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Gardening

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
You guys really don't get slugs in Colorado? We have them in Utah. More snails than slugs, but still - there are slugs.

I've tried growing tomatoes in pots, but the problem I run into is that even with gigantic pots, they need more watering than beds. And if we go away for a weekend, things tend to be mostly dead when I return. And it's harder to set up the sprinklers to hit pots than it is to run them in beds.

Anyway I confess that I laughed that what you're worried about is dog pee. I guess I get a lot more grossed out by some of the bugs (I hate earwigs so much I can't even tell you), that the idea that dog pee is the concern made me giggle. (Of course that all depends on what bothers you!)
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
The one advantage to pots though is that you can move them around when it gets too hot in one area... I do have my basil growing in a pot in the kitchen right now. I've never had any luck growing it outdoors here - it fries no matter where I put it outdoors. I have a pretty cool AeroGarden that my parents bought me for Christmas that I started it in and then moved it into a pot when it was taking up all the space in the aerogarden.
 

artistinsuburbia

Angel Diva
I have to prune them back quite a bit because of the area they are in (they are on the back of the house and along the entry to the shed). I definitely think it's the heat though - I get just LOADS of flowers and berries but only a few ripen. The rest - it hits around 100 degrees the first time of the year and it's like the flowers and developing fruit literally burn up and turn brown and crispy. The leaves still look lush and green through the year, but once the flowers and developing berries die, that's it for fruit. I always think if I just water them more, I might get more to ripen, but no luck so far. They've been there probably 5 years now. I think they just need more cool shade and water than they're going to get here in our desert climate.

I've definitely found some things that work here and others don't. My arugula - I use this heirloom spicy variety that I grew from seed probably 6+ years ago and it goes to seed there are literally thousands of tiny arugula plants in and around that raised bed. And several of the big plants come back every year as well - I dug one up to give to a friend and the root was the size of my wrist. Crazy!

Beans and sugar snap peas do well as long as I water them well. Cherry tomatoes do well on one end of my garden but not the other - the plants go crazy and end up 8' tall in one area and burn to a crisp a couple feet away. Nothing but mint will really tolerate the heat in that spot.

And I've had kale and chard that grow really well but get SO MANY bugs that it's just not worth the hassle. And jalapeño peppers work, but full sized bell peppers don't seem to make it through our growing season. They seem to take an eternity and by the time they get full size it usually freezes and I'm lucky to get one full sized bell pepper. Not worth it.

And I've done beets and carrots, which are delicious (the boring bugs get the beet greens, but the beets are fine) but both seem to grow so slowly. I threw some carrot seeds along the back wall of the planter my lettuce is in - we'll see if anything happens. There is nothing like the taste of home grown rainbow carrots straight out of the garden.

Mint will grow anywhere! ugh it gets to weed proportions here that I don't even plant it anymore. Funny you say that about the bell peppers.. The only place I have luck with them is in my garden next to a retaining wall in my driveway. I wonder if it's the heat retention from the bricks?? Other places that I've tried to grow them I got one pepper, but the year I had them in that little 18" wide garden between the wall and the driveway, I had TONS. hmmm. might have to put them back there this year.

I want to try brussel sprouts this year, but those are cool weather so I don't know if I plant in August that I'll get enough cool weather vs frigid weather in time to harvest. I've never had good luck with carrots. Trying to get hubby to build me a raised bed so that I can plant them in a mix of looser soil. Might have to build that myself...
 

Christy

Angel Diva
@bounceswoosh, do raised beds. It'll lift the veggies out of pee range and also protect the garden from activities like ball playing. A determined dog that say, wants to eat compost or organic fertilizer, might still jump up and eat that, though. My Kobe would do that even when he was quite old though interestingly none of my younger spry-er dogs ever did.

In a city lot raised beds are the best. You can cram so much in them. My raised beds had to go to make way for our new addition, and we haven't built new ones yet, so I will probably be spending lots of money at the farmer's markets this summer. I always grow tons of english (shelling) peas, which I love and which had to have been planted by March, so I'll really miss those.

