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Bronze Conversationalist

Gardening Tips 🌱 Quotes 🌸 Signs❗️

Do you have a gardening tip to share? Do you have a gardening question? Do you know a garden related quote? How about a garden sign?
This is the place to share!

Tip: β€œPlant what you love, not what you think you should grow. You are much more likely to have success tending to a crop that you actually like.” 🌱

”To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn 🌸

Garden Sign: Free Weeds Pull Your Own ❗

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Bronze Conversationalist

Beautiful photo! Thank you @Bye 

@Tip: β€œMilkweed plants are the only source of food for the monarch caterpillar. Milkweed plants are food for caterpillars but poisonous to humans. Do not get milkweed sap on your skin or in your eyes. Milkweed is also toxic if eaten, so keep plants away from young children and pets. After it becomes a butterfly, the monarch has a much more varied diet. It starts out extracting the nectar from the milkweed flowers but butterflies consume nectar from many different plants. To attract butterflies plant annuals (coneflowers, impatiens, marigolds, phlox, sunflowers and verbena); perennials (asters, bee balm, mums, daisies, sedum and yarrow) and wildflowers.” (SaveOurMonarchs.org)🌱

Bronze Conversationalist

Tip: Know when to start from seed and when to go with a seedling.

β€œRoot crops like beets, carrots and radishes resent being transplanted, so they’re best to start straight in the ground. Squash family members including cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and zucchini also do best when direct-down after the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees and the danger of frost is past. In cooler regions, you may need to sprout seeds indoors until the ground warms, or buy seedlings. Unless you started your eggplants, peppers and tomatoes in late winter or early spring, seeds will take too long to grow. Get seedlings instead.” Forkner

I do both. How about you? 🌱

Super Contributor

Gardeners work too hard. Lol! As a professional forager, I help people identify the edible and medicinal "weeds" growing on their property. They are always shocked by how many of the things they've been fighting are actually very tasty and nutritious food. 

-Mark

 

The medicine man at www.medicinemanplantco.com
Social Butterfly

@MarkV847771 is this something you do as a hobby or business? Very interesting. If you can, what are some examples of medicinal weeds. No pressure to respond πŸ™‚

Super Contributor

Both pleasure and business! For pleasure I run www.foragingtexas.com which currently covers over 220 edible and medicinal plants found in Texas, but remember that plants grow in the ecosystems that best suit them. They don't follow man-made boundaries and so most of the plants on that website are found in many other states and Canada. Because of this, I include North American range maps showing all the states and Canadian provinces in which each plant has been found.

 

On the business side, I've finally combined my Ph.D. in chemistry with my training in herbs to create MedicineManPlantCo.com to bring back the ancient plants for modern issues. While the plants and mushrooms in these formulas have multi-thousand year histories of being used medicinally, as a scientist I need scientific proof, too. Everything I formulate is supported by science....not to mention triple-tested for impurities, contaminants, and fake material at every step from the farm to the finished product. I have trust issues. Lol!

 

To answer your question about some medicinal plants, let me point you to my YouTube channel where I've created over 100 hours of plant videos. Start with the playlist of medicinal plant information and then if you aren't sick of me (no pun intended) check out the edible plants and other science videos. πŸ™‚

Here's the link to my medicinal plant videos: 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGS3Ma8No-fBK6MAYueUumV4zlABJwSIS

 

Let me know what you think and feel free to ask any more questions! 

-Mark

 

 

 

The medicine man at www.medicinemanplantco.com
Social Butterfly

Hi @MarkV847771 I am Virginia, unfortunately in a studio apartment, but looking forcavtiny cottage to rent. I am definately interested in what you are doing. Do you by any chance have information Virginia set up or do I have to listen/read everything to find this info? Wow, you certainly have been busy!!!

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Super Contributor

Virginia is beautiful but the main different plant-wise between there and Texas is the time of year when the plants appear rather than what plants are appearing. I grew up in Minnesota and that's where I began my plant journey. Like Virginia, that practically artic state had many of the same plants as Texas, especially in regards to landscaping plants, weeds, and most wildflowers.

