Planning and Plotting Your 2019 Garden
Whether you're a veteran gardener or just starting out, looking forward to growing season is always exciting. In this discussion, we talked about planning and plotting this year's garden.
March 7, 2019
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Hadley Growers: Planning and Plotting Your 2019 Garden
Presented by Ed Haines
March 7, 2019
Ed: All right, we're now recording, so welcome again to Hadley Growers, before we get started. I just have a bit of housekeeping. I do this at the beginning of every meeting and we don't have quite as many folks today as we have in the past, so it looks like we have about 30, so that's a healthy number. For that reason, we do need to keep everybody muted just to minimize background noise that happens with a lot of people in the room, but I'm really hoping that everyone has a chance to contribute and that this will be a lively discussion and everybody could participate. To help things run smoothly, I just want to give you a little information about the Zoom format that we're using today, it will be helpful.
Ed: If those of you who have been part of our group for a while, please be patient. I know you've heard this before, so I apologize, so everyone is currently muted. However, when you want to contribute and you need to mute yourself you can use star six on your phone. If you're on a PC it's Alt-A, if you're on a Mac, it's command Shift-A on the Mac. All right, that's star six, Alt-A if you're on a PC, command Shift-A on a Mac. Some of may be using an app on your smart phone, it depends on the smart phone where the mute button is, so you'll need to do a little bit of exploration.
Ed: Also, when you do, when you would like to contribute, I'd appreciate it if you raise your hand, there's a feature that works on Zoom to help to raise your hand, then I can see when you'd like to speak and I can call on you. On the phone, that's star nine if you want to raise your hand; on the PC, it's Alt-Y and on the Mac it's command Shift-Y. So again, phone to raise your hand, star nine; PC, Alt-Y, and on the Mac, command Shift-Y. Again, with the app on a cellphone it's going to depend on your phone.
Ed: If you would, mute yourself after you speak and then unmute yourself again, if you'd like to speak again just so that we can maintain the amount of background noise to a minimum, I'd sure appreciate it. Let's see, what else do I need to tell you, not much else, other than it is March and today's topic is, let me mute again. Okay. Again, everybody muted. Sometimes when a new person comes on in, I have to mute them again. There we go. Everyone, please keep yourselves muted until you like to speak, raise your hand, I can call on you, we may not need to do that if we don't have too many people crowding the microphone. I wanted this to be really structured.
Ed: The topic this month is plans for the spring, if you're like me, it's almost impossible to imagine any plans for the spring. We've got four, let's say, maybe four and half feet of snow on the ground, it was 11 degrees below 0 this morning and I don't think spring's ever going to come. Frankly, I'm pretty depressed about the whole thing. I could really use some nice happy stories about garden plants for this spring, that would be a big help. So I'm going to open up the floor at this point and anyone who would like to contribute or like to talk about their gardening plans for this coming season, please go right ahead. We've got someone raising their hand and it's the phone number ending in 273, so go ahead and let's hear what you got planned.
Janelle: Hi there.
Janelle: My name is Janelle from Wisconsin and I can beat your snow, because we have got about five feet.
Ed: Oh, come on!
Janelle: It was 30 below 0 this morning, so I'm just wondering maybe what is, because I don't think we're going to have a spring thaw until maybe, hopefully before July 4th, but what is a later flower vegetable, and plus we're completely sand, so if anyone has any advice for late bloomers and sand, thank you.
Ed: Anybody have an idea out there? I have a couple ideas. You're in the Northern Midwest and root crops do really well on sand, and you're going to get a lot of daylight in your growing season. Even though you have a short one, you have a lot of hours of daylight because you're up north. So any root crops like beets, rutabagas, turnips, potatoes do really well. Those are all things you can direct sow in the ground once it finally thaws out. If you do want to get started now, it's hard in a climate like yours, I share the same climate. It's really hard to think about tomatoes and corn, and eggplant and okra and some of those popular vegetables that people grow that tastes so fantastic, but they really require a lot of hot weather and a certain length of growing season.
Ed: But with sandy soil, root crops are always something I would think about. It looks like Irene's got her hand up going, Irene?
Ed: And Irene you've got your hand up, I know you live in a Northern climate as well.
Irene: Got it. Sorry, Ed. The screen froze, so I was having trouble getting out. I'd say hello to everybody, delighted. Here's 30 of us who are planning on gardening. Yeah, I'm pretty well in there with Janelle, and what is it? Minus 21 with a wind chill of minus 30 this morning and four feet of snow.
Irene: So the burning question of today is you've read that one about when you buy celery at the grocery store and then you put it in water, you've saved the heart of the root and the bottom of the stem and you put it in water and celery grows these little spindly roots. Then you put it in potting mixture, because celery doesn't take kindly to clay. They could grow in sand. You can grow celery if you've got lots of water. The story is I've got them all potted up now, because they've got roots on them and they're growing. I've got celery growing in the house beside the wood stove.
