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Spring Planting 2011

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    Posted: 09 April 2011 at 11:56
Last week Mrs Rivet put in near two dozen "Black-Cherry-Pepper" tomatoes, (which are apparently the cherry sized version of Cherokee Purples) from seed into little peat starter pots. Also, a bunch of giant white morning glories which are already starting to sprout and are huge. They look like tiny Napa cabbages!
 
Today, in another peat pot tray, I put in 16 pots of seeds from an unknown chili pepper from Zambia, which Boilermaker had sent me last fall. I've been dying to plant these and now is my chance! 80 degrees and full sun today, spring is in full swing around here. He said when he was in Zambia, the bushes were low to the ground, slightly purple and seemed to grow as underbrush around large trees. I sure do hope I get some sprouting, I put 2 or 3 seeds in each starter pot.
 
Last fall Tasunkawtiko sent me some seeds from an unknown chili pepper plant he coud not identify. I spread these seeds throughout 8 pots, so I now have a total of 24 pots of seeds that will hopefully sprout and start off my 2011 Chile Pepper Garden.
 
I've tilled up both vegetable garden plots, though we won't put in any seedlings that we buy until the first weekend in May to avoid any chance of frost. Plan is for 2 varieties of cucumbers, Marconi sweet peppers, and plenty of tomatoes will go in these plots.
 
The herb garden goes into pots, usually about 18 to 20 of them. The chili peppers, I've learned, do much better in individual 2 gallon pots too, so that's where I've been growing them successfully for the past couple years.
 
I know it might be a bit early for you all up in the Northern states to do any gardening yet, but care to share any plans?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 15:43
hmmm. I wonder what the logistics of shipping seeds from the USA to NZ are. you guys sound like you have all the yummy stuff, especially tomatoes.
kai time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 16:20
Richard, actually they are very inexpensive. I checked with the US Post Office and rates for a standard letter (one ounce) to NZ are 98 cents. I'd have to check at the post office, but it looks like transit time is 6 days.
 
Since most seed packs are WELL below 1 ounce that's a bargain considering its going halfway around the planet.
 
I checked a bunch of my seed packets, and they range anywhere from 0.06 grams to 1.6 grams so that's plenty of seed in an "American Standard Packet" for plenty of vegs and flowers. There's about 2 grams of tomato seeds in a pack and they run anywhere from "Three-for-a-dollar" to $2.99 a pack depending on the variety and brand. 
 
Be glad to mail you some if you want.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 16:23
Just doing my normal herb garden this year Rivet. I'm already harvesting chives, which I pulled apart and repotted last fall, so they are growing like weeds.

I'll also grow basil, Thai bird chilis, savory, parsley and oregano, and whatever else I see that hits my fancy between now and then.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 16:37
Good grief, I neve had any idea chives were so hardy! Ours lasted all winter for the first time, and as cold and harsh as it can get where you are, that's amazing. But good for you, fresh chives are always good!
 
Very nice plan on the herb garden. How are those thai bird chilis? If I remember right, you grew them last summer too, but I don't recall if they were real hot or not. The Thai Dragons we grow here can be pretty potent once they turn red.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 16:55
I grow the Thai chilis every year John, and the heat level is largely dependent on the water supply and ambient temp and humidity. They average around 100,000 Scoville units, or about the same as a mild Habanero.

I prefer the Thai chilis just due to the extraordinary flavor they normally have.....much more than any other chili I have ever used.  I'll grow about two pots of them and that will be plenty for all winter...they freeze very well, and dry up nicely if you'd rather preserve them that way.

I normally put 4 or 5 of them in my cucumber sauce that accompanies Satay, but keep in mnd that they are tiny peppers..usually not much bigger than the tip of your little finger, and I never, ever use them without deviening and seeding them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 19:23
John,

As you know I smuggled those seeds back to the States from Zambia in 2008.  When we went through customs the USDA agents asked us if we had any plant material.  I didn't want to lie so I told them I had some pepper seeds which were prohibited according to the regulations on the card they gave us on the airplane.  The agent was very nice and said "Pepper seeds?  Ah, they're dried, I reckon you're clear to go."  Nice man, not what you expect from the government.

I sure hope they sprout and produce fruit.

Andy   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2011 at 21:14
I picked up a slew of seeds at the local Garden + Flower Show this year, my sister's promised me a black heirloom tomato, and I'm hoping to get one of these plants when the Farmers Market starts up again: http://www.localharvest.org/klari-baby-cheese-sweet-pepper-plant-C16098
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2011 at 12:20

Melissa- that is a beautiful pepper. Reminds me of the Italian "sheepnose" I planted a couple years back. Yours look much bigger and nicer though! Hope you're able to get one.

Andy - Really looking forward to those peppers, no matter how they turn out. You got lucky with the customs agent, for sure. Picked up 4 Tabasco seedlings this morning from the garden place, so we're set on those this year. I do hope they are as explosively hot as last year's and if they are, I'll be sure to mail you a bunch. With 4 plants, there will be plenty!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2011 at 14:06
That picture was just a random one I found online, but the lady at the farmers market was giving out samples last year, and boy were they good. I could eat the things like apples. She said she MIGHT sell some of the plants this year, so I'm hoping.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2011 at 15:32
Originally posted by Melissa Mead Melissa Mead wrote:

That picture was just a random one I found online, but the lady at the farmers market was giving out samples last year, and boy were they good. I could eat the things like apples. She said she MIGHT sell some of the plants this year, so I'm hoping.
 
 
Melissa, if you can't get her plants or seeds, give this place a try. It's where I got my sheepnose seeds from back in 2009. It's a completely reliable place, and what was a nice surprise to learn, was that in Italy seed packets are at least a third larger than ours are, so there are tons of seeds in there for the money!
 
