2020 Garden Thread

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
I’ve been noticing a lot of companies have even stopped taking orders because they can’t fill them fast enough right now.

I had a bit of a shock this morning when I checked my garden. Something had eaten off a lot of beet greens and pulled up others out of the ground. Almost all my tomatoes had some part eaten, and one cucumber was just a stalk. There were what looked like paw prints in the asparagus and some damage there, but for the most part it looked okay. I go to my garden every morning to check on it, do whatever may be necessary, and just for a lift for my spirits. This morning was not so uplifting.

Our fencing is not completely secure, but it had seemed to be working. The eating pattern seemed that it could have been a deer, but the tracks looked like very large paw prints. It was kind of strange. My husband put mesh over the front gate where rabbits could have entered. If a deer is willing to jump into such a crowded space, I’m not sure we will be able to keep it out.


Here’s what the garden looked like this morning. It’s still growing, and a number of plants were undamaged.

59116511-76E1-4E96-80A8-3BCAC0147A3A.jpeg

Here’s a tomato that got partially eaten and the one cucumber that was damaged. Maybe the animal decided it didn’t prefer that flavor since eleven more seemed unharmed.
8574ABE1-12F0-40D4-89CF-9AEB52A3EAA4.jpeg FBA1C338-8727-4E32-A2DE-C3464DE09872.jpeg

Because I was sad about my garden, my seven-year-old daughter walked around with me to find happy things. There are some flowers on one of my overwintered peppers (but the picture was blurry), and the blueberries and peaches are coming along nicely. We also got a touch of rain and more is in the forecast. I just don’t want hail.


72091190-DEEE-4FB6-9195-D1FFB6E60F14.jpeg
65B1622E-6765-4A0F-95BC-4EE826651080.jpeg
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Yeah, I imagine lots of people are thinking of victory gardens. Not a bad thing, except when the normal gardeners have their orders held back.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
If its deer, you may need 7 ft fences. I doubt you'd need to go the full 10 ft since you shouldn't need to worry about snow.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
If its deer, you may need 7 ft fences. I doubt you'd need to go the full 10 ft since you shouldn't need to worry about snow.
We got the fences to slightly above six feet all around today fastened quite securely. I don’t think we can go any higher, but the whole garden area is small enough and crowded enough that that should deter deer. (Our whole back yard has only four foot fencing around it, but it’s very rare that a deer will ever jump into that area, even though I see them leap four-foot fences in open areas with ease. When I do see a deer back there, I go out and find that someone has left a gate open.) We had expanded our garden space this year, and had rabbit fencing all around the new area and some temporary panels and wire to make it higher, but there were some gaps and weaknesses. We’re still not sure that it was a deer (those prints in the asparagus didn’t look like hooves, but what big creature with paws is going to eat greens?), but it needed to be protected better against them because this area has a huge population of white tails, so it’s done now. We definitely do not need to worry about snow (sadly).

The plants actually looked pretty good this morning. I have an extra German Orange Strawberry tomato in the house, and that’s the one tomato plant that was killed outright. I can plant it out after we get through a cold snap next week. I’m not sure what the other tomatoes that were essentially topped in their adolescence will do now, but I’ll let them grow since I don’t have replacements for them, and they look pretty good despite their haircuts. I’ll be interested to see if the cucumber stalk sprouts any new leaves. If it doesn’t, I have a container variety that I’ve been hardening off that I can put in its place.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,810
SW Virginia
Yeah, I imagine lots of people are thinking of victory gardens. Not a bad thing, except when the normal gardeners have their orders held back.
"Normal Gardeners"?
I get your point though. Apparently it's hard to get chickens right now too - fair weather farmers. ;)
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,810
SW Virginia
I put in some cold-hardy plants and one tomato plant, hoping for the best.
I woke up this morning to snow but the little "Early Girl" seemed unfazed.
I put a bucket over her tonight - dreaming of early tomatoes.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Early tomatoes are wonderful!
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
Things are starting to dry up, good time for tilling the fall rye...
P_20200411_133401.jpg
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
840
n
Early tomatoes are wonderful!
ANY tomato is wonderful! ;lol Haven't grown these in about five years because seeds have been hard to find. But I found some in Ontario (Greta's Organic Seeds) and a small mom and pop farm in PA, http://store.happycatorganics.com. I've ordered from both so I'll have lots of seeds for this year and next.
These are my all time favorite for fresh eating, salads and sandwiches. Sweet and lots of acid for zing!

