I thought I’d better take some time (before it’s time to put up the Christmas tree or whatever) to answer some of your gardening questions from my previous gardening posts. Sorry that by now it’s a little late for some of them to be relevant for this year’s garden. Here are some of your questions, in no particular order:
Where do you buy heirloom seeds?
Any tips for a “garden” on an apartment balcony? I’m interested in growing a few veggies in pots — are there particular veggies that work better than others for pot-gardening?
I’ve heard that tomatoes and peppers grow well in pots. And of course, growing potatoes in a container is a blast. Otherwise, I don’t have much experience in this area. I saw a post over at Passionate Homemaking that has great information about growing veggies when you have limited gardening space. Check it out!
Do you have your own tiller?
Yes, but do you mean a working tiller? No. My dad gave us his old one a couple of years ago but it never worked great for us. Then it stopped working at all. This year we borrowed one from our friends. Yay for friends with tillers!
What type of fertilizers do you use?
We’ve done a variety of things through the years. One year we got some from someone who had horses. Thus…horsey fertilizer. Another year, we got some from someone who had chickens. This year, we’re pretty much using our compost pile since we’ve been working on it for a few years now.
Do you use anything for pests?
Yes. I screen my phone calls.
Oh, but for garden pests…no not really. Grasshoppers really like my green beans, but I’d just really rather not use any chemicals in my garden. As I mentioned before, planting marigolds is helpful for some pests. I’m researching other ways to keep away buggies.
Once when I planted a bunch of potatoes with a friend of mine we had a terrible problem with “potato beetles“. We finally just started going from plant to plant finding the bugs, grabbing them off, and squishing them with our fingers. After saying, “Eew…eeew…eeeeeeew” for the first seven or eight bugs, I got over it and started squishing (their guts out) gleefully. When you know they’re ruining your crop, the gross factor isn’t so gross anymore. It’s war.
Do the boys like to help?
Eh, sort of. At first it’s all fun and games, then it gets tiresome for them. They like planting…especially potatoes. And they like digging up potatoes. Asa’s really good about bagging the grass when he mows…then he puts it down as mulch.
How do you work around the boys when they don’t want to be out there?
If they don’t want to be out there, sometimes I make them anyway…because I’m fun like that. Or, I’ll leave them in the house doing some of MY other jobs so that I won’t have to work double time when I come back in.
They are very good at snapping green beans and washing and tearing lettuce…some of the jobs that have to be done after the outside garden work is done.
Do you know if you HAVE to use seed potatoes?
No, you don’t have to. You can use some of your potatoes that you grew last year. You can use regular potatoes from the store…although they have probably been treated with chemicals to keep them from sprouting…and if you’re planting a potato…you want it to sprout. I’ve usually stuck with seed potatoes, or some of my scrawny sprouting potatoes from last year’s garden.
**UPDATE** Did you see Candace’s comment? She said, “FYI- We tried potatoes from the grocery store last year, organic ones. They grew great above ground and flowered and all. But, alas, no potaoes underground!”
So, maybe not potatoes from the store? Anyone else have any experiences with regular potatoes?
How do you store your potatoes and how long do they last?
I put my potatoes in covered boxes in a dark, cool room in my basement. They keep until about March before sprouting.
How much sun/heat can potatoes take? I live in the desert and am not sure where they would best be placed.
They need lots of sun. Bring on the sun.
Any other questions? How’s your garden growing?