2022 Garden Thread

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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
@begreen, I thought of you this morning. There was a newborn fawn stationed right outside my garden, just where I needed to put my pump for watering. My six year old promised it that we wouldn’t disturb it, so I went and carried water to my olives, pomegranates, and peach tree, and did the watering in the back yard instead.

I then went up the hill and helped my neighbors put up some supports for shade cloth that they bought this weekend. They are borrowing some of my rebar and polypipe to cover one of their beds that gets more sun and less water from their irrigation. Last week they were out of town, and I was watering their garden with the hose every evening during this heatwave. They’ve already mulched heavily, but I think the shade cloth will help a lot.

It was too hot for me to think about watering once I got home, and the fawn was still there anyway. I checked how the plants are doing and the water levels in the ollas when I harvested a cucumber and some peppers for our lunchtime salad, and I think everything can hang on till evening when the sun isn’t so bright. It will still be hot then, but we have a good breeze today, so I’ll try to give everything a good soaking then.

Saturday and Sunday we hit 103 both days. We’re supposed to be a little lower today and possibly drop to 96 or so on Wednesday. It’s crazy when upper 90’s seem like relief, but it has been pretty brutally hot. I’m thankful that our air conditioner is back up and running. (Fire ants had gotten into the contactor and were preventing it from doing its job. Crazy!)
 

Dan Freeman

Feeling the Heat
Dec 3, 2021
395
NE PA
rumble.com
@begreen, I thought of you this morning. There was a newborn fawn stationed right outside my garden, just where I needed to put my pump for watering. My six year old promised it that we wouldn’t disturb it, so I went and carried water to my olives, pomegranates, and peach tree, and did the watering in the back yard instead.

I then went up the hill and helped my neighbors put up some supports for shade cloth that they bought this weekend. They are borrowing some of my rebar and polypipe to cover one of their beds that gets more sun and less water from their irrigation. Last week they were out of town, and I was watering their garden with the hose every evening during this heatwave. They’ve already mulched heavily, but I think the shade cloth will help a lot.

It was too hot for me to think about watering once I got home, and the fawn was still there anyway. I checked how the plants are doing and the water levels in the ollas when I harvested a cucumber and some peppers for our lunchtime salad, and I think everything can hang on till evening when the sun isn’t so bright. It will still be hot then, but we have a good breeze today, so I’ll try to give everything a good soaking then.

Saturday and Sunday we hit 103 both days. We’re supposed to be a little lower today and possibly drop to 96 or so on Wednesday. It’s crazy when upper 90’s seem like relief, but it has been pretty brutally hot. I’m thankful that our air conditioner is back up and running. (Fire ants had gotten into the contactor and were preventing it from doing its job. Crazy!)

It seems like it has been a tough summer in Texas with no relief in sight. Sorry to hear this.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,219
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm glad you got the AC back up and running. Hope you see some relief soon. 100º temp has been reported as far north as Michigan!
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
717
Utah, NJ
Food Forest Pond Update:

Yesterday I posted about our proposed FF pond plans. However, after doing a bit of research last night and crunching some numbers, it was back to the drawing board.

Originally, we planned the pond to be 15 x 12 x 3. But when I calculated the total gallons, it came out to over 4000 gallons. I am concerned about our ability to keep it filled from rainwater. In addition, the cost of an EDPM liner, which would need to be 25 x 25 was close to $1000. Since I want to use a solar pump, and not pay $1000's, the one we can afford costs about $500 and only circulates about 900 gph. Not good, since the circulation for a pond should be the entire volume circulated once per hour.

Today, I re-calculated, and decided on a 16 x 8 x 2.5 pond. That will cut the total water volume down to about 2400 gallons, a reduction of 2/5's of the original size. I can get away with a 25 x 20 pond liner which saves me about $250, and I am willing to go with a total water circulation of 1/3 per hour since the pond will be heavily planted.

