Idaho Gardening

I noticed there are a few of you from the Boise/Nampa area. That is wonderful! This is my first year of gardening and any and all advice or knowledge you share in here is appreciated. I have to ask, are your gardens in? If so what are you planting this year? What grows best in this area? Any success stories or hard lessons learned from gardening in the valley? I am also looking in to putting some fruit trees in for next year. Is it true I can plant these in the fall? Thanks again- The Novice Gardener
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"Jackee" <not available> wrote in message

I planted peas in February. They are now a little higher than my hand. My dad says you plant peas as soon as you can work the ground, usually in February. It's not too late to plant peas, but the earlier you plant them, the more 'fruit' you will get before the weather gets too hot and they dry up. Right now, you can get most of your garden in. I have small children, so it's been a little tough for me to get out and actually do it, but just about anything you can plant from seed, plant (well, I'd wait on squashes til the end of May or early June). Some people are putting in tomatoes and peppers now, but I'd wait on that until there's no chance of frost left, or you'll have to be very diligent in caring for them so they don't get frostburnt. Early varieties of tomatoes seem to work best here for getting fruit before the frost (such as early girl).
I'll probably plant (besides peas) bell peppers, carrots, zuchinni, acorn squash, chard, cucumbers, and beets. My parents, living in Nampa, grew the biggest parsnips I've ever seen (as big as sugar beets), but couldn't grow cabbage very well. Their neighbor, less than a block away grew cabbage bigger than you could fit your arms around. Peppers grow well in my yard, but tomatoes don't do very well. Just experiment with different veggies and see what does well for you.
Corn, beets, and beans do especially well here. Squash (pumpkins, acorn, zuchinni, spaghetti, etc.) grow well. Watermelon & cantalope do all right. (ever hear of Hagerman watermelons? Famous all over Idaho). Potatoes do well (now, no potato jokes, please, most of Idaho's potatoes grow in Eastern Idaho, not the Boise area, where the main cash crop is sugar beets). You have to watch out for cabbage worms in your corn, cabbage, and tomatoes. Leaf lettuce, chard, and Kohlrabi are some others you can have success with
Are you going to plant berries? Raspberries and blackberries grow well, I also have a gooseberry and a weeping mulberry (female, so it fruits). Grapes also grow particularly well.
Just remember, whatever you plant, it will need a lot of water when summer comes, mulching around your plants will help retain some moisture.
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On Thu, 22 Apr 2004 07:48:30 -0600, "Jackee" <not available> wrote:

