Gardening 2021

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Pondering what to grow this year, partly inspired by the plant porn that is the Sarah Raven catalogue (though I tend to buy elsewhere) and partly because I got round to compiling my annual inventory of seeds ...

djh, Thursday, 4 February 2021 00:25 (eleven months ago) link

Any book recommendations?

I particularly like Jarman's "Modern Nature" and Leighton's "Four Hedges".

djh, Saturday, 6 February 2021 15:09 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

Impatient, I have sunk a handful of broad beans into the ground and sprinkled some purslane. In truth, it feels too early still.

Could do with more windowsill space. I must admit the house already feels too "full", working from home.

djh, Saturday, 13 March 2021 12:57 (ten months ago) link

I'm trying some stuff from seed for the first time - also using windowsill and space in the porch. I've sort of gone in a bit blind and have a) overplanted and b) gone too early! I need to transfer to pots, which is a fiddlyarse job. I've got poppies, wallflowers, salvia, sunflowers, a couple of chilli plants and some foxgloves on the go. I need to dig a new bed out the front but will probably wait for the Easter holidays.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 13 March 2021 13:51 (ten months ago) link

Sounds a decent start and there's time to plant other things if they go wonky.

I've always enjoyed watching new plants appear but, cliche though it might be, that felt particularly pronounced in lock down/working from home last year.

djh, Saturday, 13 March 2021 14:08 (ten months ago) link

It's certainly been a lovely distraction.

I should thank you - it was your mention of Modern Nature that made me pick it up. What a beautiful and tragic book.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 13 March 2021 16:31 (ten months ago) link

So glad you enjoyed. It *is* a beautiful book.

Might be of interest:

djh, Sunday, 14 March 2021 09:28 (ten months ago) link

Two years ago a tenacious volunteer sunflower came up from a crack between two paving stones in my back yard and bloomed beautifully. I collected the seeds and last year had five or six nice big sunflowers. Now I have thousands of seeds and I have to resist this urge to plant every sunny inch of my property with sunflowers! The only thing stopping me is that I've read that they emit a chemical that inhibits the growth of other plants, and as much as I love the sunflowers, I don't want to kill every other plant I've got.

Dan I., Sunday, 14 March 2021 20:22 (ten months ago) link

Don’t fight the urge- one of the most lasting images I have of recent memory was taking a tractor ride through acres of sunflowers during sunset.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Monday, 15 March 2021 03:53 (ten months ago) link

didn't know that about sunflowers. My yard is shady and is full of ferns, baby tears, moss, and oxalis oregana growing under my redwood tree

Dan S, Monday, 15 March 2021 04:18 (ten months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I'd not heard of that sunflower/inhibit other plants thing and I know plenty of people who chuck a couple in their allotments.

UK-question. What would be a good bulb to plant in pots around now? Sort of ... for nice presents or to have and get fleeting moments of lock down joy?

djh, Friday, 2 April 2021 14:11 (nine months ago) link

Did you plant anything in the end, djh? Would rubra work? Dahlias?

I've just got myself a little 4-storey plastic greenhouse. Now I need to work out what I'm going to grow. I think I'll start some courgettes and tomatoes.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 10 April 2021 15:14 (nine months ago) link

I wonder if you need to treat yourself here:

djh, Saturday, 10 April 2021 15:33 (nine months ago) link

Here, I've planted loads of mostly obvious-ish veg (with some curious squash etc, for entertainment value). I love it when things start to appear. In "normal times", I plant stuff up on a glorious bay window at work and share out with colleagues.

I've got dahlias hidden away in the garage still and will enjoy them. I've been flicking through Sarah Raven and the like at "plants of containers", in the hope of being inspired but not really seen anything ... partly because I don't have much of a vision for the garden space.

djh, Saturday, 10 April 2021 15:39 (nine months ago) link

Just saw a rat in the compost.

Computers I can live with, I even dried them in the oven (ledge), Saturday, 10 April 2021 17:11 (nine months ago) link

x-post: "plants for containers", obvs.

djh, Saturday, 10 April 2021 17:21 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I seem to have, I think, mice in the raised beds - they're about 3 metres by 1 metre and 60cm-ish deep. A small hole kept appearing. Digging down a bit, there appear to be "caverns" but I've not actually seen a mouse or anything nest like. Undecided what to do. Dig the whole thing out?

djh, Monday, 26 April 2021 10:42 (nine months ago) link

Get a cat? Drop mothballs around the plot?