In addition, I calculated the total rainwater runoff we can collect in 1 year from our 4 roofs, most of which are already hooked up to a central discharge pipe in the field. The house is 33 x 30, the biz warehouse is 14 x 24, the old chicken coop is 10 x 8, and the new chicken coop is 10 x 11. When all that area is added up and multiplied by the average annual rainfall in our area (50" per year), we can harvest an average of 75,000 gallons per year. I think that will be enough to keep the pond filled and still be able to water the food forest during the growing season.

Here is the new "rough" outline of the 16 x 8 FF pond. The corners will be rounded off.

View attachment 296191

View attachment 296192
Deeper is better if you are going to have fish, especially koi. Also look into airlift for moving water. The biggest cost of pumps is electricity used over time. They use a lot.
 

Dan Freeman

Feeling the Heat
Dec 3, 2021
395
NE PA
rumble.com
Deeper is better if you are going to have fish, especially koi. Also look into airlift for moving water. The biggest cost of pumps is electricity used over time. They use a lot.

I will probably just put in some feeder goldfish and let them grow.

I have a 425-gallon raised pond in my backyard that is 30" deep. I put in a half dozen feeder goldfish 5+ years ago. The smallest now is about 6" and the largest is about 10". This pond has a few plants and a pump/filter that completely circulates the water 2x an hour.

I don't plan to run electricity to the pond, so it will not have an electric pump or filter. I will be installing a solar 900 gal/hr solar pump with a waterfall for aeration. It will also be heavily planted to help keep the water clean.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
I dug three more pounds of potatoes today from plants where the foliage had completely died down. There are still more plants in the bed, but this gave me enough free space near my trellis to put some watermelon seeds in the ground. I’ll have to be good about keeping them watered, but at least it only hit 98 today. I think we may have an even slightly cooler day tomorrow before the high heat returns on Thursday.

In my new indoor growing area I spotted some teeny, tiny sprouts in the planter where I spread my za’atar seeds. The lettuce had popped up pretty quickly, and the zucchini is growing, but I hadn’t been sure that the za’atar would come up. Both the lettuce and the zucchini stretched out pretty fast, so I know they’re not getting enough light from just the windows. I put a floor lamp with LED bulbs on them while I work on getting something better. Za’atar can be hard to germinate, so I was pretty excited to see something today. I hope I can keep it growing.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,219
South Puget Sound, WA
Only 98º today... We and our plants would be in meltdown mode. It was 50º lower here last night. I won't be starting za'atar anytime soon, but congratulations. My Aleppo peppers are asking for sweaters.
 
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Dan Freeman

Feeling the Heat
Dec 3, 2021
395
NE PA
rumble.com
Spotted my first ripening tomato today. Should break my old record for first ripe tomato. We'll be eating Shishito peppers in about another 10 days. All three beds of potatoes are blooming like crazy (means they are making potatoes!). Largest garlic plants we have ever had; I'm hoping that translates to the largest bulbs we've ever grown, but we won't know for another 6-8 weeks.

Picked up the chipper/shredder. Glad I didn't buy it online. The store I bought it from, set it all up, filled it with gas and oil, and spent 30 minutes with me showing me the proper way to use it, covering all the parts, and covering all the maintenance. I was very impressed with their service.

Found cedar apple rust spots on my two apple trees today. We have a beautiful, large cedar tree by the edge of the Food Forest. I was thinking of cutting it down until I read that you have to eliminate all the cedar trees within a two-mile radius to be assured of no cedar apple rust spots! Don't think my neighbors would appreciate me tramping through their properties, chain saw in hand, cutting down every cedar tree, so I am reading about fungicides to pick one I want to use.

My new chicken compost factory is working out really well. I can't believe how much small particulate matter those 5 chickens work through the screen floor by scratching in it all day. All the material (greens and browns) gets thoroughly mixed. Should help to produce fresh composted soil much more quickly. I built a pallet bin next to the coup where I am piling it all as I remove it from under the factory. When the bin gets full, I'll move it down to my composting area in the FF.

Ordered underlayment, liner, and solar pump for the FF pond. Should be in tomorrow. We still have a lot of digging to do.

