Are there any gardener's in the house?

Hi. I'm a college trained horticulturist and am into pretty much all things gardening. I've maintained my own bonsai collection for 16 years. And almost all my trees were collected from the wild. I've been doing permaculture since before everyone started calling it permaculture and I graft my own fruit trees. I live in suburban Chicago zone 5. Anyone wanna talk plants? Specifically trees.
 

FriendlyGuy

Active Member
Hi. I'm a college trained horticulturist and am into pretty much all things gardening. I've maintained my own bonsai collection for 16 years. And almost all my trees were collected from the wild. I've been doing permaculture since before everyone started calling it permaculture and I graft my own fruit trees. I live in suburban Chicago zone 5. Anyone wanna talk plants? Specifically trees.
I been doing this gardening thing for quite some time now. Currently tomatoes and those small white onions sprouted a couple of weeks ago in Chunkle Cheese's token cups. I am monitoring them about twice a day to keep them moist (never wet long after each watering to limit fungus problems later).

Soon I will try to transplant the tomatoes into the bags of Organic Choice's Gardening Soil (surprisingly cheap for an organic product the seed starter is what tends to costs so much so I use as little of that as much by using those tiny cups). So no digging needed except for the onions (I am worried that the bags won't be deep enough so I am going to pot them just to be "safe").

Of course I have "quick feed" plant food by using "weed tea" that I soak last season's weeding. JUST in case though I have "general" organic fertilizer as well as organic blood meal (gross I know I am going to try to get "cruelty free" nitrogen boosting that isn't chemical based once the bag is out since I rarely even needs it anyways).

As for those ANNOYING and INVASIVE Japanese Beetles I am hoping that since they don't TEND to go after the tomatoes (especially the more successful smaller variants) and there no Basil in sight they won't "call it home" this year.

However the chipmunks tend to be nuisance though (sometimes digging random cups and even pots). But sadly other than live trapping (expensive, risky and dangerous for obvious reasons) as well as drowning which both promote "baby booming" I am not aware of how to effective to get them "off" the patio without using possibly hazardous repellents.
 
My experience with tomatoes is if they have enough sun and hot weather they can handle just about as much water as you can throw at them provided there is good drainage in the soil. Are you actually growing them in the plastic bags? Not to come across as a know it all but plants roots actually benefit from fresh air to the roots as water moves through a column of soil it brings with it fresh air behind the water. Most grow bags that I'm acquainted with provides enough air holes or perforation for the roots to breath. Might be a source of fungal issues. There is a plant scientist named Carl Witcolm. I may have miss spelled the name but roughly 20 years ago made groundbreaking discoveries and he developed a system of growing plants in what he called rootmaker pots. They are still sold although there are a ton of other similar pots for large scale commercial plant production. Have you seen or heard of cloth grow bags? They're available on ebay and allow the plants roots to breath. I mostly grow trees. And this year has been bad for squirrels. I have started a couple thousand seedlings of several species of trees in my back yard and the squirrels have been thinning out my seedlings. They aren't eating the seedlings they are simply biting the seedlings off at the soil surface and leaving the plants to die. Although the seeds I knew they would pilfer I covered in hardware cloth. The metal half inch screen. But the Gingko's I've probably lost one third. I have a postage stamp sized back yard and a big Silver Maple covers most of it so growing veggies is almost out of the question but I do pretty well with tomatoes in 3gal nursery pots. I use composted cow manure and sand about 50/50.
 
I live in a townhouse we have a HOA. I've been secretly composting beside my deck but my neighbor asked me politely to stop because he was bothered by the smell. I also use organic fertilizer usually either fish emulsion or kelp. I find it is harder to accidentally over fertilize. I would really enjoy full scale organic growing as it produces healthier plants and more nutritious food as I'm certain you are aware of. I have never tried anaerobic composting in water but I seen it and it works. What part of the country do you live in?
 

