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Gardening 2021

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Elsa
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garden 2021

That's the inside of the trunk of my car. This represents the beginning of the 2021 gardening season. I'm going to take a bit of a different approach this year, taking cues from my neighbor who is a master gardener from what I can tell.

I can already tell it's going to be more expensive to garden this year. These  2 cu ft bags are priced 30% higher than last year. However, it's a national brand. I'm hoping the Amish keep their prices stable. We'll see.

I usually start these threads with a pic of my garden turned up. It's wet and cold and expected to stay that that way for a couple weeks anyway.  I picked these up today because there was a President's Day sale and they put them in your car for you.  Tractor Supply.

Anyone else getting in gear?

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NotMyCircus
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So far I've bought seeds and started looking up portable gardening options. The seeds I got came from the Dollar Tree and Home Depot--as a novice gardener, I don't want to work with expensive seeds at first. Plus I may be giving away some of these seeds if I run into neighbors, family members, friends, etc. who want to or need to grow food and can't buy seeds. (Last year I heard there was a seed shortage because everyone and their brother was putting in gardens, and the seed companies weren't ready for that. In case that happens again, I'd like to be prepared. LOL) 

One thing I have to take into account is that there's a small rabbit that likes the visit the front yard and deer that visit the backyard. So I'm looking at options like grouping vegetables together with herbs in the same container--herbs that deer and rabbits don't like. Or surrounding my container gardens with marigolds. There are no fences and this isn't my property, so I have to look at non-barrier options. See why I bought cheap seeds? LOL If the animals get so hungry they'll do anything to get at the vegetables, there's a farmer's market around the corner. I won't starve. 

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Elsa
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@notmycircus Those 25 cent seeds at $ tree actually work. They just give you very few seeds. It actually make sense for the home gardener. I don't need 100 kale plants.

You find heirloom seeds in there too. Check the label.  But I have planted them for years and never had a failure.

I got heirloom swiss chard and kale there last year.  Had a bumper crop all season.  All the squash has worked out. I have never planted tomato seeds from there but they're probably fine too.

The basil has also works out, come to think of. Dill is very easy to grown.

I go there to get plastic cat litter trays. I use them to carry by seedlings inside and put before it's time to plant.

It's a great solution. I have a bunch of them and they last... forever, so far. They stack inside each other, take up no space and they're lightweight.

My neighbor gave me some fuzzy wire ties from there to tie tomatoes. They looked cool and were easy to use but did not last the season. Back to the stretchy green plastic for me.

Anyway, you may be better off with $tree seeds that at fresh, then spending 10X as much for more seeds that get old.

 

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JoFrance
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It sounds like D Tree has a good deal.  I don't have one too close to me, but next time I get out I'll have to see what they have.  I usually get my seeds from catalogs.  I like Gurneys and a couple other seed catalogs.  I've always had good luck with them.

You make a good point, Elsa, about buying seeds.  They give you more seeds than you could ever use as a home gardener and a lot of times they go to waste.  They last a year or two before they get stale.

 

 

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JoFrance
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@notmycircus, if you're doing veggies in a container you can put them up on a small table and the rabbits won't be able to reach them.  I do that with lettuces.

I used to have a raised bed for lettuces and that worked great until it got destroyed in a hurricane.

So far, I have Sage, Rosemary and Parsley growing in my house.  They look a little shabby, but they'll perk up when I put them back outside.  Nothing ever bothers the herbs.

I'm going to do bush beans this year, in pots, and I'm planting garlic, horseradish and maybe ginger this year, aside from a lot of other different herbs.

Its hard get too psyched yet because we still have 2 feet of packed down snow in the yard.  Its a glacier.  🙁

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NotMyCircus
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@jofrance That's a good idea. I'll have to look at options like that for keeping them off the ground. My housemate likes to take her old salad lettuce to the yard and throw it out there for the bunny so maybe she can keep him full enough to leave the homegrown veggies alone.

