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Backyard Gardening Tips

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amyg

Post: 33
Location: ----

Backyard Gardening Tips

12 Mar, 2012 10:03 a.m.

With rising costs of produce and a general tightening of household budgets, backyard gardening is experiencing a revival across the nation. Corona-native, Frank Salerno, has recently published the second edition of his book From Seed to Salad, A Step-by-Step Manual for Backyard Gardening, and he is eager to share his gardening expertise with beginners and experts alike. Read more about Frank's book here. Whether you're an avid gardener like Frank, or just beginning plans to build your own backyard garden, we'd love to hear from you. Can anyone offer some tried and tested gardening tips? Are you looking for gardening advice before spring arrives? This chat is about all things gardening on Long Island! And...the best gardening tips will receive a free copy of Frank's book!

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amyg

Post: 33
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

12 Mar, 2012 10:16 a.m.

I'm not nearly as experienced a gardener as Frank, but this last summer I took over the mantle of groundskeeper at my grandmother's house. In past years my retired grandparents always planted an extensive garden, featuring mostly tomatoes, but also herbs and beans. They had the patience to weed and keep the growth orderly. I, however, and not nearly as patient, so in order to keep the weeds at bay we purchased breathable, black plastic gardening ground cover and some garden stakes. I cleared the entire patch, raked and loosened the soil and then covered the whole area. I cut 4-inch diameter circles, one for each plant to sprout through. Of course, some weeds popped up, but not nearly the likes of what we had in the past. We planted six varieties of tomatoes, three cucumber plants, three eggplants, a row of beans and a row of peas. We placed basil in large planters at each corner, for aesthetics and to eat fresh with our tomatoes. (Easy summer lunch recipe - slice one tomato, add a few thin slices of mozzarella and gently tear up some fresh basil, lightly sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar...you won't be disappointed.) I am not exaggerating when I say that we had enough cucumbers and tomatoes to satisfy three households of avid vegetable eaters. And, as Frank says, it was an entirely rewarding experience.

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Cruzer

Post: 49
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

13 Mar, 2012 10:31 a.m.

I've got a black thumb and whatever I do grow my dog likes to eat before I can harvest it. I guess the best advice I can give is to put up a net or a fence to protect your vegetables from squirrels and dachshunds.

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LIJeanne

Post: 7
Location: Plainview, NY

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

13 Mar, 2012 11:02 a.m.

I was always told to cover "big" plants in the winter (think: rose bushes) with a burlap sack, and this has worked time & time again for me, season after season! It of course requires proper pruning before, but the plants seem to do much better through the winter season.

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amyg

Post: 33
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

13 Mar, 2012 11:27 a.m.

Cruzer - you're exactly right, squirrels and dachshunds are quite possibly the worst garden pests. Rabbits are also pretty good at destroying vegetable patches, and all of those animals like to dig. My grandmother's dog, for instance, will follow right alongside you in the dirt, closing up the holes you've made and creating his own. Such a brat.
Jeanne - I have seen professionally maintained rose gardens that are entirely wrapped in burlap in the winter and they are always the most beautiful once spring comes again. Rose's require a lot more pruning that your average vegetable garden varieties, from my own experience. My grandmother always taught me to trim the stems with the buds at an angle, directly above the last 5-leaved stem, which I did all last year -- and she had beautiful bright pink and yellow roses coming in through January. As a matter of fact, I am going to take a look this afternoon and see if our warm spell had created any new buds.
Thanks for the tips!

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CaitR

Post: 58
Location: Commack, 11725

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

13 Mar, 2012 6 p.m.

Well, I can't even pretend to be anything close to a green thumb - but I did learn one great tip that has kept my latest bonsai tree alive, and healthy since December.

And that is to soak the whole base of the tree in water, rather than pour water on it like you would with a houseplant. Thus far, this seems to be very effective, and this is the healthiest looking bonsai I've ever owned.

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seedsalad

Post: 2
Location: Oceanside, NY

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

14 Mar, 2012 8:44 a.m.

For those of you troubled by animals digging up your garden, I discovered a neat trick which I discuss in depth in my book, "From Seed To Salad," and which I show in a photo of my garden. I lay across the garden plot a series of boards taken from an old stockade fence. I place the plants or the seeds between the boards. The neighborhood squirrels and cats show no inclination at all to go there, preferring open ground. Fortunately, I don't have rabbit or dog problems, but I feel this trick might work for them as well.

Frank Salerno

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amyg

Post: 33
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

20 Mar, 2012 7:47 a.m.

Thanks, Frank. I finally got my peas and beans in the ground yesterday. My family's eternal gardening knowledge brought from the Old World dictated getting these seeds in the ground by St. Patrick's Day...although I doubt that was a major celebration in early 19th century Hungary. I guess my grandmother modified the rule a little....

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kmburgos

Post: 1
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

20 Mar, 2012 2:34 p.m.

If you like to cook with fresh herbs and tender perennials such as rosemary, parsely and cilantro and want to keep them available all year long this is a good tip for you. Place a window frame over a raised bed to insulate the herbs during the cold months. If you don't have a raised bed place a lot of mulch and newspapers around the plant to keep it insulated. This will keep the plant alive and growing even when there is snow on the ground. I went outside and snipped fresh parsley all winter long and kept enjoying that fresh taste, especially in my gaucamole! When the weather gets warm enough remove the window frame and place aside for next year. Cut away the old leaves to allow room for new growth. Enjoy!

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amyg

Post: 33
Location: ----

Re:Backyard Gardening Tips

23 Mar, 2012 8:34 a.m.

Thanks for the tip, kmburgos!
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