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Gardening on STX  

 

wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 21
February 25, 2014 2:06 pm  

Hey folks,

Lets talk about gardening on STX for a bit, shall we.

A year round growing season is a very appealing draw to the island for someone like myself who gardens as a hobby and to supplement food purchased from the grocery store when possible.

I just had a few questions that hopefully someone can answer about where to get plants, soil, and any regulations the USVI has on importing seeds.

First off, where would you recommend buying plants? I saw TONS of plants for sale at the Ag Fair, unfortunately I am not living there currently and couldn't buy any while I was there. I am sure there are plant nurseries and I read about a Saturday market near La Reine... anyone know anything about that?

Same question for buying good soil and fertilizer... anyone got any tips on where to get the black gold? I will probably be doing container gardening, depending on where I decide to rent from and how much space is available... which brings up the question of buying/ building containers or planters...

I saw the island has a Home Depot, does that place carry all the same items I would expect to see state side? or is it like a modified "Island Depot"? I didn't really have time to tour the Home Depot on my visit.

I can't seem to find any restrictions on getting seeds mailed to the USVI... would I be correct in assuming I could buy seeds on line and have them shipped to me?

And finally, whats the deal with chickens?! I have always wanted to have a small chicken coupe out behind me house... but living in suburbia all my life homeowners associations and city ordinances have squashed my chicken dream! Clearly, from the abundance of chickens and roosters wandering the island the regulations on STX are not quite as stringent as they are state side... are there any regulations on chickens? or chicken coupes? I guess the decision of if can construct a small chicken coupe ultimately will be left to the person I end up renting from... but I was just wondering.


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JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1341
February 25, 2014 2:23 pm  

Hi again wcpalmer, our house on St. Croix has a huge garden and we accumulated many plants over the years. Here are some tips from our experience:

GLG Plants and Produce - Grantley Samuel grows many plants year 'round, primarily herbs, for sale. His stand is on the north side of Centerline close to the rum factory. He also sells on Wednesdays and Saturdays at his stand on the corner in Southgate.

The Saturday market at La Reine has several vendors who sell plants, primarily ornamentals, but you will find some herbs and peppers.

Cruzan Gardens has many ornamental plants and fruit trees - not really vegetable plants, but a wide assortment of other plants.

Ag Fair and the annual Food Fair at UVI are great times to buy plants, as you know.

We do not recommend buying any plants at Home Depot, they are not acclimated to the island. Plants from Gallows Bay are generally better, if you're going to a hardware store. But, both have decent potting soil for your pots, we bought potting soil at Home Depot and soil conditioners by the pallet from Gallows Bay. My husband had to mix his own "black gold" and it took him several years of conditioning, but now the soils in our garden beds are pretty great. However they have to be supplemented every year with more organic material because tropical soils, as you know, leach nutrients very quickly, especially in times of heavy rain.

Seeds you will need to order from the States - seed packets at the hardware stores tend to be limited and often are chosen as a standard selection of stateside varieties. There are many reputable seed sellers online, I recommend staying away from the big names like Burpee, go with Baker Creek Heirlooms or a small family organic seed seller. You can search and find a bunch of sellers online, there is sure to be one that will work for you.

When you are shopping for seeds note that the USVI has high solar intensity (UV) and that is more limiting to plants than the heat. Through trial and error you will find that some peppers and tomatoes will thrive while others will wilt under the sun. Putting up UV/solar screening over your garden beds will help. Most herbs do well in the VI, just be sure they have well-drained soil.

Also as you garden and visit places and get to know people you will meet people who will be happy to share seeds and fruits, etc. People who love to garden are a friendly bunch on St. Croix! Also UVI has some resources, and there are programs you can go to to buy seeds, such as the papaya seed collection. Start making connections, visit the Ag department, be friendly, and you'll have lots of help and offers.

On the topic of chickens, there was a thread here on the moving board a few months ago which had some lively discussion. If you search for "chickens" I'm sure you will find it and it has all sorts of information and answers to your questions. 🙂

Good luck and happy gardening!


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
February 25, 2014 2:45 pm  

You'll find some good information on this thread:

https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,137520,page=1

and if you do a search for "gardening" (all dates) you'll find pages of helpful ideas. I've been gardening here for three decades and it's an interesting adventure!


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Phizz
(@Phizz)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 164
February 25, 2014 4:24 pm  

A large variety of ornamentals, some unusual, at really reasonable prices at the Botanical Garden nursery on Tuesday and Friday 9-11. Nursery is also open at all Garden events.


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JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1341
February 25, 2014 4:47 pm  

A large variety of ornamentals, some unusual, at really reasonable prices at the Botanical Garden nursery on Tuesday and Friday 9-11. Nursery is also open at all Garden events.

Oh yes, I forgot about this! It is a great place to buy plants that are already acclimated to St. Croix and a good assortment.


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wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 21
February 25, 2014 8:32 pm  

All good stuff... thanks ya'll. I knew someone could set me in the right direction


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trayner
(@trayner)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2
February 28, 2014 3:21 pm  

Not sure if you are on STX yet but you can also check out
Christian “SHAN” Hendricks Market (located in Christiansted town across from Post Office)
Saturdays 7:30 am – 2:00 pm they are trying to revive this market some of the vendors carry
*Collard*Moringa *Lettuce*Kale, *Bananas*Plantains * Mix Seasoning, Guavas, *Tea bush *Lime*Arugula * Spinach* Pumpkin,*Egg-fruit*Seasoning peppers *Local Eggs, Local Honey, Coconut oil, pound seasoning &Essences and more Deserts: Tarts & Cakes

You can always talk to the vendors or contact them if you have gardening questions call: 201-2224 or email florine_hay47@hotmail.com

Sister Maura and Joan Table (340) 201-2931, (806)789-6364 or email (dl.davalos@nts-online.net)


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MissJustice
(@MissJustice)
Trusted Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 548
March 3, 2014 10:22 pm  

Be careful. The Avis makes fun of farmers. They scoffed at the idea of having a viable agricultural industry a few months ago, telling a local senator to go "back to cutting cane"

Congrats


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LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1937
March 4, 2014 1:22 am  

Be careful. The Avis makes fun of farmers. They scoffed at the idea of having a viable agricultural industry a few months ago, telling a local senator to go "back to cutting cane"

Congrats

the biggest ace in the deck.... such a shame.


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Mojo13
(@mojo13)
Advanced Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 51
March 4, 2014 10:13 pm  

Went to the Botanical Gardens plant sale today after reading it in this thread. Very reasonable prices, nice variety, and very helpful people. I highly recommend it


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wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 21
March 5, 2014 6:27 pm  

Not sure if you are on STX yet but you can also check out
Christian “SHAN” Hendricks Market (located in Christiansted town across from Post Office)
Saturdays 7:30 am – 2:00 pm they are trying to revive this market some of the vendors carry
*Collard*Moringa *Lettuce*Kale, *Bananas*Plantains * Mix Seasoning, Guavas, *Tea bush *Lime*Arugula * Spinach* Pumpkin,*Egg-fruit*Seasoning peppers *Local Eggs, Local Honey, Coconut oil, pound seasoning &Essences and more Deserts: Tarts & Cakes

You can always talk to the vendors or contact them if you have gardening questions call: 201-2224 or email florine_hay47@hotmail.com

Sister Maura and Joan Table (340) 201-2931, (806)789-6364 or email (dl.davalos@nts-online.net)

No, Unfortunately I am not on the island yet and won't be for a while... I am just planning ahead and day dreaming while I stare out the window at this dreary, unusually cold day is south Georgia...
But I will be all over that when I am living there!
Thanks for the heads up!


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