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JoFrance
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If it works, thats good.  Animals are as particular as humans when it comes to food, unless they're starving.  They're still going to eat your stuff.

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NotMyCircus
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Oh yeah, another thing I'm doing is opening and emptying my used K-Cups. Basically I peel the foil cover off, empty the coffee grounds in the trash (they can be saved for compost or soil amending but I'm not there yet). Then I rinse the cup out while gently to wash out any remaining grounds. The mesh filter stays in. 

https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/blogs/news/k-cups-plant-seed-starters

 

I saved an egg carton to hold these K cups as I collect them (yes, there are people who have fished all their old ones out of the trash for this! ? )

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Elsa
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@notmycircus $tree sells big packs of Styrofoam cups you can use. Don't freak out, people. I refuse them. In fact I save all my little pots from everything. But if you get in a pinch, it's like 30 cups for a buck.

They also have larger plastic cups which I've also used when needed. They tend to split, though. One time use. 

My neighbor doesn't use pots. He pours that garden soil in a deepish tray and replants small plants in rows... loose. When it's time to put then in the ground, he jus scoop them out. Or if he's sharing with me. He just scoops it up and plops it in a pot.

I'm going to try it this year which is why I bought the soil. His results can't be beat.

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NotMyCircus
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@elsa Never thought of using cups, though I have reused plastic pots. Last spring, I was afraid to go into stores even though the garden centers were allowed to stay open. As it turned out, my housemate had a habit of saving her plant pots and leaving them on the back porch to reuse. She offered to let me use some so I wouldn't waste my money at the store. I also repurposed one of my Rubbermaid bins, thought I don't recommend doing this unless you have a working drill to make holes. I used a screwdriver and it split the bottom of the bin!

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NotMyCircus
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@elsa Oh yeah, during that time period I was washing out and cutting the top half off of plastic bottles after I used them (you can actually take the top half of the bottle, flip it over, and nest it into the bottom half to make a planter) In fact, I was looking at EVERY plastic item before I threw it away and asking myself "Can I grow something in this?" (Nonessential trips to stores were discouraged during the shelter in place orders, and back then we were wiping down everything that came in the house--so I developed sort of a Great Depression mindset for awhile, lol. It's amazing how resourceful you can be when you're limited to items you have on hand!)

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LN
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20210212 231255

I got this from my Dad for Christmas. It grows plants in water. I have dill and basil growing.

 

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NotMyCircus
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@ln Wow, that is crazy! ? So cool.

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JoFrance
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Thats really cool.  Those basil leaves are huge!

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CocoPeaches
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I am doing a “Garden Leader Training” on Zoom, with a couple other ladies from my community garden. It’s a series hosted by the food bank garden project in my state. It’s been great so far! Informative and inspiring. It’s more centered around tools for community organizing and group leadership. It’s cool to hear about what other gardens have been doing in other areas of the state. This training series was previously hosted in person in an urban area, so I wouldn’t have attended or even known about it. Thanks to covid, it’s now being offered on Zoom, and we can tune in from the sticks. Silver lining, I guess Smile

Also getting into gear with planning and starting seeds for my own garden at home. This will be my 5th season growing food for myself! It gets bigger and better every year.

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CocoPeaches
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I just cracked open a Hubbard squash that has been sitting in my basement since September. It stored perfectly well, and is a welcome shot of color at this point in the year! It’s not super sweet by itself, but it is simple and easy to prepare. I really wanted to teach myself pressure canning last year, and I thought that squash would be the perfect food to start with, but I didn’t have the space in my kitchen, and time ended up being an issue as well. Anyway, I came up with some solutions for that this year. And the cool thing about winter squash is that they preserve themselves. Now that I broke it down into chunks, I just put the extra in my freezer. I have plenty to go around, so I will be sharing. I also saved the seeds - rinsed then and set them out to dry for a few days. My community garden group decided that we will host an event in May to recruit new gardeners, and we will create a small seed bank to get people started. Seeds are addictive so I figured that’s one way to get people hooked Smile

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