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What are you Growing? - 2016

What are you Growing? - 2016
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  • What are you Growing? - 2016

    Post #1 - March 12th, 2016, 2:17 pm
    Post #1 - March 12th, 2016, 2:17 pm Post #1 - March 12th, 2016, 2:17 pm
    Time to get started, people. :D

    I just started my chiles and tomatoes today, as I started a bit too early last year, and the starts were a little unwieldy to transplant. Same method: compressed peat discs and a covered greenhouse tray, perched on a wooden radiator cover in a second-floor south-facing window. (Pics when they sprout. . .not too interesting looking at the moment!)

    What I planted:

    Thai bird chiles, from the chiles I grew last year
    Serranos Tampiqueños
    Anaheim type - NuMex "Joe E. Parker"
    "Brandywine" tomatoes

    Everything else will be going directly into the ground - Thai and Genovese basil, Dinosaur kale, maybe cucumbers (bought the seeds, but not sure where they'll go), and whatever else happens to catch my fancy. Oh, and lots of these 4-o'-Clocks, descendants of seeds given to me several years ago by a guy who lives across the street from the original Coalfire:
    4-o-clock 38354_134762079889577_7157715_n.jpg
  • Post #2 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm
    Post #2 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm Post #2 - March 12th, 2016, 3:22 pm
    snap_peas_5213.jpg snap peas
    green_house_5023.jpg DYI greenhouse

    built a couple of small greenhouses (2'x3' and 1'x 3')
    the big one holds 4 window box sized planters on two levels and I've been growing salad all winter (moved to denver this past June)

    the small one hold 4 seed starter kits and is the current home of the 2 x snap peas and two trays of tomato seed starters. I have been using a string of xmas lights in each GH to provide heat overnight. Had minimal cold damage when it went below zero for a few nights but the system held up just fine 'cept for a couple of nights. Our dirt here is pretty bad so I'm building a raised bed this spring.
  • Post #3 - March 12th, 2016, 6:57 pm
    Post #3 - March 12th, 2016, 6:57 pm Post #3 - March 12th, 2016, 6:57 pm
    Just started eggplants and peppers last week (several different kinds of peppers), including padron, which I've never seen in the flesh anywhere but Spain. Hoping I can grow them here, and that my big stupid adorable lunk of a cat, Boris, doesn't dump over the shelf with all my pots on it like he did last year!

    Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will plant the peas, radishes, and arugula and other greens (kale, mustard, a couple packets of spicy Italian greens mix and that kind of thing)outside. Tomatoes will get started inside in a couple of weeks. Not sure about the Cipollini onions - I tried transplanting them last year, but it didn't work very well and I'm considering just direct seeding them this year.
  • Post #4 - March 13th, 2016, 11:12 am
    Post #4 - March 13th, 2016, 11:12 am Post #4 - March 13th, 2016, 11:12 am
    Here's some very useful advice on light sources with respect to seed-starting, from gardening maven Margaret Roach:
    light 12646987_887512144701564_4251881834686928592_n.jpg
  • Post #5 - March 18th, 2016, 8:26 pm
    Post #5 - March 18th, 2016, 8:26 pm Post #5 - March 18th, 2016, 8:26 pm
    From last Saturday, March 12th:

    I just started my chiles and tomatoes today, as I started a bit too early last year, and the starts were a little unwieldy to transplant. Same method: compressed peat discs and a covered greenhouse tray, perched on a wooden radiator cover in a second-floor south-facing window. . .

    What I planted:
    *snip*
    "Brandywine" tomatoes


    Just checked the mini-greenhouse. Seven "Brandywine" tomatoes have sprouted already, and are about two inches tall. Whoa. :shock: :D
  • Post #6 - March 19th, 2016, 1:58 pm
    Post #6 - March 19th, 2016, 1:58 pm Post #6 - March 19th, 2016, 1:58 pm
    Wow! Where did you get your seeds? A couple of my peppers and eggplants from 2 weeks ago are up, but nowhere near that big. And the stuff I planted outside last weekend isn't poking out yet, probably because it's been so cold. The down side of a community garden plot is before they turn the water on, the only way to water is to haul buckets from our condo - although luckily we're on the first floor and the garden is just next door.
  • Post #7 - March 19th, 2016, 4:15 pm
    Post #7 - March 19th, 2016, 4:15 pm Post #7 - March 19th, 2016, 4:15 pm
    I finally got my little greenhouse going with:
    Aunt Molly ground cherries
    Black Vernissage tomatoes
    Genovese basil
    Rocky Top mixed lettuces (I know you can sow directly, but I want fresh lettuce as soon as possible!)
    Common Thyme
    Wild Thyme
    German chamomile

    and for the bees:
    Catmint
    Korean hyssop
    Bee balm

    To be planted:Slo bolt cilantro (we'll see about that), Speckled lettuce, Sunflowers (Baker Seeds threw them in as free gift).

