Let's keep this forum ALIVE !!

brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)November 2, 2009

Someone suggested I post on the VA forum for specific answers but I see it's pretty dead. Anyone out there????

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Hi Brit, The VA forum can be slow. From time to time there are some of us that try to push/contribute to this forum, but wesometimes lose interest with the inactivity. I guess this site needs more people. The places I go to; conifers, tomatoes, trees are very active. Responses often come within minutes. I am not sure what, if anything, would keep this forum alive, but keep asking the question, glad to have you here. Hank

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 7:11PM
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I check in once in a while. Sometimes it is active; other times not.

What question do ya have?



    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:06AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Thanks Hank! And Tom, not sure what my question was now :o) I'm scattered all over this site due to when I first posted questions, the email response thing wasn't working (even tho I DID check "email me") so I have to go searching alot to get back to my original posts. I AM getting emails now, tho.

But when I do figure it out, I'll post it on here. THANKS!

Bonnie (Brit)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:24AM
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Hi Bonnie and everyone else. I wish this forum was more active, too. I used to check it every day but since it was sometimes weeks between posts, it's low on the priority list now. Good to see you here.

Where are you in VA? I'm near Richmond, been here all my life. I grow some perennials and have always had a vegetable garden. The veggies used to be in a 3000 square foot garden, now I'm down to about 200 sq. ft. Age and work have taken their toll on the amount of time and energy available. I still try to get out to do just a bit every day that the weather permits.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 7:01AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Hi Sandy. I'm in Hampton, specifically, just three blocks up from Buckroe Beach. I've been here all my life, too, with the exception of a couple bad "moves" to NC & SC due to romance :o) I started my garden in 2005. It's the width of the front of my house. Mainly Asiatic & Oriental lily bulbs. They were the first bulbs I'd ever bought. Then I've added things here in there. Still learning from my mistakes. My fiance' was the veggie man, but he passed away in May. He had nothing as big as you had, tho. WOW !!

I've recently dug up my entire garden so I could thin stuff and am overwhelmed with the amount of lily bulbs I've ended up with. Also had butterfly ginger lilies that were given to me and they mass produced like bamboo, so dug them all out. I've also ordered way too many tulip and daffodil bulbs (first experience with tulips) and will be getting them in while replanting lilies as well as getting all my other perennials back in the ground. I've got a big job ahead of me !!

Happy Gardening,

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 10:40AM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

Let's face it! There just isn't that much interest in any sort of gardening here in this fine state to pep up this forum. Residents in some of the other areas of the country seem to be far more interested in ALL phases of gardening than we are. Most folks I know do not even bother to learn the correct names of plants and our garden shops carry only common, booring plant material. Things are tough all over!!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 6:53PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Thanks for posting !! I agree on all counts and the garden shops sure ARE a disappointment. As far as learning the proper names, I'm sure trying. But even tho I'm a great "speller," I sure do admire people who CAN type all those botanical names without looking up the spelling. Guess it comes with time, huh? :o)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Hi Brit. We are almost neighbors. Im in Va Bch. I don't post much when there is actual "gardening" stuff to do outside.But now that the temps are getting cooler all I have left to do is talk about gardening.

I have a very small plot of land and last year was my first time pretending I know how to garden. Thankfully Mother Nature is very forgiving. I had made 2 beds ( ammending the soil) for a few years before I planted a thing. Then I discovered wintersowing. So this past spring I looked like a pro. My bed was full and lush. I went out there every day and just admired all the beauty.

One of the other beds I made was for my shade garden which ended up being my compost pile. The drainage just wasn't happening. So I just put all my leaves and such there. I recently made a new bed for the SFG that I diving into this spring. I don't know squat about veggies except for the few tomato's and lettuce from last year. Note to self...do not plants tomato starts in to bad draining partly shaded areas. I think I got about 10 tom from 4 plants. Oh well. Live and learn. I don't even like tomato's but family does so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:48AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Hey Sunny...you can call me Bonnie !! Thanks for posting. I'd love to talk with you, but I'm going to be busy next few days with mom. She's having minor operation but will need care.

Want to talk about winter sowing. You'll have to teach me. Here's a link to GREAT new post (if you haven't already seen)about wintersowing. His garden is AMAZING !! Plus, he's in NC so weather is similar.

