2021 Garden Thread

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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
I'm sorry to hear you are still having critter problems. Do you have metal fencing laid flat on the ground outside of the fence perimeter as a dig barrier? Do you have a trail cam to catch the culprits?

We did have a nice break from it for about seven weeks. That’s when we redid all of our fencing and did just what you suggested: laid a 2 inch mesh going out a foot from the posts in an L-pattern. That’s reburied in mulch, and there’s no sign of any digging under the fence. That’s what’s so weird.

I don’t know that the photos show what’s happening in the garden, but it’s definitely a digger, not a fruit eater. For that I’m thankful, even though I don’t love the harm to the roots.
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The hole near the two butternut squash goes down about six inches, if not more. That kind of hole keeps showing up all over the garden. I’ve also been finding a number of the olla lids knocked off, whether on purpose or by accident, I don’t know. I think the creature likes the moist soil near the ollas.

We had returned our neighbors’ live traps a couple of weeks ago since we weren’t having success, and they were thinking of trying to trap in their garden. They weren’t using them, though, and let us reborrow them. We set them near our shed last night and put fencing across the whole area to separate the shed from the garden. No success and holes in the garden. Tonight they’re blocking one of the garden pathways with one open each direction. We’ll see.

I’ve just started doing more serious research on game cameras as we’ve decided that we will make that small investment. Our biggest issue will be getting a photo through all the vertical gardening I do. The foliage is pretty lush right now.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
I can't catch a break this year. We were on vacation this last week. The fence failed again. Broccoli, beans and kale got hit. Hey even hit the onions again! I'm going to tear out all my fence and redo it. They took beans off the pots right against the deck. Must have been the lack of fresh dog smell.

I’m am so sorry to hear that. Was it deer or those voracious bunnies?
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
Oh no! Deer are always lurking around our fence perimeter. The week before last our neighbor's locust came crashing down on our west fence. 3 deer got in. Fortunately, they only ate some strawberries and the lower leaves on a cherry tree. It took a while to get them out and for the neighbor to cut back the tree and fix the fence. I was out of town so my wife had to deal with it. The mama deer kept breaking in. My wife was exhausted by the end of the day after repeatedly chasing them out and poured herself a glass of wine, then went to pick berries in the main garden. There, between two beds was a very young fawn. That was why mom kept breaking in. Thankfully she was able t scoot it out and peace returned.

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It’s fawn season down here in Texas, too. For weeks a doe has been leaving this very little one near my new garden beds. I was so surprised the day I first spotted her (first photo) because I had walked by any number of times getting tools and soil amendements and turning on and off water at the rain barrel. It was the day I harvested the last of the potatoes, I think, and turned over the bed, so there was lots of travel by that spot. I think the fawn was there for nearly eight hours that day and was back the next.

A couple days later my husband and I were out in the early morning talking about nitrogen sources to layer in the beds. It was only after we finished the conversation and were walking toward the house that I realized there was the fawn in the very bed we had been discussing.

It got to the point that my five year old went out every morning on tiptoes and looked inside and in between the beds to see if “Fawn” was there. He finally got close enough that she popped up one day and ran. We see any number of fawns each day, but we like to think the one in our “Northern Wasteland” (all our property is named by section) is the same one.

Just today my husband and I worked on getting up full-fledged fencing around the new garden beds (including one foot that goes straight out around the perimeter). We used materials that were already on hand on our property (except for buying extra zip ties), and we nearly finished. The tube gate needs to have smaller fencing secured to it, but we got driven in by a thunderstorm. I’m sitting here rejoicing in some good rain.

We planted cowpeas and Sunn Hemp in the new beds on Saturday as a cover crop. I was really surprised to see the Sunn Hemp already up a couple of inches this morning. It kept us working on that fencing through the humidity.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
Have you read A Garlic Testament? It is a great book about growing in the Southwest. The topic is garlic, but the growth is in the gardener too.


