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Gardeners of AW, unite

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kg-writes

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Great to find so many gardeners here.

We had a really great summer here in Northern AB. Where I live has a very short, cool growing season and my zone is 2b. We had a beautiful warm September, so my squashes did really well. I brought some of my hot peppers into the house and they'll have to keep my gardening bug happy until spring.
 

Maddy Knight

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I am lucky / unlucky to live across from a park that was pretty much abandoned. No one did anything for it. So I asked around and got the nod to go ahead and plant trees, put in gardens, build a few stone benches (I adore stonework) and so on, and I took care of it. But the neighbour's children and teenagers just destroyed it. I'd fix it, they'd destroy it again. I tried talking to the parents, but that brought nothing but threats. So I gave up. It was beautiful for just a short while. Now all gone to total waste.

I will never garden in a public space again.
 
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mccardey

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Have you often worked with biological pestcontrol? Is it succesful?

Oh yes - I've been doing it for a while now. I order the eggs online, they arrive by express post, and I spend the next few days like a kid waiting for Santa. As soon as the eggs hatch, the aphids are toast. The lacewings and ladybirds also migrate up to the vegie patch once they've cleaned up the roses, and they work there for the summer and into late autumn. Unfortunately, Winter sees them off - we have quite cool winters here.

I also make a lot of use of frogs and blue-tongued lizards - but the snake has to go. There's a guy who will remove snakes and relocate them for a fee - it will be sad to see one go because it has been an integral part of the system for quite a few years, but the new puppy loves to play with it and it is an Australian snake, so, yanno. (only the 7th most venomous kind, but more than potent enough to take out a puppy...)

The only things I kill in the garden are snails and slugs, but I do it with beer traps, so I figure it's probably the best party they've ever had. And no hangover!
 

Friendly Frog

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Aah, Australia where everything wants to bite, poison or kill you and not necessarily in that order... :)

Thanks for your reply, I have been wondering about trying mail-order lady-birds since I see so few of the natives ones, but have been holding off because I don't want to accidentally help spread the invasive Asian lady-birds or whether having to end up ordering a new batch every week all spring and summer. It's nice to know it works for others.

Now that you mention beer traps, I recall I haven't had any of those for a while. It just was too much to pay attention to this year but the snails are getting a little... greedy. And know just to chew off the right flowers that causes me the maximum of frustration. So yeah, next spring, maybe it's time to give new meaning to 'beer garden' and give them the best (and last) party of their invertebrate slimy lives.
 

mccardey

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I am lucky / unlucky to live across from a park that was pretty much abandoned. No one did anything for it. So I asked around and got the nod to go ahead and plant trees, put in gardens, build a few stone benches (I adore stonework) and so on, and I took care of it. But the neighbour's children and teenagers just destroyed it. I'd fix it, they'd destroy it again. I tried talking to the parents, but that brought nothing but threats. So I gave up. It was beautiful for just a short while. Now all gone to total waste.

I will never garden in a public space again.

This is such a sad story :( I wonder if it would be worth trying again, this time involving some of the local kids right from the start? I don't know where you live - that might be impossible. But kids and often teens can really love gardening.
 

Maddy Knight

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This is such a sad story :( I wonder if it would be worth trying again, this time involving some of the local kids right from the start? I don't know where you live - that might be impossible. But kids and often teens can really love gardening.

We tried that. Parents just don't get the benefits of having a clean and beautiful park. Even had 10 or so show up at my door like a lynch mob demanding to know why I photographed their kids. Well I had just put in about 10 yards of split rail fence and the kids kicked it apart. I complained to the parents, but they refused to believe that their little Johnnys and Janes would do such a thing, so I put the fence back together, and sure enough the kids came to kick it apart, so I caught them in the act and took a cell phone pic. The parents were PISSED! I gave up at this point and walked away. I water some plants near and dear to me, but otherwise I let it all go to hell.

There was a point when the only plants left were cactus, and sure enough along comes a mom and had them all chopped down because her kid got pricked - I explained to her that I had been growing those for 12 years. Didn't matter. Course now, they are wondering why the park looks like complete crap.

before-1.jpg


garden-after-a.jpg


Before and after. I worked really hard on this, got some local folks to donate materials and plants, scrounged the dumps for recycled materials, on and on. Keep in mind that when I started there was nothig there. Just dirt. I layed all the brick paths, bike baths, built 3 stone and brick BBQs & benches, 2 palapas. Only a few remnants left now. What a waste.

There are more before and afters I could share. but you get the idea.
 
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mccardey

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That is so sad :( It could have been such a lovely thing for the community.