I am done with trying to grow things in pots, except maybe annual flowers on the patio. They take too much water and things just generally don't do as well in them, for me anyway. It doesn't rain here much in the summer so if you have pots you have to water most days, which is a drag.

I love mint. It grows in the areas where little else will, it's easy to pull up if you don't want it, and I use a ton of it (for cocktails and various salads).
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@bounceswoosh, do raised beds. It'll lift the veggies out of pee range and also protect the garden from activities like ball playing. A determined dog that say, wants to eat compost or organic fertilizer, might still jump up and eat that, though. My Kobe would do that even when he was quite old though interestingly none of my younger spry-er dogs ever did.

I may do this - raised beds seems like an easier way to provide good soil than digging down - but I am also leaning toward fencing in the areas with food plants. We'll see how spread out everything gets.

Raised beds seem like invitations with food at mouth level, unless they're incredibly high.

I love mint. It grows in the areas where little else will, it's easy to pull up if you don't want it, and I use a ton of it (for cocktails and various salads).

Oddly, while I love mint in ice cream, I really don't care for it in its leaf form. I think it's the texture. I will accept it crushed in a mojito, though ... ;-) Anyway, mint is not on my list. Basil, however, is required for caprese salad, and that's one of my favorite summertime foods. Basil and tomatoes. Oh, man, I can't wait to taste these tomatoes.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
You guys really don't get slugs in Colorado? We have them in Utah. More snails than slugs, but still - there are slugs.

I've tried growing tomatoes in pots, but the problem I run into is that even with gigantic pots, they need more watering than beds. And if we go away for a weekend, things tend to be mostly dead when I return. And it's harder to set up the sprinklers to hit pots than it is to run them in beds.

Anyway I confess that I laughed that what you're worried about is dog pee. I guess I get a lot more grossed out by some of the bugs (I hate earwigs so much I can't even tell you), that the idea that dog pee is the concern made me giggle. (Of course that all depends on what bothers you!)

I haven't seen them but that doesn't mean they don't exist. There are lots of microclimates around here, and my yard is pretty much 100% sun so it stays pretty dry and I think they prefer a moister environment. Perhaps in some more shaded yards or down in Boulder where things are a bit more verdant?

Now, earwigs.... those are the biggest problem in my garden (and flea beatles ugh). I hate the things. I set beer traps for them last year and I don't think it worked. This year I may go full on warfare with diatomaceous earth.

As for basil, although everyone says it likes full sun I find that the sun out here just fries it. I actually have it in a pot on my deck where it only gets morning sun and it always does very well there. But I do find it one of the more challenging herbs to grow!

My sweet peppers last year actually produced exceptionally, for the first time ever. Usually I don't have luck with them at all, they take forever to mature and then start to rot out from the bottom. I still haven't managed to get a red pepper, no matter the variety I try.

edited to say that @geargrrl your perennial beds are gorgeous!
 

pinto

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yeah, I've seen slugs but not that often. I have a pretty shaded yard, and we have a lot of water in our area for CO (rivers ponds reservoirs etc) so I think we are a bit more humid. That is very, very relative, though!

We have developed quite the rabbit problem in the past couple of years, though, and I'm not sure I want to go through the brain damage of figuring out where to build a rabbit-proof garden. Like the others, I've had a hard time not frying things in containers.
 

artistinsuburbia

Angel Diva
I will accept it crushed in a mojito, though ... ;-)

Darn it. I forgot about mojitos! I need to plant A LOT this year then.

My sweet peppers last year actually produced exceptionally, for the first time ever. Usually I don't have luck with them at all, they take forever to mature and then start to rot out from the bottom. I still haven't managed to get a red pepper, no matter the variety I try.
What variety of sweet do you grow? Same on the red...never once.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I got a little mini red bell pepper once. It was tasty, but NOT worth the investment.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Darn it. I forgot about mojitos! I need to plant A LOT this year then.


