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Old 08-06-2014, 01:52 PM
 
13,675 posts, read 13,489,213 times
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For me, it's Denver. Can't get anything to grow here (though NickMan7, I'm gonna be hitting you up for advice very soon). I came here from Jersey, where you can literally just poke a few seeds into the ground and have a full-blown garden a couple months later.

When my best friend in my home state over-estimated the amount of plants she would need, it led to the Great Zucchini Genocide of 2009, which we still talk about to this day. The carnage was terrible.

And there's a work colleague I talk with in Seattle who basically lives off of what he grows in his backyard every summer.

Here? Not so much. I'm hard pressed to get any tomatoes, and this year, even the zucchini weren't growing. Though there are a few peppers coming in, and the herb pots are yielding nicely.

Between the intensity of the sun, the late winter storms and hail, the arid climate - it's just damn hard to get anything to grow without paying attention to a lot of different factors.

I'm curious though - what are the other "trouble spots" around the country for gardening? Who else is meeting with similar disasters?
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:14 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,325,162 times
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Everywhere is a trouble spot.

The important thing is to grow plants that are well acclimated to the area. The elevation, humidity, temperature, sun exposure, rainfall. Even well chosen plants will fail for many reasons including bugs and diseases.

Judging from your post, your plants are in pots. Pots themselves are restrictive. Plants fare much better in the ground.

The central plains of the US are a harsh and difficult climate for plants. Look around at the native vegetation and you won't find much. Mostly grasses and a few kinds of trees.

To successfully garden in such an area you will need to install a rich soil, water faithfully, and plant very hardy things.

Don't give up, there is always next year. It's a learning curve.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
36,949 posts, read 45,385,657 times
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I have been frustrated too, after moving south. It has become a challenge; researching what should do well, analyzing why it failed, trying to conquer the southern garden. Its fun, really.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
68,925 posts, read 51,075,089 times
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Soil, Sun, Care, Weather. It's usually one or a combo of those that cause the problem. Everyone is having a problem this year, some more than others.

There's no 1 spot that will never have a challenge. Keep track of each year, it's fun to look back on...and learn.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,345 posts, read 3,222,441 times
Reputation: 1293
Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Everywhere is a trouble spot.

The important thing is to grow plants that are well acclimated to the area. The elevation, humidity, temperature, sun exposure, rainfall. Even well chosen plants will fail for many reasons including bugs and diseases.
Agree. The natural environment, something we can't change, plays the most important role in determining whether we have a good season or a bad one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Judging from your post, your plants are in pots. Pots themselves are restrictive. Plants fare much better in the ground.
I will never conform to the notion that plants do much better in the ground - it's just silly to have that kind of mentality and it's a generalization far too often assumed among most of the gardening forums online. The wonderful thing about humans is our ability to find countless ways of doing almost anything.

Having said that, while many people are having a terrible year, I am having an incredible year. I grow strictly in containers and can't say one way or another if that plays a role in this year's success, but I will say the people I know in my area with in-ground or raised bed gardens are not faring as well as I am. My mom has a small in-ground garden with 3 tomatoes and 3 cucumbers and her garden is doing extremely well, also, although not as productive as mine (her garden receives a lot more shade).

Pests have been virtually non-existent for me and we've only had one nasty summer storm. Luck plays a huge role.

Hang in there, Jrz!!! Next year brings new joys.. and new challenges. Also, PM me with any questions you have and I'll be happy to answer. I could talk gardening 'til the cows come home, move out and come home again when they're 35.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:34 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,517 posts, read 54,065,915 times
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Here in our area east of Seattle at 600' elevation, the problem is with growing vegetables with summer only being July 5-mid-September. I have to start seedlings indoors, and use a greenhouse. This year for example, we have only eaten 3 tomatoes so far, though they are loaded with green ones we cannot plant until mid-May even with the greenhouse. On the other hand, I have close to 100 bonsai, and they all love it here. My only challenge is with tropicals such as India Banyan and Bougainvillea which have to come inside from October-June.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,215,035 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
For me, it's Denver. Can't get anything to grow here (though NickMan7, I'm gonna be hitting you up for advice very soon). I came here from Jersey, where you can literally just poke a few seeds into the ground and have a full-blown garden a couple months later.

When my best friend in my home state over-estimated the amount of plants she would need, it led to the Great Zucchini Genocide of 2009, which we still talk about to this day. The carnage was terrible.

And there's a work colleague I talk with in Seattle who basically lives off of what he grows in his backyard every summer.

Here? Not so much. I'm hard pressed to get any tomatoes, and this year, even the zucchini weren't growing. Though there are a few peppers coming in, and the herb pots are yielding nicely.

Between the intensity of the sun, the late winter storms and hail, the arid climate - it's just damn hard to get anything to grow without paying attention to a lot of different factors.

I'm curious though - what are the other "trouble spots" around the country for gardening? Who else is meeting with similar disasters?
I feel your pain! Back in Orange County, CA, it was a gardener's paradise. Here in Denver, somewhat of a struggle. Between the eradic Spring/Fall climate and horrible clay soil, it's frustrating.

