Java Talk: Planning Our Gardens


This is about the time of year when I'm so sick of cold and snow that my mind dives forward to planning my spring and summer gardens. 


Of course mine will be container gardens. I'm thinking of constructing a small, maybe 4 x 4 feet (perhaps a foot tall) wooden box for veggies. Don't know if that will get done or not.

Right now it's a mess out there on the patio. Piles of leaves underneath snow, which hopefully will melt soon. I will have my work cut out for me.

So what do I for sure want to plant this year?

Herbs are always on my list. Many also keep insects at bay. Of course I'm anxious to see what will come up that I planted last summer. The herbs and perennials.

More vines. Hoping some of them will make it through winter.

Annuals for quick color. 

And probably more ornamental grasses. I'd love to find muhly grass.

So what's on your list?

53 comments

  1. Brenda I'm so excited we are going to landscape and plant a veggie and herb garden. I'm going to incorporate the herbs into my front landscaping. We also are going to plant more fruit and but trees and berry bushes. What is the name of that bone you save the beans from every year that you replant? I'm doing this all in heavy duty clay wish me luck lol.

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  2. I like the idea of the wood box on your patio for veggies I was at a cafe that grew their own veggies outside yesterday and you wouldnt believe what they fit into a box.

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    1. I hope I can get that done. Or I may do something like a galvanized horse trough, which is bigger than my galvanized containers, or I won't be able to keep the pupsters out of it!

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  3. I bought a house last fall, and was lucky to get tons of Hosta for 2-3 dollars a piece at Lowes, final clearance.
    This year I am using some of my empty totes from moving, to make raised beds. Just search tote self watering containers, and you will see tons of ideas. You could do this, instead of building something, and easy is better! The idea of watering from the bottom, and really soaking my veggies in the hot summer weather, sounds wonderful!
    Good Luck!

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    1. So you mean like big plastic totes? I have some of those.

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    2. Yes, big plastic totes. Look up self watering containers on the internet, even on Pinterest. You make a resevoir for water at the bottom, and plants in the top 2/3.....it is really cool!!!!

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    3. go to insideurbangreen.org for the easiest ones

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  4. WE have some changes coming up in our life so not sure what I am going to plant this year. For sure some herbs -beyond that I will have to see. xo Diana

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    1. I have to have herbs. I could not envision a garden without them.

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  5. I think some small beds on your patio would work great.! We are tying to get our yard landscaped. A small part of the yard is older, but the rest was almost used like a junk yard by the previous owner. We hired a demolition man to come in with a small Bobcat and he cleared it out in about 8 hours! You would not believe how many more dump trips that would of been for us. We had already done at least three or four ourselves by renting a vehicle; one time we hit the tonnage limit!

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    1. No telling what you might dig up back there then!

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  6. Brenda, if you do a wooden box for your veggies make sure it is an untreated wood, otherwise it will be unsafe to eat the veggies that grow in it. We used cedar for our wood raised bed containers. Also definitely have it where the pupsters can't do their bathroom business in it, as that makes it unsafe to eat the veggies that grow there too....
    I had great success last year growing tomatoes and am so looking forward to more wonderful home grown tomatoes again this summer!
    I go to a nearby plant nursery/greenhouse the first week in May every year and pick out all of the annual flowers that I plant in my containers and veggies that I plant in my wood raised bed container. It's always so nice to have that splash of colorful flowers back on my deck! I buy different varieties of flowers every year, but I stick with the same veggies that I like and have had success growing in the past which are tomatoes, jalapeño, habanero, and chili peppers that I use in making salsa, chili, and Mexican food, butter crunch lettuce, radishes and green beans. I've also had good luck growing strawberries that come back with more abundance of strawberries every year, so I don't have to buy them.

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    1. That sounds like a good plan, knowing when you'll go to the nursery each year. And I like your list of veggies.

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  7. I love fresh tomatoes but have such a problem with stink\squash bugs. My daughter ha d great results planting in those 5 gallon plastic buckets from Lowes. The cages fit right down into them. I am going to try that and put them into a small portable greenhouse. I have 4 raised 4x10 beds for other veges. The yellow jasmine, and the tulip tree are blooming in the front of the house. The azealas are late this year, the probably don't like the cold either.





