Gardening Suggestions

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2012 3:53 PM GMT
    Just starting my garden this year. I'm adding some space and wondered if anyone had some suggestions for plants they've tried. I'm trying to grow some herbs this year, and maybe some heirloom vegetables, but am not really sure what to try.
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    Feb 05, 2012 6:46 PM GMT
    Make sure you prepare your soil really well, I know all the yards I've lived/planted in when I lived in salt lake tend to have some really heavy clayish soil... add lots of compost! And depending on how much room you have, do a little research, and then try out lots of stuff see what grows/tastes best especially when trying heirlooms...see about finding some heirloom seed mixes,for different things like tomatoes and whatnot, and save seeds from your favorites at the end of the year. I know not helpful on specifics, but it also depends on your space, the light you're getting etc.... have fun! And good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2012 6:58 PM GMT
    I would stick with plants sold at your local nurseries, under the theory that they would stock tomatoes, herbs etc that are reliable and hardy in your area. Having said that, I love to try a few new things from seed each year. Last year I grew artichokes, which have not borne yet, but with the mild winter, and with crossed fingers, I am hoping they will survive and I'll have a ton of baby artichokes to fry up for dinner!
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    Feb 05, 2012 7:00 PM GMT
    Yes, I've just been out in the greenhouse cleaning things up for the season.

    Personally, I always like to have a salsa garden - several kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos. Cilantro is one of those things that bolts so fast, you have to plant a little bit at a time, every two weeks or so. Also trying some different kinds of eggplant this year.

    But... now that my parents are gone, their $^%* #(^%$#!! peacocks have moved to my house. I can't put anything outside without building some exclusion devices over the beds. Or having a great peacock massacre. Partly for that reason, I was thinking of putting some more things in large hanging baskets, just outside the kitchen door.

    Some gay boys from the city have been talking about planting a couple of acres of stuff on my place, to sell on weekends at the "farmers markets" but if they're serious, they'd better show up next weekend and start working on fence. Heavens! THey'd have to get out of bed before noon! Not holding my breath....
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Feb 05, 2012 7:30 PM GMT
    Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow, and have quite a high output in my garden compared to the regular tomatoes. My favorite strain is the Super Sweet 100 - sweet and juicy and proliferative every time! Easily started from seed.

    For regular tomatoes, I enjoy Early Girl and Brandywines

    Herbs are pretty easy for the most part. I plant a couple types of basil (Thai, Sweet, Cinnamon) and mint (Chocolate, Spearmint) and lemon balm (Melissa officianalis) that need lots of water, as well as more xeric plants like oregano (I probably have a square meter of this stuff) lavender and a couple planters with lemon grass, lemon verbena, and rosemary. Basil, oregano, lemon grass, lemon verbena and rosemary goes into savory food, mint and lemon balm and lavender go into desserts. Cilantro bolts too quickly for me to make use of it, thyme is kind of a pain in the ass for me, and I don't use tarragon, summer savory and other herbs. Oh, I also have a bunch of chives in my front yard that are both ornamental and useful.

    Other easy vegetables I've found are potatoes, cucumbers, pea tendrils (better than waiting for peas), sugar snap peas, beans, and zucchini (after I got rid of a squash bug infestation).

    Lettuce and swiss chard are also easy, and you don't even have to wait for them to fruit before you harvest them. Lettuce of course gets bitter after it gets too warm, so then the swiss chard takes over. Then lettuce can be replanted towards the fall when it gets colder.


    I start most of my veggies from seed. You get more interesting varieties and a sense of satisfaction in addition to not paying for someone else to do something relatively simple. That being said, if it's your first time, buying veggie starts is not a bad place to begin.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Feb 05, 2012 7:40 PM GMT
    I have had a great time planting herbs in very large clay pots. You want to make sure the soil drains well, so mix something like miracle-Gro potting soil with the additives the plant stores sell to lighten soil: perlite,, etc. I did a pot that was about 18-20+ inches accross and planted basil, thyme and parsley. They love sun. The stuff grew like mad. I also had mint in a separate pot because it is VERY invasive and another pot or two with lavender. I just used the orange clay pots because they were a little cheaper and also because they breathe. By putting them up on blocks I could get great drainage and also not have to bend over so much to tend things.

    Especially if you are just starting, get small plants from the nursery and avoid having to start them from seed.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2012 9:37 PM GMT
    Dont ever bother with peas, they never yield enough to justify the space. If you want strawberries, they wont give you much for years, then bam, a ton. Tomatoes are fine and dandy, but you end up with more than you could really use. Try squash, zuchini, green beans, carrots. Potatoes do well in some areas. My mother loves rhubarb, my grandmother loves her blackberry bushes.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Feb 05, 2012 9:45 PM GMT
    basil. nothing else matters.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2012 10:32 PM GMT
    Thanks guys,

    Great help on the herbs. For fruits and veggies, do you have a specific variety you use? I try to avoid genetically modified plants, because i like to use the seeds for next year. I also, don't think they taste as good, in general.

