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Gardening thread

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 1:28 AM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

I'm starting this thread and hope others chime in with their own gardening issues/questions/observations/reports.

Our landscape redo is underway a full month earlier than we thought it would start. I thought it wouldn't get done in time for me to do a garden of any kind this year, but now I don't have that excuse. I've never really done a vegetable garden, although my dad was well known in the large city I grew up in for his vegetable gardens; he actually had a couple of articles written up in the major local newspaper about his gardening techniques and successes. But he was a perfectionist, and put a LOT of hours into his garden, which was pretty large. So I think I was always intimidated to try it on my own.

So here I am, with what will be a beautiful backyard, with ample east-facing sun and only minor shade from our neighbors' yards. So pretty good conditions for giving this a go.

However, we've talked with out backyard neighbors who pointed out to me that the rabbit population in our neighborhood makes harvesting anything actually very difficult. They are everywhere, all the time. And our next-door neighbor feeds the birds and squirrels (probably more than 20 bird feeders in her yard). So I'm not sure how successful this endeavor is going to be.

So my question is, what are my options to garden that will mitigate my risk of critters eating everything? I know I could put netting around the garden, but that seems like such a pain. I'm also trying to figure out what kind of raised garden structure I'd like to get; I think having something that I don't have to get down on the ground to tend to will be more motivating. Some are made of wood, some metal, and some plastic. From what I've determined, the aluminum ones have a longer life, but of course they're more expensive. In order to deter the rabbits, I could also go with raised beds that are on legs. And of course, those are the most expensive. But it would definitely deter the rabbits.

I was talking with our landscaper today, and he said a lot of his clients who have vegetable gardens install a device that emits a low-frequency sound that the rabbits avoid. It has a sensor on it that only goes off when it detects movement near the device. We had something similar in CA to deter the moles from digging up our yard.

Or am I just dreaming that I could successfully grow something we could eat??

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 2:40 AM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

Now, you knew this would bring me out tonight, right?!

Just do the fencing.

Nature is out of balance due to myriad factors, but the long and the short of it is, wild critters will want to eat your garden goodies, and believe me, they are conoisseurs: they will wait until things are perfectly ripe to come in and lay waste to your veggies! So, why try to test nature? Especially if you have been warned by neighbors!

I had the usual wire garden fence 30 inches high around my veggie patch, installed with the smaller gaps closer to the ground. It did work to keep out rabbits, possums, ground hogs, and everybody else...except where we planted the sweet corn! Found out we needed 6 foot high wire fence to keep the deer and raccoons out of the ripening corn! I believe I won't even try for corn this year as it is a big space waster with lots of natural predators and very much a water and nutrient hog. And Walmart sells their sweet corn for 25 cents an ear in season, so much easier. (besides, it's a carb!)

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StillLivin ( member #40229) posted at 4:35 AM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

Soooo, my first attempt at a garden several years ago was a hit, with the rabbits! They had an all you can eat buffet in one night. I started seedlings in my garage. They were all at least 4-5 inches high. I was so proud of my work. I had grown several trays and had about 180 seedlings that I transplanted.
The next morning I got up and went outside to water my garden....and there wasn't even a single stem or leaf. I stood there in shock unable to process the situation. I shit you not, I went back inside to the garage to see of they were still in there. I somehow convinced myself that I dreamed I'd transplanted them the day before. duh laugh
The youngest boy came in and asked, "do you think maybe it was all the rabbits last night?"
Yeah, get the fence and install it. grin
wink

"Bitch please a good man can't be stolen." ROFLMAO - SBB: 7/2/2014

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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 1:57 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

Personally I live in the country so have rabbits, deer, groundchucks, as the primary critters. To keep the smaller animals out some sort of fencing or netting to keep them out is pretty effective. Unfortunately the deer are harder so we have used the electric fence option that is available at most farm stores. It's a single or double wire with small posts that can be hammered into the ground every 6-10 feet. Some are solar so no need to run electric to it.