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 26 April 2021 18:06 (nine months ago) link

Yesterday I potted up almost 80 plants to give to a garden store and and will make a buck each from what sells...this is less about paying my rent than it is about using up the 300-odd EXTRA plants I seeded in trays, like an idiot.

Today I potted another 40-ish seedlings that were in too-small containers and now I'm out of potting soil! I need the mfing weather to warm up so I can plant things outside!!

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 26 April 2021 18:08 (nine months ago) link

We're in Philadelphia. Picking up the starts from our neighborhood plant group this coming Saturday, but the Siberian irises are already starting to wither after some glorious weeks, as are the hyacinths. Okame cherry tree gone to leaf two weeks ago after a few lovely weeks of delicate pink... Lavender trimmed and starting to shoot up again, and my god the ornamental strawberry is just wild right now.

I can't even remember everything we ordered from the plant group, but it's going to be a fun weekend of planning and planting. I think everyone on our block thinks of us as the two gay dudes with a crazy colorful garden. So be it!

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Monday, 26 April 2021 18:22 (nine months ago) link

x-posts. I have a cat! He's not really earning his keep ...

djh, Monday, 26 April 2021 18:45 (nine months ago) link

After moving into my house 1.5 years ago I've finally started changing/improving my garden. It was fine but very pragmatic and boring with a bare wooden bower and a lawn.
So today I planted some climbing plants near the corners of the bower: clematis and two different honeysuckles. And a passion flower against a fence. I'd love to eat fruit from my garden so I got a young apricot tree from my sister and some friends gave me a vine I put up against a southwest facing wall. Also planted two kinds of raspberries and a gooseberry. Let it blossom let it grow!

willem, Sunday, 2 May 2021 12:09 (eight months ago) link

Oh that's so lovely! My garden doesn't have any walls for climbing plants but my old bedroom in my apartment had a honeysuckle vine outside the window and it was glorious. Those sound like beautiful and smelly choices.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Sunday, 2 May 2021 13:53 (eight months ago) link

Well thank you! :)
As for smelly choices, the front garden will become next year's project, but I did remove a dull hedge and replaced it with lavender (some of which I got from cuttings from my mother), salvia, and seeded poppies between and around them to make for a livelier path to my front door. I never thought I'd love gardening but it is a lot of fun.

willem, Monday, 3 May 2021 15:34 (eight months ago) link

I went the poppy route this year too! Intermixed with existing liatris, nepeta/catmint, a couple of salvias, vervain, pentstemmon. And assorted other random cuttings. I'm in danger of planting an entire botanical garden on one small hillside and had to rein myself in. No new plants.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:53 (eight months ago) link

Has anyone done bamboo management? Would never choose to plant it myself, but previous owners did and now I am going to have to deal with it.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:05 (eight months ago) link

No experience myself, but from what I've heard it would involve a chainsaw and plenty of elbow grease..

willem, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 08:16 (eight months ago) link

x-post to Ima Gardener - that sounds wonderful, I'm imagining a purple paradise

willem, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 08:18 (eight months ago) link

We've got bamboo in a box made from discarded decking. It's contained but is already bursting at the seams. I'm worried about it getting out and taking over. My advice: get a couple of pandas (or as willem said, get a chainsaw and get hacking).

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 08:38 (eight months ago) link

the roots get under fences ime

One Of The Bad Guys (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 08:48 (eight months ago) link

Alas, pandas are back ordered at Pandas Plus die to pandemic panic panda purchases

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 13:36 (eight months ago) link


One Of The Bad Guys (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 13:47 (eight months ago) link

Planted zinnias, dianthus, and some salvias this well as some giant marigolds and a load of herbs. Saturday was a nice day full of dirt and sun.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 17:40 (eight months ago) link

I know! I even got a sunburn!!!

Threw some pickling cukes and watermelon radish seeds in the ground today. Both say 60 days to harvest. Boo.

Although, facebook reminded me that at this time TWO years ago, I was JUST starting the weeding/garden preparation process today! This year I'm like a month ahead of schedule so I shouldn't fuss.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 17:42 (eight months ago) link

I wish we could do more foodstuffs, but the squirrels in these parts are insane and eat everything unless you lock it up, essentially.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 17:47 (eight months ago) link

That's a bummer. Here, our biggest problem is the resident woodchucks, who will eat everything to the bone overnight. The neighbor has a humane trap but it doesn't stop them for long. I have chicken wire all around my garden which is a minor pain to step over but is the only way to have a garden.