I’ve never heard of it even. I’ll look into finding a copy, though. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,952
South Puget Sound, WA
I’ve never heard of it even. I’ll look into finding a copy, though. Thanks for the suggestion.
It's a good read. Came out about 20 yrs ago.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,952
South Puget Sound, WA
If you want to reduce weeding, put straw or grass clippings mulch several inches deep around the base of the plant and outward for about 18". That mulch will hold back weeds and help retain moisture in the soil. Another option would be to take a 24" square of cardboard and cut a slot to the middle, with a 2" hole in the middle. Slip the cardboard under the plant thru the slot, then weigh down the corners with rocks or landscape fabric staples.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I think the cardboard would be better. Too thick of grass clipping can become anaerobic.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,952
South Puget Sound, WA
I think the cardboard would be better. Too thick of grass clipping can become anaerobic.
I have never had that issue, but we are in a much dryer climate during the growing season. Our lawn is going brown about now. The only issue I have had is with bird (mostly robins) digging up the mulch and burying nearby leaves in it.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
Yea I think I will do a cardboard cut out and lay rocks on top of it..--yes...Thanks everyone..clancey

Your tomato plant is looking great, Mrs. Clancey. Good work!

I, too, like the cardboard idea, but I think I’d choose to use wood chips over top. They help hold in moisture really well in my dry climate, and they’ll help keep things a little bit cooler in the intense sun. Just be sure to leave enough space right around the plant’s main stem so that water can flow easily down to the roots. When you set up the cardboard and whatever topping you use, water it well.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Yeah, it might be totally different in a dryer climate. Right now we've come into what feels like monsoon season. I've used the grass to knock down weeds before and it does a great job. But it was in spots where I didn't worry about it going nasty on me.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,252
Colorado
Maybe I will get my special low chair and just weed it and that would be more simple and chips would keep it moist so I'll see but in the meanwhile I fed it again and gave that squirrel on my fence my bad look--lol...Tomorrow I will go to the plant area and get something for my baby plant so that it will stay nice and moist and weed free..I have tiny sea shells in it for decoration but can't see them now but I will fix that.. I never in my whole life ever heard or knew anything about "white tomatoes" I have had "green tomatoes" fried but never knew anything about those white ones---where can I get them? clancey
'
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
Maybe I will get my special low chair and just weed it and that would be more simple and chips would keep it moist so I'll see but in the meanwhile I fed it again and gave that squirrel on my fence my bad look--lol...Tomorrow I will go to the plant area and get something for my baby plant so that it will stay nice and moist and weed free..I have tiny sea shells in it for decoration but can't see them now but I will fix that.. I never in my whole life ever heard or knew anything about "white tomatoes" I have had "green tomatoes" fried but never knew anything about those white ones---where can I get them? clancey
'

If that squirrel is a distant cousin of my squirrels, he’s waiting for a ripe tomato. You’ll check on the plant one evening and think, ”I’ll pick that tomorrow.” The next morning you’ll go out to find the tomato gone from the plant, only to find its mangled remains somewhere else in your yard. That’s a squirrel for you.

Our white tomatoes are on a plant that I grew from seed. They start out green just like any other tomato but instead of turning red, they actually lighten up. Ours ended up being an ivory or cream color.

My mother got the seed in a packet that came free with an order she placed this spring. She and my eight year old daughter are pen pals, and so she included a few seeds in a letter for my daughter. We have just one plant growing in our garden for that reason.

It did dawn on me this morning that I also grow a pepper plant that has a good number of albino genes, so some of the hot peppers end up pretty pure white as well. I don’t have enough white tomatoes to do it, but I thought it would be pretty funny to make a white salsa.

Growing plants from seeds takes some work, but it does allow for more variety.


 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
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@clancey, I thought you might want to see the white pepper I have. The three on the left are all immature peppers. Some are more green; some are more white. The fourth pepper is starting to ripen. The fifth is completely ripe. These are hot peppers and can be eaten at any of the stages pictured above.
 