Me: FBSHim: FWSKids: 23 & 27 Married for 32 years now, was 16 at the time.D-Day Sept 26 2008R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 7:07 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

I can't help with the raised bed issues...but we learned about a natural "pesticide" that helped us so much last year...habaneros smile ! Someone told us that boiling habaneros in water and then spraying the juice on our vegetable plants helps to keep the pests away from the flowers and vegetables. It worked like a charm grin !! We planted one habanero plant that kept us in plenty of habaneros for this year smile . It will sure open your sinuses when it is boiling on the stove too laugh !!

I am not sure if it will keep rabbits from eating the leaves...but it sure works wonders on all kinds of other pests smile .

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 2:03 AM on Saturday, April 27th, 2024

A friend of mine made wooden garden boxes with mesh on the bottom and hinged frame lid with mesh for lids. Worked great.


Good luck with your gardens! I just grow herbs, a few tomatoes in pots and my lemon trees. Very envious!

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 8:56 PM on Saturday, April 27th, 2024

I may have overstated how much I know about gardening, especially in our grow zone. I grew up in 9, and now live in 6. I know I'm going to miss the spring crops, but I hope to get in early enough to do a summer crop; then I can do a fall crop with stuff I can't do now because the yard's not done.

Thankfully we don't have deer; it's mostly the rabbits and birds that I'll have to worry about. What I'm wondering is, if I get raised beds on legs, will that be enough to keep the bunnies out? If not, and I have to also do netting, then I might as well do raised beds without legs, which will be cheaper.

Since we're getting an irrigation system put in with our yard, if I know how many beds I want to do, then I can have the landscaper connect a drip irrigation into the beds when he does the grass irrigation. I just feel like I'm about to easily drop a lot of money for these containers. Everything I've read says the metal containers last so much longer than wood. And they're obviously easier to assemble. Facebook has my search algorithm figured out; it's pretty much all the ads I see right now... container gardens!

The next morning I got up and went outside to water my garden....and there wasn't even a single stem or leaf.


I would have cried on the spot, then screamed a bunch of obscenities. You say this was your first attempt... does that mean you tried again? If so, what did you do differently? I applaud you for starting seedlings from scratch. I'm obviously too late to do that this year, and it would require a new setup.

Yea, corn uses a LOT of resources for very little production. I would never try it, but when I was really young and we lived on an acre, my dad grew quite a bit. I think somewhere I have some pictures of him standing next to a couple of rows of it.

I just grow herbs, a few tomatoes in pots and my lemon trees.


I really miss that part of living in CA; our daughter and son-in-law there had several lemon trees (we love the Meyer lemons), mandarin orange trees, a couple of fig trees, peach trees, and probably something else I'm forgetting. And my SIL built some garden beds that are pretty nice (it's where I got the idea of having the landscaper run drip lines in the beds). But our backyard there was pretty shaded, so no place to grow anything.

I'm kind of starting to think I just need to pull the trigger and start ordering some stuff. I think our backyard is going to get leveled this week, and after that, we could assemble the beds and they can sod around them.

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 10:11 PM on Saturday, April 27th, 2024

Go forth and plant! Time is marching on....already here it is too late for lettuce and peas. Soon it will get dry and bake the clay soil. I had my big clay soil garden tilled last week, after it had sat fallow all last year (as we saw we were not going to get normal rain.) I'd forgotten how huge that patch of ground is!

Yesterday I took a 3 foot landscape rake up there to smooth it all out for planting, took one look and snorted: "I'm not going to wreck my rotator cuffs for this!" I went down to the barn and dragged out a single drag disc that I'd gotten at auction for my lawn tractor and ran that tractor and disc back and forth on the diagonal, to slow down water runoff, since we now know where the water will cut gullies.

It is now the weirdest looking garden! All rows are going to be different lengths, but that is good, because who needs a lot of things like Arugula? It all ripens at once, you know.

So today I got 2 kinds of seed potatoes (which are almost too late to find at most garden centers): Adirondack Blue and Russet Burbank. Got a pound of red shallots and a pound of red onion sets. A quarter pound of Slenderette green bean seeds (they are so easy to pick and string, and they can up beautifully), plus beet seed and little sweet pumpkin seeds (for using in dog food, Tush!!)

Already had parsnip, turnip, kohlrabi, fennel, kale, Pac Choy, basil and arugula packs of seeds from prior years, most should still have some viability (I hope!)

