2020 Garden Thread

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
Beware of garden trolls.

trolls.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
The rest of the order showed up yesterday. Later than usual, but not bad. Frosty night last night, and a good chance of more of that for the next couple weeks, so only tolerant things can go in at the moment.
Our first order of strawberries (Shuksans) came in quickly and are looking great. But the second order for Tristars from another place never showed and I had to put in a different order from another place. They just went in the ground early this week, which for us is very late.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
Yes, those specks are eggshell fragments from the compost.

Corn is in the ground. I sprouted it first. Will it be knee-high by 4th of July? Hope so.
What do you do to sprout your corn before planting? Just wet paper towels or something else?

My son and I planted corn about 9 days ago, and two sprouts have popped up in just a couple of days but nothing else since then. We planted okra the same day, and just this morning I saw the first three sprouts. I’m hoping that the next few hot days will really encourage both crops. I wanted to plant another round of corn in another week or so.

Our cucumbers seem to be doing well. They are climbing their trellises and flowering. I was surprised to see a baby cucumber this morning.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
895
Palmyra, WI
We have 13line ground squirrels here, (not moles, not burrowing gophers). They multiply exponentially. Soon, I can get sweet corn planted. But staggering after that gets anniliated by all the rodents - they dig after the seeds till they're goon. Seedlings are like flags - dig here, seed below. Have struggled, no solution yet.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
What do you do to sprout your corn before planting? Just wet paper towels or something else?
I put them in a small glass jar and soak them for 24 hrs. Then I dump out the water and leave the lid just loose on the top. Rinse with fresh water every 8 hrs. In a few days, they will be sprouting. Plant before the root sprout gets too long.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
We have 13line ground squirrels here, (not moles, not burrowing gophers). They multiply exponentially. Soon, I can get sweet corn planted. But staggering after that gets anniliated by all the rodents - they dig after the seeds till they're goon. Seedlings are like flags - dig here, seed below. Have struggled, no solution yet.
Can you lay hardware cloth over the rows until they have sprouted about an inch?
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
895
Palmyra, WI
Can you lay hardware cloth over the rows until they have sprouted about an inch?
I did that lately (chicken wire laid flat) to keep the chickens from scratching, and that worked great. Trouble with the gophers is that the corn can be 2-3" high, and they'll go after it for whatever seed is left. This year I'll try some form of hardware cloth. It seems like physically keeping them out is the only way, because eliminating one means one more waiting. They're everywhere. I remember setting a box trap once, and I caught 8 little ones all at once before the trap tripped shut. They were all in there.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
I put them in a small glass jar and soak them for 24 hrs. Then I dump out the water and leave the lid just loose on the top. Rinse with fresh water every 8 hrs. In a few days, they will be sprouting. Plant before the root sprout gets too long.
That sounds very much like what I do in my cooking. I sometimes sprout chickpeas for making hummus. I often sprout our einkorn wheat berries and dry them before grinding into flour. Tonight’s dinner is sprouted einkorn tabbouleh.

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The parsley is from the plants I started last spring that overwintered in the garden. They haven’t shown signs of going to seed yet, but we’ve had some (too) hot weather for a few days, and the leaves were getting a bit crispy. Thankfully it has cooled back down to the 80’s today, but I harvested a bunch of parsley this morning. I figure after this I’ll let it grow and go to seed. I started new plants this year as well.

I don’t know if you can see them, Begreen, but in the upper righthand corner of the einkorn picture, there’s a corner of my jar with sprouting corn kernels. I was thinking that my corn might not be germinating because the seed might not be viable (it’s three years old—longer than recommended). It seems to be sprouting very well in the jar, though, and today four more shoots have appeared outside. Maybe I’m just being too impatient, but I’m glad to know this technique. I might try it with my okra seeds, too, if I don’t see more germination soon.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Our cucumbers seem to be doing well. They are climbing their trellises and flowering. I was surprised to see a baby cucumber this morning.
The female flower has a baby cuke at its base.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
I had nine new corn sprouts in the garden today. I definitely attribute that to the pre-sprouting. Thanks, @begreen. I am soaking okra seeds now.

Most of the day today was spent planning and accomplishing getting the condensate drain from a new air conditioning system that we had installed last fall (replacing the twenty-three-year-old one that died) to tie into another drain where we had set up an “aqueduct” that leads into a rain barrel. The new system should produce a lot of water once it gets miserably hot here in Texas, and I need to collect every drop of it to keep my blueberries watered. It’s been so dry here that our numerous barrels and tanks (5 ranging from 35 to 500 gallons) are pretty much dry. Our tap water has such high calcium and alkalinity that I would really only use it on the blueberries if I had no other choice.

