suggestions?

edit - just to be clear, we're talking wild flowers here not finicky orchids or some such.
The number one problem with just using top soil in containers is lack of drainage. Even with holes in your containers top soil is just horrible and most wild flowers don't like wet roots very few plants used in the landscape do. It also has disease transmission issues but that pertains more to vegetables not wild flowers but can still be a problem.

I just don't like it and never recommend the practice to my customers. Part of my job is making sure they are successful the first time they try because that first experience can make or break whether or not they become burgeoning gardeners.

Be very careful using fruit tree fertilizer on your young seedlings. Without knowing the specifics of the fertilizer I would recommend against it just because seedlings are so tender compared to a fruit tree. I use clear water until they get mature enough then I use a balanced 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer once a week if possible but even I forget sometimes.

If you are dead set on using the top soil perhaps buy a bag or two of some quality potting mix and then blend it together with the top soil like in a 3:1 ratio. So for every 3 parts top soil use 1 part potting mix. I don't really even like this idea but it might be worth trying.

If you are dead set on using the fruit tree fertilizer my suggestion is to crumble it up like you mentioned but instead of putting it in the bottom of your containers try mixing it in with your soil media so it is spread through out not just concentrated in one place at the bottom. I also don't really like this idea and would prefer you use a slow release product like Osmocote blended in with your soil media.
 
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Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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Thank you again and I really should have remembered about the drainage issues.

What about say, adding 1 part perlite and 1 part sand to 2-3 parts topsoil?

edit - oh, and i would still start the seeds in peat cups with potting soil.
 

bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Thank you again and I really should have remembered about the drainage issues.

What about say, adding 1 part perlite and 1 part sand to 2-3 parts topsoil?

edit - oh, and i would still start the seeds in peat cups with potting soil.
I don't want to discourage you because a really fun part of gardening is the experimentation that comes with it. I do it all the time both at home and at work and it can be one of the most rewarding parts. I experiment with all sorts of different aspects such as temperature, light, water, soil media, different fertilizers, ect. It's really fun and I enjoy it very much.

That being said I usually steer newer gardeners away from mixing their own soil. Mostly because it can take years to get the correct concentrations of all the different parts just right. How much peat, perlite, vermiculite, sand, bark, and so on do you add? Are their other types of media like rice hulls or coconut husks that I want to try as well? Will this work for all types of plants or just a few specific types?

This is why I usually recommend a quality general purpose potting mix for beginners. It's good for a multitude of different plant types and has most of the qualities needed to help the beginning gardener flourish by growing strong and healthy plants.

I think starting in peat pots is a great idea. It's how I first got started and then it slowly turned into an obsession. lol

This pic is from two years ago but this is what I mean by obsession. It has actually grown more in the past few years. Just look at all these baby pepper, tomato, basil, and other types seedlings!
IMG_20210314_112003493.jpg
 
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Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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Thank you very much for the encouragement. I really do like to try out new ideas. I do usually end up "eating" them, but it's an itch that demands scratching.

I'm going to give mixing the soil myself a shot. Like I said, wild flowers are old pros at adapting to changing soil conditions, so apart from drowning or burning them, I don't think that even moi can completely f' the pooch.

Would you go with perlite or vermiculite. I've always considered them equivalent (mom was the real gardener, I'm a newbie). But I just looked them up and perl is for drainage while verm is better for retention. Since the boxes will be outside and it seems we've been getting a lot rain, I have to err in favor of the perlite if I'm going to choose.

In addition to the sand, I think I'll add some crushed shell and be very sparing with fertilizer.
 
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bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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One thing I forgot to mention but I think is very important is that you can reuse your potting mix from year to year. A lot of beginner and even seasoned gardeners are under the impression that you need to throw out the "old stuff" from last year and start over.

This is not true at all and is just an extra expense that is not needed. I have reused the same potting mix in all my raised bed gardens and containers for over five years and will not replace the mix ever. I just top off the boxes and containers as needed from year to year.

