revdorothyl: missmurchsion made this (Laputa)
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posted by [personal profile] revdorothyl at 05:11pm on 13/03/2011 under
The clocks go forward, and I'm reminded that if I want to use my $25 coupon in the latest Gurney's seed & nursery catalog, it's getting to be that time.

So, I'm stocking up on red raspberry canes that are supposed to be hardy at least as far south as zone 8, and planning to put the new Anne golden raspberry canes in a SHADY location this time, in hopes that the summer heat won't discourage them as much as it did the ones I planted side by side with my red raspberry canes the year I moved in here (of the 3 or 4 Anne canes which I planted, I think only one plant is still sending out new canes, the others having succumbed to one discouragement or another).

The $25 off coupon (on $50 or more worth of products, plus the $12 s&h fee) just barely manages to make the bare-root dormant raspberry canes from Gurney's more attractive than the potted plants from Hirts (since there's a hefty shipping fee on top of Hirts' very attractive low prices).

I did, however, order a few things from Hirts Gardens that I can't get from Gurney's, nor from the garden center at the nearby Home Depot (which doesn't carry any raspberries in stock, in this area): Formosa creeping raspberries (apparently a golden raspberry found creeping in fields in Taiwan) that I'm hoping may work as ground-cover in parts of my backyard, and four (count 'em, FOUR!) Sungold tomato plants for a very reasonable price.

I'd resolved to plant Sungold again this year, because last year the one Sungold I'd planted ended up producing first, best, and longest of any of the six varieties of tomato plants I tried. The yellow pear and red grape tomato plants were dead by mid-July, having produced very little. When the Cherokee purple finally produced fruit, I quickly discovered that I had to pick it all when it was green, because as soon as one of those tomatoes acquired some of that lovely purple blush, it would be half-eaten by ants and maybe the occasional rabbit and be fit for nothing but composting. The red cherry sweet 100 hung in there (mostly) to the bitter end (killing frost), but it had pretty much given up fruiting long before then.

In contrast, the Sungold plant was the first to have ripe fruit ready to pick, consistently had the most quantity of fruit to be picked, did NOT dry up and shrivel during the full heat of the summer, and still had at least a handful of fruits ripening every other day up to the point where we finally got a frost hard enough to kill it (and even then there were parts of it still green when I went to pull it out and put away the tomato towers for the winter, a week or two later).

If I happen to come across a decent-looking, cheap cherry tomato of some other variety at Home Depot later this Spring, I may plant some other variety, as well, but based on last year's experience, I'd expect that -- if I don't kill any of the Sungold plants outright -- four of those orange-yellow cherry plants should be enough to keep me in eating and even cooking tomatoes for most of the summer and fall.
There are 15 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 02:58am on 14/03/2011
I wish you much success in your planting, it is not where my gifts lie. :)
posted by [identity profile] at 04:30am on 14/03/2011
I can raise tomatoes and raspberries with a reasonable amount of success, but in this particular soil and climate I've learned not to waste my time on snow peas, purple bush beans, multi-colored carrots, or repeated attempts at establishing a rhubarb patch, because none of those have survived the heat and/or the density of the clay soil in previous years.

I talk a good game, but I've learned to limit my risk!
posted by [identity profile] at 03:53pm on 15/03/2011
But that's part of it! Know what grows well and concentrate on those things.
posted by [identity profile] at 03:55pm on 15/03/2011
Also, tomatoes and raspberries are two things I really like fresh but can't stand to pay outrageous supermarket prices for!
posted by [identity profile] at 03:22pm on 14/03/2011
I can't get my red raspberries to stop sending out canes. Grant you, we're in zone 4/5, so it's perfect weather for them.

But I don't like raspberries. And they are prickly, and have made it damn near impossible to get into the back yard from the gate.

I've pulled them, I've gone after them with a weed whacker, I've cut them with clippers - and by god, I get a bumper crop every freaking year.

Stupid previous house owners. :(
posted by [identity profile] at 05:59pm on 14/03/2011
Oh to have that problem! I remember a monster raspberry patch growing up and my dad would mow it down as we cleared each layer. We had berries all three years we lived there.

You might try tilling the area deep, and then replacing the soil. if you wanted to go to the expense.
posted by [identity profile] at 07:14pm on 14/03/2011
Unfortunately, it's along the fence where there's a path to the back yard. Previous owners covered the path with pointy pink rocks (not so pleasant in bare feet). I think we'd kill the rototiller and possibly some windows before we get the roots.

I've been pulling the baby canes by hand, roots and all to at least keep them contained. Maybe someday I'll win. :)
posted by [identity profile] at 07:44pm on 14/03/2011
Bummer. We decided to remove the fugly double tiered flowerbed left behind by our prev owners and discovered that they used rocks as filler. So I made a sifting screen out of small chicken wire and we've been hand shoveling and sifting the rocks out.

It's taking ages, but we'll have a fairly rock free area when we're done.

Bonus: the rocks can go into our driveway. Cleaning up other ppl's bad choices is so much fun!
posted by [identity profile] at 08:27pm on 14/03/2011
I suspect I'll be finding a lot of little things like that I need to do by hand. The owners before us only had it for a year, but they owned a landscape company and tried to do up their place as a showplace example of what they were capable of - lots of large rocks (enough that it's hard to mow the front yard), horrible spirea shrubs that I can't seem to kill to put in the rose bed I want, and just poorly proporotioned for the house and the neighbourhood.

It wasn't to my taste, and judging by the fact they got foreclosed on, it wasn't to many people's taste. On the plus side, we got a really good deal on the house. Ah, shadenfreude.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:01pm on 15/03/2011
Ah, I remember the days when I had a zone 4/5 garden in Iowa (plus about two feet of black topsoil anywhere I stuck my spade) -- and you're right, for those of us who really like raspberries (and like them well enough to put up with thorns, although the golden ones often have fewer thorns, and I admit I won't plant black raspberries at all, since they only produce on second-year wood, and that means they have more time to develop big thorns) it's the perfect climate, pretty much.

However, I'm sorry to hear that yours are such a pain (I never thought about how the next person to own my house may have to put up with my raspberries the way I have to put up with the previous guy's mint!).
Edited Date: 2011-03-15 04:02 pm (UTC)
posted by [identity profile] at 05:44pm on 14/03/2011
Ah, I see you are the Domestic Goddess type. I decided to grow the flowers from my hanging baskets from seed this year. It's going well so far - but this may just be Fate lulling me before delivering a blow.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:03pm on 15/03/2011
I limit my risk by only trying to grow the two things I really like fresh and refuse to pay high prices for in the grocery store, but even then it's a crap-shoot. :)
posted by [identity profile] at 05:56pm on 14/03/2011
We are trying to focus on tomatoes and peppers this year. Those were the only things that grew much last year. We'll try a few other things but I'm looking forward to lots of reds and greens in the garden.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:10pm on 15/03/2011
If you've got tomatoes and peppers fresh from the garden, you're doing well in my book!

I haven't tried growing sweet peppers yet in this yard (other than the seeds I tried to start two years ago, and not a single one of them survived to grow into a plant), but that'll be my next priority, after I get a decent tomato crop started, because I'd love to be able to grow brightly colored peppers.

I picked up some jalapeno pepper plants two years ago, and they did sort of alright, but there are only so many of THOSE that I want to use!
posted by [identity profile] at 04:46pm on 15/03/2011
Hubby discovered a great recipe for hot pepper sauce so he's hoping for an even bigger crop this year! we've started8 different types.

I won't be eating any. just gimmee a fresh tomato and I'm happy.


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