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Gardening: 2013–2015


ChrisTaylor
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Self incompatible means a plant can't pollinate itself. Some plants like tomatoes and pepper can produce fruit without outside pollen. Others can't like tomatillo or corn, they need a sex partner.

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My tomato plants leafs have started to curl weirdly and no the gowning season out door hasnt started yet.  Any ideas?  I will take picture tomorrow.  The plants are watered, their roots are not sitting in water and I am getting buds.

Edited by CatPoet (log)

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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After an unusual spell of warmer-than-usual weather, I put my tomatoes (28 of them) out last week. I really should have known better at my age - the rule here is never plant tomatoes or other tender crops until after Memorial Day. Now we have a frost warning for tonight and tomorrow night. So I just got back from covering them. The package of agribon row cover that I thought was huge only covered one and a half sets. (I plant around ovals of concrete reinforcing mesh about 4' long. Each set is 8 plants.) So then it was old sheets and various plastic plant pots weighted down with rocks. It's still in the high 40's but the wind feels like winter and the plants were NOT happy. Luckily I haven't planted basil yet so I can bring that inside. Everything else should be ok. I haven't planted beans, cukes or squash yet - they will go in from seed when the soil temp. hits 70. The extra tomatoes that will go into 5 gallon pails can come inside too.

Sometimes gardening feels more like being at war with nature rather than being at one with nature. 

Elaina 

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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My yearly planting of tomatillos has been totally thwarted this year.  The seedlings are normally carried by only one local store and this year they don't have the little ones in the inexpensive pots.  They have only singles in pots at $2.50 per and that makes it far too expensive for me to grow our yearly crop.  Phooey.

 

Not to mention that we had a killing frost last night and while doing our usual farm perimeter walk, we found almost all of the wild grape leaves to have died overnight and wonder if the little tiny beginnings of grapes will have survived.  Last year we collected quite a crop which is still sitting in my freezer waiting for my jelly making chum to visit.

 

I've found five or six stalks of wild asparagus on our walk and wonder if there's anything I can do to encourage them to spread.  Each stalk is about 2 1/2 feet tall now and is branching out into the top which happens when you don't cut asparagus.  Should I let this continue in this process or cut the stalks down?  I have no idea.  I'll see what I can find on Google. 

 

We didn't eat any of the fiddle-heads again.  I was just too edgy about it without some knowledgeable type coming and giving the crop his or her blessing.

The farm's apple trees have all bloomed and the blooms are fading now.  Hope the frost will not affect the future apple crop badly.  We have two mature trees in the backyard.  The Mac looks well and has bloomed nicely.  The Northern Spy I suspect is dying and quite rapidly.  No idea why.  Two years ago it (and the Mac) has massive crops which we could hardly handle.  Now the Spy has only a few blooms and many of the branches are obviously dead.

 

I keep thinking about returning to having a proper vegetable garden and then I continue to do nothing about it.  The tomatillos were my one staple crop.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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....tomatillos has been totally thwarted this year.

 

 

Find some seeds and start some plants, it's not too late.

We have about the same first and last frost dates here and I haven't started mine yet...there's still time.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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OK - down to 30 last night. I can't believe that I was so seduced by an early warm streak, a never ending winter and the first spring of retirement (no papers to grade! no final exams!) to ignore the time honored rule of "don't put the tomatoes or peppers in until Memorial Day". In spite of lots of cover, I lost almost half of my tomatoes and most of the peppers. Luckily I have back up - so today (high 60's) I replanted. The basil (36 plants) is still inside. If I fail to grow enough basil for a year's supply of frozen pesto my marriage will be endangered. Soil temperature today was 57 degrees - so I still haven't planted beans, cukes or squash. Soon, I hope. Lettuce, greens ( endive, arugula, green and purple mizuna, 2 types of cress, bianca riccia, italico rossa, spinach), beets, carrots, fennel, cardoons, broccolini, stem celery, cabbage, onions, leeks, scallions and shallots all came through ok. I totally blame myself for the carnage. 

Elaina

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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Sorry for your loss ElainaA  I grow double from seed so when I do what you did and loose it ..I have back up as well …for me this year it was the other way so far..and by now I am "safe" the really cold nights are over and it never gets super warm here so I cover the beds with black plastic mulch for the tomatoes peppers and corn ..the corn is my last hold out ..that goes in tomorrow I just sprouted them in mulch pots so I do not have to "transplant" can just stick them in ..the tomatoes are loving it now so are the peppers everything is growing like crazy ..but I have had years where I lost everything I first put out and years I was sorry I did not put things out earlier..that is "gardening" people do not know the risks we take do they and how excited and defeated we can feel ..adn how when we are sitting out to dinner we are thinking out weeding and our watering cycles and how we need to get home and do some work ..I am going to breakfast with friends today and all I want to do is cancel and work in the garden ..

