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Old 02-11-2010, 02:56 PM   #1
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One brown thumb and some mild ambition!


As I now own a house I suddenly find myself responsible for maintenance of flowerbeds and the garden that I want to have. My record with plants is pretty bad so far. I have managed to kill at least 2 cacti and a number of succulents...

Where would a brown thumbed wanna-be gardener start? I would love to have some fresh herbs instead of buying bunches at the store that then proceed to rot before I can use them and in theory fresh veggies might actually get eaten instead of being passed up on the shelf at the store. I was thinking a window box in the kitchen for some herb basics to start - cilantro, oregano, thyme and rosemary seem to get used the most.

Now if I could actually see my yard instead of the snow that is everywhere...

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Old 02-12-2010, 05:36 AM   #2
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One brown thumb and some mild ambition!


You can place them in small pots and than place those in a window box would work well. If you place them in individual containers you can bring them inside when the weather gets all uppity and bitter. Get some good soil and seeds from the nursery. You can plant them early inside and then move them outside when the weather calms down. The nursery will know the best soil and seed combination and the seed pack has all the rest of the info you need for the best results.

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Old 02-12-2010, 08:16 AM   #3
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One brown thumb and some mild ambition!


A little herb window garden is easy to keep going. If you want to start plants inside for transplanting? The peat pots work out great. The roots will grow through the sides and you can plant the pot and everything. I have never had any luck with peat pellets so avoid those.

You are not the first person to KO cacti and succulents. Usually it is too much water and or not enough sand in the potting soil.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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One brown thumb and some mild ambition!


I have a friend just like you.... It's really simple. Begin with a sprinkler system. Most people with "brown thumbs" actually just forget to plant their purchases when they bring them home, or subsequently forget to water them. A pre-programmed sprinkler system (or soaker hoses on a timer) can solve a lot of problems.

Also, I recommend going to a big box store when they have one of those gardening classes. There you'll learn the basics about how deep to plant a plant, how to prepare the soil, and what the little labels mean (plant in part sun / well drained soil)

For the herb project:
After setting up your soaker hoses and timer (should water every day for about 30 min), you can prep a bed in full sunlight (most herbs prefer full sun). (herbs in pots look cute, but generally don't grow that well, becuase herbs love intense sun and lots of ground. Your results will be much better outdoors.)

That means the house and trees do not produce shadows in the area for the majority of the day. Loosen the soil, add some peat moss and potting soil. Now you're ready to plant. Some herbs are more high maintenance than others. Avoid things like cilantro, parsley or dill, becuase they require you to constantly pick flower buds off, and easily get thin and lanky. Basil, oregano, thyme are all easy to grow. Rosemary is also, although it is very slow growing. (In most climates, rosemary is a perenial, so it will last for years!) I've also grown exotic stuff like lemongrass without much difficulty.

Just remember to check on your little friends regularly, and don't let them get crowded with weeds.

good luck

Last edited by diy'er on LI; 05-03-2010 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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One brown thumb and some mild ambition!


Many would say I have a green thumb
But I do my research & buy plants that will live in my area
I buy perennials that come back every year & spread
Most spread thru the roots & will reseed
I very rarely water any of my gardens
This forces the plants to develop a better root system

I have yet to add any soil to my gardens
And I have only mulched once in 6+ years
I do plant enough that areas are crowded, shading the soil from the sun

For spring flowers I plant crocus, hyacinth (small & big) & daffodils
I have planted tulips, but most do not last more then a few years
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