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Iris Richardson
(@Iris_Richardson)
Advanced Member

I was told to add more lime to the soil to get rid of that core eating bug. Have you tried that? We have one which does this to our squash.
Iris

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Topic starter Posted : September 24, 2006 1:56 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

That is the little bugger! It attacked our hibiscus! Thanks for the name.

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Posted : September 24, 2006 11:19 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

VERRRY INTERESTING! Goes back to my post about the bugs that came in from down-island, let's see, must have been around 1990 because it was after Hugo but before Marilyn. These were an alien whitefly strain which came here from down-island and decimated my tomatoes, habaneros and hibiscus.

And so the world turns.

Iris - you surely were kidding about a greenhouse? Greenhouses protect warm-weather plant life from inclement cold weather in temperate/cold climates. A greenhouse here would be an oven which would decimate everything. And, Iris, you're talking about adding lime to soil to save squash when you don't live here yet?

Don't get your knickers in a twist before you even reach. Take your time, dear heart!

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Posted : September 25, 2006 3:25 am
Iris Richardson
(@Iris_Richardson)
Advanced Member

No no I said I used lime here in NJ to save my squash. I don't know if it would work down there. I don't know the soil PH on the island to make such a claim. Greenhouses can be build so they get good airflow and protect against bugs. One can also use opaque material to soften the sun exposure. Green houses can have many purposes not just to protect from the cold. I am not a master gardener and hope I am not coming across as such. I have read that for Vanilla growing they do use some kind of protective housing to prevent the plant from getting too much sun.

Iris

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Topic starter Posted : September 25, 2006 12:53 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

Iris, you really just have to be here to get into all the gardening routine. It's all about just feeling your way around in general. Cheers!

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Posted : September 25, 2006 9:37 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

Iris, I think it is grand that you are researching before you get there. I think you just ran into a case of the "island experts".

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Posted : September 26, 2006 2:57 pm
Iris Richardson
(@Iris_Richardson)
Advanced Member

Thanks, I take it all in strive. I wish I could find out more about vanilla growing and curing. I would love to find a workshop which does not require me to travel to India. I love vanilla and would like to try my luck on it. But it is one of those thinks which are suppose to be very difficult as you need to figure out polination and then the right curing process. Lots can go wrong in the process. I did follow someones advise here and got a book on tropical gardening. I am sometimes gun ho on thinks I am interested in.

Iris

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Topic starter Posted : September 26, 2006 6:30 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

r u sure that you are not my husband posting under and alias??? He is exactly the same way. Half the fun of any endeavour for him is the anticipatory research.

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Posted : September 26, 2006 8:09 pm
Iris Richardson
(@Iris_Richardson)
Advanced Member

Is he German? 😉
iris

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Topic starter Posted : September 26, 2006 9:42 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

No, actually - Irish, Scots and ...now, I come to think of it...there is some German in there. Oh, what a mixture. On a more serious note, that very tendency that you both share, is what makes him such a brilliant diagnostician and has saved not a few lives in his long career.
Amen to the "investigators and researchers amongst us.

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Posted : September 27, 2006 1:27 am
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

Dear Iris,

I'm not sure why Jane said that you ran into a case of the "island experts" which seemed to be rather less than complimentary.

I absolutely stand by my posts which were written to answer your questions as best I could. I have gardened here in the islands for over two decades and am simply making an effort to tell you my experiences in an effort to save you both money and heartache trying to grow things here which either won't survive or will cost you a whole bunch of money trying to make survive.

In a previous post I mentioned the "sunscreen material" which I used years ago to protect my tomatoes, etc. both from the direct sun and from the trashy birds. The only "greenhouse" I can recall on STT was at the bottom of Donkey Hill in Bovoni where a hydroponics station was set up for a few years. Just a few. Ronnie has (sometimes) better recall than I on dates and years.

My point is that, as much experience as you have gardening in NJ, gardening on STT is going to be a whole different ballgame. We have basic volcanic soil but not much topsoil. You start digging and you're into solid rock which is what Danieljude (and he's on STX which is NOT a volcanic island) was talking about when he spoke about using raised beds. It's also dependent on where you'll live. East, West, North, South - they're all so different and, as I said before, you just have to be here to figure it all out.