What the squirrels do is bury black walnuts everywhere, which causes annoying surprise seedlings.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:18 (eight months ago) link

Herbs are so great though. Definitely the most reward for the least effort ime.

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:22 (eight months ago) link

Squirrels will only really bury acorns here. They're known to eat bulbs and ripening fruit but nothing so far. Bastard oak seedlings everywhere, mind. I planted my dahlias out at the weekend and have potted on some courgettes.

I read a crazy fact about jays the other day and how they enable the expansion of oak woods. Oak trees can struggle to propagate and expand their territory but jays will bury acorns at the open edge of woodland where they can germinate in the light and sprout. They return for the new seedlings but inevitably miss some and so new trees grow.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 19:08 (eight months ago) link

Herbs and peppers are fine— kale works, too. But tomatoes and anything sweet has to be wrapped in thick, thick chicken wire, because they'll chew through the thinner stuff.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 20:06 (eight months ago) link

Tbh, watching squirrels carry whole peaches or slices of pizza in their mouths is kind of funny, but damn if I wish I could grow peaches like my granny used to.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 20:07 (eight months ago) link

hello ilxor gardeners!

i am attempting gardening in 2021. :D


is planting & raising ~a~ plant is considered gardening?

i planted a pieris japonica “mountain flame” a couple of months ago. since then it survived eager overwatering (hi) and lately it got quite chomped by some very hungry caterpillars.
but it’s still alive! hurrah. i am applying water/molasses/dishsoap once a week to try & deter the chomping.

reminding myself that gardening is fun & relaxing lol

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 18:47 (eight months ago) link

is planting & raising ~a~ plant is considered gardening?

I'd say that's the definition of gardening! Doing the work is fun (and can be relaxing, depending on the job at hand!), hoping the garden will prosper is the most stressful bit I think :)

willem, Thursday, 6 May 2021 14:15 (eight months ago) link

maybe you should companion plant whatever works well with your 'periris japonica -

Swanswans, Thursday, 6 May 2021 14:25 (eight months ago) link

What the squirrels do is bury black walnuts everywhere, which causes annoying surprise seedlings.

I’ve made a hobby of gingerly digging up the oak seedlings, potting them, and trying to grow them into bonsai oaks. I have amassed quite a collection at this point.

epistantophus, Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:02 (eight months ago) link

But then I get sad when the squirrels dig them up to get at the acorn!

epistantophus, Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:03 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Bonsai oaks sounds a good thing.

djh, Saturday, 29 May 2021 22:54 (seven months ago) link

we now have nasturtiums & a few herbs growing around the pieris japonica & everything seems to be coming along swimmingly now! ladybugs present & chompy crawlers less so

we also planted a bunch of wildflowers elsewhere that are starting to come up now too

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 29 May 2021 23:18 (seven months ago) link

I just had the first lettuce and spinach from the garden with my lunch.

I planted a new bed with a random bunch of stuff last autumn and I have what I think is a foxglove nosing its way up the fence and a big old 2-metre teasle looming at the back like a triffid.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 4 June 2021 13:06 (seven months ago) link

Carnations keep getting burned, too much sun!!

Dianthus doing great, and I'm going to do a big harvest of lavender later today— it is starting to crowd out other plants!

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 7 June 2021 15:42 (seven months ago) link

What lovely updates from all of you! China, my neighbor has a foxglove that's at least 6' tall! I'll try to get a pic of her standing next to it later. They are so fun and weird looking and I like watching the bees climb all the way into the flowers.

Dianthus and lav are so dusty in the best possible way. My dianthus is getting crowded out by pentstemmon and some kind of hyssop, unfortunately--glad yours are in a happier place.

Veg I spotted my first nasturtium bud this morning! Ahoy salad flower season!

Ima Gardener (in orbit), Monday, 7 June 2021 15:53 (seven months ago) link

Oh, I should also mention that the other herbs and greens we planted are doing tremendously— lots of kale (both lacinato and regular green), as well as heaps of dill, rosemary, thyme, and basil.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Monday, 7 June 2021 16:31 (seven months ago) link

lol our poor dill is getting roasted, weather is too hot for poor baby (same, dill, SAME)

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 7 June 2021 18:47 (seven months ago) link

We planted lots of nasturtium this year and had great luck with it. Although it seems to have a shorter life cycle than I expected. It flourishes and puts out tons of big green leaves, then the flowers come out and it looks beautiful, then one day the stalks turn yellow and look as if they’d tried to pull themselves out of the ground, the new leaves start coming out tiny, and it’s time to replant and start over.