    Mindgarden, peacocks have a way of getting what they want. There's a few wild ones by where my garden is (I know, it's really odd considering it's SL). Those fuckers can jump over my fence and up on my roof. I could only get so mad at them though.
  • johndubuque

    Posts: 319

    Feb 05, 2012 11:09 PM GMT
    Last year I tried an heirloom tomato called Illini Gold, from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds www.rareseeds.com. It yielded pretty well and was quite good.
    For herbs, I planted sage about a decade ago and it grows bigger every year. It takes no work at all, except cutting it back early in the spring.
    I also grow cilantro and dill. They're annuals but reseed themselves, so don't need replanting every year.
  • absman

    Posts: 12

    Feb 06, 2012 12:31 AM GMT
    on the radio i heard about the landreth seed co. which started in 1784. so they specialize in heirloom and open pollinated seeds.

    i assume your garden will be in full sun because most herbs and vegetables need that to grow their best.

    if you chose not to use chemical fertilizers, you will need an organic push to get your plants to perform. unfornuately fish emulsion can get smelly but it is organic. there are many other options available these days.

    when you list your specific plants, it's easier to offer specific advice.
  • absman

    Posts: 12

    Feb 06, 2012 12:46 AM GMT
    the tomato catalog: tomatogrowers.com offers these varieties as heirloom -
    stupice(early), anna russian(oxheart),mexico(beefsteak),super italian paste(paste),marvel stripe(bi-color) and cherokee purple(black).

    the catalog also lists the book: 100 heirloom tomatoes for the american garden by expert carolyn j. male.
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Feb 06, 2012 1:21 AM GMT
    Herbs from seed are generally hard for the novice, so plant starts are the way to go there.

    SLC gets really hot in the summer, so look at short season tomatoes planted about a week or two after your last frost date. This allows them to ripen up before you hit the high 90s and beyond.

    If you can find grafted heirloom tomato starts, that's the ultimate. It gives the plant a more vigorous rootstock, that increases disease resistance and increases yields.

    Stupice is a good choice for a short-season heirloom that sets fruits with cold nights. It's very prolific at setting small salad-sized tomatoes. Cherokee purple is my favorite tomato of all, and I have easily grown 100 varieties. It is not the most prolific in yield, but the flavor makes it all worth it. Black Krim is another heirloom that I really like. Striped German gets good yields of big bicolor red and yellow tomatoes. Be sure to plant your tomatoes 2 feet apart. They get big. You have to stake them up too. Those flimsy wire tomato cages they sell are worthless and don't support a healthy big plant.

    If you have a gardening friend nearby, have them help you. Local knowledge is key. Even in SLC there are a lot of microclimates. Someone local can help assess your site and make suggestions and tell you when best to plant what.
  • metta

    Posts: 39118

    Feb 06, 2012 2:02 AM GMT
    I just got in from working on my yard. I'm working on putting in a berry patch. icon_smile.gif


    I found this photo last night...and would love to do this in my yard but I don't have a good space for it:

    3624863027_5673792279.jpg

    It is a flower bed.

    Rosemary and cilantro are pretty easy to grow.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:12 AM GMT
    Two words: David Austen! You can buy one of his books, but you must buy one of his own root rose bushes (since you're new to gardening, do NOT try hybrid tea roses). Stick to bushes and climbers.
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    Feb 06, 2012 4:52 AM GMT
    So far I've mostly planted trees (numerous magnolia, maple, cypress & oak) and bamboo on my new property, though many of the boos will produce excellent quality sprouts once they get going. Just in the last weeks I've been dividing some of the clumps before they take off again in spring. I've got 20 varieties of boo and some will produce sprouts which can be eaten even without cooking. Haven't started harvesting for food yet.

    The latest clump was huge & took me two days to dig & divide with roots intact as I'm also creating a bamboo cathedral** and a bamboo forest and want to give them a running start. I plant only clumping types, not runners so they are more easily controlled.

    I'm leaving sun lit clearings for growing vegetables and herbs. Also I want to plant olive trees. The only ones I've killed so far are two apples. I'll try again this year to get two varieties established (required for cross pollination). I'm right on the border for them (temperature wise) so it's tricky. I've got a Mexicola Grande avocado just starting to bloom*** and will get another variety which harvests at a separate time of the year. I also planted two orange species which should ripen a few months apart, extending my orange season. These are just for juicing. I'll still buy California navel oranges for eating. Can't beat'm. But Florida produces the best eating grapefruit and so I planted a Ruby Red.

    Before I get into vegetable gardening I'll probably take a local course in urban farming. Also a neighbor recently invited me to join her at the town's community garden. After I helped her plant an oak last week, she gave me some fresh collard greens and cabbage she'd just picked there.

