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mid february thinking about the garden

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Doug MacIVER, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    since this winter just plain stinks,i thought some garden thought might cheer meself up. last year I went to straw bale gardening with pretty good success. my biggest problem was squash borers, these come from the large hornet looking moth. anybody got some good remedies for these bastards. the are so big they need a landing strip and really destructive.

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  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Good thought. I'm thinking too ... -9F and 30" of snow on the ground ... maybe snow peas?
    Doug MacIVER likes this.
  3. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    For your squash borers, there are a couple of good strategies that I've employed.

    The first is to grow cucurbita moschata (e.g. Butternut) squash varieties, which has a solid vine that the borers avoid.

    The second is to grow cucurbita maxima (e.g. Hubbard, Buttercup) or cucurbita pepo (Acorn, Delicata, Spaghetti) varieties and every two weeks use a large syringe inject a bacillus thuringiensis (BT) solution into the base of the vine. This is organic and will kill the vine borers. But you have to do it every two weeks or so. This works really well (100%).

    A third strategy that I've used but without much success is to cover the vines every three feet with hills of dirt so they re-root in these places and if the vine borers kill off the plant at the base, you still have some rooted vines. This works ok, but seems to reduce yield a lot if the main vines are infested with borers.

    I've tried wrapping the base of the vines with old nylons. Not only does this take a lot of time, if doesn't seem to work really well - you can never cover 100% of the vine. Using some type of tent or cover over the young vines seems like a lot of work for a (not likely) result, and I haven't tried this.

    I have read that commercial growers use a trap crop of Hubbard squash, which the borers prefer above all, to draw borers away from the main crop. This is planted around the perimeter of the field. I have not tried this. I'm usually trying to grow the Hubbard squash for eating, and I rely on stategy #2.

    Good luck and let us know how you do.
  4. 1750

    1750 Minister of Fire

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    Good idea for a thread, Doug!

    I've used the same strategies for borers that DBoon suggests. The BT works really well -- you can just spray it at the base of the vine every couple of weeks, as well. If you DO get borers, the vines will look great and then just fall flat one day. When that happens, you can often locate the entry point in the vine and slice with a sharp clean knife carefully along it until you find the offending pest. Remove it and hill up over the wound. That usually works fine.

    My aunt uses Sevin dust with great success, but those poisons scare me and I avoid them.

    I planted some new grape vines in the fall and am anxious to see if they made it through the winter.
  5. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    noticed that the butternut had zero problems. the main problem was summer and zucchini. pain in the ssa. thank you for the suggestions
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I am of no help with the borers, but have had some of the garden thoughts. I have a couple of things starting from seed now. I have a hot pepper from the middle of mexico region starting now - they have a long growing period and I would like to see them a foot tall by spring. I am also trying to start some Asparagus from seed. Brussel sprouts, too.
  7. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    aspagris from seed? patient man you are,good luck. love the stuff.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a small patch that I would like to gear up for better production down the road. I also hunt wild stuff if time permits. To be honest, its the peppers that hold my interest right now. It is a variety that isn't available in the states. We simply don't have a long enough growing season - and they are tiny so low production, but they have a very neat flavor and makes awesome (and authentic) sauces.
    They look like this and some change colors: (there are two varieties of the seeds I have) YES - they pack a punch.
    SonoranChiltepinHotPepperNativeSeeds.jpeg
    pep389.jpg
    Doug MacIVER likes this.
  9. AK13

    AK13 Burning Hunk

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    The squash borers are terrible. I had them like crazy two years ago. They were so destructive and destroyed our winter squash vines. Last year we didn't have any at all. Two years ago we also had major problems with squash bugs (gross) and cucumber beetles (not gross, but more destructive because of the bacterial wilt they spread which is fatal to the plants).

    My big resolution this year is to finally try tarping the beds for the tomatoes. I am so sick and tired of dealing with blight and I'm hoping this will help to keep it from spashing up on the plants.

    I was also thinking about starting my own seedlings for the first time this year. Our biggest cost with gardening is the seedlings, plus there are so many more varieties of plants that you can grow from seed. We have some great local nurseries that grow heirloom seedlings, but paying a couple of bucks per stem still adds up. I assume that the biggest cost to do this would be getting some kind of grow light since I don't have a greenhouse to start seedlings in.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I just have them sitting on a table that is next to big windows. That is where I take house plants to torture them. I can keep house plants barely alive for years.>>
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We had jalepenos and Thai peppers go fully red on us last year. They are not habenero hot, but have a good kick, especially the tiny Thai peppers.

    IMG_1651web.jpg
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  12. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    I second the Thai hot peppers. It is usually too cold in Central NY to get them to all ripen, but the ones that do have a nice flavor and pack a punch in a small package.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Just for the record...they don't have to turn red to use them. At times, the green ones are even hotter than the fully mature ones. Personally, for taste of the thai hots, I do like them when they turn red - I think they have a more "full" flavor.
  14. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I received 3 seedless grape plants last year and put them into a spare garden bed with intentions of transplanting in the autmun...never got to it and with the winter we've had it may be a good thing too! Looking forward to putting them in their permanent home soon...actually, I'm just looking forward to seeing the ground again!

    This will be year#2 for our asparagus bed. Love to grill them with a litle oil and garlic.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Just a suggestion - try grilling them dry, then add the oil, etc. They will take on a bit more of the "grilled" flavor.
  16. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jags. I'll give some green ones a try this year.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Agree on the grilling. Our asparagus rarely makes it to the kitchen though its just so good fresh.
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  18. 1750

    1750 Minister of Fire

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    This time last year I could see the tips of my garlic plants through a light snow cover over the bed. There must still be two feet of snow on them right now.

    We discovered garlic scape pesto a few years ago and our lives were changed forever.

    If any of you are interested:
    5 or 6 scapes, roughly chopped
    half-cup of shredded parm
    half-cup of olive oil
    a teaspoon of salt
    (I never measure any of this... the garlic gods will guide you)

    Throw it in a food processor and blend it up. Put it on pasta, bread, or eat it with a spoon like my daughters do.

    This is really great stuff.
    [​IMG]
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  19. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Minister of Fire

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    I should be growing this already, but will start some basil today. just the thought of spring helps.
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I second using Bt. It has eliminate squash borers as well as tomato horn worms for me. They used to be rampant here.

    I knew I was ready to garden when I made this a couple weeks ago

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  21. mole

    mole Member

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    Last year's project was 6 hop plants. I'm anxious to see how they winter over with all this cold. Second year should be big for yield. This year's project is full mash brewing! image.jpg
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  22. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Good crop. The Japanese beetles hit them pretty hard if you aren't vigilant.
  23. Circus

    Circus Member

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    The same weather trends that stink now is great for growing in the summer. Lets hope for a warm spell followed by another arctic vortec to kill all the bugs.
  24. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    interesting...I usually grow chili peppers but I find it hit or miss with the summer quality/quantity of sunny/hot days. last year they had very limited heat. and i likes my heat!

    that round one grows wild around my uncles stomping grounds in SE Texas, between San Antonio/Corpus area. He sends me salsa every now and then. Nice flavor.
  25. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    nAuyh! BT is a routine part of our gaHden regimen. We use "barriers" and we also hand pick the little marauders (I recoil at Tomato horn worms, but into the detergent soup they go and they're summarily squished upon dumping).

    This is the first year I didn't winter over a geranium and I've sorely missed those cheery flowers about this time of year (lesson). Johnny's Selected Seed and Seed Savers catalogues are ready bathroom reading, as are pens and a note pad for ready reference. ;)

    We can't wait!
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