No melons. They are too thirsty, they succumb to vine borers like right now, and they all come ripe at once, with only 2 people here. No cabbages, for similar reasons. We still have a freezer shelf full of cauliflower & broccoli heads and kale from 2 years ago. Kale is still good when cooked, but I ought to pitch the rest. Texture of the frozen brassicas turned out bad, maybe I over-did the blanching?

I am going to try growing mini cucumbers for cornichons, to pickle. H hates cukes. No sweet corn, maybe a few tomatoes near the house for ease of watering, but no more canning gallons of tomato juice; I still have a dozen quarts in the cellar from 2020!

Happy gardening, y'all!

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 11:58 PM on Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

So I bit the dust and ordered two containers... each 4'x8' and 32" high. Yes, it will take a lot to fill it up the first time, but we watched videos of how to do that more efficiently, such as adding logs to the bottom before you start adding compost, then soil, then mulch. Large logs (if fit in tightly) will also deter critters that come up from the ground. I also pre-ordered (will ship later) a couple of trellises that have netting with zippers, so that should keep the birds out.

Fingers crossed that this experiment gains traction!

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 12:34 AM on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

May these containers last you for years!

Logs in the bottom will also help with tip-over issues if you have a doggo like ours, 80 lbs. and curious!

This evening we just measured the plowed lot with a field tape: 32 feet by 70 feet. The diagonal rows are going to be as long as 54 feet. Lots of work ahead....I'm doing the layout on MS Publisher, so I don't overplant the little stuff. I like to make simple things complex, it seems... laugh

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 6:26 PM on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

OMG! 32' x 70'???? That's over 2000' sq ft of planting space!!! Do you can or jar your harvest? It seems like you'd have more coming in than you'd be able to eat at peak season.

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 9:51 PM on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

Haha, you would be correct!

I did the same with my flower garden...made it so huge. It's like when you are on the tractor with the plow, it moves pretty quickly so it doesn't seem like you are plowing that much dirt area up. Last night, I got up to the veggie garden with my notepad to measure the length of the diagonal lines I'm going to plant - to slow down the water running off when we get these gully washers. I was there for an hour, got 6 or 7 lines staked out, totalling 230 feet of row, and realized I'd only laid out one third of this garden!

Oh well, what else should I be doing with my time? I startted staking the lowest ground, because 2 years ago, during the drought we had in late summer, that area did so much better. I So I may grass mulch over the top third of this year's garden and save that for Fall planting of brassicas. Like prior years, we had the neighbor guy with a rear-mounted 4 foot wide rototiller work up the garden. He made quick work of it all. But I know if I don't mulch the heck out of it soon, it will be a weed garden!

2 years ago we did plant a patch of sweet corn, (with 6 foot fence around) and we ended up with way too much produce, especislly kale, cabbages, spaghetti squash and Lima Beans (did you all ever shuck a Lima Bean? Painful, and so S.L.O.W.!)

I plan to give some of it to the local food pantries and neighbors. Now we need the rain again...

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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 11:39 PM on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

My little urban backyard garden is pretty tiny compared to Supresse's, but we still get a lot out of it every summer. Is the effort worth it from a financial perspective? Who knows, but it's fun.


Things that have been a success: cherry tomatoes, zucchini (so many zucchini), beans, peas, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, radishes, kale (etc), all sorts of herbs (basil, rosemary, parsley, cilantro) (obviously do mint in a separate bed).

There is a lot of trial and error and every year we implement something new to improve upon last season, but i feel like that's kind of part of the fun. My husband had an ongoing battle with some sort of critters last year (squirrels or skunks maybe) that kept eating something, and he had put up some sort of chicken wire that he felt was mostly working. laugh

[This message edited by emergent8 at 11:47 PM, Thursday, May 2nd]

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

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StillLivin ( member #40229) posted at 11:29 AM on Monday, May 20th, 2024

I would have cried on the spot, then screamed a bunch of obscenities. You say this was your first attempt... does that mean you tried again? If so, what did you do differently?