Here is a link that might be useful: economical garden down from wintersowing

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 12:09PM
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You all sound depressed :(
Don't lose hope!
I've got lots of questions.
I'm sitting here in northern virginia -Catharpin- looking for plans for a composting frame. I'm warm and toasty-having just made a lovely pot roast from an organic piece of meat -I used up the last of my swiss chard from my fall garden.
I've got a cold frame full of bok choy, spinach, and beet greens -all baby size but they are under a foot of snow that the blizzard brought us. I'm hoping they survive. I put an extra layer of plastic over the cold frame so hopefully the greens will make it.
My compost pile is pretty unfocused. I've got lots of horse manure from my two horses and a huge pile of wood chips from a work crew who dumped them here last spring. Now I just need to build something useful and easy and throw those two ingredient together.
I was looking for plastic 45 gal drums to make a rotating composter and ended up here.
Yesterday I got a seed catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. www.rareseeds.com I got some of their seeds last year and am overwhelmed by the choices presented in the catalog.
In particular I need a good summer squash or zuchinni seed that is wilt resistant. Northern Virginia is awful for the melon family. Any suggestions? I don't like GMO and prefer to not buy hybrids (silly since I'm not into seed saving-although I saved okra seeds this year). I try not to spray.
Anyone here from northern virginia? Soil here is clay so I've never had much luck with carrots. Suggestions?
I think with the cold frame that I'll get any early garden. I've never had much luck with snow peas because the ground is too cold to germinate in the early spring but summers are too hot to sustain them.
My garden saved my life last year. I had to go on an elimination diet per my doctor's orders to figure out if I had a food allergy. Fortunately I had lots of produce I could pick daily to help me figure out why I was having five hour vertigo attacks.
Gluten was the culprit but the garden made the challenge manageable. First real year I did sweet potato; luckily I put them on raised beds. The wet spring rotted all my white potatoes.
Can't wait to hear from someone. Take care.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 3:30PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Hi Kate,
Well, I can't help you out with anything... :) I'm just pretty much a flower gardener. Hmmm...maybe THAT'S why there' not much action on this particular forum (and I'm the one who started this post). Maybe everyone just goes to their particular forum to ask questions, etc.

The only thing I CAN chime in on (and don't know what the heck I'm talking about is....) can you plant carrots in raised beds, too? (since your soil is clay) Or do they require something more than that? Just curious.

Sounds like you have your hands full and live in a nice area WITH HORSES. I'm a few block up from the beach (Buckroe Beach) in Hampton, so my landscape is totally different. FLAT. And you'd think sandy, but not really. I, too, have clay after digging down about 6 - 8". What a pain.

Happy Gardening !!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Very flat. And very wet!! I am new to the growing produce thing. Going to give it a whirl this coming season. Last year was mostly strictly flowers.

Kate, thanks for the heads up on the melon thing. I wanted to try cantelope or maybe honeydew but now I may not. Since this is my first year I would rather grow stuff that I can expect results from. I tried baby carrots last year but I made the mistake of planting them in the flower garden and then I lost them. As my flowers started growing they quickly covered up the carrots.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 7:19PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Hi Sunny...

I'm REEEEAL confused. I could swear I wrote a post tonite, right after I wrote the one to Kate, asking you what SFG stood for. And I think about tomatoes, too. But I don't see it on in the thread.

Anyway, you live in VB Beach, huh? Close to the water? I'm in Buckroe, three blocks up from the beach. And yes, VERY WET.

And as of about 20 mins ago it was actually snowing here !!! We hardly EVER get snow, being so close to the water. How 'bout over there? Snowing there tonite?

It was cool. I went out to run to the store for some beer (yes, it's SAT nite so I'm allowed...hee hee) and whoaaa, I said. "What's this white stuff coming down?" I got to drive in it and EVERYTHING. Any northern VA's are laughing now, thinking "what's the big deal?" They just wouldn't understand, would they?

By the time I got home and picked up my cat "Pinkey" and walked outside to show him the snow, it'd stopped. Darn.

Email me if you wanna....
Bonnie aka brit5467

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 8:12PM
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That's too cool.After reading you're post I went and looked outside and lo and behold...snow. I too, was like, what is that white stuff in my yard? And on top of my trash cans. Holy moly..can it be????

I am by Lynnhaven mall. About 20 minutes away from the ocean.

By the way SFG stands for square foot garden which is about maximizing a small space for growing veggies. There's a forum here for it. I have a really small back yard and 1/2 of it is my flower garden but I am trying to make a new area for the SFG.

By the way.. I did the beer thing last night. Feelin a little rough tonight but, hey..it was fun!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 8:31PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

You know what I hate? This site doesn't notify you when someone's responded to your post UNLESS you originated it. Didn't know you'd written back until now (hour later). But anywhoo...

Pretty cool, huh? The snow, I mean. I just ran to look out before I wrote back and it's stopped. But still all over my other car's windshield. I LOVE IT. I guess that's "our" white Xmas, huh? Haven't really checked weather to see what's forecast for rest of week, but hey...you know how THAT goes. My cat forecasts weather better than they do around here....LOL.