 

I grow a lot of cardoon..does anyone know about this plant? I lost all my artichokes to the chickens who loved the ant nest under it ..they ate the plants when they were loaded with chokes ,,I cried! then they dug up the ground and got the ants and I was happy again …but no one touches the cardoon and they are the same family? what is the deal? … but rarely eat cardoon but adore it when I do ..I think it is too late now? Does anyone know how late you can eat it ?   I love the plant ! …here at my house because of all the fertilizer from the ducks and chicken litter I  compost and up-cycle to the garden.. it grows to my second floor!  he blooms are they are the size and heavier than soft balls ….right now they have not sent up a bloom and I thought I should try to eat them again but it may be too late ? I just am not sure with cardoon love the taste but it is a pain in the ass to cook when so many other things are ready now and can be eaten easier! 

I am beside myself my persimmon is blooming that has NEVER happened the poor tree has been revived so many times I was ready to just cut it down and it was covered with flowers

looks like another year with over 100lbs of figs I had 3 crops last year and that is unheard of so I am not defending it ..just saying I was there ..it happened! I had 150lbs of figs off one dessert king in 3 distinct crops ..blew my mind ..as large as my first crop is I am sure if we have another long summer it will happen again. 

We have ZERO snow pack in our mountains I look at the Olympics daily and it is terrifying to me to see people wasting water. We finished installing 3 water barrels and plan to put 5 more in as we can. The ducks use a lot of water! We added 6 baby Khaki Campbells who are ready to lay at any time I am just having  problem situating nest boxes and my chickens went rogue and are laying all over he neighborhood ..oh well it cuts into my granddaughters egg profits when the chickens lay eggs on her customers steps (almost literally they are laying right near their stairs in one case)  and 4 Muscovy 2 boys (one will be for meat the will be the "boy about town" ) and 2 girls ..they are darling ducks so much nicer than the KC"s who think we are "new" every time we walk out they are shocked and terrified ..but the eggs and the pleasure of enjoying ducks in the yard make them so worth the daily hysteria ..I did notices flighty as they are and as young as they are ..when we brought the muskovies home they were fussing over them a lot …

My husband plumbed the duck pond so we can use the liquid gold more readily hauling buckets sucks ..I can not imagine a garden with out poultry they are win win win win win …ambulatory composing machines who eat all my kitchen waste as well …rototill and fertilize the garden  and give me  eggs like PEZ dispensers 

 

I wish I could figure out the way to post photos I have not had time and it looks a bit difficult …

 

right now we are eating the grape leaves like crazy, fresh herbs everything but basil and cilantro they are just starting ..we have again successfully eaten something out of the garden all year every day ..the herbs and kale/hardy greens ..never died back it was too warm this winter…I grew a huge angelica and have no idea what to do with it? any advice would be great ..it is so pretty! .. ..I do not like the taste at all but understand you can candy it? Not even tempting.lots and lots of anise and fennel both delicious now… I have already picked the gooseberries and made chutney and ketchup with last falls  figs (I froze them on cookie sheet sand sealed them in 10lbs buckets they are still perfect tasting.. and the new gooseberries ..the gooseberry fig chutney is off the charts good!   Rhubarb is coming up ..oh Hell everything is up and I am overwhelmed over tired and have no idea when and if  I can catch up! I spend 10 hours a day out there digging weeding and moving shit around and then step back and wonder what the hell I was doing all that time! 

 

we found a wild plum tree and took as much fruit as we could carry I am making a fake ume form it ..I have done this before and they were so good you just salt the plums then dry them a bit  after the juice comes out and they have pickled just a bit ..

 

I made a trade for  a top bar hive and now the bees are vibrant and the hive is thriving … I traded an old Mt Bike for it and what a deal ..wow!!!  yesterday we had to remove the divider because the bees have ..in than a month… filled the space we gave them with a beautiful comb! I have read way too much online about bee death and thought I would give this a try ..if we get honey great but in the mean time my garden and the grateful neighbors are full of busy bees all over the flowers doing what bees do. Watching the hive is so relaxing it is like a train station..I never in a million years when i was a little kid growing up in the city ..thought I would have all this around me. But I do ..just living the dream now. 

 

so far set and pending 

grapes wild and concord loaded

plums only the gold plums set this year I am not sure the name but they are a wonderful plum

Asian pears are loaded

quince fully loaded

raspberries are overloaded

more gooseberries and tons of currants just on the edge of ripening 

hazel nuts

lava beans are about 4 ft hight and loaded with blooms

garlic thriving 

all my greens and beans are up and going 

everything is early and for me that is a good sign 

tomatoes are outside now and thriving as well as peppers (every year I say "never again" to peppers and do it anyway 

this year I bought two ghost pepper plants but other wise started them all from seed thinking they would have a better chance if they were raised here. 

