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Backyard Gardening

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Haymitch, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    Need some backyard gardening advice for a complete novice. I'm hoping this is a thing I could involve my 4 y/o with. If this can lessen my trips to the grocery store just a bit, then that would be great too.

    Keep in mind that I'm pretty busy and in general, stupid. So a setup and veggies that are easy and simple would be strongly preferred. Cheap would be nice too.
     
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  2. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    There's not really any rocket science to this. Dirt, sun, water. Pretty much anything will grow with that. If you want to get crazy, you can mix up a 1:1:1 ratio of compost (or great soil), peat moss and vermiculite. It makes a real nice base.

    In terms of what grows well, I can't remember exactly Houston, but for Texas in general, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, lettuces/spinach/kale/cabbage, artichoke, corn, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, all kinds of fruit trees and you can go crazy and wild from there. Don't forget herbs, and plants just for flowers are nice too.

    I've had success literally taking the seeds from cucumbers, bell peppers and am now doing kiwi out of food I'm eating. I take a paper towel, line the seeds up in there, fold it over, wet it, drop it in a small zip lock bag that I close and tape onto a window that gets some sun. In 3-7 days they've all sprouted. a hydroponic approach. Of course, you can do that just in the dirt, too, but have to remember to water it. Ziplocking the bag keeps it moist in there for a few days easy (i've had a couple of things not work this way though, can't remember what, i just always give a try wit different stuff cause why not, it takes 1 minute and is fun). Growing things from seed is pretty easy, but of course takes "longer".

    My yard today - just a normal neighborhood backyard in Austin - includes kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, corn, radishes, beans, cucumbers, artichoke, blackberry, strawberry, orange tree, lemon tree, loquat tree, fig tree, apple tree, peach tree, nectarine tree (I really like fruit trees!), mint, lemon balm, oregano, pineapple sage, lavender. I've grown grapes successfully along a fence in the past 3 years, but it is a decent amount of work and I didn't quite get the yield to justify it, imo.
     
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  3. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    @JayZ750 Jesus, how big is your backyard? :) I was thinking about moving out into a more rural area now that I'm "semi-retired". Of course, now that's on hold. I just grow peppers, although I haven't even done that this year. I usually start them inside with grow lights around the Super Bowl. Since I'm just trapped at home I may start a late grow for fun. I want to get about an acre or two of land and do some drip irrigation to grow other stuff. My parents grow tons of stuff in their backyard. It's a lot of work, but rewarding.
     
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  4. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    it’s honestly not that big but it’s maximized.

    also have a pool, trampoline and green grassy area for the kids.

    it’s all doable with the right planning. And even then not that much planning. We’ve done a lot of plant this see if it works over the years. Heck often times we’ll just sprinkle some mix of wildflowers or something else and see what “wins”. Usually it’s something native that is pretty and even through a drought or a tough winter, stuff always comes back. Once something is firmly rooted and established... if it’s a native it’s hard to really kill without just removing it.
     
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  5. Mango

    Mango Contributing Member

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    Are you going to be planting in

    * Buckets - Containers

    * Raised beds

    * A dug up area in your backyard

    If it is a dug up area in your backyard, then what is your soil like and how much work is it going to be to get the area dug up?

    If you are going with raised beds or buckets - containers, the you will probably be spending on soil to fill them.


    Tomatoes-- Think it is too late to start from seeds and stores charge quite a bit for plants

    Squash -- I think is easy to grow. Some people prefer yellow or zucchini and other people like both. If your child is helping, then straight neck yellow squash is more forgiving on handling than crooked neck yellow squash.

    Cucumbers -- Since you are just starting out, you probably aren't into pickling. So maybe just a small amount if you like a cucumber salad.

    Green Beans -- Another that I think is easy to grow,

    Okra -- Another that I think is easy to grow. It likes heat and will keep producing into the summer while the squash, cucumbers and green beans will eventually fade because of the high temperatures.



