Talk about your Spring Gardens, or preparations... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

So let's talk about our spring garden preparations,..or the pre-preparations. I'm in S. California and have just cleared the main garden. I will prepare with rototilling and an addition of my own compost spaded in before I plant my early seed crop. How about patio crops,...pots...this is the place to start discussing your 1999 gardens.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 29, 1999



Planted onions, carrots, radishes and potatoes three weeks ago, and all are doing fine. Here in East Texas, we get a pretty good jump on the growing season. Though I bought a lot of non-hybrid seeds last fall, I'm going to go ahead with the hybrids this season. Might as well, huh? The non-hybrids are in the freezer, and this year's hybrids (I hope) will fill a lot of canning jars and freezer shelves. I bought another case of jars today after reading Jim Lord's latest article.

Stickie to self: Consider a few more blackberry bushes.

-- Vic (, March 29, 1999.

I love it: Stickie to self!!!!!!!!

I'm late as usual, but much earlier than last year...we can go real early here in S. California...I should have radishes, lettuce, onions and such in about a month after I plant...I'm gonna plant what I have on hand...mix of hybrids and non...gonna pick up some heirlooms..I keep salad crops growing all kale is magnificent...garlic is just starting to come will grow all spring and summer. Plant now for cool season crops....start seeds inside for bedding plants in 4-6 weeks.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 29, 1999.

Ah, the best of all possible Y2K discussions. Thanks Donna! I'm glad I'm (pretty much) through the boring preps and can now spend the spring breaking my back making my veggie garden even larger. My plan for this year is to enlarge and enrich the veg. garden and to practice with a couple of veggies (like spinach substitutes since real spinach usually thumbs its little leaves at me). This means digging deep and mixing in as much organic material as I can find. I have extra seed, but will be checking the websites by late Oct/early Nov hoping for one more order so the seed (like onions) will be as fresh as possible.

I have also used Y2K as an excuse to accumulate the rest of the garden toys I have been eyeing in the catalogs for several years, like rain barrels and special trellising and fresh buffer for my pH meter. What I'd really like for next year would be a solar-powered jackhammer to break up this northeast glacial cement - think Lehman's carries something like this?

I'd like to highly recommend the following book on soil conditioning, which I think is *the* most important aspect to successful gardening: "Edaphos/Dynamics of a Natural Soil System" by Paul D. Sachs (Edaphic Press).

Got happy worms?

-- Brooks (, March 29, 1999.

Rototilled the areas heavily mulched last fall. Cabbages and onions are in. Still too chill for other stuff, altho I plan on starting seedlings shortly. Working on soil conditioning, agree, good soil good garden. This will be my first year trying the Square Foot method. Was happy to find out about that method because the traditional beds and rows don't work so well in the heat of the summer here (NorCal Sierras). Even the blackberries only grow if watered by us or a seep spring. Incubating chicken eggs.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 29, 1999.

From Central Florida. Need to harvest my Vidalia onions, turnips and beets. Winter lettuce has bolted. Spring garden is in the ground. Cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots, califlower, broccali, cukes, watermelons, onions, beans, both pole and bush, okra and tomatoes and corn. All are up and I am thining right now. Oh yes, summer squash of several varieties. In July I will plant my fall garden and in Sept I will plant the winter garden again. One can eat all year out of the garden here. Took a drive around the area today. There are so many nice places, lots of them are nice double wide mobile homes, on 5 acres. We are in the country so property is cheap here compared to the Pacific NW where we are from. You can still buy a nice place with 3 to 5 acres for $69K. We are in the Ocala National Forest. And you can't walk 500 yds in any direction with out running into a lake. Good place to ride out y2k. Won't freeze to death in the winter here. Its hot here in summer, but not as bad as Georgia and parts north. We are 60 miles from Gulf or Atlantic and always have a breeze. Summer is the rainey season and winter is just sun every day. I don't know why EVERYONE doesn't live here.

Got sun screen??

-- Taz (, March 29, 1999.

How big a garden are you putting in this year. I just enlarged mine to 60 by 75. Trucked in 11 dump loads of sand and 48 cubic yards of mushroom compost to lay over the lousiest clay soil God ever made. Before the additions, I ran a subsoiler ( looks like a giant bear claw) over the area. It was like breaking asphalt. Then I tilled it then added the good stuff.