This year my banana trees were beaten back to the stalks and Elephant Ears beaten to the ground by the hail in May. Not to mention that crazy Mother's Day snow, but I hadn't put anything in the ground when that occurred.

People always compliment my landscaping. The Banana's are looking decent, although the leaves aren't as big as last year. The Elephant Ears are finally getting huge, and annual beds have filled in nicely. The lawn looks good too, but it takes a lot of water most weeks.

I do have an odd "dead zone" where everything I've planted has died. I gave up and now it's just wood chips. But I have a beautiful, evergreen boxwood hedge that I started 9 years ago and aside from havint to trim it every week, it looks great.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,999 posts, read 22,732,087 times
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Redding!

It's too hot to grow practically anything. Forget tomatoes. The blooms all die in the heat. I finally just pulled them out of the ground.

The only thing others have been able to have any success at this year, that I know if, is peppers. And even they only got a few peppers.

When I moved from CA to WA in the mountains, where we had a short growing season, I needed to adjust what varieties I grew of different veggies. What you need are veggies that ripen more quickly, like lemon cucumbers, and tiny melons, and small ears of corn varieties, lots of different cherry tomatoes. I also had great luck with potatoes and snow peas and squash.

Here, it's normally at least 100 degrees and often more like 106 - 110.

It's funny, my best friend moved from the Vancouver, BC area, to Oyama, BC - which is in their eastern "banana belt." She's also been lamenting that it's too hot where she is to grow tomatoes this year. They've been as hot up there as we've been in Redding this year. Said she's had hardly any luck with anything except her beets and kale, which she got a ton of and her rhubarb is doing great.

I think blossoms just don't set when it's too hot. And forget that blossom set stuff you spray on the blossoms. That doesn't work either in this heat.

Wah!

I do have an indoor garden with cherry tomatoes and marigolds and basil, and they're doing fine. Next year I should be able to move into a one-bedroom apt, and I may just turn it into a grow room and sleep in the living room.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:34 PM
 
Location: CO
2,455 posts, read 2,610,218 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
I feel your pain! Back in Orange County, CA, it was a gardener's paradise. Here in Denver, somewhat of a struggle. Between the eradic Spring/Fall climate and horrible clay soil, it's frustrating.

This year my banana trees were beaten back to the stalks and Elephant Ears beaten to the ground by the hail in May. Not to mention that crazy Mother's Day snow, but I hadn't put anything in the ground when that occurred.

People always compliment my landscaping. The Banana's are looking decent, although the leaves aren't as big as last year. The Elephant Ears are finally getting huge, and annual beds have filled in nicely. The lawn looks good too, but it takes a lot of water most weeks.

I do have an odd "dead zone" where everything I've planted has died. I gave up and now it's just wood chips. But I have a beautiful, evergreen boxwood hedge that I started 9 years ago and aside from havint to trim it every week, it looks great.
I'm impressed with your banana tree. How do you prepare it for our cold winter temps? I'm a sucker for boxwood hedges and would appreciate the effort you put into yours.

I've never gardened anywhere except Colorado so it all seems pretty normal to me.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,215,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Roses View Post
I'm impressed with your banana tree. How do you prepare it for our cold winter temps? I'm a sucker for boxwood hedges and would appreciate the effort you put into yours.

I've never gardened anywhere except Colorado so it all seems pretty normal to me.
I just dig up the stalks and put them in a large pot in my laundry room that gets good winter sun. But you're also supposed to be able to dig them up in October, trim off the leaves, shake the dirt off the roots, wrap the stalks in newspaper and store them in a cool, dark place like a basement. Then, supposedly, if you put them back in the ground the following Spring, the stalks start putting out new leaves. I haven't tried that, but I'm tempted to since they were rather "in the way" in the laundry room.

For the elephant ears, after they freeze once, I cut them down and then dig up the bulbs and let them dry in the garage for a couple days. Then I store them in my basement. In early April, I re-plant the bulbs in pots and put them in the laundry room to get them going. That way when I plant them outside in mid May, they already have a jump on growing. By starting them early, they get huge.. up to chest high by September.

I have two varieties of Boxwood. The long hedge has the bigger leaves, but with that variety (I have no idea of the name), they'll turn rust color in winter if they receive winter sun. My hedge is on the north side of the house next to a fence, so it receives no winter sun and stays nice and green throughout the winter.

One thing I really hate about landscaping here is that most of it is all dormant in the winter. So I've used two varieties of Boxwood, two varieties of Holly, a couple varieties of Euonomus ground cover, Pine bushes, Inkberry bushes (related to Holly) and Japanese Spurge (groundcover), all of which is evergreen, to have more "life" in my winter landscaping.

I'd really like to try a southern Magnolia someday, but they're a tricky broadleaf evergreen to grow here. I know of a couple growing in Denver and that's it.
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