Welcome and Help Center forum: Not New to Gardening, but Glad to Be Here

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Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
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ckatNM
Apr 10, 2014 11:40 AM CST
It's probably obvious that I'm new here, so I decided to say Hello.

I live in zone 8 and my garden season has already begun. My main theme is edible landscaping. I want everything to be pretty, and I also want to eat as much as I can of the stuff that grows. I am not new to gardening; companion planting, edible landscaping, organic gardening. Thanks to the internet I have learned a lot that I apply to my gardening.

Unfortunately, many years of hard work was lost because I had to move. I was gardening for about 20 years in zone 5. Now I am in zone 8 - a very big difference. I'm excited but a bit scared of the challenge as I am now disabled and not able to do as much as I used to. Fortunately, God provides, and I have a roommate that is able to do much of the hard work. Although I consider planning and researching to be very hard work. I don't remember things as well as I used to, which means I look up stuff multiple times. What I don't write down/type to my computer is quickly forgotten. I do remember bits and pieces from years ago, most importantly the TASTE of fresh goodies from the garden.

Before I moved, I was very passionate about herbs and berries. I grew elderberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and mulberries. Although I never got to taste the mulberries because they fruited when I became ill and had to move shortly after. I made tonic with the elderberries every year and froze it. Every other month or so, I ate chunks of frozen tonic and it kept me healthy - I used to get colds and pneumonia frequently until I started consuming the tonic. A little bit goes a long way.

I can't even begin to list all the different herbs I have grown over the years. Many of them I grew in containers because I liked to move them around. I also found the containers more relaxing because of their higher height. In my current location, I have several little beds to work with. This year, I have already planted snow peas, lima beans, pole beans, tomatoes, onions, and spaghetti squash. I planted the spaghetti squash just yesterday as the seeds were growing in the squash. It was quite a shock to cut the squash for eating and discover it was full of sprouts. I don't know how well they will grow, but I planted them right away. Today, I will plant spaghetti squash seeds saved from last year.

I kept a compost pile previously. Last year, my roommate built a 4' long compost bin. Yahoo! We filled the bin by Nov and let it sit undisturbed until March and now have beautiful compost. I've been adding it to the garden as I plant. We bought compost and manure to add to the garden plots both last year and this year. This house has never had a garden and was covered with weed guard topped with rocks and rocks and rocks. It is also a corner lot that gets a lot of sun. Much more sun than I've previously had for gardening. Along with the constant wind storms with dirt flying everywhere and the intense heat with no rain, it will definitely be a challenge.

I ordered a bunch of herbs from Richters. They aren't in the U.S. but they had the best germination rates of any place I've ordered from. Believe me, I've ordered from a lot of places over the years. What else is there to do in the winter than peruse gardening magazines and catalogs, and plan and shop? I received a beautiful fig tree from them that grew nearly all the way to the ceiling. But when I got sick and moved, a friend kept it for me, and promptly killed it. I will hopefully get another soon. I will also be getting some passionfruit. I bought some gojo berries with my last order from Richters. I can't wait to plant those seeds indoors and outdoors. I hope to have nearly all the seeds planted and my starts planted by the end of the weekend. Many of my starts died when I was hardening them from lack of water, but at least I have plenty of tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupes that survived. Of course, I also have a lot of seeds to plant. I had so many Roma tomatoes that I gave some to my neighbors.

I have some indoor plants, aloe vera, stevia and basil. Also a planter of mixed herbs - I recognize the parsley and basil so far. They will have to go in a bigger pot. My aloe vera has overgrown the large pot it is in, so that pot will go to the garden. It is the large pot my fig tree was in. I also have a big outdoor pot with basil, parsley and chives. The parsley and chives managed to keep growing over the winter when I moved it under the covered porch. The parsley will get moved to the garden this year, as it is now two years old and I want to keep fresh plants on the porch.

Um, I'm not sure what else to say, so I'll go poke around in the forums. I've already been reading through most of the forums and look forward to joining in. I'm not usually a big talker, preferring to spend more time lurking. However, most people know that when it comes to gardening, I am not so quiet. I've practically had to sit on my hands to keep myself from posting before now. I like to get a feel of the forums by just reading when I am new.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Apr 10, 2014 11:47 AM CST
Warm welcome from the Pacific Northwest, also Zone 8. If that is where you've relocated, please feel free to join in the PNW Forum. As you've no doubt seen there are many forums, either by region or by interest. You will quickly feel at ease.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
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ckatNM
Apr 10, 2014 12:10 PM CST
Interesting nick you have there. That's the nickname my husband had, although it wasn't always a compliment. He passed away in 2008.

I live in New Mexico. Much different than the PNW. But I imagine you grow some lovely brussel sprouts in that climate.

Thank you for the welcome.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Apr 10, 2014 12:18 PM CST
@ckatNM, I'm sorry for your loss, and honored to share your late husband's nickname. I rather embrace my boneheadedness, which we all experience now and again. For example, I should have figured you were from New Mexico from your screen name, but no...that would be too easy! Enjoy both the civility and knowledge at this web site.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Apr 10, 2014 1:04 PM CST
Hi, ckatNM and welcome! Welcome! Deb is right, you'll find yourself comfy here in no time! Lots of friendly, helpful folk to chat with here. Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Apr 10, 2014 1:08 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Welcome!
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Apr 10, 2014 1:17 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Really good folk, here. Even if you choose to not post much, lurkers are always welcome. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
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ckatNM
Apr 11, 2014 8:23 PM CST
Thanks everyone! Yes. So many forums for me to lurk in makes me very happy. I even saw some gorgeous pictures of zinnias and immediately thought, "Can I eat them?"

