Garden Life is an Experiment

digitS'

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"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have tried some new varieties and new species in your gardens, now and then. Some have come to kind of characterize your garden or, you as a gardener. You might be the only one in your neighborhood with those plants and you are committed to growing them, ! each year ! For you, they are winners. What are they? Let me put mine in groups.

Vegetable: Portuguese Kale
Annual flowers: Snapdragon
Perennial: Dahlia

And for those who don't think a Dahlia is a perennial because it has to be lifted and transplanted every year: how about my Black Iris?

Steve
admittedly there are more than those ;)
 

Zeedman

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Among other things, the joy of gardening is trying new varieties, new techniques, and learning to get just a little better each year. I doubt the vegetable garden will ever be the same way twice.

I'm mainly a vegetable gardener, although I plant most of the perennials. DW takes care of the annual flowers & house plants. The more unusual things grown every year:
Bitter melon
Yardlong beans
Water spinach
Gherkins (the real species, not cucumbers)
Moringa

Perennials: tiger lilies (a virtual tiger lily nursery), bleeding heart, day lilies, and iris, with violets everywhere in between.

A lot of experiments... plant spacing, different cultural methods, unusual edibles, and trying to adapt long-season vegetables to my short summers. A few breeding projects too, which I look forward to devoting more time to when I retire.
 

flowerbug

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i never run short of things to do and try for sure. :) i've always been curious and willing to try things even if they don't work. once i got my hands on a fairly complete reference about gardening and house plants there really wasn't anything i'd not try and i was always talking to the neighbor ladies about their houseplants and sharing cuttings and plants and giving them flowers. as soon as i could get a terrarium going of carnivorous plants i did that and then i learned how to hand pollinate flowers on venus flytraps and harvested the seeds and sprouted those.

i still remember growing my first indoor bean plant and then the first peanut plant (in that same container). i remember the color and shape (bright blue shaped like a tulip flower).

i also remember all the cactuses i had in the west window and my first lesson of plant marketing (someone had stuck a dry flower into a cactus leaf, but they'd also left the stem so long that it went out the other side).
 

digitS'

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For Nawthern gardeners, I think that part of the tendency to experiment may be having 6 months to come up with ideas. Dreaming about the beauty of Spring & Summertime plays into that. We may get in trouble having all that time but experiments are risky, anyway.

Also, hunger. Everybody eats, you know. I can understand urban people who really don't know where food comes from. It doesn't seem a normal sort of thing for me. Often, my memories of food and meals have something to do with food from a garden - even back to the time when it had to do with meat from livestock on the farm. Or, something from a fishing trip ... There's also a desire to have healthy food. I look at something from the soopermarket as suspect. So, I find myself craving food and trying to assure myself that I will have it from the garden.

Honestly @seedcorn , Scotch kale isn't my favorite green. I may rate it above mustard greens but then, I'm willing to eat mustard greens. (Not willing to eat @Zeedman 's bitter melon 🤭 !) I also found that Siberian kale tasted better to me than Scotch (or, Italian) ... my garden aphids must think that this is true, also.

If I try something that is unusual to me, even if I like it, growing it on a regular basis is a little difficult because there are habits needed. It's like an old road with deeply cut wagon ruts. I have to focus both on the purchase or saving of seed AND the planting AND the harvesting. Radish seedpods are like that. I don't care much for radish but found the seedpods of just common varieties very tasty. So, I have to make a special point of buying the seed AND planting it AND leaving some to produce seedpods AND harvesting those pods in the very narrow window when they are tender.

I wonder if Rattail radish has a longer harvest window for the pods 🤔. Oh but please seed developers: Come up with a different name than "Rattail." 😖 I am not about to take the very first step necessary to bring them in for a meal!

Steve
 

flowerbug

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i'm already getting some new prospects lined up for planting. new beans of all sorts to try out via @Zeedman and other nice people here. it is going to be difficult to keep it under 30. i suspect i shall fail at that but hey, i have an entire large additional garden to work with that i didn't have last year - outside the fence so it may be a sacrificial garden, but we'll see how it goes. :)
 

digitS'

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I haven't tried radish sprouts.

The garden center's alfalfa seed sure looked good to me the other day. DW has "come around" to having some of my appreciation for cream cheese and I was thinking about a sandwich.

She still isn't convinced that having several quart jars on the kitchen counter over winter months is such a good idea. "There at the store!" So is a lot of stuff ...

Steve
 

flowerbug

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I haven't tried radish sprouts.

The garden center's alfalfa seed sure looked good to me the other day. DW has "come around" to having some of my appreciation for cream cheese and I was thinking about a sandwich.

She still isn't convinced that having several quart jars on the kitchen counter over winter months is such a good idea. "There at the store!" So is a lot of stuff ...

Steve
for a larger seed like the radish i think you can get away with using agricultural seeds because the shell of the seed falls away easily enough. for the smaller sprouts like alfalfa i think you have to be more careful about what supply of seeds you use for sprouting as you may have more of a chance of whatever is on the seeds infecting or being on the sprouts.

i just know that some agricultural seeds have sprays/etc on them as anti-fungals and perhaps also some nutrients. things you may not want to eat...
 

digitS'

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Right. But, I was looking at their "sprouting seed."

Alfalfa sprouts were the first I enjoyed, outside of a Chinese restaurant. I learned a lot at Chinese restaurants :). I had a friend in high school who, with his family, was a Chinese refugee. I helped him with his homework. I don't know if he knew how much I admired them for having a restaurant. They had all these tasty dishes around them every day and things, likely, equally good that I had never tried!

Anyway, it was in a health food store, with which I also had a lot of familiarity, that I had my first alfalfa sprout sandwich. I was a teenager. Life is good when you have different things to eat.

I mean, we were a meat and potatoes family. Depression era parents and potatoes were a staple, far and above bread. Not just any meat, Mom didn't like raising chickens but we had all the beef a small family could shake a stick at, in our fields. Some lamb, too ... Oh boy, did we have the beef.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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Right. But, I was looking at their "sprouting seed."

Alfalfa sprouts were the first I enjoyed, outside of a Chinese restaurant. I learned a lot at Chinese restaurants :). I had a friend in high school who, with his family, was a Chinese refugee. I helped him with his homework. I don't know if he knew how much I admired them for having a restaurant. They had all these tasty dishes around them every day and things, likely, equally good that I had never tried!

Anyway, it was in a health food store, with which I also had a lot of familiarity, that I had my first alfalfa sprout sandwich. I was a teenager. Life is good when you have different things to eat.

I mean, we were a meat and potatoes family. Depression era parents and potatoes were a staple, far and above bread. Not just any meat, Mom didn't like raising chickens but we had all the beef a small family could shake a stick at, in our fields. Some lamb, too ... Oh boy, did we have the beef.

Steve
was it all grass fed or did they finish with grain? i grew up on grass fed beef and it was completely different than what we usually get these days.
 
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