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Garden planning 2013

Garden planning 2013
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  • Garden planning 2013

    Post #1 - February 3rd, 2013, 8:46 am
    Post #1 - February 3rd, 2013, 8:46 am Post #1 - February 3rd, 2013, 8:46 am
    Anybody already making plans for the next growing season? Will you change plantings due to the weather or any other such issue? Anybody starting seeds indoors soon?

    I am thinking of growing my tomatoes only in pots near the house due to some creature taking bites out of them. I also need some kind of cheap rabbit fencing. Tired of the critters munching tender newly planted plants.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #2 - February 3rd, 2013, 1:00 pm
    Post #2 - February 3rd, 2013, 1:00 pm Post #2 - February 3rd, 2013, 1:00 pm
    Fat chance!! Critters will rule no matter!!! We "tried" growing tomatoes in containers right outside our back door, really the only place we have full sun. We had cherry tomatoes and several kinds of herbs, even planted a number of cayenne plants around the outer edge for protection. Ha. Chipmunks made short work of everything. We even sprayed cayenne on the plants. Nope. We got nothing, critters won. We gave up, we plant rosemary and sage, the critters leave them alone. We have a friend who has a small farm and does farmers markets, we just buy from them. They have no squirrels or chipmunks where they live.
  • Post #3 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:50 pm
    Post #3 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:50 pm Post #3 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:50 pm
    Don't forget we changed last frost dates here in Chicago. It's now April 15th according to the USDA!
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #4 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:56 pm
    Post #4 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:56 pm Post #4 - February 3rd, 2013, 2:56 pm
    My son in Austin was planting lettuces - and worried they might get temps too high for good germination! I was soooo jealous!

    Which reminds me - does anyone have a good source for seeds for Sun Gold tomatoes? he's addicted after Green CIty Market visits here.
  • Post #5 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:49 pm
    Post #5 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:49 pm Post #5 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:49 pm
    Siun wrote:My son in Austin was planting lettuces - and worried they might get temps too high for good germination! I was soooo jealous!

    Which reminds me - does anyone have a good source for seeds for Sun Gold tomatoes? he's addicted after Green CIty Market visits here.


    Seeds no. The plants are expensive, but these were so wonderful that if my seeds don't work (again) I'm ordering from these folks. http://www.naturehills.com/tomato-sungold-organic
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #6 - February 4th, 2013, 12:22 am
    Post #6 - February 4th, 2013, 12:22 am Post #6 - February 4th, 2013, 12:22 am
    Don't forget we changed last frost dates here in Chicago. It's now April 15th according to the USDA!


    Anyone who trusts that date is living in either a dream world or a greenhouse.
  • Post #7 - February 4th, 2013, 10:37 am
    Post #7 - February 4th, 2013, 10:37 am Post #7 - February 4th, 2013, 10:37 am
    That does seem a bit early for a last frost date. Regarding the critter problem, its really bad here. I have yet to figure out which one takes bites out of the tomatoes but it seems its mouth is bigger than a chipmunk or squirrel.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #8 - February 5th, 2013, 2:17 am
    Post #8 - February 5th, 2013, 2:17 am Post #8 - February 5th, 2013, 2:17 am
    Hi- Johnny's Selected Seeds carries the seeds for Sungold. It might be a Johnny's exclusive. I get most of my seeds from Johnny's, and I love them. They are out of Maine.
    Sun Gold is one of my favorite tomatoes. I always plant them in my garden. I get the plants at Anton's on Pitner in Evanston. I love that place.

    Concerning the animal problems. Deer will take bites out of tomatoes. In the community garden that I garden at in Evanston, we had major problems with deer for a few years. Now we have a minor problem.

    April 15 for the last frost date? I wonder how they came up with that date. I think somebody made a mistake. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #9 - February 5th, 2013, 9:02 am
    Post #9 - February 5th, 2013, 9:02 am Post #9 - February 5th, 2013, 9:02 am
    When there is disagreement about data, best to look for an actual source and I can't find a reference for the April 15 date. Moreover, don't think of it as some magical date. Think instead about the probability of having a frost after a particular date.