Irene: Yeah, it's not cooked, it's just growing. I wanted the Epsom salts, bone meal and blood meal to get the celery growing, because when I grow celery in pots, it tends to get hollow. I can do the Epsom salts, but I have a problem with the bone meal and the blood meal, go ahead Ed.
Ed: People used a lot of bone meal and blood meal for bulbs. I've heard if you read a lot of organic gardening circulations, there are some debate about using bone or blood meal, because they might contain prions, P-R-I-O-N-S, those are those proteins that sometimes cause what's popularly known as Mad Cow disease, I'm just relating what I've read, because bone meal and blood meal can contain, this sounds gruesome, but brain matter from as a byproduct, it's really a byproduct of the slaughter house. For those vegetarians out there, I apologize, but nonetheless, I've stopped using it for that reason. It maybe just one of those urban myths, so that's my contribution about bone meal and blood meal. I stopped using them. There's other things you can use for bulk fertilizers, but I have never grown celery indoors, Irene. My hats off to you.
Irene: Yeah, but what are the other things that replaced bone meal and blood meal?
Ed: Well, anything that has phosphorus in it, for root growth.
Irene: Go ahead.
Ed: So I use seaweed extracts and there's a catalog called Gardens Alive which sells a lot of really good organic, solid organic products that seem to work really well for me.
Irene: No, you don't do the compost tea, I can't do that in the house, so I got to have something a little less odiferous than that. Okay, so we want the phosphorus, nitrogen and is it potassium?
Ed: Yeah. That's right.
Irene: 10-20-10, because this is mostly leaves that we're growing. You want the higher nitrogen.
Ed: Yeah, and bone meal is really more for root growth, that's my understanding.
Irene: Yeah. Okay, thank you very much. I'll just go check it out at the gardening center if they ever open up. Thanks guys.
Ed: Yeah. Okay, so let's see. The original question was about plants that one can grow and one has a very short growing season and the ground stays frozen till July, but we have the next person whose hand is up, phone number end in 038.
Ed: So we're looking at a phone number ending 038, your hand is up, go ahead.
Speaker 4: Ed, do you hear me now?
Ed: Yeah, I can hear you.
Speaker 4: Okay. I live in an area, and I took organic gardening from you many years ago when I lived in Prince George's County, which basically has very sandy soil, but I live out here in Western Maryland and like you, we have hard growing season and goes basically May to September. The question I had for you is, what do I do in a situation where we have good soil, but we have shale underneath of it, and shale is a very hard rock. Absolutely, it took me an hour, normally I had to put a ground stick in from my own and it took me almost an hour and a half to get to all that hard rock to get to the part where I could get decent ground in. How do you grow items that basically have shale underneath the soil?
Ed: Well, I'll give you my opinion, I mean other folks may have an opinion as well, but the two words for you, raised beds. Don't try to dig into that shale, don't bother. Shale is just basically compressed clay, highly compressed clay. It doesn't absorb, it does have nutrients in it, but it's impossible to extract those nutrients for plant roots to really extract those from ground like that. I would use just raised beds, bring in your top soil and grow in that, that's my advice, anybody else have any insight on that?
Ed: Go ahead, we've got a number of hands up so if someone has an answer to that question, go ahead?
Doug: I agree with you Ed. Raised beds and for the person in Wisconsin, I wonder, would Kohlrabi do okay there?
Ed: I think you're right Doug. Any of the Brassicas, anything in the cabbage family I think would do really well. Root crops, I mentioned just because of the sandy soil, but sandy soil, if it's got enough nutrients in it, it's pretty good, because it drains well. It dries out more quickly, but I don't see why Kohlrabi wouldn't work, cabbages, cabbages grow well in northern climates, broccoli, anything in the Brassica family. That's a good suggestion.
Irene: Comment, Irene.
Irene: Yeah, we're on shale here as well from your gentleman in Maryland and I have a tremendous idea on that. I have a herd of horses and one of the things is hay. If there's some place where you can get old hay, apparently, that's a phenomenal way to grow. Surprisingly, one of the things that grow well around here for the most part, as long as you can get enough water to them are apple trees. If you're keen on growing trees, that's an option on shale as well. Go ahead.
Ed: Thanks Irene. Now we had, let's see, the next caller or the next participant is 588, the number ends in 588.
Doug: Oh, that was me Ed.
Ed: Oh, sorry that was you. Okay.
Doug: Go ahead.
Ed: So anything you want to add Doug or we can go on to the next person here?
Doug: No, go ahead, go to the next guy.
Ed: Okay, we've got plenty of time here, everyone is going to have a chance. The phone ends in 166.
