Author Topic: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019  (Read 54399 times)

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #400 on: May 12, 2019, 05:28:36 PM »
Not a good day for our animals here.  We lost our best hen to a fox this morning, and then we also lost that new little chick we got.  Not sure what the cause of death was for the chick; everything had been going well.  :(

Bummer :( I had to put down one of my pullets today as well.

@Tris Prior have you ever grown anything in the mustard green family? Itís very similar. Would also be reasonably similar to growing leaf lettuce. Cut and come again harvesting.

Iíve not grown it myself but have seen it grown by many farmers Iíve read/watched.

No idea if itís rabbit proof or not, depends on your local rabbits. None of my garden is protected from rabbits and I suffer almost no noticeable damage except for munching on shrubs and girdling damage in the winter.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #401 on: May 12, 2019, 05:48:28 PM »
@Buntastic I have not; I've done a lot of lettuce, chard, arugula, spinach, kale. But never anything in the mustard greens/asian greens family.

The rabbits here will eat lettuce and peas right down to the ground. I lost the entire crop one year. I have a huge fat one hanging out regularly in my yard. And the community garden is an all you can eat buffet; they're always running around in there despite the garden being fenced in, and one year a bunny gave birth in someone's bed a few rows down from mine. Therefore: rabbit fencing. I just don't want to have to put one up at home too.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #402 on: May 12, 2019, 06:44:17 PM »
Mostly just posting to follow.  Here in the PNW warm spring weather comes late.   So yesterday I planted basil, a tomato plant, a zucchini, and a jalapeno (all from starts).   They joined the chard, lettuce, carrots, kale, tarragon, sage, thyme, rosemary, dill, leeks, and salad burnett that was either existing, or got planted from seeds or starts.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #403 on: May 12, 2019, 07:12:34 PM »
It is 6BloodyCelcius today and all day tomorrow.

Things are still coming along, although slowly.  I planted some of the onions out and all the brussels sprouts I started indoors.  They are sheltering under floating row covers.  I grew far too many onions, I am only half done and I transplanted for two hours.....I have not planted any peas yet.  I can't even get the manure to start my potatoes so I think I am going to grow them out at my Dad's farm.  My stepmom said I could do whatever I want.  I am hoping next weekend will be dry enough that I can walk on the garden out there without getting stuck.  I was out there last night and it was too wet to do anything.

The new grow lights work like a charm.  Multiple plants - peppers, cukes and zukes are trying to set blooms.  The collected tomato seed was super slow to germinate but it mostly has (some of the plants don't even have true leaves yet)  So I was thinking I would have very few cherries to share - and now I am thinking OMG what am I going to do with all these?

I am trying out so many new things this year - melons, eggplant, fennel, brussel sprouts and tomatillos to name just a few.  Everything germinated and seems to have survived the mistakes that I made this year.  I have really struggled with watering the right amount and then there was the vinegar mist incident as well.  Some of the tomatoes lost all their leaves.  I am hoping the oxblood tomatoes recover.  The red and black cherries that I collected from the tastiest variety from the market really germinated well.

I have been potting up these seedlings and am almost caught up. There are two trays of tomatoes still to do and two flats of flowers - although I might not bother.
But once all the little seed trays get moved on into pots- I need more space.  And I have just about used up every pot I own. I also that I needed the basement to get a little bit more organized so I was a potting up fiend for several days.  I then spent an hour tidying back up and washed the floor. The rest has to be done in the greenhouse.

I still have all the space being used under the grow lights- but nothing is overly crowded and they are all in bigger pots with a little dose of hen fertilizer under the soil surface - so that it is not too smelly.  Many of the plants really needed to get into bigger pots and get some more nutrients. 

All the up-sizing meant that I had to move a huge number of plants out to the greenhouse.  Fortunately Hubs helped me. I have a tiny heater in the center and at night I pull the floating row covers over everything.  It is similar to making a fort out of blankets in the greenhouse.  The floating row covers really hold the heat down.  I have to get out there first thing in the morning or else it is 36C before you know it.

There isn't enough room for everything so I made a small cold frame in front of the green house with a found storm window and found bales of straw.  The onions that I didn't get into the garden yesterday are in there along with two trays of wildflower seeds that I got at a native plants workshop in March.  The wildflowers can take the cold - they haven't broken germination yet. (I just pulled the seed out of the fridge last weekend).
I got everything super organized so that it all fits.  I am looking after a huge pot of geraniums for one neighbour and 8 pots of canna lilies for another.  I have a little space for potting and some storage.  I have a big tarp for more storage behind the greenhouse.  Everything is neat and tidy the way I like it.  I just wish it would stop raining for a stretch and warm up.
This has to be the strangest year.