    I planted yellow squash at the end of February with green beans and cucumbers almost two weeks ago. Planted some okra in small cups this week and will transplant in April. If you are going to get production before high summer temperatures hit, then you need to get this project going really soon.

    Which vegetables does your family like to eat?
     
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  6. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    here you go. I just took all these pics lol. As you can see, still some empty spaces. The nectarine is my biggest fruit tree and in the front so not included here.
     
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  7. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    For a second, I thought that was a pig. lol. I can see the plants being not taking up space, it just sounded like the trees would take up a lot of room, but I guess not. I've never grown a fruit tree. My parents have a pear tree in their backyard in Houston. Thanks for the pic.
     
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  8. Trader_Jorge

    Trader_Jorge King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking

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    [Premium Post]
    Following this thread with interest. I think there's going to be a movement to be more self-sufficient going forward, and backyard gardening could really grow in popularity. Depending on where you live, there's also going to be a movement to grow hemp/cannabis in your backyard.

    GOOD DAY
     
  9. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    most of these fruit trees are less than 4 years old. The nectarine in the front is 4x the size of the peach (the one with all the flowers) so it’ll get tight a bit eventually.... but not that bad because they are ultimately just medium sized trees. And you can keep them whatever size you want ultimately. In fact I think some folks might say you should do that to maximize “reachable” yield
     
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  10. Big MAK

    Big MAK Member

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    Houston is hot. Without proper shading from the afternoon summer sun, many plants will need more attention to keep alive. Get a programmable hose timer to take some of the maintenance out (although you'll still need to give it some TLC). Water deeply, not just a sprinkle on top.

    I had good luck with limes and lemons. I had so many limes from just 1 lime tree that I gave them away to anyone who came over, and still had too many. In addition, a lot of herbs like rosemary and basil had always done will for me. Rosemary smells and looks great outside, and a wonderful herb when grilling some lamb. I made a ton of pesto with the basil.
     
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  11. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Start talking about fruit trees and @Mango shows up...
     
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  12. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    For reference, Houston is Zone 9a. Google that and it will tell you what will grow.

    Houston has dense clay/silt soil. A lot of plants will be thankful if you mix in a lot of mulch to aerate. Also, obviously, the rain is a thing. Some plants react extremely poorly to too much. You need to be mindful of sun/shade, and what plants prefer.

    My experience growing roses, which may not hold true for growing food, is that ultimately the results you get will get are dependent on doing the work to tend the garden regularly, putting in time as close to daily as possible. Think of it like a pet. You have to put in that 30 minutes every day walking the dog. You can't skip two weeks and make up for all the walks by putting in 6 hours on a Saturday. If you neglect it, your results will suck.
     
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  13. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    There are endless things you could do. To start

    Find your zone, Houston is zone 9a https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/

    Find out what you can plant you can grow in your zone, find out what you can plant right now https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ga...e-9-10-11/zone-9-vegetable-planting-guide.htm

    Take into consideration how much sunlight and water your plants are going to get, take into consideration how much time you want to spend, how hardy to the plants are to disease, pest and unfavorable conditions, etc.

    For efficient systems that can actually grow hundreds to thousands of pounds in very small areas, look into market gardening, urban farming. If you want to put a real dent into your grocery bill it takes a lot of food, we eat about 3+ pounds per person a day. You will be surprised how much food you can grow in a backyard. Another term you can look into is "no-dig gardening".
     
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  14. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    Are they fruiting at this point? My understanding is they can sometimes take many years before you get payoff on large fruit trees.

    Also, if fruiting, how do you protect from squirrels/birds?
     
  15. CCity Zero

    CCity Zero Member

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    Nice work and tips, man! I haven't done anything like this in forever but probably a great time to do it it.
     
