zone 5, what to do with south side house?

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The south side of our house is the exterior wall of our garage. There are no windows, and the edge of the property line is too close to put a lean to greenhouse or anything like that on there. Last year I tried establishing a blueberry hedge up pretty close to the house there. I used peat, coffee grounds, a small amount of aluminum sulfate mixed in to the soil, plus a slow release acidifier. (soil is rather alkaline here) I tried watering every day, but there was simply no rain for a couple of months, and it was so hot and dry. Only 1 or 2 plants made it out of 6 or 7. I am going to take the healthiest plant and put it in a pot. This is actually the first time I've tried growing blueberries and had one live more than 6 months. However, I think that spot would be better used for something else.
Can anyone suggest something that is heat and light loving, which could be productive in such a spot? It will essentially get direct sunlight all day long, and the spot can really concentrate heat from the sun in spring and fall. Thanks!
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[...]
Grape vine. Root it near a water downspout off the roof, and train it across the wall.
    Una
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On Thu, 20 Jan 2011 04:41:48 -0700 (MST), snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) wrote:

What does a grape vines root system look like? I ask because there's some (3) planted not too far from my septic drain field. They're about 3 1/2 years old.
Newb
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.org wrote:

Normally, they go straight down, looking for water. If the water is to the left of them, they will go left (at least part of them will).
--
- Billy
"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the
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wrote:

I supose moving them away from the drain field pipes would be a good idea? A backed up drain field due to root infiltration can be pretty expensive. Is this a good time to move them? We live in western WA State.
Thanks.
Newb
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Okra. It loves heat. Once they start producing you will probably have to harvest every day. 5 or 6 plants will likely produce more than you can eat.

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Okra for zone 5 ?
I remember going to Disney World in March. It was sixty five degrees, I am from Michigan, I wore long pants with a long sleeve shirt no coat. The person in front was from Florida he wore a light jacket. The person behind me wore shorts and a tank top and was sweating, he was from Alaska. Ones heat is another's chill.
Perhaps a variety of herbal plants. Rosemary, thyme, mint (put a hollow bottom bucket in the ground for mint. Herbs can act like weeds if not watchful. Camomile?
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Thu, 20 Jan 2011 16:37:11 +0000 (UTC), Nad R

I'm in a warm zone 5 [NY] & never had any luck with Okra. Maybe one or two pods per plant. Just enough to remind me what I was missing out on. OTOH- I wasn't planting along the hot side of a building.
My house is mostly shaded on the south so I have Hostas & such on that side.
-snip-

If I were the OP I'd stick with fruits- maybe plant the herbs amongst them as they grow.
Blueberries, cherries, . . . peaches . . . Almond trees are gorgeous in the spring and feed the squirrels in the fall. [mine did- I used to get a quart of nuts- the squirrels got a bushel]
South side is a lot easier than the north side.
Jim
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Nad R wrote:

Since the location is hot and dry there's some sense in putting annuals for a higher zone number there. Since the location is subject to snow that approach won't work all that well with perrenials. It becomes a little like a hot house in the summer yet like a freezer in the winter.
I solved a similar issue in Chicago metro by planting bushes and bulb forming plants. Hostas (already mentioned in another post) and day lillies did fine. Not edible so not sure how that works for rec.gardens.edible. Hostas aren't actually bulb formers but close enough.

I like to grow herbs in pots on the deck. They grow great. Most don't survive the winter. So far I've never gotten a rosemary to make it through the Chicago winter. I have transfered plenty of herbs from the pots on the deck to the southern edge of my back yard. The thyme and the tarragon are the only ones that survived across the winter so far. The thyme lasted two years before it got overwhelmed by the size of the tarragon.
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It was a thought that the garage might offer some protection for the Rosemary. I too have been unsuccessful at growing Rosemary. Herbs can get away from you :)
Would that be the "French" Tarragon via cutting? Or the Russian Tarragon via seed?
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Nad R wrote:

I get a little rosemary plant each spring since we moved to (zone 5) Chicago metro. They get pretty big by the first snow. Then they croak. Each year I try to trim it back and keep it on the deck out of the snow but some storm tips it over and spills it out.

