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woidsmith
(@woidsmith)
Active Member

Good day all,

I am moving to STX this month, with a job, and I am having difficulty finding certain information.

I am a lifelong gardener. I learned helping my grandmother and mother garden in North Carolina, and everywhere I have moved I have established vegetable or fruit gardens in my yards. But I have never lived in a climate as is in STX.

So who has advice? Can I grow peppers and tomatoes and potatoes and squash? Can I find fruit trees and asparagus and raspberries and strawberries? Blueberries and etc etc etc? I love to grow cucumbers, onions, kolrabi, broccoli, and other easy crops in a small yard garden. Can I do this there???

thanks

Jonathan

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Topic starter Posted : April 5, 2015 5:45 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Trial and error! I've never even bothered to try and grow strawberries or raspberries or asparagus not most of the other veggies you listed. I've grown tomatoes and all sorts of peppers but wherever I've lived around St Thomas, when a whitefly invasion comes through it's wipe-out time. And for any soft fruits you need to cover them with mesh netting to keep the trashy birds away while if you have iguanas around you also need to surround your beds with chicken wire to keep them out.

I currently grow a variety of Swiss chard which keeps growing and growing - and a mess of culantro I got from Puerto Rico which is awesome and so much more hardy than the cilantro I just never had much success with. A few other herbs too - the island thyme grows about everywhere. I have moringa trees growing for a wonderful source of greens. My neighbor has a mess of banana palms so I have a never-ending supply of those; he throws out caribbean pumpkin seeds too which sometimes flourish and sometimes don't - but they're delicious when they do get going!

You'll have fun experimenting and seeing what works best where you live!

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Posted : April 5, 2015 6:35 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

a lot of people who live on stx grow year round. we have grown peppers tomatoes swiss chard and a few herbs. others grow okra, eggplant, squash etc. not sure about potatoes, and asparagus which takes 3 years to grow in the best areas might not do well here at all.

just try and see what works.seeds are cheap enough. i was trying to grow acorn squash but something kept eating the blooms.

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Posted : April 5, 2015 9:32 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

If u have the time to tend to it and keep the bugs and slugs away - you can grow anything here. It's a 24/7 job IMO and I let my garden go. In one night slugs ate a 3ft tall squash plant. ONE NIGHT! THe slugs are as big as your hand also lol. Birds always getting into things and iguanas / deer too. I had bird mesh but the bush ate that - lol.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 3:15 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

I'd bring seeds from home, or order from a good site. I've had very hit or miss success even getting things to germinate/sprout because of bad seeds. I do much better with things that wash down the road and land in the gut I live in. I have more papaya and mango trees that I know what to do with. I've sprouted and successfully transplanted a couple of key lime trees from an especially tasty key lime we had. Also have a few avocado trees. Chickens and iguanas are an issue where I'm at. The iguanas knock over my fencing and munch on my baby plants. Chickens will eat the seeds if I sow directly in the ground or dig up any loosely compacted soil if they can get to it (even if it is in a pot). Container gardening works best for me. I can cover them with wire easier and I can move them if the sun is a problem. Trial and error, and patience. Hitting up the farmers market and asking for pointers would probably be really helpful. I'd love a follow up once you start growing, let us know what you have learned.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 8:28 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

They have a Cooperative Extension program at UVI, and you can go to them for advice. They used to have seeds and plants available from time to time.

They also have a TV show on the local PBS station called "Homegrown", though I think it's a few years old but they still run the episodes over and over.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 9:20 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

baker creek heirloom seeds is a good source

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Posted : April 7, 2015 11:56 am
woidsmith
(@woidsmith)
Active Member

I am hoping to find seeds on the island. The description of the slugs is fascinating. Does a plate of beer still kill em, or just attract all the slugs for a party?

I like container gardening, so I will try that first until I better understand the challenges.