While I was watering in some soil acidifier to the blueberries this afternoon, I knocked a dark blue berry loose. We have a number that look ripe, but I’m waiting. They need to be ripe enough to fall off with just a tickle (or inadvertent elbow from the aquaria). I gave this one to my seven year old who needed a little cheering, and it was lovely to watch her pop it in her mouth, chew it up, and see the joy suffuse her face. I got a big hug. Now the trick will be to keep the kids from trying to eat them prematurely.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
Good deal. Our corn is all poking up from the ground too. It's off to a good start. Almost all of our plants are in the ground now. The tomatoes have perked up and the cukes are climbing.

Good idea to capture the condensate from the AC.
 

MTY

Feeling the Heat
Jan 9, 2019
345
Idaho
I am not sure if I did well enough, but I spent Sunday and Monday building fence around the garden. 32X48 with a post at each corner, one every 16', two extra support posts at each corner, a t post in the center of every 16' section and field fence buried around the perimeter. The posts are 4" peeler posts 8' long, buried 2.5'. There are 16' sections of 4' high horse fencing above the 26" field fence. The fence is 5.5' high. I am mostly concerned with the deer mowing the garden down.

I have a rainbird set in the center with a timer to auto water. Two days of this kicked my butt, so I took today off, ordered kitchen cabinets and went to work for a while.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
We’ve finally had rain. I think it’s been four inches this week. We’ve collected probably more than 800 gallons in our tanks, so I’m happy, and the garden is happy.

Here’s a shot of a glacier tomato plant that has really surprised me with the fruit it has set so far. I had the seeds from before I moved to Texas, and I wouldn’t have picked it for this climate, but it‘s impressing me so far.

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Here’s where we first planted corn. You can see the difference in the shoots that first came up, and the second round, though I think some of the first round came up, too, because we’ve had extras, so to speak. You can see a tiny corner of the last batch of beets we harvested and ate today and can perhaps make out the garlic and shallots that we also dug. I don’t know that they were anything to write home about, but they’re curing now, and we’ll enjoy them.
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This is a view from through the back fence over the new asparagus bed toward the rows of tomatoes and cucumbers. The asparagus is sending up a third round of shoots, and these guys are thicker, so it seems that we’re doing okay.

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We’ll probably harvest a small crop of blueberries tomorrow.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for sharing the shots. It all looks great! You are over a month ahead of us. Our corn is just about 1.5" tall and our cukes have just started climbing. We do have a few cucumbers setting in the greenhouse along with one tomato so far. I am bummed out though. We lost a whole row of carrots in the past two days. Not sure if this was sow bugs or slugs. I am going to spread diatomaceous earth on the remainder of the row.

What are the upside-down clay trays for? Are these bug traps?
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
Thanks for sharing the shots. It all looks great! You are over a month ahead of us. Our corn is just about 1.5" tall and our cukes have just started climbing. We do have a few cucumbers setting in the greenhouse along with one tomato so far. I am bummed out though. We lost a whole row of carrots in the past two days. Not sure if this was sow bugs or slugs. I am going to spread diatomaceous earth on the remainder of the row.

What are the upside-down clay trays for? Are these bug traps?
I’m sorry to hear about the carrots. My cabbage and cauliflower have been getting eaten, and I just reapplied DE this morning since it had been washed off by recent rains. With the cabbage loopers and the heat, it may be hopeless, though.

The clay saucers are the lids to my “olla” clay pot irrigation system. Here’s an article about the concept.


I don’t have fancy purpose built ollas, but I found some great unglazed clay pots that lacked drainage holes and buried them throughout my garden. (I collected them last year on various half price sales and hope to get some more, but it’s not essential now, and we’re not shopping for non-essentials.) They help keep the soil moist under the surface, and the plants actually wrap their roots around them. It was amazing to see the root mats at the end of the season last year.

I had some ollas that I recently lifted from some large pots when we transplanted the plants to the ground, so I went out and took a picture for you of the pots themselves. They each hold about two quarts of water.

The next picture is the hole where I lifted an olla out where the beet greens had been planted. Beet greens don’t grow the same kind of root systems that the tomatoes and cucumbers do around the pots, but I thought I could give you a little glimpse if you can see the roots along the wall, so to speak. I didn’t want to lift one where my plants are actively growing for fear of harming the roots.
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Watering is a chore down here, and there are times I long for the push of a button or the turn of a faucet, but the water that comes from the community well is restricted, and my understanding is that drip irrigation systems clog frequently down here because of high calcium and magnesium. We collect rain water as much as possible, but we haven’t invested in pumps, so I fill my ollas and let them water for me as much as possible. I, of course, need to do some surface watering when I seed or plants are very young, but it’s nice to get away from that when the plants have more developed root systems.

