New Kid on the Plot

CheBellaMarch 15, 2003

Good evenin' folks. I've finally found this wonderful GardenWeb, and thought I should wave a trowel and say hi. I'm looking forward to you advice and fellowship.

I was so glad to see an "accessible gardening" forum here. Sometimes I feel kinda invisable...

This year, I'm planning a very ambitious garden, front, back, porch, and hangin' off the house; vegetables, herbs, flowers and shrubs. It's basically a race to see if I can get things in the ground before they commit me!

I've been blessed with wonderful land, and have, far too often, had to forgo nurturing it because of the achies. This year, with all the miserable snow and extreme snow (and seemingly eternal winter) in the northeast, I had to turn to the seed catalogs for relief. I don't sleep much and i spent many hours in bed drooling over those catalogs, and I do believe they were instrumental in bringing me through the winter. While the pipes in the kitchen were freezing, I planned row upon row of beautiful sun-kissed tomatoes. When they exploded, my mind planted a few more rows. When the plumber had to keep turning the heat off to replace part upon part, pipe upon pipe, I just kep planting those fun-lovin'crops. Soon, I was up to corn and watermelon.

We have a large porch and 26 looooong windows with their old shutter hardware still attached. Hmnm...baskets filled with cascaades of bloooms would look lovely on the side of each wimdow...and think of all the money I'll save not having to buy hardware to affix them to the house! Look! A L. Leonard has hanging *bags* for only 81 cents each! You can fit a dozen cascading things in each and save a fortune in not having to by baskets!

The house was feeling warmer, and, as the garden grew bigger, we were practically *making* money by my shrewd planning. After all, I'd do these hundreds of plants all from seed. No wasting money on buying plants in flats from Franks when I could *make* a hundred of them for only 95 cents. Oh, and, yes, well, some jiffy pellets and pots and soil mix for medium transplanting, and trays and domes and lights and heat mats, and just a few more odds and ends. B ut after all, you can re-use so many of those things for *years* so if you amortize it out over time, in 20 years it will be mere pennies a day.

Good thing my mind has been feeling better, 'cause my body has just been realizing what's up. Yikes!

I have acheies like anyone else: inflammatory arthritis over most of my body, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, an unhappy right shoulder rotator cuff, and equally unhappy left knee torn meniscus, an ankle that loves to sprain itself, asthma, and chronic daily headache. The headache is often migraine, but not always. It's there 24/7, so I'm glad it's not always migraine! The migraine part is here plenty, tho, and often for weeks at a time. Then I just pop into the hospital for a week or so and they break it for me :-). Oh, and I have wicked severe sleep apnea too, so I tend to fall alseep at any given second. I mean, really, all the time. It's embarrassing. Esp. as tend to fall down too. (That tends to get bruisy as well as embarrassing.)

So...I could use all the helop youy can give me as to how I am going to manage my garden this year! I have an areea fenced off in the back that is 40' by 60' for the veggies (and flowers thrown in tastefully.) I know I can't plant it all, so I plan on putting part of it in as cover crop, maybe red clover or some such thing.

I'm going to try drip irrigation. I think, once I have it laid out, it will save me a lot of work and bending and reaching and stuff. I want to drip irrigate the hanging baskets/bags ans the porch planters too.

Is this true, or am I fooling myself?

Should I till like I usually do, or smother with newpapers and mulch? (Oh, I like to be organic too. ok, so I give the houseplant and im[atiens and things like that some MIracle Grow)

I'm thinking of gettin one of those things that look like smqll WALKER WITH A PADDED SEAT ATTACHED...sorry...becomes a kneeler or a bench. Good idea?

Gee, if you've lived through all this, God bless you. And pleaase help me.....!

Donna in Westchester

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Donna, so much good advice has been posted on the forums if you use the search feature you can find information on just about anything. Also go the container garden forum. They have some beatiful photos posted along with a lot of good ideas. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2003 at 8:21PM
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i'm in almost the same physical condition! [i tried the hanging bags last year and they were a pain] i turned my huge veggie garden into a small raised garden = started growing container veggies - spend most of my effort now into perennials and ground covers and mulch and containers. will be using drip irrigation more often - have found hose nozzles that i don't have to press and hold - and use 3mo. time release food....i'd like more tidbits from others! thanks!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2003 at 11:36PM
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mrsbeasley(4a Northern Ont)

I'm glad you found us! The thoughts of spring and plans for the gardens were the only thing that kept me sane this winter too.

I think you'll be very happy with the seat/kneeler thing. I use mine a lot.

I have 5 raised beds, they started innocently enough--one beautiful spring day my husband was raking leaves and putting them into bags. "What a waste" sez I, and proceeded to build a compost bin out of 2x4's. I had a quantity of them and they were all 4 feet long. So I layed 2 parallel on the ground four feet apart, and then two 2x4's perpendicular on top. (Sorta like the # sign) I put a bunch of the dried leaves in, then kitchen scraps, then some dirt. I filled the bin in this way, and topped it off with dirt. Well, it looked so nice, I planted cucumbers in it.

But then I didn't have a compost bin! So 4 feet away from the first one, I built another bin and I filled it over the summer.

The following spring I opened up the 2x4's that were facing the other bins, and I had a garden 12 feet long, and 4 feet wide. I put dried leaves in the middle where there was no soil, and pulled the compost over onto the top. But then I needed another compost bin. I now have 3 gardens that are each 4 feet wide and 12 feet long. I have one garden that is 4 by 8, and, of course the one I made last year that is only 4x4. These are known as lasagna gardens, because they are built in layers.

The wonderful part about these raised beds, is that if you keep it weed free the first year, you really don't have a problem. All the weed seeds have germinated, you've pulled the weeds, so they can't produce seeds. You'll get the odd weed the next year from some seed that has blown in, but on the whole, it's problem free.

Another thing I like about the raised bed (other than the fact that I can sit on the edge and play in the dirt) is I dig a hole and plant my tomatoes, squash, whatever, in the bottom of the hole. Early in the spring the tomatoes or peppers or whatever are protected from the cool nights because they're insulated by being down below the surface of the ground. When I water the plant throughout the summer, I just pour water into the hole. I don't water the soil on the top, and the rain and dew run down into the hole. The plant gets all the water it needs! When I plant veggies in a row (carrots for example) I dig a trench and plant the row of veggies.

I find hanging baskets to be a real pain. They require watering sometimes more than once a day, and an in-ground garden, well, I couldn't do it.

I find that even in my sorest days, if I can make it to the garden, and see how everyting's doing, it lifts my spirits and I feel better.

My advice to you is to do whatever you feel like doing. Oh, and yes, get that garden bench/kneeler. I've got 4 earthpails made (earthboxes made from 5 gal pails) so I'm trying that this year. Who knows--if they do well, by NEXT spring I might have them all over the yard!


    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 7:28AM
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