I don't understand People, I really don't.
 

Friendly Frog

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Aw Maddy, I'm thinking your neighbourhood does not deserve you. It's very clear you poured a lot of thought, effort and soul into that. I know kids often have destructive tendencies but that's beyond the pale.
 

mrsmig

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Yesterday, with a cold wind blowing and a hard freeze forecast for overnight, I decided it was time to pull up the vegetable garden. I kind of hated to, because some of the plants were still valiantly trying to produce: I harvested a handful of beans, a few baby zucchini and a half-dozen semi-ripe tomatoes (sooooo many green ones still on the vine, too, from one crazy-productive Opalka Polish Paste plant). I had a mess of greens - mustard, kale and chard - that I ended up composting because they have also been crazy-productive and I just couldn't look them in the face any more. The spousal unit mowed our fallen leaves into mulch and dumped it into the beds while I stacked all the various plant supports neatly; have to get a tarp to cover them for the winter.

In the perennial garden I didn't do much - just brought in the various pots and statuary. I just let the leaves stay in that garden until spring cleanup. My husband took down the bird bath and fountain last week, so I didn't have to deal with that. I still had a few annual herbs and other plants on the deck so I composted those and stowed the pots for next year. The big surprise this year was a euphorbia that was in bloom when I bought it back in April and was STILL blooming in spite of it being so cold. I'll definitely get more of those next year. I finished things off by cleaning and organizing my potting bench.

This morning everything looks neat and tidy, but it made me feel a bit forlorn. Gardening kept me sane this year, and I don't quite know what I'll do without it to occupy my still-unemployed self through the winter.
 
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Friendly Frog

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True that. You can only prepare seeds and trays for so far, the rest is really just waiting for the right season to come again to start them. Myself, I'm hoping crafting projects will tide me over.
 

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Collected some seeds from a hike yesterday... Milkweed. Plan to try to grow it in the yard... as I've tried many times before. I'll probably winter sow the seeds and hope that does the trick.

There is one small milkweed plant that limps along in my yard, but it isn't the native one and the butterflies look upon it with disdain.

Oh here's something I've not seen before: Using milk jugs as little seed-starting greenhouses outdoors.
 
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We are two weeks from solstice and so I pulled out some of the garden, turned the soil and planted spinach, cabbage, and kohlrabi. Hope they do well. I usually procrastinate until too late in the (cool) season, and wanted to try to get a better jump on it this year.

The late pumpkin vines (planted in about mid-august or so) have died back, leaving me with three pie pumpkins, but they are not really very orange yet. No idea what to do with them--let them stay outside and hope they keep turning more orange, or else bring them off the dead vines, inside, maybe cook them up and hope for the best.
 

Friendly Frog

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I keep forgetting there is such a thing as winter vegetables.

I've noticed the sudden appearance of two grasses in the front garden. Dad looked guilty. Well, I suppose we'll be designed a grass garden next spring then, and forgo attempt no. 3 at a wild flower meadow front garden. Not sure if I'll be attempting a flower meadow elsewhere in the garden, all the suitable spots have been taking in by permanent shrubs and the front garden was the only open spot left. But I'm thinking it wasn't as much as something I did wrong that attempt no.1 and no. 2 didn't get off the ground. The front garden may just be totally unsuitable.

But I am putting my foot down that I want a plan for the front garden. Not tossing plants in at random. He has done that elsewhere in the garden and it fails more often than works. I also may have also been watching too many garden design shows not to...
 

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I keep forgetting there is such a thing as winter vegetables.

I've noticed the sudden appearance of two grasses in the front garden. Dad looked guilty. Well, I suppose we'll be designed a grass garden next spring then, and forgo attempt no. 3 at a wild flower meadow front garden. Not sure if I'll be attempting a flower meadow elsewhere in the garden, all the suitable spots have been taking in by permanent shrubs and the front garden was the only open spot left. But I'm thinking it wasn't as much as something I did wrong that attempt no.1 and no. 2 didn't get off the ground. The front garden may just be totally unsuitable.

But I am putting my foot down that I want a plan for the front garden. Not tossing plants in at random. He has done that elsewhere in the garden and it fails more often than works. I also may have also been watching too many garden design shows not to...

Plan your site so that everything fits, at least a little. You can select special flowerpots and trays for herbs. They can be rearranged. Herbs can be grown on windowsills - this is a space saving.
 

mrsmig

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Hey, AW gardeners! Missed this thread when I was planning and planting this spring.

