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Author Topic: Garden inspiration  (Read 147 times)

Ashmire

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Garden inspiration
« on: January 12, 2018, 12:52:42 am »
I'm going to try planning out my garden in advance this year so the relatively brief window of time for planting doesn't pass me by. 

I have a pretty good idea of what I want to plant ( magical/culinary herbs and a few easier vegetables) and what does well in the local climate and soil conditions, but I have a bit of concern in that my best full-sun areas are in the front yard, so the thing needs to be aesthetically pleasing rather than looking like a typical food garden since I don't want a war with the neighborhood. 

Does anyone have any good inspiration pictures or ideas for such a thing?  Preferably that don't require a Pinterest account?

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Garden inspiration
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 04:38:45 pm »
I'm going to try planning out my garden in advance this year so the relatively brief window of time for planting doesn't pass me by. 

I have a pretty good idea of what I want to plant ( magical/culinary herbs and a few easier vegetables) and what does well in the local climate and soil conditions, but I have a bit of concern in that my best full-sun areas are in the front yard, so the thing needs to be aesthetically pleasing rather than looking like a typical food garden since I don't want a war with the neighborhood. 

Does anyone have any good inspiration pictures or ideas for such a thing?  Preferably that don't require a Pinterest account?

Hmm... I have a few ideas of what you could do, but I'd like to know what your soil is like, as well as how much precipitation you typically get. Lastly, how long your growing season is.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

Ashmire

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Re: Garden inspiration
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 11:30:58 pm »
Hmm... I have a few ideas of what you could do, but I'd like to know what your soil is like, as well as how much precipitation you typically get. Lastly, how long your growing season is.

Soil in this area is prone to be alkaline and a bit sandy, though this is a suburban yard so that's slightly mitigated, however things that favor acid soils really don't grow well---I heard of one garden blogger who made it a personal challenge to try to grow blueberries ( supposedly most difficult plant to keep alive under our  conditions) here, and she was allegedly dumping gallons of vinegar on them to keep them alive... which elsewhere might have the opposite effect on most growing things, but did work until she concluded after a season that it wasn't worth the expense to prove the point further.   I have also always been told citrus fruit is by far the most desired thing for compost in this area generally because we need the acidity.

   Growing season is a bit short---last frost date is traditionally Memorial Day ( though a light  snow/frost after that is not unheard of) and snow often starts in mid-October.

 Not much precipitation( generally about 18 inches, per Google), though more than our neighbors in Arizona. Most of it comes in the form of winter snows which, unlike the rest of the country, we've been frighteningly short on this year, though we do typically get a summer monsoon effect also.

I am planning some yucca and Ice Plant in the decorative areas of the yard because they are known to do well here( as are sagebrush and Scrubby Cinquefoil, the latter being an almost tediously ubiquitous landscape item, though I do like them), and perhaps some Hen-and-chicks, which do well almost everywhere, but I like useful things most.

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Garden inspiration
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 01:41:09 pm »
Soil in this area is prone to be alkaline and a bit sandy, though this is a suburban yard so that's slightly mitigated, however things that favor acid soils really don't grow well---I heard of one garden blogger who made it a personal challenge to try to grow blueberries ( supposedly most difficult plant to keep alive under our  conditions) here, and she was allegedly dumping gallons of vinegar on them to keep them alive... which elsewhere might have the opposite effect on most growing things, but did work until she concluded after a season that it wasn't worth the expense to prove the point further.   I have also always been told citrus fruit is by far the most desired thing for compost in this area generally because we need the acidity.

   Growing season is a bit short---last frost date is traditionally Memorial Day ( though a light  snow/frost after that is not unheard of) and snow often starts in mid-October.

 Not much precipitation( generally about 18 inches, per Google), though more than our neighbors in Arizona. Most of it comes in the form of winter snows which, unlike the rest of the country, we've been frighteningly short on this year, though we do typically get a summer monsoon effect also.

I am planning some yucca and Ice Plant in the decorative areas of the yard because they are known to do well here( as are sagebrush and Scrubby Cinquefoil, the latter being an almost tediously ubiquitous landscape item, though I do like them), and perhaps some Hen-and-chicks, which do well almost everywhere, but I like useful things most.

Hmm... Alkaline soils and a short growing season...

If you could, you should get your soil pH tested either at a local garden shop, or through your state's Extension Co-op. The more precise you know the pH, the better you can plan for which plants you can have realistically in your garden.

That said, if your soil is that alkaline, you can amend the soil every week by adding in acidic organic matter, such as coffee grounds, pine needles, and citrus peels. You could make this process faster by putting the coffee grinds and orange peels (and water) into a blender and pureeing it into a slushie. Then pour that into the soil. Likewise, if you're able to get these two things in massive quantities, you could just dig a deep trench (12-18") fill up with the orange peels and coffee grounds, dump soil back in and either rototill it all together, or let nature take her time with it.

Now, if that's too much work, and you're fine with what you've got, go for this:
For herbs, you could do Ginger, Marjoram, Rosemary, Oregano, Lavender, Poppy, Sage, Salvia, and Thyme.

For veggies... this will be tough because we don't know HOW alkaline your soil is. Most veggies have an upper limit of around 7.5, or 7.6. After that, it gets difficult... But, I would try the following:
Root veggies: Garlic, carrots, parsnips - these I would sow from seed in October, cover with mulch over the winter, and then in the spring, remove the mulch to get them going again.
From the cabbage family, you could do cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts - all of which would do well with the colder weather, and you may be able to grow them through the winter in your area, depending on how cold it gets.
Cucumber family... now, these would have to be started indoors, and then transplanted past the last frost.. or protected with comforters when a frost looms: pumpkins, cucumbers, and maybe crookneck squash.
You could try also peas, beans, and maybe tomatoes... but again, these need to started indoors.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
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