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Small grape vine - any tips for transplanting?

The other day I got a small grape vine (about 40 cm tall) from a nursery. It seems to be four cuttings of about the same length. It's in the black plastic bag right now, and I want to transplant it to the garden.

I'm a bit paranoid about the preciousness of grapes, so I want to be careful about the transplant, the kind of soil, sun/shade, etc. But the other part of me says, screw it, just plant it and take care of it like any other climbing vine.

But if anyone has tips for very young cuttings like these, they would be much appreciated :)

New features: redesigned homepage, API and RSS improvements

Hi everyone. You probably already noticed that we have a shiny new homepage. If not, check it out. Heaps of work went into discussing what was important for us to show and tell on our homepage, laying those things out on the page, and then actually building the new page and making sure it loaded fast enough to use. Enormous thanks to the literally dozens of people who took part, from the initial discussions and UX (user experience) exercises, through the development and testing.

Along with this code push we also have some improvements/cleanups/fixes to the JSON API and to our RSS feeds. Of particular interest in the RSS feeds is the new seeds RSS so if you want a convenient feed of what seeds are being listed on Growstuff (whether available to trade or not), that's where to find it.

We've got more coming soon, so stay tuned.

the appropriation of poor skills

OooOo will this be a real link?

Tomatoes gone wild

So I have three volunteer tomatoes around where the Sunsugar was last year, and I didn't have much else there so I figured I'd just let them grow and see what happened. They've got small yellow fruit slightly larger than that of Sunsugar, but just barely - but it's sort of irregular. Not as irregular as an heirloom tomato but just slightly blobby - wider in one direction than in the other. What's really great, though, is the flavor on the two from one plant that were ripe today. They are as sweet as Sunsugar, but not as tart, and they have a really rich, umami flavor that is just spectacular. I think I'll save some seed and see what I get next.

The potatoes are finally falling over, so I should be able to harvest soon. I'm inclined to let the berries ripen and see what I get there too. I hear not every type of potato will set berries at all.

My first 'Minnesota Midget' cantaloupe changed color quite suddenly and slipped. I cut into it right away, even though the odor was not what I could wish and it seemed a little hard. There was nearly an INCH of green! I thought muskmelons did not slip until they were really, truly ripe? :/ Hopefully, better luck with the next one - if it doesn't smell enough, I'll just let it ripen off the vine for a few days and see if that helps. There looks to be quite a while left on the Charentais. I'm starting to wonder if there's some sort of pruning I should be doing, because I seem to have rather more tiny melons than I should have at this time of year, and the two big ones aren't growing at all fast. It's a tangle in there, though; I'm not sure I can tell wich shoots are from which plant. Also, I have at least four plants, but only one has any big melons on it. Possibly they are communicating via their root systems, though. I don't know how this works with melons.

Bell peppers will start coming ripe soon. This makes me happy. I like bell peppers, and they're expensive in the store.

Should have another crop of green beans ready to eat within the next couple days. I lament the difficulty of having enough green beans at the right stage of ripeness at one time.

How do I know when carrots are ready?

Lacking X-ray vision, you know. Even if I dig a little with my finger and the top seems the normal diameter, it may be that the whole root is not ready yet. But how can I tell?

Basil is flowering - how do I save seeds?

All of our basil plants are flowering. How do I go about collecting / saving seeds from them? Are they like onions where you do the wrap-flower-in-plastic-bag trick?

Goji not a listed plant?

Just a thought:)

Chinotto Orange...what to do?

I have been growing a chinotto shrub in a large planter...i have never seen a fruit off a big tree so I have no idea how big or small they should be...anyone who has grown this?

Also what do you do with the oranges?

Planting chilli peppers in Growstuff

Hi everyone!

I'm trying to enter all the plants I'm growing this year and I've run into a bit of trouble, because I don't know the name for what I would call chilli peppers ("Peperoni" in German). I looked for "chilli", "pepper", "capsicum" in the list, but now I'm out of ideas.