FriendlyGuy

Active Member
I live in a townhouse we have a HOA. I've been secretly composting beside my deck but my neighbor asked me politely to stop because he was bothered by the smell. I also use organic fertilizer usually either fish emulsion or kelp. I find it is harder to accidentally over fertilize. I would really enjoy full scale organic growing as it produces healthier plants and more nutritious food as I'm certain you are aware of. I have never tried anaerobic composting in water but I seen it and it works. What part of the country do you live in?
In that case had you considered vermocomposting or whatever it called when you use Red Worms? Because of the quick processing IF you don't over feed the amount worms you have (I believe it HALF their weight once a day but I could be wrong) I would expect odors to be manage able if not able to be nearly removed.

In response to your questions doing it water CAN be smelly but I tend not notice too much odors. Likely because I manually aerate by shaking the litter bucket every few days, have holes at the top AND that I am only doing the weeds/non diseased plant remains. I am not sure if there a way to control orders for these if you try to compost regular things in such a system but could be worth checking in.

I am also in the Northern Eastern part of the USA as well.
 

FriendlyGuy

Active Member
My experience with tomatoes is if they have enough sun and hot weather they can handle just about as much water as you can throw at them provided there is good drainage in the soil. Are you actually growing them in the plastic bags? Not to come across as a know it all but plants roots actually benefit from fresh air to the roots as water moves through a column of soil it brings with it fresh air behind the water. Most grow bags that I'm acquainted with provides enough air holes or perforation for the roots to breath. Might be a source of fungal issues. There is a plant scientist named Carl Witcolm. I may have miss spelled the name but roughly 20 years ago made groundbreaking discoveries and he developed a system of growing plants in what he called rootmaker pots. They are still sold although there are a ton of other similar pots for large scale commercial plant production. Have you seen or heard of cloth grow bags? They're available on ebay and allow the plants roots to breath. I mostly grow trees. And this year has been bad for squirrels. I have started a couple thousand seedlings of several species of trees in my back yard and the squirrels have been thinning out my seedlings. They aren't eating the seedlings they are simply biting the seedlings off at the soil surface and leaving the plants to die. Although the seeds I knew they would pilfer I covered in hardware cloth. The metal half inch screen. But the Gingko's I've probably lost one third. I have a postage stamp sized back yard and a big Silver Maple covers most of it so growing veggies is almost out of the question but I do pretty well with tomatoes in 3gal nursery pots. I use composted cow manure and sand about 50/50.
I am sorry but I didn't even noticed this until right after that first posting of my. I am aware that the bags that the soil comes in does have side "perforations" likely to keep the soil properly "alive" as most organic bags do this (even slow acting organic fertilizers will do this). Furthermore I am planning on doing the recommended "x"es in order to allow water to enter the bags as well. Do you believe that would still be worst than regular potting?

Because I thought of doing this since these will be smaller variants and since hte soil is already in the bags obviously.
 
I am sorry but I didn't even noticed this until right after that first posting of my. I am aware that the bags that the soil comes in does have side "perforations" likely to keep the soil properly "alive" as most organic bags do this (even slow acting organic fertilizers will do this). Furthermore I am planning on doing the recommended "x"es in order to allow water to enter the bags as well. Do you believe that would still be worst than regular potting?

Because I thought of doing this since these will be smaller variants and since hte soil is already in the bags obviously.
The truth is there more than one way to skin a cat right? Most of my growing experience is with trees and shrubs. When Carl Whitcolm's new system came out 20+years ago many nurseries were reluctant to give it credence. There was a nursery here in the Chicago area that adopted it and they found that their plants were so much healthier than before they completely stopped using pesticides since insects that attack plants vector in on plants that are stressed sick or dying. The name of the nursery here is called Possibility Place. I believe the address is www.possibilityplace.org they still use Rootmaker and have not had to use pesticides in over 20 years. I have visited the nursery and spoken to the owner. I believe if you visit their website they talk a little about it. The key is a concept called air pruning of the roots.
 

MCB

Active Member
Interesting information. I live in an apartment, but they were kind enough to plow up a garden spot for me last spring. It is the size of a single bed. I got sick last spring, shortly after they plowed it up, but we rescued it with yard clippings on top of newspaper, and planted squash. The peppers I planted last year did not produce, and died early. I am much better, but still can only tolerate short periods of activity, so daily gardening is better rather than intensive work in the spring.

