Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

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Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Paysan on Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:58 am

I've just received a new parcel of seeds for my garden, most of which I'll probably never seed in open ground. Why do I waste my money doing so? Because I have gardened since my early years, and the urge gets unbearable when the seed catalogues come out, the days get longer, and my planting fingers get itchy. I can satisfy some of these urges by early starting of certain plants, such as tomatoes and peppers indoors. This year leeks are included, though, for my daughter, who does  the outdoor gardening for us. I like fresh peas, but to save labour since my stroke 20-some odd years ago, compounded by later heart issues, I buy only sugar pod peas to eat young in stir fries. But even here, I buy the pretty purple flowered ones as well as my proven producers. Ditto for rainbow chard; it's pretty enough for a flower garden. Because bugs don't seem to bother coloured cauliflower as much, I now prefer darkly coloured veggies like purple carrots, deep red beets, and the like. OTOH, I don't even look at the flower sections any more - I have to resist temptation for lack of room and ability. Daughter picks up flowers when bedding plants come out, according to her wishes.
Also, my choices are limited to high value veggies, the ones that cost so much for little value or for extra growing time like waiting for green peppers to turn red or yellow or orange. And my weather is also limiting -we get over 100*F summers and a shorter growing season together, plus no rain for weeks at a time. We have our hoses running several times a week.
It's a far cry now from my acre and a half garden from 2 decades ago. Then, my garden was my laboratory, science project, and fulltime work. Now it's just a dig-in-the-dirt area to put a few fresh organic veggies on the table.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by ONTARIO on Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:57 pm

We typically will grow all sorts of herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, chard, and an assortment of hot peppers. We planted asparagus one summer in our last house but it takes a good three years until you can harvest it and we moved before that time - bummer! This summer hubby is going to plant blueberry bushes. We've never planted any fruit bearing bushes before so this should be interesting.

Every year as we spend money to keep things growing like fertilizer, water, etc, I wonder why we bother. I'm pretty sure it costs us more to grow our own than to buy an organic tomato. And, our growing season is really on from the beginning of June until September.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Annieh on Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:28 pm

I am trying to become a better gardener. I am very fortunate to live on a 1/4 acre section of fertile organic soil in a temperate climate. Even with my mediocre skills I served a dinner this week in which most of the food on our plates was actually grown right here.

For vegetables I have potatoes, silverbeet (chard), beans, beetroot, capsicum, and I guess I put rhubarb here.

Herbs are basil, parsley and thyme. Mint also runs wild.

Lots of citrus - lemons, lime, grapefruit and tangelo as well as feijoa. There is an apple tree which had codling moth, a plum tree which hasn't fruited yet, and a fig which is probably not right for our climate, although this is a very hot summer so I am hoping maybe the fruit will ripen this time.

Berries - blueberries which the birds usually beat me to, and a cranberry bush which is loaded at present so I am hoping for a good haul.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Meant2Move on Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:11 pm

I would love to grow for food, but my reality is harsh and I don't get much from the garden, so I must say realistically, it is for pleasure.

We live at high elevation (7300 feet), we haul water (ground water is too deep for a well) so water is limited, our growing season is typically mid-June to mid-September with random frosts at anytime.

I do pretty well with potatoes. I have a small asparagus patch and get enough for 1 meal on a good year, pretty good rhubarb, oh, and more horseradish than I can ever use. Sometimes I do OK with herbs - thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint.

I used to go bonkers with seeds, now for financial stability, I toss the seed catalogs in the recycle bin at the post office.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by ONTARIO on Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:20 pm

Meant2Move wrote: Sometimes I do OK with herbs - thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint.  


We have found that herbs do better in a large pot instead of on the ground. For years we grew herbs in the ground and they never really flourished. Now we grow all of them in one pot. It's a big pot - about 18 inches in diameter - but they thrive like that. And, the nice part of growing them in a pot is that you can put it up on your deck so you can easily get to it when you're cooking.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Neck2 on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:36 pm

I wish I could say it was for pleasure, but it’s not. I just like the food so much more that I tolerate the extra toil.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Annieh on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:15 pm

So for the pleasure of eating the results? That's my aim too.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Rig D on Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:17 am

Ontario, I disagree with this:
"the nice part of growing them in a pot is that you can put it up on your deck so you can easily get to it when you're cooking."
IMHO, the best thing is you can put the pot indoors in the winter and the plants keep on producing.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Narrowminded on Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 am

I do some herbs outside of my front door. Our garage just put and that area is mostly shaded all day, it’s the only thing that grows effectively there, so hey why not. Then I have one of those large pots that I grow hot peppers in. It’s on my deck, but as it starts threatening frost, I bring it in and get about another month of produce before it gives up the ghost. About all I can manage in my current situation. May add a second pot with bell peppers this year. Don’t really have land here for the bigger stuff
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by ONTARIO on Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:53 am

Rig D wrote:Ontario, I disagree with this:
"the nice part of growing them in a pot is that you can put it up on your deck so you can easily get to it when you're cooking."
IMHO, the best thing is you can put the pot indoors in the winter and the plants keep on producing.

Oh, yes. As you know, I live in Canada so bringing the pot in for the winter is a given. I meant in the growing season - or for those that have a year round growing season (lucky buggers!).