I used to garden .. lazily.. but I had dug up every inch of my lot ..grass was not allowed as much as possible. I've been fighting quack grass as long as I've lived here Labor day weekend 1977, but the soil is good, flood irrigation when we get enough water. However, in 1993 my knee didn't lock when I went to get up and that was the beginning of the end more or less of my gardening. I have been pretty much home bound and nearly bed bound for some time.
I've always been fat, and over the years, the repeated efforts at weight loss..diets, intestinal bypass which had to be reversed, fasting diets 9 and 13 months, basically just put me in a worse spot each time, and so now I'm the fattest and weakest I've ever been in my life. I'm afeared to do anything more as it could put me in an even worse position next time of losing house/home and everything in it. I kinda look like a buddha, big bald (I shave it) and blurpy. ;-)
Anyway.. that said, last year I dug down into my meager income and paid people to do stuff in the yard. I got 'em to scatter some seeds around cosmos and zinnias and dug some trenches in the back to mix sandy loam with peat and put it back in the trenches and planted blueberries in there. A few clematis got planted, and this year I'm paying a friend to work around the yard .. I even managed to do some major cuts in pruning neglected Himrod grape vines from my chair that was set close (I get around with a walker, but not far or for long, so I get folks to set a chair on a chunk of plywood wherever I want to sit).
I am HOPING to find some places to plant some clematis around the yard this year. I want to put some herbs and some lettuces in whiskey barrel planters around the front of the house. I have Strawberries in some barrels along the sidewalk to the house, and a few around the door. A canadice Grape up front, and down the east side of the back yard there is a Mars and venus grape, and a grape that I started from cuttings taken from a friend's yard years ago. It was seeded in their yard, and seedless here usually. A reddish blushed grape that has more flavor than any other I've tasted so far. I wanted to get cuttings taken last fall, but . alas as I cannot do it, and I cannot will people here, it didn't happen. So I'm going to try to get some started by layering them into large pots this year. There are himrods and a golden muscat growing on the west side of the back yard. Nothing in back just yet. Need to make sure water gets there before planting there.
I paid someone to put in a couple more posts on the east side of the yard to continue the wires to the back of the yard where a trellis already exists, and another friend to continue with putting up some braces. Then the neighbor got all churned up telling her she couldn't do that, and she told him to talk to me, of course he wouldn't do that so ran right into the house and called the city. So, I had to stop everything until the inspector got back and managed to get by here and say it's ok. (Neener Neener Neener to the neighbor.. in my thoughts anyway). Since then it rained and my friend was not home today. I want her to come and figure out where we can plant things..I'll have to go out and sit and we can talk and then we can dig holes.. so that there will be planned places for certain plants so when we go over to Edwards, I will know what I'm there to get. I know I want some more raspberries. Canby for up front, and then in the back Royalty purple I think. I want to plant some asparagus plants ..I tried years ago but the place I wanted them is too high, needs to be lowered a few inches so the water will get to it.
I tend to be over enthusiastic about how many plants my yard will hold, and I used to buy all kinds of plants when I was younger, but then when it got too hot (fat person here don't do well in hot weather even when I wasn't this fat) I didn't get them planted and I'd lose some, torture the rest until they either got planted or died. *sigh* I wish to stop doing that, I don't have the money or the desire to be depressed by it anymore).
If I could have gotten the money, and found the person willing to dig, I'd have planted parsnips and carrots by now. Peas should have been in the ground in February. At this late date I'd only plant snow peas because I don't want to spray them, and any pod peas tend to get wormy once the weather gets warm. I think it's a beetle or a fly.. dunno for sure, that drills a hole in the pod and then lays eggs and the larvae then dig into the peas. Pretty disgusting to go to all that work to pick and shell peas and cook them and find worms in the bottom of the pan. blech. So, snow peas are harvested in the pod form usually before anything goes digging into it, and snow peas in stir fries are good, and can be frozen for use later, and there are pole sugar pods and one has white flowers, and one has bicolor flowers magentaish- purple and white..very pretty. So flowers and food together ;-D
I had tried to start some lettuce in the barrels but alas only the butter crunch seed is fresh, and so there are a few growing too close together and a tat soi or tai sai plant, not sure which yet. I just kind of scattered seed. I need to order some fresh seed from Le Jardin du Gourmet as they have little sample packets of lettuce and other seeds for 35 cents a package and that's great for me since I can't manage to use up those, let alone a $2.50 or more packet before the seed is dead.. next year for me. Others say they manage to get growth from lettuce seed over a year old, I never have been able to do that. Should get that order out tonight (12:03 a.m. now) as I asked if I could send order via e-mail and have them call me for my CC number and they said they'd do it. I was waiting for the next billing cycle because the balance was getting a tad high for my comfort since I want to pay it off each month.
I am hoping to have more flowers this summer, as well as herbs and some tomatoes. I got the pepper, tomato, and clematis lists from edwards today. 91 tomato varieties - quite a few heirlooms, 108 pepper varieties and 47 varieties on the lists. I'm not sure they will have every single variety on the tomato and pepper lists but they'll have most. Of course I want 1 of everything at least of the sweet peppers, and most of the tomatoes, but want and get will be waaaaay different ;-)
I have a bunch of cosmos seedlings out there and a bunch of sunflowers from the colorful mix a friend in england sent last year. I was told that cosmos seed was NOT hardy but it appears it can stand some cold. I don't know what will make it should it frost, but there are way too many growing out there in all the wrong places now. LOL
If I can keep my neighbor from complaining about practically anything that happens over here, I'll try to get some foods flowers and herbs planted around the yard this year. I don't garden on any kind of organized level like I've seen folks do, but believe me, I'd have more done if I could afford it and could find help that knew the difference between a weed and a flower reliably. A friend is helping now, but she's not going to keep doing it forever! I hope that with some incentive to go out to water things, I may actually get up and GO outside and get a bit of exercise now and then. Although I must lay down most of the time to keep my legs from filling up with "water" then blistering and ulcering again.. moving around is helpful, and would help my muscles grow a bit. It's not much fun to go out there if there's nothing to look at but weeds taking over though. So, we'll hope to keep that from happening this time.
I've rambled and prattled on here.. I can do that.. ;-) If you want more info, I can comment and answer questions if you want. I have lots of different bits and pieces of information and part of the gardening book collection is stacked here.. 44" tall ..more on a few other shelves..these were year before last's purchases mostly..gardening book club going out of business sales are dangerous! I can look up stuff now though!! LOL Should you want to write, you can reply to my e-mail, just "remove" what it says in the address to do so. ;-)
Janice
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I didn't know about Edwards until last year, when I was able to join in on a tour of the place. I was impressed, if I ever need to get a job again, that's what I'd love to do. (As it is, my husband has a good job, and I'm able to be home with the children) So, I took a trip to Edward's with the kids a couple weeks ago, the baby in a stroller, and my 3 year old alongside. We had so much fun. After walking through a few greenhouses, and dreaming (the tomatoes only barely getting their true leaves), I picked out a couple carnations, and let my daughter choose several colors of pansies. We planted them in large pots on the patio. She was so excited, when her dad came home from work, she had to show him her 'favorite'.
Early spring, I planted 3 roses (the bare-root kind from home depot's grand opening for $2 each), only one lived. Come to think of it, I was lucky it was the one in the middle. I pulled the others out, and planted strawberries around the remaining one, to replace the ones that got cooked in the sun last year. I'm going to try to be more vigilant at watering this time.
You're lucky to have a good friend to help you out in your yard. Good luck!
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wrote:

