2019 Garden Thread

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
Three inches of rain yesterday and some of our garlic beds are underwater, hope they survive!

It would be nice if we could get some of this rain in August!

P_20190103_153205.jpg
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,490
SEPA
Three inches of rain yesterday and some of our garlic beds are underwater, hope they survive!

It would be nice if we could get some of this rain in August!

View attachment 237418
That looks terrible.

We live on a slope, with precious few level spots. I used to think it was a bad thing, but after this year, I really appreciate the drainage.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
That looks terrible.

We live on a slope, with precious few level spots. I used to think it was a bad thing, but after this year, I really appreciate the drainage.
I bet, you folks had a lot of rain last year!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,166
South Puget Sound, WA
Wow! Sorry to report there is a chain of storms coming. Unusual for an el Nino year.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,490
SEPA
Wow! Sorry to report there is a chain of storms coming. Unusual for an el Nino year.
Wonder if the old el patterns are going to hold in light of the changes? My guess would be, expect new patterns to form, or if CO levels keep rising, expect lots of volatility until they stabilize and allow new patterns to form.

Another rainy Saturday in a long string of rainy Saturdays here. Could be worse, could be 2' of snow.
 

DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
We, too, have had a series of wet Saturdays this fall which has put us behind on outdoor work, but we had a spring-like Saturday this past weekend. We took the opportunity to remove some cedar (considered a native invasive around here) and prune some live oak before the wilt-carrying beetles become too active. We’ve got a lot more to do, but we’re already thinking of where we might plant an olive tree for my youngest’s third birthday this spring. I love that his older sibling thought up that idea as the perfect present.


There was apparently some cold while we traveled recently (I kept track of the weather to see if the neighbors needed to deploy the large cardboard boxes we had left to protect the young citrus, but it never froze). Since we’ve been home, it’s been warming. My kids have been in shorts, and the plants are waking up fast. Both the peach and the cherry had a bloom open today. The blueberries look like they’re getting ready. We have some apple trees in our way-too-thickly-planted backyard that need to be pruned (I think the previous owner planted them and then did nothing else), and we need to cut more vitex and hackberry so that they can get light and air. I hope the cool (not cold) air blowing in tonight will remind the plants that it’s not really spring yet, even in south Texas.

FACACFC7-A07B-482E-99BA-EF141736E2DB.jpeg AFC0F724-30D2-411D-B5B5-C6ACCC2EB428.jpeg
 
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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
This keeps up we're going to have bud break any time now...
P_20190110_124622(1).jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,166
South Puget Sound, WA
daffodils.jpg
Here's where we're at. Every year for the past 4 yrs. these have been opening up a week or two earlier then the prior year. At this rate we'll be celebrating Christmas with daffodils in less than a decade.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
View attachment 237988
Here's where we're at. Every year for the past 4 yrs. these have been opening up a week or two earlier then the prior year. At this rate we'll be celebrating Christmas with daffodils in less than a decade.
Wow, that's crazy. We had another 10 degree C day today.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
Installed 1000' of deer fencing this week...hope this keeps them out of the garden!
P_20190112_161319.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,166
South Puget Sound, WA

DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
Well, I did it. I started pepper and tomato seeds in January.

Last year I had read a seed-starting date of January 24th for this strange land of Texas in which I now find myself. I didn’t really believe it. I decided I’d aim for mid-February, and then I never got to it because of one of my children needing to be hospitalized at that time (asthma flare due to a mystery virus—all fine now). By the time things settled down, and I got seeds started, the plants weren’t mature enough to set a lot of fruit before the brutal heat came in (reportedly it was earlier and drier than usual last year).

Last year winter was cold. This year I’m not sure we’ve had winter, though there were a couple hard freezes in November. The cherry and peach are in full bloom, and even an apple is starting. It does feel more like time to think about gardening.

