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So I picked up the mandolin, I started to play. He was sittin' there on the edge of the bed. He said 'You know, that sounds really good'. I said, 'Well Yank, all I'm doin' is just imitating you note for note'. And he said, 'That's what I'm telling you. It sounds really good!' - Yank Rachell, remembered by Steve James, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Gardening  (Read 10998 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Gardening
« on: June 13, 2009, 12:57:11 PM »
Hi all,
I wondered if any of you Weenies were into gardening.  I'm kind of new to it, but my wife has been into it for a number of years.  When she ordered ten yards of compost earlier this spring, shoveling and moving it got me into the gardening pretty quickly.  So far we've had a good harvest of several varieties of lettuce and have peas, potatos, beans, cabbage, beets and some more exotic vegetables on the way.  It looks like we're going to have a lot of raspberries and boysenberries, too.  It's hard to grow full-sized tomatoes in western Washington--it doesn't really get hot enough, but I think we might get some this year.  It has been unusually dry for the past three weeks or so, and we're hoping for some good rain soon.  Is anybody else tending a garden?
All best,
Johnm

Offline Slack

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 01:24:59 PM »
Hi Johnm,

I started to do a little gardening this year.  Last summer I took out a diseased elm tree and as a result I have a nice sunny spot for a small garden.  the spot needs enriching however, so I started a compost pile in January and have dumped one load of compost on and will do another before putting in a fall garden.  In the meantime I'm growing some stuff in pots - tomatoes, jalapenos and various herbs - basil, parsley, chives etc.  Not much, but a start.

Offline dj

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 01:25:30 PM »
I'm very much a gardener, though at present we're only growing flowers, no vegetables - too much shade and too many deer led us to finally give up the last of the veggies several years ago.  John, you make me long for a few rows of rhubarb, tomatoes, and lettuce.  There's nothing like eating stuff that's been picked an hour ago.
  

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 03:34:16 PM »
Living on the 19th floor here in NYC albeit with a small outdoor terrace limits our gardening enterprises, but I love looking at them and eating out of them. My mother's brother, uncle Dave, last of my parents generation, died two years ago but before he did I visited him at his double wide outside of Ellsworth Maine. he had a stupendous garden. I was pumping him for information about my mother's family's life during the depression. They were dirt poor, living in NYC. They experienced real hunger. At one point during the discussion Dave pointed at the ground and said "Ya can't grow nothin' in concrete". Gardening is not only good for the soul, its one of the most essential survival skills.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 04:22:31 PM »
My wife has claimed squatters' rights to part of the property behind our apartment and has been faithfully tilling the soil for several planting seasons. She grows various kinds of veggies and some herbs. Some of her hybrids rival those of Luther Burbank. Last year she planted the zucchini and the pumpkins too close to each other. They interbred, with "pumpkinis" being the resulting offspring. She's Chinese, so she knows how to get the most from every square inch of land. And she enjoys the visitors?hummingbirds and flickers came by this morning. At night it's opossums and raccoons.

I know what you mean about the Northwest not having the climate needed for tomatoes and other varieties that those of us from the Northeast grew up on. Being from The Garden State, I really miss the homegrown tomatoes, corn, beans, watermelon, etc. that do so well back there.

In the current economic environment, we often hear about people getting back to the basics and planting their own gardens. I look upon it as a return to sanity and common sense. Where (and when) I grew in NJ, some people would have gardens in their front yards instead of a lawn during the spring and summer growing season.

When you and Ginny are out there working the land, keep in mind the old saying, "Forty Acres and a Mule," but just make sure that you don't end up being the mule!

Offline Slack

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 04:38:13 PM »
Quote
"Forty Acres and a Mule," but just make sure that you don't end up being the mule!

Too late Stuart - who do you think had to spread all that compost.  :P

Offline dj

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 05:15:01 PM »
Let's not forget gathering, as well as gardening.  In a few weeks we'll be picking mulberries from some of the local trees to make pies, and the black raspberries are almost ready, so we'reabout to make our annual foray down the railroad tracks to bring back a few potloads of them.  Sometimes, Mother Nature is the best gardener, and all you've got to do is to go and harvest.

Offline Pan

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2009, 10:44:54 AM »
Another amateur gardener reporting to Weenie Headquarters.

Quite amazingly we have pretty much all the same veggies as Johnm listed. The short and cold Finnish summer somewhat limits the choice of plants, but we do have some cucumbers and zucchinis on some self made cold frames. One sunny wallside is even enough to keep a few tomatoes alive until the first fall frosts force us to gather the green tomatoes inside -they will eventually turn red in room temperature.