I've been going to Edwards for many many years.. Garnet.. the owner.. is a very nice lady and has greatly improved the business since she took over when her father couldn't really do it anymore. He kind of rankled at her invading his territory at first, but he's gone now and they're doing well. They recently acquired another place in Emmett so it's a growing concern. I've not been out to the place for years so I've not seen all the extra houses where they used to grow the pansies in the fields. Now they grow them in pots. If you ever want to try for work... January 1st is when they start hiring for the new year.

My help seems to have vanished. She does that when she gets depressed or doesn't want to do something. I'll try to get hold of her tomorrow now that I've watered the place, she was dreading hard dry ground. I've had the kid that lives with his mother in the back bedroom move the water around. He's not liked it, but he's done it. Teenage boys are kind of a pain! ;-)
Janice
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On Thu, 22 Apr 2004 07:48:30 -0600, "Jackee" <not available> wrote:

Oh yes, reading tmtresh's response .. reminded me .. there are some thornless blackberry plants in the back yard that got planted finally last fall, Waldo and Black Satin, and a Gooseberry that's supposed to be mostly thornless .. that I can't remember the name of at the moment.. supposed to be small grape size red berries. I have some pixwell still growing in the yard that never did well where it was, one never setting fruit that was in full shade, it grow well and huge, and another that would set fruit but then drop them all.. probably too dry, but it too managed to grow and sucker all over and .. oh my THORNY!!! I need to get the last of the last plant dug out. There is also a real live red all the way through rhubarb that got *planted* last year (I have had a real bad habit of getting them and not getting them in the ground so it's a miracle! ;-) I had a Victoria years ago, but it was green all the way through most of the stalk, some would have a bit of red skin, but it was a HUGE plant 3' long or more leaves. Chickens killed it finally. That covers the edibles. I do have some mighty nice bleeding hearts blooming though .. oh and there's some egyptian onions that managed to survive an unwarranted attack by someone "helping" me.. I didn't get to the door fast enough to say.. Don't mess with that onion! She'd already gotten it! Purple sage plant is well and happy, and there appears to be a green sage seedling that grew from the 3 others I had cut out last year to make room for the clematis and some poppies.
Janice
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Thanks to all of you for writing. Your info was and is very helpful.

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"Jackee" <not available> wrote in message

Go to the Salvos ( Salvation Army) and buy sheets and blankets. I don't know about Boise gardening ( i'm from the eastern part of Idaho) but here the date of the last spring frost is usually June 15. (I kid you not,about 15 years ago the local 4th of July parade was cancelled due to snow) I am, much to my neighbors amusement,usually out at night (after the weather broadcast) covering every thing I don't want frozen. I told my mom once to forget about monagrammed sheets just mark mine with "if found, please return to " ;) oh yeah, clothespins hold the sheets on very well during high winds
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(gardengal) wrote:

We always called it the "Sally Ann's" :)

Being from Montana, I've seen two feet of snow in June :/

Newpaper works even better, but is harder to get to stay put -- more useful for smaller plants and flowers than for bush plants.

LOL! when I was a kid, I was usually detailed to cover my grandmother's garden, and sometimes the next morning my first task was to go find all the migratory sheets :)
~REZ~
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Why not put big rocks on the corners to hold them down?
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wrote:

Cuz in town, where I grew up, you soon run out of rocks :) But in a high wind, some things get up and leave regardless of how many rocks you have. One day I saw a steel 55 gallon drum BOUNDING thru my back acreage, leap over my 6' high barbed wire fence, and keep right on going. I don't think any amount of rocks would have kept a sheet home in that wind :)
When I was a kid, we used everything we could find that had some weight. I remember once I parked the lawn mower along one side to hold the sheet down!
~REZ~
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You should have seen the steel building that tumbled over two fences and settled down in between our two out buildings. The neighbor came over the next day with a tractor to drag the thing back home.... and no it wasn't a tornado, according to the weatherman, it was just high winds.
susan, who has lots of rocks and still plays go and fetch the morning after...
Rez wrote:

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