    Accidentally forgot: Dill.
  • Post #8 - March 19th, 2016, 8:56 pm
    Post #8 - March 19th, 2016, 8:56 pm Post #8 - March 19th, 2016, 8:56 pm
    Wow! Where did you get your seeds?


    Eva Luna:

    I buy my seeds at Chalet Garden Center in Wilmette. Great selection of top-quality garden seed purveyors; this year, I went with Botanical Interests for the Brandywines, as well as the serrano and Anaheim New Mexico varietal chiles. Last year, I used Seed Savers Exchange seeds, also from Chalet. Really highly recommended for anything you could possibly need for your garden; the fall bulb selection is jaw-dropping, as is the selection of herbs and flowering perennials. Highly recommended!
  • Post #9 - March 24th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    Post #9 - March 24th, 2016, 1:03 pm Post #9 - March 24th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    In a fit of optimistic insanity, Chouxfly and I started almost a thousand seeds in the unused greenhouse above DePaul's biology department, in hopes of growing enough starts to sell as a fundraiser for my little community garden. I seem to be utterly unable to post a photo to LTH, but eight big trays under two banks of grow lights full of sprouts (most cells have 4-6 seeds) is so exciting!

    One thing I'm particularly excited about growing this year is a bunch of dwarf tomatoes from seed that was given to me by Craig LeHoullier (who actually wrote the book on tomatoes), as part of a project he is working on. I will have about six of each of four varieties, as well as hundreds of other tomato plants (cherry, brandywine, roma, early, plus seeds from a mystery tomato I liked last year that I suspect is Cherokee Purple).

    We also started a few varieties of peppers, some eggplants, and lots of flowers (mostly marigolds and zinnias). I'll start some other faster crops in the next few weeks, after we pot up these guys. It's been amazing to watch how quickly they grow with the lights in an ideal environment; now I want my own greenhouse!

    (If it's OK to mention: our plant sale will be 9am-2pm on May 14-15, at the Howard Area Community Garden, at the intersection of Hermitage and Juneway in Rogers Park.)
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #10 - March 24th, 2016, 9:16 pm
    Post #10 - March 24th, 2016, 9:16 pm Post #10 - March 24th, 2016, 9:16 pm
    Mamagotcha, I need to follow up with you on this greenhouse business! I work at DePaul and I've always wondered about that greenhouse!
  • Post #11 - April 1st, 2016, 4:53 pm
    Post #11 - April 1st, 2016, 4:53 pm Post #11 - April 1st, 2016, 4:53 pm
    Novice gardener here... Anyone manage to keep a dwarf lemon tree alive in their homes? I'm considering purchasing one as a gift. Any sources for purchasing would also be greatly appreciated.
  • Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 7:16 pm
    Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 7:16 pm Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 7:16 pm
    So the seed company, in its infinite wisdom, decided to send me the ten bare root strawberry plants NOW. It's snowing. What can I do with them until it's safe to plant them outside? Can I just stick the package in the fridge? Should I plant them in pots and put them in the window with the other seeds I planted yesterday? Something else?

    (I'm leaving town on Friday for 2 weeks and would like to do whatever requires the minimum of fuss until I get back.)
  • Post #13 - April 30th, 2016, 11:33 am
    Post #13 - April 30th, 2016, 11:33 am Post #13 - April 30th, 2016, 11:33 am
    Novice gardener here... Anyone manage to keep a dwarf lemon tree alive in their homes? I'm considering purchasing one as a gift. Any sources for purchasing would also be greatly appreciated.


    rtb178, sorry for the tardy reply. I've had a good deal of luck with indoor citrus for the past few years; I currently have one Kaffir lime, and three Mexican limes that I grew from seed - and the seeds came from fruit borne by a Mexican lime purchased at Treasure Island, of all unlikely places. At this time of year, I'd check at independent garden centers, such at Chalet up in Wilmette, or Gethsemane in Andersonville. Later in the season, the aforementioned TI carries a variety of citrus. Just call around. I got my Kaffir from Leela Punyaratabandhu, of "She Simmers" fame - it came from the grower in the mail as little more than a twig in a box of wood shavings, and it is now nearly a yard tall and just as wide. Great houseplant.