Oh I cussed. I ended up, that year, going and buying some seedlings to replace what I had grown because by that time it was too late to start over. What I did different. Well first I got with our landscaping guy and had him rabbit proof the entire back yard within 2 weeks of the rabbit fiasco. He put up metal mesh. He dig about 2 feet beneath our fence and started it there. Then he took the mesh up all the way to the top of the fence. Once it was all nailed in, he went back and buried what was under the fence. We didn't have neighbors because it was a rural area, so it didn't look tacky at all. The mesh was barely visible. Then, I put netting up over the newly transplanted seedlings so the birds wouldn't swoop down and have an all you can eat buffet either. I was mostly upset because all of my seedlings were heirloom vegetables and I couldn't get the exact ones from our basic nursery.
The next year I was ready, though. Until my divorce, when we lost the house, I had a garden every year. Oh and a great trick to keep deer from eating everything, pee in a bucket and pour it on the perimeter. I did this about every 2 weeks. Worked like a charm. My FMIL taught me that trick. I thought she might be a little mental, but pee is free so I tried it. Worked like a charm too! If you have men, and live in a more remote neighborhood, it's even easier for them to do it. No bucket necessary. laugh

"Bitch please a good man can't be stolen." ROFLMAO - SBB: 7/2/2014

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Shehawk ( member #68741) posted at 1:37 PM on Monday, May 20th, 2024

Emergent great advice. I wish the mint had been put in a container…..mint is generally the devil plant.

But the funny thing is I have actually bought chocolate mint several times now and it disappears. I am blaming rabbits! I blame them for everything since they ate only the $$ hostas I had traded for (the one called toad especially upset me when it disappeared as if it had never been there). They left the cheap plain green ones and even made a furry bed for their rabbit babies on top of my delicate native plants. Blasted rabbits!! Cute mice with long ears!

"It's a slow fade...when you give yourself away" so don't do it!

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 2:29 PM on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Our raised bed containers came last week and we assembled them over the weekend. Oh boy, is it ever going to take a lot of soil to fill them up, even using the Hugelkultur method. Luckily our landscapers are still working on our yard renovation, so before they're done, we'll have them deliver some soil to our house and either have them haul it back there, or we'll have to buy a wheelbarrow to do it ourselves. But these beds are 4'x8' and 37" deep! So it will take a lot of soil, compost and mulch. I've been saving the yard waste and cardboard to add in, and our landscaper has some logs leftover from a tree he cut down for someone else.

OK, now for the hive mind... let's say we get this thing filled up in the next week or so. Given that we live in Zone 6B, what would be good to plant then? I know I've missed the window for the cold weather crops (we're supposed to reach 90° tomorrow!), so now can I jump into summer-growing crops? I get full sun for about ten hours a day at this point. I will also have irrigation lines running through the beds.

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Tred ( member #34086) posted at 9:24 PM on Friday, May 24th, 2024

Those are pretty deep raised beds! Are you planning on doing square foot gardening or monoculture? Are you starting from seed or transplants? If you plant indeterminate tomatoes, do you have a way to trellis them? Beans are good to plant now. I think the last frost date for 6B is mid to late October, so you may want to go for transplants depending on how long the plants take to mature. And remember to companion plant - basil, nasturtium, alyssum, cosmos are all good plants. There are plenty of others depending on what you are planting, I just like to intercrop flowers in my veggies. Just grow what you eat and won't get to tall to pick in that tall raised bed!

Married: 27 years (14 @JFO) D-Day: 11/09/11"Ohhhhh...shut up Tred!" - NOT the official SI motto (DS)

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 number4 (original poster member #62204) posted at 7:52 PM on Saturday, May 25th, 2024

@Tred - I will be planting from transplants as I think it is too late in the year to start from seed. And definitely square foot gardening, but that's where I'm trying to figure out what's best to plant this time of year that I'll have the best success at.

Here are the options:
tomatoes (probably determinate)
cucumbers
zucchini
carrots
green beans (or bush lima beans)
bell peppers
carrots
broccoli

Are there any greens that you can grow this time of year? We do love arugula, but not necessarily kale. H can't have spinach due to his kidney stone risk.

To someone who asked up thread, yes, I have shelled lima beans. My dad grew a lot of them, and I think at one point, he'd offer to pay me per how much I could shell.

