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Northwest Vegetable Gardening


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#31 tsquare

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:26 PM

tsquare,

I too have a goldenchain close to the garden but haven't noticed any aphids; better start looking.
It's a terrible year for pests. I was trimming back some artillery plants and found the little suckers all over the base. I have a white spruce that's a near goner because of infestation. I am still not sure where or not we made it through the tent catipllar on-slaught,. Something at night (not slugs) keeps chewing on my squash and been plants, Earwicks, any ideas?

dave

In addition to harboring aphids, the nectar of the aphids attracts yellow jackets. Double whammy. My tree is somewhat stressed, having survived another 1/4 pruning - I am working towards removal little by little.

I've already removed two wasp nests from the back porch this season! I'd leave them alone if they would leave me alone, but that's just too close to the back door.

Earwigs do like to nibble - and I find them pretty disgusting, but have not found them to be that damaging. They are actually partially good for the garden, helping to compost decayed matter. But I hate finding them in the corn and artichokes.

Tender plants (by the way, this is very early for beans - good luck) such as squash and beans are frequently favorites of cutworms and slugs, especially in the night. Handpicking by flashlight (or full moon if you hurry) is quite romantic. I generally plant beans in June and always have more than I can handle. But maybe starting early you'll get a longer season.

Last season's argula is flowering like crazy. I guess I better pull it out and get this year's seeds in the ground. Slow start this year. Did put in tomatoes and onions, along with a new spearmint (in a pot in the ground) so I can make my own mojitos.

#32 tsquare

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:36 PM

Does anyone have any advice about the artichokes?

I just stick 'em in the ground and they grow - big. Give them alot of room (says the gardener with peas about 16" away!)

After your first harvest (try to wait for them to get a decent size - but harvest before they open or flower) you may get a few small seconds. In the fall, cut off the dead stuff, but don't cut the plant down. That's opposite from the books. They will tell you to cut it down to the ground almost, and cover it with straw or a bags or something. If you do, you'll get a slimey mass of slug and bug food. Unless we get a really bad frost, I've found a healthy artichoke plant will overwinter better with some plant growth far better than when bedded down.

#33 DRColby

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 07:44 AM

tsquare,
Already knocked two wasp nests off the deck and someone gave us a Lady Bug box that the Lady Bugs have abandon and the wasps claimed. The bees we are getting are strange, they look like a cross between a honey and bumble bee. Hope they like pollinating tomatoes.
Earwigs rule in our dahlas. They are to the point that Cathy doesn't want any flowers in the house unless they are hung outside for a couple of hours.
Would you share your mojo recipe?
Went mushroom picking yesterday and didn't produce much.
Looks like today (maybe tonight) will be another day in the "killing fields" of the garden.

Green Thumbs to all,
dave

#34 girl chow

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 08:30 AM

We too have some aggresive wasps in the South Sound region. I've already *accidentally* knocked a nest out of the shed (scary as hell) and hubby reports that they had even taken up residence in our pickup truck (guess we should drive it more often). I shudder to think about tent caterpillars. Egads.
A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.
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#35 LEdlund

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 08:56 AM

I shudder to think about tent caterpillars. Egads.

So what should I do about tent caterpillers? We have none in the two trees that actually reside on our property, but we saw a nest on a neighbors tree. We thought she got it in time, but just yesterday we saw our first caterpillers. Will they damage anything? I don't grow vegetables but I do have lots of flower pots. What happens if I just let them go and they turn into moths? Will the moths damage anything?
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#36 tsquare

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 08:57 AM

    Earwigs rule in our dahlas.  They are to the point that Cathy doesn't want any flowers in the house unless they are hung outside for a couple of hours.
    Would you share your mojo recipe?
 

I gave up growing dahlias after seeing how at home the earwigs made themselves!
Still experimenting with mojitos - that was a subtle reference to May 5th. And the demise of Fandango. Drove by, the wake looked pretty quiet.

#37 girl chow

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 09:20 AM

So what should I do about tent caterpillers? We have none in the two trees that actually reside on our property, but we saw a nest on a neighbors tree. We thought she got it in time, but just yesterday we saw our first caterpillers. Will they damage anything? I don't grow vegetables but I do have lots of flower pots. What happens if I just let them go and they turn into moths? Will the moths damage anything?