Serendip

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #404 on: May 13, 2019, 09:19:16 AM »
I've been reading all your updates but finally have a contribution :)

My little plot is in a community garden a few km from home (we live in a townhouse). We have two connected plots and do some patio gardening as well.
We had an early heat wave which meant seeds went into the ground early (our region has a short growing season with late frosts) and now my first sproutings of radishes, kale and arugula are showing up!

At home, I have some peas and brussel sprouts starting inside and strawberries & mint out on the deck.

We also planted garlic last fall and it's looking great so far--first time doing that.
The sage and chive plants are also thriving in the plot.
The weather is now changing and a week of rain is showing up so hopefully things will cope well with that shift.




Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #405 on: May 13, 2019, 10:20:56 AM »
@Serendip any particular reason you didnít direct sow the peas? The traditional ďplant as soon as the soil can be workedĒ has done well for me every year.

Iíve found garlic very easy to grow so far so I hope you have a similar experience. Iím on year 3 I think. Started with 6 bulbs of two hardneck varieties and now Iíve got 4 4x8 beds of it planted. (We eat and gift a fair amount but Iím also hoping to try selling some.)

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #406 on: May 13, 2019, 12:00:16 PM »
Unexpectedly found a bunny burrow in our yard.  It looked like there were 6 babies; they are adorable but then I realized there were 6+ bunnies in my yard that would want to feast on my garden.  I decided the best course of action was to seed bomb the back of our property with kale and lettuce.  I must have cast over 1,000 seeds (which I should be ashamed to admit I already had on hand).  I hope some stick; the rain will help.  Time will tell. 


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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #407 on: May 13, 2019, 12:57:06 PM »
Our broody hen was just too sad after her chick died yesterday (on Mothers' Day!) so the kids and I went to the feed store and scooped up two more chicks.  She accepted them immediately, and was purring with bliss.  Chickens have a very large vocabulary of calls, songs, and noises.  The happiness purr is my favorite one of all.  All is well for now, knock on wood. 

I'm doing my final thinning of the Red Russian kale today, which should yield another huge bag to eat.     

Serendip

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #408 on: May 13, 2019, 03:48:35 PM »
@Serendip any particular reason you didnít direct sow the peas? The traditional ďplant as soon as the soil can be workedĒ has done well for me every year.

Iíve found garlic very easy to grow so far so I hope you have a similar experience. Iím on year 3 I think. Started with 6 bulbs of two hardneck varieties and now Iíve got 4 4x8 beds of it planted. (We eat and gift a fair amount but Iím also hoping to try selling some.)

I was waiting for compost to show up at our community garden so I started some seeds indoors (and peas just happened to be in my pile). I have also directly planted them but they are not up yet (I tend to be a bit of an anxious gardener..so I try to cover my bases!)

Thanks for the garlic confidence..it seems exciting to have some scapes on the way as well.
That's quite the quantity increase you've had!
 I don't have so much space to expand into but maybe will have to start doing some garlic guerilla gardening :)

Rural

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #409 on: May 15, 2019, 10:55:43 AM »
Got a handful of ripe strawberries this morning- just enough to snack on. They were delicious!!

I also got a handful of cilantro to put in the Mexican dish we had for lunch. I'm seeing some squash and zucchini blooms though so I'm looking forward to that.


The blooms are also edible, and if you choose only male blooms (and leave about 1/3 of those), you won't affect productivity. You can tell the male from female blooms because the females have an ovum swelling at the base. Usually the early blooms are all male.


https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tell-difference-female-male-squash-blossoms-89117.html


https://www.brit.co/squash-blossom-recipes/

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #410 on: May 15, 2019, 11:13:42 AM »
After being away from my garden for about a month I was somewhat stunned at how quickly I was able to restore it from the scruffy, overgrown, weed infested state it was in when I returned. More extensive pics of the 2 day transformation will probably appear in my Journal, but I'll leave some pics here too.

Can you call it "weeding" when the weeds are actually TOMATOES? Not sure why I even bothered to start tomatoes from seed this year.


The end result after a few hours of weeding/"tomatoeing. There were many hours, and wheelbarrow loads, to go.



How about some actual crop pics?

Lettuce and spinach, living in perfect harmony. (except some of the spinach has been slightly nibbled upon by some unknown pest)


Beautiful kale (and collards). I barely resisted harvesting some of this.


Peas climbing on up the trellis...up about 4 feet now. On track to be munching on peas right off the vine in early June.


The native blackberry (trailing) variety is already blossoming....as opposed to the invasive (and much more prolific) Himalayan species, which forms a half crescent ring around my garden perimeter.


