Any hobby gardeners here?


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Xell » Apr 13th, '11, 10:11

I'm starting to experience fun of growing plants again, i didn't really grow anything after i moved to different city from my parents to finish education.

Last summer i planted few loquats from seed and it's actually growing well, though no fruits for a while >_>

And some unusual stuff for south Japan.

I was searching where i could buy beets, but no luck. Quite many people didn't even know what it is :) Then i thought, why not grow it, since we have some land we can use. My relatives send me some seeds and it actually arrived safely, sprouts appeared really fast.

About a week ago i found an apple tree(Fuji) in local gardening shop... and bought it :D About a year ago i remember reading an article somewhere about growing apples in really hot places, where people usually grow all kinds of citrus trees. Now i will have my own small experiment. But i heard that without different kind of apple trees to cross-pollinate there will be really few fruits and with unusual climate i wonder if something will appear at all.

Next target is to get some camellia sinensis ;) But first need to research a bit, how to grow it. Any tips where to get useful information on this?
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby mbishop » Apr 13th, '11, 13:10

Loquats are delicious. We have 2 trees full of fruits right now.

As for tea, I hear it likes high elevations, and needs good drainage (which is why it's usually planted either on the side of a hill, or on terraced land).
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby tortoise » Apr 13th, '11, 15:25

I've done a fair amount vegetable gardening in the past, though not in the last 4 years. It's not more than a hobby, but I've produced some successful harvests of lettuces, kale, spinach, tomatoes, cukes, carrots, and some heirloom cantaloupe and pumpkins. Haven't managed fruit trees before, but citrus, fig, and persimmons grow really well in Louisiana, as do bananas, but I'd need to be about 100 miles further South for them to really take off. Having a small orchard is a long term goal of mine. Of course growing tea would be fun -- even if I wasn't producing it to drink.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby beecrofter » Apr 13th, '11, 22:18

I have a passion for gardening, became an extension master gardener,beekeeper, am slowly mastering temperate bamboos.
But the majority of my experience is in the Northeast USA with -10F likely for a brief part of any winter ,about 180 days frost free..

What kind of beets? also Swiss Chard is nice- very close relative.
I wonder if a packet would survive a normal envelope ? JN would probably be impressed with a beet vaiety called "Chioggia" do an image search they are something else.

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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Xell » Apr 13th, '11, 23:23

I have to 2 kinds of beets, it's "Detroit" and "Cylindra". I checked one you suggested, looks interesting, newer saw it myself. I'm growing it mainly for "borscht", but now i have another problem... i can't find sour cream :)

Growing vegetables not only fun, but good for my wallet too :lol: Vegetables and fruits in Japan are quite expensive.

I want to get some cherry tomatoes now, but thinking how to protect it from winds.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Chimpie » Apr 14th, '11, 00:41

I can't help with the garden but I know that you could make your own creme fraiche a milder version of sour, if you can get hold of unpasturised heavy cream. You need the bacteria in the cream for the process.

You can make crème fraîche by adding 1 cup of buttermilk to 2 cups of heavy cream and leaving it out in a warm place (80° to 90°F, or 26° to 32°C, is ideal) for as few as eight hours and as many as 24 hours.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Xell » Apr 16th, '11, 10:04

Nice suggestion, when i get first crop of beats i'll try to make some crème fraîche :)

I was reading few articles on growing camellia sinensis and looks like it possible here. High elevation is not not necessary, though probably it can change the taste somehow. I just have to prepare right conditions for them to grow. Don't know if i can plant them this year or next, but definitely going to do it :) Especially i can get here already 1-4 year old trees, so won't have to wait really long for first crop.

I tried to find old article about growing apples in zone 8-10. Could not find it, but instead got another one even more interesting. For example there is a link to a video where a lot of apples growing right next to rice paddies in Malaysia :shock:
http://www.kuffelcreek.com/apples.htm
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Chip » Apr 16th, '11, 10:21

Interesting about the apples ... everyone here "knows" apples need cold to produce. :mrgreen:
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby skilfautdire » Apr 16th, '11, 14:43

This year is the third one I'm interested in having a garden in
our backyard. Last year I made raised beds since the soil is
clayish. Each year I'm learning. This time around I have
'fallen' on Steve's Solomon book at the public library. And then
I bought it as reference. After reading many 'recipe' books by
many gardening authors (Square Foot Gardening, WORD system, etc...) it was nice to read this one by Solomon. He used to have a
seed business that he sold at one point. He also grows yearly a
large part of their house vegetables. He explains how things
works, which is a good change from the 'gardening recipe' books.