Sue: Ed, can you hear me?
Ed: Yup, sure can.
Sue: Okay, I didn't know whether I was muted or unmuted. This system just doesn't like to work really well with my phone. Anyway, the ones with shale, you might also want to try the straw bale gardens, because that can be soil in itself. You can add actual soil, but you can also use that as something that will go deep for your plant. Also, they have a bag now, a grow bag that a lot of people are finding a lot of success with, because what happens when you plant in it, is that the roots have a chance to not become root bound and they grow out to the edge of the bag and they don't just circle around the inside of the pot that you've got them in if you're container gardening.
Sue: I also wanted to comment that you folks are having very cold weather and we thought we were cold this morning when it was like in the 30s and it's now up to about 60, but I'm talking about getting my garden ready now, because pretty soon within a month, lettuce and coriander, things like that will all start to bolt so the winter vegetables are just about finished, over.
Ed: Well, thanks, Sue. Thanks to you. At least, well, you have a unique way when you can't grow anything. Finally, those of us here in the north will be happily out in our gardens enjoying cabbage and cold weather crops. I guess there's always a trade off, but it would sure be nice to be out there right now doing something in the ground. Next person is 686. Phone number ending in 686.
Alice: Hello, this is Alice and I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and like Sue, I was going to suggest the straw bale for the straw bale gardening and on our Wisconsin Public Radio on Fridays, Larry Meiller has a garden show that's on from 11:00 to 12:30 central time. Also, WPR, that's Wisconsin Public Radio, WPR.org. If you can go to that website, you can find where Larry Meiller has interviewed the gentleman whose name I forgotten, but he has written I think five books about straw bale gardening.
Ed: Oh, that's really helpful.
Alice: He has explained it so very well on those programs. I have not yet tried it, although, I am tempted to do so, but I highly recommend both the regular Friday radio program and going to the website and looking up those particular programs. It's more than one that, that gentleman has been a gift on and hope you can find that there. Thank you.
Ed: That's fantastic, Alice, do you know what the name of the program is?
Alice: Yes, it's The Larry Meiller, M-E-I-L-L-E-R show and I think now he's giving WPR.org/larry and he has different programs on different days, but every Friday is his garden show and he has various guests on for the 90 minutes, a variety of guests, but some do repeat, Melissa Myers, who you may know is on from time-to-time and also that program, if you're an early bird repeats only the first hour of the 90 minutes, it's 6:00 Central time on Saturday morning. It's live Friday 11:00 to 12:30 Central and repeats Saturday morning 6:00 to 7:00 Central. I think it's the first hour only that they repeat.
Ed: That's fantastic. Let me do some research on that. We might post a link up to it on the website.
Alice: If you have a smart speaker, just say, play Wisconsin Public Radio.
Ed: Great advice.
Alice: I have Alexa, she says, she'll repeat back to me, “WPR Ideas Network,” but if I say that, she won't play it, I have to say, “Play Wisconsin Public Radio.” For those of you who are familiar within Wisconsin, we have different networks within the Wisconsin Public Radio system and I'm speaking of what is referred to as the Ideas Network, which is from Milwaukee and Madison.
Ed: Fantastic. That's great, I love the Alexa link too. Alice, that's great.
Alice: We're supposed to listen that way. That will be tomorrow, you can try. Thank you, Ed.
Ed: Perfect, thank you so much for that and I think we'll try to put a link to that on the website if we can, because that sounds like a fantastic resource. I've not heard of that gentleman, but there's a lot of avid gardeners in Wisconsin, I think it's because of short growing season. When they are allowed to garden, they go nuts about it, so fantastic.
Alice: He's also a professor at University of Wisconsin, Madison and he's been on the radio. Although, he doesn't sound like it, he's been on the radio for a little over 50, 5-0 years.
Alice: He has a lot of experience, he grew up on a farm and such, so he has a lot of experience to share besides what all his guests share. He's very knowledgeable.
Ed: Well, wouldn't it be great if we could get him to call into our Hadley Growers Club.
Ed: That would be neat. Along those lines and I'm just going to briefly interject and say I have been watching a show on, if any of you subscribe BBC America or a streaming service called BritBox, which is essentially everything that BBC has on it, streaming, is a show called Gardener's World with a gentleman named Monty Don. I know the name is kind of goofy, but that's his name Monty Don. I think he's even been knighted by the queen for his contribution to the gardening. Gardener's World is a wonderful full hour long show of gardening tips. Of course, it's related to living in the UK, but then also towards lots of famous English gardens, which is always fascinating, because there's lots of beautiful gardens in England and it rains all the time, and it's not that cold. Anyway it's called Gardener's World with Monty Don, so if you have BBC, that's another recommendation I can make. I really enjoy it.
