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I've just started a windowsill herb garden, which is an easy and productive hobby to keep up through college. I thought it would be fun to hear of other people's adventures.
My current plants are garlic, four mint cuttings, and basil. Planning for celery, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and strawberries, but most are tentative since they're either out of season, require large containers, or both.
We have a ginormous garden; five 8'x 8' plots and herbs in pots hither and yon. Some fruit trees although the big storm knocked them for a loop. We are putting in the cool weather crops now. And the beets I cooked were soooooo sweet.
You can make a good general substitute for soil by mulching leaves and grass and mixing the mulch with manure. This is much cheaper than buying soil for the most part. Most companies also sell their additives separately so you can add them at will.
You should avoid buying fertilizer above 15-15-15. Using a standard fertilizer (all the numbers are the same, but not above the magic 15) should keep your lawn and trees healthy. High nitrogen level (the middle number) may lead to greener grass, but it's not healthier grass, the roots are high up top and are easily vulnerable to bugs. The iron or phosphate make the lawn put down deep roots.
Strawberries commonly come in a small dedicated hanging device which can be used to grow them.
If you are looking to purchase Lime, ensure that you mention that is gardening lime, or use the general term "soil acidifier". Lime is also a material used in concrete construction and is useful as a natural non-toxic pesticide.
Where would we get the manure, how many pounds of shredded leaves would it take per cubic foot, and where would we find the time not only to make this soil from scratch but to cart away our old stuff to make room for it?
What if we're not talking about grass or trees?
I have never seen a strawberry plant in a hanging container. They are all regular plastic rounds or squares on tables.
I don't really see how we would fail to specify "gardening lime" vs. "regular lime".
You can get manure at any garden supply store, even in the middle of urban sprawl. Soil varies a lot depending on where you are. Here, the soil is clay, clay and clay. Lime does not help and we have to add peat, manure, sand and bio solids to make good dirt. Because, as I have mentioned everything is freaking clay.
Strawberries here are in any kind of place you can grow them. We put them in the ground and after fixing up the soil cover them with straw.
I was just wondering where Deboss got all this random information.
Worked at a Home Depot. Most of it is from personal experience with customers or employees. The gardening lime thing in particular was one such question.
edited 29th Aug '12 10:14:51 PM by Deboss
Well, okay then. The first three I just found really random and unhelpful.
For effort and volume of raw material involved, I really don't think making soil from scratch would help anyone break even for more than a small patch of very bad ground.
I'd rather look up types of fertilizer needed for specific plants rather than pay attention to something which only applies to lawns or (most likely beech or maple) trees.
And, like I said, I've never seen strawberries sold in hanging containers so it might just be a local thing in your area.
Let me see what I can find.
Google "topsy turvy strawberries".
Ah, those things. Like I said, over here plants are sold in regular plastic pots and not in the fancy upside-down planters.
In other news, the original mint plant I bought was putting forth shoots, but they all looked stunted and unhealthy compared to the cutting I'd planted, even though I snipped off the tips. I'd rid the plant of an aphid infestation last week, but couldn't find anything on the stems so I thought it was just the old soil. Then I watered it and found dozens of tiny bugs crawling over the dirt.
I cut off the three largest stems, rinsed them, and put them in water to root. I guess I will have four mint plants instead of just two.
My dad has been a professional gardener his whole life; he just retired from being head of the horticulture department at an agriculture college in Oxfordshire, and is still a part-time professor there.
I can always throw questions his way if people are truly stumped on something.
I've got one: How do you kill sumac (rhus glabra) for good? I mean, short of explosives.
edited 30th Aug '12 10:47:35 AM by Madrugada
Looks like you pretty much have to either cut it down to a stump every summer for years and spray it down with herbicides, or uproot it.
edited 30th Aug '12 10:52:13 AM by DrunkGirlfriend
We are finally getting tomatoes, and the cucumbers have sprung out overnight.
Pah. Got hardly anything this year. Too dark, too wet.
Even the bloody fireweed is stunted this year.
We just had a humongous crop of lovely, tiny taros. Delicious steamed and eaten with sugar.
Sometimes there is taro at the store and I have no idea what to do with it.
Hungarian chiles are HOT. Hotter than the jalapenos or the poblanos we are growing.
This Californian drought awareness site is giving out free seed packets if a legal California resident answers their quiz 100% correctly.
Since one of the seed packets is the California golden poppy and I've always wanted those, I googled all the answers rather than trust my instincts. Awareness is awareness even if I crammed via the the Internet a few seconds before.
I have never been so giddy to receive a set of thin paper packets.
So, this is what I spent my day doing. Normally I'd link to all the good photos, but I'm tired.
edited 31st Aug '12 5:37:21 PM by DrunkGirlfriend
Well, that does look exhausting. What's going to happen next?
We seed the yard, and come up with some way to fence it off so that the annoying neighborhood kids don't mess it up.
My "lawn" is basically moss and weeds, with a root system over 4 inches thick. It needs to go. Getting rid of it is going to be a chore, but after that I can put in something that doesn't suck.
After that, a fence. Or hedge. We haven't decided yet.
Maybe it's just my Midwest bias showing but that dirt looks like it could use a couple metric shittons of compost and loam.
Nah, it's actually pretty dark, but it's dry as a bone right now. We haven't had rain in months.
@Maddie: Our soil is actually really good. Like DG said it is just dry right now. Come the rainy season, it'll be as black and rich as French coffee.
Basically anything can grow in my yard. As an example, I've got a rose bush that has refused to sicken or die despite basically having been left to its own devices for eight years. We periodically trim it back, and it just keeps thriving.
There's also the undead apple tree; the trunk is rotten, but it still sends out new greenery every season (despite me hacking it back in an attempt to kill it so I can dig it out). It's stopped producing fruit, but for a while it would grow these weird apples that were spoiled and immature at the same time.
edited 31st Aug '12 7:29:26 PM by drunkscriblerian
I like the idea of hedges, though they take a few years to grow in.
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