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 20:06 (seven months ago) link

We’ve had mixed luck with our raised bed garden; I don’t think the soil drained well enough for certain things (I’m looking at YOU, green beans that stopped growing and withered!) I thought beans were supposed to be easy. And then we had aphids wipe out our cucumbers after we only got one fruit! The tomatoes have required almost constant watering (too much direct sun!) so I am building a shade to filter the light during peak sun hours. But we have tons of tomato plants in pots as well and they are getting big and hard to manage! Can never have too many fresh tomatoes imo.

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 20:10 (seven months ago) link

Butterfly garden in the front doing really well (except for one fire bush that got aphids). Lots of Florida friendly and Florida native flowers and we even managed to get a standing cypress to grow and flower. Tried to get some ground cover to take over the easement between the sidewalk and the street, but we’ve found that what grows and spreads best is what was here naturally- Spanish needles and pink purslane which I rescued from a dry and desolate patch next to the house. The Spanish needles are what the bees love best here, but it spreads a little too aggressively and needs regular “pruning”. The pink purslane is a lovely little succulent when given good soil and water- a far cry from the little withered, dormant patches I found along the house in the driest part of the yard.

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 20:16 (seven months ago) link

And the oak bonsais are coming along nicely!

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 20:17 (seven months ago) link

For no reason other than I have read you are creating oak bonsais, I transplanted a very young cherry tree (a hazard of the next door neighbour having a massive tree) into a bonsai dish. I'm amazed that it is still alive but it is.

Gardening wise, it has been a bit rubbish this year (UK). Loads of seeds haven't germinated or have been devoured by mice and I've missed the sunny work windowsill (where I'd normally grow things for other people - that being half the fun). The raised bed seems a bit feeble compared to most years.

djh, Monday, 7 June 2021 20:42 (seven months ago) link

garden share : this summer I've tried growing a salad/ herb wall. It's a simple felted wall hanging with 50 pockets, quite well made, most things are doing well. However, the top rows are drying out so quickly in warmer weather, challenged to rig up some kind of irrigation I'm watering night and day...I have a lot of houseplants and a busy small plastic greenhouse already ...growing five x types of tomatoes, san marzano- delicious, some ordinary vine ones, a yellow banana variety and a beef tomato called 'olga's finest', not as far ahead as I'd like them to be, but established.

Swanswans, Monday, 7 June 2021 21:29 (seven months ago) link

Sounds like a great move with the cherry seedling! I like “rescuing” plants that are otherwise doomed to a rough existence of getting mowed on a weekly basis or withering in a bad growing spot. If it’s a fruit or nut tree, even better! Hope it stays healthy for you. If you can feed it some compost it might like that.

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 21:32 (seven months ago) link

Herb wall sounds cool, and your tomatoes sound great! We’ve got a couple heirloom varieties growing- bought some organic heirlooms from Whole Foods and planted some wedges directly in the garden- got tons of seedlings! And then we also started some “Everglade tomatoes” from seeds and they are coming along nicely. They grow bunches of blueberry-sized tomatoes. We’re starting to get lots of green fruit at this point.

epistantophus, Monday, 7 June 2021 21:35 (seven months ago) link

we didn't do tomatoes this year because last year we were getting roughly two pounds a day toward the summer's end— we couldn't give them away or eat them fast enough.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 15:26 (seven months ago) link

That's just showing off! My tomato crop last year was so poor that I reckon it cost about three quid per tomato, by the time you accounted for seeds and compost.

djh, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 17:53 (seven months ago) link

Well, we were using our own homemade compost and we also live in what is known as "the green dome," aka the mid-Atlantic of the US, so prime tomato-growing territory.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 8 June 2021 18:57 (seven months ago) link

lol at tomato per hour unit price, I never think of gardening in a strict cost analysis, heavens!! let's just say, I've have accrued some losses from things I've tried, in the past. This year my disappointments have been limited to a couple of non germinating w3ed seeds and some very miserable melon attempts, I also managed this year to plant a ton of seeds in one day and, at the end, miss one set of seeds in a tray I had prepared, but ticked it off in my mind as 'done', I'm still watering that seedless tray, it's barren soil, mocking my paltry attempts of efficiency

Swanswans, Tuesday, 8 June 2021 19:54 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

Monday evening mooch around the garden, too hot to bother with doing much. Raised beds so scrappy - some squash plants that are too big, dribs and drabs of herbs, some slightly pointless fennel, pulled up the cavolo nero before it gets devoured by creatures. Dahlias starting to appear - one of those plants that I'd have thought too "blousy" a few years ago. Some of the nasturtiums have taken a hammering this year but still enough alive to bring me some joy. The cat mint is flowering - the cat doesn't normally give it chance. Bought a pack of marigolds but bored of them.

djh, Monday, 19 July 2021 19:41 (six months ago) link

one month passes...