 

I am doing a lot of seed trading as well online for next year that is really fun if you have not done it most garden forums have it going on and I have gotten all kinds of rare and unusual seeds that way. 

 

I ordered a new dehydrator I am canning, pickling  and drying as much as possible  ..very little freezing this year only the figs if I have to ….the big chest freezer has to go in the name of efficiency it is a piece of crap. 

 

water is an issue and it is very worrisome I can see the snowless mountains from my window…terrifying and sad ..the gravity of this is not really seen when you have all these sunny dry days in a place known for the rain 

 

the rain barrels are a start and fill with just a small amount of rain …our ducks and chickens will be well watered even if the plants don't get quite as much this year. how fun to come read posts from other gardeners …Happy Gardening …

 

oh and PS vinegar does work as well as any weed killing poison on the market.. I used it on English ivy, buttercups and bindweed it killed them dead and now I can just put blueberries in the nicely acidified soil ..win win ..why do people not use vinegar instead of Round Up it works perfectly costs less than $3 for a huge bottle? …and you just put it on the leaves and it kills the plant! isn't that the same thing? you do it on a dry day and let the sun help you… I do not get the whole need for Round up this works ..I have yet to try it on blackberry or bamboo  that will be the big test but for now the butter cups and bind weed are making me really happy dead! if there is a reason vinegar is bad as weedkiller please do not tell me because I am so happy using it now to murder invasive shit 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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It is frustrating to read posts about gardening with no idea of what region the poster lives in or what growing zone.  But I do understand the need for that kind of privacy.

 

Thanks for the advice.  I live in Zone 5 and will try to get some seeds and plant them.  Digging Dog:  I'll have to send for the seeds.  Tomatillos are not a local crop at all.  They are never in the local grocery stores.  We don't have much of a Hispanic population here in east central Ontario.

 

Chris:  have never allowed the tomatillos to seed because I container plant them.  And I know NOTHING about gardening.  A life-long achievement I fear.   

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Hummingbirdkiss - You describe the garden imperative perfectly - alternating triumph and despair. Or both at once. 

That's a lot of garden.  What is your climate zone? I assume it is warmer than mine - I'm in 4B. Do you blanch the cardoon? This is my first year growing it - I understand it needs to be blanched by tying up the leaves around the stalks some time before harvest. I have just put mine out - the plants are only about 4" tall so far. I have grown artichokes - from purchased plants - but only got good yield about 1 year in 3. 

 

Darienne:

 

It is frustrating to read posts about gardening with no idea of what region the poster lives in or what growing zone.  But I do understand the need for that kind of privacy.

 

 

I agree - climate zone makes such a difference. What works in zone 7 or 8 will never work for me.  (Zone 4B).  I get most of my seed from Johnny's Selected Seeds and Pinetree Seeds - both in northern Maine. I figure if the catalog says it will grow there, it will grow for me. 

 

I've got to go water the garlic.

Elaina

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I live in a micro marine climate in Steilacoom Washington and do not mind sharing that at all …it is on the Puget sound it is in Zone 8A and B we are considered " temperate" usually very very rainy here  here we do not freeze much during the winter and no snow or freeze at all this year. we have long days in the summer short in the winter 

 

 

sorry to frustrate you Darienne I did not even think about putting my zone in but I do not think about a lot of things I just blurt out long litanies about whateve the topic is and that is why I try not to post often because of that ....so if that make sense so forgive me please

It is frustrating to read posts about gardening with no idea of what region the poster lives in or what growing zone.  But I do understand the need for that kind of privacy.

 

Thanks for the advice.  I live in Zone 5 and will try to get some seeds and plant them.  Digging Dog:  I'll have to send for the seeds.  Tomatillos are not a local crop at all.  They are never in the local grocery stores.  We don't have much of a Hispanic population here in east central Ontario.

 

Chris:  have never allowed the tomatillos to seed because I container plant them.  And I know NOTHING about gardening.  A life-long achievement I fear.   

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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FWIW, Toma Verde is a fast-maturing cultivar.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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it is too much Elaina I keep hoping it will become more self sustaining …I am completely exhausted right now but love every single minute  of the trials and tribulations ..more drama goes on in my garden that it used to at work LOL ….I have never blanched it I tried one year and my chickens thought it was a "fort" and started trying to get inside of it ..so I just try to eat it early but I could try it again …I think it is too late now thought it is HUGE like 5 feet tall but still in the foliage phase that is why I thought maybe I could pick some from the center ? it confuses me as a plant and I do want to eat it more I see it at the farmers mkt in tidy bunches then look at my dinosaur plant and am stunned.>I need to be patients and figure out how to post photos this plant can be startling I tell you ..when I say i grew 20 feet last year I am not exaggerating it was above my top deck …I can and do grow more tropical plants now than I ever did before.  No freezing means an endless fight with bugs …argh I have had a hell of a time with saw fly and my berries 

Hummingbirdkiss - You describe the garden imperative perfectly - alternating triumph and despair. Or both at once. 