I still wonder if it isn’t too early, but I decided I’d go for it. My six year old (the one in the hospital last year) helped me drop in the seeds and record what was in each spot and get our area all fixed up in the school room (out of reach of the toddler). We’re trying three varieties of tomato said to do well in these parts (Celebrity, Juliet, and Sweet Million) and just small sweet peppers.

My husband and I also plan to move our deer enclosure that protects the garden to a different spot on the property where there will be a little less sun (who’s ever heard of needing less sun for the garden?). We’ve been trimming way-overgrown trees back from utility lines and still have one large cedar to drop before we can begin that move. Thankfully we still have weeks before our final frost date to work on that. Meanwhile my kids and I will watch for the first shoots from the newly planted seeds.

On a different note, I was really quite excited when I opened up the newly started compost bin today (we use a two tumbler system), and it was steaming in the crisp morning air. This one will keep receiving food scraps and leaves this spring while the other one keeps cooking. It’s doing well, but I think it got a few too many live oak leaves at the end, so my husband has arranged to get coffee grounds from a Starbucks in his building for me. (We don’t brew coffee at home, and we already get some grounds each week from church, but we really can use more. I’m thrilled.)
 
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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
We could almost direct seed everything here, it's been that warm. This from today...
P_20190131_130420.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,166
South Puget Sound, WA
Keep them indoors. Cold front coming thru on Sunday/Monday.
 

DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
We could almost direct seed everything here, it's been that warm. This from today...
View attachment 239771
Whenever you post those pictures, I’m surprised at how similar our temperatures are. I could have posted almost the exact same thing on Thursday. We’ve been heading up, however, while it seems that you have some cold coming in.

Even with all this warmth, I wouldn’t consider trying to sow pepper seeds directly at this point. (I assume you were using hyperbole.) I keep debating getting out my seedling heat mat for them because the room they’re in doesn’t actually have heat, though it’s wide open to a heated part of the house. I haven’t done it yet because the temperatures aren’t low, and it’s okay with me if things germinate slowly.

@AlbergSteve, do you Canadians use the USDA hardiness zones commonly or a different measure? I’ve read some about it on a government site, but I wasn’t clear in the end how Canadians speak of their zones. We’re in USDA 8b down here. @begreen, are you the same?

I cleaned up one of our indoor scrap containers (a 10-quart stock pot, I think) a couple days ago, and my husband took it to the Starbucks in his building yesterday. He brought it home full of coffee grounds, and he brought another large bag as well. It totaled almost thirty pounds. This morning I get to play with those if the rain holds off. Fun!
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
Whenever you post those pictures, I’m surprised at how similar our temperatures are. I could have posted almost the exact same thing on Thursday. We’ve been heading up, however, while it seems that you have some cold coming in.

Even with all this warmth, I wouldn’t consider trying to sow pepper seeds directly at this point. (I assume you were using hyperbole.) I keep debating getting out my seedling heat mat for them because the room they’re in doesn’t actually have heat, though it’s wide open to a heated part of the house. I haven’t done it yet because the temperatures aren’t low, and it’s okay with me if things germinate slowly.

@AlbergSteve, do you Canadians use the USDA hardiness zones commonly or a different measure? I’ve read some about it on a government site, but I wasn’t clear in the end how Canadians speak of their zones. We’re in USDA 8b down here. @begreen, are you the same?

I cleaned up one of our indoor scrap containers (a 10-quart stock pot, I think) a couple days ago, and my husband took it to the Starbucks in his building yesterday. He brought it home full of coffee grounds, and he brought another large bag as well. It totaled almost thirty pounds. This morning I get to play with those if the rain holds off. Fun!
Yes, just kidding! Most of our seedlings will be purchased from local farmers this year. At our last place we had a great greenhouse where we started everything. We're so busy trying to get the property dear fenced and orchard planted I didn't have time to build a green house. My wife is is the "head gardener" around here - she's the one with the permaculture certificate( and a handful of English degrees) and calls most of the shots, and I'm the "infrastructure and physical implementation and installation" guy - I just build the barns fences, and greenhouses and dig holes for plants!

We are zone 8b here and unfortunately we're having much drier summers than in the past so water is becoming an issue.

