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?
The Novice Gardener
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.
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
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
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
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. ;-)
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!
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! ;-)
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.
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
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!
You should have seen the steel building that tumbled over two fences and settled
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,
just high winds.
susan, who has lots of rocks and still plays go and fetch the morning after...
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