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yay, it's spring! This year I'm going to grow my own veggies and herbs after a long hiatus. Any other excited gardeners out there? tips to share?

Tue. Mar 28, 3:19pm

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I love gardening too... not too experienced with growing veggies... grew a few things in containers last yr and that worked out well. have been thinking about planting a proper garden this yr, but not sure yet.
I'm also into water gardening... I have a koi pond and a few water plants. hoping to get a lotus this yr!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 5:23 PM

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Grow vines (squash, cucumbers, etc) on a trellis - takes up less space and makes them easier to pick. They are less susceptible to fungus and pests that way too. If you buy one that arches you can start a coupe different plants on each end and they will grown towards each other, plus the produce will then hang down in the archway and you may simply reach out and pick it rather than bend down and hunt through the mess of vines for it.

For the most part I find it easier to get my produce already picked at the farmer's market, but I do intend to put in quite a few herbs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 8:10 PM

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We have a small/medium sized garden and LOVE IT! We plant tomatoes, zucchini, carrots and peas. You don't get many peas if you just plant a small row, but it's great to eat them right out of the pod. Did you know that you can freeze whole tomatoes in a ziplock bag? When you are ready to use them, run them under hot water to take the skins off and then chop them up for extra tomatoes in your lasagna, stew, chili, spaghtti and so on. Also, I shred and freeze my zucchini to add in things, too (bread, cake, stews) Peas like cool, wet weather, so they do pretty well where I live. Carrots need to be thinned (pull some out) after they start coming up. Then your carrots will get bigger. I always plant them really thick at first just to make sure I have plenty. :)
Herbs work great in containers, so if you don't have a big garden you can use large containers. I used to help my mom with her HUGE garden, so I know a little bit about a lot of things. :) Good luck!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 9:50 PM

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alternate bok choy with the carrots and pick it so that you have 'baby bok choy' - this will thin the carrots for you and extend your harvest in addition to maximizing your gardening area :-)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006, 10:01 PM

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Planted sugar snap peas and put up a "teepee" for green beans. Legumes are great for your soil! Also, for the winter, plant vetch. It's a nitrogen fixer and ground cover that you just dig under when you are ready to plant in the spring.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 4:12 PM

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I have a small balcony on the 14th floor of a high rise in Chicago. It gets a decent amount of sun, but it's very windy. I'd like to put some planters out there, but I'm not sure what would grow well with all the wind. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 5:00 PM

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Hi there!
I love planting things and watching them grow! Last fall / winter, we added a deck and now I've blocked out a nice big area for flowers and such! Can't really plant veggies there because the deck wood is "treated" and I don't want to run the risk of toxic chemicals...

However, when I was planning a veggie garden, my space is about 3 ft wide and about 8 feet long. "zig zag plant my tomatoes (about 6-8 plants)so that they are very dense. I also like planting zuchinni(make sure you give them lots of space to grow!) Bok Choy is great if you have pesky creatures like Deer, who like to nibble on my lettuce-- they won't go near the Bok Choy!! :-)

I also like to plant Basil as well. :-) (make sure you plant AFTER the last frost or they will die with the cold snap.

I usually get so many tomatoes, I can't eat them fast enough and have to give them away! :-) If nothing else, I LOVE garden tomatoes-- better than the pale ghosts of tomatoes they sell in the grocery store!


I also have lots of fresh herbs-
Thyme (keeps away the deer)
Oregano *
Mint *

Note: if you don't want the Mint & Oregano to take over your whole garden, you'll want to make sure to plant them in a planter and THEN into the ground. They send out runners, so if you don't contain them, they will soon choke out all of your other plants!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 6:55 PM

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for the balcony gardener .. I would suggest a hot pepper plant. They grow very compactly and so shouldn't be bothered by the wind. little thai red peppers, jalapeno, habanero ...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 8:59 PM

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I also love to garden. In fact just tilled it up yesterday and moved my strawberries around. I canned down everything we grow. Love making homemade soup out of the tomatoes I grow, low in calories and mmm good. I also have many flower beds which keeps me busy. I never grew a garden before until 3 years ago when I married my new husband. He grew up on a farm and knows alot more than I do but hey I'm learning, besides I find it very relaxing and a good way to burn off those unwanted calories.

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 12:18 PM

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For the balcony gardener...

The following should be able to resist the wind fairly well.

Lavender (the more compact varieties)
Heather (Erica)
Kidney Vetch
a packet of wildflower seeds might also do fairly well.

Most of those are failry hardy herbs that have aromatic flowers that attract bumblebees. It might be hard for them to get to the high balcony, but just to let you know that most of those will attract 'visitors', but they should be able to thrive even in very windy conditions.

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 3:16 PM

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Is it possible to grow tomatoes (any kind) indoors?

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 4:14 PM

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I checked with my mom (fantastic all knowing gardener) She said tomatoes won't flower without sun, and even a grow lamp probably wouldn't work. So no, you need to plant them outside.

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 5:01 PM

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Ok, I am the above poster. We did a little more thinking and checking, obviously people who have greenhouses grow tomatoes indoors, but I think for the average gardener, it's a little harder.

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 8:15 PM

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I think it also depends on where your windows are.. You need something southwestern and a big window that has light for most of the afternoon... :-)

For some reason, I never have success with peppers. I think it's because they are overcrowded by my giant tomato plants. :-) Also, I think they prefer sandier and well-drained soil, while my soil is mostly clay (even with additives of humus and compost!

Thursday, March 30, 2006, 10:17 PM

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I worked up a great sweat (and sore back!) this weekend turning the compost and preparing my raised veggie bed.

I also have a bin of earthworms. My kiddos always roll their eyes at me when I take leftovers outside to "feed the wormies".

Spring has sprung! Enjoy, all you gardeners!

Monday, April 03, 2006, 11:39 PM

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