 

On the food side of things, I have to recommend my book, "Idiot's Guide Foraging" available from Amazon. It covers 75 easy to find, identify, and use wild edibles. However, the publisher didn't want any medicinal information included due to liability issues. 😞

-Mark

 

The medicine man at www.medicinemanplantco.com
Bronze Conversationalist

Tip: Compost

”Feed your soil. It has a complex micro biome-just like your gut-filled with beneficial bacteria, protozoa, fungi and worm-like nematodes. This soil micro biome helps to digest organic material (from things like decomposing leaves) and to make the nutrients it contains accessible to your crops. All that good bacteria comes from compost. Adding chemical fertilizers can have the opposite effect. Buy bagged compost from an independent nursery; they often source from small, local producers, which can really make a difference in quality. Or better yet, make your own.”

I keep a container on my counter for compost material and bring it up to the garden when it is full. 🌱

Bronze Conversationalist

Tip: β€œAlways have flowers. They’re beautiful, cheery and hugely important to a fruit and vegetable garden. Flowers help increase the pollination of your produce, support struggling bee populations and draw in other insects that keep pests out of your garden - like lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps. They can even fend off pests on their own: marigolds repel aphids, mosquitoes, and even rabbits, and nasturtiums deter whiteflies and squash bugs. Some of the best bloomers are cosmos, daisies, purple coneflowers, and zinnias. Add them to your bed ends or tuck them into containers.” Forkner

🌱

Community Manager
Community Manager

I'm in the planning stage for my garden right now. I live in DC and only have a small juliet balcony that faces SW, so it gets afternoon sun. I have placed a railing box, and am going to plant African marigolds, calibrachoa and lemon thyme in there. I want to attract pollinators and possibly hummingbirds, and I'll use the thyme to cook with! I've heard marigolds are good companion plants that keep pests away, and I thought the African marigolds looked like happy little balls of sunshine β˜€οΈ

 

I'm also planning to grow lemon balm and chamomile in their own rail planters so I can make tea! I'm now second-guessing my flower choices for the rail box as they require 6+ hours of sun, and since the spot only gets afternoon light we'll see how they do.

 

What are you growing @LindaB671?

Conversationalist

@AARPRachelA 

I have used marigolds as an insect pest protector. I believe they work, but not in all cases. I have had insects in my cabbage plants which I planted in one of my  4 by 4'' gardens. However, I believe, marigolds did their protector job for my cucumbers in the 4' by 4' just to the west (maybe 1.5' away). Here is a little gardening humor. I bought a couple of packets of seeds that were on sale at a local nursery for about 79 cents. They could have been years old. Anyway, the packet indicated that the flowers are suppose to attract bees, hummingbirds  etc. As you know, some plants need bees. I planted the seeds in some old containers and placed them by the garden. My neighbors think I have some kind of magic and questioned what I was doing. I told them the "birds and bees" lesson. They thought I was crazy. None the less, each year they have a guy come over and nuke their lawn to eliminate insects; and, probably, every other insect. I do not use any insecticide and use self made  compost religiously. About 25 years ago, I ran into an ex-biology major who started a nursery and learned the benefits of mushroom compost. I will buy a few bags of mushroom compost to blend into my soil which is the key to growing everything. I do need to add some fertilizer such as Miracle Grow or whatever is on sale about half way into the growing season after my homemade compost runs out. Bottom line is you may have enough light (about 6 or more hours), but use the best soil, compost (including mushroom compost), and keep your watering consistent. In other words, do not over water, keep track of rainfall. It is a little bit of work, but it is worthwhile.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Oh no, your neighbors are definitely doing it wrong @Tonster521. Do you make your own compost outside? Growing up, we had a compost pile in the backyard. Now, my parents have this cool machine that makes compost. They got it on kickstarter! I bring my compostable materials to the farmer's market and they use it for their compost. One day when I have a yard I'll make my own. I'll definitely get some mushroom compost and mix it into the soil! Thank you for the tip. Have you ever used worm casings? I have quite a few indoor plants and people always recommend worm casings for feedings. Is that something that would work or is necessary for outdoor plants too?