I have planted pole beans, and will be constructing a trellis for them. I have broadcast several small patches of kale, and I have some even smaller patches of broccoli. They encourage us to plant flowers, to attract new tenants. As a beekeeper's daughter, I also see an obligation to have more flowers, so I am going to broadcast alyssum, bachelor's button, and a wildflower mix in the places where I don't have kale. I can do limited amounts of stoop-gardening with a child's step-stool around the edges, so the beans are in the middle. I can control the weeds by hand around the edges, and go to newspaper and yard-clippings in the middle.

It is a very wet spot, so I need options for dry-land gardening, as well as "swamp". They promised straw-bales, but weren't able to get them. As it is getting late (close to LaCrosse WI) I planted my potatoes, sweet potato, and peppers in the garden, and told them that if they don't deliver another option in a week, fugeddaboudit. They have delivered planter-pots, and promised soil. I have one planter-pot already with a cherry tomato, but according to your comment, it belongs in the wet garden. So, the peppers and the potatoes (all) can go into the planter-pots. I already have climbing nasturtiums in pots, as well as naturalized morning glory and violas around my south-facing porch.

Any suggestions?
 
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Interesting information. I live in an apartment, but they were kind enough to plow up a garden spot for me last spring. It is the size of a single bed. I got sick last spring, shortly after they plowed it up, but we rescued it with yard clippings on top of newspaper, and planted squash. The peppers I planted last year did not produce, and died early. I am much better, but still can only tolerate short periods of activity, so daily gardening is better rather than intensive work in the spring.

I have planted pole beans, and will be constructing a trellis for them. I have broadcast several small patches of kale, and I have some even smaller patches of broccoli. They encourage us to plant flowers, to attract new tenants. As a beekeeper's daughter, I also see an obligation to have more flowers, so I am going to broadcast alyssum, bachelor's button, and a wildflower mix in the places where I don't have kale. I can do limited amounts of stoop-gardening with a child's step-stool around the edges, so the beans are in the middle. I can control the weeds by hand around the edges, and go to newspaper and yard-clippings in the middle.

It is a very wet spot, so I need options for dry-land gardening, as well as "swamp". They promised straw-bales, but weren't able to get them. As it is getting late (close to LaCrosse WI) I planted my potatoes, sweet potato, and peppers in the garden, and told them that if they don't deliver another option in a week, fugeddaboudit. They have delivered planter-pots, and promised soil. I have one planter-pot already with a cherry tomato, but according to your comment, it belongs in the wet garden. So, the peppers and the potatoes (all) can go into the planter-pots. I already have climbing nasturtiums in pots, as well as naturalized morning glory and violas around my south-facing porch.

Any suggestions?
Sounds like you are having fun! I didn't mean to give you the impression that tomatoes like swampy soil. Very few plants can tolerate swampy soil. Tomatoes still need free draining soil but they are capable of drinking alot of water. Infact they do best with frequent watering since if they are water starved as soon as they get a drink the tomatoes fruit will split with the increased water consumption.
 
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MCB

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OK. Thanks. I will leave the cherry tomato in the planter, then, but water it frequently. My gardening activities are definitely the mild physical activity I need, so long as I stay off my knees as much as possible. And I am aware of split tomatoes, although I would imagine that cherry tomatoes would be less prone to developing that problem. Got the trellis up, might end up looking like a gazebo, if I am lucky. I was talking about a teepee, but the clerk at Ace talked me into something with easier access from all directions.
 
That's wonderful. I really enjoy how gardening can keep me grounded, in the act of planting seeds is also an excersize in experiencing hope and the practice of faith. When I was young gardening was a novelty but now it's a simple joy. With gardening I pay attention to the passing of the season's and mark the time in my life with how I'm connected with the universe.
 
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MCB

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More enjoyable than exercise for the sake of exercise. Physical therapy assignments are BORING! I need a dog to ease my anxieties about night-time, but plants can be my pets for now.
 
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