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Topic starter Posted : April 7, 2015 12:04 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I've dealt with a ton of online seed suppliers and this one beats 'em all hands down for consistent maximum germination and output:

http://www.gourmetseed.com/

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Posted : April 7, 2015 12:06 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I am hoping to find seeds on the island. The description of the slugs is fascinating. Does a plate of beer still kill em, or just attract all the slugs for a party?

I like container gardening, so I will try that first until I better understand the challenges.

I don't have slugs all the time but a sprinkle of salt kills them quickly. During a heavy veggie production period when they showed up to feast, I also surrounded my little raised-bed planters with slug tape. It doesn't kill them (I do have a problem killing even slugs as they do have a place in the cycle of things!) but the copper in them gives them a "zap" and they won't cross the barrier.

I never even saw slugs until I moved to the much wetter North side of STT. South and East where I lived for years I never saw even one.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 12:13 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

baker creek heirloom seeds is a good source

The only place I buy from. The best.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 12:30 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Constant vigilance is key as if you do not tend to your plants, daily, even in containers, there's something waiting to infect, infest, and feed on your goodies whether it's bugs, blights, fungis,or animals/birds.

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Posted : April 7, 2015 3:26 pm
Kim&Mike2015
(@Kim&Mike2015)
New Member

Johnathan,
As a garden aficionado and soon (in 3-5 yrs) permanent resident of St. Croix, I have been been doing a lot of research concerning gardening in the Carribean ( a bit different from New England!)!. I found the site http://www.vifresh.com/ to be very informative. The St. Croix Dep of Ag sells seedling which have been proven to be hardy to St. Croix climate for a very reasonable rate!!!! Check them out! I know I will once I am on Island full time! Good luck! http://www.vifresh.com/horticulture.php

Kim & Mike!

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Posted : April 9, 2015 12:58 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

AandA, i was wondering where your garden posts went. at least you gave it a good try

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Posted : April 9, 2015 10:48 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I've grown tomatoes, green, red, hot peppers, basil, cilantro, culantro, thyme, rosemary, chives, green onions, thyme, tarragon, parsley, sage, limes, bananas (reg. & apple), Suriname cherries, avocado, sugar apples, sour sop, star fruit, pumpkin, lettuces, okra, papaya, passion fruit, eggplant, etc. Have fun, just be vigilant as there are many things that will challenge your growing skills, patience and plants.

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Posted : April 9, 2015 11:30 am
woidsmith
(@woidsmith)
Active Member

Good morning!

Alana, that's an impressive list. I may contact you once I arrive to talk more!

Thank you all for your responses.

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2015 1:15 pm
woidsmith
(@woidsmith)
Active Member

Thank you!

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2015 1:16 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You're welcome. I'm on STT, BTW.
Call anyhow but I do lose many plants due to the things mentioned above.

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Posted : April 9, 2015 1:20 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

I have a West Indian friend who grew up on Barbados.

He tells me that his family's strategy was to divide the garden up into patches. Every month (or 2-3) you restart your garden in a new patch. That way you always have a current supply of vegetables, herbs, greens etc. Also, if something is chewed or dies back, you've got another in the ready. I will use this strategy when I start my STX vegie garden.

You can research which plant varieties do best in tropical conditions. I'm going to purchase from Baker Creek but also gather seeds from vegetables purchased from local farmers. I'm also going to try some Asian varieties.

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Posted : April 10, 2015 12:10 pm
soccerrprp
(@soccerrprp)
Advanced Member

I love mangoes. How prevalent are they? (Trees). And do they grow year round in the USVI climate?

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Posted : April 11, 2015 6:27 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Mangoes grow all over the place and produce fruit once a year.

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Posted : April 11, 2015 6:32 pm
soccerrprp
(@soccerrprp)
Advanced Member

It's funny. I was excited about the mangoes and didn't scope out the island to see just how prevalent they were/are. Thanks OT.

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Posted : April 11, 2015 6:39 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

There many different varieties.

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Posted : April 11, 2015 8:23 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

try soursop.

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Posted : April 11, 2015 9:38 pm
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