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 Post subject: Lots of questions
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:07 pm
Posts: 4
Ok the section that I set up for our vegetable and fruit garden is in the northwest section of our house/back yard. We think the first section gets sun roughly from 10am (once it passes top of house) til around 3pm (our high fence blocks the sun at this point). The second section gets sun from around 12:30-1pm til around 4:30-5pm (this section is right on the back of the house). We are located in Rowlett TX which is north east of Dallas by about 1 hour. Think that covers location, now its question time :)

I have a lemon tree that we are growing in a pot (is 3 times as big as the pot it came in), got it last year and got about 10 lemons off it in November. It is already sprouting new leaves and seems to be healthy.. I am curious at what point will I have to repot or can I just add organic compost to it and it will get enough nutrients? Also it is currently in section two.. is that enough sun? Do I need to try and discourage it from making lemons again this year for it to grow bigger?

Strawberries... I would like to grow strawberries, I try every year in a huge square hanging basket about 9 inches deep in various places around my yard.. however it never seems to get any bigger then the size it was at the store... if its in the peat pot I gently remove the bottom like they say, if its in a regular pot I remove it and replant straight away. I have never gotton more then one tiny strawberry.. what am I doing wrong? This year I was thinking of buying one of those big long semi deep balcony baskets which are about 8 inches deep and modifying it to attach to my fence... would that be better?

Grapes - I would love to grow the purple seedless grapes.. any recommendation as to what kind? Information on how they grow (vine/bush/etc) and any other information would be great.

Green Beans - If you have ever seen the package of prewashed fresh green beans by green giant.. those are the kind I want. I think they are just regular stringless green beans where you cook them in some water, cut ends and your set. I have a pretty trellis that did fine when I tried to grow zucchini (they were growing well til we housed a stray dog until we found his owners.. he dug them up and chewed it to bits), I am curious if I need a certain kind of trellis? (closer together instead of further apart, or further apart then closer together) Like This the link is to one that has the same bottom of mine, mine just has decorative stuff at the top and is thick bars (1x1x1x1) instead of thin. Also how long is the season on these? We love fresh green beans and I think it would be perfect to grow, however if I am going to end up with like 500 beans for 1 week and then nothing that might not be what we are going to want.

Best kind of Orange and Plum trees to grow in pots in my area? Our lemon tree is doing wonderful and want to be able to take them with us if we ever move.

Our Rosemary bush is brown, I think its dead. We've had it for 3 years with no problems in a HUGE clay pot (I could sit in it before we planted). Then last fall in 08 it started going brown and now its compleately brown and while the leaves look dry they still smell like rosemary.. but its never gone brown before and now its not even starting to green back up like the rest of my plants. I was going to transplant it to the ground but if its dead I should probably just get a new bush :(

Also the timber logs you get from the home improvement stores.. are those ok to use to make a raised vegetable bed? We have thick clay and have been told raised beds would be better.

One last thing.. Ants.. our neighbors have a huge ant problem and we are fighting them constantly. I've tried raw oats (microwaveable and from the cardboard tub) and grits.. what is the least harmful way to keep them out of my garden and home? They are just black sugar ants and we cant find any ant hills in our yard, but you leave a food item down and with in about a min it will start to be swarmed. I understand they can be beneficial to the garden, but I would hate to make the nice raised beds and have it turn into one giant ant mound. we tried borax mixed with water and sugar last year in containers but it didn't seem to work so well, plus we have been feeding the stray cat population now and then to keep them around to disway the rats that have been around due to the new construction destroying their habitat (so far its working, haven't seen a rat since). I worry a borax mixture would harm them.

Thanks for any answers you can give me, and sorry for the loong post :)

 Post subject: Re: Lots of questions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:06 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 12:50 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Grand Prairie,TX
I can't comment on very many of your questions. I have never grown the plants you have mentioned before, except rosemary. I have many rosemary plants, and one of them turned brown and died just as you described. It was also the only rosemary that I was growing in a pot. Over the years, I have lost almost all interest in growing in pots. In my case it always turns out to be more work, and all for the plants to no do as well as they would in well-prepared ground. Some exceptions: I find that certain succulents and cacti do fine in least for my gardening skills.

I like your idea of a raised bed. But let me tell you my understanding of the landscape timbers. (Perhaps someone will correct me if I'm wrong.) If the timbers are not chemically preserved, then they will rot in a rich organic soil. So why use them in that case? Perhaps not the best investment. If the timbers are chemically preserved (the more likely possibility) then they wont rot as fast, but nasty things will leach into your soil. So in that case, you wouldn't want to use them either. It seems that either way the timbers aren't the best idea, and not the best investment.

My personal inclination on raised beds is to use stone. I have three raised beds. One I did myself. I just bought some stones (bricks) and stacked them up to form a raised bed. No mortar, and the bed looks orderly and has stayed in stable repair for a few years now. I suppose the stones will outlive me, and so it is a one time investment. The other two are ornamental and were made from stone and mortar.

For the ants, you seemed worried about them invading your raised bed. All I can say is that I have never seen such ants do that. At my place, there are lots of fireants. I often grow okra, and they love that. They swarm around the okra. But they do not turn my veggie bed into a big ant mound. They prefer the lawn. They probably don't like that I pay so much attention to the soil in the veggie garden.

That's my take...good luck with the rest of it.

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