Ed: Let's see, I think we had Michael, you have our hand up, you haven't had a chance to talk yet.
Michael: Yeah, so I presume you can hear me?
Ed: Yes, we can.
Michael: Awesome, so number one, that Larry Meiller podcast or show is in iTunes as a podcast, I was doing a little bit of research over here.
Ed: Thank you.
Michael: So I will definitely be subscribing to it and having it to Pocket Cast, so I can consume that content. That's something to be aware of, because if you're fond of national public radio shows, they are podcasts as well, because it's an amazing process. I live in Oregon. I can't sympathize with you guys on the weather aside from when I lived in Alaska and Montana, and the weather got cold there, but I didn't do anything with gardening there. My only exposure to gardening is indoor gardening and let me know if I can't talk about this, it might be slightly controversial, but I've grown marijuana, and I've killed a plant, and I've grown one in Oregon, for those who are aware, it is completely legal.
Michael: My question for you is, do you know from a completely blind person's point of view, do you know of an accessible or semi-accessible pH meter to keep track of the pH levels for the soils? And that's all I got, thanks for this awesome opportunity.
Ed: Thanks Michael and you now have the distinction of being the very first person in history of the Hadley Growers Club to mention that specific plant.
Michael: Awesome, well, I'm proud of that.
Ed: Go down in history. But we probably should keep the conversation with pH meter, so that's a very good question. Soil testing in general is really, really tough if you have a vision impairment. There are just not a lot of accessible methods out there, primarily, because a lot of soil testing is done by comparing color, with color strips, particularly with pH. What you could do, and someone else jump in when I'm done here, if you've got a better idea and I hope you do, you could give your soil to your County Extension Office in Oregon and have them test it for you and they might give you a printout that you could actually then scan and listen to with an OCR if you don't have any vision or magnify if you have a CCTV. Go ahead Mike.
Michael: My solution to that, because I wanted to avoid that, because it's a timely, and it cost money, a lot of money. I did look into that, and the solution came up with that is a service such as Aira or Be My Eyes, but I didn't know what the best solution for and at home kit might be if leveraging a third-party for that, and I wanted to ask if anyone knew of any sort of digital or accessible pH meters specifically, but thanks for that suggestion.
Rebecca: Can I jump in?
Ed: Yeah, absolutely.
Rebecca: It's just a thought.
Ed: Of course.
Rebecca: My name is Rebecca. I had my hand up for another comment, but just about this I make my own cheese and I've discovered recently that there are Bluetooth thermometers and Bluetooth hygrometers that measure water humidity that obviously a smart phone can talk to. I'm just having the idea that maybe by now there's a pH meter that you could somehow pair with your iPhone if you got one and/or Android phone and read it like that. But Be My Eyes is fabulous, I think that's a really good idea.
Michael: It is.
Ed: Yeah, I do too. I love the idea of pairing a pH meter with a Bluetooth device, wouldn't that be wonderful. Thanks Rebecca.
Michael: Maybe I have to look into a few of them and if anyone has any devices let me know, I do host podcasts, so I thought it would be something we'll share with people too for sure.
Ed: Fantastic. Rebecca, you had your hand up earlier with regard to another issue, do you want to go ahead?
Rebecca: Well, yeah, you were talking about your initial question had to do with gardening plants for the summer and I just wanted to say a couple of things just about the discussion that's been happening. My husband and I have recently bought a little farm at the Maine-New Brunswick Border, so we're already dealing with cold temperatures where we are in Ontario, but I think we're going way colder next year, so I was very interested to hear what you had to say about Northern Wisconsin and all that in terms of dealing with short growing seasons, because I think we're going into a majorly short growing season. That was quite timely and I'm excited. I'm what will be called a hopeful gardener.
Ed: We all are.
Rebecca: The best luck I've ever had with growing vegetables has been in a very traditional garden with just regular beds, dug into the ground and then sort of tops up with compost and then mulch. I've had abysmal luck with raised beds and container gardening and I know that for vision impaired people, they're theoretically much easier, but I don't find them merely as productive and I wonder if other people would want to comment. My plan is on this farm of ours to just do a big traditional garden, put lots of stakes and string up, so that I can find my way, but I really haven't found container gardening to be fabulous, anybody want to comment on that versus traditional beds?
Jim: This is Jim, can I step in?
Jim: Because something's been in the back of my mind too, on occasion I've had good luck with raised bed and container gardening, what else? I mentioned, I've got a Meyer lemon tree that I've got in a whiskey bell, well half bell and he's doing fine, he's now I think four years old coming to his fourth summer that I've had, and it was about four foot tree when I bought it in the nursery. It's bearing consistently.
Rebecca: That is so cool.