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    1. Oh, I love tulip trees! I think I'll have to have a higher container to keep the pupsters out. Abi can really jump.

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  8. My husband is the actual gardener, but I'm the planner. I love it when the seed catalogs start showing up in the mail. I always get so excited. I don't usually buy anything from them, but I love looking at the garden plans. I have a lot of perennials in the yard, but I like adding colorful annuals to pots peppered all over the yard. C'mon Spring!

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    1. I like looking at them, but rarely order either. I don't seem to have luck with many seeds. Only place I've bought from that I had the best luck with was Renee's Heirloom seeds. That's where I got the hyacinth bean vine that keeps traveling with me.

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  9. The is the 3rd summer for the garden of my dreams. We put it in a calf pen beside our barn. There is water and it is completely fenced. Since we had dumped in a load of rocks when we were using it for a calf pen, we had to make raised beds or terraces. There are 3 big terraces, with 11 terraces in all. Also there are various tubs,pots, and even a plastic watering trough. I have been planning all winter. We haven't had much winter, so I have planted lettuce in a tub and covered it with an old window. The lettuce is up. I also tried the winter sowing idea, with parsley, and nasturtiums. I don't seem to think about anything else. This warm weather we are having may be worse than cold and snow for giving me spring fever.

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  10. You can buy those veggie beds at Home Depot, already constructed for you. I just planted some pansies. We in California have mild weather and NO winter, so my seeds will be planted this weekend: Butterfly Bush, Red Oriental Poppies and Lazy Susans. Then later....in the month I will plant others. I have like 12 different types of flower seeds. I planted well over 100 bulbs and they are just now peeking through their soil. I plant late, otherwise I would see tulips in January due to our mild weather. I prefer my tulips in late March and April. I also am going to try an herb garden, I have no idea why, because I rarely cook for myself, but I already have the seeds and I love the smell of cilantro. I do all of this in containers. I also am going to put up two window boxes.

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    1. I wish I had a place to put up a window box, but I don't. I just love herbs. I rarely cook with them. But I love to brush past them and release their scent.

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  11. I was just thinking about herbs this morning. I am just looking forward to seeing grass again. xo Laura

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    1. And I'm so glad they come cut my front grass. I don't have to worry about weeds on the patio!

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  12. One of my terraces is for herbs. My stevia and rosemary made it through the winter so far, I covered the stevia just before the 1st frost, and when I found the rosemary still alive in January, I covered it, also with straw. I gave sage, parsley, dill, oregano, thyme, Thai basil, basil, rosemary and lavender as gifts for Christmas. The basils, the dill and the parsley are scattered around the garden, but the other things are in a small bed, 8 feet long, but 2 foot wide. I kept them cut back so they didn't take over, so they had plenty of room. The rosemary was wonderful, I had marinated some zucchini in rosemary and olive oil and took it to a barbeque to be grilled. The guy who was cooking took the rosemary sprigs, soaked in olive oil, and laid them on the coals while he was grilling the meat. They didn't really burn, just made the greatest smelling smoke. We used it all summer in roasting lamb. I am new to growing herbs and I had great fun doing it.

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    1. You just can't beat fresh herbs! I love to grow mint and lavender and lemon verbena. Oh, lemon verbena smells just heavenly. So does lemon balm.

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  14. We have a long raised garden for herbs which we use every morning in our B&B breakfasts. Guests love that they get really fresh herbs! And nasturtiums :)

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    1. A B&B. I've never known anyone with a B&B. I bet they do love those fresh herbs.

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  15. We will need fresh pine straw once the weather warms up. I would like to have my husband build a nice firepit in the back yard and plant some more bushes in front of our front porch where there is a bare spot. Some bushes died years ago and we never replaced them. We're getting a lot of snow right now. It's so pretty!

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    1. Sunny here today, thank goodness. Still have snow piled up though.

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  16. It's just been too bitter cold here to even think about spring yet :(

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  17. What herbs do you plant Brenda and do you use them in your cooking?

    Last year I tried tomatoes and squash in large planters. The tomatoes were great but I must have done something wrong because I never got any squashes. This year, I'll definitely do tomatoes again, not sure what else.

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    1. Sometimes I use them in cooking. I plant a pretty wide variety of herbs, and variations of the herbs themselves. I plant mints, sage, basil, oregano, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon balm, and I'm sure there are some I'm leaving out.