Since the theatrical world was still at a standstill during the winter, I had plenty of time on my hands to study up and get my prep work done for the vegetable garden. I read articles, watch YouTube videos and took nearly a dozen online classes, so I went into the growing season much more prepared and informed, and with a definite schedule in mind rather than my usual scattershot approach.

I'm growing almost everything from seed this year, purchased from a Virginia company that specializes in heirlooms and hybrids especially for growing conditions in this state. I started tomatoes and peppers indoors in February, and got the seedlings out of the seed-starting medium and into potting soil as soon as their first true leaves appeared (last year I left them in the starting medium too long). By early May I had far too many plants for my little veggie patch to hold, and ended up selling the excess via NextDoor and Facebook Marketplace. I made back my seed money and then some.

Early in the growing season I seeded radishes, lettuce, spinach, and peas in the garden and in deck boxes. The only seedlings I purchased were some cute little cabbages I bought at Home Depot. We had a weird hot spell in April, which made all the emerging cool-weather crops unhappy, then the weather went back to cold and wet. Things finally warmed up for good in mid-May, so I put in my tomato and pepper seedlings, planted two kinds of pole beans, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, basil, cocozelle squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I'm experimenting with grow bags this year and thus far, have been really happy with the results.

Had some issues with aphids on the peas and one of the tomato varieties early in the season, and with cabbage worms on the cabbages (next year I'm using floating row covers to keep them off), but generally speaking things have been fairly worry-free. Everything is climbing and blossoming and fruiting. I got a good harvest of radishes, cabbage and lettuce but the spinach never did well; the remains of those plants got pulled up and composted last week, and I put in some watermelon where they used to be. An added bonus: our little pie cherry tree had a bumper crop this year. I got nearly ten pounds of tart cherries from her - enough for several pies.

And how does YOUR garden grow?
 

Friendly Frog

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Glad to hear things are going well, Mrsmig! Yeay for cherries and harvests!
I've thought about this thread a lot this spring. When things were usually going better garden-wise than now. :e2violin:

I've started on my seed trays in March with a lot of enthusiasm but a lot of that has evaporated, much like my seedings. Spring started warm and water came in heavy bursts with long dry periods. Excellent for pruning and I did get a few things pruned I normally don't get to that early. My dad, who beliefs in a lighter pruning (as in, none at all) grumbled but was secretely glad he didn't had to do it.

The early irisses and the crocusses were absolutely stunning this year, mind, and appreciated by plenty a bee and bumblebee.

Then it turned cold and we had long and late snow which we haven't had for years. It killed off quite a few things and some of my seedlings never sprouted. No experimental iris, no borago, no lettuce, no potatoes. All last years buddleia cuttings, dead; last year's oaklings, dead. This year's crop oaklings was hard hit by that darned balcony-hopping mouse. So far 25 survive. But we can't put everything in Plantcatraz. So I've moved them to the back of the garden. The mice don't even eat the remaining acorns there, so here's hoping they'll leave my oaklings well enough alone.

And I suspect its rodent brethren ATE my Everest aliums. Not one of them came up and I found one half-eaten bulb. They were an experiment to see if they grew better flowers if I planted them deeper. Well... so much for that.

The cold (I expect) did kill of the bee hive in the south wall, which was a bit of a blessing because they've been in that wall for years and one of these years we are going to need to renovate the roof they're under. Not something one wants to do with a living nest. I got a hive for my birthday so we've put it on the roof and closed off the wall nest. (but we missed one entrance and now a hornet is trying to move in. sigh.) I really hope the hive gets accepted. But the long cold also delayed the bees, so... any day really.

I have been gardening a lot, mostly out of frustration that the vaccines were delayed and they stopped giving you reasonable projections of when you could get vaccinated. (Belgium's vaccination process runs on invitations and reserve lists.) A lot got pruned and potted on, but the weather is turning against me again. I know summer's on the way but I didn't expect this sudden explosion of heat and sun and so many plants are going 'nope'. I can't come out myself either until the late afternoon. The long cold and fast heat means it was never a good season for cuttings either. The seedlings and the few cuttings I have remaining are struggling badly and the rain barrels are nigh empty.

But that also means the planting season was too short to get that dozen of trees into the forest this spring, so they're still taking up space in the nursery. Which, with the new oaklings is once again full to bursting. I hope autumn planting season will be longer. I can't spend much time there now because there's robin nesting! The only nest this year but I have been telling my dad he needs to renovate at least half of the nestboxes so I'm not surprised.