Jim: And years ago I was living in Virginia, I had fabulous luck growing habanero peppers of all things, why anybody would is another story, but anyway, I had phenomenal luck growing habanero peppers in pots, but I've had repeatedly to grow tomatoes in pots. I've tried the upside down, topsy-turvy pots, smaller pots, large pots, we won't talk anymore about pot I guess, since it has already come up in other contents, anyway.
Irene: No, everybody is going to grow it, everybody is going to admit that they're growing it now.
Ed: No, we can't have that here.
Jim: Actually, I did have good luck with that in a pot years and years ago in San Diego when it was not illegal, but anyway. If I'm not dealing with bottom rot, I'm trying to control aphids and why I keep getting them in containers is puzzling. Last year, I put some things in the ground and had really good luck. At least with some of the things, my peppers, I had poblano peppers that did really well, I mean in South Central, Kentucky, to get an idea of where I am. I was considering trying the straw bale this year to see how that worked, I haven't decided if I'm going to yet, I'm still waiting for it to get above freezing and stay there. Yeah, I thought it was just me or something that I was doing wrong, but, yeah, I've had the same kind of unluck Rebecca, over.
Ed: Yeah, Rebecca, this is Ed again. Raised beds, you have to water them more often and if you have plants that are heavy feeders, they may require a little more fortifications of the soil so that may have been your problem. I was just thinking you might want to try a modified raised bed that's just on the ground, something like square foot gardening if you're familiar with that, where you mound up the soil and rows with-
Rebecca: Yes, I have.
Ed: Yeah, and so you could actually do it directly in the garden bed, but kind of get advantages of both. I will tell you and you're probably aware of this, I'm sure, but a lot of hopeful gardeners make a mistake of not having their soil tested before they start planting. So definitely test your soil first.
Rebecca: Well, spotted.
Ed: Yeah. Get a full workup on it, because that will save you a lot of heartache in the future. Go ahead.
Irene: Sorry, go ahead Ed finish your thought.
Ed: Well, no. I was going to move on to something else so go ahead, Irene.
Irene: Comment from Irene, and good afternoon James, lovely to hear your dulcet tones again. This is in growing herbs. I think that the herbs that grow best in containers. Now what I've done this year, which is an interesting study is I have taken chives and I put them in flower boxes, so I will give you an update by sort of the end of May whether chives are willing to grow, but I think if you can find yourself in containers to herbs, you will feel more successful, go ahead Rebecca.
Rebecca: What kind of herbs are you successful with?
Irene: Basil, parsley, Oregano, we're holding our breath on the chives, actually onion chives, nasturtiums, apparently nasturtiums grow anywhere. Not too successful on the rosemary and lavender.
Female: Except in my garden.
Rebecca: Okay. So you start them in your house, I don't know what kind of climate you're from, but I mean do you start them in the house and then when you have them outside, then how much sun do they need?
Irene: Yeah, I think that's one of the essential things about herbs. Sage, sage is a good one. Those all do well in flower boxes and containers. They do get morning sun, they do get lots of sun, actually. Correct me, Ed, herbs do like limited nutrients and fairly dry conditions, am I correct, Ed?
Ed: Yeah, a lot of the herbs, especially the ones that we think of as coming from the Mediterranean climate like the thymes and the sage, and the oreganos, et cetera. Basil does require more moisture.
Rebecca: What about garlic?
Ed: Garlic, it has to have consistent moisture in my experience.
Rebecca: Okay, but sun?
Ed: Yes, most herbs really require, if they're going to really grow well, they require a good amount of sun every day.
Rebecca: A lot of sun, okay, all right, thank you, I'm learning so much, thank you all, this is fantastic.
Doug: Yeah. Rebecca, I would encourage you, if you want, what help me with raised beds and mine are actually raised on legs, so they're about waist high, so they're not the traditional, what people might call a raised bed on the ground.
Doug: That way you can easily get to them when you get old like me. What book helped me was what Ed said, the Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and it's on National Library Service.
Doug: I think you might get some answer there, because I've done both kinds of gardening and like Ed said there's some more water requirements, nutrition, but if you can get your knack of it I think you could be successful.
Rebecca: Yeah, okay. Thank you for that recommendation.
Ed: Let me try to find that link or put that on the website too, Square Foot Gardening. I love that book.
Rebecca: Well, we can't get National Library Service here, but that's okay. I checked it out of the Public Library and had a read through. I showed my husband, I said, “Look at this.” He said, “Ah, it's another one of those gimmicky books.” He's very old-fashioned, how he does ...
Ed: He wants to get a tractor in there, right?
Rebecca: Absolutely, yeah.
Ed: He is to use a machine.
Rebecca: That's right.