I was thinking this morning that perhaps even more important than maximizing productivity (I've resisted adding more beds in the last few years) in my garden is my goal to maximize it's BEAUTY. Nature herself is the driving force here, but I certainly feel I can provide her a helping hand in this regard. It's just become a magical place to let hours and days unfold in.


Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #411 on: May 16, 2019, 09:20:47 AM »
@Jon_Snow sometimes the volunteer tomato plants are the healthiest! But they outcross readily so youíll never know exactly what kind of tomato youíll get, unless you only grew one non-hybrid variety.

I donít mind weeding too much because the chickens eat nearly all of the weeds. I donít call it weeding, I call it getting the chickens their salad ;)

Beauty is definitely important. Iím really glad I put down fresh woodchips on all the paths, it looks so nice. And while I grow mostly functional stuff, I do love my tulips and a few other flower areas.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #412 on: May 16, 2019, 09:53:46 AM »
Green with envy @Jon_Snow .

We had frost risk last night AGAIN

Zukes are trying to flower under the grow lights!
Harvested 8 pieces of asparagus last night.  And a handful of arugula for my pizza.  And chives.
Rhubarb is almost ready. 

Serendip

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #413 on: May 16, 2019, 11:00:36 AM »
We ended up putting seedlings in the ground yesterday at the community garden since they were getting too leggy. It looks like it won't go below 4degrees, so hopefully that's not too cold for the little ones!

We have to go construct a protective cover for them today (not allowed to use plastic netting so we are making a shelter out of squared chicken wire (birds and deer seem to be the biggest threat)

Do any of you wild-harvest food? I gathered a bunch of stinging nettle last week and ate heaps of them (smoothies, steamed, or cooked in frittata's) but then dried a bunch for further tea-making. Very satisfying!

Jon_Snow

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #414 on: May 16, 2019, 11:22:37 AM »
Green with envy @Jon_Snow .

Well, if we are going to honest about envy...I am very much filled with that regarding your greenhouse. Now, since we don't really freeze up at all out here on the left coast it is not a definitely NEED. I'm usually able to start planting stuff in the ground in early March. But I could definitely put one to use...as it would cut down my need to ferry (literally) my warm weather seedlings from our city condo to the island garden. Just recently I was taking a tray of squash seedlings over to the island. I had them in a tray on the floor of the front passenger side of my pickup, and I took one turn a little too fast and the tray flipped over and a couple of squash plants were irrevocably damaged. Grrrr....

There is even an existing foundation structure that I could put a greenhouse on that is within the garden itself. This is the next logical step in taking my garden game to the next level.

@Jon_Snow sometimes the volunteer tomato plants are the healthiest! But they outcross readily so youíll never know exactly what kind of tomato youíll get, unless you only grew one non-hybrid variety.

I donít mind weeding too much because the chickens eat nearly all of the weeds. I donít call it weeding, I call it getting the chickens their salad ;)

Beauty is definitely important. Iím really glad I put down fresh woodchips on all the paths, it looks so nice. And while I grow mostly functional stuff, I do love my tulips and a few other flower areas.

Thanks for that post! I left a few of these volunteers in where they won't interfere with the purposefully planted crops. I look forward to seeing what they turn out to be. ;) One really weird thing is that I had tomatoes pop up in beds that have never had tomatoes in them before. Weird.

Yes, garden paths can really add to the visual aesthetic. One thing I'm thinking about to increase the beauty factor is perhaps letting something "vine-y" grow on the outside fencing. I've thought about grapes, but that might be more permanent than I want.

Weeds serve absolutely no purpose in my operation other than providing me the grim satisfaction I get from yanking them out. :)

Do any of you wild-harvest food? I gathered a bunch of stinging nettle last week and ate heaps of them (smoothies, steamed, or cooked in frittata's) but then dried a bunch for further tea-making. Very satisfying!

Yes! I really love foraging for stuff that Nature herself provides for free. It's a wonderfully extensive list of stuff...and would be even more amazing if I liked mushrooms. *shudder*

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #415 on: May 16, 2019, 12:10:11 PM »
@Jon_Snow pole beans, cucumbers, peas, winter squash (smaller/medium types like kabocha, buttercup, or butternut) and some things Iím inevitable forgetting will all vine nicely up that welded wire fencing though winter squash might be a bit heavy now that I think of it. Iíve done them on wire fences, but they were the more durable woven wire type, not welded wire.

Iím sure there are good flowers too, but Iím bad with flowers.