The Finnish summer does have it's advantages though -the long luminous nights give a wonderfull aroma to many vegetables -the new potatoes are a national delicacy and nowhere in the world have I found better ones. Also many plant diseases and pests need warmer conditions to really thrive.

As for gathering, it pays to live in summertime in an old house with a garden gone wild; we have plenty of blackcurrant, raspberries and semi-wild strawberries to pick.
The woods have blueberries, and we are just finishing the false morel season, waiting for the first chanterelle to arrive within a month, followed by the porcini autumn fiesta.

Must go now, victim of a sudden hunger pang  :P

Cheers

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2009, 10:57:43 PM »
Hi all,
dj and Pan, you're certainly right about foraging.  You can get some great food and you feel like you're getting away with something.  There are a ton of blackberries along a greenbelt trail quite near to our home.  I've been a little leery of them because of a creosote wood treatment plant in the same vicinity (I've avoided honey sold by a beekeeper about fifty yards from the creosote plant for the same reason).  Ginny has been taking a class from a Native American teacher on edible wild plants and herbal remedies, and we've been trying some of the food, like chickweed, cooked up like greens, delicious.
John D. and Stuart, so far I've been enjoying doing the donkey work.  It reminds me of working with my Dad, growing up.  I wasn't always the greatest at staying focused on the task at hand, and was accused, on occasion, of sitting there "with your teeth in your mouth and your mind in Arkansas."  I generally liked the heavier work, though, and still do.  That's easy enough to say when you don't make your living from it, I suppose.  I think you are right, though, O'Muck, that gardening puts you in touch with something really important.  The food is great but it isn't just about that.
All best,
Johnm     

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2009, 01:01:03 AM »
One English gardener here.  I grew up in a working-class family in a village in Yorkshire in the north of England and my Dad grew pretty well everything we needed.  Buying vegetables at the shops was something that only "posh people" did. In those days before freezers we stored carrots in dry sand, hung onions from the rafters and stored potatoes in a clamp, known in Yorkshire as a "tatie pie".

We only have quite a small garden down here on the south coast so it is mainly flowers and interesting structural plants.  I do have a small veg. plot and only plant what grows easily and the things we like to eat. So, we have runner beans, sometimes climbing French beans, courgettes (zucchini), beetroot, spinach, a couple of tomato plants and a little lettuce/salad leaves.  I do everything organically, but have to resort to slug pellets otherwise we would have literally nothing.  I'm also a big compost fan and sometimes more interested in making compost that growing stuff.  We fastidiously save all organic kitchen waste (right down to used tea leaves) and add this to garden weeds, dead leaves, etc. and some paper/cardboard to open it up and add carbon to the mix.

I sometimes pick wild blackberries in the fields not far from our house, but have to admit I find it a really boring job.

Not many blues songs about gardening I can think of...
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Richard

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2009, 04:39:46 AM »
Would you actually be growing cabbage greens then?
(That's enough of that. Ed)

afunguy1

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2009, 09:32:37 AM »
I live on the side of a mountain in Arkansas and we grow ROCKS in our garden.  Every year I dig out big giant rocks and then the next year a whole new batch appears.  Seriously though, in between the rock picking I grow almost a years supply of vegetables for us to eat(we are vegetarians).  Love Mother Nature and she will show you her love in return.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2009, 10:21:30 AM »
I live on the side of a mountain in Arkansas and we grow ROCKS in our garden.  Every year I dig out big giant rocks and then the next year a whole new batch appears.  Seriously though, in between the rock picking I grow almost a years supply of vegetables for us to eat(we are vegetarians).  Love Mother Nature and she will show you her love in return.

You lucky dog!  The best thing you could find in a garden is rocks! Way more fun than stupid plants.

Alex (M.Sc. in Geology, 1981)

Offline Bob B

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2009, 12:55:52 PM »
Hi

We are in So. Cal. and grow Beefsteak, Best Boy, Cherry and Early Girl Tomatoes in pots.  Also in pots are Bell Peppers and Basil.  We have Rosemary planted in the ground (more than a lifetime supply).  A terrific bonus of the Rosemary is the fragrance which is particularly enjoyable when the plant is trimmed.

John, we were able to grow tomatoes in the winter last year.  The varieties were Snomatoes, and Siberian tomatoes.  It might be worth a try in Washington.  They were mid-sized and pretty tasty, although not as abundant as the summer tomatoes.

One thing to watch for when foraging for berries is poison oak grows among them (in our area anyway).

Green Thumbs to all

Bob

Offline Johnm

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Re: Gardening
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2009, 11:06:22 PM »
Thanks for the tip on the snomatoes and the Siberian tomatoes, Bob.  I've never heard of them before and it would be good to find tomatoes that grew better up here.
All best,
Johnm

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