I kinda know where you are, but honestly couldn't get in my car and drive there. It's funny. Seems like that HRBT keeps both sides separated in a way. I knew how to get to the oceanfront in my younger years to party. And then sometimes, how to get back home again.. Ha ha. Sometimes I'd miss the right-hand exit and end up going to Norfolk or wherever it takes you if you keep going straight. But, even living here all my life (with a few moves to both Carolinas and back again) I still don't know my way around the Southside. That's sad !!

I have NO space to garden. Mine is mainly in my front yard....ha ha ha...."front yard." I just went out & measured (yes, in my flannels and slippers) & it's just shy of 8' between my front porch and the sidewalk.

Each season, I move closer to the sidewalk. Right now, Ive got a foot left. And not done yet. IÂm sure when spring comes, IÂll be digging that up so I wonÂt have to contend with GRASS & WEEDS anymore. IÂll just have total garden soil and flowers/plants up to the sidewalk.

So thatÂs MY garden. Then it runs the width of my porch and NO, I'm not going to measure that right now. Ok!! I had to. ItÂs 25Â wide. But the landlord has big bushes on both corners and then two stupid Indian Hawthorns spaced out in the middle. So I have big bush, garden, little bush, garden, little bush, garden, big bush. I can still plant in front of the bushes, but not really your typical cottage garden look, which is what IÂm striving for.

As far as the beer....I just Ârent it if you know what I mean. IÂm up and down from this chair more than I can stand. I DID buy more than I shouldÂve, tho, thinking it was going to keep snowing and I might get strandedÂ.hee hee hee (yeah, right). So I might end up like you do. But like you said....it's fun !!!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 10:08PM
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I guess we'll just have to keep a tab open permanently to check for posts.
Sunny, you can do the melon family but you have to be attentive. Make sure they are well fertilized for strength and spray to kill the cucumber beetles (or whatever it is that carries the wilt). I still get a nice crop of zucchini before it dies off (I don't spray, instead I plant in a new location each year in hopes of tricking the beetles).
Good things to plant for a newbie are bok choi, spinach, beet greens (plant early a least a month before last frost), basil,tomatoes, okra. Eggplant gets these teeny little bugs early that you need to deal with but that does well. I've had fun with potato and sweet potato.
Corn is a pain. In all my years I've never had luck with corn. It is easier to buy it at a road side stand.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 10:49AM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Welcome Tee!

I also live in Hampton, right near the Buckroe Post office. I'm not a veggie gardener, tho....more flowers. This year, if I get a jump on it, I hope to try my hand at 'wintersowing.' Don't get discouraged if not many post on here. I DO appreciate all the folks who have, but we all seem to stick to specific forums more often than not.

Happy Holidays to you as well !!
Bonnie aka brit5467

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 9:50AM
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Kate, thanks for the heads up. I just ordered some seeds and got them in the mail a few days ago. What I can't use due to weather conditions or lack of space I can send to my sister in the Charlottesville area. Let me tell you what I got and you can give me some feedback.

bunching onion
tomato Which I did last year. Early Girl
peas Not sure about these on account of the space restrictions. I can't let them grow on the fence. Fence is weak, might break.
cucumber again space restrictions but willing to try in a large pot. Shared most of these with my sister.
peppers hot and green Success with these last year.

Thought there was more but that's all I see at the moment. Whadda ya think?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 8:44AM
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By the way, I had never heard of Bok Choy. I had to google it. Do you know where I can get some seeds from?

Welcome Tee. Shout out from Va Bch!!

Bonnie, I was in Richmond last week and it was snowing. Real snow. Not the layer that we call snow here. It stuck to the grass and everything. And on the sides of the roads they had the big piles where they plowed it from the previous snow. Like ice mountains. I poked it.

A few questions for the veggie peeps out there. Since we get A LOT of rain here I am a bit scared to plant out too many cool weather crops. Spring can make my yard a mudpit. I think all I have that is cool weather might be the lettuce and beets? What is the latest I can plant these guys? I just want to make sure that we don't get too many spring showers and things drown. Also, with tomato's can you plant them is part shade? Morning and some afternoon sun? It's so humid here in the summer I'm thinking that might be why my yield was so low last year. Not to mention, poor drainage. The other side of my yard would be better, but less sun.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:06AM
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I am so ready for spring.

I am going to get my jugs going for WS this week (holidays kept me too busy, not to mention the cold weather and snow) and I am once again reviewing sites to figure out the best way to get my garden growing this season. Last year's blight ruined most everything.