I have never planted so large an area. Any suggestions would be welcome. How are you guys watering large gardens?



-- Will Huett (, March 29, 1999.

Lots of stuff in flats, germinating nicely (though a neighbor's 18-month old was kind enough to "pat down" some of the lettuce. KILL!): various lettuces, eggplant, peppers .....

Peas in the ground (warm spell and they'll be able to handle the frost when it reappears).

-- BigDog (, March 29, 1999.

From DC: Have stuff sprouting in flats -- peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, brocolli, and brussell sprouts. Went and prepared a section of the garden so that I can plant snow peas, regular green peas, and lettuces this week... Continuing to work on soil as I can. Have lots of seed. Yet another order coming in and I keep picking up packets of seeds as I see them at the store.

-- Libby Alexander (, March 29, 1999.

Good thread.

We started here in Buffalo. Still ice on the pool and some snow on the ground in shaded spots, although it will be gone tomorrow or Wednesday. We're more than a month ahead of time but we're trying to learn how to push it to the limit. Only have about 300 square feet available in the back yard, mostly around the perimeter. Want to try and get about 1000 sq. ft. of yield this summer. :- ) That's at least two growths in the one season and then some. We'll be doing some cold plants in the fall that should produce into, and perhaps through, the winter. Got my fingers crossed but I'll also be running some pipe heating tape too. That should help until 12-31-99 at least. :-)

A few weeks ago, indoors, we started egg plant, two types of tomatoes, cabbage, lots of bell peppers, something else, and also basil for some reason. Just because it was one of the earlier starters, I guess. All of these are ready for transplanting already so I built a hot bed outside. Have been bringing the flats outside for a few days now, adding a few hours each day, to harden them up. We put together, from seven window sections and a wooden back wall, about a three by six feet by 18 inches high enclosure. Gets plenty warm inside during the day. We'll be putting the little ones out there, overnight, in a day or two.

Down a ways, we will are putting two 2x6x10's on edge, lengthwise against the fence and two more lengths about three feet out from the fence. We'll close off the ends and brace them to hold a couple of large glass sections from screen doors then pack some insulation, stray or sawdust, around them for early seeding.

BTW, sawdust can be obtained from a lot of places like Home Depot stores, wood refinishing shops, etc. They'll be glad to have you take the stuff away. This stuff is going to be helpful for composting and garden insulation. Remember it comes acidic so it must be aged, especially when used with composting toilets if no lye is to be used. Just throw it in a pile somewhere and let the weather decompose it over this coming summer.

We rented a roto-tiller this weekend. It was way to early and we made a mess but at least we got the sod and weeds turned over. Just keep up the weeding now and we should be ok. I think we'll put some black plastic down to help the situation.

We will be putting in a two or three potato towers. The record mentioned in the video was not "potatoes" as I thought, but pounds... 66 pounds of potatoes from one plant growing up through a pile of tires. Amazing.

Still to go is the rain water collection. I have to put a gutter on the garage to keep the plants below from being inundated as they were last year. The gutter will go to a barrel mounted off the ground on a platform to allow syphon action when watering the garden. We'll trench the ground so we can just start the water running and then throw the hose in the trench. We will be able to set an automatic shut off by adjusting the input end of the syphone hose to the right depth in the barrel.

We also have a long section of roof from which a 12 ft vinel deck roof extends. We think the gutter on the roof can be taken out and the entire length used to collect additional rain water.

We have a few large planting pots which held small trees or bushes. We also have a bunch of 5, 6, & 8 gallon buckets from the Coke plant which have the 2-1/2 inch pour hole and a handle mounted on the top. Excellent but you can't fit freezer bags full of beans into them and they smell of coke. We're going to use them for planters for things we can't fit into the regular garden. By cutting two large openings in the top and leaving the handle, strengthened by a wooden strip strapped under the remaining cross piece, we have a better than 1 sq. ft. portable garden. We can set these on an otherwise unproductive driveway or deck or just move them as needed to follow the sun. We can even take them inside if the weather warrents. I calculate we can get upward of 40 carrots from one of these buckets. Today we bought 10, 40 lbs bags of top soil to fill them. I know; by the truck is cheaper. I'll probably do some of that too.

