Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Come here to talk about topics that are not related to development, or even Kansas City.
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warwickland
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Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by warwickland »

YO!

I couldn't find the old gardening thread due to brain damage, so I started a new one.

As the spring becomes a real possibility, and the threat of a SAD induced coma recedes, I'm thinking about green stuff.

Now, I have all my seeds as well as a couple seed starter trays with peat pellets. Anyone start vegetable seedlings indoors?

Also, if anyone has a good native plant seed supplier, lemme know. Im interested in doing some crazy stuff with little and big bluestem.

Also, does anyone have experience with killing bermuda grass without chemicals in order to entertain the possibility of working the soil (my yard IS this stuff). I once poured boiling water in a spot and it did some damage.

Lets talk about stuff like growing corn in inner city front yards.

GO!

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by splash »

We attempted to grow corn in our suburban yard a couple of years ago.  The plants got fairly high, but didn't yield any actual corn.  It was more of an experiment than anything, so we were just happy that the plants didn't die. 

The next year, I decided to start some seeds indoors, but couldn't find anyone who sold peat pots.  Actually, most of the places I went to had no clue what I was even talking about.  I ended up doing an experiment involving potting soil and toilet paper rolls, which amused the heck out of my husband.  Everything worked out, though.  I think I did green beans that way?  I've also done the tried and true paper towel method of sprouting seeds, but if we do that again this year, I think I'll be more careful to spread the seeds in a line instead of just dumping them out. 

We start almost all of our plants indoors, then harden them gradually before putting them in the ground, but I can't really say that it makes all that much of a difference that if we had just put them out as soon as it's warm enough. 

We've had the best results from squash and cucumbers.  A couple of years ago, we had so many squash that we were begging people to take them.  I'd say we were getting at least 6 or more a day.  That was off of one plant, which apparently loved where it was planted and exploded all over the place, crowding out all the plants within 8 feet of it. 

The next year, it was the cucumber plant that went nuts, but something went horribly wrong there.  After the first couple of weeks, every single cucumber tasted like it had been soaked in grain alcohol.  We ended up having to throw away around 50 cucumbers a week, because there was just no way they could be salvaged. 

We do a couple of tomato plants every year, but have gotten mixed results.  We actually end up getting tomatoes from our neighbor, whose plants do much better than ours. 

What are you planting this year?

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by ThaMexican »

I did a couple of tomatoes plants last year and I was really surprised they grew really tall and gave a LOT of tomatoes. I gave away a lot. I also did zucchinis and they did well. I planted some rhubarb but did not come up as well as some asparagus that I hope I can harvest this year, I was told not to do it the first one. I also planted a peach tree.

My tenant did some egg plant and they did ok, but his cherry tomatoes did awesome.  This year I plan to do tomatoes again, as well as zucchini  and jalapeno peppers, my neighbor did that and he got a good crop and hopefully I will get some asparagus, we will see.

My plan is to be able to dedicate a good chunk of my lawn to gardening instead of having to mow it every week, what a waste of resources, my opinion.

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by nota »

A few gardening thoughts.

Look for grape tomatoes rather than cherry tomatoes. They bear just as profusely, just a bit bigger fruit. My grandkids and the neighbor kids eat them right off the vine like candy. Last year, I actually canned a few quarts of grape tomatoes. They are just as good now as fresh however it is just too labor intensive to peel all the little bastards. That's why I only canned a few. My heirloom tomatoes were awesome. Trouble was that somehow I lost the paper where I wrote down all the tomato varieties and will have to look for them again. My gazpacho was wonderful all season. Yellow tomatoes are also really really good.

Plant things like tomatoes in pots (large) rather than trying to plant them in the ground. A guy at River Market taught me the joys of using fish emulsion for them as fertilizer rather than chemicals. Look for varieties that the plants don't get too big. Bush beans and bush cucumbers are also good in pots. Peppers also.

If you really get serious, look for some of those window box pots for lettuce and root crops like radishes, etc. They work great.

Part of our garden last year-green beans at their prime-just before they started bearing.