Crossposting to social media using IFTTT

If this, then that (IFTTT) is a service that lets you glue together different online services. I just set up an IFTTT recipe to tweet whenever I post something here on Growstuff, and I'm about to set up recipes to tweet when I plant things or list seeds available for trade. I'll post a blog post on the Growstuff blog, soon, to show everyone how to do the same thing, but if you're already familiar with IFTTT the magic trick is basically to just add ".rss" to the end of URLs, eg. or


Handling and storage of freshly picked plums

My landlady's plum tree is loaded with almost-ripe plums, light purple but still hard. The birds are going to town. In order to ensure that we get to eat some of the plums, we're picking buckets and boxes full.

Is it better to wash the plums right away, or to leave them unwashed until ready to eat? I noticed that on the tree, those plums that got bird poo on them tended to rot starting from the affected area, which makes me inclined to wash, but I think most produce is supposed to keep better if you don't wash it, for example because the natural coating of yeast would tend to outcompete foreign organisms if the fruit isn't directly exposed to a giant glob of bird poop.

I washed half the plums that I picked yesterday, and left the most pristine unwashed, so I guess we'll see, but I wondered if anyone has any pointers from their own experience.

Since they're plums, they can be fully dried after washing - there's no fuzzy coating to remain damp and invite spoilage.

We've started!

We moved to a new house 3 months ago. It's been winter-y. But today we've finally got out and done some stuff!

(Well, I guess a couple of weeks ago we started, I advertised some palms and box hedges on freecycle, and someone collected the lot. And we transplanted one of the many rosemary bushes into a place that makes more sense to us:-) )

With the palms gone, we could finally begin our Citrus Grove, so we've planted out the Puggle's Blood Orange:-) And even better, we have a hole dug and fed, waiting for a lemon (just waiting for nap-time to finish, and we'll go get one—it's hardly an Australian backyard if there's no lemon tree!). Which means I'll then feel justified in calling it a 'grove'—one tree does not a grove make:-)

And Puggle's raised bed now has soil in it, and we've put a couple of seedlings in, and he's added a stack of seeds:-)

We're underway:-) (And what a beautiful day it is, too:-) Perfect for being out and doing stuff:-) )


Napier, New Zealand apartment garden suggestions

We are moving from Norway to Napier New Zealand. While we do not have anywhere to live yet. By looking at the market it looks like we will be living in an apartment. There is a moderate sized balcony only on most.

What would you suggest would be the best plants to grow?


I harvested the black eyed peas today. Not sure how many plants I have (it's kind of a tangle because they're in with the melons) but I think only 1 or 2 and the other 2 are yard long beans. I got just enough black eyed peas to make a little Side dish sized bowl of peas with onions. Pretty tasty. Now the question that determines whether I plant a big patch next year is if I get more harvests out of the same plant.

The yard long beans are now flowering. I know which ones they are because they are a pole variety. The black eyed peas did not say and turned out to be bush. Also the flowers are purple instead of yellow when fully open, though I think that is not a reliable indicator. I hav a couple very immature beans, just a couple days old.

I think I may save some of the later seeds of the black eyed peas if they produce more. I have no idea what I might get. Bush, vining, or semi-vining? Big or small seeds? Long or short pods?

Eggplants, Corn, Beans, and Tomatoes!

It's not quite August yet, but I have beans (string and borlotto), cherry tomatoes, and black Italian eggplants ready to be picked.

My popcorn maize is starting to develop ears. I've never grown corn before, so this is exciting.

My bigger tomato plants are taller than I am, as as the tomatillos, and starting to ripen. I think I will try making sauce and canning it come August.

I have suspicions that one of the plants I thought was a cucumber from seed is actually a summer squash, since I tried planting some seeds early and they never came up -- I replanted those pots with cucumbers, and now I have something that has fruits that look like tiny, pale green, crookneck squash, not cucumbers. It's twined around my red sunflower, which has finally bloomed.

Roadmap and new features

The roadmap I've been talking about for weeks is complete. You can read it on the wiki.