BTW, I learned bush peas should be planted close together so they support each other. No trellis or wires necessary. More production from less work.

We are also thinking of putting the aluminum flashing on the side of the garage, front to back, to reflect sunlight into the shaded area. Has anyone found out if that will in fact reflect the good rays that plants need?

Hope these ideas help others. More later when I figure out what I'm doing next.


-- Floyd Baker (, March 29, 1999.

I've started chammomile, curley parsley, marjoram, caraway, & sweet basil in a small indoor greenhouse (midwest). They are doing quite nicely.

This week I'm beginning flats (indoors again) of sweet peas, broccoli, watermelon, green onions, green beans, carrots, beets, marigolds & sunflowers.

At the end of May I can begin hardening them off & I will purchase tomato plants. I'm really glad my perennial flowers are getting established because I doubt I will invest in any this year & who knows after that. I guess it seems trivial, in the light of survival issues.

I have at least half dozen herbs which should come back this year & asparagus which is my only 'perennial' vege. We have an apple tree as well.

The weather is finally a bit more mild so for the next couple of weeks I will be doing clean up and adding peat & such to the soil. After that I'll begin 'direct sowing' lettuce every couple of weeks for a continual harvest.

My daylilies are coming up already, and some kid in the neighborhood picked all of my beautiful crocus blooms, drats. (they bloomed on my Birthday tee hee) :-)

-- Deborah (, March 29, 1999.

Damn good thread, Donna. Can't do much this year 'cause house up for sale, but last year's strawberries are running rampant and I have some lettuce and the herbs I've grown for years. Intend to buy tomato plants and put in pots. Those of you in central NC,Guess Road Plant Shop has gently used pots in large sizes--a 12" pot costs about 30c.

Growing some stuff in pots has great advantages. One, you can move them around if you get only a little sun, thereby providing the requisite 6 hours/day. Two, you can hide your growing from your nosy neighbors, if you want to, by putting pots on your patio where, we hope, the neighbors can't see. (So put up a fence.) Three, if things get REALLY bad, you can bring your pots inside at night so people won't steal your food. Four, you can keep tomatoes growing for quite some time by bringing them indoors when frost threatens. (I was still picking my last year's tomatoes in mid-January, then I got tired of it and let the next frost get 'em.)

Save as much bubble wrap as you can this year, get your friends who work where large packages are delivered to save some for you. It's worth it's weight in gold to protect plants from frost. Don't know how far north it would work, but works very well here in a mild winter area (Zone 7). Can't hurt to try if you've no other alternative.

-- Old Git (, March 29, 1999.

So jealous of everyone here and their knowledge! (And TIME!) I am 28 years old and starting my first garden this year....I live in North Texas....I am planting a 4 x 6 raised garden in my LITTLE back yard. I have started bell pepper seedlings indoors (and zinnias for fun). And I will be planting tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, zucchinis, ummmm, I think that is it. This weekend is the weekend...we should be up in the lower 80's by then, it has been a bit dreary up till now.

CAn ANYONE tell me where to get non-hybrid seeds? I can't find them anywhere....most of the packets I see either say hybrid or don't mention the matter at all...

Also I am having trouble finding the time to do this (but have made it a priority)...I still work full time, as does my husband, my husband goes to school at night, we have a 4 year old daughter, and I am still getting other preps done....WHEW.

-- Kel (, March 29, 1999.

For useful and relevant commentary on Midwest agriculture, long term, I recommend Louis Bromfield's books about the run-down hardscrabble povertygrass farms in northern Ohio that he brought back to high productivity.

Pleasant Valley

Malabar Farm

From My Experience

These may be hard to find -- there's a collection of his writing now in print:

Louis Bromfield at Malabar : Writings on Farming and Country Life.

-- Tom Carey (, March 30, 1999.


I can give you a couple of suggestions for non-hybrids. I am a little nervous since this is the first year not using hybrids and I certainly don't have a natural green thumb... all of these offer ordering catalog/and/or seed over the Internet:

Pinetree Seed Co: They have mostly all non-hybrids and sample packs for as low as .50 cents. Ordered almost 30 different types of seed for only $35.00. Very reasonable prices...but no OP corn.