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #416 on: May 16, 2019, 12:15:50 PM »
@Serendip Iím too far into the city to have much opportunity for intentional foraging, but Iíll definitely snack on stuff when I find it. Mostly what Iím comfortable foraging is fruit, mainly berries, but also Iíve tried some wild grapes and also apples (a lot of the hiking trails here are state parks made out of long-defunct homestead sites). I have a some odd but severe food intolerances to some common greens so Iíve been scared to try wild edible greens even when I recognize them. And mushroom identification is not something Iíve wanted to devote time to studying, though a lot of folks I know forage actively for them.

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #417 on: May 16, 2019, 04:36:15 PM »
Got my rhubarb picked. 6lb, diced in the fridge, will cook it down tomorrow. I freeze it without sweetener (I canít have sugar, real or fake) in pints and add a spoonful or two to smoothies for some extra vitamins, fiber, and tartness.

Sun Hat

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #418 on: May 16, 2019, 05:09:19 PM »
My tomatoes have survived their early planting out, and my peas, spinach, beets and carrots have just emerged. I'm glad that one of you mentioned harvesting radishes, since I completely forgot to plant mine! I'll pop out tonight and plant them around the tomatoes while the latter are still a manageable size.

I noticed a wee baby rabbit dart out from under my shed, and the following day noticed that one of my new shrubs was all but denuded, so I've put rabbit fencing around my back yard to try to keep them out.  This is one of the few days that I'm grateful to have a fairly small yard! Since dog hair is an ample and renewable resource around my place, I'll continue to spread my dog's fur around my favorite plants, just in case they find a way in.

I'm reaping the benefits of good karma after being gracious to an old man I caught reaching over my fence to take a tomato last year. (He's not poor, he's just a tomato aficionado and said that he found mine to be lovely.) He popped by a few days ago to drop off a handful of his special Italian green beans for me to try growing. It's my absolute favorite way of building community!

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #419 on: May 16, 2019, 06:29:53 PM »
@Sun Hat I love this type of tale of karma.   

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #420 on: May 16, 2019, 08:41:58 PM »
Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are all out and in the ground.  Yesterday it started cooling and now it's down to 50f and raining, which I don't mind to give things a chance to establish.  Plus, I have my last major work trip of spring this week, and won't have to worry about things shriveling while I'm gone.

I'll give another huge thumbs-up to the LED lights.  I have by far the best dark green, leafy pepper plants ever this year.  One of my coworkers has started saving her big Sonic cups for me, so I think next year I'll pot directly into them (32 oz, I think) and I'm excited to see what sort of monster plants I end up with, since I think the 12 oz cups they're in were the limiting factor this year.

Potatoes are up, and some garlic scapes are starting.  We've had one salad from the garden so far, but the lettuces just aren't very impressive this year, sadly.

Hoping for enough breaks in the rain this weekend to get some weeding done.  Finally bought a stirrup hoe, and that makes things go a lot faster!  However, I think I'm going to have to just put a big tarp over weedy parts that aren't going to be planted, and call it good. 

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #421 on: May 17, 2019, 01:32:05 PM »
Wild temp swings lately. Mid-70s yesterday, currently 46, tomorrow 81, then by Monday back to highs in the 50s. The plants are going to be so confused.

I am getting the rest of my tomato plants tomorrow! I should not be this excited about unmustachian spending (because YES, I decided I am going to get the hanging basket, for SCIENCE. And possibly one of the gorgeous huge basils that the same seller had last week, as it's actually cheaper than getting multiple smaller basils). And yet. *bounce*

Indio

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #422 on: May 17, 2019, 02:36:39 PM »
@Tris Prior

Not sure what type of hanging baskets you are experimenting with.
One year, I tried the upside down hanging tomato baskets and found that they dry out very quickly. The following year, I put a marigold on the top hole, where the water and soil goes in, to control some of the evaporation by providing shade. The plant didn't thrive; possibly because the dry soil was where the majority of roots were located.

Tris Prior

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #423 on: May 17, 2019, 03:28:34 PM »
No, not the upside down ones. Those confuse me, honestly - I assumed, apparently correctly, that they would dry out. I've been lusting after the "tumbling" tomato varieties that are being sold at my farmer's market. They are right side up like normal tomatoes.

nessness

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #424 on: May 17, 2019, 08:58:32 PM »
Slugs ate all my strawberries, which was a bummer. Any tips for getting rid of them? I just harvested my first peas, so that was exciting.