I'm not sure which type of tarragon it was that has done so well out in the back yard with the hostas. Home Depot bred tarragon. Draws bees like crazy late in the season when it's in flower.
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Here is a hardy rosemary good to zone 6.
http://www.ehow.com/list_7367161_hardy-rosemary-plants.html
I've lost quite a few here in zone 5 but wall of water can keep it alive if the moles/voles miss them. One is perking along right now. One of 4 planted 2 years ago.
OP may want to look into.
South side solar gain maybe trapped. Look into "passive solar designs".
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden




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snipped-for-privacy@snip.net says...

My experience differs in Zone 5 London Ontario.
Rosemary doesn't survive our winter outdoors. Full stop.
The only way we can overwinter rosemary, is indoors.
We have two, ten year old potted ARP rosemary plants. They withstand frost very well and have survived the occasional subzero (to -4 celsius uncovered and -6 covered) late fall night but when it looks like winter is settling in for real,they get a final shearing and are put on the table by my office window.
ARP was originally considered to be hardy to zone 5, and then it was supposed to be hardy to zone 6. My favourite herb seed supplier considers it hardy to zone 7. YMMV
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I like the grape idea. I've already tried blueberries, and it hasn't worked out. Perhaps I need to start out with adult sized, 3 or 4 year old plants, and transplant them. In any case, this is the second time I've tried blueberries, in 2 different parts of Ohio, and they have died both times.
I already have 1 pear tree with 5 fruit varieties on it, 2 hale haven peach trees, a nectarine and a plum. I don't think there is really room for another fruit tree in the area, because I would need to plant it close (right on, really) to the property line, and the neighbor would not like it because that would be pretty close to the gate he used to go between his fenced back yard and his front yard.
So, I am limited to perhaps planting something small right up against the house, and maybe a row of something out closer to the property line. Either or, or perhaps both, if both plants are pretty orderly and not sprawling.
I like the idea of grapes, because I've always wanted to grow them, and I've seen that they can be pretty productive. How long does it take to get a harvest from them?
Other ideas I've had are rhubarb or everbearing raspberries, such as heritage. Anyone have thoughts on these? My parents always got a good harvest off of the rhubarb, and never have to put any time into them, other than good soil preparation up front, with some cow manure at the bottom of the deep pits.
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-snip-

IMO rhubarb would do better on the north or east side. it doesn't like the heat. I never had any luck with raspberries at all, but it seems like they might be better suited.

Mine grows on an abandoned compost bed - only gets 5-6 hours of sun a day, and stays fairly moist. it thrives through July- then sort of peters off & gets tough.
Jim
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Just wondering how you harvest it. Do you pull it or cut it?
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden




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-snip-

-snip-
Pull! I start to pull as soon as the plant is putting out stalks bigger than a pencil. These have been producing for 15 yrs or so- so even the first spring stalks are plenty big.
I pull seed stalks, too- and discard them.
Probably not the best practice-- but I trim the leaves on the spot and mulch with them. Every 4-5 yrs I might remember to feed them. They get covered with 5-6' of hard packed snow through the winter as they are to the side of the turn-around that gets all the snow blown to it.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Dad in Buffalo grew rhubarb and it got bigger every year until they finally moved to a retirement home. I bet it's still in the old back yard. It was in a pretty moist spot in the yard though. It's Buffalo where there aren't any dry spots in many yards.
I saw blackberries grow wild in the Pacific Northwest when we lived in Seattle metro. I have no idea if raspberries grow well in a dry spot. I've only seen them in places with okay moisture through quite damp.
Others suggest grapes. At my old place in Chicago metro we had a volunteer grape that I had to trim regularly to keep it from eating one of the neighbor's crabapple trees. I never watered it and its root was behind the shed so it never got watered. Grape sounds like a good plan for a hot dry spot in this zone.
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Nad R wrote:

I find French tarragon too fiddly, it likes excellent drainage and in my hands it dies at the drop of a hat. I don't think my climate (hot often damp summer) and soil (heavy) are suitable. If your climate and soil are more mediterranean it may be easier to grow. Russian tarragon grows more easily but has little flavour.
I find a good compromise is winter tarragon (Tagetes lucinda). The flavour is nearly as good as French and it is much easier to grow. I don't know why it is called "winter" tarragon as it dies down in winter but reliably re-shoots from the roots in spring. You can harvest it fresh from spring to autumn and dry a bunch picked before the first frost in autumn.
David
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Thought you were a zone 9, which is about as Mediterranean as there is.
--
- Billy
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