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Old 12-11-2018, 10:14 AM
Location: equator
3,410 posts, read 1,524,633 times
Reputation: 8443


I used to love gardening, but gave it up when living in the high desert. Bad water, harsh weather.

I've successfully raised pickling cucumbers on my streetside balcony and made terrific bread n butter pickles, coveted by all (no pickles to speak of, here). I have horseradish on the seaside balcony. We're in a condo, but there is some non-used patches of dirt, and a whole terrace on the flat roof nobody uses.

I can't crouch or kneel due to bad knees, but container gardening is doable. Any of you retirees gardening, despite arthritis or other issues, and is it rewarding for you as a hobby, or more of a PITA? I'm thinking more of vegetables here, but any input is appreciated.

We're by the ocean so have to select hardy vegetables. I read no sweet corn, waaaah.
But I might try it anyway. I'm partially motivated by boredom, partially by veg's we can't get here.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:38 AM
1,624 posts, read 559,576 times
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One of my biggest resentments about getting older is that I can't spend hours in the garden like I used to, and cannot dig planting holes for shrubs etc myself anymore.

I also feel the heat and humidity more, and faster, than I when I was in my 30s, 40s and even 50s.

My focus has always been ornamentals rather than veggies, and I am in the process of switching my focus away from perennials and toward shrubs, especially dwarf conifers. The worst part of my current garden is that the former owners planted every kind of invasive perennial known to man, and I have had to pay several thousand dollars this year in order to have someone come in and rip them out of multiple planting beds. It will still take years of constant herbicide spraying before I dare plant anything else in those beds. In past years I would have dug out those beds myself but cannot anymore.

To give you an idea of what I'm fighting I will just say two words: chameleon plant! (Houttonyia cordata) They also planted tons of the common orange daylily, tiger lilies, yellow archangel, and variegated bishop's weed. ALL ON PURPOSE! There is also poison ivy, bittersweet, and wild blackberry that was left to grow unchecked.

I am in Zone 7 so we don't get too much in the way of extreme weather but it also means dealing with freeze/thaw cycles for at least part of the winter.

ETA: This is the first time I've had to garden on clay soil. All my other gardens were on nice sandy or semi-sandy loam. My arms and back do not like clay. I would like to have raised beds but can't afford to have them done. Even getting an autumn leaf cleanup hereabouts costs between $500 and $700.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:33 AM
Location: Idaho
1,451 posts, read 1,153,086 times
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In my family, farmer blood runs through our veins so we all love gardening or growing things.

I always have flower beds, rock and vegetable gardens (of different sizes from 5' x 10'-20' to 50' x 50'). I have grown different types of flowers, ground covers, shrubs, vegetables and herbs suitable for the local climate, soil and seasons.

We have just moved to new house in Idaho where it is much drier, hotter in the summer and warmer in the winter than in our previous home in New York.

We did not have the time this year to restart the raised beds garden. It took a lot of work to trim the overgrown hedges, trees, bushes. We also had to remove dozens of large invasive sage-like bushes and Russian Olive trees from the fenced-in portion of the property to give rooms for the walkways, trails, ornamental flowering trees and fruit trees.

The property has at least half a dozen of fruit trees. We are thrilled with a very productive nanking cherry tree and 4 also extremely productive apple trees (I still have bags and bags of cherries and apple slices in the freezer after giving many away). We did not harvest fruits from currant and mulberry trees but will do so next year. I hope that the peach and pear trees will produce fruits next year. Our house is in Sunnyslope area surrounded by orchards and vineyards so the soil here must be perfect for fruit trees. I may attempt to grow some grape vines in a near future.

Last spring, my SIL built two raised beds in a sunnier spot at their house in Boise. Their small vegetable garden was very productive. We had cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and squashes all summer long. Last week, we finished the last of the stored tomatoes (wrapped in paper and stored in a dark place after picking them green the day before the first frost) and still have half a dozen of butternut and spaghetti squashes in the lower cupboard). I will coordinate with them next year on what to plant at our house when we resurrect our vegetable garden.

We had to dig up all the flower beds to get rid of tenacious weeds (mints, morning glories and bitter docks). I rearranged and divided big clumps of perennials (lavender, lilies, irises, dianthus, alliums etc.). I added a dozen of fragrant and heirloom rose bushes and other perennials which attract butterflies and humming birds. Last fall, I also planted about 200 spring bulbs (crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, forbesil and dutch irises). I could hardly wait to see them bloom this spring.