The major areas we'll be working on are:

  • improvements to the crop pages
  • seed tracking and trading
  • improvements to how you track planting
  • improved photo uploading
  • harvests
  • wishlists
  • forums/discussion improvements
  • social features
  • member profile/settings improvements
  • visual design/layout
  • paid accounts
  • API/RSS/mobile

And to prove we mean it, we actually just pushed our first couple of roadmap features to the site:

  • Flickr sets: when adding photos to plantings, you can now select a Flickr set, to make it easier to find your garden photos
  • Seed tracking and trading: on the homepage, if you're signed in, you'll see "Your seed stash: 0 varieties" and you can add seeds that you have. You can also say if you're willing to trade them locally, nationally, or internationally. The seeds all show up in our seed database, and also on the relevant crop page if they're available to trade.


Wanted: Tangerine Tree or Cutting in Perth WA


I'm on the hunt for a tangerine tree or cutting should someone have an established tree. I've tried a few local nurseries and even Bunnings with no luck.

Places seem to think offering me some other type of citrus and an acceptable alternative however it has to be the Citrus tangerina although Wiki says people list it as a subspecies of mandarin (Citrus reticulata).

Two possibles:

Citrus Reticulata Blanco Var Tangerina

Citrus tangerina Tanaka

Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

Forgive me Garden, for I have sinned...

Well not technically sinned, but yanno it's been awhile since I've updated...

My zucchini succummed to mildew and well, just did not make it through. I ended up pulling them and have planted Kale in their place. The strawberries may be also slightly affected by mildew as they are going grey before they even ripen. I keep pulling those off and raising the new ones off the soil level. It seems to be working for now.

Since planting (and pulling) the zucchini I've planted garlic chives and the kale. The layout of the beds is being reworked as about a foot to two feet of the beds won't get enough sun and the plants in those situations have been noticeably struggling. Not outright dying but not growing at the recommended rates.

Or maybe it's the coir mix. They get liberal doses of seasol and powerfeed and look healthily delicious, but don't seem to grow of a decent size. Something to think on for the next beds. However the turnips and the peas seem to love it. The carrots are of a mixed opinion and the broccoli and brussels sprouts are plodding along.

Got some good rain happening tonight, it's nice.

Overgrown rhubarb

There's a plant next to my driveway that a friend says is rhubarb. He says it's normal that if you let it overgrow, the stalks go brown instead of bright red. It's about as tall as me at this point. Can I still cook the stalks, even though they're far past ripe? Do I just cut back the rhubarb to grow again next year? Not really sure what to do with it.

Potatoes?! and tomatoes, beans, chard, melons

I shall label the seasons in my garden thusly:

Dec-Feb: The Season of Excessive Procrastination

Mar-May: The Season of Inarticulate Panic

Jun-August: The Season of Smugness

Sept-Nov: The Season of Isn't It Dead Yet I Need Room To Plant The Garlic

My potatoes are doing well, and one is preparing to flower.

This is kind of baffling to me. Previously, I grew potatoes as a cool season crop. This year, my potatoes started coming up in february and then all died off without having done much sprouting. I searched the area for tubers and found nothing of any great size. Then they sprouted again - in june, during a hot spell. Given the late timing and the conditions, I ignored them. I figured they'd just die off again.

But they didn't. Now I have a couple two-foot-tall potato shoots and a number of shorter sprouts. It doesn't seem like enough for a really exciting potato crop, but I'm surprised I've got any potatoes growing.

The black-eyed peas and yard long beans are also doing well and making me really happy. There aren't enough of them, but I have at least one happy black-eyed pea plant growing at about knee height and producing lots of pods, and one yard-long bean has climbed nearly all the way to the top of the wishful-thinking-oriented bean teepee and is now starting to think about maybe flowering. I'm totally jazzed. Somehow my garden just didn't seem complete without pole beans.