What variety of sweet do you grow? Same on the red...never once.

I think it was California Wonder last year? But I'm not sure, I didn't make a note in my journal and since I had a little infant then my mind wasn't too focused on gardening. I just picked up a few plants at the shop and put them in the ground.

My neighbor has mint he planted in the ground.... without a pot to contain the roots. So needless to say I don't have to plant mint ever, since it's growing up on my side of the fence now. I usually do some mint pesto (it's tasty on chicken and white beans) and am considering making my own mint tea, if I can figure out how to dry the mint. I'm not sure if it's as easy as hanging it in bunches from my window....
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We have developed quite the rabbit problem in the past couple of years, though, and I'm not sure I want to go through the brain damage of figuring out where to build a rabbit-proof garden. Like the others, I've had a hard time not frying things in containers.

So, last year was the year of the rabbit for my garden. They don't eat the plants, but they try and build their burrows IN THE GARDEN itself. Amongst the tomatillos, to be exact. If you're doing a raised bed you can put some chicken wire down on the bottom of the bed to prevent burrowing from underneath. I then made a chicken wire fence around the perimeter using some bamboo corner posts and zip ties and staples to connect it to the base. It was a last minute thing to prevent the bunnies from laying their bunny eggs in the garden. About halfway through the season I took it down and it seemed to have done the job. I think the bunnies were viewing our garden/yard as a safehaven from coyotes, so I don't really blame them.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
This book changed my life
https://www.amazon.com/Well-Tended-Perennial-Garden-Techniques-DiSabato-Aust

well-tended-cover-215x300.jpg


She has a real "no fear" approach to perennials. Don't be afraid to shear them with hedge shears, prune the crap out of them, or divide with a shovel. Don't put things in that require babysitting. Don't be afraid to dig things out if you don't like them. It's the best gardening book I have ever seen for flowers.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I haven't seen them but that doesn't mean they don't exist. There are lots of microclimates around here, and my yard is pretty much 100% sun so it stays pretty dry and I think they prefer a moister environment. Perhaps in some more shaded yards or down in Boulder where things are a bit more verdant?

Now, earwigs.... those are the biggest problem in my garden (and flea beatles ugh). I hate the things. I set beer traps for them last year and I don't think it worked. This year I may go full on warfare with diatomaceous earth.

As for basil, although everyone says it likes full sun I find that the sun out here just fries it. I actually have it in a pot on my deck where it only gets morning sun and it always does very well there. But I do find it one of the more challenging herbs to grow!

My sweet peppers last year actually produced exceptionally, for the first time ever. Usually I don't have luck with them at all, they take forever to mature and then start to rot out from the bottom. I still haven't managed to get a red pepper, no matter the variety I try.

edited to say that @geargrrl your perennial beds are gorgeous!

I'm pretty much full desert climate too, but where we have built garden beds out of the castle wall blocks, we still get slugs and snails. I only see them early in the morning, and I think they go back underground along the bricks during daylight hours.

And I'm with you on the Basil. They mark it as full sun, but they must mean full sun somewhere with cooler temps and more humidity or something. It does not like the sun in Utah.

I've never gotten a red bell pepper either. Other than some jalapeños that turned red...

I've had better luck with olive oil and soy sauce traps (in old tins in the dirt) for the earwigs, but good lord are those disgusting. Apparently they like soy sauce but the oil suffocates them. Blergh.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Luckily we don't have rabbits (that would make Waffles's day! ), but I have to put nets over a lot of things to keep the magpies out.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Now that I think about it, I've never seen a snail or slug in Colorado. Maybe they don't approve of marijuana.

Ooh. I could ... No, no. Not going there.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Luckily we don't have rabbits (that would make Waffles's day! ), but I have to put nets over a lot of things to keep the magpies out.
I may need nets for my planned blueberries - what sort of net works?
 

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