2020 Garden Thread

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
First tomato almost ready to pick in the greenhouse. There are small green tomatoes outside. We've started getting a steady stream of cukes and zukes in spite of a cool start to summer. Early blueberries are turning blue too.

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That looks like a good size for Early Girl, Begreen, and such a lovely shade of red.

Our cucumbers have some healthy new growth at the tops and are setting some good fruit, but I think it’s only a matter of time before the powdery mildew does them in, especially now that the high heat is adding additional stress. The past two days have been 96, today 98, all with bright sun. It makes me wilt.

We had zucchini in our dinner tonight, and now the children think we need to grow that, too. I’ve got about a month before planting time, so I can consider it.

One of our blueberry bushes may be a goner. Part of it had died earlier this year, and I pruned it away. The rest had been looking pretty good, but I had noticed some reddening at the base of some leaves recently. All of a sudden tonight it looked wilted after the sun was off of it. (It seemed fine during the afternoon.) When the other part of the plant died, it was likewise very sudden, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find this one gone by morning. I admit that I’m pretty sad about it. I hope it’s nothing that will spread to my other varieties.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,125
South Puget Sound, WA
Hot dry soil can kill a blueberry bush. Is the area around the bushes heavily mulched? Blueberries like cooler feet, even a bit damp. They grow well even in boggy areas.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
Hot dry soil can kill a blueberry bush. Is the area around the bushes heavily mulched? Blueberries like cooler feet, even a bit damp. They grow well even in boggy areas.
Thanks, Begreen. The pots themselves are mulched with wood mulch and cottonseed meal, and the area in which the pots stand was thickly mulched with shredded leaves last year. It could use some wood mulch added to it. Each pot has its own dedicated “olla,” but I’m wondering if I perhaps overwatered the plant. It’s in a plastic pot, and it may be that the drainage holes have become clogged. I had noticed that its olla hadn’t been using water at the same rate as its neighbors, and I attributed it to smaller size, but I think it might have been becoming waterlogged. I had done some extra surface watering because of the intense heat. I haven’t removed it from the pot yet, but I’ll be interested to see what I find. Thankfully all the other blueberries seem to be doing well (or as well as anything can do in July during a heat wave) and are even still putting on new growth. We actually have them on the north side of our house to provide them a bit more shelter, but even that shelter is pretty limited with the sun so high at this time of year.

I planted out sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers on Monday night since Tuesday was forecast to be a bit cloudy and the coolest day of the week. It turned out to be sunny with a high of 96 or so, but thankfully the transplants all did well, and I didn’t even need to deploy the shade cloth that I had kept available for them. I still may use it because the heat is supposed to keep climbing this week, and there’s no rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

I started a few more pickling cucumbers inside today. The variety of picklers that I have now gets bitter in the heat, and I had to compost a few from a recent harvest tonight because they were absolutely inedible. I think I’ll end up pulling up those vines. The slicers are still producing sweet cucumbers, so I’ll hope to get a little more from them before the end. I’ll post a picture of yesterday’s harvest that provided some ingredients for a yummy gazpacho. (The green tomatoes are a green variety, so they are ripe.)

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Ants have decided to start farming aphids on my pimiento plants. I think I’ll spray some neem tomorrow and sprinkle some DE on the mulch. One plant has lovely pimientos on it, and I don’t want to lose it.

All the tomato suckers that I rooted in June are showing baby fruit. I even had to prune some branches of the Black Krim variety, and of course I’m rooting them in water, too. If they take, that will be six plants from that one little seed we found this spring.
 
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Since moving out in the country at a much higher elevation and cooler weather, it has definitely been a different gardening year for me. Where I lived before, I could start planting some varieties of colder weather veggies like the lettuces, peas & cabbage in mid to late March and would generally plant out other things in mid April. I ended up waiting until May 22 to plant anything out due to some unseasonable late frosts and cool soil temperatures. Once I got my stuff planted, we have had several floods where we had prolonged periods of steady to heavy rains for 4-5 days. Even though the moisture was good, some stuff did not come up and had to be replanted. Don't know whether it was too much moisture or planting "in the wrong sign" as the old timers say, but I have to plant when I actually have time.

