2020 Garden Thread

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
I got a heatpad for starting plants. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
Garlic's doing great. Germination rate looks to be about 99.99 percent!
P_20200217_170505.jpg
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Nice. I'm a long way from planting anything. Snowing here right now and 21 outside. I hane my thick layer of horse and cattle poop on the garden though.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
555
Texas
Getting ready for spring. The daffodils, camelias and crocuses are already in bloom. I got started on pruning yesterday. Will do some more this week. The plums and peaches have fat buds on them already. I started lettuce, peas and spinach too.
View attachment 257175
We’ve had a really mild winter down here in Texas Hill Country. We had lots of freezing weather (for us) in the fall but warm temperatures in December and January. My daughter was climbing the cherry tree (that bloomed all winter) yesterday looking for fruit and found some. Last year we lost all our cherries and peaches to freezes in March. I’m hoping this year won’t be a repeat of that. The blueberries are also starting to bloom. They’re in pots, so they could be moved if a hard freeze threatened (I let them survive 31 degrees last week), but they’re pretty big pots, so it wouldn’t be easy.

We have about a dozen thin spears of asparagus poking up in the bed we planted. My three year old is especially excited, and thankfully he’s been very good about not stepping on the soil or touching the spears. He gets really close, though, and points to each one and counts all of them one by one. When he’s finished, he doesn’t want to go back inside. He wants to look at it all again. I’m afraid that the garlic and parsley no longer hold any charms for him with this new plant around.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
It grows wild here in the roadside ditches. No point in cultivating it, just drive down the road, stop and snap it off.

Be a while here before anything comes up. Probably mid April and by then I'll be getting equipment ready to farm.

Just got one of the tractors back from my dealer. Needed a bunch of upgrades, a valve adjustment and a front crank seal.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
Mostly finishing up pruning and now dormant spray + copper spray on the peaches to hold back peach leaf curl. Lots of yard work happening but not much in the garden beds yet.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Be about 45 days out from that here. Don't think yard work in the 20's is too good.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
We've been in the mid-50s during the day recently. Plums are just about ready to blossom.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
555
Texas
We were in the 40’s during the day for three days this week, but it warmed up to 60 today with some sun. I took the opportunity to transplant some lettuce into large containers. I had started the plants inside under lights using cotton balls as the starting medium, and more plants sprouted than I expected. It was really just an experiment, but the lettuce was doing so well, the plants needed to be transferred to soil. We put them in their containers but put the containers on a wheeled plant cart so that we can do a gradual hardening off process and move them inside easily.

We also direct sowed some beets and radishes today. I’ve found that I’m less successful with direct sowing in Texas, partially because it’s so easy for the top layer of soil to dry out quickly and partially because of critters. We’ll see how we do with these seeds. I just seeded some tomatoes and peppers indoors today (which could be considered late down here.)

Our asparagus continues to come along. I counted about thirty spears today as I was adding another layer of soil and watering the bed. I’ve heard that there are places where asparagus grows wild (*Stalking the Wild Asparagus* was on a bookshelf in our dining room growing up; my daughter now owns that copy), but I imagine that’s in more northerly climes. To my knowledge I’ve never seen any, even before I moved to Texas, but I have lots of memories of playing in the red-berried ferns in my mother’s garden in my younger years. We planted all-male hybrids for better productivity down here.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
Our seed starts for lettuce, spinach and peas are starting to sprout. Won't be long now.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
555
Texas
Some tomatoes have started peeking up today, including the one Black Krim seed that I found in the corner of an old seed packet from 2013. My daughter really wanted to try, so I said we would, and I was surprised to see it so lively. We’ll see if we can keep it going and growing long enough in the Texas heat to get a ripe tomato.

It’s a cold one tonight, though, possibly 25*. I covered the olives and helped move the blueberries into the garage. They’d been given some bigger pots last year, including some lovely terra cotta ones that neighbors gave us when the moved. Those made it extra hard to move the plants. I’m thinking of sewing a remay box to put over the entire 8x8x8 cube where they normally live. The plants are flowering now, which is why they need the extra protection, and I expect we might face the same situation in future years when the plants will be even bigger.

D9145B49-79EF-4AE3-9EA1-451E27EAB6C9.jpeg B258CE25-2CD6-4BF9-B9E2-93402FCA44B5.jpeg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
That's pretty nippy. Blueberries should be able to take 25º, at least when they are dormant. Ours have seen temps in the teens.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
I got a heatpad for starting plants. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
We don't have a greenhouse yet, so were trying lights and heating pads this year. Setup for 12 trays with 40 soil blocks per tray.
P_20200227_131641.jpg P_20200227_163718.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
555
Texas
That's pretty nippy. Blueberries should be able to take 25º, at least when they are dormant. Ours have seen temps in the teens.
I don’t have any worries about the bushes themselves, but I wanted to keep the blooms from damage. My understanding is that early-blooming rabbiteye blueberries often need some frost/ freeze protection, and we have a mixture of early- and mid-season varieties. We had some unusual cold in October and November, and my two bushes with the lowest chill hours must have met their quota pretty early. The forecast for the next two weeks looks warm, and then we’ll see.