Can't wait for tomato talk - I will have to order seeds for the varieties I want. No transplants around here.

I am going bigger this year, need to do a lot of work on the new garden beds. I am working around 'rock lilies'- a yucca. Wonder what that reveals about soil ph?

I know I have too much shade though but hate the thought of pruning or gasp, cutting down trees.

I am struggling with grapes, blackberries, raspberries and blueberry growth also.

Go Virginia!!!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 10:53AM
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Hi Sunny,

I've planted peas the last couple of years and they weren't anywhere near heavy enough to weigh down a fence. My favorites are Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Peas and Little Marvel, which both produced a ton of peas for us every time I planted them. The snow peas get really tall, while the Little Marvel's stay between knee and thigh-high. I can't believe how delicious home-grown peas are! I grew up in a subdivision and I have to say that I find the peas we grow to be the most wonderful spring and fall treat! When I planted mine I dug a trench and put a line of sand along the bottom, then only buried them twice the depth of the size of the seed. I planted a few other varieties too and had some luck with Wando, but a few others didn't produce very well. I order my seeds from Southern Exposure because I prefer organic.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:27AM
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I think everyone on here has gotten "snowed in". What a mess!!!! I'm in central va. .Lynchburg...snow is EVERYWHERE and more is expected today..I just want to get out and see green grass and dig in the dirt!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:53AM
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Join the crowd! How do people in the far northern parts of the world do it? I am so tired of snow covering everything.

I haven't done my wintersowing, which should have relieved a little tension. I can't even see the garden or all the stuff I forgot, and left laying out there.

Enough with the snow! The cold weather! Enough!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 11:54AM
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All of my starter pots for seedlings are still covered in snow. So yesterday I finally broke down and bought a few things to get at least one flat of seeds started. Cabin fever is awful, especially when you know it's time to have those seeds nestled all snug in some warm soil, under grow lights, starting to put out those beautiful roots and leaves!

I know winter will end but this one seems especially long. I guess it's because there's been snow on the ground for way longer than normal here in the Richmond area and we didn't have our usual warm spell in late January or early February.

Anybody else out there who can't wait any longer and has gotten started with a few things?


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:37AM
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We've got about 40 flats of perennials started and around 1800 geraniums stuck. More to plant this week. Oh yeah, and some tomatoes coming up---some for hanging baskets to sell and a few better boys to eat on.

Hasn't been good enough weather to put up the "new" greenhouse to replace the one that the snow killed a few weeks ago.

Snowing now and, again, no school. I think this is the 16th missed day this winter.

But at least we're getting a good winter to break in the new snowshoes. We LOVE to walk. Hell, we love snow!!!




    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 8:05AM
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Every day I get up thinking "this will be the day I plant something" yet never do. I am working on my Winter Sowing jugs and found some spring bulbs that need to be potted up. The problem is all this snow, which it is doing again. I have pots outside that are frozen over and so I can't really get them in to put the bulbs in and all my bags of soil seem to have been left outside and are now frozen to one another.

Maybe tomorrow. I did get a big order of tomato seeds in the other day that I found at some web site - all very unique. Let's hope the lessons learned last year are remembered and the blight stays away! I broke down and ordered some "plugs" of some of the specific ones that I want to grow so I can have a little bit of a head start. It's so cold in my sunroom, which is my garden room, nothing would germinate there right now. My geraniums that are out there are still hanging on though.

Stay out of the weather!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Any vegetable garden activity out there since February? I've been keeping a blog on mine this year. If you would like to visit it, the address is:


Have a great vegetable gardening day!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:25AM
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Okay, I see it's been awhile so let's get talking Tidewater!
I have a dreaded corner where a propane tank was removed from and have not been able to decide WHAT to do with it. It begins getting sun around 1:30 and by 3-6ish in spring/summer is full sun then shaded as sun begins setting. I am thinking about a Inabe Shidare maple as the specimen, mondo grass as a border. I need help deciding what to put up again the house (brick) that is sooooo boring to look at. We had a clematis that did really good during first bloom in the spring then nose dived the rest of the summer season so we took it out. I don't think the area drains well and we need to do something to help this? I would also like suggestions of a few shrubs that would be nice contrast to the maple. The area is an approximated 300 sq. foot triangle, with the point connecting to the house. I know there are tons of gardener's in our area because I'm in a garden club and we have master gardeners who come and speak, and actually have a couple in our club.
What's everybody doing in their garden's to get ready for the new season. Can't wait for the pollen to stop!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 9:28AM
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how about a limelight hydrangea???