I lost my barred rock hens last week (I think to a coyote). She was my 4-year-old daughter's favorite. I found a farm nearby selling barred rocks for cheap so I said we could go get one - and we ended up with 3. The introduction hadn't gone well though; my other hens have been really bullying them. I isolated the worst bully for a few days, and she seemed better when I put her back in today, but one of the other hens seems to have taken her place as bully. Ugh. Also, I was woken up a couple nights ago by a raccoon trying to dig it's way into the coop. Fortunately, I scared it away and no damage was done. But overall, not a great week for chickens.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #425 on: May 17, 2019, 09:36:38 PM »
Tonight was the first lettuce harvest of the season. Homegrown lettuce is kind of like home grown tomatoes.  Delicious depths of flavor you can't buy in a store. 

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #426 on: May 18, 2019, 04:37:41 AM »
@nessness in my experience, unless they are actually drawing blood (in which case treat with Blu-Kote, which seals the wound and changes the color so that the other chickens donít instinctively try to pick at it and cannibalize) just let it sort out. They are re-establishing the pecking order. It can look vicious but usually no harm actually occurs.

@Telecaster totally! I wish I didnít get sick of salads so quickly, but fresh lettuce is amazing.

Sun Hat

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #427 on: May 18, 2019, 07:28:53 AM »
Slugs ate all my strawberries, which was a bummer. Any tips for getting rid of them? I just harvested my first peas, so that was exciting.

I'm sorry to hear about your chickens, but I do have a tip for getting rid of slugs.

I've found that they're easy to find early in the morning before the dew has dried, and that they can be killed easily by plopping them into soapy water.  While picking slugs is far from revolutionary, plunking them into suds is infinitely easier than squishing each one.

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #428 on: May 18, 2019, 09:46:44 AM »
I missed the slug issue. Ducks, if you can have them, are the ultimate slug killers. But really only doable on larger properties because of how messy they can be.

Sluggo is an OMRI-listed product thatís quite safe and supposed to be very effective against slugs. Note that Sluggo Plus adds spinosad, which is a broadly active poison, whereas plain Sluggo is a passive bait.

Serendip

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #429 on: May 18, 2019, 10:15:20 AM »
@Serendip Iím too far into the city to have much opportunity for intentional foraging, but Iíll definitely snack on stuff when I find it. Mostly what Iím comfortable foraging is fruit, mainly berries, but also Iíve tried some wild grapes and also apples (a lot of the hiking trails here are state parks made out of long-defunct homestead sites). I have a some odd but severe food intolerances to some common greens so Iíve been scared to try wild edible greens even when I recognize them. And mushroom identification is not something Iíve wanted to devote time to studying, though a lot of folks I know forage actively for them.

Agreed @Buntastic --mushrooms are a whole field of study unto themselves! And if you are sensitive to greens--wild ones might be best avoided as you've said...thankfully my system seems to enjoy them so I've been known to munch on big leaf maple blossoms and other edibles but it's not for everyone :)

Serendip

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #430 on: May 18, 2019, 10:18:07 AM »
We build a wire mesh cage around our community garden (heaps of small birds live in the area and love to devour the seedlings). Our neighbouring gardeners find us entertaining, but I don't like spending time and then losing everything!

Just planted some lettuce starts (as my seedlings didn't do so well), and have some shiso and lemonbalm to plant this morning as well.

Has anyone tried or had success growing zucchini vertically? We have a patio with a lot of sunshine but not much room so thought we'd try cucumber and zuchinni on a trellis or vertically somehow..

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #431 on: May 18, 2019, 10:30:04 AM »
@Serendip I grow cucumbers vertically, it works great. I imagine zucchini is similar as long as you pick them before they become monstrous. I grow bush squash inside of the small "tomato" cages (the ones that are actually worthless for tomatoes). You flip the cage upside down so that the bottom is wider than the top, and encourage the leaves to grow upward, supported by the cage. Nearly all the fruit set near the bottom and are super easy to pick this way. Keeps the leaves contained within a 2 or 3 foot radius as well. If you are interested in other options. (This only would work with bush squash though. I grow Raven zucchini and Easypick Gold yellow squash this way.)

Buntastic

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #432 on: May 18, 2019, 10:50:46 AM »
There are some really compact zucchini varieties out there bred for container gardens.

The closest Iíve seen to trellised zucchini was (going off of memory, Iím not 100% on this) an heirloom called zucchini rampante, which was a C. moschata (e.g. butternut) variety bred for picking at the summer squash stage. I think FedCo had it in their catalog last year and thatís where I saw it.