    The most recent statistical bulletin from the USDA for climate in Illinois is available here: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_ ... s11015.pdf

    For the NE region of Illinois, based on the last 30 years of data (I believe), there is a 75% chance of a temps going below 32 degree after April 19. There is a 25% change of temps going that low after May 7. You can read all of the numbers in the report above. Note that a footnote to the table says that the last freeze typically occurs 10 days earlier in areas of Cook County near Lake Michigan.
  • Post #10 - February 5th, 2013, 10:29 pm
    Post #10 - February 5th, 2013, 10:29 pm Post #10 - February 5th, 2013, 10:29 pm
    toria wrote:Anybody already making plans for the next growing season? Will you change plantings due to the weather or any other such issue? Anybody starting seeds indoors soon?

    I am thinking of growing my tomatoes only in pots near the house due to some creature taking bites out of them. I also need some kind of cheap rabbit fencing. Tired of the critters munching tender newly planted plants.

    I put some cilantro, savory and chive seeds in starter mix a couple days ago. ;) The cilantro will probably be ready to pick before it is time to transplant which is fine by me.

    Something likes my tomatoes. Luckily there are enough to share. I also resist the temptation to toss the partially eaten fruits onto the compost heap. I leave them in place and find that the critters often finish them off before moving on to another fruit.

    Not so lucky with Radicchio. They ate that right down to the ground just before it would have been ready. I thought maybe deer when the first one was cut off cleanly at ground level so I put a concrete reinforcing wire cover over them which should have kept deer out. It must have been rabbits. Next summer I'll cover the concrete wire with chicken wire. I hope it's not the chipmunk as he'll probably fit through that. I'm thinking of fashioning a hawk shaped kite that I can leave dangling over the garden.

    I'm also wondering if I should spend the $$$ for a drip irrigation setup. Last two summers we just didn't get enough rain.
  • Post #11 - February 21st, 2013, 11:22 am
    Post #11 - February 21st, 2013, 11:22 am Post #11 - February 21st, 2013, 11:22 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:Anyone who trusts that date is living in either a dream world or a greenhouse.


    Yeah, April 15? The heck? I'm planning to start seeds in about a week or so and aiming to transplant them in May, as usual. Mother's Day weekend is what we've traditionally gone by.

    I basically concentrate on chile peppers, so this year we've got piri-piri, aji amarillo, aji limon/lemon drop, and corne de chevre. From last year, I'm most interested in continuing the fatalii, rooster spur, and mustard habanero. I'm going to go a bit easy on the habanero-type peppers this year. Oh, might as well throw in a scotch bonnet or two. I'm going to skip the bhut jolokia and the Trinidad scorpion. They were fun to have, but as far as the really hot peppers go, the fatalii had the right combination of flavor and heat to me. I'm not a fan of the ghost pepper or the scorpion.

    Beyond that, it's going to be the usual: a few tomatoes, a bunch of herbs (looks like my rosemary finally survived a winter) and I want to get some greens of some sort in there. I keep forgetting about them. I've never grown them before, so if anyone has suggestions on when to plant what, I'd appreciate it. I love greens of all kinds, especially chard.
  • Post #12 - February 21st, 2013, 12:17 pm
    Post #12 - February 21st, 2013, 12:17 pm Post #12 - February 21st, 2013, 12:17 pm
    I usually direct seed my greens--I start the lettuce as soon as I can work the ground--they pretty much grow like a weed. Rainbow chard, lacinato kale, romaine, arugula and mustard greens are my favorites. I also usually do a mesclun mix for color and easy salad options.

    As for peppers, you are the master. Can't wait to see the plants! One item you're missing though that I have had great luck with here are padron/shishitos--they are really prolific and easy--with a long season. I was harvesting for a few months it seemed like. And they were absolutely delicious. I did both a couple from seed and picked up a couple of plants from GCM (Leaning Shed I think) and plan to do the same again this year. Nothing beats blistered shishitos hot off the grill with a bit of sea salt.