We recently did a bunch of work— ripped up a spurge that had been overwatered and killed by a friend (not talking to him right now), and I finally started trimming the lavender again. It's been coming up like gangbusters, can't understand how prolific it's gotten over just two years.

Our fig tree needs lots of tending so that it doesn't grow horizontally rather than vertically, but it's also just shooting up like crazy. And the wisteria had become unmanageable until my partner finally took to it with the shears— now it looks much better.

Hot peppers doing well, herbs doing well, much too much kale but okay, and so on.

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 20:42 (four months ago) link

two months pass...

Wondering if any ilxors have experience with growing bamboo, paricularly in the UK (or similar climate countries)?

A friend has started a business selling various products using bamboo, but currently has to source this from China. So we're going to experiment with growing our own Moso here in the uk. I've heard it can take months to germinate. any advice welcome.

Ste, Thursday, 25 November 2021 13:35 (two months ago) link

Not grown it from seed but I have had to remove large clumps of the stuff from people's gardens as it can be pretty invasive. It has running rhizomes that have a pretty hard and sharp tip on them so think very carefully about where you'll be planting it. Would suggest surrounding the planting area with metal panels or similar sunk about ten inches into the soil, or if not, make sure it has wide strip of lawn all the way round it because mowing can keep if from spreading too far.

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Thursday, 25 November 2021 17:39 (two months ago) link

yeah for sure keep it ~truly~ contained at like supermax levels because that shit will spread everywhere otherwise

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 25 November 2021 19:14 (two months ago) link

Thanks, yikes didn't realise they were that invasive. Seems we need to do a lot more research here.

Ste, Friday, 26 November 2021 08:32 (two months ago) link

afaik growing bamboo from seed is quite a specialised process. The seedlings will need to be kept in a greenhouse for a couple of years before planting out

You'd be much better off just buying some young potted plants. There are less invasive varieties out there but yeah, as noted above, tread carefully

Number None, Friday, 26 November 2021 10:58 (two months ago) link

I think she specifically requires Moso for the fabrics she uses. Her whole aim is producing ecologically beneficial products, but unfortunately it sounds like it would be better to just keep getting them from overseas.

Even if growing them were possible, and I'm sure it is with the effort she'd be more than willing to put in (her boyfriend is a park ranger and competent gardener too) there is still the process following that to extract/harvest whatever is needed for her materials. That is of course a different issue.

Ste, Friday, 26 November 2021 11:42 (two months ago) link

Do not— I repeat, DO NOT— grow bamboo. It is impossible to get rid of, spreads like crazy, and really shouldn't be grown outside of its native zones.

I'm a sovereign jizz citizen (the table is the table), Monday, 29 November 2021 17:26 (one month ago) link

^^^yes to all this... otherwise i'd suggest investing in a very sturdy mattock, but even then it can be backbreaking work just to clear small patches of it once it's established!

have recently put a couple of feijoas in the ground which will hopefully fruit some day & propagated some gooseberries for later planting out.

no lime tangier, Monday, 29 November 2021 21:26 (one month ago) link

bamboo is a good screening plant and very attractive - difficulty of removal less of a consideration if that's your use case. if you are going to grow running varieties, you need to make sure it's controlled properly (with a root barrier.) if you're going to grow clumping varieties, that's less of an issue. it can also be grown very successfully in containers.

Qamon (||||||||), Monday, 29 November 2021 21:30 (one month ago) link

Except from what I can tell from Ste's post, they're in the UK, where it isn't native, and root barriers are no guarantee against spread. "Use case" doesn't matter if one person's "use case" means allowing bamboo to take over their neighbors' gardens, too. Also, "use case" isn't a good way to think about gardening from an holistic, ecological perspective. Sorry!

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Wednesday, 1 December 2021 18:10 (one month ago) link

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