The tomatoes are doing well. Brandy Boy has one huge tomato that's nearly ripe and a few green ones, so it's delivering on the quantity end - we'll see if I get the promised Brandywine flavor. I've had three tomatoes out of Enchantment already and lots more on the way. I love Enchantment - it's very rich and umami, almost like a paste tomato (which makes sense given the oblong fruit shape) but without the mealy texture. It looks like it's going to be a heavy producer as promised, too - perhaps not as heavy as Jetsetter, but the incredible flavor makes up for that.

And of course there are plenty of Sunsugar. Not as many as last year, but it's early days yet. My entire garden is a bit late this year; given the weather this year, if I'd been on the ball, I'd have had tomatoes in june. But I was not. Still, the lateness is also keeping everything quite orderly, which I appreciate.

I have a few late volunteer tomato plants growing near where Sunsugar was last year. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of fruit they produce. They may be Sunsugars, or they may be a hybrid with Jetsetter. They're not in the way of anything, so I decided to let them grow and see what happens.

The chard is happy and I have been eating it quite a bit. I'm glad to have chard again. I missed it when I hadn't got it.

And the melon plants! They're happily sprawling away, except the two that are happily climbing up alongside the beans. I have two immature melons! And it looks like more on the way. I know that by september, I'll have to give up on walking in the path under the bean teepee, because it will be full of melons. That's okay. It is all part of the plan.

Next year: Raspberries along the fence; more cowpeas; cucumbers.


So, um, watering's important. Yep. Very important.

Well, what with moving into the house and all THAT plants are looking the worse for wear. They haven't gotten enough water. The oregano is dead. The basil and chives are just hanging on. The tomatoes have sort of purple leaves. Seeing that the roots were all growing out of the bottom of the pots, I finally went and got soil to fill the basins I have for the tomatoes and spent the money on proper (much larger) pots for the herbs.

At Home Depot, it turned out that 7.5" pots that are glazed inside and out (to prevent wicking & evaporation of water -- the problem my tomatoes were hitting with the teensy clay pots) were $10 for the pot and $5 for the saucer. Or there are 7.25" self-watering pots for $15. So my herbs are now in self-watering pots where they should be able to survive Pennsic without me. I got a new oregano plant too.

self-watering herbs

The tomatoes are now in large plastic bins full of dirt/compost, where their roots can spread out. Turns out clay pots in weather that is always over 80, usually over 90, and hitting over 100 (celcius people, read those as 26, 32, 38) means you need to water at least daily, probably a couple times a day, to keep the plants happy.

tomatoes in plastic cement mixing tubs

After taking that photo, I put some egg shells (since I hardboiled some eggs today for pickling) in the dirt around them and added stakes.

I noticed a couple days ago on the way to work that there's a place near home called Country Boy Market. Fresh locally grown produce (cheap berries, nom nom), mulch, top soil, compost, and straw bales are all available. Also they deliver mulch & soil. Well then. I know what's happening next spring when I try to build up the rest of the garden.

Draft roadmap

Based on the results of the survey I posted about a week or so back, I've been working on a roadmap for our development work for the rest of 2013. If you have an interest in what features we develop for this site, check out the draft roadmap document. Comments welcome, but FYI I'm planning to publish it early next week (around the 22nd-23rd). We've also started work on some of these features already, and you'll see them soon :)

An example of "other" plantings

Just a note of something edible I planted, that won't ever be in our crops database, and would be a prime candidate for the "other" option we've talked about implementing: I just planted a big wide container with Diggers Club "Microgreen Winter Mix" which contains red russian kale, tatsoi, frilly endive, and beetroot. I can't really list it under each thing, though, as it's a mix.

mid-summer seed starting

Threw a few seeds into dirt today:
- pea (Tom thumb)
- pepper (fish)
- oregano (Italian)
- basil (genovese)
- spinach (strawberry)
- lettuce (tennis ball)

Many of those are short season, so i figured why not, since i finally have a free bucket[*] i can use for vegetable experiments. And the pepper and oregano are things i'll over-winter one way or the other.

Question: I cannot find a crop listing for peppers anywhere. I've looked under "pepper"; i've looked under "chili"; i checked the forums to see if it was mentioned anywhere and Skud said (a few month ago) that they should be under "pepper" but all i see is "pecan" and "peppermint". Omg, feel like i'm just losing it. Suggestions?? Update: I just used the "cayenne pepper" planting and made it clear in the comments section that it's a fish pepper.

