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Author:  Pender [ Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Gerdening

I don't really do it.

I am impressed by people that do do it and case in point is Karen growing tomato plants from seeds taken out of a tomato we ate.

Just amazing.

They're approaching 2 feet tall.

We're poor, so buying planting pots is beyond our current funds, so we bought buckets to use. Not sure if they will work as we're not sure how big the root system for a roma tomato plant is (or requires for proper full growth).

Any thoughts or tips or experiences?


Author:  caryc [ Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Man, that's something I wish I was good at. My father worked in the nursery business his whole career and even now at 74, he works two days a week as kind of a groundskeeper for a guy who owns a lot of land in Florida.

We've grown tomato plants before but unfortunately we took a one week trip and when we came back the leaves had been overrun with bugs that killed them all. Our "yard" is all paving stones, is about 10' wide and about 30' long and backs up to an alley. It's also extremely hot so it's hard for us to grow anything that requires partial shade.

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Pender wrote:
We're poor, so buying planting pots is beyond our current funds, so we bought buckets to use. Not sure if they will work as we're not sure how big the root system for a roma tomato plant is (or requires for proper full growth).

Buckets are fine, depending on their size. Five to seven gallons is best, but you can get away with three-gallon buckets just fine for romas.

If money is very tight, try grow bags instead. Imagine getting 25 five-gallon pots for 50 cents each. Ta da!!

I can vouch for these. I've purchased and used them to grow potatoes, squash, and cucumber. If you take care of them, they can last for several years, too. I have some that are on their third season of use.

Unfortunately, potting mix is expensive, and you should NOT fill these with standard garden soil. It's too thick and clumpy. You will get bad root health and growth.

Check your area. Your county or state may make compost available to you for free via public works, recycling, waste management, or a related department. Use a mix of 1/3 compost, 1/3 sand (which you may also be able to get for free), and 1/3 peat moss (which is dirt ass cheap at any garden center).

Mix it up, fill the bags with it.

You will need to fertilize a few times over the season growing this way.. I suggest you skip Miracle Grow. Try fish emulsion. It works well, you can't really overdo it, and it's organic and healthy for your plants. Should be available everywhere.

Growing in containers, you have to water more often. Sometimes daily in the dog days of summer.

Consider trimming all the branches off the bottom foot, foot and a half of the plants. This will help prevent disease and provide good airflow.

Tomato cages are expensive and not necessary. You can let them just vine if you want, though you won't get as good a yield that way, critters will get to your fruit easier, and they will be more prone to disease. But you CAN do it. That's how they grow wild.

However, you can also get good bamboo stakes for cheap right here. Again, I buy and use these.

Stick one in each bag, right to the bottom. Hell, if you won't be moving the bags poke through the bottom into the ground if you want. Every foot or so the plant grows, gently tie it to the stake. If you prune off horizontal growth you can train them to go more vertical. Or just let them go as is. Either is fine.

Best bang for your bucket garden vegetable is zucchini. One single plant can provide so much you'll be suck of the stuff. I'm talking you can be harvest four or five healthy zucchini every three or four days once it starts kicking.

If you decide you like doing this, this seed pack is a ridiculous bargain. Once again, I've bought it and have used it. I've gotten so much crap from it you wouldn't believe it. For $11, it's a total steal. 30 types of veggies, 10,000 seeds, and just store it in your fridge. They'll last years. I am still using mine three years later. No lie, I've probably grown $300 - $400 in groceries from that seed pack.

God help you if the gardening bug bites you.

Author:  Pender [ Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Shoe wrote:
God help you if the gardening bug bites you.

I suck at gardening, but Karen is very good at it and it helps her a lot of the time (with occasional times of being overwhelmed and absolutely frustrated with worry and anxiety).

Last night I made a spaghetti dish with some basil from her garden.

Her basil is definitely doing well and she did them from seedlings.

I really appreciate the advice, though.

You have no idea.

Very good and will make for moving forward a lot more economical.

Unfortunately, when I got divorced I tossed out or sold probably 95% of what I had bought for Kim. She always had me buying stuff and she hid stuff that she had bought on the sly. None of it she used. Or she used it halfheartedly and whatever she did just became a dirt pile that rotted.

Must have spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on stuff for her.

Made me very nervous when Karen started wanting to do gardening, but, fortunately she has not let me down and has endeavored to use everything we've bought, so far.

caryc wrote:
Man, that's something I wish I was good at.

I wish I was good at it, too.

I've killed every plant I have been put in-charge of since I was a kid.

I am very amazed at Karen's capability because it is hot as fuck here, too.

Author:  Shoe [ Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

From what I understand -- and I could be wrong -- you're already getting out of season for a lot of stuff in Texas. Too hot.