 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,653
South Puget Sound, WA
We got the fences to slightly above six feet all around today fastened quite securely. I don’t think we can go any higher, but the whole garden area is small enough and crowded enough that that should deter deer. (Our whole back yard has only four foot fencing around it, but it’s very rare that a deer will ever jump into that area, even though I see them leap four-foot fences in open areas with ease. When I do see a deer back there, I go out and find that someone has left a gate open.)
For years I thought that when deer got into one of our gardens that it had jumped the fence. I kept making it higher, but every once in a while they got in. It was finally when I had to chase one out (very gently or they ruin the fence) that I saw how they were getting in. They weren't jumping the fence, they were belly-crawling, commando-style, under the fence. Since then I have either put in a low perimeter wire that is firmly anchored to the ground. Or for our smaller upper garden I added a 4' metal fencing over the heavy 7' poly fence. That has stopped entry in to our gardens now for several years. Raccoons, however, are another issue.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,653
South Puget Sound, WA
WTH? She deserves to be called out on that one.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
I couldn’t read the exact article linked above but found another and was pretty shocked. (Car seats not essential? Tell that to a pregnant lady!). I told my 83-year-old mother who has grown just about all her fruits and vegetables for the past four decades and more about a ban on buying seeds, and she got a little feisty. She doesn’t live in Michigan, though, and she has most of her vegetables started, though she hasn’t been able to get red onion sets.

@begreen, that story about a commando-crawling deer made me laugh. I had not thought about that mode of entry, but I watch for signs of rabbits or armadillos coming in. We have a wire rabbit fence on the bottom row, but our big metal gate is covered with poly mesh. We know it’s a weakness, but it definitely helped last year.

@EatenByLimestone, here’s a picture of one of my coddled tomatoes. Temperatures are supposed to be in the low forties for the next four nights, so my husband helped me cover the four garden beds that have tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers with frost cloth just to keep the air temperature a bit warmer. A couple tomatoes have the beginnings of blooms, so I’m babying them.

C274A65D-DBD5-4EB2-99C5-5D44596DC4F1.jpeg

Here’s a picture of a passionflower that bloomed today. This is a native Texas variety often called a Maypop. It has been blooming just about every day for a week or two, but it grows on a huge arched trellis, and I can’t usually get a good picture as the flowers are over my head. I noticed this one lower down today and thought folks might enjoy seeing it.

9FA7A005-97B3-48A0-AEB4-E2FE981211F0.jpeg
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
I remember the passion flowers when I lived in houston.

I just bumped my San Marzano tomato starts into old chinese food soup containers so they are buried to get a better root system.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Yeah, cant see how buying plantlets or seeds is a bad thing. In a month the plants will be producing food and keeping people out of the grocery stores. Budgets are stretched enough already. A package of pole bean seeds will feed a whole street.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,653
South Puget Sound, WA
I couldn’t read the exact article linked above but found another and was pretty shocked. (Car seats not essential? Tell that to a pregnant lady!). I told my 83-year-old mother who has grown just about all her fruits and vegetables for the past four decades and more about a ban on buying seeds, and she got a little feisty. She doesn’t live in Michigan, though, and she has most of her vegetables started, though she hasn’t been able to get red onion sets.
A few years ago I've bought a case of onions from these folks in Texas. They were Red Zeppelins, but these are meant for long day areas like us, not Texas. The starts were very good quality. Nice people and a good product. They know their onions!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
I'll have to remember them.

I'm not happy with the people I ordered my onions from this year.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
Thanks, @begreen, for the recommendations on onions. I’ll tell my mother.

