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Blue Heron

Northwest Vegetable Gardening

388 posts in this topic

My peas went in for President's Day and are healthy looking, but no flowers so far.

tsquare - how tall are your peas? how tall should they get before they start to flower?


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

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

--6 Train

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Speaking of rock and stone walls, I just made my first visit to Maranako's (link) near Fall City to look for patio stone. They have a terrific selection of rocks, and it's fun to visit-if anyone is looking to build rock walls/planters I'd highly recommend a trip.

I am moving into my boyfriend's house, and within an hour of the decision I'd already secured permission to build a bunch of raised beds for blueberries, raspberries, and vegetables. The poor guy, he just weakly requested that I leave enough grass for the dog to play.

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My peas went in for President's Day and are healthy looking, but no flowers so far.

tsquare - how tall are your peas? how tall should they get before they start to flower?

Maybe 18"-24". I'm expecting to see flowers soon. Oh, they are edible pod peas. I usually have a crop by early June.

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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

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Maybe 18"-24". I'm expecting to see flowers soon. Oh, they are edible pod peas. I usually have a crop by early June.

good to know...ours (in the picture upthread) are about 24" - we have 2 kinds - edible pods and shelling (shelling are a bit taller so far) - and they're obviously well crammed in together - i had no idea there would be so many...naive new gardener. next year i'll know better...hopefully we'll be able to reach them all.


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

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

--6 Train

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

-- Frank Bruni

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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?


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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    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.

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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

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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

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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.


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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