35 posts in this topic

Welcome to what will possibly be the least popular thread on the KSP forums.

What, may you ask, does gardening have to do with spaceflight...? 

Why, absolutely nothing of course... unless you are a hungry astronaut left stranded on Mars with only some potatoes and a large quantity of astronaut poop to use as fertiliser.

I am not a stranded astronaut, but I do have a bone to pick with my garden. You see, last year's crop was dreadful. I put in a lot of work last spring, but after a promising start...

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...things started dying left right and centre. July and August were bone dry, my tomato plants got mildew, and in the end all I had to show for my efforts were courgettes (zucchini for you guys from across the pond).

Lots of courgettes.

Long ones, round ones, stripy ones. We spent most of last summer eating them in soups, curries, with couscous or stuffed, and then we froze or canned the rest and have been steadily munching our way through them since. My step-children never want to see another courgette again. Officially. Ever.

So this year, we are going to try again, and do better. Or else.

I have my first plot ready for onions and potatoes (this is my first attempt at 'taters).

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I have some nice rich, dark soil with a plentiful supply of manure courtesy of these gals...

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Apparently chicken dung is the best. They are also helping me to clear the turf from my second plot which is just next to my bottom-of-the-garden office where I write the Camwise Logs. I feel like I'm using them for slave labour, but dammit they're efficient. Leave hens on your lawn for a couple of weeks and it will be totally wrecked, children. 

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My main goal this year is to revive Great Uncle Jim's tomatoes. This will be my third attempt.

Great Uncle Jim (or Tonton Jim) was my wife's grandfather, as well as being her great uncle. Don't ask. It's just how they did things back then in that part of France. Anyway, Tonton Jim was a legendary gardener, and my wife has fond memories of eating his delicious, juicy, fleshy tomatoes as a child.

Tonton Jim passed away a few years ago. Fittingly, he was in the garden he loved so much when it happened. His heart failed and he was dead before he hit the ground apparently. What a great way to go.

A couple of summers back, we visited her grandma who gave us some tomato seeds that had been tucked away in the cellar for years. The most recent strain is from Jim's 2005 crop. So far, I have managed to get some to germinate twice, but the first attempt I planted too late, and last year was an awful season for just about everything.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated as things start to grow. And if any of you lads and lasses have a garden, feel free to post your endeavours... :)

 

 

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Well, I have no garden in my tiny apartment, but I did wake up listening to a gardening show on NPR, and yesterday was all about gree things, so....

 

:wink:

Here's the show, if anyone's interested: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443696/you-bet-your-garden

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29 minutes ago, Dman979 said:

Well, I have no garden in my tiny apartment, but I did wake up listening to a gardening show on NPR, and yesterday was all about gree things, so....

 

:wink:

Here's the show, if anyone's interested: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443696/you-bet-your-garden

Wow. To my untrained European ear, the host of that show sounds just like Bernie Sanders.

Anyway, thanks. Mr Sanders' show gives some excellent advice for growing sweetcorn,  which is something else I want to try this year. Did you know that it is almost impossible to find fresh corn on the cob in France? You can only get it canned. They grow plenty here but it is mainly used for fodder. 

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3 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Wow. To my untrained European ear, the host of that show sounds just like Bernie Sanders.

I'd never really thought about it, but I guess they sound a bit similar. His name is Mike McGrath, and he responds to emails about gardening- my dad asked him how to plant some of the fruit trees we got a few springs ago.

3 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Anyway, thanks. Mr Sanders' show gives some excellent advice for growing sweetcorn,  which is something else I want to try this year. Did you know that it is almost impossible to find fresh corn on the cob in France? You can only get it canned. They grow plenty here but it is mainly used for fodder. 

That's... that's pretty depressing. Corn on the cob is one of my very favorite things about summer. Warning- you'll need to stock up on dental floss before eating it.

 

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OK, starting with the easy stuff. Or at least, it's supposed to be easy: onions and 'taters.

For potatoes, I am going to plant Agata. These are your run-of-the-mill early crop yellow spuds. I have seed potatoes that have already started to sprout since I bought them a couple of weeks ago.

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There are many ways of growing potatoes; in raised beds, growbags, trash cans, mulch, or even in old tyres. I will be using the traditional hilled row technique, building up a mound of soil around the plants as they grow to keep the tubers buried. But first of all, I mark the first of my two rows and dig four inch deep holes spaced about a foot apart, all along the row. You could also dig a trench.

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...then I put in my seed potatoes with the eye facing upwards and cover with soil.

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Onions next: both yellow and red. I use onions in almost all of my cooking; in soups, stews, curries, rougail, etc. The red ones will be great for salads to accompany the numerous barbecues that no doubt await me this summer, as well as raw in burgers (my personal speciality: steak/chorizo/cheddar with a creamy tomato-basil-chilli sauce). 