Ed: Well, I have some suggestion for you Rebecca, I have fallen in love with a seed company called the Kitazawa Seed Company. It's out of San Jose, California, it's been around for over a hundred years. I discovered this catalog, because this is my brother, he lives in Metro D.C., Washington D.C. He walked into this enormous Asian grocery store that literally had an acre of fresh vegetables that I had never even seen before.
Rebecca: All right.
Ed: I started thinking, I want to grow these, these are amazing. I found the seed company. They started out just selling seeds to Japanese immigrants in the United States a hundred years ago. They've expanded to sell seeds of all sorts of vegetables that don't necessarily grow in Europe and the United States, but they do all over Asia and Southeast Asia. There's lots of cold weather greens, because Korea, Japan, China is geographically, it's not all tropical. I'm going to be growing something called Chinese broccoli, which is actually a kind of a kale.
Rebecca: Is it Bok Choi or like one of those?
Ed: No, it's called Brassica oleracea and the common name is [crosstalk 00:38:42].
Rebecca: All right, it's a Brassica.
Ed: It's really wonderful. I'm also going to be growing something called edible chrysanthemum. Apparently, there's whole genre of edible chrysanthemums where you can boil the leaves, you can eat its new leaves raw, you can eat the flowers.
Rebecca: Also, new.
Ed: Then finally, I have this at a Chinese restaurant, they're edible pea shoots, so it's a type of pea plant, it's grown just so you can snip off the shoots, not the peas and steam them, and they're a wonderful green, and they taste just like fresh peas, so that's my plan, my little speech for my great planting.
Rebecca: Garden plans this summer. Cool
Ed: These are all cold weather greens. With peas, normally people plant them in the spring and right, once the ground thawed out. I'm really hoping that these will thrive in my Northern climate. I'll put the name of the seed company up on our website, it's Kitazawa seed company, and then you have an online catalog as well.
Ed: All right, anybody else? Plans?
Jim: Jim here real quick, about growing basil.
Jim: I had basil plants survived all summer and well into the winter months and it was just sitting in a fairly small pot, probably a 6-inch pot in my sun room. One plant in three of those pots, and I think it's no bigger than 6 inches, could even be a four 5 inch.
Rebecca: How tall was the plant? Did it have lots of shoots on it or did you standardize it? Tell us about the plant?
Jim: The plants each got about well maybe 14 inches tall, and I've seen bigger bushier basil plants, but since it's just the two of us, we had more than enough basils as well as much as we wanted to use with those three plants. Basically, this snipped leaves when we wanted some basil for our cooking and they did fine. I wasn't trying to supply anybody else so maybe other ways that would have given more leaves. They were very happy as long as they didn't let them get too dry, and they seem to get enough light in the sun room.
Ed: Well, that's fantastic, I've never been able to get basil really to grow indoors. I'm wondering if you had a variety of globe basil, so they have little smaller leaves, those are slower to bolt, usually, these plants are a little shorter. Basil bolts if it gets pretty hot and they try to go to seed fairly quickly.
Rebecca: Sure does.
Ed: Yeah, wonderful. Anybody else?
Michael: This is Michael in Oregon. I just wanted to say thank you for the recommendation for the seeds. It looks like they have some spicy herbs there, so I got to check those out.
Ed: Yeah, they have all sorts of neat stuff, stuff I have never ever seen before and they specialize now in Vietnamese herbs, Korean herbs, lots of things that I'm really eager to try. I'm glad you checked it out.
Rebecca: Michael, can I ask a question? Did you send away to a seed catalog to get your ... you know?
Michael: No, we have not.
Ed: Okay, hold on.
Ed: Unfortunately, I knew this day would come, I really did?
Michael: So just Google Your Own Paid podcast networking, you can send me a private question. That would be the best way and I'll answer them privately.
Rebecca: No, I'm sorry. I'm just winding you up a little bit. For the record, I'm not growing that even if it is legal in this country, but I just was ... Sorry Ed.
Irene: What was your podcast Michael?
Michael: It's Your Own Pay podcast network just Google it, it will come up, you'll see it.
Irene: Say that again, slower?
Michael: Your Own Pay.
Irene: Your Own Pay, okay, got it.
Ed: Oh, golly.
Donna: Hello, this is Donna from California.
Ed: Hi Donna.
Donna: Hi. I wanted to know if you could grow pumpkins in raised beds and if so what should the dimension be?
Ed: Good question, yes, the answer is yes, you certainly can grow them in raised bed, but they are really heavy feeders, and they'll sprawl everywhere. Depending on the variety of pumpkin, how many plants do you have? You should have a couple of plants, so you want some cross pollination in there, at least that's my opinion. You may need a space easily 15 x 15 feet or even bigger, pumpkins take up a lot of room.
Donna: Yeah, so it's better to put them in the ground, right?
Ed: Well, you could put them in a container, but unless it's a big container, you'll have to water them maybe if it's hot outside even two, three times a day.