I looked them up and they don't seem to be edible, but I have a perfect place for something pink and showy that likes the full hot sun I get here. I do grow a few things that aren't really edible, like herbs for medicinal purposes and attracting beneficial bugs and pollinators. I learned about a lot of herbs trying to grow stuff to make my husband feel better and less grumpy. He had cancer. Although I was less of a bonehead about availing myself of all the herbs I was growing. In my new gardening zone, I have to relearn how to activate my not-so-green thumb.

And yes, I do have many bonehead moments myself. I'm sure I will be introducing her to all of you soon. See you around!
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 12, 2014 6:22 AM CST

Moderator

Welcome!

Karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Apr 12, 2014 9:14 AM CST
@ckatNM here's a link to an article on pretty edibles for you Smiling
http://garden.org/ideas/view/wildflowers/256/Grow-Edible-Flo...
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
Image
ckatNM
Apr 12, 2014 10:02 PM CST
Mmmm. One of the best things about my passion for edible landscaping is to know that I can take a stroll for the body, beauty for the eyes, and of course, happy taste buds. I need to start cooking more flowers. I'm always nibbling on something. Because I can. And I've sampled some stuff I should not have. I manage to resist the urge to make a meal of stuff I don't know. But there's even more stuff I forget. I love daylilies and always find a spot for them. My passion for them hasn't yet evolved to eating them. Maybe I'll make that a goal for the first daylilies I get for my garden here.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Apr 12, 2014 11:53 PM CST
Welcome; after reading your introduction, you might find this thread of interest:
The thread "Cooking with Lilies" in Lilies forum
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
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ckatNM
Apr 20, 2014 6:19 PM CST
@jmorth sorry I missed your reply for so long. I most definitely will look into eating my daylilies. With such short blooms, I don't know how I'll talk myself into eating them instead of smelling and looking at them and taking a ton of pictures. One day, curiosity will get the better of me, I'm sure.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Joyce
Alamogordo, NM (Zone 7b)
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Cactuspatch
May 9, 2014 3:29 PM CST
welcome! I am not new here but I often don't find the time to figure out the site. I am a Native New Mexican. I live in the southern part of the state in the foothills of the Sacramento Mts. I have had to live out of state some, but thankfully have lived and gardened in the state most of my life! If this is your first year, take heart with the winds. I used to live in Carlsbad and Roswell, grew up in Lea Co and it blows a lot there but where I am now, it doesn't blow as much normally, but this year has been more than in the last 14 years combined! I try to be done early in the day with my gardening before the winds starts in Smiling
I have been on flickr for years as I am into photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/quiltdiva/sets you might enjoy looking at my garden shots there. Will try to check in here more often.
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
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ckatNM
May 9, 2014 8:49 PM CST
Hello.

I haven't been to your area of New Mexico. With the price of gas, I haven't been able to do much exploring at all. Now I have an old vehicle that I wouldn't trust to roam about New Mexico.

Yes, I have learned that the winds are ever-present here. Learned it the hard way last year just trying to grow a few things. The soil was poor and dry and often blowing down the street. This year, I got a bunch of straw to mulch with. Much better to see the soil beneath it isn't bone dry shortly after watering. I have to pre-soak the straw so it doesn't get blown away. But still, it is easier to know I can just water the straw to keep it moist enough to be effective mulch that stays in place, than wasting water.

You are lucky your winds are later in the day. There isn't any pattern to the winds here. I get up early to get gardening stuff done but can't do a thing because it is already windy. I have to keep trying throughout the day to find a break in the wind. Have most of everything planted now for this year, so the plan is to get some drip irrigation in place for watering in the evenings. I'm just too exhausted at the end of the day to wait for it to be cool enough and less windy enough to hand water for the entire growing season. Living in the mountains must be nice. A bit cooler weather for you and your zone isn't as hot as it is here.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Joyce
Alamogordo, NM (Zone 7b)
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Cactuspatch
May 12, 2014 3:19 PM CST
Yes drip irrigation is what is recommended. I finally got it but have to say that our hard water (that is so good for the plants) clogs the drippers so I prefer to hand water when I can. I always like to be in the yard early in the day and then maybe for awhile after supper so it is no problem for me to water when I can. I do mulch a lot from my mulch pile and I have gravel mulch under many of the plants. I don't live in the mountains, just near the mountains. I am in the Chihuahuan desert and it can get hot in the summer but I prefer it to be nice and warm, just hate cold! That is why I would not live in the mountains.

As of zones, it is interesting that because of certain areas that are protected I can grow some things that should be only in zone 8 and then some things die in winter that are supposed to live in zone 6. I have always loved gardening though and it is forever an experiment! Check out my flickr pages to see what grows here. Joyce
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
Image
ckatNM
May 12, 2014 10:42 PM CST
Sometimes the experiments work well, and sometimes we have to make adjustments. I was anxious to get started this year since last year was my first here and the garden wasn't much of a success. I was especially anxious about the cool weather crops since I was expecting to plant those earlier than I did. The peas have finally begun their growth spurt, so I guess the timing wasn't too off. I watch and wait a lot because you are right that sometimes there are micro-climates that differ from the rest of our expectations for the zone.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Joyce
Alamogordo, NM (Zone 7b)
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Cactuspatch
May 13, 2014 7:06 PM CST
And how weird has the weather been! Snow up north this late in spring!! Geez! I am in La Luz BTW
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
Herbs Dog Lover Bee Lover Vegetable Grower Garden Procrastinator
Image
ckatNM
May 13, 2014 10:14 PM CST
We didn't get snow here. It rained and was cold last night. I didn't have to water and didn't go outside at all today. Friday is supposed to be very warm, so I will probably plant more herb seeds.
"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." - Anonymous
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
May 14, 2014 6:30 AM CST
Yea for rain! Hurray!
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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