I have custard apple, genips, basil, parsley. Friends and neighours have bananas, figgies, carambola (star fruit,) avocadoes, mangoes, pomegranate, papaya, breadfruit, etc. I get my bayleaf from STJ which I use in cooking.

Thyme, rosemary and mint grow like crazy but for various reasons are more trouble than they're worth for the average gardener.

Passion fruit. Ah! If you have a sun-soaked spot, a trellis and good rainflow, passion fruits will bring you much joy! The flowers are beautiful and the reason they're called, "Passion Fruit" is because the three stamens allegedly represent the cross.

Well, never mind, but the flowers are really gorgeous and then they die and then the fruit appears and you leave them alone untl they drop off the vine. My druthers is to cut them in half and spoon the contents out directly to my mouth.

HOWEVER, during a really good season when you have more than you know what to do with, split them, put them into a sieve, thus separating the seeds from the juice. Retain the seeds for future plantings and you can freeze the juice in small quantities to either add to favourite island food recipes or to wonderful drinks.

Am I of any help at all? I hope so! Cheers!

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Posted : September 27, 2006 11:59 pm
mjsirus
(@mjsirus)
New Member

If Thyme, Rosemary, and Mint grow like crazy why are they more trouble than they're worth? I am moving to STT later this year and enjoy an herb garden. Just wondering why these types of herbs are trouble.

Thanks,

Michael

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Posted : September 28, 2006 2:36 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

Pineapple gardening is a lot of fun and so easy - results are delicious. One has to be patient -I planted mine in my herbaceous borders - attractive space fillers. They are virtually "air plants" tho' - water is absorbed by running down the leaves into the crown - no real root system. Ours had beautiful pink and green striped leaves.

There is a large greenhouse operation on StX - Southgate Farms, I believe. It would be interesting to research greenhouses as climate and temperature control mechanisms.

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Posted : September 28, 2006 2:46 pm
Iris Richardson
(@Iris_Richardson)
Advanced Member

I totally understand. I am making notes of all the tips. I remember when we bought our lot in Little Princess that neighbors did have breadfruit and banans. We went to our realtor and said ok where would a gardener move to on the island. We are up on a hill and will have good sun. When we come down we will start our garden as best as we can without risking that it will get in the way of the contruction. I thought we could start a kind of nursery and then move some plants when everything is in place. Off course with the tropical clima the plants might grow faster than what I am use too and that plan might not be the right on. You are right I need to be there. I just want to make sure when I do get started I get off on the right foot. I would hate to waste my time and money. Already I know so much more than I did a few weeks ago. Some of this info you just do not get in a book.
Thanks again for all the tips

Iris

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Topic starter Posted : September 28, 2006 7:44 pm
jane
 jane
(@jane)
Trusted Member

we had an acre on La Grand Princess Hill - fairly lush by StX standards - a sort of mini ecosystem - water will in all likelihood be your biggest battle. Global warming will not help, so I would also research semi-arid gardening.

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Posted : September 28, 2006 7:56 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

Mint has an incredibly invasive root system which can choke everything around it. I used to grow it in raised herb beds and even separated the individual herbs (basil, thyme, mint) with treated plywood separation barriers but that mint just found it's way under and over via its root system. Sort of like a SciFi "Blob."

In most supermarkets you can find the (imported) fresh herbs you need to use for a regular household and all I grow now is basil because whatever I don't use is passed on weekly to a fellow restaurateur whose chef loves my contributions!

Oh yes, I do keep a little patch of parsley and/or cilantro going. The thyme I planted last time around was very wimpy, needed a lot of nurturing and I prefer anyway the local thyme which grows wild and has a much more pungent bouquet. It's a quite fleshy wild-growing plant with wide almost "hairy" leaves.

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Posted : September 29, 2006 2:46 am
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member

Hi STT Res,

You are a truly a wealth of information about local gardening! Can you describe in a post how to find and identify the local thyme?

BTW, does Catnip grow here? Probably not, huh?

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Posted : September 29, 2006 8:15 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

Mell,

How to describe local thyme - well, it grows up like basil, as in will get stringly unless you nip and tuck it. The leaves are similar in shape and size to basil but are less green in colour, more a yellowish-green and are "furry" for want of a better description. Now you've got me thinking that I should reinvent my wheel, get out there in the bush and take some clips (they easily root in water, as does basil) and get some started off so that then I can eventually give you your own to keep going with!