One upside is the many visits we get from the steam dragonflies. We have several species of pond dragonfly but if the weather is hot the stream dragonflies also visit and they're so magnifent! Truly flying jewels. I wish they ate white fly, though. The white fly were a nuisance thoughout last year but now they have absolutely exploded as we brought out the plants onto the balcony, it is now swarming with white fly. We never had it that bad. It's rediculous. I can't understand why the other wildlife in the garden is ignoring this particular buffet.
 
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Chris P

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We moved into a place with an actual YARD and room for a small garden. The prior owners were in poor health the last few years, and the yard was neglected. We're slowly reclaiming it. In addition to the neglect, they put about 1/3 of the back yard in pachysandra, and another 1/3 into bushes (azaelas, euonymous (anyone know how to pronounce that?!?), holly) so they would no longer have to mow. The pachysandra is easy enough to get ahead of (just mow it; it doesn't bounce back very well from that), it's the stupid poison ivy that's giving me fits!

We also spent the spring seeing where the bulbs came up, which trees bloomed which color, and spending this year determining what stays put, what gets moved, and what goes away completely.

But as for the garden, we put in two 4 by 4 raised beds, with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets and Thai eggplant (I love Thai eggplant and am so excited to see how it grows!). I've probably crowded stuff, as I always do. Once the current veggies have run their course, I'll put in onions and garlic to grow over the winter. That's supposed to work well here, but I haven't tried it.

Finally, I found a nice sunny spot for one Concord and one Reliance grapevine. They're off to a good start, and due to lack of space I'll try my hand at head training them. If we decide we can do trellises for cane pruning, we can convert it later. It sucks waiting until next year for my first grapes, but there's no way around that. Time takes time :)
 

mrsmig

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Chris P - wait, WHAT???? I just noticed you live in Vienna now. I live in Vienna! We must meet and trade books and garden plants!
 
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mrsmig

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Okay, now that I'm over the shock of discovering Chris P is a neighbor...

Friendly Frog, I'm so sorry about what the weather and critters did to your gardening efforts. It makes you want shriek sometimes, honestly. Several years back I lost almost everything in my garden to marauding deer and squirrels, and very nearly gave up. But after the installation of fencing and my chicken wire Tomato Fortress, I feel like I finally have a fighting chance.

Today's big job was the butchering of a too-tall, too-spindly Dracaena palm I've had for years. It spends its summers on the deck and its winters in the guest room, but had simply gotten too big and heavy to move. I decided I was going to split the main plant into three sections and take off a bunch of branches and try to root them. From one plant I now have nine, so if everything survives today's carnage, I'm going to have a LOT of plants to give away.
 
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Friendly Frog

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We moved into a place with an actual YARD and room for a small garden. The prior owners were in poor health the last few years, and the yard was neglected. We're slowly reclaiming it. In addition to the neglect, they put about 1/3 of the back yard in pachysandra, and another 1/3 into bushes (azaelas, euonymous (anyone know how to pronounce that?!?), holly) so they would no longer have to mow. The pachysandra is easy enough to get ahead of (just mow it; it doesn't bounce back very well from that), it's the stupid poison ivy that's giving me fits!

We also spent the spring seeing where the bulbs came up, which trees bloomed which color, and spending this year determining what stays put, what gets moved, and what goes away completely.
Great you'll have an actual garden! In a way I think it's more fun to reclaim a neglected garden than to inherit a fully maintained one. A lot more diffcult to start moving things and ordering to your preferences if it is already fully established. So much possibilties! ... and a LOT of hard work, though.

Friendly Frog, I'm so sorry about what the weather and critters did to your gardening efforts. It makes you want shriek sometimes, honestly. Several years back I lost almost everything in my garden to marauding deer and squirrels, and very nearly gave up. But after the installation of fencing and my chicken wire Tomato Fortress, I feel like I finally have a fighting chance.
Yeah, it's disheartening. It's a good thing I'm not into veg growing because losing harvests is still more difficult to stomach than losing tree saplings and pretty flowers. It's a good thing I don't have to depend on my garden for food. I'd starve for sure.

And I don't even have deer! Good thing too, I'm thinking.

I'm glad the Tomato Fortress is doing it's thing!

Today's big job was the butchering of a too-tall, too-spindly Dracaena palm I've had for years. It spends its summers on the deck and its winters in the guest room, but had simply gotten too big and heavy to move. I decided I was going to split the main plant into three sections and take off a bunch of branches and try to root them. From one plant I now have nine, so if everything survives today's carnage, I'm going to have a LOT of plants to give away.
We have Dracaena on the inside terrace. It reached the roof of the room until I elbowed my dad into pruning it. True to form he put every cut head back into the pot and they all survived, the pruned ones did to. If it's a similar variety you're bound to end up with a lot of plants indeed.
 
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