    **Here's an example of bamboo cathedral aka bamboo tunnel I found online. The one i'm doing will have about 100-120 ft of a str8 line similar to pic, then about another 100 ft of bamboo gallery spaces (a connected series of outdoor "rooms") and then another 100 ft of a winding tunnel,
    bamboo_cathedral_scale.jpg

    here's this season's guacamole (just took pic)
    2012Feb05003_1.jpg

    Following are pics from the other week's dig & divide. A smallish clump that took about four hours to dig, divide and replant. This is Bambusa textilis gracilis aka "graceful bamboo". A very tight clumper, it's not an eating bamboo, gets to about 20-25 ft tall by 1-1.5 inch diameter culms. They don't size up after the shoot matures, but each year the new shoots are progressively larger through maturity.

    This clump is about a year and a half old from another division I did.
    2012Jan20001_1.jpg

    I've dug out the soil from around the roots of the clump.
    2012Jan20004_1.jpg

    Then I start to jet away the soil to expose the rhizomes and to lighten up the clump so I can get it out of the ground to divide.
    2012Jan20005_1.jpg

    Then wrestle/leverage out of the ground
    2012Jan20007_1.jpg

    Continue to jet away the soil. Here you can see how the roots are connected to the rhizomes and the rhizomes are connected to the culms. Notice how the rhizomes curve up as they shoot out. That's the difference between clumping bamboo and running bamboo. A runner puts out long lateral rhizomes which then sprout new culms at a further distance from the original plant while the clumper's rhizomes form "U"s which can be very tight like these or more loosely spaced.
    2012Jan20008_1.jpg

    Once I can see what's going on in there, I can divide either each culm individually if I feel there is enough root, or with these, to assure survival, I cut them with three culms attached per rhizome like this:
    2012Jan20009_1.jpg

    At your hardiness zone, you'd probably have to do running bamboo as the clumpers are generally for warmer climes. I understand that a number of those are edible. Some as mine should not be bitter even when raw.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2012 5:03 PM GMT
    I am on my second year of gardening, but mine have all been flowers.

    I would only suggest what was said about getting good soil to start. I tried using just one bag of soil mixed in with the dirt that was already there, and because of all of the clay, the young plants couldn't grow roots and died. SO demoralizing.

    Also what Shawn said about not biting off more than you can chew. It will be work, especially if you have pests to deal with, so keeping it simple makes you not quit early.

    Don't get set on your expectations either. Try to think "I get whatever I get" because undpredictable things happen.
  • metta

    Posts: 39118

    Feb 18, 2012 7:35 AM GMT
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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 29, 2012 6:53 AM GMT

    Every year I grow strawberries and corn in home-made "earth boxes". If you have power tools, a box cutter, and a local home-depot to pick up pvc pipe and an pvc elbow, you can grow pretty much anything you want in 18 gallon totes.

    I have a great area in my room that gets lots of sun, right by a window.
    I keep the shade up all day, and took the screen off as well. I tied twine around part of my window and attached it to my hose to hoist up the hose and water my plants and fill the resevoir.

    I have the instructions to email you if you want.

    http://thumbp3-ne1.thumb.mail.yahoo.com/tn?sid=2374649223&mid=AFgWw0MAAEjjT03Jzgwt2AmM0DE&midoffset=1_22417&partid=2&f=1121&fid=Inbox&httperr=1&h=600&w=600

    The plants in the back, I bought from a local green house for 45cents each and were cuttings at the time. I'm thinking this has to be 3 months of growth, or close to it.

    I have to build 3 more... one for strawberries, one for the desert rose plants, and one for the giant pumpkins in the backyard. God only knows where I'm going to put three 18 gallon totes of dirt when the season is over. The strawberries are going in my room, the desert rose plant will go in the babies room, and the giant pumpkins in the backyard.

    If the link doesn't work, I can email you the picture.
  • CDNinOZ

    Posts: 38

    Feb 29, 2012 10:03 AM GMT
    I grow quite a few things in a fairly small garden.

    Leafy lettuce is easy to grow. Just sow and cut when its the right size. Zucchini is easy and you can plant it on the edge of the garden and let it sprawl on the outside. Tomatoes, peppers (capsicum), cucumbers etc work well too.

    Green beans also grow quite fast.

    Improve the soil with some humus or compost. Once harvested, work the remaining plant material into the soil, it will improve the soil for the next crop.

    Fertilize with some manure or organic fertilizer.

    Good luck. It's lots of fun!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 29, 2012 11:29 AM GMT
    I love plants but gardening has been my past, Plants can be pretty moody you know depending on what species. If you have good time to look after do it then great makes your mind creative.

    Otherwise dont! they are living things like us, they need lots love. icon_biggrin.gif

    Since then Im having just 3 potted plants and my personal : Jade plant Crassula ovata , the others are White-pinkish water lily, Lotus, and these this thin Japanese luck bamboos.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/haresh5150/sets/72157627523330480/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 29, 2012 12:04 PM GMT
    I'm working on a gardening Notebook for Microsoft Office OneNote.

    If anyone else is interested, I could upload it somewhere for people to adapt for their own plants.