Territorial Seed: Never heard of this company, but I ordered by corn from them and some other things.

Stokes Seed Co: This is the company I always used before. Good quality, but not so many OP offerings. No OP corn this year.

Burpee: They offer an exclusive heirloom catalog in addition to their regular catalog. I didn't order anything from them, but the water colors are great!

There are several others, if you want more, let me know here and I will post them also, but this should get you started. Good luck!

-- Lilly (notrealaddress@this.time), March 30, 1999.

Kel, sounds as if you might have a bit too much for your 4 x 6 garden--you'd be amazed how wide-ranging squash can be, for instance. Plant them on the edges so you can let them trail away over some straw or pine straw. You can grow plants closer than recommended if your dirt is enriched with manure and whatever you've managed to compost. Start churning up veggie peelings and leftovers in your blender--but not anything with seeds, meat, fat or oil in it--and pour around (not on) your plants.

Hybrids--if it doesn't say hybrid, then it probably isn't. Look at Park Seed (on line somewhere)--they have good-quality seeds packed in airtight foil pouches. Please also check Burpee (I think they're on-line too) for their Longkeeper tomatoes and descendant varieties (hybrid, but wait!). Longkeepers last several weeks after being picked. In optimum conditions, they can last up to three months. True! I did it! You can always save some of the packaged seed for following years, just enough for a couple of plants to provide some winter tomatoes. Tomato seeds last quite well if properly stored. Thompson and Morgan has some European seed varieties, several especially bred for greenhouses (tomatoes and cucumbers for sure). You could always get several packages of this hybrid seed and store in plastic zip locks for future use. I seem to remember carrot seeds don't germinate very well after the first year. One last thing, Kel, be sure and grow marigolds and as many herbs as you can, right in and around ytour veggies. They repel lots of pests. Encourage possum--they eat slugs. But with you being in Texas, might be too dry for slugs!

-- Old Git (, March 30, 1999.

Sorry, Kel, forgot to mention. If you don't have a fence, get some of those metal stakes from the DIY store and some chicken wire to put around your garden. Don't pull the wire too tight because critters don't feel safe on wobbly wire and they get off it fast. We hope. It works for me and I know we have squirrel, racoon and possum. (Squirrels and probably other critters will steal your tomatoes for the moisture when there's a drought. You might want to keep a pan of water out when it gets dry. The birds will need it anyway and they're good for pest control.)

-- Old Git (, March 30, 1999.

Here are a few sources for open-pollinated (= non-hybrid) seeds--


Abundant Life Seed Foundation

Seeds Blum "Our specialty is heirloom, open-pollinated seeds."

Seeds of Change

J.L. Hudson, Route 2, Box 337, La Honda, CA 94020 sells only open-pollinated seeds. Their catalog is $1, I believe.

-- Tom Carey (, March 30, 1999.

Good thread. We're still waiting for the snow to melt and are hoping that no more will fall. Am finishing the inside of an insulated 10' by 10 greenhouse and will be preparing a garden site as soon as the yard can be worked. We will be doing some container gardening this year as well as getting the greehouse up and running. Will be building raised beds and cold frames for next year. Our gardens will only augment our food supplies as we have a relatively small plot 25' by 20', and a very short season, maybe 90 days. But gardening is good for the soul.

-- Ramp Rat (Aviation_R_us@noname.nocity), March 30, 1999.

Container gardening is a great way to grow veggies and herbs if you're arthritic, live in apartment, or both. Cherry tomatoes, pole beans, snow peas and various herbs like basil, chives, oregano and parsley did very well in large pots last year and I intend to repeat them this year. Also, growing garlic from whole cloves over the winter produced an abundance of garlic greens in a pot hanging over the kitchen sink by a window with a southern exposure.

North of TO

-- E Maxwell (, March 30, 1999.

