2021 Garden Thread

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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Yeah, there's going to be a lot of weeding when I finally get out there again.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
I hate weeding but a good hoe can make it tolerable. I like stirrup hoes. As an alternative, maybe get a bunch of cardboard boxes and place them between the rows if possible.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
I did a lot of weeding this morning. It wasn’t in our raised beds, but is an area where we have young pomegranates growing. There had been a diseased/dying shrubbery hedge there when we moved in. We took that out and put in pomegranates. We covered the little grass there was with cardboard and mulch, but that never stopped it.

I recently figured out that what I had though was some sort of ornamental grass is actually nutsedge. It rained a little last night, so I took the opportunity of a cooler morning and softer soil to pull out lots. I think I collected two five-gallon buckets full. I then found everything I could to put down over the pulled spots to help keep light at bay: extra paving rock, thick doormats, parts of a wooden shipping crate. I had to resort to some cardboard, but it will be a help. It won’t win beauty contests, but I need to buy myself some time before it grows back.

I don’t have a before picture, but in this after picture, you can see the nutsedge near the driveway in the back. I ran into a couple of fire ant nests on that side, so I cleared around the pomegranates as much as I could but will wait till another time to finish that job. (The pomegranates are still young, and this closest one froze to the ground this winter when its covering blew off in the snowstorm. Thankfully it has grown up again from the roots.)
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Nutsedge is also growing in a mulched bed behind our house. We have a lime tree planted there that also suffered during the freeze but is growing nicely now. I need to clear around it again and see what I can use to help keep the sedge at bay.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
Thick cardboard works well as a light block and even better under mulch. I keep an eye out for people giving away large boxes for appliances, etc. and have a stash of them for the gardens.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
I am a huge fan of cardboard and mulch (as you probably can tell from pictures where we have assembled our garden areas). We used the last of the available cardboard from our move in putting up the new garden area. We’ve actually done cardboard and mulch over this nutsedge twice now, not knowing what it was. In some ways that probably helped it to thrive because of helping retain moisture, and it’s strong enough to poke through the cardboard. Now that we know what the plant is (and just how tenacious it can be), we’ll have to be more disciplined it attacking it. I just needed to buy myself some time in keeping it down, hence my drastic light and growth blocking measures of yesterday.

I cleared around the lime tree this morning, but there’s more to do in that large bed. I’m thinking of asking our new neighbors who moved in May if they have any more boxes I can have.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
If you have a buy nothing, or freecycle, or next door neighbor network, post on it that you are looking for large cardboard. Around here, electric bikes are getting more common. Those RAD bike boxes are tough and big. Stores and food banks can also be a good source of cardboard boxes.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
If you have a buy nothing, or freecycle, or next door neighbor network, post on it that you are looking for large cardboard. Around here, electric bikes are getting more common. Those RAD bike boxes are tough and big. Stores and food banks can also be a good source of cardboard boxes.

I’ll keep that in mind. I did pick up some cardboard boxes from our local farm store co-op today. They get deliveries from local farms on Wednesday afternoons and are only open Wednesday afternoons and evenings and Thursday mornings. I was able to get some good sturdy cardboard when I went to pick up my milk today. They aren’t huge boxes, but they’ll help, and they won’t be in a dumpster.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
We had a small gentle rain just as it was getting dark last night. It was a little cooler this morning, and the garden just seemed particularly lovely. I took some extra pictures just because I was enjoying the beauty.

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My cucumbers have dying leaves, but they are still producing strongly. Our soil temperatures are far below average for this time of year, and that and the lack of drought must be helping. I harvested nine good slicers this morning and have more developing fast.

Some of my tomatoes are finishing up, and others are showing signs of decline. I’m starting just a few seeds inside that I’ll transplant into the garden later when there’s more room.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
Very nice. It's cool seeing those trellises fill out. And we have the same purple zinnias. I grew a lot of them because my wife loves cut flowers.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,251
Colorado
This gardening is hard work and I toiled all day out in my garden..I fed my tomato plant and made it look decorated..clancey
 

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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
Very nice. It's cool seeing those trellises fill out. And we have the same purple zinnias. I grew a lot of them because my wife loves cut flowers.

I bought a package of orange and purple zinnia seed for $1.49 seven years ago. We have enjoyed them ever since, often letting them reseed. I have some yellow ones now, too, from a free seed pack I received this year. I don’t give a lot of space to flowers, but I love having some in the garden. The butterflies and hummingbirds and bees enjoy it, too.