Mmmm...coffee grounds! Whenever we're returning from Vancouver on the ferry, I make a trip to the coffee shop in the terminal for free bags of grounds.

Here's a link to the garden at our last place - grew some amazing stuff there in a small space.

 

walhondingnashua

Burning Hunk
Jul 23, 2016
193
ohio
ED 3000- you stated that you do not have much level ground. I have some level ground but its all clay. My best soil is on about a 30 degree grade. What do you do, or anyone else or that matter, do to garden on ground that is far from level?
I am building a stone terrace for one, but its a hell of a lot of work just for a small gardening plot. I have fruit trees planted and have started a blueberry patch but I would like more ideas if anyone has them.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,490
SEPA
ED 3000- you stated that you do not have much level ground. I have some level ground but its all clay. My best soil is on about a 30 degree grade. What do you do, or anyone else or that matter, do to garden on ground that is far from level?
I am building a stone terrace for one, but its a hell of a lot of work just for a small gardening plot. I have fruit trees planted and have started a blueberry patch but I would like more ideas if anyone has them.
I did terracing, 4' wide on the most level spot in the yard, using timbers I cut from my woodlot, and salvaged lumber. The wood is about 5 years old and mostly rotted, but about 80% is still holding together enough.

Once it's rotted away, I'll replace it with stones. It was a lot of work with the timbers, and will be even more moving the stones. Hopefully I can stagger it out over several years. It's about 70' x 70'.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
Yes, just kidding! Most of our seedlings will be purchased from local farmers this year. At our last place we had a great greenhouse where we started everything. We're so busy trying to get the property dear fenced and orchard planted I didn't have time to build a green house. My wife is is the "head gardener" around here - she's the one with the permaculture certificate( and a handful of English degrees) and calls most of the shots, and I'm the "infrastructure and physical implementation and installation" guy - I just build the barns fences, and greenhouses and dig holes for plants!

We are zone 8b here and unfortunately we're having much drier summers than in the past so water is becoming an issue.

Mmmm...coffee grounds! Whenever we're returning from Vancouver on the ferry, I make a trip to the coffee shop in the terminal for free bags of grounds.

Here's a link to the garden at our last place - grew some amazing stuff there in a small space.

Wow! That was an amazing garden!

I talked to my mother today when she was in front of her computer, and so I talked her through how to find your video. She watched it while we were on the phone. She's a very impressive gardener/farmer herself, but she was certainly impressed. Her big question was, Why did he move? I suggested that it may have been to get more space to be even more impressive.

I remember from an earlier thread that you're planting lots of apples. Have you considered having a few Satsumas? You could do it in 8b. We were really blown away by our tree this year. Unfortunately because we didn't thin the crop, not really knowing what to expect (or rather expecting the wildlife to obliterate it for us), we probably have encouraged the tree to continue a pattern of strong alternate bearing. Last January we had precisely one fruit. This year we had oodles to give away. I don't know if it will have the strength to flower this spring.

Our climate is very dry (historically at least--it was unusually rainy in September and October this year). Water is a big issue here. All summer we were on water restrictions; they've been relaxed this winter, but we're still only allowed to run a hose twice a week. We moved a couple small rain barrels from Virginia when we came but quickly realized that we needed something else to capture the torrential downpours and to see us through weeks and months of dry weather. We bought one 500 gallon tank and two 250 gallon tanks and have managed to fill them several times (a little tricky considering that we don't actually have gutters on the house.) All spring and summer I was capturing condensation from the air conditioning units in watering cans and using those to keep plants alive.

My goal is to have a small garden this year, and I decided that I would focus (mostly) on growing the ingredients for tabbouleh (not including wheat). My children love it (they ask for it for their birthdays), and only recently has our family been able to enjoy it (due to one child's allergies/sensitivities). Most of our time outdoors is devoted to trying to reclaim some of the worthy plants on the property and to reduce some of the exotic and native invasives that cover the land. We've made some progress, but it's hard work.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
Satsumas might be a stretch, but we'd like to try them. Bob Duncan lives about 6 miles to the east of us on a 1/2 acre suburban lot and it is amazing what he's growing on his property! We've been there when he's had olives, grapefruit and oranges on the trees.