[*] I grow half of my plants in self-watering buckets i made out of feta buckets i alley-picked from behind the Greek restaurant in the next block.

New features: homepage improvements, add older photos, "planted from", and more

Jcaudle and I just pushed a bunch of new features to the site, including:

  • Improved homepage member display so the same people don't always show up (I got sick of seeing my own face there all the time!)
  • You can now add older photos from Flickr, not just the 30 most recent in your photostream
  • There is now a "planted from" field for plantings (eg. seed, cutting, etc)
  • Currency conversion links in shop and on order summaries -- for those of you who don't normally use Australian dollars :)
  • Made a bunch of error messages nicer/more grammatical
  • Fixed Firefox problem with opening links in new tab -- really pleased to have got this fixed, please let us know if you have any further problems!
  • Fixed bug when editing plantings if "planted at" date was blank

There was also a bunch of backend work done, which is not visible on the site itself, but which improves the overall code quality and makes it easier for us to keep building new features.

Enormous thanks to all our code contributors and testers! If you'd like to get involved in the coding/testing side of things, please join our discussion mailing list.

Please take our roadmap survey!

We're currently planning what we're going to work on next for Growstuff. We built the basics of the website, but there's so much more to do. If you've got a few minutes to spare, I'd really appreciate it if you'd take the time to answer this survey. It asks you a bit about how you garden, how you've used Growstuff so far, and then (the best bit!) what you want us to work on next.

To whet your appetite, here are some of the possibilities:

  • Expand the range of crops in the system
  • Plant "other" crops that aren't in our crop database (eg. houseplants, ornamentals)
  • Ability to mark a planting as finished (eg. dead, all harvested, etc.)
  • Say where you got a plant/seeds from (eg. nursery, from a friend)
  • Ability to mark a garden as inactive (eg. moved house)
  • Track harvests of produce (eg. 3lb tomatoes)
  • Say what you did with produce (eg. made jam)
  • Ability to transplant from one garden to another
  • Better photo uploading
  • Wishlist for things you'd like to plant in future
  • To-do list for future planting/maintenance (eg. feeding, pruning)
  • Emailed reminders of upcoming to-do items
  • Track what seeds you have
  • Track other materials/equipment/resources (eg. fertilizer, tools)
  • Post your Growstuff activity to Twitter/Facebook/other social media
  • Add more information to member profile pages (eg. website links, bio)
  • Make it easier to find members near you (geographically)
  • Make it easier to find friends/people you already know on Growstuff
  • Find members who grow things similar to you (regardless of location)
  • Follow other members
  • "Newsfeed" of activity from people you're following
  • Have recent activity emailed to you
  • Ability to comment in more places (eg. on individual crops or on people's photos)
  • More forums/different topics
  • Let me create my own forum/group
  • Improved editor for posts/comments/descriptions (to insert markup/links/pictures)
  • Threaded comments on posts
  • Ability to track forums or posts, and get email notifications
  • More/better/more visible RSS feeds
  • Improve notifications/inbox (eg. "sent" folder, mass deletion)
  • Add sun/shade/water needs to crop page
  • Add propagation methods to crop page
  • Add information on where to buy seeds/plants to crop page
  • Add information on companion plants to crop page
  • Add information about pests and diseases of various crops
  • Show a map of where a crop is being grown
  • Show information about what people near you are growing
  • Offer seeds to sell/swap or find seeds that others are offering
  • Offer produce to sell/swap or find produce that others are offering
  • Trade/share other resources (eg. manure, woodchipper)
  • Monthly paid account subscription
  • Buy paid accounts as gifts for other people
  • Improved site design/visual appeal
  • Better international/multilingual support, eg. international names for crops
  • Better mobile support (phone/tablet)
  • API (Application Programming Interface)

If you've got other suggestions or ideas, feel free to let me know!

urban gardens in Kerala

Check out this article in Caravan: it seems that the state of Kerala has a "vegetable initiative for urban clusters". Kerala's State Horticulture Mission might be a good partner in localising Growstuff to Malayalam. :-)

Miracle of winter

Last year my potted hyacinths were a bit sad and not at all the lovely blue they should have been. No flowers at all! So I separated the bulbs and dug them in under the tree. Today two little shoots are peeking up out of the dirt. Hopefully all four have survived and there'll be some pretty flowers in a little while.