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Onions are easy; just push 'em gently into the ground. Don't cover them: most of the bulb must remain exposed. Space by 4 to 5 inches.

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Not bad for an afternoon's work. Two rows of potatoes, three of onions. 

T1dkGE0.jpg

 

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Living in New Jersey (officially nicknamed "The Garden State"), I've never had any problem growing anything. I just put it in the ground and it grows... but, apparently, so do the weeds. So, gardening, while easy here, is a pain because one must regularly weed.

Don't know why you're having troubles with potatoes, they're so easy even we Scots-Irish can grow them. Doesn't matter if the eye faces up, they'll grow no matter what orientation they're planted in. Just remember, each budding eye will grow a separate plant... so if your seed potato has multiple eyes, cut them up and then plant each eye individually. The only problem I've ever had with them is the damned beetles. Need I say?... check out YouTube for planting ideas. @Dman979 could even grow them in a bucket in the window (big bucket / big window). :wink:

 

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16 minutes ago, LordFerret said:

Don't know why you're having troubles with potatoes, they're so easy even we Scots-Irish can grow them.

This is actually my first attempt at spuds, and I don't doubt they'll grow just fine if its not too dry this year (that's the big killer here). So far, I've had plenty of good crops from onions, anything squash or marrow-like, and some really excellent tomatoes (except for last year). I've had less success with peppers and aubergine (eggplant). It all depends on your local soil and climate, I suppose.

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"Make your own Mars yourself"

Don't give him hydrazine

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this miss me so much ^^ (watch the photos with envy)

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Outside I only really grow herbs. I have thyme, oregano, parsley, and a few kinds of mint. I have limited space in the walled-off part of the yard where my dog goes, and anywhere else is not good for food crops, as critters will wreck them (from pack rats and squirrels, to deer). I have "natural" crops of pine nuts (native trees that happen to drop the things in the early autumn).

Inside, I have a few things going right now because I have an atrium. I have 9 (!) banana trees in various states of growth from 5cm tall, to over 3 meters. That sounds like more than it is. One is a dwarf, and it tops out at ~2m high, and it is in a huge pot, and has some 5 "babies," the tallest of which is maybe 20cm high, the others being closer to the 5-10cm mark. The non-dwarf tree is the 3m one, and it has 2 ~5cm spears coming up as well. There is fruit on the dwarf right now. In addition, I have a few kale plants in the atrium, and some other herbs (basil, and cilantro), along with a couple kinds of ginger (not doing super good). The kids stuck an avocado seed into one of the ginger pots, which we only know about because now it is about 1.7m tall. I'll see if I have some pics---I actually took a couple in the atrium yesterday.

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I cut the end of the banana flower off to see if the fruit would grow faster (I've managed to get bananas a few times now, then you cut the plant down to the dirt).

 

Edited by tater
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On 3/20/2017 at 3:25 PM, tater said:

Inside, I have a few things going right now because I have an atrium...

Wow. I did not know banana trees produced such beautiful flowers. My friends gave me a banana tree once as a birthday present, and I managed to kill it pretty quick. :( 

Also, some nice mountains you have going on in the background, there...

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24 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Wow. I did not know banana trees produced such beautiful flowers. My friends gave me a banana tree once as a birthday present, and I managed to kill it pretty quick. :( 

Also, some nice mountains you have going on in the background, there...

The flowers are amaryllis right next to the banana, sorry. I took the image mostly of the flowers, but this thread seems more about crops, and it was the only image I had. The banana flower is a sort of long, purple bud, and not as pretty.

In that image, it's just a hill, the mountains are behind that (took a while to find an image I already uploaded that shows the hill in the above image, and the mountains, I tend to focus on the mountains in pictures, not the foreground hills, lol:

CRW_0251.jpg

The hill on the right is the same hill (this is just taken from a window a little south in the house with a slightly different view).

 

Do you need to irrigate your garden, or is rain and the occasional watering enough? Here in New Mexico, once it's June if I missed a couple days in a row, most outside crops would be utterly dead.

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3 hours ago, tater said:

The flowers are amaryllis right next to the banana, sorry. I took the image mostly of the flowers, but this thread seems more about crops, and it was the only image I had.

Oh no, any kind of gardening is fine! Indoors, outdoors, flowers, trees, edible stuff, zen gardens, secret gardens...

Just 'cause my philosophy is "if you can't eat it, why bother growing it?" doesn't mean this thread has to be limited to that. I love the colours! 

3 hours ago, tater said:

In that image, it's just a hill, the mountains are behind that

We clearly don't share the same definition of what is merely a "hill" and what deserves the title of "mountain". :D

For context, although I live near a fairly significant mountain chain today (the Pyrenees between France and Spain), I grew up in a landscape that looks like this (northeast England).

