2020 Garden Thread

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
My three year old and I potted up a dozen cucumbers today. They spent a few hours outside to start hardening, but I kept them out of the sun. It got to the mid eighties today and is supposed to be similar the next three days. The outside plants seem to enjoy it. The seedlings looked happy, too, but I know I often underestimate the Texas sun in the spring so thought I’d better not push them.

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Walking back to check on the mandarin orange was an absolute delight this afternoon. Even before I heard the buzzing surrounding the tree, I could smell the fragrance of the flowers. Closer in, it was like standing next to a beehive, except it was numerous species rather than just one. I saw honeybees, bumblebees, sweat bees, and others I can’t really name. There were also so many butterflies: numerous monarchs and red admirals, a couple tiger swallowtails, and one black swallowtail. It was a pollinators’ paradise.

My husband and I measured the tree earlier this spring. It has about an eighteen foot diameter, and it’s covered with blooms. I really can’t capture a good shot of it, but here’s an idea.
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
Not certain. We planted asparagus seeds last year...the grew into little spears popping up this year. We have a friend with a huge greenhouse that wants to give us more stuff.

So how do we grow blue agave plants?
Is your greenhouse friend trying to give you a blue agave, or you just want to start one?

People grow lots of agave in our area, but I think it’s a native Texas variety that can survive zone 8. We have a few “pups” in our backyard. I assume there was once a large plant that flowered and died and left these behind. I’ve never done anything but tried to avoid stepping on them. The wisdom is that agave grows best with neglect, little cold, and little water. If you really wanted to grow the tequila species in your zone, I think it would do best on the south side of you house with ample winter protection (keeping it in a pot with casters and moving it indoors or thinking about a pop-up greenhouse with lighting for heat in the winter. You’d also want to be careful that the soil was not too heavy for it. They don’t like to stand in water.

Thirty-three blueberry plants and fifty gallons of berries. Wow! With all the hunting and fishing you do, I’m beginning to think you must have multiple freezers. Do you have any pictures of those plants?
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Is your greenhouse friend trying to give you a blue agave, or you just want to start one?

People grow lots of agave in our area, but I think it’s a native Texas variety that can survive zone 8. We have a few “pups” in our backyard. I assume there was once a large plant that flowered and died and left these behind. I’ve never done anything but tried to avoid stepping on them. The wisdom is that agave grows best with neglect, little cold, and little water. If you really wanted to grow the tequila species in your zone, I think it would do best on the south side of you house with ample winter protection (keeping it in a pot with casters and moving it indoors or thinking about a pop-up greenhouse with lighting for heat in the winter. You’d also want to be careful that the soil was not too heavy for it. They don’t like to stand in water.

Thirty-three blueberry plants and fifty gallons of berries. Wow! With all the hunting and fishing you do, I’m beginning to think you must have multiple freezers. Do you have any pictures of those plants?
I have 3 freezers. 2 are very large chest freezers. The blueberries, halibut, elk take up most of the space. As for the agave, it was a side note to reflect my proclivity for collecting tequilas and bourbons.

I'll post a picture once the blueberries have foliage...they are all budding right now.

My friend's greenhouse has dozens of different veggies and I'll be accepting his offer once the weather stabilizes here.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,645
South Puget Sound, WA
We are getting innovative and preparing for possible shortages. So far the crop looks promising, though I am concerned about rain setting them back. Do you think I should tent with remay fabric?

charmin farmin.jpg
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Always wondered how they grew TP.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
We are getting innovative and preparing for possible shortages. So far the crop looks promising, though I am concerned about rain setting them back. Do you think I should tent with remay fabric?

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I really think that the spacing is a little too close there; you’re going to end up with a spindly crop. There’s also too much competition from weeds. Tenting with remay is probably wise but only after a little more attention to the soil conditions. Thanks for the laugh, Begreen. Can you send me some seeds? I’ll need a crop in three weeks.

On a real gardening note, I left my cucumbers in the wrong spot today, and they got too much sun for a bit. I noticed them wilting and put them back inside. They perked up immediately and don’t seem worse for wear. Phew. I’ll have to remember to put them on the table under the tree tomorrow, not the one that gets the noonday sun. I think I’ll need to move my lettuce containers to more shade, too.

I’m already ready for the heat to move on its way. I think it took out one of my cauliflower plants today and a pepper that never had really taken off after I transplanted it. I had damaged the roots by accident, and I was pleased that it had hung in there for a couple of weeks, but 87 degrees and bright sun all afternoon was too much for it. I think I got too much on the back of my neck today, too. Time to pull out my wide-brimmed hat.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,645
South Puget Sound, WA
I really think that the spacing is a little too close there; you’re going to end up with a spindly crop. There’s also too much competition from weeds. Tenting with remay is probably wise but only after a little more attention to the soil conditions. Thanks for the laugh, Begreen. Can you send me some seeds? I’ll need a crop in three weeks.
Do you want the seeds pre-fertilized or will you do that yourself?
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Finished trimming the peach tree. I got the kid to earn her keep a little cleaning the branches while I tackled the garden that got away from me last year. It's going to take some sweat to get it back in shape.

A nice surprise is some garlic I planted 2 years ago is coming up. Some Egyptian onions are coming up too. It looks like a good deal succumbed to allelopathy, but some survived.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
@begreen , like us you probably ordered or bought ahead of time all the seeds you'd need for the spring. Our local garden shops and every other shop in between has been cleaned out. Shops that do have seed stock are limiting to 10 packs.
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Amaranth and lime beans left...