I've got a plot 16 by 20', a raised bed where I always plant too much. It's 'enriched' with lots of horse manure (cleaned out a friend's stable) and lots of compost. So far I have 2 dozen tomato plants, bell peppers, and carrots planted. Put in a trellis to train sweet potato vines on. Also planning on more potatoes (have 3 rows planted, and onion sets, in a neighbor's flower bed-she's disabled and lets me use her yard), as well as cucumbers, garlic, and sweet corn. Gonna plant okra and watermelons in another flower bed. Still saving room for flowers, though. What good is Spring and Summer without flowers? My husband always says I have things planted too closely but this way, I don't have to weed so much. Will rely on the Farmer's Market again this year for extra produce to can. The produce will have to wait it's turn though. The canner's busy with hamburger, chicken, beef , chicken stock and pinto beans. Back to the kitchen. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, March 30, 1999.

You guys will think I've lost my noodles, and have become the Gross- out Queen, but....

The mention of the fencing reminded me of a tip I heard last summer on a local Public radio gardening show... someone from the Cornell folks, I believe.

To discourage garden munchers place cinder blocks or some other similar type item along the windward edge of the garden. Cinder block was suggested because of it's absorbancy, and because of the holes which will trap and shade liquid.

Eat meat for dinner, red meat if you can, pork or chicken if not. (guess where this is leading yet?)

The next morning, or about 8 hours or so after the meaty meal, collect your urine and pour it into the holes of the cinder blocks. Those of us who have secluded garden plots, or very friendly neighbors, can of course apply the urine in a more direct manner. ;)

The theory is that the herbavore critters will detect the scent of a carnivore's marking it's territory, and stay clear. (windward, see?) Creating a 'fence' of scent, so to speak.

Repeat weekly, depending on rain.

Last summer, I sent my hubby out to 'fix the fence' every Sunday morning (early!). Even the greedy ground hog stopped lunching in our garden. I am pleased to report, also, that the odor was nearly gone to my nose by mid-morning Sunday.

I don't know how they came up with this plan at Cornell, but the speaker did say it was a tried and true method.

Got Agricultural Sci & Tech students?

Then: Find some volunteers. Menfolk have a better time of it, and one or two will do nicely, depending on the size of the garden.

Next: Feed the volunteer(s) meat for dinner. Not baloney or hot dogs or fish; meat. The expert suggested steak or some other form of red meat, but you might be okay with chicken or pork. Plenty of meat.

And Then: Early the next morning, when your volunteer(s) first stagger from their beds, intercept them. If possible, send them out to the garden to piddle in the cans or into the holes of the cinder blocks. (See what I mean about size of your plot???) If you can't

-- Arewyn (, March 30, 1999.

Still at the stage of raking the winter oak leaves, clean-up and trying to study the sun patterns. Too much shade at this house so, the Silicon Valley garden ideas are challenged at the moment.


Sure miss my Southern California herb and flower garden!

Anyone have lists of partial-shade veggies? (Ill study the mobile garden concepts too).


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 30, 1999.


Re planting more potatoes, read the "Potato Towers" thread in the Food archives.

-- Floyd Baker (, March 30, 1999.

Well I can't compete with Arewyn's post. :-) Up above someone asked about seeds. This is what I've found from looking at LOTS of websites, print catalogs, and making comparisons:

Wilhite's has the best prices on seeds. They are far lower cost than most of the other catalogs I compared to.

But Gurney's has a couple of different advantages, such as, they sell "offers" rather than plants, and one offer may be 2 plants or 20 plants, which can sometimes get you WAY better prices (particularly on hedges and stuff like that). Also, they have LOTS of real-dwarf fruit trees, by which I mean, trees that don't get over 10' tall and can be container-grown, and moved inside in bad weather.

I'm a little late in getting started here in North Central Texas, but I'm planning a big garden and lots of 2-year fruit trees.

Note: If the catalogs don't say you need to call and ask how big each dwarf tree grows. Some are made for outside ground growing despite the name. Some can be container grown but you've got to have a 15' roof if you want to bring them in the house.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, March 30, 1999.

This has to be a definite sign of GI. Never did much gardening but it's fun but my spouse is doing most digging. We tilled up the garden but haven't planted yet in it. Planted,blue & raspberries..alot grow wild plus wild garlic. Have orchard and added almond tree & fig tree. Planted mint. Need asparagus...heard plants last for several years. If it continues to rain we'll have plenty of pecans. Bought alot of seeds at Tractor Supply for 10 cents a pkg.

