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Thread: First opportunity at a garden

  1. #17
    Nepenthes newbie
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    I'll be suggesting some odd species, since most CP growers are into that stuff :P

    - I think Dracunculus vulgaris is hardy to your zone.
    - You could try to get some hardy orchid species too. Epidendrums or cypripediums so might work ; there are a lot of online retailers. Hardy orchids can be a bit expensive, though.
    - Colocasia have huge leaves and they are amazing. You'd have to dig the plant up, chop off the leaves and store the bulbs until spring, though it's a very fast growing plant.
    - Amorphophallus konjac, and Typhonium venosum (aka Arum cornutum) can also work if you do the whole bulb-thing described above.

    I haven't grown any of these personally, but I know enough about Colocasia and Dracunculus being hardy. I'd conduct some research, and order them online. If you are growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, I'd consider using companion plants.

    If aesthetics aren't too important, plant some native plants! It helps support indigenous wildlife and you'll be inviting valuable pollinators and pest-predators. They are almost carefree, since they are literally designed for your climate. Just make sure the soil is appropriate. Be diligent about invasive species, no matter what plants you are planting. Invasive species screw everything up.
    Last edited by Dante1709; 05-19-2014 at 08:30 AM.

  2. #18
    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dante1709 View Post
    I'll be suggesting some odd species, since most CP growers are into that stuff :P

    - I think Dracunculus vulgaris is hardy to your zone.
    - You could try to get some hardy orchid species too. Epidendrums or cypripediums so might work ; there are a lot of online retailers. Hardy orchids can be a bit expensive, though.
    - Colocasia have huge leaves and they are amazing. You'd have to dig the plant up, chop off the leaves and store the bulbs until spring, though it's a very fast growing plant.
    - Amorphophallus konjac, and Typhonium venosum (aka Arum cornutum) can also work if you do the whole bulb-thing described above.

    I haven't grown any of these personally, but I know enough about Colocasia and Dracunculus being hardy. I'd conduct some research, and order them online. If you are growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, I'd consider using companion plants.

    If aesthetics aren't too important, plant some native plants! It helps support indigenous wildlife and you'll be inviting valuable pollinators and pest-predators. They are almost carefree, since they are literally designed for your climate. Just make sure the soil is appropriate. Be diligent about invasive species, no matter what plants you are planting. Invasive species screw everything up.
    Excuse me, but natives and aesthetics are hardly mutually incompatible! For looks I'll put a Flame Azalea, Rhododendron calendulaceum up against any ornamental shrub from anywhere! Might not be native to CT, but certainly hardy in the coastal areas of that state. Serviceberries, or Saskatoons (Amelanchiers) as you folks in the Great White North know them are covered in flowers in spring, catch fire in shades of red, orange and yellow in the fall, and in between they produce very tasty fruit. An open woodland full of Virginia Bluebells and Celandine Poppies (the US , not the European ones) in bloom will take any plant lovers breath away. Native plants get at least as bad a rap as native fish in that they're rarely appreciated in places where they're native. Europeans go crazy for our native Sunfish and Darters. The grass isn't always greener on the other side!
    Last edited by SubRosa; 05-19-2014 at 09:17 AM.
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  3. #19
    Nepenthes newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubRosa View Post
    Excuse me, but natives and aesthetics are hardly mutually incompatible! For looks I'll put a Flame Azalea, Rhododendron calendulaceum up against any ornamental shrub from anywhere! Might not be native to CT, but certainly hardy in the coastal areas of that state. Serviceberries, or Saskatoons (Amelanchiers) as you folks in the Great White North know them are covered in flowers in spring, catch fire in shades of red, orange and yellow in the fall, and in between they produce very tasty fruit. An open woodland full of Virginia Bluebells and Celandine Poppies (the US , not the European ones) in bloom will take any plant lovers breath away. Native plants get at least as bad a rap as native fish in that they're rarely appreciated in places where they're native. Europeans go crazy for our native Sunfish and Darters. The grass isn't always greener on the other side!
    I have a tendency to think of grasses and the dull plants that cover my local nature reserves whenever I think about indigenous plants. For natives, I would also suggest touch-me-nots (unsure if they are native to your area though) and columbine flowers. Both are beautiful plants and the touch-me-nots are interesting in the way that the seeds burst when you touch them (hence the name).