When we moved to Idaho, we gave away all our houseplants but saved two small plants/cutting for sentimental values (a zebra plant in the small hand-made pot my daughter gave me for Mother's day when she was 7 years old, and a jade plant which came from my MIL's plant 40 something years ago). They survived being in the check-in luggages and are now thriving. My daughter took a cutting of the jade plant and hers is doing well too.

Last month, we went on a house plants shopping spree. We combed all the garden shops and thrift stores for pretty glazed ceramic pots of different sizes. We lucked out in finding a dozen pots of different styles and colors. We even found 2 beautiful hand made pots. I am sitting here at my computer desk surrounded by dozens of beautiful pots and plants. My favorites are the 'heirloom' jade and zebra plant, the orange kalanchoe in a organge pot, a red Christmas cactus in a dark green oriental style pot, a Cutie tangerine tree in an ombre light green/brown pot, two profusely blooming African violets in matching color pots. Oh, I also have some herbs in the corner of the kitchen windows. The basil plants seem to do much better indoor than outdoor with many pretty white blooms. I will add more herbs to my collection.

Last edited by BellaDL; 12-11-2018 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:41 AM
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,184 posts, read 1,340,059 times
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Interesting thread for December. Those of us in the northern states are not thinking about gardens at this time of year.

In the summer I usually plant tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans. This past year I went all out buying and planting flowering perennials. We shall see how many make it through the winter.

Yes it hurts when I bend over. I find sitting on a low stool helps.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:59 AM
Location: Western Colorado
11,081 posts, read 12,461,714 times
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My vegetable garden is about 60 feet by 30 feet. I grow everything and really enjoy it, tomatoes taste like a tomato and not watered cardboard. I start planting Memorial Day weekend, which is after the last snow or frost. No tiller, I use a shovel and hoe. I also pick cactus flowers here and make cactus jelly. I give most of my vegetables away, and can some for winter.

Last edited by jim9251; 12-11-2018 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:16 PM
Location: SoCal
13,191 posts, read 6,308,074 times
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I love to garden, I used to have reasonable lot for a non-rural area. But we’ve downsize to this house with even smaller lot, less than 6000 soft, not much room for lots of things. But whatever, I plan to do more intensive garden. Right now, I have tomatoes, beans, peas, and squashes. In fact, I just picked a nice zucchini for dinner. My husband loves zucchini. I don’t. Lol.
But I have tons of herbs, lots flowers, and about 22-40 fruit trees, if you count citrus trees. I just picked mandarins and satsumas from my yard, not many, but 12-15 fruits, good enough for home eating. Plus I just picked some small Fuji apples and they are so delicious, small but very tasty. Yesterday, my two fig trees that I ordered in Nov did arrive and we’re planting them in containers. I plant most aggressive trees in containers. I’m debating whether to order more roses or not, I love old roses, maybe some David Austin as well. Love the fragrance from them.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:36 PM
11,119 posts, read 8,527,266 times
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If you can't bend down, look into buying an elevated, raised gardening table. Buy the tallest one you can find.

Similar to this: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Costway-W...yAAEgL2UfD_BwE
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:17 PM
Location: Prescott AZ
6,119 posts, read 9,071,114 times
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Yes, I am an avid gardener too, also in zone 7b. We can plant year round here with mild winters, and not too hot summers. This year we are desperate for rain. My arthritis has gotten much worse since I moved in here and am tending a much bigger area. Not only back pain but shoulder and neck too. But, when spring comes, I will still do what I can. One of those back belts that you pump up may help me and I am thinking of ordering it. There is no way I can give up this hobby, cause it's part of me.
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:22 PM
Location: Las Vegas
13,879 posts, read 25,306,858 times
Reputation: 26334
Nothing grows here. Too hot and too dry. And I was darn tired of mowing, raking, and shoveling that acre I used to have! But I do miss the birds and all the creatures. I used to grow beautiful carnations!

Now I just move rocks from place to place.
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:44 PM
1,624 posts, read 559,576 times
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Originally Posted by AZgarden View Post
Yes, I am an avid gardener too, also in zone 7b.

Wow, I am surprised that parts of AZ are 7b... I would have thought the entire state was 8 or higher! Are you at a higher elevation?

We are either 7a or 7b depending on how close to the shoreline one's garden is. Humid summers, and freeze/thaw in most winters. Snow depends on the given winter. Planting stops here in early November, to be safe, and doesn't resume until April because March would be too muddy even if the ground were thawed. Spring flowering bulbs and peonies are planted in September and October, no later.
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