    A few other suggestions: I started growing celery a few years ago and that is now a must--doesn't taste anything like the grocery version and it grows easily. I also did long beans for the first time last year--they were so interesting and great to use in stir fries--I also pickled a bunch. Finally, I'm a big fan of homegrown potatoes--another super easy plant--essentially, you can just throw cut up seed potatoes in a bag with dirt and dig 'em up a couple months later. Yum.

    thanks for posting this on this frigid, dreary day--something to look forward to!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #13 - February 21st, 2013, 12:44 pm
    Post #13 - February 21st, 2013, 12:44 pm Post #13 - February 21st, 2013, 12:44 pm
    Shishitos, huh? Had to look them up--never heard of them. They do look tasty. The celery sounds like a good idea. And potatoes--yes. Forgot about that. I was watching some videos a few months ago about some of the interesting set-ups people have for potatoes--mostly of the vertical growing method variety, where you start them in a deep container or in a tire or whatnot and keep topping them off with soil every so often (and adding tires, if you're going that way.) I've never tried growing potatoes, and I know my mother has had bad luck with them, but she'd definitely love it if I could get a decent harvest of homegrown spuds. Those vertical growing methods look pretty easy and abundant.
  • Post #14 - February 21st, 2013, 2:32 pm
    Post #14 - February 21st, 2013, 2:32 pm Post #14 - February 21st, 2013, 2:32 pm
    I bought a couple of "potato bags" (essentially nylon bags with structured sides and a few flaps at the bottom that open up so that you could theoretically stick your hand in an grab potatoes, something I've never done) at Alsip Home & Garden down in St. John IN a couple of years ago and they've worked great. I've also done the cut out laundry basket (cut the bottom out) in a raised bed plot into which we layered in hay and dirt--that worked fine too. Personally, I haven't been able to get multiple layers of potatoes that way--seems like they pretty much generate out from the seed potato but not really up--maybe I'm not doing it right--but they do produce a nice little haul and you can definitely lay in seed potatoes over a span of a couple of months and keep it going. And the potatoes are SO good. I've done all different types--yukons and red bliss were particularly tasty last year. Highly recommended.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #15 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:32 am
    Post #15 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:32 am Post #15 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:32 am
    I haven't nailed down exactly what I'm growing yet, but I'm considering trying out this eggshell idea: http://www.mynewoldschool.com/2011/04/0 ... eggshells/

    Has anyone tried it?
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #16 - March 1st, 2013, 1:39 pm
    Post #16 - March 1st, 2013, 1:39 pm Post #16 - March 1st, 2013, 1:39 pm
    mamagotcha wrote:I haven't nailed down exactly what I'm growing yet, but I'm considering trying out this eggshell idea: http://www.mynewoldschool.com/2011/04/0 ... eggshells/

    Has anyone tried it?

    I've started reusing K-cup cups. Probably less volume than an egg shell but easier to come by and stand on their own.
  • Post #17 - March 2nd, 2013, 4:03 pm
    Post #17 - March 2nd, 2013, 4:03 pm Post #17 - March 2nd, 2013, 4:03 pm
    Are K-cups biodegradable? Can you plant them right into the garden? That would be a nifty bit of recycling!
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #18 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:44 am
    Post #18 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:44 am Post #18 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:44 am
    mamagotcha wrote:Are K-cups biodegradable? Can you plant them right into the garden? That would be a nifty bit of recycling!

    They seem to be pretty durable. I cut them off when planting.
  • Post #19 - March 5th, 2013, 9:23 am
    Post #19 - March 5th, 2013, 9:23 am Post #19 - March 5th, 2013, 9:23 am
    I came across this place in recent travels to the Savanna (IL.) area. https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomMarket?ref=stream
    They specialize in heirloom seeds. You can watch them work with the seeds in their hermetically sealed environment. Lots of other stuff to appreciate as well.
  • Post #20 - March 5th, 2013, 9:32 am
    Post #20 - March 5th, 2013, 9:32 am Post #20 - March 5th, 2013, 9:32 am
    I don't know why they don't list their seeds on their website. Call and ask for a catalog.
  • Post #21 - March 19th, 2013, 2:18 am
    Post #21 - March 19th, 2013, 2:18 am Post #21 - March 19th, 2013, 2:18 am
    pairs4life wrote:Seeds no. The plants are expensive, but these were so wonderful that if my seeds don't work (again) I'm ordering from these folks. http://www.naturehills.com/tomato-sungold-organic

