For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Nov 28

Your Questions About Gardening

Donna asks…

Growing a vegetable garden in the pacific northwest?

So this spring I have decided to start a vegetable garden! This is my first ever garden so I am here looking for some tips and pointers. I have done some research but would like to hear from others on things like what to plant this time of year (was planning on plants like broccoli, onions, spinach, peas, kale, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, melons and possibly aspargus) how to prep the bed (mine is a raised bed) general growing/care tips or any other information. greatly appreciate any help! I am very excited to start growing my own food!
oh also for got to add i have a compost pile that is about 2 years old, would this be alright to use for soil?

GardenersCardiff answers:

If your compost looks like soil, it’s ready to use.

Some of that stuff you mention should have been started already, especially if you were going to use seeds. If you’re buying plants, you could right now be setting out broccoli, spinach, peas, onions, kale, cabbage,and beets. The rest like somewhat warmer weather. They could be started from seed indoors or in a sheltered spot right now. In fact, depending on exactly where you are, they had better be started now or they might not have time to mature before the weather cools in late August. Beans could probably be started from seed in the ground right now.

I don’t know about melons in the PNW climate, unless you mean Spokane. If you’re on the coast, which is what I’m assuming, you probably don’t have the heat they need unless you have a greenhouse or a very sheltered sunny spot. They need minimum 80F temps in the daytime close to maturity or they will not ripen. Peppers are a bit dicey too; again, they need heat, and that’s something the soggy west coast is short on.

Asparagus is a long-lived perennial and needs careful bed preparation. You won’t get any asparagus for at least two years after planting. It’s a large investment in labour to get an asparagus bed going. Probably better done in fall.

I mention that because like most novice gardeners, and that was me at one time, generally bite off more than they can chew. That leads to discouragement and not looking after things right because you don’t quite know how to easily manage as much as you have planted. After some experience you’ll know what’s what and it will be easier to do more.

Some things are more worth growing than others. Tomatoes, good choice, because they are expensive in stores and home-grown ones taste way better. Cabbage, not so much. Onions, well, an onion is an onion and they are fairly cheap to buy. Beans can be an excellent choice because if they are pole beans you can get an awful lot of beans from a relatively small square footage of garden. Snow peas are well worth growing at home. Regular peas, maybe not. Takes a long time to shell them. I don’t know how big your garden is but unless it’s large it’s best to make good use of it by growing things that cost more to buy than to grow or by growing things that really are better home-grown.

Richard asks…

Is Monsanto trying to control food by making a law to control the seeds for food?

Maybe there will be no more farmers market, or grow your own food if government votes to have a contamination law in affect. Will this happen?

GardenersCardiff answers:

I hope not, but Monsanto is really trying hard to put small farmers out of business -worldwide. And all this GMO food is really scary. If push come to shove, I’ll have a container garden on my deck and in my basement with grow lights. I steer clear of as much GMO food as I can. Monsanto should be fined instead of the gvt allowing them to fine famers.
See story in websites. They are trying to maintain global control of foodstuffs, cotton production, and some drugs.
For example
Multi-Billion $$ Monsanto Sues More Small Family Farmers
Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Saskatchewan Canada, whose Canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s genetically engineered Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby farm. Monsanto says it doesn’t matter how the contamination took place, and is therefore demanding Schmeiser pay their Technology Fee (the fee farmers must pay to grow Monsanto’s genetically engineered products). According to Schmeiser, “I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract.
If I would go to St. Louis (Monsanto Headquarters) and contaminate their plots – destroy what they have worked on for 40 years – I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away.”
Rodney Nelson’s family farm is being forced into a similar lawsuit by Monsanto.
How is a small farmer with limited resources and a government that doesn’t give a hoot supposed to win?

Chris asks…

How Do I Grow An Organic Chicken?

I want to save money by growing my own food in my garden, but I can’t find any seeds that grow chickens? Where would I find these seeds, and do I have to plant them different than regular seeds? I don’t want them to eat the other vegetables in my garden. Thanks!

GardenersCardiff answers:

You go to the store and buy them and plant the chicken eggs in the ground and watch then grow!

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