The curly parsley, Vietnamese mint and brussels sprout are doing well. The marigolds are having a sad and the flat leaf parsley is making seeds which I am directing over a flat wide pot of dirt.

The tarragon appears to have died off but there are several tarragon-like shoots around the stick.

It appears the watercress has jumped a pot as there are two seedlings that look a lot like watercress in a pot I'd put a rescued marigold in.

UI issues with finding the "request new crops" page

I emailed a link to Growstuff to a friend of mine. He commented that he couldn't find a link to the page to request a new crop, and since the fixed list doesn't include several things he grows, he gave up. I sent him a link to the Request New Crops page, but maybe the link could be featured more prominently so that people trying to add a new crop will find it.

Then, he commented that he didn't see a way to comment on the "request new crops" post. I suggested maybe it was because he wasn't logged in, and indeed, he wasn't. So in addition, maybe it could be made clearer that you need to log in to post a comment -- not seeing any "comment" boxes/buttons is confusing. Also, it sounds like the site is perhaps not remembering logins for very long? (He said he was logged out automatically while still browsing.)

Just thought I'd pass along the feedback :-)

Yard long beans vs black-eyed peas

I have been assuming that the beans growing in my garden (that are finally taking off and seem healthy, Y A Y) are yard long beans because they match the picture on the package, and I want yard long beans. But recently (partly because the immature pods are getting thicker but not getting longer, at least not yet) it occurred to me that I planted black-eyed peas as an afterthought and I'm not sure what they look like.

I looked them up and they looked just the same. I spent some time trying to find an identifying difference other than the mature fruit. But the leaves look the same, the flowers look the same, the immature fruit look the same! It seems the flowers can be yellow or purple for both. I started wondering if they're related.

Then I noticed the scientific name.

Yard long beans are Vigna unguiculata sesquipedalis. Black-eyed peas are Vigna unguiculata unguiculata. They're the same species, different subspecies.

In contrast, most snap and dry beans are Phaseolus vulgaris. (Runner beans are Phaseolus coccineus. Limas are Phaseolus lunatus. Fava beans are Vicia faba, and of course soy is Glycine max.)

So that answers that. I guess the bad news is I won't know which I'm growing until the pods are closer to mature, but the good news is if they're black-eyed peas, I can use the immature pods in any recipe that calls for yard-long beans, and get the mature crop too if I don't go too crazy with the young pods. I guess that means that the black-eyes would be more versatile so maybe I should be hoping that's what I have! Or some of each, that would be good too.

I guess it also means if some of each did come up, I'd better not save seeds, unless I want to grow something weird.

Whether black-eyed peas or yard-long beans, I hope these do well because brief research shows that V. unguiculata (referred to as a group as cowpeas) is a great crop. Cowpeas love hot weather, and do well in part shade. Next year I want to grow some 3 sisters plantings at the top of the hill where the corn will provide evening shade for the tomatoes without blocking the morning sun; if I can't get my hands on some rattlesnake beans for the purpose, cowpeas would probably be a good alternative. And of course I always need plants to grow on the shade trellises, though I'd prefer something that was further along by this time of year. They're nitrogen-fixing of course, and not only are the pods a versatile food resource with lots of use in asian cuisine, but the young leaves are useful as a cooked green - very nutritious and high in protein. No wonder the earwigs went crazy on them during the spring!

As a side note - Although I inoculate all my legumes before planting, it seems that the Vignas that are doing well are the ones that I planted in potting soil and are receiving regular feeding (because they're growing with melons and I have to feed the melons). So that's weird.

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