Catnip does grow here. It doesn't like direct sun, prefers a semi-shaded spot. I had a nice little plot of it going years back but of course my cats immediately found it, rolled around in it and pretty much decimated the whole crop in short shrift. I decided to stick with the dried product to use once in a while rather than having perpetually stoned kitties rolling around...

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Posted : September 30, 2006 2:13 am
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member

Hi STT Res,

Good news about catnip, but LOL, you make a great point about all the stoned kitties rolling around :)! Especially on this island where there are SO MANY kitties. I think I will stick to the dried stuff as well.

Thanks for the offer to start some Wild Thyme for me, that sounds good. We are moving into new (temporary) quarters at the end of October and the new place has a few nice spots where I think I can plant it and nurture it until we find a house and I can move it into a permanent garden.

BTW: Hubby and I have been trying to get over there on a Thursday night for the Roast Duck and Lamb, but just about every week for the past several months, one or the other of us has been off island. Hubby returns on Tuesday from his latest trip and has no immediate plans to leave again, so we might actually be able to make it over this coming Thursday.

See you soon,
Mell

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Posted : September 30, 2006 1:19 pm
danieljude
(@danieljude)
Advanced Member

Hello there! I am in the middle of setting up a business for retail plant gifts (such as planters, herb planters, potted palms in glazed Mexican pottery, etc.). In any event, I my trying to do that, and trying to get seeds going for my vegetable garden, I grew way too many Roma VF Tomatoes (the Italian Plum tomatoes).

If anyone wants a few for free, please just IM me and I'll give you directions to come over and get some. They are very healthy, organically grown and around 5" tall. They are about 10 days from their first flowers.

If no one wants them, I will just give them out in the neighborhood.

Thanks again,

Dan

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Posted : October 3, 2006 10:18 am
danieljude
(@danieljude)
Advanced Member

Hello there. I know I'm a little late, however I just ordered daylilies and roses. Although where I lived before, especially the roses were often sun burned to the point of not being attractive at all, I just moved them to where they got shade.

For both plants, if there was no real winter, I would allow them to dry out only providing enough water to keep them alive for perhaps six weeks. The daylilies would yellow in the leaves, and the roses would stop blooming and drop their leaves.

After that time, I would begin again to allow normal water amounts for two weeks, and then fertilize at the first sign of new growth.

I have found that many plants will thrive here that are really not supposed to. In general, if they are more northern plants, providing shade is a major factor.

hope this is of some help to someone,

dan

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Posted : October 7, 2006 2:00 pm
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member

Hi Dan,

This is a HUGE help -- and good to know. Is there a particular variety of rose you would reccomend?

🙂

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Posted : October 7, 2006 2:52 pm
danieljude
(@danieljude)
Advanced Member

As I have just ordered, this will be a trial by fire for me. I have, during one of my rampages looking around at what some people do grow, seen a trailing rose, pink, with double blooms. I tried to order heirloom roses, as they are often less tampered with and not as fussy. Again, I think as long as I think like a rose in terms of soil and sun, it should be fine.

Next year at this time I will probably be at a stage to make either recommendations or to let people know what is really tough to manage.

One of the very challenging things, though, is to talk a company into shipping roses to the VI. It can be done, but they assume that they cannot grow in this zone. I will send them pictures to let them know that they are not at risk of lawsuits!

Warmly,

Dan

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Posted : October 8, 2006 10:56 am
dougtam&jj
(@dougtam&jj)
Advanced Member

Dan,
I am so happy that you are going to try roses. Everyone has told me that I couldn't grow roses on the island. I have about 35 different varieties here in Virginia. I thought I would take clippings of the most heat tolerant and bring them with me. I hate to leave my roses behind. I guess the worst that could happen is they just won't grow. We live on the coast here and they are salt water tolerant. As a matter of fact we are having a horrible nor'easter here right now and they have been under salt water for the last 4 high tides. I also have about 10 different varieties of lillies. They should be easy to bring. Thanks!
Tammy

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Posted : October 8, 2006 1:40 pm
danieljude
(@danieljude)
Advanced Member

Just as an update, I just received two fig bushes; but the roses and daylilies were not included. They are in another bag/box and are 'delayed' for whatever reason. Oh, well. At least I can pot up the figs, which by the way, given just a bit of shade will do quite well here.

Dan

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Posted : October 11, 2006 12:01 pm
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