HU4YX6H.jpg

3 hours ago, tater said:

Do you need to irrigate your garden, or is rain and the occasional watering enough? Here in New Mexico, once it's June if I missed a couple days in a row, most outside crops would be utterly dead.

Not quite that bad here. We're usually fine until July. If we get a heat wave (and we have more frequently in recent years), typical temperatures are 35-40°C/95-105°F, and it's a matter of how often we get a summer rainstorm. Sometimes they can be a couple of weeks apart so I have to irrigate, or things will start to yellow seriously after three or four days.

I guess this is pretty tame compared to New Mexico, though.

Edited by UnusualAttitude
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It's hot and dry in June and most of July here, plus my house is 6500 ft (1981m) above sea level, so the sun is quite intense. I have some pretty plants, mostly native, that I take care of and prune, but when I plant stuff I love it when it can be a crop to eat. I have neighbors with fruit trees, but they attract bears, so I'm not so keen on them.

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I once tried growing Radishes and the grew too large. Mission failed, we will get em next time.

Stupid question:

Can you shove a potato in the soil and let it grow if you give it some water often? Free potaters?

Edited by NSEP

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Oh, I grow my scallion, parsley, basil, and, the latest addition to the family, grape tomato. It's still small, but so far is enough for one or two salads a week for both me and my wife :) 

By next year we'll have moved into a house we're going to build in a family's land plot, there I'll have real space to grow stuff; so far I'm thinking more tomatoes, lettuce and rocket, maybe kale.

On 22/03/2017 at 6:40 PM, tater said:

It's hot and dry in June and most of July here, plus my house is 6500 ft (1981m) above sea level, so the sun is quite intense. I have some pretty plants, mostly native, that I take care of and prune, but when I plant stuff I love it when it can be a crop to eat. I have neighbors with fruit trees, but they attract bears, so I'm not so keen on them.

Similar weather here, 1000m ASL. The tomato is quite fond of it, it seems. Too bad bugs love it :mad: 

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On 22 March 2017 at 10:40 PM, tater said:

 my house is 6500 ft (1981m) above sea level,

Oh rly? I live like -1m below sea level, near the coast too. Pretty wet out here. XD

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Nearest below sea level to me is Death Valley, though I'd think that's maybe a 9-10 hour drive.

A buddy of mine grows green chile peppers (same species as Anaheim, but far hotter), and these tiny tomatoes that are champagne grape size down to pea size.

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Does anyone want lemons? If you pay for shipping, I'll send them. Pulled nearly a ton off my tree last season, and it doesn't look like it wants to do any less this time. It's about a half-dozen liters of lemon juice per bag of lemons, which takes significantly more than ten pounds of sugar to make into lemonade. I'm not sure how much lemonade that comes out to, but it's more than twenty liters.

If I smell rotten lemons again, I might go berserk.

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3 minutes ago, 0111narwhalz said:

Does anyone want lemons? If you pay for shipping, I'll send them. Pulled nearly a ton off my tree last season, and it doesn't look like it wants to do any less this time. It's about a half-dozen liters of lemon juice per bag of lemons, which takes significantly more than ten pounds of sugar to make into lemonade. I'm not sure how much lemonade that comes out to, but it's more than twenty liters.

If I smell rotten lemons again, I might go berserk.

Where do you live? I love lemons... I have a great cocktail with fresh lemon juice, too, but that might be more of a PM thing :D .

Fruit from other countries is strictly regulated to avoid plant pests and disease, however.

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2 minutes ago, 0111narwhalz said:

West coast US.

I'm becoming intrigued, lol. That's not even crazy expensive! PM me when it's coming up and I can maybe PayPal you. I'll throw a Corpse Reviver #2 party.

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Wow @tater and @0111narwhalz, shady dealings involving lemons. This thread is turning out to be far more useful and popular than I could have possibly imagined... :D

1 hour ago, NSEP said:

Can you shove a potato in the soil and let it grow if you give it some water often? Free potaters?

Yes, technically you can. You can even cut your potato into sections (as long as you have one eye or sprout per section) to get several plants from a single spud. Most gardeners recommend leaving your cut up potatoes to dry for a couple days before you plant them if you do this.

Be aware that most potatoes you buy from the store have been treated with a chemical called chlorpropham to stop them sprouting in your pantry. Not a problem if you can get organic veg, though.

 

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1 minute ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Be aware that most potatoes you buy from the store have been treated with a chemical called chlorpropham to stop them sprouting in your pantry.

Fat lot of good that does. :rolleyes:

1 minute ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Wow tater and 0111narwhalz, shady dealings involving lemons.

"Lemons." :wink:

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Every 'tater I have in the pantry sprouts. 

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