Purchasing new potting mix every year is a crazy extra expense that so many gardeners think is needed but it is not.

Here is a pic from last year of my raised beds and containers were I grow most of my herbs, onions, and some pollinator plants. I have never replaced the potting mix in any of these and they are any where from 5-10 years old.

Yes it is safe to say I have a green thumb but with a little bit of information almost anyone can have one to!:)
IMG_20220624_192715874_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220624_192524466_HDR.jpg
 
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bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Thank you very much for the encouragement. I really do like to try out new ideas. I do usually end up "eating" them, but it's an itch that demands scratching.

I'm going to give mixing the soil myself a shot. Like I said, wild flowers are old pros at adapting to changing soil conditions, so apart from drowning or burning them, I don't think that even moi can completely f' the pooch.

Would you go with perlite or vermiculite. I've always considered them equivalent (mom was the real gardener, I'm a newbie). But I just looked them up and perl is for drainage while verm is better for retention. Since the boxes will be outside and it seems we've been getting a lot rain, I have to err in favor of the perlite if I'm going to choose.

In addition to the sand, I think I'll add some crushed shell and be very sparing with fertilizer.
If you plan on using the the top soil I would choose the perlite. I would also skip the sand but don't have any experience with adding crushed shells to my mix. An interesting choice for sure so let us know how it turns out. Like I said experimentation is part of the fun!:)

Just curious but where are you located? I don't need to know a city or even a State but just a general region might be helpful.

I'm Midwest Illinois born and raised so most of my gardening knowledge is from living in that climate.
 
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Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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I'm in central Joisey. Sorry, but I'm originally from Southern AL. Moved up here at age 7 but the die had already been cast so I have no compunctions about making fun of the accent.
 

Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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By the way, I love those raised beds. I've always had 2 main problems with gardening - pulling weeds and getting down on my hands and knees in the dirt.

I've always had a bone abnormality called Osgood-Schlatter disease. It makes kneeling on anything but a soft cushion very painful. It's gotten somewhat better as I've aged, but if I hit the bulges in my upper shins the right way, it's extremely unpleasant - imagine having a funny bone in your knees but instead of just a tingling, there's actual pain.

The part about pulling weeds needs no explanation.

But building something similar to what you have is beyond my abilities at the moment. Although if I can find someone that isn't going to bend me over on the price, I would consider hiring someone. I'll have to start thinking about where to locate it and the extent to which it needs to be fortified against deer, rabbits, etc.
 

highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
43,417
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One thing I forgot to mention but I think is very important is that you can reuse your potting mix from year to year. A lot of beginner and even seasoned gardeners are under the impression that you need to throw out the "old stuff" from last year and start over.

This is not true at all and is just an extra expense that is not needed. I have reused the same potting mix in all my raised bed gardens and containers for over five years and will not replace the mix ever. I just top off the boxes and containers as needed from year to year.

Purchasing new potting mix every year is a crazy extra expense that so many gardeners think is needed but it is not.

Here is a pic from last year of my raised beds and containers were I grow most of my herbs, onions, and some pollinator plants. I have never replaced the potting mix in any of these and they are any where from 5-10 years old.

Yes it is safe to say I have a green thumb but with a little bit of information almost anyone can have one to!:)
View attachment 92947

View attachment 92948
Are the tin ones lined with anything?
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
35,431
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I don't garden. We live in a farming town though so we can get quality produce locally at very good prices during the summer/fall months.

My wife kept a small plot but gave up because the chipmunks would just bite the bottom of every single tomato the second it was ripe.

I am going to try to grow some hot paper lantern peppers this year though. Will see how it goes.
 

bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Are the tin ones lined with anything?
Yes all of them are lined to prevent the roots from coming into contact with the treated lumber. We used large sheets of 6 mil plastic so there would be no place for the chemicals used in the lumber to leach into the soil. The plastic was all one piece and was stapled in place ABOVE soil line so that even the staple holes could not be an entry point.