The blueberries are spending one more (probably unnecessary) night in the garage, and then we’ll move them back to their cube. I’m definitely thinking of sewing a custom cover for future years as I don’t want to move them again.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,477
South Puget Sound, WA
I don’t have any worries about the bushes themselves, but I wanted to keep the blooms from damage. My understanding is that early-blooming rabbiteye blueberries often need some frost/ freeze protection, and we have a mixture of early- and mid-season varieties. We had some unusual cold in October and November, and my two bushes with the lowest chill hours must have met their quota pretty early. The forecast for the next two weeks looks warm, and then we’ll see.

The blueberries are spending one more (probably unnecessary) night in the garage, and then we’ll move them back to their cube. I’m definitely thinking of sewing a custom cover for future years as I don’t want to move them again.
That makes sense. You have to deal with different issues like high heat. Our blueberries stay outdoor all the time. I haven't heard of rabbiteye blueberries. Had to look that one up. It sounds like a good one for the south. All of the varieties suggested for Texas are unfamiliar to me. How do they taste?
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
I’d love to hear details of some of what you’re growing. It looks like leeks or onions in the photos.
I'll have to ask the head gardener...
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Ordered up my spuds for this season. I'll get my cabbage starts locally. Have Ambrosia seed corn in the deep freeze from last year. Germ rate should still be fine.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
555
Texas
That makes sense. You have to deal with different issues like high heat. Our blueberries stay outdoor all the time. I haven't heard of rabbiteye blueberries. Had to look that one up. It sounds like a good one for the south. All of the varieties suggested for Texas are unfamiliar to me. How do they taste?
I had never heard of them either before moving here, but I was excited to learn that I could grow any variety blueberries this far south. Heat, caliche, and water are big issues here. Our average pH of the “soil” (and we have very little soil due to the previous owner’s allowing overgrazing) is 8.3, and our tap water is 250 ppm of calcium. Thus our blueberries are in big pots with peat and compost, and I use rain water and air conditioning condensate to water them. I’ve been pleased with their growth, and the little harvest we had last year produced some lovely berries with size and flavor similar to the Duke, Blue Crop, and Patriot bushes we used to grow before we moved way down here.

My husband and I laugh about how we seem to have to protect plants from cold much more often now that we live in what we call “the land of very little winter”. Part of it is that plants don’t always go dormant here or break dormancy earlier when there’s still a good chance of freeze. (We definitely lost some peaches that were set during the most recent cold snap), part of it is that we’re establishing some plants (citrus and olives) where we’re right on the border of hardiness at times. We decided we’d invest the time and energy needed to protect the plants in their early years in the hopes that they’d be hardier by the time they’re big enough to make it too hard.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
I’d love to hear details of some of what you’re growing. It looks like leeks or onions in the photos.
Onions, artichoke, and cardoon to start. More seed starting this weekend.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
At least with us, we only grow what we eat and what we can or freeze for the winter. Nothing fancy. Sweet corn we strip from the cobs and freeze (the cobs go in the cattle feed), Cabbage for sauerkraut, onions and potatoes for the root cellar as well as carrots and beets for canning. For meat, we rarely buy from the grocery except chicken. We have a working farm so I have cattle on the property and I slaughter as needed and everything gets used. What we don't consume gets ground up and mixed with the dog food plus I hunt so we always have wild game in the deep freezers as well. I usually have Elk and deer in there and we fish so we filet and freeze fish as well.

I have wild rasberries growing on the fence line, we pick those and my wife makes jelly and jam from them. Nothing beats canned beets, sauerkraut, frozen corn, steamed carrots or spaghetti with sauce made from the garden vegetables, we grown green beans and tomatoes and green bell peppers but not every year, just as the root cellar gets depleted.

This year is a cabbage year and probably cauliflower too. We make our own kraut and ferment it in crocks and add apples from the apple trees on the property and we also make our own apple cider and freeze that too. Last fall I ran 30 gallons of cider and gave gallons of frozen cider for Christmas presents, everyone thinks my cider is fantastic, so do I. Have to consume it in moderation however. Unlike store bought 'pasteruized;' cider, mine is an instant laxitave if you get stupid with it....

I farm but I'm not a row crop farmer, I'm a commercial forage (hay) grower. I only run large round bales and I have one customer who buys everything I make and has for years. Nice income for me. Nice supplement to retirement. keeps me out of my wife' hair'...lol
 
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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
Might be slightly off topic, but the chickens are a big part of our farm garden. I've finished building a cabinet incubator to hatch chicks. We are starting to breed Delawares and there aren't many people in the PNW doing this breed. We have found a breeder near Port Townsend and she's excited to exchange hatching eggs which will help both of us to deepen the gene pool of our respective flocks.

A old 50 bottle wine fridge for the cabinet...
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A few parts from Incubator Warehouse-heaters, fans, PID controller, humidity injection...
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Everything installed and wired...
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Stores locally want $100 for one cheap plastic egg turning tray - I made three for about $80.
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Temperature controller with backup data logger...
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And the finished unit.
P_20200303_215850.jpg P_20200303_215615.jpg

Currently set up to hatch about 90 eggs and could easily expand to 180. Hoping to have about 60 eggs to go in on the weekend.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,326
Schenectady, NY
Got notice yesterday my seeds have shipped! Hopefully I can get them started this week.