Rebecca: They'll wind around everything else, they'll grab onto everything else you got planted.
Female: We have to go right now.
Donna: All right, I'm sorry, I have to go, but thank you so much.
Ed: No, no problem. Good question. Pumpkins are fun.
Michael: Ed, this is Michael in Oregon, real quickly for one more question about green garlic. We have the ability to grow inside and outside, and we consume a lot of garlic, obviously, and garlic's in everything we cook. If you cook and you don't use garlic, you're cooking it wrong. I'm wondering what the best effective way as to get started with growing garlic from home, because I never thought about it until today when I came here?
Ed: Yeah, I'll let someone else chime in, but up where I live, you have to plant the garlic a season before. I plant garlic in October for garlic that I want to harvest the next growing season, but Oregon, it's kind of a temperate climate. It depends where you live, what side of the mountains you live on.
Michael: So we're on the coast, in our average degree during the winters, between 32 and 45 or so and then during the summer it gets as high as about 80.
Ed: Has anyone else grown garlic on the coast that might have some insight on that?
Doug: Yeah, Michael, this is Dough, Northwest California right? A mile from the ocean. I've grown it in my raised beds like I said, they're on my two foot legs and the soil is seven inches deep. Like Ed said, we planted it in the fall, I think we had six different kinds, there's some hard neck kind, and you know some have bigger lobes than others. Yeah, it did well here in our moderate climate so.
Rebecca: I agree. I grew it in Santa Rosa, California and we planted it the season before, but you absolutely have to stay on top of it once the warmer weather starts to come, because it will bolt if you don't get it soon enough.
Rebecca: That's my experience too.
Michael: So why does everyone started the season before, is there a certain reason if you can control the growing environment itself or is it just to give it that length of time to grow?
Sue: Garlic grows well in the winter, it grows well in the cold, and you do want to protect it with some mulch, but go ahead and grow it. I have my garlic, elephant garlic, coming up now. Elephant garlic and garlic are two different plants, but my elephant garlic is coming up now, and I'm going to be harvesting it pretty soon. The growing season is different for it, but go ahead and experiment with it.
Michael: Okay, perfect.
Sue: The other thing, I wanted to comment on whoever mentioned chives if you're growing regular chives, the kind that only might get up to about 8 inches tall with a purple flower head. Yeah, that will do okay in a window box garden, watch out if you want to grow garlic chives, because they are going to a couple feet tall and that may have some bearing on whether you decide to grow them. Also, watch out for your Chinese chives, because I understand that they spread pretty rapidly. I keep cutting mine back and eating them, so I don't know how much they spread. That's something else you might want to consider in your bed, because the Chinese chives may be 12 inches tall as opposed to the maybe 8 inches of regular chives. Over.
Ed: Thanks Sue. Yeah, to my understanding the garlic needs a sort of cold dormant season, just like other bulbs say tulips or daffodils for instance, I think ours are commonly planted in the fall. We got 10 minutes left.
Michael: Okay, perfect.
Ed: Anybody have any other plans for this spring or anything else the like to ask or talk about?
Barbara: Yeah, this is Barbara in Southwest Missouri.
Ed: Hi, Barbara.
Barbara: This is a hopeful gardener that has become un-hopeful.
Irene: How can we help?
Barbara: Yes, I'm looking for suggestions on how to garden when you have Bermuda grass that gets into everything?
Rebecca: Torch the entire yard, that's what I would say.
Ed: What's getting into everything?
Barbara: We have five acres.
Rebecca: Bermuda grass.
Ed: Bermuda grass.
Doug: I have one thought on runner-type grass like Bermuda, because I do battle with it like every place I've lived. There's been some kind of runner grass that just has a remarkable tenacity. What will work, if you can do it is being out probably more than once a week, I'd say every three to four, to five days going over that bed and looking for the small shoots. Use maybe one of those three-fingered hand hoes to sift through the soil looking for the little runners. If you can spend the time and then it can take a bunch, you can actually reclaim a section of ground from the runner grass. Then you can, most Lowe's, Home Depots will have a plastic, frankly, I don't like the way it looks all that much, but it's a plastic edging, it's about 5-6 inches tall. It goes in the ground, you edge down and there is a flange, you want to put it down so the flange is on the outside of your bed.
Doug: It's got a flange all along the bottom edge of this plastic that angles up and away from whatever would be inside. Any grass that is even 3 or 4 inches deep, it hits that flange and the flange turns it to go back the other way. It can be moderately effective, but the single most effective is if you can get out every four or five days and sooner if it rains and go through especially around the edge, just severe monitoring of the places that you've already cleaned, it can be controlled and it can be eliminated without using Roundup or any of that other garbage.
Rebecca: What about a goat?