Fast forward to today and now we have been nearly two weeks without any rain! I have been watering regularly, so no big deal there. I usually have tons of tomatoes coming in, but it looks like it will be later in the month before I get any. To me, there is nothing like tasting that first home grown tomato after eating cardboard tomatoes for the past 8-9 months. I have been harvesting broccoli, romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, collards, cucumbers and some squash. I canned 6 quarts of bread and butter pickles on Monday and have been giving family pounds and pounds of cucumbers. I looks like I will have some green beans ready this weekend. Wish I had a couple of good homegrown tomatoes to eat with them!

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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
That garden looks great, @Country Living in VA . I‘m a Virginia native and do miss it. I’m having to relearn all my gardening in this new climate.

It has been excessively hot and dry down here, but my garden is still alive, so that’s a victory. The plants aren’t producing much, just sort of hunkering down and surviving. (Mostly surviving, that is. I did lose my smallest okra plant and a recent tomato transplant before I hauled out all the stops and tried to shade just about everything.)

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We had already used all of our shade cloth prior to this weekend, but Saturday I pulled out all the frost cloth as well. It catches the wind and acts like a sail at times, so I keep having to reclip, but it has definitely helped. Where there are gaps or a piece tears out of the fastener, the plants wilt down in the sun pretty drastically. Keeping them more shaded has definitely helped get them through the 100+ afternoons we’ve been having for several days. Thankfully it looks like it might cool off gradually down to the lower 90’s by the end of the week. What we really need is rain.

We have plans to get more shade cloth in the future. This was just the best we could do for this heat wave.
 
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That garden looks great, @Country Living in VA . I‘m a Virginia native and do miss it. I’m having to relearn all my gardening in this new climate.

It has been excessively hot and dry down here, but my garden is still alive, so that’s a victory. The plants aren’t producing much, just sort of hunkering down and surviving. (Mostly surviving, that is. I did lose my smallest okra plant and a recent tomato transplant before I hauled out all the stops and tried to shade just about everything.)

View attachment 261582

We had already used all of our shade cloth prior to this weekend, but Saturday I pulled out all the frost cloth as well. It catches the wind and acts like a sail at times, so I keep having to reclip, but it has definitely helped. Where there are gaps or a piece tears out of the fastener, the plants wilt down in the sun pretty drastically. Keeping them more shaded has definitely helped get them through the 100+ afternoons we’ve been having for several days. Thankfully it looks like it might cool off gradually down to the lower 90’s by the end of the week. What we really need is rain.

We have plans to get more shade cloth in the future. This was just the best we could do for this heat wave.
I would think it is quite a drastic change in climate and the way you garden. The main advantage is that your growing season is so long and you can have vegetables at times where we only dream about fresh veggies. You have a very nice looking garden as well. My elevation is 2400' above sea level, so the temperatures have been very tolerable mostly in the mid 80's and a day or two here and there in the low 90's. Yesterday morning, when I left for work at 5:15 AM, it was 52 degrees and felt kind of cold in a way. It was 62 when I got to work which is about 40 miles from where I live. We had a brief shower during the night about two nights ago which was a nice relief, but yesterday everything was dried back out. Lets all do a rain dance and hopefully get some much needed rain.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,546
Downeast Maine
I would think it is quite a drastic change in climate and the way you garden. The main advantage is that your growing season is so long and you can have vegetables at times where we only dream about fresh veggies. You have a very nice looking garden as well. My elevation is 2400' above sea level, so the temperatures have been very tolerable mostly in the mid 80's and a day or two here and there in the low 90's. Yesterday morning, when I left for work at 5:15 AM, it was 52 degrees and felt kind of cold in a way. It was 62 when I got to work which is about 40 miles from where I live. We had a brief shower during the night about two nights ago which was a nice relief, but yesterday everything was dried back out. Lets all do a rain dance and hopefully get some much needed rain.
You must be close to where I was born. At one time my grandmother had a nice farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.
 
I live in the heart of the BRM about 20 minutes north of Blacksburg
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,546
Downeast Maine
I live in the heart of the BRM about 20 minutes north of Blacksburg
My grandmother's farm was in Botetourt County, so not too far north, I do miss it sometimes. For several years I lived on the other side in Bluefield WV. I wish growing here in Maine were as easy as the south side of the BRM!
 