Compost bin is started. Also planting lavender and flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. John Deere is very handy for tilling and God has been most generous in answering prayers for rain.

Got gloves?

-- Texan (, March 30, 1999.


Mint is EXTREMELY aggressive, it will take over. (maybe not the first season, but wait!) A mistake I personally made. If you have a huge amount of space (exclusively for mint), it might be okay. I have even had it pop up in our lawn at least a dozen feet from where I (foolishly) planted it. Hubby wasn't very thrilled. Although he says it smells great when he mows!

You may want to consider doing mint in containers. You can even sink the container in the ground (clay pot(s)) to cut back on watering.

On the plus side it is useful as an herb & tea & smells fabulous, it is just a bit annoying to me.

-- Deborah (, March 30, 1999.

great post- I love this stuff. ALERT though- be CAREFUL where you get sawdust from- Home Depot, etc, NOT a good idea- they cut pressure treated stuff as well. Be sure to only use non pressure treated sawdust on crops and in compost, etc.

Anyway- here in Siberia, we're still awaiting a peak of bare ground. BUT- we're down to about 2 feet of snow so it's getting there(but it IS snowing right now as I write this...sigh).

The seedling greenhouse is up and running- tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, onions and leeks are all up in plug flats. I've been seeding flowers all morning. My new tunnel (hoop house) for the peppers should arrive next week-

Otherwise-it's still very much winter here at this point.....except for the new lambs and kids of course.

-- anita (, March 30, 1999.


Thanks for the warning but I hope it would take over a lot of the dirt & mud. I did start out in large pot though to keep the dogs out. Once it gets established I plan to plant it in contained garden area although if it spreads it's no big deal. On the ranch, I figure the only "weeds" are what horses and cattle don't eat. Not too concerned about dandelions or other so called weeds. We're trying too keep things low tech and organic as possible...just plant more to deal with dogs, critters and such.

Our neighbors seem to be awash in garden vegetables but they use chemicals. We have too many gorgeous birds for me to use chemicals. I was delighted to see red-headed woodpeckers in the backyard but my neighbors just want to shoot theirs. Unfortunately, I don't think they're kidding.

Nothing better than fresh mint ice tea in summer.

-- Texan (, March 30, 1999.

Texan, You're blessed with so much space!! My neigbor (who gets as much of my mint as he can carry) is always going on about Mint Julips. ;-)

If things get really bad, I do plan on locating Mint somewhere I can let it run wild.

-- Deborah (, March 30, 1999.

From deepest Somerset,England. Spring in the air.Garden rotovated,early potatoes,leeks,carrots & onions sewn in the open ground.Sweet Corn in pots on the window sill for an early start.The awful Jerusalem Artichoke,which we have been trying to get rid of for years has just been reprieved.Blackberry hedges are being pruned Easter weekend & this year we shall take better care of the Damsons & raspberries.Old strawberry plants are being allowed to grow on for cosmetic/herbal preps.Sage & mint have had a haircut & more herbs planted.

Sawdust is not a good idea.In order for it to degrade, it needs oxygen which it takes from the soil system.Leaves are a better idea (not so much lignin)or feathers & you could try mulching with soggy newspaper.

PS Why do so many USA citizens have yards ?How can you plant in one?? Do you mean garden? Over here a yard means an enclosed hard standing & usually has a industrial or commercial use.

-- Chris (, March 30, 1999.

Chris- a "yard" is a "garden" or just grass or what have you- generally a yard is in back of a suburban type home..

-- anita (, March 30, 1999.

Chris... you mean like Scotland Yard? hee hee ho ho

I crack myself up!

-- none (none@none.none), March 30, 1999.

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Under the Real Goods Sustainable Living area sustain/

Click on Home and Market Gardening for links to several interesting gardening topics (there arent separate URLs for each article/ comment).