I was not entirely happy with this because I didn't want the roots coming into contact with the plastic sheeting either. Before filling I took the extra step of then lining them a second time with heavy duty landscaping fabric manufactured by DeWitt. The fabric is buried slightly BELOW soil level so it won't break down overtime from direct sunlight.

My thinking was that the fabric would act as a barrier between the roots of the plants and the plastic lining. I don't know if it does anything but it gave me the extra piece of mind that I was looking for. Like I said I'm a stickler about my garden. lol

If you are interested in building your own they were modeled after an article published in 2019 from a magazine called The Family Handyman. I've been a long time print subscriber and they have some really fun DIY projects.

 
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highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
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@bbhaag Thanks. I'll be ordering some DeWitt fabric. The crap at Lowes/HD is a waste of time and $$. Bro in law cuts trees and has a saw mill so I have access to cheap/free untreated lumber. Win.
 
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bbhaag

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Jul 2, 2011
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Yes I agree. After a few years of using the cheaper fabric I have found that investing a few dollars more upfront to purchase the better fabric is the way to go.

Having access to low cost lumber would be amazing! Admittedly I am not the carpenter in the family my wife is. She was the one who built all the boxes pictured above. If she had access to free or even low cost lumber......omg. I can't even imagine how many MORE boxes we would have. lol

Anyway, if you're interested here is a link to the DeWitt fabric I purchased. It's from their Sunbelt line which is used a lot in commercial applications.

 
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highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
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Cherry, oak, walnut, poplar, heart pine and a bunch of wood that I have no idea what it is...win. I keep telling them to start a side hustle selling but they're too busy now. Working farm.
 

bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Did anyone get their seeds started for 2024 or still thinking about it? If you're still on the fence it's not to late but it is getting close depending on your location.

I was at work today checking in on things and decided to take a short video of everything we sowed for our garden this year.

If anyone is interested here is the video. Before anyone complains about a video versus posting photos it's worth watching the end of the vid. We sowed some Sensitive Plant this year which is really interesting. If you have never heard of it check it out!

 
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waffleironhead

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Aug 10, 2005
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I keep getting emails to order fruit trees. I cant plant for a long time. Zone3, though usda says im now zone 4b. Have to remain strong and not order till i can plant.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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Got a lot of stuff that we're waiting to take root and take off. Not much planting to be done at the moment.

Two Figs (Tiger fig and Purple Fig), Bay Tree, massive assortment of bulbs...

Tons of rain this winter, so it looks to be a bountiful spring.
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
21,509
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Thinking of getting a corn plant for one part of my place with lesser sunlight. My front two rooms are south facing so they get tons of light, but no room to put plants. So gonna do the living room, which is north facing.

Any other suggestions for plans that are easy to care for and don't need sunlight? This has to be like something that gets 4-6 feet but not extremely wide
 
Jun 18, 2000
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Hard to believe it's that time already. Winter just flew by. We'll start pepper seeds this week since they take so long to germinate. Other veggies probably next week or week after.
 

Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
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A friend sends me paper white bulbs every winter. As the last batch was dying at the end of the previous winter, I dumped a packet of diner-style sugar into the approximately one pint jar filled with pebbles and water. They seemed to die anyway but I was wrong. This winter they sprouted 2 tiny shoots - maybe 1/2 inch each. They've stayed green all winter, so I'm very curious to see what happens next year.
 

bbhaag

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2011
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Thinking of getting a corn plant for one part of my place with lesser sunlight. My front two rooms are south facing so they get tons of light, but no room to put plants. So gonna do the living room, which is north facing.

Any other suggestions for plans that are easy to care for and don't need sunlight? This has to be like something that gets 4-6 feet but not extremely wide
A snake plant might work well in that location and some of them get roughly the size you are wanting. Search carefully though because a lot of them only get around 2'. I've had one for years in a similar lighting situation and it has done very well.

One "cheat" you might want to consider to get a little extra height is buying a pot with some legs. I've done that with a few of my houseplants and it works well.

This is not my pic but a ceramic or plastic pot similar to this.
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