My grandmother's farm was in Botetourt County, so not too far north, I do miss it sometimes. For several years I lived on the other side in Bluefield WV. I wish growing here in Maine were as easy as the south side of the BRM!
I actually lived in Fincastle (Botetourt Co.) for about 10 years in the 1980's - 1990's. I lived on site at Camp Fincastle where I managed the facility. I recently moved to Craig County from Roanoke County and believe it or not, growing is totally different even though it is only about 40 miles different. We had a frost on May 17 and I couldn't plant out until about May 20. In Roanoke county, I generally planted out a month earlier.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,546
Downeast Maine
I actually lived in Fincastle (Botetourt Co.) for about 10 years in the 1980's - 1990's. I lived on site at Camp Fincastle where I managed the facility. I recently moved to Craig County from Roanoke County and believe it or not, growing is totally different even though it is only about 40 miles different. We had a frost on May 17 and I couldn't plant out until about May 20. In Roanoke county, I generally planted out a month earlier.
The farm was out in the county, but I think it had a Fincastle address. We lived on the farm for a few years when I was a baby, but just visits after that, so about the same time period even. It's a small world. My grandmother went to Mill Creek Baptist church for some 50+ years I believe.
 
The farm was out in the county, but I think it had a Fincastle address. We lived on the farm for a few years when I was a baby, but just visits after that, so about the same time period even. It's a small world. My grandmother went to Mill Creek Baptist church for some 50+ years I believe.
Botetourt County has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years, some parts you would not even recognize. The further north you go towards Covington, the less the change. The area around Lord Botetourt High school has really developed with industry & and there is a really nice golf course & high end housing just past the high school. The property values and taxes have really increased dramatically as of late and I would bet that growth continues as the taxes in the Roanoke area have really gotten high and for other social reasons as well. I have been to several church sales at Mill Creek Baptist church, but never attended a service there. The folks I met (and knew who went to church there) were real down to earth good people and typical of what you would expect from a country Baptist church.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
@SpaceBus and @Country Living in VA , may I just say that I actually know how to pronounce “Botetourt” from my days of being in 4-H? I feel that that is something of an accomplishment.

The heat has at least been good for something. I had my first okra flower today. 4C2785F3-07F8-4900-8088-53C2F64424BF.jpeg

I planted this back in May, and it has grown at a snail’s pace. It’s really all still less than a foot tall, but it looks healthy, so I’m just waiting. I do hope it manages to give me a harvest, or I’ll be pretty disappointed. Our corn grew, but the ears are being eaten by fire ants, I think.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,125
South Puget Sound, WA
Corn is tassling and no fire ants thank goodness. Onions and garlic just harvested and the tomatoes + cukes are starting to deliver regularly.
IMG_0889.jpg IMG_0890.jpg IMG_0891.jpg
 
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@SpaceBus and @Country Living in VA , may I just say that I actually know how to pronounce “Botetourt” from my days of being in 4-H? I feel that that is something of an accomplishment.

The heat has at least been good for something. I had my first okra flower today. View attachment 261600

I planted this back in May, and it has grown at a snail’s pace. It’s really all still less than a foot tall, but it looks healthy, so I’m just waiting. I do hope it manages to give me a harvest, or I’ll be pretty disappointed. Our corn grew, but the ears are being eaten by fire ants, I think.
Good on the Botetourt pronunciation, but just down the road from the Mill Creek Baptist church is a town called Buchanan. How do you pronounce the name? Is it Bew-cannon or Buck-cannon?
 
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Corn is tassling and no fire ants thank goodness. Onions and garlic just harvested and the tomatoes + cukes are starting to deliver regularly.
View attachment 261621 View attachment 261622 View attachment 261623
Nice. I see you allow your tomatoes to ripen on the vine. I have had such a problem with varmits messing up my tomatoes that I have generally been picking them when they blush or are turning red, pink or yellow. We don't have fire ants to deal with around here, but I am sure the raccoons are watching closely for the corn to come in.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,125
South Puget Sound, WA
Lots of unusual names around the country. Many are bastardizations of Indian tribal names. Want to try and pronounce Puyallup?
 
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Lots of unusual names around the country. Many are bastardizations of Indian tribal names. Want to try and pronounce Puyallup?
I would pronounce it Pue Yal up but a quick google search shows it pronounced pew-AWL-up, so I wasn't to far off. How to the locals typically pronounce it?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,125
South Puget Sound, WA
I would pronounce it Pue Yal up but a quick google search shows it pronounced pew-AWL-up, so I wasn't to far off. How to the locals typically pronounce it?
Most say Pew-WAH-lop.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
Corn is tassling and no fire ants thank goodness. Onions and garlic just harvested and the tomatoes + cukes are starting to deliver regularly.
View attachment 261621 View attachment 261622 View attachment 261623
What varieties of onions do you grow? Do you manage to store them through the winter?