Its an overview of different topic areas, which you can then research further:

Lettuce Consider the State of the Garden
Permaculture Piety?
Can You Double-Dig It?
Edible Landscaping
Ruth Stout's "No-Work Gardening" Legacy
The Organic Movement
Gettin' Down
Compost Piles
Basic Gomer Pile Recipe
Hot Tips for Cold Piles
Real Good Mounds
It's So Easy
Organic Produce Is a Bargain
Adrien and Gene Duncan
Anna Ransome
Michael Maltas
Growing Your Own Food Can Be Very Profitable
Attention: Serious Gardeners and Cottage Farmers!

Off surfing!


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 30, 1999.

Planted 3 yr roots of Asparagus. Am putting in potatoes this weekend. Have herb garden from a few years back that needs a little work but will do quite nicely...yes, mint does take over!:)

You can get sawdust free or minimal price at local sawmills. It will not have any treated wood. Go to local stable and they will give you all the manure you want!!! Makes great compost!

-- Moore Dinty moore (, March 30, 1999.

This will be obvious to folks on this thread, but our expansion of past gardening efforts, development of new skills (saving seeds) and acquisition of expensive but useful stuff for next 20 years (800 sq ft greenhouse, for starters) has been one of the most "fun" Y2K preps for our family. Livestock second. Having enough seed to ultimately feed 100 people or so in our area, God forbid, is a satisfying feeling.

-- BigDog (, March 31, 1999.

Floyd-Thanks for the reference on the potato towers but my husband is having a hard enough time letting me get 55 gallon barrels for water storage. I don't think he'd go for a stack of tires. Too bad. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, March 31, 1999.

This may seem like a 'no-brainer' but there are certain crops I'm not sure how to harvest seeds from, like lettuce for example. I do realize that certain crops are obvious, beans, corn, tomatoes etc.

I would really appreciate some feedback.

I have been gardening for a while and have quite a few books on the topic, but I have never seen satisfactory information on this topic. Thanks in advance,

-- Deborah (, March 31, 1999.

Planting Sweet corn, Green beans, Okra, Blackeyed Peas, Zuchini at the big garden. Planting tomatoes, cabage,spinach,lettuce, and onions in the little one by the house.

-- Army Girl (LRLR@, March 31, 1999.

Just happen to have my expert neighbor standing next to me now and we were talking about this very subject.

She says to let a one or two plants of whatever just go to seed. That will happen with lettuce or carrots, etc. They will eventually grow up to a flower and produce seeds. Obvious now eh? Same thing I said. :-)

They should be kept in a container that is air tight with rather dry air inside. Perhaps dessicant added? I understand there is a preferred humidity for saving seeds but I don't know what it is yet.



-- Floyd Baker (, March 31, 1999.

re lettuce- this is easy- it WANTS to go to seed- generally when you don't want it to- just pick out a couple of nice looking heads and let them go- when seeds are pretty dry- harvest and let dry on a piece of paper or whatever inside. then- store in an envelope, baggie, etc-

Seed saving tip- select your nicest plants to save seed from- don't just save the leftovers- mark a section of row for beans, peas and save those. Don't just pick and pick and then try to save what's growing at the end of the harvest. You want to try to save the earliest stuff too- ie: a big beautiful early tomato- save seed from the plant that produces good stuff early on- you want to encourage that sort of thing.

I use flagging tape, etc to mark sections of row or plants to save seed from.

-- anita (, March 31, 1999.

Floyd & Anita, Thanks!! That's a great start!


-- Deborah (, March 31, 1999.

It certainly feels good to be able to get out and work in the garden. I feel like I am making progress with preps this way. Adds a big pick-me-up to the day. :)

-- Moore Dinty moore (, March 31, 1999.

Diane, I have a horrible shade problem in my yard...10 mature shade trees, and only two in the front yard are deciduous. I have mapped out the course of the sun in most seasons, and have south facing area where I do most of my planting. I also plant a narrow bed along the east-facing wall of my house, wall is beige and highly reflective. 6 hours is the magic number from all I've read, HOWEVER, I manage to get good salad crops on less,...4-6 hours. My suggestion, or one anyway is to grow stuff in containers you can move to catch more sun,...tomatoes don't mind it, I have put two large containers in a child's wagon I pull around the yard late in the season,...How about the roof? Containers on the roof? Do many successive plantings of cool season crops in areas with lower light. I'll do a bit more research and get back to you.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 31, 1999.