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Hello again everyone! So,the veggie thing was a bust. Not worth the time and effort. Gonna stick with flowers and shrubs this year. My so called yard is filling in nicely. Planted a small tree, creype myrtle (muskogee) 2 years ago and its getting big. Not too big, but finally providing some shade. Which is welcomed.
I have a bunch of things being sown in little pots and my mulching is done. So, off to enjoy the evening out back.

Take care, fellow Virginians!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 7:52PM
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I don't post here often, but thought I'd check in.

The past couple of years I've let my lawn get a bit neglected (new BF - isn't that a ridiculous excuse?? :-)) and I am determined to not abandon it a third year. I got out their early this year (I guess the warm weather forced me!) and put down weed&feed, and did some overseeding. Couple of weeks later I saw the tell-tale stripes where I obviously missed sections, and I did most of it a second time. Well the grass just responded beautifully to the extra fertizer, and in fact the places that got hit the heaviest, have NO weeds whatsoever, and the thinner spots are the weediest. So I am learning a lesson here I think...to ignore the spread rate on the bags and instead do 2 or 3 drops, a couple of weeks apart. Right now, my lawn has never looked better in the spring. Usually I get such thick spots of henbit, it's nearly impossible to ever get the grass back in. But, I think this year, I've put out enough weed killer and fertilizer, that I may just have a handle on it! Now if I can just figure out how to deal with the bermuda that will surely be plaguing me when it gets hot!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:52PM
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vaplantman(8a - Newport News)

What part of the state are located in and why did you give up on the veggie gardening? You should give it another try this fall. Broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, they are all fairly easily grown in Virginia and the fall growing season is much easier to deal with than summer gardening. Give it a try!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Another Virginia voice crying in the void new to the site and wondering about the lack of interest? My Fall garden is doing well and digging up tubers, corms, and getting ready for Winter. Planted some lily bulbs today and wanted to check out the site..............disappointed. Is anyone still interested out there?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Another Virginia voice crying in the void new to the site and wondering about the lack of interest? My Fall garden is doing well and digging up tubers, corms, and getting ready for Winter. Planted some lily bulbs today and wanted to check out the site..............disappointed. Is anyone still interested out there?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:18PM
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Hi mmstiner. Yes, there are some of us still here. I don't check in often since there are so few new posts. I'm keeping busy with some late season green beans and kale in the veggie garden and working on a new bed for hostas and other shade lovers. The lawn needs a major renovation but won't get it this fall. Maybe next year. I need to buy crimson clover seeds to plant the cover crop in the garden. It made a huge difference in it this year after growing it last winter and tilling it in this spring. The nasty clay soil we have has really improved. I want to keep it that way!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 2:35AM
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Aloha Sandy: So wonderful to get a response and hear of another playing in the dirt! Envy rears its ugly head in response to the fresh green beans. I know what you mean by clay. I should have put in a kiln instead of a garden when I first got here. Much better now. Did you ever consider Winter Wheat for a winter cover crop? The roots don't penetrate as deeply but my deer love it and it seems more abundant in the spring as a green manure. looks like I won't be getting in a cover crop this year. My spinach is about three inches high (8rows), and creesy(?) greens (4 rows) even smaller. On the plus side my Broccoli is heading up, and Brussels Sprouts are about marble size(probably they will make it, debating whether to top it out or not), Mustard greens,(curly), are in the process of being put away now. I hate to can them cause they are so wonderful cooked for about 8 minutes. Last of the tomatoes on the vine (with Frost on them this morning). One more lettuce bed up about two inches with the last one starting to bolt on the majority of varieties. Onions up and doing, Strawberry bed weeded and ready. Will probably wait till Spring and add some aged wood chips to the mix (read garden) in lieu of cover crop. That said just to give you an idea of what I am playing with in the Garden. We won't go into flowers Just shipped about a hundred pounds of Daffys for the plant exchange. Taking a break until my better half gets out of the shower then its time to drive around the area and enjoy the Fall Colors. Made my day to catch a new post on here. Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Glad I could "make your day!" You have been busy! My garden this year was very limited due to my husband having surgery early in the season. I just didn't have time to deal with working the garden and everything else in my life. But what I did have was very productive and made for some stress relief, too. I had gardened this plot before a number of years ago when my in-laws were alive and the soil was pretty awful. It took lots of fertilizer to get a good garden. Then we bought the place last year and really went into the soil reno big time.

The green beans are just a short row that I planted very late for a few fresh ones, not enough to freeze or can this time. That's one thing I didn't get sown in the spring and I missed them. The tomatoes and other things are all done for and on the compost pile, except for the beans and kale.