    Citrus is pretty easy to grow indoors, as long as they have a sunny place. My Kaffir has thrived on an unheated second-floor landing with a big uncurtained east-facing window; just dial down the water in the winter, and feed occasionally with a dilute solution of Miracid (the stuff used on Azaleas and other acid-loving plants). The really fun thing about citrus is the random growth spurts. My Mexican limes (same light conditions, but in my living room) have grown about two inches since March 1, and the Kaffir has thrown out multiple new 6" branches since April 1 (!), and is about to flower. Citrus are evergreen, and seldom drop leaves unless stressed; trimming the Kaffir leaves for cooking seems to keep mine in good shape.
  • Post #14 - April 30th, 2016, 7:28 pm
    Post #14 - April 30th, 2016, 7:28 pm Post #14 - April 30th, 2016, 7:28 pm
    This is so helpful. Thanks!
  • Post #15 - May 8th, 2016, 10:29 am
    Post #15 - May 8th, 2016, 10:29 am Post #15 - May 8th, 2016, 10:29 am
    Debating putting the tomatoes and peppers and eggplants into the raised bed today, but the weather has been so crazy, I'm hesitating.

    The greens are going gangbusters, as are the peas. I hope we can keep up with them! The strawberries don't look like they made it. The French Breakfast radishes look like they will be ready to harvest in a few days, but the others look like they are taking longer.

    I'm contemplating some kind of additional trellises for the cucumbers and melons. Anyone have any tips? My MIL have us the All New Square Foot Gardening book for Christmas, and it has lots of ideas in it.
  • Post #16 - May 9th, 2016, 8:00 am
    Post #16 - May 9th, 2016, 8:00 am Post #16 - May 9th, 2016, 8:00 am
    Finally got around to prepping the veg garden yesterday (16x8'). Added more topsoil, turned everything, covered 2/3 in black plastic for the tomatoes and peppers, then planted a row each of snap peas, mesclun, gailan and collards (trying that instead of dinosaur kale this year).
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #17 - May 9th, 2016, 11:47 am
    Post #17 - May 9th, 2016, 11:47 am Post #17 - May 9th, 2016, 11:47 am
    Eva Luna pondered:
    Debating putting the tomatoes and peppers and eggplants into the raised bed today, but the weather has been so crazy, I'm hesitating.


    I decided not to do my chiles and tomatoes (or tomatillos, also a hot weather lover) over the weekend or this week, based on the forecast of nighttime temperatures in the mid 40s this coming weekend. While they probably wouldn't die, all (and fellow heat-lover eggplant, too) would just sulk. The science says that the daytime soil temp should be a minimum of 60 degrees, and 52 at night, and the air temp shouldn't be below 50, particularly for peppers of any kind. It actually retards the growth to try and push it:

    The UofI Extension Service on when to plant peppers

    I did decide to live dangerously and pop in the morning glories and Four-o-Clocks yesterday, as the wildly exuberant MG vines were starting to attack the chile seedlings. Just checked, and none seem to have suffered transplant shock, so I hope that this week's very cool night temps don't do them in!
  • Post #18 - May 9th, 2016, 4:35 pm
    Post #18 - May 9th, 2016, 4:35 pm Post #18 - May 9th, 2016, 4:35 pm
    Image

    Some of the Peas I've got growing on the south wall of my house in CO.
  • Post #19 - May 9th, 2016, 4:48 pm
    Post #19 - May 9th, 2016, 4:48 pm Post #19 - May 9th, 2016, 4:48 pm
    Image
    south wall prepped for the snow last week
    Image
    why let the snow go to waste!
    Image
    a couple of tomatoes and a pepper plant in containers
    Image
    My newly built 10.5 x 3.5 x 24" high container bed.
    planning on a tight packed vertical garden (hope it works!)
    Image
    just seeded the box with carrots and some spinach
    all the pots are snow peas except for the little one on top, that's
    an apple mint for my 12 YO's mocktails.
  • Post #20 - May 15th, 2016, 12:56 pm
    Post #20 - May 15th, 2016, 12:56 pm Post #20 - May 15th, 2016, 12:56 pm
    I was going to plant all my tomatoes and remaining peppers and cucumbers and melons outside, but it's kind of cold. Should I wait some more? I am torn between thinking it's too damn cold and thinking that the poor babies just need more sun than I can give them inside.