My husband and I spent a lot of time in the gardens yesterday. We watered thoroughly, including pouring some thistle tea into our rain barrel and using the dilute solution on all the beds. That was pretty smelly, but the plants look happy.

We also added trellises to the new beds. We have cowpeas growing in three of the beds and some pumpkins started in the fourth. We’ve loved having the trellises in the existing garden. They give us more space, add some visual interest, and give me a place to hide in the shade, which I really appreciate. The summer sunshine has come in at more normal levels just the past couple of days. I got a little sunburned yesterday.

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@clancey, your tomato is looking great. I’m not sure what you’re feeding it, but you might want to back off if it’s a high nitrogen fertilizer (the first number of the NPK rating on the package). You want the plant to concentrate on flowering and fruiting at this point. It looked like there was a nice tomato toward the bottom.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,251
Colorado
Its a secret food and thanks for the up and up...Your trellises are just beautiful and well planned..Enjoyed the pictures..clancey
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
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I needed some hot peppers for a recipe today, and I wanted to lighten the load on my two fish pepper plants. Both the white and the green are immature peppers (I have two plants, and one is much lighter than the other), but they both ripen to red. Something has been taking bites out of my red peppers, so I brought in a bunch to finish up ripening in the pantry. I plan to make some hot sauce. (These are Serrano-type heat.)
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
I think I had forgotten what Texas has been like in the summers prior to this year. I knew it was hot and dry and brutal, but I had forgotten just what it really felt like. Just this past week the weather has become more typical of what I’ve experienced in previous summers, and my garden and I are both suffering for it. I don’t have shade cloth on my garden right now, and I was not enjoying needing to add water to my ollas this morning when I had just filled everything on Saturday.

I’ve removed some tomatoes from containers on the deck because they were using too much water, and I’ve been pulling or cutting back other plants in the garden because they’re not going to give me a big enough harvest for it to be worth the resources to keep them going at this point (zucchini, various tomatoes). I’ve been amazed at how long my cucumbers have kept producing, but I think they’re really on the decline now.

My pole beans still look pretty good, and I’ll need to try to harvest them this evening when there’s more shade. I’m curious to see if they’ll keep producing in the high heat. The okra and sweet potatoes should like it as long as I keep them watered.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
Do you grow any melons or cantaloupe? I have never tasted a store-bought cantaloupe that came close to what a good homegrown one tastes like. The flavor is much more intense.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
Do you grow any melons or cantaloupe? I have never tasted a store-bought cantaloupe that came close to what a good homegrown one tastes like. The flavor is much more intense.

I’ve never tried growing cantaloupe, though I grew up eating them out of my mom’s garden, and I agree there is no comparison. We’ve grown Sugar Baby the past couple of years because I had an old packet of seeds. This year we decided to go for a larger variety, Crimson Sweet, that is recommended for this area. I only have two plants that were seeded in mid June once I finished harvesting the potatoes so there is no fruit set that I have seen, but we are having flowers.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
There are lots of flowers on our cantaloupes and hopefully, the pollinators are hard at work. I did see a honey bee on a flower today. I am trying Hale's Best this year because I couldn't get a Sarah's Choice plant from our local nursery this year.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,251
Colorado
My tomato plant going crazy had to tie it up more and feed it some--has about 18 different sizes of tomato's and the squirrel is watching and i am watching him...Plant still alive and when do these tomato's turn red for they are all green now..clancey
 

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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
My tomato plant going crazy had to tie it up more and feed it some--has about 18 different sizes of tomato's and the squirrel is watching and i am watching him...Plant still alive and when do these tomato's turn red for they are all green now..clancey

I believe that Celebrity is sort of middle of the road when it comes to ripening (not super early, not super late). That means that it’s probably about two and half months from the time you transplant a healthy plant (assuming no major stress or setbacks) to the time you can expect to begin to have ripe tomatoes. I think you planted your plant about the end of May/beginning of June, so perhaps in mid-August. Tomatoes and conditions all differ, so there is natural variation on either side of an expected maturity date, of course.

Once a tomato starts to “blush” or show a color change from green to red, you can pick the tomato and bring it inside to let it finish ripening on the counter. It doesn’t need sun at that point, just decent warmth (and not too much heat either). If you wait too long to pick, you might find that the squirrel decides to sample it before you do. Don’t pick a tomato that is entirely green, though, if you want to make sure it ripens.