There are some other winter squash varieties Iíve heard are tasty picked as summer squash. Carol Deppe in one of her books talks about picking Sunshine, which is a former AAS winner hybrid kabocha type sold by Johnnyís, as a summer squash and it being quite tasty.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #433 on: May 18, 2019, 03:04:37 PM »
@Serendip I grow cucumbers vertically, it works great. I imagine zucchini is similar as long as you pick them before they become monstrous. I grow bush squash inside of the small "tomato" cages (the ones that are actually worthless for tomatoes). You flip the cage upside down so that the bottom is wider than the top, and encourage the leaves to grow upward, supported by the cage. Nearly all the fruit set near the bottom and are super easy to pick this way. Keeps the leaves contained within a 2 or 3 foot radius as well. If you are interested in other options. (This only would work with bush squash though. I grow Raven zucchini and Easypick Gold yellow squash this way.)

Very cool.  I'm trying growing cucumbers vertically for the first time this year.  I'm glad it is actually a thing   :)

Off to thin the arugula....

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #434 on: May 19, 2019, 06:04:08 AM »
I love the range of ideas and techniques offered on this forum! Since no one in my immediate circle gardens, 90% of my gardening knowledge comes from having watched my grandmother garden as a child, and the remaining 10% is from reading almanac.com (a terrific site btw), so I don't come across new ideas often enough.

Today I've learned that there are vineing and compact zucchini and that even bush types can be reigned in with tomato cages. My great adventure this year will be growing my cucumbers on the ground, as my grandmother did. They're going in a raised bed where the slugs ravaged the beans last year, so I'll have to be vigilant.

My new bee and butterfly beds are starting to take shape, and I've been graced with a few bees already.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #435 on: May 19, 2019, 09:24:45 AM »
@Serendip I grow cucumbers vertically, it works great. I imagine zucchini is similar as long as you pick them before they become monstrous. I grow bush squash inside of the small "tomato" cages (the ones that are actually worthless for tomatoes). You flip the cage upside down so that the bottom is wider than the top, and encourage the leaves to grow upward, supported by the cage. Nearly all the fruit set near the bottom and are super easy to pick this way. Keeps the leaves contained within a 2 or 3 foot radius as well. If you are interested in other options. (This only would work with bush squash though. I grow Raven zucchini and Easypick Gold yellow squash this way.)

Very cool.  I'm trying growing cucumbers vertically for the first time this year.  I'm glad it is actually a thing   :)

Off to thin the arugula....

Definitely a thing, but they're not super-strong climbers, so sometimes they do better on an angled trellis instead of something completely vertical.  I usually grow then on the lower part of an arched ranch panel, and they get up about 2-3' and travel sideways a little.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #436 on: May 19, 2019, 09:59:43 AM »
@Serendip -- Yep, I grow both cucumbers and zucchini vertically.  Works out great.  They get heavy though, so a strong support is needed.  Hardware cloth is ideal. 

I've done tomatoes every which way (cages, trellis, staking with cloth strip weave) but the last few years I just let them sprawl horizontally along the ground.  It's the way my grandma did it.  If I get a little straw or dry leaf mulch onto the soil, there's no issue with the fruit spoiling or being eaten from being in contact with the ground. 

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #437 on: May 20, 2019, 10:54:52 AM »
Tonight was the first lettuce harvest of the season. Homegrown lettuce is kind of like home grown tomatoes.  Delicious depths of flavor you can't buy in a store.

A big hell yeah to this.

As I putter about the garden these days Iím constantly munching on lettuce. No dressing needed when it tastes like this!

And the same with the spinach. Such wonderful, mild flavour...with, dare I say it, a level of sweetness? Store bought doesnít compare. My second planting of spinach is probably a week away from  harvesting, so tonight a massive spinach salad is the plan, to attempt to make a dent in the first spinach crop.

Iím glad the weather has reverted to a more typical cool May pattern...I had visions of some early bolting spinach. The early May heat kick started my tomatoes though...Iíve have fruit setting already!

In the next few days, EVERYTHING will be planted out in the garden, even the peppers, albeit with a little nighttime temperature protection.

I never want to say it, in fear of jinxing things...but I think this years garden is going to be a great one. 😊

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #438 on: May 20, 2019, 11:05:28 AM »
I am in possession of the hanging tomato basket. It has probably north of 100 flowers on it, numerous green tomatoes starting, AND: It already had two perfectly ripe red tomatoes on it. (For reference, the earliest I've ever gotten a ripe tomato before is mid-July.) Boyfriend and I each sampled one. They were delicious. I think I am going to count how many tomatoes it gives me, compared to other plants, and see whether the cost was worth it. It sure is pretty though!

Two of my 3 dwarf blueberry bushes failed to flower this year. One's self-pollinating, the other isn't. The third put out flowers, so I was wondering whether that meant I wouldn't get berries because there's nothing to cross pollinate it (since the other cross-pollinator went straight to leaves with no blossoms). I guess that's a moot point though because we had violent storms yesterday and all the blossoms got ripped off that bush. No blueberries for me this year. :(

The fruit bush guy at Fancy Garden Center told me that if bushes fail to flower one year, then they are done flowering for good and will never flower or make berries again. T/F? Is he just trying to sell me more bushes at $20-$30 a pop?