We decided to advertise chicks and hatching eggs for sale this year, the demand is overwhelming - inbox full of emails of people looking for poultry of every description.
One exchange:
Her: I'd like chicks/pullets/hens/layers.
Me: Everything is sold.
Her: I'll take what ever you have.
Me: I have a few five year old hens and rooster, for free, you'll get an egg or two a week
Her: When can I pick them up.

 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,645
South Puget Sound, WA
I got the seeds we need, but I also buy started plants for those items we only grow a few of. These are grown by local nurseries. I like supporting their businesses. This is going to be doubly important if local farmer's markets remain shut down.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
I buy started broccoli.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
My cucumbers had a big day yesterday in that they made it through an afternoon of Texas sun. They had an even bigger night in that I forgot about them when I had planned to bring them in since it was dropping to the 40s. Oh well.

Since they held their own so well, I decided to get them in the garden today. Our neighbors had recently amended their garden beds with some aged manure compost they had delivered. They ended up with lots left over and kindly let us have it. It took some work with shovels, buckets, and a big wheelbarrow, but we added compost to the beds that hadn’t been planted, filled up the asparagus bed a bit more, and top dressed all the other beds. Additionally we have extra compost stored in a large bag in our garage. I noticed this afternoon that my three year old’s skin is getting a bit darker, his hair a bit lighter. He spends the most time with me in the garden.

We’re supposed to have cooler weather (during the days) with a possibility of storms for the next four days. I’d be glad for the rain. I hope there’s no hail.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
I never worried a out 40 as a low temp. I guess it's all perspective. We have such a short growing season I try to get tomatoes in the ground when nights are still 40. I toss a flipped over clear bin over them when I worry about a frost. It's like a mini greenhouse.

It's kind of like farming on the us/ canada border. On the us side, nobody wants to farm as it is too cold. Flip across the border and it's the most southern land they've got!
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
2 year Asparagus starts shipping today! It snowed here this morning. About to plant seeds this weekend. 2 weeks from now, should be no lows below 45.....finger crossed.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Plant the seeds! Itll take a few days for them to sprout. If it gets too cold, lay a sheet over them!
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Thanks! Usually about 1-2 weeks to sprout...
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
I never worried a out 40 as a low temp. I guess it's all perspective. We have such a short growing season I try to get tomatoes in the ground when nights are still 40. I toss a flipped over clear bin over them when I worry about a frost. It's like a mini greenhouse.

It's kind of like farming on the us/ canada border. On the us side, nobody wants to farm as it is too cold. Flip across the border and it's the most southern land they've got!
The bigger worry down here is definitely high temperatures. I didn’t realize that when I first moved here and tried planting a small garden. I had been expecting a nice long garden season, and it was pretty disappointing to learn that it was too hot for my tomatoes and cucumbers to pollinate. The heat means that instead of one long growing season, there are actually two short ones on either side of the hottest months. It means putting plants in as early as one can and then protecting them. That sounds like what you’re saying you have to do in your northern climate as well.

My temperatures in the 40s the other night weren’t even at the lower end, but it was the coldest my little seedlings had seen. I had been hardening them off for a while, but I had concentrated more on their acclimation to sun and wind. They’re looking great in the garden now, but they had a whole day of temperatures in the 60s and mist/light rain. Perfect.

I realized yesterday that I had completely forgotten to start sweet potato slips. I spent time in the morning gathering more compost from the neighbors’ leftovers (with permission) and saw where they had had sand dumped the previous summer for a project. That reminded me, and I got some sand as well. The plan is to harvest our garlic and shallots in May and plant sweet potatoes in that bed. I figure that’s a good crop for the Texas heat.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,645
South Puget Sound, WA
Lettuce starts are moving from 4" pots to outdoors today. All potatoes and onions are now in the ground. We have our annual strawberries (Shucksan) in the ground, but still waiting on the Tri-Stars. First asparagus are starting to poke out. Won't be long now.
 

Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
377
Helena MT
I do not grow lettuce, but I do grow spinach. However, I do not plant it or start it. I let my old spinach go to seed in the late summer and scatter volunteer seed. It comes up in the late fall and overwinters quite well for me here in central Montana at 5,000 ft. elevation. This is some of my volunteer spinach coming up. Of course it will have to be drastically thinned. I am eating spinach by the time some people are planting it. A friend of mine does the same with his leaf lettuce and it overwinters quite well also.

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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
We were starting to worry that we wouldn't find seed potatoes, every shop has been cleaned out of everything and most have closed. One last try yesterday at our local feed store and they just put out a couple hundred pounds of seed potatoes so I got 30 pounds. Satina, Jennifer, Norland, Warba, and Yukon Gold.
We still have potatoes in the ground from last year and thought we might have to dig them up and replant!
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,810
SW Virginia
I called the independent local nursery where we usually buy veggie plants and they said they wouldn't have tomatoes and other summer plants out until mid-May, our historical last frost date. I think they're missing the mark. Given climate change I've been planting summer plants a month or more early the last several years without a problem, just earlier, longer harvests. We haven't had freezing temps here in several weeks and none are forecast.
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
311
WI
Finally warm and dry enough to start working the garden. Did the first tilling today. Gotta plan out what we will grow. Should have seeds in the ground in a couple weeks.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Ugh. Snow expected tomorrow. Not sure how much. Broccoli might get beaten on a but, but should come back.

I dont think anything else has sprouted that was planted outside.

The aloe and rosemary was moved back inside.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
My seed potatoes and onions were held back again. They won't be shipped until the end of April. I cant see myself ordering from Gurnseys ever again.

The seed potatoes I kept from last year are already in the ground. I just wanted more Yukon Golds.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
West Coast Seeds has gone to working 24 hours a day to fill orders and delivery times are 30 to 45 days. They are seeing about ten times their normal demand.