 
Since the older fellow who runs the place buys seeds fresh every year, some years he may not offer what you want. Just check back and get on his catalogue mailing list. That way as soon as you know the seeds are available, you can get them. They sell out very quickly.
 
Looks like the Baccio Di Satana (Satan's Kiss) peppers are available this year, they were not last year. These were the peppers I made my Satan's Salsa with that was pretty popular.
 
Unfortunately, don't see the sheepnose this year.
 
Good luck to you in your pepper search! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2011 at 17:10
Thanks!

They have scozonera and cardoons! My husband and I saw them on a show called The Victorian Kitchen Garden. I thought they were rare. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomInAnApron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 10:22
Timely post! Been going through my Burpees catalog, and doing some planning. I'm really itching to get out and do some digging therapy!

I've got 2 planter boxes (3 ft wide X about 8 ft long) and a small, fenced 8 ft x 6 ft (approx) garden area to work with. I have iris in another planter I COULD transplant someplace else if I wanted to as well. 

1 of the planter boxes is my daughter's, to plant in as she chooses...going to do herbs in the other. I'm not sure which herbs yet. My elderly parents always seem to have a TON of dill every year at their place and try to give it to me so I don't think I will be growing dill myself this year. I will most definitely be doing chamomile to make tea. I will most likely be doing some "salsa" herbs, chives, parsley, basil.

I will most definitely have tomatoes. I'm ALMOST thinking about doing those in some other planter and turning my small garden space into a little sugar pumpkin patch, with a small amount of mini pumpkins too, for the neighborhood kids. If I do that, I will do a wall of sunflowers in the back of the garden (mostly for visual affect and for my daughter and her friends to mess with). I've never grown pumpkins. If I had the land I would have a huge pumpkin patch that kids could visit! I think I would enjoy having a few sugar pumpkins to use in the kitchen though...

My fenced garden space does have a metal arch over the gate, could do some peas up the sides of it...

Still planning...   :)
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That sounds like a very aggressive plan, Deb! Good deal~ that's always good to be aggressive in your plantings especially if you have rabbits and / or deer who like to munch on the buffet late at night.
 
Thise two planter boxes are huge~ where do you keep them? I hope they aren't attached to the side of the house....I can't even imagine the weight of them after watering!
 
be careful with the pumpkins; in a good place they like, they can be worse than zuchinni and you'll have pumpkins and runners as far as you can see. They take over.
 
Good to hear about all your dill, that's nice stuff. I have a great recipe for Dill & Green Bean soup I came up with years ago that I think you'll like. I'll PM it to you soon. Nothing better than fresh dill and green beans...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomInAnApron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 14:47
John: The landscaping timber planter boxes (I think they are around 3 timbers high.) are attached to a shed that contains my gardening tools/lawn mower, etc.). One side is mine, and one side is my daughter's. She usually puts flowers in hers.

Thank you for the pumpkin info! Exactly what I need to know. I don't know why, but pumpkin patches have always given me that "warm, fuzzy feeling", LOL. Plus, kids love pumpkin patches. I'm always thinking of the kids in the neighborhood around Halloween time. I either make them Martha Stewart popcorn balls, or buy those HUGE  Hershey candy bars for them, something..I think they will all enjoy coming over for hot chocolate/cider and picking a mini pumpkin out to decorate it with markers. I hope I can make a little pumpkin patch out of that small of an area. Sounds like i need to go with the "less is more idea" when planting!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 14:52
debbie - i'm going to YOUR house for halloween! Tongue
 
as for a garden, in the past few years i have tried to do too many things at once and have ended up failing at most of them. this year, i think i will keep it simple - tomatoes, onions, potatoes, maybe anasazi beans, if i can get them to grow, and maybe one or two other things - and my herb garden - i have been doing my herbs in pots the last few years and they have been working well. in fact, my chives are already sprouting up from last year's pot!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomInAnApron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 14:59
Ron, it is NICE being able to converse with someone who knows what will grow in this area. I am still trying to adjust to the short growing season here, and do we EVER know for SURE when to plant?! The million dollar gardening question here!

Come on down for Halloween, my daughter's baton group puts on one of THE largest haunted houses in these parts! FUN times in Great Falls around Halloween time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 15:02
if i am in your town around halloween, i promise i will drop by!
 
as for the growing season, we usually start our stuff in those little starter cups or kits in mid march, early april, just because i like to get them going. this year we haven't been able to do that yet, because of a lot of things going on.
 
having said that, you can safely bet that your frost-free days are starting right about may 15th, so i consider that the official beginning of the growing season for planting in the ground. i am finding that a lot of things work really well if planted in pots, so that they can be taken inside on the fringes of the growing season. this won't work for your pumpkins, of course, but you can at least get those started on your windowsill!
 
i've got some more information in books etc, including one i could probably drop by when we are in town for easter. let me know!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 15:27
Deb- okay, good to know, for some reason the words "planter boxes" made me think of these things attached to the house underneath a window or porch. Embarrassed No worries on your pumpkins, just be ready for some serious "branching out" if the plants are happy. There is a reason "pumpkin patches" are in big open fields!
 
Ron- good to hear about your chives, amazing aren't they? Give rosemary a try too, we've had the same plant about 3 years steady now. All outdoors all the time. Up in your AO, just put the pot in a shed or someplace out of the wind for the winter, maybe a basement? A hall closet? You'll get rosemary in the beginning of April, just like we're getting. Some of these herbs are just amazing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomInAnApron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2011 at 15:31
John, awww yes, I could see where you would think that I meant those boxes that hang. I suppose a more appropriate term for mine would be "raised beds"!  
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