We just had our first ripe tomato from one of our slightly later maturing varieties, (German) Orange Strawberry. My younger daughter chose the seeds years ago for our garden in Virginia, and we’ve never successfully grown it before in Texas. (We tried last year, but it got destroyed when a deer broke into the garden, and the replacement never took). I started seed at the end of January, transplanted at the beginning of April, lost some fruit to Blossom End Rot, and finally harvested a blushing tomato this week. It was ripe enough to slice yesterday, so my daughter and I used it and a bunch of other tomatoes to make a batch of “sun-dried” (dehydrated) tomatoes.

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This variety is not that well suited for my location in Texas, but this was really a beautiful tomato (despite some stink bug damage). It was much more orange than the picture shows, and I really loved slicing the meaty interior. There are some smaller ones on the vines, but I don’t know how they’ll do trying to mature in August.
 
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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,251
Colorado
What a trip with your tomato and I bet its really good too...Thanks for the information about my tomato plant and I'll just be patient and see what happens..I guess I can let that squirrel have one or two--lol. You know a lot about plants you should have been a horticulturist which in my mind you already are..Yes..Thanks for the information and enjoy your eating and fooling around your garden..clancey
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire

a cool video on German agroforestry.


there was a movie about 20 years ago called Fried Green Tomatoes. they're supposedly tasty, but I've never tried them.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,251
Colorado
Good video and it makes sense --enjoyed..I love fried green tomato's and if my tomato's don't red I will fry them-lol thanks clancey
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
@begreen, are you having another heat wave?

It’s hot down here in Texas but still below average for this time of year. I just read an article that stated that the rain this summer in our area has exceeded what we received all of last year. I think that’s why my garden has done well. It has been dry since the last major storm at the beginning of the month, though.

Our cucumbers have finally petered out after having an amazingly long and productive harvest. I might pull the vines today if I’m not too hot after doing other necessary work. I’ve planted a couple of new ones for harvest later in the season. Last week I removed pumpkin and butternut squash vines, and I also pruned back some tomato vines to encourage suckers for fresh growth. I’m still harvesting lots of cherry tomatoes and a few smaller slicers. I have new squash planted in one of our new raised beds. The other three new beds are full of cowpeas and Sunnhemp. The cowpeas in particular seem to be thriving.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
@begreen, are you having another heat wave?

It’s hot down here in Texas but still below average for this time of year. I just read an article that stated that the rain this summer in our area has exceeded what we received all of last year. I think that’s why my garden has done well. It has been dry since the last major storm at the beginning of the month, though.

Our cucumbers have finally petered out after having an amazingly long and productive harvest. I might pull the vines today if I’m not too hot after doing other necessary work. I’ve planted a couple of new ones for harvest later in the season. Last week I removed pumpkin and butternut squash vines, and I also pruned back some tomato vines to encourage suckers for fresh growth. I’m still harvesting lots of cherry tomatoes and a few smaller slicers. I have new squash planted in one of our new raised beds. The other three new beds are full of cowpeas and Sunnhemp. The cowpeas in particular seem to be thriving.
Hetwave, but not nearly as bad as the one in late June. This one is getting modified by an incursion of wildfire smoke from Britich Columbia and eastern WA. That kept the sun tolerable. We reached around 85º instead of 95º.
I am envious of your second plantings. Ours consists of things that will survive the cool fall weather, so cabbage, broccoli, spinach, carrots, lettuce and beets.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
969
Texas
Hetwave, but not nearly as bad as the one in late June. This one is getting modified by an incursion of wildfire smoke from Britich Columbia and eastern WA. That kept the sun tolerable. We reached around 85º instead of 95º.
I am envious of your second plantings. Ours consists of things that will survive the cool fall weather, so cabbage, broccoli, spinach, carrots, lettuce and beets.

I’m kind of yearning for fall crops, I have to admit, though I am glad to have a second chance at getting a little more food for the table and the freezer, mostly zucchini because I didn’t do as well with it this summer as I would have liked. We have so much squash vine borer pressure that it’s hard.

My fall cucumber crop last year got hit so hard by thrips that it never produced. I’m hoping to have a second round, but we’ll see how things go. At least I have a bunch of pickles and dried cucumber chips. My kids like both of those.

Yesterday my husband cut down half of our asparagus bed. The ferns had largely turned brown. I’m hoping that was just from age rather than some disease or disorder. It may be that we’ll be able to harvest a fall asparagus crop from this part of the bed. We’ll see.

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