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #439 on: May 20, 2019, 03:07:18 PM »
Thanks for the advice/comments re:vertical growing.
We will be trying both cucumber and zuchinni on the patio so I will update with results (hopefully!)

First rain storm of the season, hopefully the little plants can tough it out.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #440 on: May 20, 2019, 04:23:33 PM »
I am in possession of the hanging tomato basket.

. . .

The fruit bush guy at Fancy Garden Center told me that if bushes fail to flower one year, then they are done flowering for good and will never flower or make berries again. T/F? Is he just trying to sell me more bushes at $20-$30 a pop?

Congrats on the tomato @Tris Prior!  How fun.  I love tomatoes.  I had a passionate [garden] love affair with the Trifele variety one summer  . . . that's where I got my user name. 

What the fruit bush guy said doesn't sound right to me . . . other than severe disease or extreme old age, I can't think of a reason that a blueberry wouldn't flower, that would be permanent.  If the plants have leaves and look good, I wouldn't give up on them for future years.  I'd fertilize them, check the soil PH, and talk to them, see what they need.  Blueberries are very long lived. 

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #441 on: May 20, 2019, 06:09:56 PM »
I am in possession of the hanging tomato basket.

. . .

The fruit bush guy at Fancy Garden Center told me that if bushes fail to flower one year, then they are done flowering for good and will never flower or make berries again. T/F? Is he just trying to sell me more bushes at $20-$30 a pop?

Congrats on the tomato @Tris Prior!  How fun.  I love tomatoes.  I had a passionate [garden] love affair with the Trifele variety one summer  . . . that's where I got my user name. 

What the fruit bush guy said doesn't sound right to me . . . other than severe disease or extreme old age, I can't think of a reason that a blueberry wouldn't flower, that would be permanent.  If the plants have leaves and look good, I wouldn't give up on them for future years.  I'd fertilize them, check the soil PH, and talk to them, see what they need.  Blueberries are very long lived.

And blueberries are TOUGH!  Look at where they grow in the wild.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #442 on: May 20, 2019, 06:18:03 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm quite relieved we are getting more rain in late-Spring this year.  The drought like conditions of the past several years have usually been firmly entrenched by now. I prefer this to THAT. But...there is a BUT. For the first time in quite a few years I'm dealing with some slug activity. In particular, they are becoming prominent in my edible greens. But only in my in-ground beds...they seem to lack the requisite athleticism to conquer my wooden raised beds. Yet another factor which will likely only speed my complete transition over to those.

A warmer, drier weather pattern is on the way (which should be followed by the typically rain-free, perfect PNW Summers)  so I'm hoping that takes care of them before I need to employ some serious anti-slug measures.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 08:04:24 PM by Jon_Snow »

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #443 on: May 20, 2019, 07:29:53 PM »
The guy said that our -50 windchills this winter likely stressed the plant to the point that it's not going to flower again. Those were extreme conditions even for us. I guess I can give it another year and see what happens, but, I have such limited space that my inclination is always to pull anything that's not producing food and replace it with something that will.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #444 on: May 21, 2019, 09:54:11 AM »
The guy said that our -50 windchills this winter likely stressed the plant to the point that it's not going to flower again. Those were extreme conditions even for us. I guess I can give it another year and see what happens, but, I have such limited space that my inclination is always to pull anything that's not producing food and replace it with something that will.

Blueberries bloom on last year's new stems (i.e. 1 year old wood).  If there are a lot of old canes it could probably do with a good pruning, taking the old canes right back to the ground and opening the interior.  You won't get flowers this year if all of last year's growth was winter killed, but this year's growth should give you flowers and fruit next year.  You could give the bush some protection from wind chill this fall, just in case you get another super cold winter.  You know not to fertilize later in the season, since it makes new growth less winter-hardy, right?

Or, you could plant a really hardy variety to replace it, just being sure the plants you have will cross-pollinate the new one.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #445 on: May 21, 2019, 10:03:42 AM »
Our garden is relatively small but easy to take care of; (3) 4' x 16' and (1) 4' x 6' raised beds.   Have had it planted about two weeks now, and we've had some crummy cold weather so far in northern IN.   Cucumber plants look pretty rough, but zuchinni and tomato plants look good and we have radishes, lettuce and green beans popping up.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #446 on: May 21, 2019, 10:29:05 AM »


Blueberries bloom on last year's new stems (i.e. 1 year old wood).  If there are a lot of old canes it could probably do with a good pruning, taking the old canes right back to the ground and opening the interior.  You won't get flowers this year if all of last year's growth was winter killed, but this year's growth should give you flowers and fruit next year.  You could give the bush some protection from wind chill this fall, just in case you get another super cold winter.  You know not to fertilize later in the season, since it makes new growth less winter-hardy, right?