That's a lot of garden.  What is your climate zone? I assume it is warmer than mine - I'm in 4B. Do you blanch the cardoon? This is my first year growing it - I understand it needs to be blanched by tying up the leaves around the stalks some time before harvest. I have just put mine out - the plants are only about 4" tall so far. I have grown artichokes - from purchased plants - but only got good yield about 1 year in 3. 

 

Darienne:

 

I agree - climate zone makes such a difference. What works in zone 7 or 8 will never work for me.  (Zone 4B).  I get most of my seed from Johnny's Selected Seeds and Pinetree Seeds - both in northern Maine. I figure if the catalog says it will grow there, it will grow for me. 

 

I've got to go water the garlic.

Elaina

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Our main supply of seeds in Ontario other than the most 'common' ones available in the 'normal' outlets would be Richter's.  They carry only three kinds of tomatillo seeds: Cossack Pineapple, Purple de Milpa and Verde.  And only one in plugs: the Cossack Pineapple.  There just isn't the market for tomatillos in Canada I guess.

 

So tomorrow, I'll order the Verde and just pay the charges.

(Keep in mind that I have little idea of what I am talking about and may be all wrong about the entire subject.  Thanks.  :blush: )

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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My raspberries have begun to flower!

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"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Garden is starting to produce.  Lettuce, spinach, arugla, small zucs, garlic scapes and basil.

First picture is my herb garden; second is a view of the potato/leek bed; third is the greenhouse and the nice basil plants; last one is a view of the 10 square foot beds.  I use the square foot gardening book and find them easy to manage, i.e. weeding; harvesting; watering and rotating crops.DSC00861.JPGDSC00862.JPGDSC00863.JPGDSC00865.JPG

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Finishing up my story on Asparagus:

 

For a few years now I have been following a wild plant on our farm perimeter walk called Smilax.  It's an unusual plant in that it forms perfect balls of berries which start out pale green and eventually change colors to navy blue.  I had never heard of them before and was very interested each year in following their progress.  Even our local go-to naturalist did not know of them.

 

So what I discovered this spring and thought was wild asparagus as it popped up in the field. is actually the young Smilax plant even though at first the stalk looked like an asparagus stalk.  Yesterday I saw the miniscule clusters of berries and thought...oh my! that's Smilax.  I had never been able to identify it in the spring before.  And again I missed the flowers...they must be tiny?...which are noted as smelling like dead animals, thus giving the plant its nickname, the Carrion plant.

 

So, thus ends my discovery of 'asparagus' out on the farm.  Thanks for the help.

Here's a photo of a Smilax plant, fall of 2013,  for those who are interested.

 

Smilax, McAuley sept 13.JPG

 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Interesting, Darienne!  I've never heard of Smilax.  I googled.  The roots of some of the species are used to make root beer :)  I was looking to see if they are found in Kansas and found this:

 

http://www.kansasnativeplants.com/guide/plant_detail.php?plnt_id=576

 

Doesn't look exactly like yours, but similar?

 

 

Lovely garden, Okanagancook!

 

 

I saw something yesterday that I've never seen before.  I hadn't been able to get into my garden for about 5 days to weed due to heavy rains.  It was still muddy, but I was able to hoe at least.  Anyway, in the morning when I was working the pea plants looked just like they have been.  Pretty with sweet little white flowers.  When my husband got home around 7 last night we went to the garden to sit for a minute.  The pea plants had made pea pods.  Long pea pods.  In just like 7-8 hours.  I was floored.  

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Thanks Shelby.  Nothing like the size of yours!  I still get enough produce to supply friends at various points during the summer.

Your pea growth is like ours.  Once we get some heat it's twice a day to check for edible pods ready.

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Description

Smilax herbacea is a vine with alternate, simple leaves, on climbing stems. The flowers are green, borne in spring. The plant at first looks like asparagus when it first sprouts out of the ground. The plant can grow over 8 feet tall without support, but will eventually fall over unless it successfully finds external support. As flowers start to develop, at first they look similar to small broccoli florets on thin stems.[5]

 

One last thing about Canadian Smilax.  Just found this passage in Wikipedia.  Fascinating.  'looks like asparagus'.  Love it. 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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At my family's Memorial Day barbecue (in San Diego), one of my older brothers brought a couple of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes, deep red and untouched by critters of any kind. We were having hamburgers so the tomatoes were welcome (and delicious! :wub: ).

It turns out the fruit came off a tomato plant that my brother never bothered to to pay any attention to this year. He said he just ignored the plant, thinking it was "used up" from the previous year. Lo and behold, it's now bearing the most beautiful tomatoes any of us have seen in quite a while. A pretty good harvest considering it's a volunteer plant.

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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