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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,252
Colorado
Now that's one thing that i think I could grow in abundance for my neighbor years ago grew some green ones and Oh he had soooo many..But for now I am happy with my tomato plant and bush...This weeding is hot and hard work...lol lol..I tried putting one of my birdie cages (large oned) over the tomato plant to guard it from the squirrel but the plant was taller than the cage so I will figure out something else to protect my tomato's from the squirrel but right now when I see him or her I give him or her my mean look and its working...lol Your peppers are beautiful...clancey
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,952
South Puget Sound, WA
The new cement block bed is having a great start. It is now in full production. We have harvested beets and strawberries so far. Peppers will be next. Amongst all the foliage and dominating nasturtiums are carrots, beets, strawberries, onions, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and two cantaloupes. The bed gets warm and the plants love it. The only caveat is that the perimeter holes need daily watering. Thankfully I have drip irrigation on a timer for that. By next year I may seal the outside of the bed to reduce evaporation through the block walls.

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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,928
Woolwich nj
I pulled some garlic, I have alot of string beans that I picked with alot on the way. Picked Cucumbers tomato and eggplant. My garden project that I did has REALLY PAID OFF. All my plants are still alive. I normally louse many plants if we get heavy rain. Last Friday we got 4 inches of rain over only a couple hours and it all runs to the back of my property. Right after the rain stopped I went out back to where the garden is and the water was 4 inches deep and running off to the farm field, with in a few hours there was no paddling. My garden is now slightly raised and is in great shape 20210711_151453.jpg 20210711_151550.jpg 20210711_152830.jpg 20210711_152846.jpg
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,928
Woolwich nj
This is what my street looks like. I took these pics on the way back from the range this morning. The kids and I got some good family time in, dad needs it. The first 2 pics are peppers and the 2nd 2 pics are tomatos the peppers are about 250 acres and the tomatoes are roughly 400 acres 20210711_114434.jpg 20210711_114437.jpg 20210711_114510.jpg 20210711_114533.jpg
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
The new cement block bed is having a great start. It is now in full production. We have harvested beets and strawberries so far. Peppers will be next. Amongst all the foliage and dominating nasturtiums are carrots, beets, strawberries, onions, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and two cantaloupes. The bed gets warm and the plants love it. The only caveat is that the perimeter holes need daily watering. Thankfully I have drip irrigation on a timer for that. By next year I may seal the outside of the bed to reduce evaporation through the block walls.

View attachment 280129

Begreen, that is just beautiful. I love nasturtiums! I haven’t grown them successfully in Texas (deer eat them, too), but I need to try again. They’re just gorgeous and such a fun addition to salads.

Do you have a second new bed in the back there where the corn is?
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
I pulled some garlic, I have alot of string beans that I picked with alot on the way. Picked Cucumbers tomato and eggplant. My garden project that I did has REALLY PAID OFF. All my plants are still alive. I normally louse many plants if we get heavy rain. Last Friday we got 4 inches of rain over only a couple hours and it all runs to the back of my property. Right after the rain stopped I went out back to where the garden is and the water was 4 inches deep and running off to the farm field, with in a few hours there was no paddling. My garden is now slightly raised and is in great shape View attachment 280165 View attachment 280166 View attachment 280167 View attachment 280168

Beautiful harvests, Woodsplitter. That’s wonderful news that you are quite literally seeing the fruits of all that hard work. We had a good bit of rain this week, too, including over four inches of rain overnight one night, enough to flood our main road. I was grateful for our raised beds in that scenario. My only problem has been some tomatoes cracking. I haven’t had to deal with that before in Texas much, but I’ll take the rain and the break from watering anyway. (Not that I have any choice.) It’s been a good garden season for me, but some of it is winding down now.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
974
Texas
I am starting my plants for the greenhouse for over the fall and early winter. I am not starting from seed this year. I am taking cutting from the existing tomato plants in the garden and rooting them and will be potting them up
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I love that method of starting plants. I have just a couple of tomato seeds started inside now, but I plan to root suckers off those plants to put in the garden as my spring crop gets finished up.

I helped my next door neighbors plant suckers from my plants this past May. They have twenty-two plants in their garden that came from my trimmings, and they all have fruit on them now. Particularly impressive is one bed that has eleven Sunrise Bumble Bee cherry tomato plants that all came from just two seeds that I planted for myself. Their grandkids are going to be visiting soon, so I sure hope that the fruits will ripen while they’re here to enjoy them.