I think they only attack trees. I haven't seen anything mentioned about flowers, or even vegetables

Here's a pretty good link about Western Tent Caterpillars from the City of Seattle.
A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.
-- Frank Bruni

#38 DRColby

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 11:04 AM

I think that most of the tent caterpillars are done - emerged out of the tent stage. There preferences seem to be stone fruits (cherries, plums), apples, and if they run out of nearby fruit trees they tend to migrate to things like roses, blueberries and even laurel hedges. There are also bad on hawthornes. Ours seem to now be on the ground.
Wish the birds would eat them (kind of like the seagull and grasshopper story) but we have cut tent branches out of the trees and sprayed with an environmentally friendly insecteside (smells lilke garlic and tobacco). Hope the trees won't go into shock because they have no leaves.
One of the neighbors says this is the 7th year in their cycle and are at a peak, next year won't be bad. I don't buy that logic because if they are around they are laying eggs.

dave

#39 LEdlund

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 11:17 AM

Thanks girl chow and DRColby for the info. I'm glad to know they probably won't get into my flowers. For now, I'm just squishin' em as I see em.
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#40 sequim

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 11:19 AM

People talk about knocking down wasp nests but I'm not sure it's necessary to do that unless you're talking about the aggressive yellow jackets. We had several nests made around our house last year and I never got bothered by them. However, my sister and b-in-law were freaked out and wanted them knocked down. Now I think they may have been paper wasps which are harmless and also they do go after tent caterpillers. So I wouldn't indiscriminantly go after stuff until you know if it's harmful or not.

Luckily last year I scraped all the grey pods off my one tree the tent caterpillers really went after and got most of them, so my yard has been pretty untouched this year. They don't seem to care for the later leafing trees, just the early ones. Rather than cut branches off like my b-in-law does I would just take a stick and try to knock their webs apart since that is where they return every night.

#41 tsquare

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:44 PM

People talk about knocking down wasp nests but I'm not sure it's necessary to do that unless you're talking about the aggressive yellow jackets.

I agree completely - however, they were about 18" from my head everytime I went in or out the door. Too close for comfort. Had they been established, I would have called the guy who comes to collect above ground nests (he will also take care of yellow jackets for a fee.) He collects and sells honey - I think he is from Normandy Park.

#42 agnolottigirl

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 04:22 PM

I think that most of the tent caterpillars are done - emerged out of the tent stage. There preferences seem to be stone fruits (cherries, plums), apples, and if they run out of nearby fruit trees they tend to migrate to things like roses, blueberries and even laurel hedges. There are also bad on hawthornes. Ours seem to now be on the ground.

Wish the birds would eat them (kind of like the seagull and grasshopper story) but we have cut tent branches out of the trees and sprayed with an environmentally friendly insecteside (smells lilke garlic and tobacco). Hope the trees won't go into shock because they have no leaves.


Last year on Bainbridge, whole swaths of the island were just crawling, literally, with the nasty little buggers. A few won't do much harm, and it's probably not worth worrying about a couple now and then. Last year, they were so bad here you could *hear* them munching away on the fruit trees. We had to clear them off the sidewalk with a pushbroom. And if you were thinking of sitting outside in the shade, forget it--unless you enjoyed the surprise of these things falling out of the sky onto you, into your drink, etc. Oogy! The birds don't eat 'em, and the good wasps (which burrow into the caterpillars' heads to lay eggs. . . don't ask) weren't out in sufficient numbers last year to do much.

So when we saw them coming this year, we hit them with Bt (bacillus thuringensis) early, and it's worked great. Bt is a bacterium that shuts down the caterpillars' digestive systems when they ingest it. You can buy it as a concentrate, then spray away. . . cheap, effective, and totally nontoxic. You do have to reapply every few days. According to Ann Lovejoy's most recent column on this, the weird temperatures we have been having have meant that they're emerging from their tents in waves--so if you're still having trouble, probably not too late to try Bt.

Edited to add: Oh, yeah--and the trees that got chomped last year came back just fine this year. . . apparently the infestation is more distressing to us humans than to the plants.