Barbara: I've already asked my husband about that and he said, “Absolutely not.” I'm almost 60 years old, getting out there and doing that much work is not appealing to me. What about large containers sitting on top of cinder blocks or something?
Ed: Sure, raised beds would be the way to go, I think, yeah.
Barbara: Would you use like landscape fabric underneath it or something?
Ed: Yeah, you'd want some kind of weed barrier, absolutely.
Barbara: Okay. All right, maybe I'll get out there this year and try it again.
Ed: Yes, please do, don't let the Bermuda grass beat you.
Irene: And one more comment from Irene.
Irene: Ed, my favorite crop last year was burdock, has anybody have a use for large amounts of burdock root?
Ed: I spent a lot of muscle extracting burdock from my yard, so not for me, thank you.
Irene: Oh wow.
Ed: I'm curious, Irene, what did you do with your burdock root?
Irene: You noticed I'm dying to tell you?
Irene: Okay, you dig up the burdock, it was a pumpkin patch, so of course, I didn't realize that it was burdock, because it was so dry here, but I didn't realize it was burdock until everything else, all the pumpkin, squash died. I dug up the burdock root. Of course, because we're sitting on bedrock, so the burdock went down about 8 inches and it stopped, so I had this massive, huge, fat burdock root. I sliced into pieces, I dehydrated it and I have now been drinking burdock root tea for the winter.
Sue: Good for you. It's a blood purifier and you need for that spring.
Irene: It's definitely an acquired taste.
Rebecca: Here, here.
Sue: Also, docks are like that, the burdock, the yellow dock, I can't think of any other docks right off hand, but that and also looking to using it as a thing that you can put on like a bee sting. I'm not sure if that's the one, but there is something that you can put for something like bee stings, that maybe it.
Ed: Well, that's wonderful Irene and of course every time I think every Hadley Growers meeting that I've had then verbally do a disclaimer and say Hadley is in no way endorsing any kind of medical treatment or medical efficacy with regard to any plant whatsoever, please consult your doctor if you have any health issues, but you drink the burdock root tea and do you feel better afterwards, Irene or have you noticed a difference?
Irene: Hey, everybody, absolutely, everybody has been sick this winter.
Ed: Yes, true.
Irene: Okay. Everybody has got that stinking rotten sinus cold, James even got sick.
Jim: Who me?
Irene: I have not been sick. I've been exposed to people, not James, but I've been exposed to people with that really nasty sinus head cold, I've been exposed to all kinds of unhealthy individuals and I have not been sick all winter.
Ed: Wow, that's certainly, you're to be commended, whether that's positive or it's a corelation, we don't know.
Male: [inaudible 00:57:01].
Jim: It's all the chess she's been playing.
Ed: Yes. That's fantastic, Irene.
Rebecca: Oh, well done, chess, that's the best medicine for any sinus cold.
Irene: It's the mental acrobats.
Ed: Yes, exactly. Well, we have two minutes left. If anyone can top Irene, this is your chance?
Doug: Well, I can't top Irene, but for us gardeners, if you don't know about this, it's a waterproof sturdy watch, talking watch called the waterproof watch and you can get it from blindinmind.com out of Canada. I guess he's got a location in United States, but the guy is from Canada. So check it out if you want a good watch you don't have to worry about when you're out there gardening.
Ed: That's a great tip Doug.
Rebecca: Fabulous recommendation.
Jim: Blind in Mind.
Ed: Blind in Mind, okay. Waterproof talking watch.
Doug: I sent you the link Ed if you want to post it.
Doug: $20 you can't beat that.
Ed: No, yeah, 20 bucks is a bargain. Anybody else we have one minute?
Rebecca: How about parting with a riddle?
Ed: Okay, let's hear it.
Rebecca: Okay, what happened to the Italian Chef, any guesses?
Rebecca: He pasta way.
Ed: He pasta way.
Irene: Oh dear, I thought it would at least have a reference to basil or oregano.
Rebecca: That was funny.
Sue: I wish I could come up with a herb riddle, but I haven't found one yet.
Ed: All right, I'll tell you what? Let's make it, all right it's fine from this group to come up with garden riddles. Also, please, if you folks have any ideas for a theme or subject to discuss next month, please email me, edithadley.edu. I'm looking for ideas, so I'd love to hear yours. That brings us to a top of the hour as I've said before, my favorite hour of the month, I really enjoyed this and thank you so much everyone for participating. This has been just a lot of fun. I look forward to talking with you all again next month.
Irene: Thank you.
Ed: Take care everyone.
Rebecca: Thank you guys.
Irene: Good program.
Sue: Bye to everybody.
Jim: Bye folks.
Michael: Ed, are you on regular basis?
Ed: Every first Thursday of every month.
Michael: Okay, thank you.
Ed: Yup, nice to have you with us.