But people manage it, and it sounds like Karen knows what she is doing, so you're prolly in good shape.

Gardening for the sake of economics is one of those things like, say, homebrewing. In THEORY you can save money by doing it, but that assumes you don't fall down the rabbit hole and starting getting stuff and turning it into a huge hobby.

If you learn what fruits and veggies to target, learn how to save seeds (even from some store bought stuff), and some other stuff, you can save a lot of money on produce by growing much of your own.

Plus, I found that you end up eating a little healthier, too, since you don't want the fruits of your labors to go to waste!

Author:  Pender [ Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

We got grow bags and started planting this last weekend.

I "tilled" some of the corner yard and tossed some sunflower seeds there. But I am doubtful on their success - not a big deal on that.

But Karen is full-tilt laying into herbs, tomatoes, some bell peppers, and she wants to get maybe some jolly penises growing (jalapeƱos).

Her last crop was spinach but it got laid waste by the frosts and our covering was blown off during the night so they got toasted.

Author:  Shoe [ Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening


I start seeding pepper plants in the next few weeks to prepare for grow season. I can't put much of anything in the ground until May, but the last few years I start stuff indoors.

I DO have garlic sprouting outside right now, thanks to a friend of Red's (and a friend of mine, now).

Author:  Pender [ Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Anyone (Shoe) done any canning of their garden stuff?

Karen is very very very happy with garden shit growing well, but yesterday the weather turned cold and some of the plants did not like that.

My sunflowers are doing okay - but I am down to only 3 out of about 6 after the birds/squirrels got to the others. I planted more sunflower seeds about 4 days ago.

Author:  Shoe [ Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Just started canning last year. Did LOTS of pickles and pureed tomatoes, plus some peppers, jelly, salsa, and chunked tomatoes.

A large chunk of what we did, minus some pickles and tomato sauce we already ate:

canning-madness.jpg [ 1.43 MiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

I just used a basic entry level set from Ball. Cost about $40. Jars and lids are cheap as hell. My grocery store and Target has them for about $9-$10 a dozen.

The process is fairly easy but can take up a whole afternoon if you do a large batch at once.

If you do it right, the stuff lasts. We only just finally ran out of tomato sauce and salsa. Still have pickles and peppers and jelly.

Plan to do a lot more this year, now that we sort of know what we're doing.

My wife likes to jar the tomatoes pureed, that way she had a lot of flexibility in how she uses it. It can turn into almost any kind of tomato-based sauce.

I didn't run the numbers to see if we had any cost savings, but I think if you play your cards right, search for deals, etc., you can come out ahead.

Author:  Pender [ Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

Ah thanks.

Do you have any photos you are willing to share of your garden set up (either last year or this year)?

Author:  Shoe [ Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Gardening

I'll dig some out, though I'm not sure there's much to learn from it. It's pretty basic raised garden bed stuff, either with pre-fabbed garden boxes or some I built with railroad ties. I waited for sales from Amazon to buy some, but if you're handy you can put some together yourself with cheap wood.

Probably the BIGGEST thing I learned is how to maximize space without crowding things so you get the most from your efforts.

Crowding = bad. Lowers your productivity and increases the chances your plants will get fungal diseases and pests.

But you can pack a lot in a small space if you plan it out.

Think in vertical layers.

Low to the ground, short stuff like spinach and greens, set between taller stuff like vine tomatoes (on a tall stake or trellis) or sunflowers.

Start your greens early. They'll be close to harvest by the time you're putting in peppers, tomatoes, etc.

Plant stuff like onions and radishes in between other plants or along garden bed borders. If you have a bed with peppers and eggplant, for example, you can border a 4x4 bed with upwards of 40+ radishes! They take up almost no room, are short, and grow fast (from seed to your plate in as little as 4 weeks).

You can mix melons and crawling stuff like squash in with other plants. Let the vines crawl on the ground and the tall plants grow tall onto stakes. Boom, now you have two crops in one spot.

Remember the sun. Most herbs do fine in shady areas. If you want to squeeze more out of your garden, stick all sorts of herbs into every little shady corner you can find.

When summer season is coming to a close, start planting for fall right away. You can grow a bunch of stuff you can't during the summer, greens and cauliflower and more.

TRELLIS YOUR CUCUMBERS. You can get insane productivity out of them if you do. From just four plants last year, I can't even count the dozens of pounds we got.

Learn to save seeds.

Seeds will keep for years in your fridge. YEARS.

When you save seeds you not only save money in the long-term, but you'll be developing strains that are used to conditions in your yard. After a few seasons, it will pay off.

Look for deals on seeds. I got started with a lot of stuff with this $10 seed pack:

30 different fruits and veggies, and enough seeds to last several seasons, for just $10 is a steal.

Will try to dig up some pics for you.

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