Right now we have herbs in the house. However, the rosemary never seems to last and we have to regrow it every spring (outside). This year I kept the dormant rosemary inside instead of chucking it at the end of the growing season and I'm trying to see if it will come back to life. Hubby is the big gardener here so I leave that to him.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Paysan on Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:11 pm

I had a rosemary plant for 3 years that simply stayed indoors after the first summer. messiest plant ever, shedding leaves like pine trees . But I had fresh herb for my soups and stews, and when fresh growth started appearing, I was able to take cuttings, of which about 1/3 survived. The thing about being dormant, rosemary is a tropical plant and dies before getting down to actual frost. Ditto basil. That's why I never bothered with keeping it outdoors from the first summer.
This year I'm raising both holy Basil for intense flavour and the super large Genovese basil (for pesto). And hope for a late summer season. Very Happy

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Meant2Move on Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:59 pm

I've had rosemary come back from the roots sometimes, not always. I think with us it likely depends upon winter and early spring moisture. With herbs I always expect to have to replant, and it is just a nice surprise when something comes back on it's own. Well, except for the horseradish - I can't seem to make that stop and don't really have much use for it.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Heuristicfireflower on Wed May 16, 2018 5:00 am

I love my garden, but, for me, more than naught, gardening is work.  But, I take up the tasks time and again because I love to see my plants thrive and bloom when they are happy with my care.   One of the best therapies.

I've grown orchids for over 20 years and cactus as a specialty, but, a variety of plants find there way to my home because all flowers intrigue me.  

I enjoy the edibles such as herbs like thyme, oregano, chives.  I, also, began to collect geraniums, in particular the scented leaf ones.  I have a few citrus and rose scented that are so soothing to smell.  And they release their scent so freely when you brush by them it just enhances the garden environment to have them placed where you, often, walk by. That's part of my future garden plan design, anyway.

I've thought of growing vegetables, but, don't think I've the endurance for the constant fight for who gets them first - Me or the squirrels, possums, raccoons or bugs.  The mammals are pretty destructive, here, even in the middle of Los Angeles.

M2M, ha, horseradish, mint and anything in the onion family.  I planted one lil apple mint last year and this year I have 4 fuzzy mint plants in various parts of the wheel barrow where I didn't plant them.  Their roots are pretty thick and expansive, I see why they can be invasive. Also, have chives popping up clear on the other side of the yard from the main plant that died last year.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Paysan on Wed May 16, 2018 11:01 am

Here I always thought urban mammals that destroy gardens are mainly 2-legged. Rolling Eyes And if I lived where organic/regeneratively-farmed produce was freely available, I doubt if I'd consider vegetable raising other than a tomato plant or pot of greens on the porch. But I'm raising indoors (still) some sprouting sweet potatoes, while the rest of my indoor veggies have been planted outdoors. I'm taking a chance on a late frost after weeks of unseasonably warm weather (did I mention we're flooding out from spring melt in parts of BC right now?), but so far we've got lettuce, peas, chard, garlic, onions, one potato, emmer wheat (blue Ethiopian heirloom) and other items I can't remember sprouted. Oh yes, chives and mint, strawberries, Tayberries, raspberries, cherries, apple, currants and other fruity stuff in various stages of blossoming and fruiting.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Meant2Move on Wed May 16, 2018 7:49 pm

I hauled water last weekend so spent some time watering and evaluating what is trying to live - the US southwest had an unbelievably dry winter.

Some of my asparagus popped up and went straight to seed, most didn't come back. Rhubarb is pretty much doing the same. I think 1 of 2 raspberry bushes might make it, along with a couple of the many strawberries. So far, none of the herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, or mint) is showing any sign of life. And it may be that the horseradish has finally given up on life as there isn't even a hint of green there.

It makes me sad, and part of me wants to buy some bright flowers, but the part of me that has to haul the water home doesn't want to add to the job. Maybe it is time to become a crazy old lady with lots of garden ornaments and geegaws...
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Paysan on Wed May 16, 2018 11:59 pm

Although the flood waters from a creek have inundated both the street past ours, and the end houses on the street that borders our property, and evacuation alerts are all around the locality, we have to water our gardens already, and the wild fire season is underway. There are times when we have to throw in the towel, but for us, maybe not this year.

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Heuristicfireflower on Thu May 17, 2018 5:28 am

Paysan, I think it's awesome to grow your own crops. Wonderful variety you've listed.
Hopefully, no towels to throw this season. :]

Now that I think on, the only vegetable I "cough" raised were 2 tomatoes that appeared after one particular bag of amendment I bought was spread over some potted geraniums. The roses had 2 nice volunteer poison oaks pop up in there portion of amendment!

The best fruit tree we have is a navel orange my dad planted more than 15 years before he passed away. I love that tree and remember my dad with every harvest. That's one where the squirrels pilfer to their hearts content. I declare war every fall.
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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Paysan on Thu May 17, 2018 12:17 pm

My daughter is now the main outdoors gardener. Hubby and I between us still manage the few house and porch plants, but a looming hip replacement will skew matters shortly. Then maybe my orchids, some old friends I've had for half a century and less, will need even more tenacity to weather the next few months. At least my orchids are survivors (the ones that lived.)

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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by Annieh on Sun May 20, 2018 3:41 pm

Paysan I am sure your orchids will survive, they have such a reputation for being delicate but I found I didn't need to do anything to the few my mum entrusted to me, just left them outside under a tree and they are doing fine.

HFF, I love the story of your orange tree.


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Re: Are you gardening for food or pleasure?

Post by ONTARIO on Wed May 23, 2018 10:43 am

Hubby finished planting our garden this past weekend. So far we have....

Tomatoes
Peppers
A variety of hot peppers
radish
lettuce
green beans
onions
oregano
basil
chives
thyme
rosemary

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