Edited by agnolottigirl, 06 May 2004 - 04:25 PM.

agnolottigirl
~~~~~~~~~~~
"They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes, mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes, or fisherman's octopus and shrimps, fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach."-- Luigi Barzini, The Italians

#43 DRColby

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 06:04 PM

Wasps.....
We had little nephews (4 and 2) over last Summer. Of course like all women, my wife, the boys' mother and my mother-in-law thought it would be great fun for all to have the little boys take their clothes off and run through a lawn sprinkler. Well, little know to all, there was an active wasp nest on a branch just above their heads. No one saw it 'til the next day. Fortunately nether the nephews or the spray agitated the nest.
The last thing I know I would want would be to be bare assed, embarassed, and being chased by wasps....
I also know I like to eat salmon in the Summer evenings on my back deck. The wasps do too. Big hassle with some dinner guests. The dog likes his supper on the back deck too, sans wasps. Ever try to calm a 70-poud dog chasing wasps.
Wasps...they just don't seem to engage in l good social relationship with man or animal.

dave

#44 tsquare

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 01:58 PM

Happy to report that my peas began flowering last Friday. The plants seem quite tall this year - and are shading out the sweet peas.
Also happy to report that I did not kill my fig tree by overpruning - fruit is plumping nicely.
Strawberries too.

#45 girl chow

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 02:04 PM

Woohoo for flowering peas! These people down the street from my office have this amazing contraption involving wires, string and wood stakes for their peas. I noticed as I was driving by this morning how pretty the flowering buds looked. It almost makes me want to grow peas, except that I don't like peas :raz:

I've got tomatoes going in my raised bed (a work in progress)... zucchini, butternut and acorn squash planted.. five kinds of pumpkins planted (including one mystery start from a mystery bag of pumpkin seeds I got from someone...should be interesting). To plant: a French peppermint start hubby picked up at Windmill Nursery today.. is this the kind of mint that grows like nuts? I'm thinking, just because it's mint, I'm going to put it in a container, but I'd love any advice if anyone is a mint grower (I don't know much about mint, other than that I know it grows like crazy).

I love this time of year.
A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.
-- Frank Bruni

#46 tsquare

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:03 PM

Woohoo for flowering peas! These people down the street from my office have this amazing contraption involving wires, string and wood stakes for their peas. I noticed as I was driving by this morning how pretty the flowering buds looked. It almost makes me want to grow peas, except that I don't like peas :raz:

Grow sweet peas - colorful, smell good, and you get no edibles. Or like me, grow edible pod peas - you must like those? You know, as used in Chinese cooking, etc.

#47 laurel

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:25 PM

I'm thinking, just because it's mint, I'm going to put it in a container, but I'd love any advice if anyone is a mint grower (I don't know much about mint, other than that I know it grows like crazy).

I don't know about outside, but I have spearmint in a pot indoors that tried to take over another plant next to it when I wasn't paying attention. Then it got eaten by spider mites and a sundew started growing in its pot, so now they're sharing.

#48 DRColby

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 06:05 AM

Does anyone here eat pea tendrels and how do you use them? Mine are there before the peas will be and I am getting hungry.
My neighbor let some mint go in her yard and it has taken over. I try to keep mine in sunken clay pots. Doesn't always work and sometimes I foreget to water them so I make several trips to the neighbor's yeard each week.

dave

#49 tighe

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 11:14 PM

I have a cardoon plant in my garden that is going absolutely nuts. This is great, but I don't really know when to harvest or even exactly what parts to harvest. I know that its the stalks that are eaten, but is it the leaf stalks, the flower stalks or both? A couple online source talk about 'blanching' the stalks by wrapping the plant in burlap for 2-3 weeks before harvesting. Anyone ever try this?
Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.
- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

#50 eatrustic

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:40 AM

Does anyone have experience growing heirloom tomatoes in containers? (here in the PNW?) If so what varieties work best (for eating raw with salads and Buffalo Mozzarella) and what is the minimum container size?

There is a great selection of heirlooms available at the local farmer's markets and I'd love to try a couple, I live on the second floor of a house with a small balcony that could hold 1 or 2 plants and receives good sunlight.

#51 tsquare

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 09:16 AM

First strawberries picked and eaten.
Snow peas dangling from the vines.
Artichokes peeping up through the leaves.

Pea vines - harvest young and tender. Saute.

Cardoons, the rib of the leaves, very well cooked - but I've never actually done this.

Tomatoes in pots - water and feed often (the soil dries quickly, the watering leeches out the nutrients.) My neighbor had luck with a tigerella start I gave her - I'd stick with smaller varieties. Sungold or similar cherry types do pretty well as well. Some varieties are called out as patio type, meaning for pots, but not sure if any of these are heirloom - look at Territorial Seeds catalog and see if you find any that are available locally as starts?