We had a cold and windy night last night, and I was surprised to see one of my potted blueberries blown over this morning. It must have been a pretty strong gust. Thankfully there was no major damage to the plant or pot.

I couldn’t edit my comment above in response to the seed buying ban where I included a reference to car seats, but for accuracy’s sake, I want to note that Governor Whitmer said today that her order does not forbid buying car seats for children. I’m sorry for the tangent on the gardening thread, but I did not want to leave misinformation out there.

Back to gardening, our vegetable at dinner tonight was salad from the containers on our back deck. It was supposed to be cooked radish greens, but things got away from me in the kitchen, and I scorched them. I was glad to have something else growing with which to improvise. The salads were small, but at least there was enough for six of us. The leaves were a combination of Winter Density, Green Ice, and a variety that a Moroccan man grows in my mother’s garden. We don’t know what it is, so we just call it Moroccan lettuce.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Can you post a pic of the Moroccan lettuce?

I just read an article saying seed companies are suspending taking orders due to demand.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
EF3FDA51-1193-4630-B398-2CD35B141E0A.jpeg

I think that is from about a month ago. The “Moroccan Lettuce” is the container on the right, though I think I dropped a Green Ice seed when I was germinating them, and it’s the crinkly-leaved one in the front. (The container on the left has Green Ice in the front and Winter Density in the back.). I cut off a lot of leaves for our salad the other night, so this gives a better idea of the look of the plant even though they’re smaller. I’m growing them in containers so that I can move them into more and more shade as spring progresses.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
It reminds me of a spinnach!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Jumped the shark putting in the watermelon and pumpkins. Tonight and last night I covered them with contractor bags. We are down into the low 30s. Oops, lol.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,653
South Puget Sound, WA
think that is from about a month ago. The “Moroccan Lettuce” is the container on the right, though I think I dropped a Green Ice seed when I was germinating them, and it’s the crinkly-leaved one in the front.
What is Moroccan lettuce? I did a google search and just came up with salad ideas and recipes.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
580
Texas
What is Moroccan lettuce? I did a google search and just came up with salad ideas and recipes.
“Moroccan Lettuce” is simply the name our family uses for a variety of leaf lettuce that we grow, the original seeds of which came from Morocco. We don’t know the actual variety. It could be something fairly standard here in the States, but we call it Moroccan Lettuce because of how we came to have the seeds.

My mother has worked a small family farm for well over four decades. She’s always gardened, but she also raised milk and beef cattle, chickens, bees, and sheep over the years. A number of years ago, a Moroccan man stopped by her house to inquire about buying a lamb, and he took a great interest in my mother’s garden. He had been a farmer in Morocco but had immigrated to the U.S. with his wife, and they were living in an apartment with no place to have a garden. He had seeds from his home, and my mother let him use extra space in her garden to grow some crops for his family. (Little did she know the first year just how much his variety of squash would spread!) This lettuce is from what he used to grow in her garden. I believe that he owns a home now with his own garden space, but he and his family still visit my mom on occasion.

This is the first time I’ve managed to grow any of the lettuce. My mother gave me seeds she had saved when we moved to Texas a couple of years ago. We tried planting lettuce our first fall, but I found it difficult to germinate seeds outside down here. The sun just dries the top of the soil so quickly. I didn’t try lettuce last year at all. This year I started several varieties of lettuce inside and planted it out in containers. We’ve managed to have a couple of salads out of it so far.

All the lettuce pictured above was from seeds we already had when we moved to this new (hot) gardening zone. This year I’m trying a new type as well that comes recommended by extension agents and Texas publications. It’s called “Crawford Reseeding Lettuce.” The trick was I couldn’t find any seeds locally, and it isn’t very common online either. I did get a packet of seeds this winter from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (along with some Hill Country Okra that I’m looking forward to planting when it’s warmer). I have a little growing in one of my garden beds now (though I found that a massive caterpillar had been chowing down on what had been the biggest plant other day). I’ll be interested to see how it does when the heat kicks in.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,653
South Puget Sound, WA
Try a shade netting cover to filter out the sun over cooler crops like broccoli, spinach and lettuce.