Conversationalist

@AARPRachelA 

I make my own compost. My yard is a rolling hill wherein I dug a 10' x 8' , sort of wedge, into the hill. I enclosed the area with 4' lattice so it is cosmetically appealing. By fall I have nothing left since I use the compost all year. However, in Fall, I collect leaves and add those leaves to coffee grounds, eggshells, old vegetable plants from the garden, old vegetables, thin cardboard, newspapers, etc.that I have been accumulating in another small compost bin. I collect just about everything that will break down. In Fall, the material is about 4' high mostly due to the leaves. So, over Fall and Winter, I start with about 300 cubic feet of material. As of today, the pile is about 2' high due to breaking down. We were lucky in the Midwest and did have not have the average snowfall for early Winter until February when we got over 20" of snow as well as below freezing temperatures for the rest of February. I was unable to turn the rock solid frozen compost until just recently when we had warmer temperatures. Other than underground root vegetables such as beets, I generally do not plant until late April or early May. I have not used worm casings. Somehow worms find there way into my outdoor gardens. I stay with the concept of having really great soil.  

Bronze Conversationalist

@AARPRachelA  Your garden sounds both beautiful and functional! I think you’ll be o.k. with the marigolds, as they are very hardy.

Thank you for asking about my garden. We’ll be planting beans along fencing, squash (yellow and green) and cucumbers in mounds and a variety of tomatoes as suggested by @Tonster521 . The tomatoes will be in cages and surrounded by marigolds. We’ll also do a corner of herbs including chives, mint and basil. Varieties of lettuce and peppers will be included too.  I can’t forget the row of sunflowers and other flowers for cutting.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you for your words of encouragement @LindaB671! I'm very excited about the garden as this is the first year I'll be doing one like this. Your garden sounds magnificent! It will provide a wonderful bounty of yummy produce, herbs and flowers! Please share a photo when you can as I'd love to see it! I'll also share one of mine once it gets going...the weather isn't consistently warm enough in DC yet.

Bronze Conversationalist

@AARPRachelA  Thank you! We won’t be able to safely plant here (Upstate NY) until at least Memorial Day Weekend. I will provide photos once things get going. Others in the AARP Community please do the same!

Conversationalist

@LindaB671 

I will be growing Tommy Toe tomatoes as my first choice. I planted two plants last year and had great success. If maintained correctly, each plant produces close to a thousand cherry tomatoes. They are the best when they are a bold red color. They seem to reach that peak based on where the sun reaches the fruit. So, fruit that grows in the inside of the plant which is shaded somewhat by the plant's leaves will turn red a little later. That is great to know because once the fruit starts to ripen, you will have hundreds of ripe cherry tomatoes quickly. Because the plant is an indeterminate, it grows tall, close to 6 feet. So, you need a strong trellis. Lastly, you need to line up friends and relatives for the bounty. This cherry tomatoes are great in salads or just eat them by the handful.

Bronze Conversationalist

@Tonster521  Thank you for the tips. The Tommy Toe tomatoes sound delicious! I like cherry and grape tomatoes. For the larger variety Beefsteak are my favorite. They are very hardy and great for sandwiches and burgers. A trellis, cage or stake is a must when growing tomatoes. They can be planted in the garden or in a drywall bucket for the patio or porch.

Conversationalist

@LindaB671 

I grow four varieties of tomatoes each year (Tommy toe, beefsteak, roma, and boxcar willy) and rotate the variety among seven gardens that I maintain (2 are 8'X8',3 are 4'X4', and 2 are 8'X3' raised two (2) feet above ground). The above ground gardens are used as a deterrent from rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks who love to eat the tops of my root veges such as beets, radishes, etc. At my son's suggestion, I grew 2 plants of boxcar willy and had great success. These are larger than beefsteaks and are excellent for hamburgers, sandwiches, or just eating. Some of the boxcar willy tomatoes were close to 1 pound. Many were 4 to 5 " wide. I used steel posts and steel cattle fencing to keep to plants growing straight up. When in full production the plant is heavy. This is another indeterminate that will grow about 5' to 6' tall and about 2' to 3' wide as well. Bottom line is they are easy to grow, but you need space. Two plants are more than enough for most backyard gardening. Also, boxcar willy are bigger than the beefsteaks and taste just as good if not better. 

Super Contributor

On June 8th I'll be giving an online Zoom class about edible weeds for the organization "Urban Harvest". While I and they are located in Texas, the "weeds" I'll be presenting are found all over North America, just at different times of the year. You can learn more about this presentation at the Urban Harvest website: Foraging for Weeds in Your Garden - Urban Harvest

-Mark

 

The medicine man at www.medicinemanplantco.com
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