  4. #20
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    Well I ended up going veggie crazy and planted all sorts of different stuff this year to see what works well and what doesn't for the future. It took up a lot of the space I had available. I filled most of the rest with just a couple perennials from a local garden center that had cool flowers, nothing crazy, and a few common annuals, I also ordered an interesting plant or two online, can't remember names at the moment. The fun part is the 6'x3' sections that I dug out, raised the sides, and am turning into a bog garden. Almost done building that so keep an eye for a different thread for that. Pics maybe in the next few days.
    Last edited by Axelrod12; 05-29-2014 at 11:54 AM.

  5. #21
    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    I would not jump on the granulate lime Kevin suggested without first having your soil tested to make sure it is actually needed.

    Weed control:
    You can also lay down thick cardboard or a layer of newspaper several layers thick to help smother weeds. (Newspaper will require getting wet down. The cardboard is particularly useful for your walkways between rows of plants.

    There is a composting method referred to as lasagna gardening which may be of interest. You can do a search and read a bit about it here: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/soil/
    (This method also can help cut down on weeds.) Cow or horse manure definitely does wonders for tomatos. Keep in mind though, that it should not be used "fresh". You will want either aged manure or to put fresh manure down in the fall so it can age over the course of the winter.

    Many municipalities have free compost available. Do keep in mind that pretty much ANY compost obtained will likely have weed seeds in it. Just goes with the territory.

    When choosing tomato plants, do keep in mind how long your growing season is. Some varieties take a fair bit longer to produce mature fruit than others. (Typically, cherry or grape tomato types have the shortest time to harvest.)

    Both tomato and pepper plants typically enjoy lots of sun and heat. (If you were down south I'd have to qualify that statement a bit.)

    Most veggie plants will not be hardy in you zone so a relatively moot point.

    Bug control
    Safest method is catch-n-squish.
    Aphids, beetles, some types of caterpillars will be you most likely pests. Some like the "tomato horn worm" are large caterpillars but do morph into large interesting moths (look up sphinx or hummingbird moths). Setting aside a few sacrificial plants for them can be cool. (They greatly enjoy dill as well.)
    There are substances like Neem oil that can be effective deterents.

    Many plants such as tomatoes or melons/cukes can be space hogs if you let them. Cages or staking can help greatly and if floor space is really tight, melons/cukes can be trellised.

    Dracunculus vulgaris should definitely be hardy in your area. Just don't plant it anywhere near an open window or porch. heh
    Last edited by DragonsEye; 05-29-2014 at 01:00 PM.
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  6. #22
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    I bet Dill will grow for you, Rosemary too. Those just basically laugh at cold. Though the Dill struggles when it's hot.

  7. #23
    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantea View Post
    I bet Dill will grow for you, Rosemary too. Those just basically laugh at cold. Though the Dill struggles when it's hot.
    Rosemary might laugh at what passes for cold in TX, but it doesn't find our weather here in the NE very amusing! I've had only one plant survive more than a single winter, one I planted 7 years ago. It was located in an ideal microclimate, on the south side of my house at the point in the inside corner formed by the intersection of my asphalt driveway and my black slate patio. And this past winter did that one in.
    Judge not lest ye be judged creates a cesspool. Judge others and prepare to be judged by them.
    Just know when to keep the verdict to yourself.

  8. #24
    Nepenthes newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubRosa View Post
    Rosemary might laugh at what passes for cold in TX, but it doesn't find our weather here in the NE very amusing! I've had only one plant survive more than a single winter, one I planted 7 years ago. It was located in an ideal microclimate, on the south side of my house at the point in the inside corner formed by the intersection of my asphalt driveway and my black slate patio. And this past winter did that one in.
    I have had the same experience with Rosemary. It just doesn't like my Canadian winters. Yet, somehow, tomatoes, sage, oregano, and all my alliums survived the winter.

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