Never a dull or slow moment around here!
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,622
Fairbanks, Alaska
Running behind up here as usual. I am trialing two Amish Paste Tomato this year. I planted seeds indoors on April 3, transplanted on June 1, the smaller of the two is pictured just now. Our actual last frost this year was May 13, but overnight lows were still in the +40s dF when I transplanted.

These guys (gals?) have all the advantages, green sand, fish meal, rock phosphate, bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal; I have probably watched 40 hours of youtubes. Bat guano, my ongoing attention. A couple days before transplant I Pasteurized some molasses in 3 quarts of water, added about a pound of soil bacteria once it cooled off, and then poured that over about 2 gallons of gravel sized hardwood lump charcoal. I added some more water to get everything wet, and then fed the bacteria some blood meal and green sand once the bacteria had proven to be viable.

The charcoal and bacteria and molasses are in the 25 gallon planters under the tomato. I am either going to get fruit before first frost, or not. They will get their first feeding as viable transplants tomorrow, maybe Thursday. Planning to go with high nitrogen feeds until they bloom, then just Ca and P until they set fruit, then stop watering and buy a pressure canner. I have zero spare days looking at time to maturity versus last frost/ first frost, but our last frosts have been coming earlier than average, and our first frosts later than average recently, so I am going for it.

My goal is 50 pints total of RR tomato and salsa. Might need to make small greenhouses to keep them going late in the season, but I have a plan for that.

When I transplanted I pinched off all but the upper two leaf stems and buried them up to their necks. In the intervening two weeks they have grown enough for me to pinch off the lower two stems so I can water without getting the leaves wet, but they seem somewhat nonchalant about 18 hours of good daily sunshine and my short growing season.

I am very likely to rig up a small unit to play audio of the Rocky theme and Eye of the Tiger every morning when the sun fist hits them this weekend. Simple photoresistor for a light activated switch, maybe repeat around solar noon.

FWIW summer is already over up here. We have, at last count, 18 forest fires (under 25 acres) within 50 miles of downtown, and a whopper over 250 acres about 90 miles SE of downtown. My tomato get limited sun until further notice, and we can plan on daily rain to start on July 5, about three weeks from now. The rain will turn to snow in mid September.

20220614_212839[1].jpg
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,622
Fairbanks, Alaska
Toot tootle toot tootle tot tot tot, Toot tootle toot tootle tot tot tot...
 
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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
2,330
Colorado
Ha Ha---the planning of all of this is good for you and how creative you are as well..You are well aware of the world situation of this I have no doubt and this type of getting prepared and planning is good for you...enjoy your moments of thought like this for it keeps one young "longer". Keep us if you have time "posted" about all your "little plants", for I really enjoy your very different takes about future and possibly "other concerns" that I will not get into for it would be just "too political" for this forum to handle.. I listen to "all kinds of news" everyday from around the world and am well aware of the situation that we are all in and by our thinking will survive because we are thinking ahead to the best of our ability for our own survival as well.. My three plants seem to be doing okay and I mix my own food for my three plants ---a secret recipe--lol...and today I will take some pictures of my three plants--a tomato, a lettuce plant and a mint plant as well as two seed types in my planter--Basil and Parsley and they have not surfaced just yet...Here's to you:

old clancey
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,219
South Puget Sound, WA
Running behind up here as usual. I am trialing two Amish Paste Tomato this year. I planted seeds indoors on April 3, transplanted on June 1, the smaller of the two is pictured just now. Our actual last frost this year was May 13, but overnight lows were still in the +40s dF when I transplanted.

These guys (gals?) have all the advantages, green sand, fish meal, rock phosphate, bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal; I have probably watched 40 hours of youtubes. Bat guano, my ongoing attention. A couple days before transplant I Pasteurized some molasses in 3 quarts of water, added about a pound of soil bacteria once it cooled off, and then poured that over about 2 gallons of gravel sized hardwood lump charcoal. I added some more water to get everything wet, and then fed the bacteria some blood meal and green sand once the bacteria had proven to be viable.