Your tomatoes look amazing, Begreen. I wish I could leave mine on the vines till ripe, but I’ve learned that when I think, “I’ll just give that one more day,” I come out the next day and find that a critter has taken or damaged it. It was especially disheartening when a large Black Krim that my seven year old had been cherishing completely vanished. I think the photo is your greenhouse tomato, though, so it’s protected. Are you able to ripen your outdoor crop as fully?

Some red wasps have been building a nest in our shed eaves, and I’m afraid that they’ve taken to attacking me when I walk to the garden (passing through a gate that borders the shed). Yesterday one divebombed my head and stung me. I tried to be charitable and assume that it got briefly tangled in my hair and felt threatened. Today, however, after I left the area through the gate and was headed back to the house, one flew right to my arm and stung me. Thankfully I’m not allergic but am what doctors call “sensitive,” so the stings make me somewhat sick. I think the nest will have to go since the spot where I got stung is also where my four year old rides his tricycle while I’m in the garden.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
657
Texas
Good on the Botetourt pronunciation, but just down the road from the Mill Creek Baptist church is a town called Buchanan. How do you pronounce the name? Is it Bew-cannon or Buck-cannon?
I think I’ve heard of a Buh CAN nun, Virginia, but that was just a gut reaction to your question and not any actual knowledge. I know more of the central and northern parts of the state. I think I only remembered Boutetourt because of competing against their FFA groups at the state fair in Jr. Stockman’s and Jr. Dairyman’s contests. It was just fun for me to see you and Spacebus interacting about it and having it trigger a memory from my childhood.
 
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I think I’ve heard of a Buh CAN nun, Virginia, but that was just a gut reaction to your question and not any actual knowledge. I know more of the central and northern parts of the state. I think I only remembered Boutetourt because of competing against their FFA groups at the state fair in Jr. Stockman’s and Jr. Dairyman’s contests. It was just fun for me to see you and Spacebus interacting about it and having it trigger a memory from my childhood.
It seems like its a small world sometimes. FYI, all the locals pronounce it Buck anon. It is a small town that time forgot. The James River flows just outside the town and is a popular spot for fishing and tubing.
 
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What varieties of onions do you grow? Do you manage to store them through the winter?

Your tomatoes look amazing, Begreen. I wish I could leave mine on the vines till ripe, but I’ve learned that when I think, “I’ll just give that one more day,” I come out the next day and find that a critter has taken or damaged it. It was especially disheartening when a large Black Krim that my seven year old had been cherishing completely vanished. I think the photo is your greenhouse tomato, though, so it’s protected. Are you able to ripen your outdoor crop as fully?

Some red wasps have been building a nest in our shed eaves, and I’m afraid that they’ve taken to attacking me when I walk to the garden (passing through a gate that borders the shed). Yesterday one divebombed my head and stung me. I tried to be charitable and assume that it got briefly tangled in my hair and felt threatened. Today, however, after I left the area through the gate and was headed back to the house, one flew right to my arm and stung me. Thankfully I’m not allergic but am what doctors call “sensitive,” so the stings make me somewhat sick. I think the nest will have to go since the spot where I got stung is also where my four year old rides his tricycle while I’m in the garden.
A few years ago, I had gotten some special heirloom tomato seeds that were just recently discovered from a family who was selling them at a farmers market in Georgia. I had my garden fenced in to keep as many of the varmit's out as possible, but the groundhogs always had a way to get in by pushing their way under the fence or digging their way in. The tomato seeds I planted grew well and were among the most healthy looking tomato plants in my garden. It was a very large beefsteak type of tomato and was late in the season before producing tomatoes. I finally noticed one blushing and knew it wouldn't be long. I made the mistake of leaving it out one day too long and I looked out the window of my kitchen and there was that darn groundhog looking straight at me at the edge of the garden actually standing up on his back legs with that rather large tomato in his two hands eating my tomato (his tomato at this point). The way he was looking up at me in the window was almost as if he was taunting me and we were about to go to war. It made me pretty angry to say the least, but ultimately I got over it. That particular area I lived in at the time was a suburban neighborhood and most of the groundhogs holes were on other properties and I could not shoot them as it was in a residential area. I always just planted enough knowing that the varmits would get their share.

DuaeGuttae, like you, I try to leave the bees alone as much as possible, but there are definitely times when it is a necessary thing to kill off a nest and you are doing the right thing, especially after being stung twice.
 
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My red cone flowers Amazing Grey Poppies are finally blooming.
 
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