Just a thought that came to me... maybe I use one of the containers just for berries, like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, and one container for veggies. Once the netting arrives, it should keep the critters from getting the berries in particular.

Me: BWHim: WHMarried - 30+ yearsTwo adult daughters1st affair: 2005-20072nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addictionStatus: R

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Tred ( member #34086) posted at 6:38 PM on Sunday, May 26th, 2024

I'd grow the cucumbers and squash in separate containers, like a 7 gallon grow bag or large pot as they tend to dominate in square foot gardening. A mature zucchini can easily cover 3 or 4 square feet. If you do grow them, put them in corners where they can grow over the bed and out, or trellis them. The rest are fine - I'd add some companion plants like basil, marigold, or other flowers that work as trap crops. All the rest are good for square foot gardening, just remember broccoli is a heavy feeder. Might be a good fall option to plant brassica's and lettuce. Same with the carrots, they probably should of been started a month ago. I start everything from seed and I'm in Zone 7 (Virginia) and depending on the plant start indoors under grow lights and then move out into the greenhouse as they get true leaves.

We are so far behind on getting the gardens in this year. I've had some back/hip issues so I made the command decision to convert my 50x25 in ground garden to about 18 raised beds. Which is a tad challenging due to the slope of the garden, which is about 6" every 4 feet. I'm using hugelkulture as well since it's an easy resource here and we have a good supply of logs and branches in our woods, but so far only have two beds done and 1 of the aparagus beds. Since they grow for 20 to 30 years, I'm putting in 2 dedicated beds that are 3'x 18" wide and 12" tall. One bed has Sweet 100 cherry and red cherry tomatoes, money maker tomatoes, and better boy tomatoes. They will all be string trellised so there are two of each type. I also have hot peppers (habanero, jalapeno, serrano, cayenne, and some hot italian pepper that were gift seeds last year). We are growing bell peppers, marigolds, nasturtium, alyssum, basil, sunflower, and gardenia. This is one 4x8x18" bed using square garden methods. In another bed we are growing tomatillo, carrots, onions, and cabbage with a variety of pollinator attracting flowers like petunia and marigold. We have two 1 gallon containers growing yukon gold and red potatoes, and we grew several varieties of lettuce in old flower containers. This is a 3x6x2 raised bed. We have an old bathtub (don't judge) behind the greenhouse where we grow radish, spinach, garlic, and lettuce. Most of the herbs like rosemary, cilantro, etc we grow in containers so we can move them as it heats up.

One important tip is to use a good mulch as it starts heating up. I use a combination of mowed up leaves (free resource) that are chopped pretty fine (large leaves clump and the soil can get anaerobic) with some seedless straw mixed in. If you use straw or hay make sure it's organic as if it was sprayed the pesticides can infect your vegetables. I avoid hay for that reason and a lot of time the seeds like to sprout. Good luck on your growing!

Edited to correct the garden size.

[This message edited by Tred at 6:39 PM, Sunday, May 26th]

Married: 27 years (14 @JFO) D-Day: 11/09/11"Ohhhhh...shut up Tred!" - NOT the official SI motto (DS)

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Superesse ( member #60731) posted at 12:52 AM on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

WEED Question: I know everybody - including me - hates using Glyphosate on anything. BUT....managing this huge flower garden and then adding in a 35 x 70 foot new ground veggie garden, in raw clay soil recently reclaimed from overgrown forest, it's just impossible for me to hoe it all and we both are getting too long in the tooth to use my Rototillers (large and small kind) to do mechanized weed and grass maintenance in the beds. We already see a chiropractor once a month for our backs!

In the veggie garden, I want to plant some heirloom type shorter sunflowers against the 4 foot high wire fence on the Western side for some color and afternoon shade. So....I sprayed along the fence with the Glyphosate mixed in my 2 gallon tank, and now I must wait at least 2 days before transplanting these sunflower starts (which are in 1.5 inch cells and already 4 inches tall). Should I just use my bulb auger to dig the dirt, pop them in and fill back around them with potting soil? (I'll be wearing gloves, mask and all that.) Not use whatever I bore up, in other words? Or is it okay?

Anyone game to give this a go? :)

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