Or, you could plant a really hardy variety to replace it, just being sure the plants you have will cross-pollinate the new one.

How do I know which are the old canes? I assume the ones that are just sticks and don't have any leaves on them?

I was told to fertilize and acidify the soil in spring, so that's what I have been doing. I'm uncertain how to protect them from windchill, though; I feel like a frost blanket wouldn't be enough and if it snowed heavily on the blanket, wouldn't that cause damage? These are really small bushes.

I thought I DID choose really hardy varieties! They're rated to zone 3 and I'm 5b. (But, of course, -50 windchills/-22 temps are not normal 5b temps. I looked up the varieties and it said somewhere that they can survive to -10 temps.)

OK, you've all convinced me, I'm going to give them another year. If no blossoms/berries next year, they're getting pulled.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #447 on: May 21, 2019, 11:15:01 AM »
Thanks for the slug and chicken advice.

@Buntastic for the first couple days after I put the bully hen back in with the others she was doing better, but yesterday all three of the new hen had been pecked over pretty badly - one was bleeding and another had lost the tip of her beak. So I put all the new chickens in a separate coop for their own safety. They seemed super grateful - I doubt they've been getting much to eat. My plan is to keep them there until they recover, then switch them back to the main coop and put the bully hen in the small coop for several days, then try to put them all in the same coop again. Does that sound like a good plan? Also, any tips on the beak injury? She seems to be able to eat and drink okay.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #448 on: May 21, 2019, 02:38:44 PM »


Blueberries bloom on last year's new stems (i.e. 1 year old wood).  If there are a lot of old canes it could probably do with a good pruning, taking the old canes right back to the ground and opening the interior.  You won't get flowers this year if all of last year's growth was winter killed, but this year's growth should give you flowers and fruit next year.  You could give the bush some protection from wind chill this fall, just in case you get another super cold winter.  You know not to fertilize later in the season, since it makes new growth less winter-hardy, right?

Or, you could plant a really hardy variety to replace it, just being sure the plants you have will cross-pollinate the new one.

How do I know which are the old canes? I assume the ones that are just sticks and don't have any leaves on them?

Big around, thick bark.  No leaves just means the leaf buds were killed. when you clip them are they alive or dead?  Alive- some green inside, dead, all brown inside.


I was told to fertilize and acidify the soil in spring, so that's what I have been doing. I'm uncertain how to protect them from windchill, though; I feel like a frost blanket wouldn't be enough and if it snowed heavily on the blanket, wouldn't that cause damage? These are really small bushes.

Small bushes - wrap in burlap, tie the branches together first so they don't get broken by snow.

I thought I DID choose really hardy varieties! They're rated to zone 3 and I'm 5b. (But, of course, -50 windchills/-22 temps are not normal 5b temps. I looked up the varieties and it said somewhere that they can survive to -10 temps.)

We had a cold winter and I am zone 4 (Canadian) to start with - everything has just been a bit slower to leaf out. I wouldn't call -10F all that cold hardy.  That is only -23C, and I have had winters when every night was colder than that.  Wild blueberries in the Laurentians survive much worse, but they are lowbush. My named variety blueberries survived he winter, some ends of twigs are dead.

OK, you've all convinced me, I'm going to give them another year. If no blossoms/berries next year, they're getting pulled.

Prune back until you get live wood.   There is no point leaving dead wood on the bushes.

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Re: Planting/Growing Your Own 2019
« Reply #449 on: May 22, 2019, 05:09:22 AM »
Thanks for the slug and chicken advice.

@Buntastic for the first couple days after I put the bully hen back in with the others she was doing better, but yesterday all three of the new hen had been pecked over pretty badly - one was bleeding and another had lost the tip of her beak. So I put all the new chickens in a separate coop for their own safety. They seemed super grateful - I doubt they've been getting much to eat. My plan is to keep them there until they recover, then switch them back to the main coop and put the bully hen in the small coop for several days, then try to put them all in the same coop again. Does that sound like a good plan? Also, any tips on the beak injury? She seems to be able to eat and drink okay.

Iíve seen purposely debeaked chickens, but never seen a chicken lose it. It will slowly grow back, like a fingernail.

You can try it, but may/may not work. How many square feet per bird do you have?

Still another option is culling the bully. I had to cull one this year when integrating my new pullets with the main flock.