  16. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    the citrus haven’t fruited yet but everything else has. The nectarine gave me like 300 fruit on year 4. Last year I had about 20 apples. I did not get the peach last year because we went out of town and the squirrels ate them. the loquat are fruiting for the first time this year. The fog I just planted last year ... it had a coupe I never got.

    it is indeed a bit of work to protect from the critters. This year will probably be the first year I’ll have a bunch fruiting at once so will have to think of a strategy. Guess I’ll be home a lot lol.

    the citrus is going to definitely fruit this year. I see it already and my neighbor has an orange tree that is always giving him fruit almost all the time through the year.

    fruit wise blackberry is the easiest / most prolific. They are like grapes in that they grow on second year stalks but they don’t require quite the same level of care and they’ll just produce and produce in the summer.

    veggies wise, cucumber is probably what I do best with - well, tomatoes but I don’t really like tomatoes. We always have success with broccoli but we don’t always eat it. I actually like it when broccoli goes to flower. It’s really pretty. You can see in one of my pictures... yellow flower on last picture. Kind of fell over in the last rain but that’s broccoli gone to flower.
     
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  17. PhiSlammaJamma

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    What you want to do is pick one of those tomatoes, and then just heave it as far as you can. If you are lucky enough it will hit another female gardener in her organic fat ass and explode. Now that is funny. These are the currents on only which tomatoes travel.
     
  18. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    no dig garden

    container gardening

    water hose timer

    compost heap


    tons of info readily accessible these days. I would suggest the above.
     
  19. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    I just tilled in the winter cover rye grass...in 1 week the plantings all begin.

    Fruit trees are budding, so they've all been trimmed back, same with the blackberries.

    All I need now is to figure what exactly to plant early...which tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, maybe melons, I dunno.

    Okra and eggplant loooove hot weather. They grow great later in the summer.
     
  20. Kevooooo

    Kevooooo Member

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    For the past year and a half I’ve been steadily expanding my backyard garden. I just built and installed a 10’x3’x10”raised bed along the fence. Spent quite some time building it as I used untreated wood and and then raw linseed oil for weather. Took a while to cure and dry, especially will cold weather. I also put in metal brackets to maintain tight structure and to ensure it doesn’t bow out.

    I already had made a raised bed around my deck. It’s 9’ on one side and 14’ on the other and 4’ wide (mistake — too wide to reach without stepping in and compressing soil). I did not weather proof this Wood and didn’t put much effort into the structure, so the edges are pulling away a bit. I’ll replace one day.

    all of mine are 2” thick wood pine. Too poor for the good stuff that’s naturally weather proof like red cedar. The cedar fence posts were too thin and bowed out and split at the screws after about 6-9 months.

    ive tried my hand at pretty much everything. From corn to herbs. This year I’m keeping a journal with some basics on what and when I planted and fertilized, any amendments I may have made, expected harvest dates, etc.

    I have a peach tree (already established when I bought place). Planted a Meyers lemon tree last year — I don’t know if it is going to recover from the winter storm. :(

    Lost two rows of leaks but one survived.

    Surprisingly chives survived with no problem.

    Not sure how my grapevine will do either — it’s a clipping that descends from my great grandmothers vine who got it from the family house in Lebanon!

    asparagus had a new sprout a few inches before the storm but rotted away — been in ground for 1.5 years so they’re finally coming up thick enough to harvest.

    Forgot to cover herb garden (4’x4’x2’ — nestled between house and fence doesn’t get much sun) so the parsley died, oregano and thyme survived, rosemary looks rough.

    im going to let the new bed sit a couple weeks before planting in it but several months ago I laid out cardboard and put mulch and soil over it, so it’s been activating nicely. Found lots of worms today while shoveling the raised soil into the new bed.

    Couple of broccoli also didn’t make it but a few survived.
    I’ve got sprouting this week:
    Swiss chard
    Spinach
    Radish
    Carrots
    Lettuce
    Peas

    I’m way too ambitious for how lazy I am... oh and I also don’t eat much of any of this. I give anything that survives to my coworkers for the most part. I’m more of a Taco Bell kind of guy.

    anyways, happy gardening!

    Check out the Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward c smith
     

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