    The plants from NatureHills are healthy.
  • Post #22 - March 19th, 2013, 10:51 am
    Post #22 - March 19th, 2013, 10:51 am Post #22 - March 19th, 2013, 10:51 am
    Prior to the first snow we set a new bed of mulch-layers of coco bean shells, leaves, manure. Now we just bought mushroom compost from River Valley Farms and soon we will prep the soil. Our plans are for lettuce, celery, cukes, onions, tomatoes, peppers... I doubt we will again plant cabbage, cauliflower, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts as we did not pick at the right time to really appreciate the yield. The cabbage and cauliflower really got too big to use for a family of four. The broccoli went to seed very fast and the b.sprouts never really got to be a proper size. The asparagus will return and hopefully we will pick it when it is time. The herbs will be the same-sage, chives, oregano, dill and basil. I was recently at the asian grocery store in the strip mall on Broadway near Lawrence and I saw a bunch of chinese veggie seeds....very tempting.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #23 - March 21st, 2013, 10:39 am
    Post #23 - March 21st, 2013, 10:39 am Post #23 - March 21st, 2013, 10:39 am
    Over the winter, I got my hands on some glass gem corn seed. Not sure if it's a wise thing due to the extremely limited space in my garden, but I'll throw some squash in there too.

    Image
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #24 - April 7th, 2013, 9:23 pm
    Post #24 - April 7th, 2013, 9:23 pm Post #24 - April 7th, 2013, 9:23 pm
    Planted tuscan kale, butter lettuce, snap peas... and some onions that were sprouting in my kitchen.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #25 - April 21st, 2013, 7:36 pm
    Post #25 - April 21st, 2013, 7:36 pm Post #25 - April 21st, 2013, 7:36 pm
    HankB wrote: I'm thinking of fashioning a hawk shaped kite that I can leave dangling over the garden.

    we have a good sized hawk that hunts in our backyard (not large, in Des Plaines), but I only see the hawk with birds, never rodents like chipmunks.

    curious as I've never grown my garden from seeds, is it too late to start with seeds inside or should I do my usual and buy small plants from the local garden store? (in my case Pesche's of Des Plaines www.pesches.com )
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #26 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:00 pm
    Post #26 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:00 pm Post #26 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:00 pm
    Hi- It depends on what you want to grow. It is probably too late to start growing tomato, pepper, and eggplant for transplanting next month, but you could start broccoli, swiss chard, kale, collards, and cabbage inside now, and you can plant lettuce, peas, greens, spinach, carrots, beets, onion sets and turnips outside right now. You did not flood in Des Plaines? I was going to plant some sugar snap peas a week ago in Evanston, and I am almost glad I did not, because the seeds would have floated back up with all the rain we had last Thursday. If I would have planted them a few weeks ago, they would have survived better.

    I get most of my plants at Anton's, which is on Pitner in Evanston, and I love them. They are off of Dempster, between Dodge and McCormick. They have a lot of heirloom tomato plants, and their prices are much cheaper than places like Home Depot, and they have good quality stuff. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #27 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:10 pm
    Post #27 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:10 pm Post #27 - April 23rd, 2013, 3:10 pm
    I agree with Nancy. I just planted seeds (indoors) for a variety of lettuces, radishes, kale, beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, and probably one or two more things. Some have recently sprouted, others haven't. I bought all of the seeds from Seed Savers. I'm also trying a Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse for some of the plants and it seems to be going well.
  • Post #28 - April 24th, 2013, 4:03 pm
    Post #28 - April 24th, 2013, 4:03 pm Post #28 - April 24th, 2013, 4:03 pm
    I wouldn't think twice about starting tomatoes and peppers right now. They won't be as early as they could have been, but you will still get a decent crop. you can supplement with a couple purchased plants to get the earliest possible tomatoes. A side benefit is that you can transplant them smaller (less transplant shock) and warmer (better initial growth and less risk of frost) so you don't really lose that much ground.

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