Thanks everyone for the answers on hybrid vs. non-hybrid. I have soooooo much to learn. Wishing we were still living on that HUGE piece of land in Alabama with all those beautiful pecan trees in the front yard and the ONE acre backyard with almost no shade. Woulda been perfect. However, the location as far as if there was any civil unrest would NOT have been good. Very exposed, highly populated, lower class neighborhood right behind us.

So now we are living in a nice house on a tiny lot in an unnamed suburb north of Dallas with a VERY shady backyard. But civil- unrest-wise in a much better place.

Whoever asked about U.S.s yards, most suburban and rural homes have a front yard and a back yard. Front yard just grass and shrubs and ornamentals, trees, back yard, same thing, though hopefully also a nice veggie garden! The ideal (as far as I am concerned) is to have a nice big fenced (wood fence) backyard...lots of room and privacy.


-- Kellie (, March 31, 1999.

A very good resource book, Kellie, for those of us in suburban areas, is "Square-foot Gardening". I would bet you could find one at a used book store, and for sure it is still in print and can be gotten online, or at your local bookstore. Try doing a web search on urban gardening. You would be amazed what can be done in containers and window boxes. An indoor greenhouse with full-spectrum flourescent lighting grows great herbs and salad food.

As for my front yard,...very very shady most of the year (in California, my deciduous trees in the front drop leaves in January and bug out again in March) front yard now has a veggie growing here, a veggie growing there, their feet in the dirt in small areas that get the most light. If foragers are creative enough to find the garlic, onions, and kale, cozy among the pansies, more power to 'em.

Good luck with your garden!! Don't get overwhelmed or discouraged,...even those of us with green thumbs have garden disasters from time to time. Keep reading...and then, just grab some dirt, some seed and water and go for it.

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 31, 1999.

RE Potato Towers:

OK. I can get seed potatoes this year, but what about next year? How would I get seed potatoes for the towers???

Just planted turnips, mache, endive, bush peas, and snow peas the other day... more to come

-- Libby Alexander (, April 01, 1999.

For next years potatoes, save some from this year's crop. When preparing to plant, cut saved potatoes into sections that include one eye per piece. Allow pieces to dry a couple days, then plant. Seed potatoes are nothing more than young potatoes saved from the previous year.

-- Donna Barthuley (, April 01, 1999.

This month's "Mother Earth News" has an article about growing lasagna gardens which are basically compost, peat, sand, leaves, etc all layered on a bed of newspapers. Leave over winter and the stuff has all turned into great soil to grow anything...if my garden of #2 black soil does not yield much this summer, that is the way I am going to go - not much effort and great results.

-- Laurane (, April 02, 1999.


Used to do a lot of computer imaging (photo-realistic) work with landscapers (including LS around SCEs electrical sub-stations). So, I got pretty good at reading and creating landscaping site plans.

Gonna create a complete one, front & back (after getting the graph paper), then each hour, starting at 8 a.m. mark in colored pencil (different color for each hour) where the sun is. Figure this is the way to vector in on the hot spots. Driveway is actually sunniest, so far.

Then I can plan.

For garden lovers, my FAVORITE web-site is Garden Escapes -- theres a site plan capability there too. Beautiful site, great stories & pictures. Graphics intensive.

Love flowers the too ... soul food.


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 03, 1999.

WELL, Having jumped the gun a bit in the North Coast, we just (OOO MY ACHING BACK) prepped 8 18X30 tubs, and 8 18X18 tubs (8 bags of potting soil, 2 of Perlite, and 2 jars of hydrosorb overall) and have planted a little herb bin or two, some beans, letuce, peas, carrots, squash, etc. and will follow with the stuff i'm starting in the basement on tues.

Hopefully, there will be enough to can, dry etc.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, April 04, 1999.

OOPs, distracted by imminent X-files====> we are using the following book as bible:::

The Postage Stamp Kitchen Gartden Book

Duane and Karen Newcomb

ISBN 1-58062-001-9

two upc's present:

on the ISBN box==>9 781580 620017 50995

other 45079 20001

Gotta go!


-- Chuck, a night driver (, April 04, 1999.

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