The field is ready to sow with a cover crop but I just haven't had time to go get the seeds. I might get to it this week, hopefully ahead of the potential storm coming from the tropics. The ground is still warm enough for clover, but I'm not sure about the winter wheat. I've never grown it before. I'd like to sow about half of the field in alfalfa one year to break up the plow pan that's developed, and the other half the next year.

It is good to hear from a Virginia gardener. What area of the state are you in? From your zone, I suspect you're in the mountains. I'm in the almost flat land near Richmond, but I have a daughter in Botetourt County just outside Roanoke. She loves to garden, too, but she lives slap on the side of a mountain and only has a little space for her veggies.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Hey Sandy: Still thinking of the green beans! What kind do you like? What you might think of doing with regards to the winter wheat is---when you buy the clover, tell them to let you have a handful of Winter Wheat and when you sow just put the Wheat in one corner and you can see how well it performs for you. I have found that Alfalfa really is wonderful for breaking the hardpan up. Did you know that in two years it can have up to 20' long roots. Amazing stuff...plus I like to sprout the seeds to go in my salads. Great on sandwiches also. I'm located down here in Snowflake, Va. The extreme SW part of the state, (about 10 miles from Tennessee), on the side of the mountain. Makes it rough to garden but a big advantage in the Spring because it drains so well. Usually pretty good for all my apple trees in the Spring cause the cold air flows on down to the valley. Sorry to hear about your husbands troubles this Spring. Makes it almost impossible to give quality care to all. You are right when you said its good stress relief to get in the garden. Can't think of much else when you are wrist deep in soil. What are some of your favorite things to cultivate? How big of a garden do you anticipate for the next season? Started on your plans yet? Nuff questions for now. Good to talk plants and garden.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:34PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

just a quickie, cuz i'm shuttin down for the nite.....

but I"m sooooo disappointed....

my post to mmnister right after 'way back when' he/she posted didn't ever show up???? No biggie. Just a little unhappy that after I took all that time to write "whatever" I wrote, explaining that we weren't being 'anti-social'...lol...well, guessing that it went into cyberspace....lol.

For some odd reason, all the posts after MM's went to my spam box. But luckily, I checked it before deleting spam tonight and found all the posts afterwards.

Without going into detail, I had got a notification that MM had posted and I'd just wanted to welcome him/her, since I felt the same way when replied to this post...like there was no one "out there"...lol. And had also said I can't garden like I used to, so aren't on here often.

Nevertheless.....Glad you made some friends, and.....

Happy Gardening,
Bonnie (aka brit5457)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:06AM
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My garden space is roughly 50' x 100' but I don't always use it all. Years ago we planted it all, but with age and the kids gone now, it's a bit much. This year I had 30 tomato plants, 12 hills of yellow squash, peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupes and only used a small amount of the space. Next year I hope to plant more but only time will tell how those plans work out. I usually grow all of that along with a couple of kinds of beans (green and limas), corn, onions, eggplants, sometimes okra, and whatever strikes my fancy when I'm ordering seeds! For a few years I was limited to about 200 square feet of space in raised beds. I still grew quite a variety of things, just not in quantity.

One of my favorite things is zuchetta rampicante, a weird winter squash that is eaten like a summer squash when it is young and tender but can be left to mature also. It has the taste of yellow crooknecks, texture of zucchini, and the flesh is light green. It forms a "rampant" vine that will take over the garden if left to it's own devices. I usually pinch out the growing tips when it starts to overtake other plants and the paths. I started growing it because I had such a problem with squash vine borers and this one has solid stems instead of the hollow stems of summer squash. I've never seen borers in it either.

Over the rest of the fall and winter I have a project in mind to help me with my public seminars. (I'm a Master Gardener and teach Small Space Vegetable Gardening.) I will plant several pots of herbs and cool season veggies and try growing them in my garage. The garage is unheated, but attached to the house and has a couple of windows for good light. Last spring I grew all my seedlings there with the help of one grow mat and one light setup and had good success with them. If it works out well, I'll use pictures of the process in my Power Point and hopefully have some nice plants to show and maybe to share at the seminars in the late winter/early spring. I spoke with a horticulturalist at Park Seed this morning about the project and he was very helpful with suggestions.

The only fruit I grow is a pot of alpine strawberries beside the back door. I want to plant them out into the ground soon since the pot is definitely crowded now. They are a nice treat when I come and go that way. We have wild blackberries around also, but I haven't cultivated them so can't say I "grow" them! But I sure do enjoy picking them!!!