One interesting thing, amongst many others, is that gardening has
one thing in common with tea: floorings. With tea, bits swept
off the production floors are sold in tea bags. It's the same
with seeds. After filtering the good seeds. What's on the floor
is put in nice colorful bags to be sold in (super)stores. The principle
is straightforward: general consumers are not critical. If they
fail growing nice large plants they can blame themselves and the
weather and they do not loose much anyways. They are not
considered in the business as critical. And many seed companies
are catering solely to this non-critical market share and making
money in hardware stores and corner 'Sunday' nurseries.

On the other hand, farmers, are considered critical. If only for
the fact that they know what they're doing, they are buying large
amounts of seeds and, they can sue if they get crappy seeds
because the money at play is significant. As bad tea exists,
crappy seeds also exists that will not yield good plants.

So, what Solomon says is simple: buy seeds from companies that
sells to farmers and/or have a very good reputation. They must
have and operate large trial grounds for the seeds they sell.
They must have packaging and expiration dates for their seeds.
Solomon, having spent many years operating a seed business, gives
a few addresses of such reputable companies. Luckily we have
three of them here in Canada, actually not far from here, so they
cater pretty much to the same hardiness zones as where we are.
Some companies are selling worldwide.

And this is the kind of seeds I'm using this year.

Now I will be able to blame *only* the weather ! :)

http://www.soilandhealth.org/05steve'sfolder/05aboutmeindex.html

Solomon's book is titled "Gardening When It Counts"

http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Gardening_When_It_Counts/
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby tortoise » Apr 19th, '11, 18:03

That is very interesting. Thanks for posting it.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Xell » Apr 22nd, '11, 06:39

That's probably how i would think myself, if my seeds didn't grow well. First thought that i did something wrong. Like wrong soil, too much or too little water etc. I planted watermelon seeds from a shop, who have good reputation, 7 from 10 seeds sprouted (we don't have greenhouse and when i planted seeds it was rather cold at night, sometimes close to 5-6C). And one of them got through earth with a bit weird shape and is dying now. Well, still more than enough for me. I wanted to plant only 3-4 anyway :)

Last year in the middle of summer i planted at farm few seeds from watermelon we ate, i saw it actually sprouted but then totally forget about them. Since it was in unused area with a lot of grass. Latter at fall when we started cleaning more space we actually found several ripe watermelons and they were really sweet :lol:
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby nonc_ron » May 4th, '11, 06:22

Image
I'm in the process of building a small 12X30 green house.
I'm already thinking about adding on another 10ft.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby skilfautdire » May 6th, '11, 18:25

Neat!! What will you use it for ? Are you located in Delaware (DE) (just to know what kind of temperatures) ?
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby Xell » May 7th, '11, 07:49

Looks like this green house will be a bit dark :)

I'm getting really interested in fruit trees. This year already too late to plant more, but i'm starting to plan for next year, my list for now. Several more apple trees, think i will stay with just Fuji or other kind which will bear fruits at same time. Grape, kiwi, plum, persimmon, pear, plum, peach. And 5-6 camellia sinensis trees :) I'm not sure yet if i can plant everything from this list, depends if i need to plant several trees for cross pollinating or i can go with 1-2, didn't research it yet. For now i know only that they can grow here. Though not much space will be left for growing vegetables. There are no citrus trees in list simply because we already have many existing fully grown trees, maybe i'll post some photos tomorrow :)

For pear i think i'll try grafting it on apple trees. More interesting and will spare some space for other trees.
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Re: Any hobby gardeners here?

Postby skilfautdire » May 8th, '11, 18:51

skilfautdire wrote:Neat!! What will you use it for ? Are you located in Delaware (DE) (just to know what kind of temperatures) ?


Unfortunately (maybe) for both Turkmenistan and Delaware I have to pop up a map. :mrgreen:
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