Regarding the bermuda grass thing-I read about solarization of ground-it's mostly for controlling pests, but could maybe be used to kill out bermuda although bermuda is really really hard to kill without chemicals. Sometimes even with chemicals. Trouble is that solarization takes a long time and wouldn't be done this season.

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by danno25nh »

We used earth boxes we bought from Planters Seed and Spice in the River Market. Grape tomatoes were crazy.  We ended up throwing a lot away.

We've grown herbs and peppers as well with great success.  The earth boxes are great for balconies and patios.

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by KCMax »

I like this thread a lot. We were just talking about how we want to turn part of our lawn into a garden. Good advice on the tomatoes nota.

What kind of tips would you suggest for someone just getting into gardening? We'd like to do tomatoes and squash and herbs this spring.
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LenexatoKCMO
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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by LenexatoKCMO »

Our new place already has a plot set up for a vegetable garden.  But this winter, the yard has already been crawling with bunny rabbits by the dozen; I can only imagine how thick they will be by May.  The little buggers seem completely unfazed by the neighbor's dogs so I am not very optomistic for any garden success.  Perhaps I should be researching what sort of veg goes best in rabbit stew. 

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by FangKC »

If you have a rabbit problem, you might have to put up a small fence around your garden.
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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by taxi »

Since we're on the subject, I'd appreciate it if anyone has advice for me. I'm looking to plant something to create a privacy barrier,  about 50' long and I've got about 2' deep. Hoping for something that grows fast and to about 10' high or thereabouts. It's totally shaded and gets very little direct sunlight, maybe an hour or 2 a day in the morning and evening.

I'm looking at bamboo. Any thoughts on the best type?
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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by grovester »

careful bamboo gets totally out of control, how about forsythia?

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by mlind »

taxi wrote: Since we're on the subject, I'd appreciate it if anyone has advice for me. I'm looking to plant something to create a privacy barrier,  about 50' long and I've got about 2' deep. Hoping for something that grows fast and to about 10' high or thereabouts. It's totally shaded and gets very little direct sunlight, maybe an hour or 2 a day in the morning and evening.

I'm looking at bamboo. Any thoughts on the best type?
OMG - don't plant bamboo unless you want it coming up everywhere.  It grows by underground runners. 

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by mlind »

KCMax wrote: I like this thread a lot. We were just talking about how we want to turn part of our lawn into a garden. Good advice on the tomatoes nota.

What kind of tips would you suggest for someone just getting into gardening? We'd like to do tomatoes and squash and herbs this spring.
Cherry or grape tomatoes and zucchini plants will produce so much that you will have to give them away.  Of course, this means your friends and neighbors will start avoiding you.

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by ComandanteCero »

also, you should get your soil tested before you decide to grow stuff you plan to eat.  Just to be perfectly on the safe side that there aren't any random contaminants, and also to check the pH and nutrient levels (which helps figure out if you have to boost up certain nutrients, or raise/lower the pH).

my understanding is that those are two separate tests.  The nutrient tests are pretty easy to do (either get a home kit, or send a sample to a place, relatively inexpensive either way), but i've never done the contaminant test so i don't know what that involves.
Last edited by ComandanteCero on Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by ComandanteCero »

K-State does soil testing (for nutrients and pH), here's a webpage with info on how to sample and where to send the sample.

http://www.johnson.ksu.edu/DesktopDefau ... ?tabid=120
KC Region is all part of the same animal regardless of state and county lines.
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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by PumpkinStalker »

Vegetables. Blech.    :lol:

I've been reading up on hops varieties and plan to try growing hops.  Apparently they can grow a foot a day under ideal conditions and up to 25 feet high.  I have a plan for a trellis system and hopefully will give this a go this spring.  We'll see how house reno is coming along and if I can afford the time.  Hops is extremely susceptible to bugs and disease.  It requires a ton of care and water.  Brother in law home brews and I'm hoping to provide some fresh hops to him.  I want him to try a fresh (wet) hop beer but you literally have to brew within a hour or two of picking or something insane.  We'll see what happens!