Thanks for the suggestion about the wheat seeds. I'll give that a try.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Shalom Howdy Brit 5467 ahhhh. See breathing fire into the forum already. I have read some of your old post and feel like we are already partners in grime. I am definitely a he, 6'8" 260, pot belly, flower growin', bread bakin',country cookin', apple knockin', veggie cannin', 60+years experience in life, Teddy Bear kinda man! Married 32 years of that 60+ with a 17 year old son. I'm in the same boat as you....in as much that I can't garden like I usta....but I make up for it by going for longer stretches and watching my birds and critters more than I did when I was younger. Plus you appreciate life unfolding (be it plants, children or critters) before your eyes much more now. They lied to us when they called it the Golden Years. Unless they meant that each day is to be valued more than Gold. Kinda unsure of that. Anyhoo...so very glad to meet and greet another enjoys watching things grow. Just for the record Bonnie --- I'm Max. Just put on some BarBQ Bear for the little man when he gets home from school, and picked some lettuce for a salad, so supper is taken care of. Planted some daffydillies this morning, (37 degrees at 9a.m.), and will gather some more flower seed this afternoon (right before I go fishing for Smallmouth for supper tomorrow). I have to finish cleaning up the garden but I don't have the heart to take the last of the tomato down when they are struggling so very hard to ripen the last of the crop. Although fried green tomatoes are mighty temptin' this time of the year. Like I told Sandy no cover crop this year. Too much still a doin' and another month to get er done! My Spring crop didn't do so pretty wonderful so I am in the process of getting the bulk of my spinach crop up and in the freezer along with other things. Prettiest broccoli I have seen this year. Not a bite mark on it. Welllll...maybe a few. I have tried for low these many years to give my son a good headstart on life by doing Organic gardening and the bugs have feasted on my broccoli. Specially the flea beetles on my late crop but for some mysterious reason.....not this year. Do I hear Twilight Zone music playing in the background? The little woman just got back from gettin' blood work done so I'm a hopin' to talk at y'all later. Partner in grime...Max

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Aloha Sandy: Boy with all the posting I've thrown up it looks like I have nothing else to do. The little woman and I just got back from another afternoon of playing grasshopper but the colors are at the peak. Wow woman...my kinda hero! When it comes to tomato (too much is just enough) I had 15 or 17 vines and knew I had overdone it---you are my shining example of gardening greatness! What are some of your favorite varieties and the strong points? So glad to have seen your posts cause I done learned sumpthin' I have raised lots of different Squash over the course of a lifetime and never (until now) have I been exposed to zuchetta rampicante. Reads like the perfect squash. I have battled the squash borer with everything from aluminum foil, to panty hose...no chemicals..and lost. Learned to put away my zucchini Bread in a two week window ditto summer squash and gave up on butternut unless I let the weeds take it and hide it. Where is your source of seeds? It is totally an unfamiliar squash to me, (it won't be next year), I thank you for the expansion of knowledge. About twenty years ago I too was a Master Gardener..for about three years then time was hard to find and reporting the hours and details got to be too confining. I have kept in touch with the people here in Scott, County that are/were in it but not as much the last four or five years. Never have slowed on researching plants and know how tho. I think it a wonderful program just more time than I can give at this point. It is so great that you are capable and willing to give of yourself and teach others how to maximize space and effort. I did intensive square foot gardening in New Orleans and enjoyed the rewards. Even utilize some of the ways up here such as interplanting lettuce with taller crops during the hot part of Summer to prolong production. Gonna go and have some bear and salad. Will talk more later cause it sounds like you need some of my thornless blackberries. (Makes a wonderful jelly) Your partner in grime. PIG Max

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Hi Max. There were three reasons I planted so many tomatoes this year. First, I started a bunch from seed. Then I took a class on grafting tomatoes and ended up with some of the leftover scions. (No, the grafts were not successful and we don't know what went wrong.) I also worked in the Heirloom Demonstration Garden in a local park and ended up with a few different varieties from that project, too.

My favorites are many and varied, but outstanding in my book is the old Beefsteak. It tastes like home but requires a lot of work and isn't the heaviest producer in the field. I also like Sweet 100s when I can find them, not the newer Super Sweet and Sweet Million although they are good, too. A lot of the heirlooms don't have that old fashioned taste and seem bland to me. The best producer of the heirlooms in my garden was Black From Tula, a Russian immigrant that did very well.

I saw the squash discussed on the vegetable forum here and thought I'd give it a try. I buy the seeds from whichever mail order company has them, last time from Pinetree Garden Seeds. It also goes by Tromboncino Squash. The other trick for having squash is to plant them at the usual time, wait a month or so and plant more. That way when the first plants are getting hit by the borers, the next batch is just coming along nicely. I have covered them in the past with row cover until they are blooming to prolong the time before they keel over. I have also just covered up the borer holes with lots of soil and hoped the vine would root past the larva. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Like your sign off, partner in grime! I tell everybody I am not happy unless my hands are dirty! I had never heard of Snowflake, VA until now. I bet it's beautiful out there. I've never been further that way than Roanoke and Danville. Lived all my life in Hanover and Chesterfield Counties, near Richmond.