Here he is growing lemons and limes...at 2:02 you'll see an olive tree that reaches almost to the top of his house.

 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,166
South Puget Sound, WA
That's great and impressive! Wonder how they are doing today with the cold wave that just blew in? Unfortunately our property and house don't afford the shelter that he has rigged up. I hope our lemon tree and olive in the greenhouse make it.
 
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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
Why did he move? I suggested that it may have been to get more space to be even more impressive.
We wanted more space, went from 1/2 acre to 2 acres. Starting a small market garden/mini farm. Hoping to "retire" to the garden from my current part time job. Ordering the next batch of trees this week.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
607
Vancouver Island
That's great and impressive! Wonder how they are doing today with the cold wave that just blew in? Unfortunately our property and house don't afford the shelter that he has rigged up. I hope our lemon tree and olive in the greenhouse make it.
I think he's good to about -10C, but that's a rarity for us. The first week of February last year we averaged about +12C!
 

DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
Satsumas might be a stretch, but we'd like to try them. Bob Duncan lives about 6 miles to the east of us on a 1/2 acre suburban lot and it is amazing what he's growing on his property! We've been there when he's had olives, grapefruit and oranges on the trees.

Here he is growing lemons and limes...at 2:02 you'll see an olive tree that reaches almost to the top of his house.

Thanks for that link. The video was really interesting to me, especially hearing the part about the heat necessary for sweet citrus. I’ve focused much of my reading on citrus on Texas publications, and that has never been touched on since it’s not a concern for anybody down here. Our area historically has between 91 and 120 days a year over 86 degrees (30* C).

My mother has grown lemons and limes in pots in zone 7 for as long as I can remember. She has a lovely sun porch where the trees spend the winter. She used to have a small woodstove to heat some nights but took it out a few years ago when she had some problems with the roof. She has a space heater she can use, but mostly the thermal mass of the concrete floor keeps things warm enough unless it’s really extreme. She was really only on the fringes of this most recent polar vortex.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
421
Texas
That's great and impressive! Wonder how they are doing today with the cold wave that just blew in? Unfortunately our property and house don't afford the shelter that he has rigged up. I hope our lemon tree and olive in the greenhouse make it.
I’d love to see pictures of your trees if you have some handy. What do you do for heat in the greenhouse when you need it?

When my husband and I married, he had owned a lime tree for more than twenty years. (We used to refer to it as the child he brought to our marriage). It wasn’t very fruitful, but we enjoyed it. Every year when we harvested the limes we’d cook some special recipe like salmon with lime salsa and invite some friends to dinner. Our first apartment had a balcony with sliding glass doors that faced south. The tree loved it. When we moved to a rented townhouse, it didn’t have the best exposure inside during winter, so we bought a little pop up greenhouse and kept it outside wrapped up in Christmas lights. We continued the practice at the first home we bought. It made it through many freezes (even blizzards) with no apparent damage until our second child was born. My mother-in-law came to help (she flew in during a snowstorm) and during her visit managed to turn off the switch that powered the lights. By the time we discovered it, the damage had been done. It never recovered.

My husband was very glad to be able to plant a lime tree outdoors this fall. I’m not sure we still have working incandescent Christmas lights, but we did cover it a few nights in November with a very large cardboard box when the temperature dipped into the 20’s. It’s supposed to be in the 70’s with thunderstorms early this week but then drop sharply to near freezing at the end. We also get a lot of wind, so we may be bringing out the boxes again to protect the tiny new growth it’s putting out.

We don’t have any olive trees yet, but they are highest on our list for planting (we need to clear a whole grove of cedar, and we try not to clear too much at one before we can saw and chip the wood; we don’t want piles for fire and snake safety). We’ll also need to manage deer protection in that area.