#52 DrewS

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 09:22 AM

My tomatoes are in 12 inch pots and seem to be happy. Right now they have a couple of flowers and a whole bunch of buds. I haven't moved them outside onto the balcony yet. I'm not sure if they will actually be happier staying inside. Our apartment gets a lot of sun (big south and west facing windows) and it gets quite warm during the day (around 80 with the shades and windows open if it is really sunny.)

I started them from seeds (Oregon Spring Bush Tomato from Seeds of Change) but haven't grown them before. I hope they produce!

#53 kiliki

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 09:37 AM

You can usually keep mint well behaved by planting it in a crappy spot in the garden. I've got some crammed in among bamboo and evergreens-it gets only a little sun-and it hasn't spread at all.
When I've done tomatoes in pots, I've had the best luck with small/cherry early tomatoes. Someone above mentioned Sungold, which are fabulous. Sweet Million are also terrific. The online Territorial Seed Catalog is a great resource for learning about varieties that are well adapted for the northwest. They are at:
www.territorialseed.com

#54 tighe

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 09:45 AM

You can usually keep mint well behaved by planting it in a crappy spot in the garden. I've got some crammed in among bamboo and evergreens-it gets only a little sun-and it hasn't spread at all.

One trick I've heard of for containing mint is to plant it in the middle of a "bottomless pot"....that is, surrounded by an 8-12" deep ring of plastic. Its supposed to contain the runners.
Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.
- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

#55 tsquare

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 10:20 AM

My tomatoes are in 12 inch pots and seem to be happy. Right now they have a couple of flowers and a whole bunch of buds. I haven't moved them outside onto the balcony yet. I'm not sure if they will actually be happier staying inside. Our apartment gets a lot of sun (big south and west facing windows) and it gets quite warm during the day (around 80 with the shades and windows open if it is really sunny.)

I started them from seeds (Oregon Spring Bush Tomato from Seeds of Change) but haven't grown them before. I hope they produce!

I think they need pollination - so if they aren't outside, you'll be busy with the paintbrush. Anty botanist out there to confirm this?

#56 trillium

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 10:49 AM

Pea shoots (dau miu) are one of my favorite things to eat. For southern Chinese style, you basically pick off the pea tendrils and remove all the strings. Depending on how tough they are, you may want to briefly blanch them and then stir-fry with garlic and light soya.

For mojitos I like growing what gets called herba buena around here (which I thought was just Spanish for mint) it has rounded leaves and is a creeping mint. The flavor is almost like a cross between peppermint and lemon balm with some extra green flavor thrown in. My mum says it was growing wild in the Sacramento valley when she was a kid.

The stalks of cardoons work really well in the pressure cooker because they're so tough and take so long to cook. I've never been motivated enough to wrap them in burlap to blanch, but I've thought about it.

regards,
trillium

#57 laurel

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:14 PM

Last season's argula is flowering like crazy. I guess I better pull it out and get this year's seeds in the ground. Slow start this year. Did put in tomatoes and onions, along with a new spearmint (in a pot in the ground) so I can make my own mojitos.

Have you tried eating the arugula flowers? I had a bunch of them on top of a salad yesterday, and they were pretty reasonable. Tasted like arugula with sugar.

#58 idlewood

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Posted 30 May 2004 - 02:34 PM

I think they need pollination - so if they aren't outside, you'll be busy with the paintbrush. Anty botanist out there to confirm this?

A gardener here...tomatoes are self pollinating, so the paintbrush is not necessary. A bit of plant shaking helps, though. A vibrating device is used in commercial greenhouse operations.

Barb

#59 reesek

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 01:26 PM

we're picking peas! i've never tasted anything so wonderfully sweet.

we've got sugar snaps and shelling.

will they re-flower? is there a "right" way to harvest? cutting/picking at the joint...etc. will they come back or will i need to plant them again next year?

does anyone have advice for a particular brand of tomato food?

thanks!
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Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

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#60 tsquare

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 01:59 PM

we're picking peas! i've never tasted anything so wonderfully sweet.

we've got sugar snaps and shelling.

will they re-flower? is there a "right" way to harvest? cutting/picking at the joint...etc. will they come back or will i need to plant them again next year?

does anyone have advice for a particular brand of tomato food?

thanks!

Harvest the pods. Some years they keep producing, but sooner or later, you will know they are through - the vines will dies back or will get mildewy. Eew. You will need to replant each year.

Feed tomatoes fish fertilizer. It doesn't stink as much as it used to. Remember that too much nitro will give you lots of green plant, but may not mean more or better fruit. I can't believe I already I have blossoms on the tomatoes and fruit on the pepper plants!