(The year that hubby and I both bought tomato plants and I ended up with 48 plants, I told him thereafter I was the cutworm in the garden and would snip off anything beyond 24!! I toted 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes until I was sick of the sight of them! Never thought I'd say that, but we used all we didn't give away. That was back in the day when I had lots of young hands to help, too. Not anymore.)

Phew! Better quit this or I won't get anything else done tonight!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Hey Sandy: Another day and up to see the sunrise....I love it. Beefsteak is one of my favorites also. As maturity works it way on me the ole taste buds have leaned more and more to Sungold. (a 1" bite of pure delight) My source is totally tomatoes for a lot of my varieties and they cover a lot of ground :-) I like the Sweetie 100 also. We do a lot of salads and grow different ones every year just searching for that perfect taste. I also enjoy the German Stripey...so many tomatoes and so little time. Marglobe, Big Boy and Better Boy are some that have a place in the garden about every year. The mountain tomato (University of N.C. developed variety) is another good taste that does well around this neck of the woods. Haven't raised any blacks, (just put off by the coloration), or purples for the same reason. I want my maters to look like when I was a youngen' and roaming the garden. Remember how it was to pick off that perfect one and with the first bite the juice would run down your chin and squirt two feet off to the side, still warm from the sunshine and you could touch the sky cause it all felt so good and secure? Oxheart....so ugly and such a great taste. Don't want no stinkin Winter want maters and Okra. ok 'nuff foolishness gotta go and get the boy some breakfast and get him off to school. Think I'll fix him some orange juice pancakes with sausage this morning.........ever have any? Talk later. PIG, Max

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:43AM
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Nope, never had orange juice pancakes. I usually make them from a delicious buttermilk pancake recipe I found online and add a generous handful of blueberries. I keep some mix here, too, for those mornings when I just don't have time or inclination to cook from scratch, or when I don't have real buttermilk for them. It's acceptable but nowhere near as good as the scratch ones.

The Black From Tula tomatoes were decent but I won't grow them again. They're not good enough to justify the space and energy. I grow Better Boy and Big Boy, too. They're almost always dependable producers of good tomatoes. I like trying new varieties every year and keeping some of the old standbys for the majority of the production. This year I also grew Mortgage Lifters. They were okay but I don't think they lived up to their reputation. I've grown Brandywines, too. It was a year that I had trouble in the garden with disease and drought and they didn't produce much at all. I might try them again another time.

We do a taste testing day at the Heirloom Tomato Demo Garden every year and this year my favorite was Todd County Amish. It had more true tomato taste than the others. I hope to grow some next year in my garden. If the Demo Garden folks have seedlings I'll probably get some from them rather than buy seeds. I usually order from just one or two catalogs (Totally Tomatoes is a great one!) to save on shipping. If I can get the majority at one place, I'll order a special or two from some other company. Otherwise, I rely on local seeds or transplants. I can't see adding several dollars to the cost just to get a couple of packets of seeds.

One of my favorite books is Dr. Carolyn Male's 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden. I've learned a lot about growing tomatoes in general and often try a couple of new varieties based on her recommendations.

Okra is delicious in soups and stews! My sister and her husband used to grow a lot of it but I only want enough to freeze some for winter use along with a little in summer. I grow it about every 2 to 3 years.

I've been a Master Gardener since 2000 and love every minute of it. Our record keeping is very simplified and done online now. The only difficulty is sometimes recording the demographics at these seminars or at clinics but I usually have a helper at the seminars (a new MG in their first year) to do that. I also work the new to us Ask an Expert email system and answer a wide variety of questions through it. I mainly teach the veggie classes but have done a number of different ones, too. For example, last year I taught a group at an assisted living facility how to do a cut flower garden. I work full time in my husband's business and volunteer in two other organizations (both work related) so I really do burn the candle at both ends! I'd like to have more time to devote to the Extension programs, but can't do it right now.

Love blackberry cobbler! I don't make jelly or jam much anymore but remember the year we picked 125 quarts of blackberries! That was a great year and we lived where there were tons of vines. Not so many where we are now but enough for a few good pickings. I've thought about growing some in the end of the garden but never bought any. Do the cultivated thornless varieties have the deep blackberry taste like the wild ones? Maybe I could get the grandkids interested in picking thornless ones. They seem to be "alergic" to the scratchy wild ones here!


    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:40AM
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