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  18. Herbs that keep insects away? I'm all for that down here in Texas. Also, any plants that keep mosquitos away I'm always interested in.

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    1. There are the citronella-type geraniums, which I believe are lemon-scented geraniums, which keep mosquitoes at bad. I love scented geraniums. They don't usually have blooms, but the scent more than makes up for it. I have had a wide variety of scented geraniums. Often people plant herbs beside veggies. Herbs are often very strong-scented, and I guess the insects don't like the scent.

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  19. I have to buy basil. I love to cook with it. And rosemary, which got pretty woody looking last year, so I need to find out if that is normal. I'm a newbie when it comes to growing my own herbs. I can't wait to see how my strawberries fared over the winter. And we always plant some lettuce, onions, tomatoes and green peppers. Sometimes we plant a few zucchinis, yellow squash and cucumbers. In the end of the garden where I plant flowers, I have to have lots of zinnias and sunflowers. I almost forgot...I have to have some lavender!

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot to mention lavender in the comment above. I too must have lavender, and usually several varieties. And zinnias are one of the few flowers I've had luck with from seeds.

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  20. Plant a few marigolds in your veggie container gardens. They keep all kinds of pests away from your veggies. I heard that on an old Martha Stewart show and yes, it really does work!

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    1. I almost mentioned that in an above comment, but didn't. Glad you brought that up!

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  21. I am looking forward to my daffodils and tulips that I planted last fall coming up. I planted Basil last year and loved it! We have planted 3 white pines, 1 maple, 1 Persian Lilac, a Forsythia, a Roxanne Begonia, some Snow on the Mountain and some Cannas. I hope to landscape my front porch area using Liriope and some shrubbery. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    1. I noticed about a month ago, before all the snow started, that my tulips were edging up through the soil in my containers. But snow has covered them for awhile. I hope it doesn't kill them! Cannas grow tall and can almost be used for privacy. I have those, brought over from the little blue house when I moved last year. Liriope is good for landscaping. It's pretty hard to kill!

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  22. Brenda, I agree, I am so sick of this snow in CT. I am dreaming of planting my garden. Like you I have limited space as I live in a condo. I also do a lot of container gardening, I just love to repurpose items into containers, like an old turkey roasting pan, strainer, galvanized watering can. I am planning on herbs, tomatoes, and flowers. I am waiting for the day I see my crocuses and daffodils popping up. Have a great day. Luanne

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    1. They're more fun when they're in repurposed containers, I think. Adds more whimsy to the space.

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  23. We seem to alternate between big gardening plans at the lakehouse and then here in the city. Last year I landscaped the front yard of the lakehouse and we made a perennial flower bed in the back. This year we are trying to up the curb appeal on the city house. Our porch has to be redone as well as the sidewalk and driveway. Totally cracked and chipped. And we decided our bushes and shrubs were old and overgrown and gnarly, I want things that will grow and fill in fast...I don't want a new construction look. I subscribed to Midwest Magazine so I could see what's native here (besides what is at our local nurseries). It's exciting!

    Can't wait to see what you do with your patio. I have been reading a lot about vertical gardening in small spaces.

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    1. I couldn't begin to do two gardening spaces! Yes, it's much better to buy plants that are native. They will do better. And I've learned that going to a nursery might be a little bit higher, but they have trained personnel who can steer you to the right plants for your area. I can't stand in long lines like they have at the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot anyway. This way I have someone who will take my plants to my car for me. Another good thing to do is simply to drive around your neighborhood and see what grows well around you in other people's yards.

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  24. Brenda, Have you seen the pallet gardens? They would work leaned under your windows instead of window boxes, and could hold a lot more plants.

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    1. Yes, I have, and have been pondering that.

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  25. I am excited about spring gardening to. I to have a patio, not as large as yours but very nice room with dirt on half for a new garden this spring. I am going to follow my favorite blogger and try planting in galvanized tubs. I also do geraniums , jade plants, ground covers and flowers.I think planters would work great on your patio. You may be able to buy them locally and have them delivered. Looking forward to hearing about progress on your garden this spring.

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    1. I wish I had dirt on half of my patio for the dogs. And to plant some in ground gardens. I love the look of in ground plants mixed with container plants.

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