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by LenexatoKCMO »

I have seen hops fields up in wisconsin - they had them strung up like grape vines but on telephone poles.  They had the entire fields covered in a mesh fabric to keep the vines from burning in the sun. Methinks you might start getting some funny looks when you start sinking the telephone poles in the backyard.  :)

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by PumpkinStalker »

LenexatoKCMO wrote: I have seen hops fields up in wisconsin - they had them strung up like grape vines but on telephone poles.  They had the entire fields covered in a mesh fabric to keep the vines from burning in the sun. Methinks you might start getting some funny looks when you start sinking the telephone poles in the backyard.  :)
Yeah, you can do it different methods, horizontal requires heavy durty wire (it's voracious and will weigh down twine).  You can apparently do a vertical pole like you mentioned and then string wires down to make a christmas tree looking thing for it to climb.  Luckily my neighbors are pretty cool and I don't anticipate problems!  And right now I've concentrated all my efforts internally on my house and I'm sure they will think any progress on the back yard is good progress!

The wife wants to pot peppers and tomatoes though.  Maybe a fresh hop jalepeno beer?

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by LenexatoKCMO »

Yeah this was a combination of vertical and horizontal - the poles were spaced maybe fifteen-twenty feet apart with some sort of wire or cable strung horizontally between them every foot or two, all the way up.  Then the mesh shade cloth stretched over the top of all of the poles.  The vines then climed the cables like a ladder.  This was a big commercial operation though - you would probably need to get all your neighbors up and down the block on board.  :D

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by nota »

KCMax wrote: I like this thread a lot. We were just talking about how we want to turn part of our lawn into a garden. Good advice on the tomatoes nota.

What kind of tips would you suggest for someone just getting into gardening? We'd like to do tomatoes and squash and herbs this spring.
If you are just getting started, don't make the mistake of planting too much. You wont' be able to keep up with it and the yield will be too great. Grape or cherry tomatoes, we planted 2 grape tomatoes last year-will only plant 1 this year and we will still give buckets away.

Squash - I'm betting if you only plant one hill of each variety you want, you will have plenty for you and the neighbors. If you are planning to can or freeze, maybe more, but I'm not sure how squash would can or freeze.

Herbs-get a large (20-24 inches) In that large size pot you can grow several and they are much easier to tend. Put it by the back door-they are ornamental as well as tasty. Mine last year had 2 kinds of rosemary, 3 kinds of basil, thyme, 2 sages, chives, and Mexican oregano. They will need lots of water and lots of sun as they grow. By the kitchen, you will find that you just step outside and pick a fresh herb for whatever you are cooking.

Fingerling potatoes-This is something that in the stores are quite expensive. You can get the seeds at Planter's at the Market or online. They grow quite easily and there's nothing like digging up some, stopping at the herb pot on the way into the house and picking whatever strikes your fancy that day. Wash your potatoes, dry them, chop or smash your fresh herbs into a Zip Loc with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper - then saute, bake, etc. Fingerlings are great for potato salad too. The seeds won't be available until the Rockies thaw because they can't ship them when they will freeze.Here's a link of a guy that is a one man business or seems so. 

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Re: Urban Gardening and Landscaping

Post by PumpkinStalker »

nota wrote:
Fingerling potatoes-This is something that in the stores are quite expensive. You can get the seeds at Planter's at the Market or online. They grow quite easily and there's nothing like digging up some, stopping at the herb pot on the way into the house and picking whatever strikes your fancy that day. Wash your potatoes, dry them, chop or smash your fresh herbs into a Zip Loc with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper - then saute, bake, etc. Fingerlings are great for potato salad too. The seeds won't be available until the Rockies thaw because they can't ship them when they will freeze.Here's a link of a guy that is a one man business or seems so. 
Seconded.  Fingerling potatoes are awesome.  I wash them, butter them, then sprinkle with hickory salt (you can find this in the Tones spices at grocery stores) and pepper, and some hodge podge seasoning....Mrs. Dash type stuff.  Wrap them up in foil in a single layer, and place on a medium hot charcoal grill.  Propane is for pansies.  If you don't cook them too long the skin will stay firm and will snap when you bite them.  Fantastic!

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