    (It's 47 degrees right now, estimated high of 57.)
  • Post #21 - May 15th, 2016, 1:19 pm
    Post #21 - May 15th, 2016, 1:19 pm Post #21 - May 15th, 2016, 1:19 pm
    Ideally, you need to harden them off--if they've been indoors the whole time, they're going to have a really tough adjustment if you go straight from indoors to in ground in our climate. I just checked the 15-day forecast and we only have 2 days over 70 in the lot and those aren't til next week. This spring has really sucked.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #22 - May 15th, 2016, 2:41 pm
    Post #22 - May 15th, 2016, 2:41 pm Post #22 - May 15th, 2016, 2:41 pm
    I haven't been terribly consistent about taking them outside - my memory isn't the best when I'm leaving for work at 7:30 am! But I don't think I'm going to plant them yet; the few I planted last week didn't make it. Maybe I will just repot them in bigger pots and wait another week or two.
  • Post #23 - May 27th, 2016, 6:59 pm
    Post #23 - May 27th, 2016, 6:59 pm Post #23 - May 27th, 2016, 6:59 pm
    Just surveyed both gardens after the rainstorm(s) - no damage, and tons of unexpected sprouts. I just planted the Thai basil, substitute 4-o-clocks & morning glories, and Tithonia last Sunday, and everything is up already. Sweet! One tomato didn't survive the heat last week, but I have a spare in the dining room. Growing from seed will save you a lot of aggravation, as well as a ton of cash.

    Most surprising (apart from the about-to-bloom peony in the tomato bed) is the the unexpected find in one of my living room window boxes. I replaced three of the thymes that winter-killed with one new silver thyme and two oreganos way back in late April. The French thyme that over-wintered has taken off this week - and to my surprise, the Thai basil from one box self-seeded, and is sprouting like mad. Bonus! Plus Thai basil is a nice foil for the trailing oregano and thymes, and all of 'em are bee magnets. Pics this weekend!
  • Post #24 - June 8th, 2016, 6:43 pm
    Post #24 - June 8th, 2016, 6:43 pm Post #24 - June 8th, 2016, 6:43 pm
    Image

    the peas are producing at the moment. Tomatoes are moving along slowly but the heat of late has been helpful!
  • Post #25 - June 21st, 2016, 6:11 pm
    Post #25 - June 21st, 2016, 6:11 pm Post #25 - June 21st, 2016, 6:11 pm
    So far, the summer is off to a smashing start! Helps that I replaced some of my rattier containers with better ones and replaced a lot of the soil. But the weather has been pretty spectacular. Have had some lovely strawberries, plentiful greens, breakfast radishes and herbs, as well as a bumper crop of snap peas and the rest of the shell peas are almost ready.

    Here are some pics!

    1st squash blossom.jpg 1st squash blossom


    Bush Pickle Blossom.jpg Bush pickle blossom


    Potatoes Tomatoes & Corn OH MY!.jpg tomatoes, potatoes & corn oh MY!


    Tomatoes & Ground Cherry.jpg tomatoes & ground cherry


    Blondkopchfen Tomato blossoms.jpg Blondkopfchen blossoms


    Asian Herb basket.jpg Asian Herb Basket


    Rexy guarding the pickles.jpg Rexy guarding the pickles!


    Eggplant Blossom.jpg Eggplant blossom


    Borage buds.jpg Borage Buds


    Purple Bean blossom.jpg Purple bean blossom
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #26 - June 21st, 2016, 6:30 pm
    Post #26 - June 21st, 2016, 6:30 pm Post #26 - June 21st, 2016, 6:30 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Here are some pics!

    Gorgeous! :)

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #27 - June 21st, 2016, 6:35 pm
    Post #27 - June 21st, 2016, 6:35 pm Post #27 - June 21st, 2016, 6:35 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:Here are some pics!

    Gorgeous! :)

    =R=


    Well thank you sir! After our wet, chilly spring, had my doubts about what we were in for this year but shouldn't have worried. Looking forward to sharing the bounty in a month or so!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #28 - June 21st, 2016, 8:30 pm
    Post #28 - June 21st, 2016, 8:30 pm Post #28 - June 21st, 2016, 8:30 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:Here are some pics!

    Gorgeous! :)

    =R=

    What he said - really impressive!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #29 - July 27th, 2016, 1:32 pm
    Post #29 - July 27th, 2016, 1:32 pm Post #29 - July 27th, 2016, 1:32 pm
    Hey fellow gardeners! I'm a finalist in a photo contest here in Denver (moved here last year after 52 years in Chicago)
    Would you consider voting for me? If so here is the link to the Instagram page
    https://instagram.com/p/BITYVYFgvTd/

    Thanks!

    FWIW, I miss my Chicago suburban garden dirt as the stuff out here is not so great
  • Post #30 - July 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm
    Post #30 - July 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm Post #30 - July 28th, 2016, 6:27 pm
    Would you consider voting for me?


    Done! 8)

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