My four year old loves to help me fill the ollas. He takes the lids off for me and loves to move the hose from pot to pot. Thankfully we were just able to refill the 250 gallon rain tank near the garden.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Working away on my hayfields as usual. Have to overseed yet and plant some disced up spots if it ever quits raining. Potatoes in straw bales this year. Haven't planted anything yet but will.
 

MTY

Feeling the Heat
Jan 9, 2019
345
Idaho
My 2100 gallon cistern is over flowing to the tune of 1300 gallons per day. I can run rain birds most of the day and by the next morning the cistern is over flowing again. When I was growing up we never had enough water. When we first looked at this property, the water alone convinced me to purchase it.
I hooked up a cheap pump and pressure tank combo from Harbor Freight and have been squirting this stuff out of rain birds for 3 years to keep a green belt around the house we are building. A timer turns the pump on at night to water the garden.
With more time and a greener thumb, I could probably raise quite a crop. Half for us, and half for the wild critters. I'd never have the patience for ollas. My hat is off to you DG.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Water is no issue here either, glad of that. Living in the Lake Erie basin, plenty of water, always. Not the best though. Limestone causes minerals in the water.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
First tomatoes and cucumbers are showing up in the greenhouse! Yay! There are 6 baby cucumbers so far. With 2 plants also outside we are going to have them coming out of our ears soon.
first cuke.jpg first tomato.jpg
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
First tomatoes and cucumbers are showing up in the greenhouse! Yay! There are 6 baby cucumbers so far. With 2 plants also outside we are going to have them coming out of our ears soon.
View attachment 260313 View attachment 260314
Something I've always wanted to erect but never did it. You build your own or put up a kit or what? Do you heat it in the winter? Please elaborate on it...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,706
South Puget Sound, WA
Something I've always wanted to erect but never did it. You build your own or put up a kit or what? Do you heat it in the winter? Please elaborate on it...
We built it. I had a couple picture windows and doors left over from a remodel on the house. It's insulated including the slab. Normally we don't heat it unless it gets bitter cold which is not common here. I have a little space heater and a Jotul 602 in there for those occasions. Usually the mass of the greenhouse will keep temps about 5-10º above ambient. I have heat pads that I put under seed starting trays this year for the first time. They were cheap and worked out well.

These are some shots from 2010, the year after it was built.

IMG_0263web.jpg inside_greenhouse_web.jpg IMG_0193web.jpg
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Very nice. Was thinking about a pre fabricated greenhouse built on pressure treated 6x6 timbers with a 3/4" .40 retention floor with pull rings on each end so I could move it around with one of the farm tractors if necessary. Not too big. Just large enough to start plants in and have fresh greens over the winter. Probably install a propane heater, one of the ventless ones. Propane is cheap here but so is electricity. Been kicking it around for a while now. Maybe this yer.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
583
Texas
The ollas do take some patience, @MTY, but part of the benefit for a garden for me is to have a place to get outside and care for something in calm and quiet. It can be a chore, but it’s also a pretty small space. Your cistern sounds absolutely luxurious.

@SidecarFlip, I understand about limestone. We basically live on the backside of a limestone cliff. The average pH of the ”soil” is 8.3. Our property lacks much topsoil, however, having been extensively overgrazed under previous ownership.

@begreen, your tomatoes, cucumbers, and greenhouse all look beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos. I love seeing things grow.

I did harvest one “patio snacker” cucumber yesterday morning and a generous cup of blueberries. The cucumber wasn’t large (in a child’s hand), but we had little to no success with this variety last year, and it was much larger than anything we saw then. We ate it as part of our dinner.

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Yesterday I decided that my cucumbers needed a pretty drastic pruning, so I got that done this morning before it got too hot. I’ve done the single stem method in the past but I don’t think I pruned my cucumbers last year down here. This year, however, they were already going wild. Because I hadn‘t started early, I did have to sacrifice some nice fruit and flowers, but I think the plants will benefit in the long run. There was one fruit that I couldn’t sacrifice, though, so I left an extra stem to let it come to maturity. A number of the vines are already over my head.

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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Got a lot done in the garden myself. The onions and potatoes finally came in. I sprouted the eyes and got them in the ground today. Zucchini went in.


While doing the weeding I found a bunny nest in my garden. I'm thinking my fence isnt a as secure as I thought! I covered the bunnies back up. Once they move on I'll work on fixing the fence.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
We're planning on starting to blanche and preserve the kale. It's been volunteering itself for 2 years now and is already showing flowers on the stems from last year.