The charcoal and bacteria and molasses are in the 25 gallon planters under the tomato. I am either going to get fruit before first frost, or not. They will get their first feeding as viable transplants tomorrow, maybe Thursday. Planning to go with high nitrogen feeds until they bloom, then just Ca and P until they set fruit, then stop watering and buy a pressure canner. I have zero spare days looking at time to maturity versus last frost/ first frost, but our last frosts have been coming earlier than average, and our first frosts later than average recently, so I am going for it.

My goal is 50 pints total of RR tomato and salsa. Might need to make small greenhouses to keep them going late in the season, but I have a plan for that.

When I transplanted I pinched off all but the upper two leaf stems and buried them up to their necks. In the intervening two weeks they have grown enough for me to pinch off the lower two stems so I can water without getting the leaves wet, but they seem somewhat nonchalant about 18 hours of good daily sunshine and my short growing season.

I am very likely to rig up a small unit to play audio of the Rocky theme and Eye of the Tiger every morning when the sun fist hits them this weekend. Simple photoresistor for a light activated switch, maybe repeat around solar noon.

FWIW summer is already over up here. We have, at last count, 18 forest fires (under 25 acres) within 50 miles of downtown, and a whopper over 250 acres about 90 miles SE of downtown. My tomato get limited sun until further notice, and we can plan on daily rain to start on July 5, about three weeks from now. The rain will turn to snow in mid September.

View attachment 296241
Your diligent greenhouse growing inspired me to try new cukes (sweet success?), which worked great until we started getting cucumber mosaic virus. Now we are growing Poniente from Territorial. The seeds are expensive but worth it. This cucumber is very disease resistant, an early producer, and great for the greenhouse. Lower light does not affect it badly. Our plant is now over 8ft and has provided 6 cukes so far with many more coming. I recommend you try it out. We grew Amish Paste for a few years and it is a nice tomato. Stake the plants well, they get heavy. Our favorite sauce tomatoes are Blue Beech and Pomodoro Squisito. The latter is an improved San Marzano style with less blossom-end rot and greater production. The tomatoes are a bit larger too. I've heard some good things about Opalka, but have not tried that yet. Maybe next year.

PS: This year I am trying out Tomato-Tone as a tomato fertilizer. Many respected tomato growers swear by it. Its high, available calcium content is tailored to tomatoes.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
You got that right, Begreen!

Actually we had cloud cover for much of the day, and the temperature stayed in the lower 90’s. I think 93 was the high. Woo hoo! It was more humid, though, so it wasn’t exactly pleasant.

I had ordered some new shade cloth a while back, and it arrived this morning after a few shipping delays. My improvised coverings in the new garden area worked, but I was having some problems with the rocks that were holding the cloth being pulled into the beds because of wind. I was also nervous about the umbrellas and wanted to get them down. The cloud cover made today a good day for redoing shade cloth. I actually moved the old cloth to the new garden and put the new cloth on the old garden because the new roll had slightly more material, and the old garden is bigger. I’ll have to get used to the green color (I get whatever I can find most economically as long as it’s a reasonable color for plants), but it’s up well enough for now just in time for more heat and sun tomorrow.

While I was working away outside, two of my kids actually managed to make lunch. The pre-teen cooked spaghetti noodles and did some onion chopping. The teen cooked the sauce with some of our garden produce (shishito peppers, onions, bay leaves, oregano, and a few tomatoes). She did have to add some store-bought chopped tomatoes, though.

For dinner tonight I used some of our Adirondack Blue potatoes (and a few Yukon Golds) to make mashed potatoes. It looks like some sort of blueberry ice cream or something, but it tastes just like normal potatoes. 9244FC82-FFA8-4870-97E4-D0BB111A7EDD.jpeg
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
2,330
Colorado
I hope the weather gets a bit cooler for you all to at least give you a refreshing break from the heat. I do not think that I could go for the "blue potato's"--lol...not quite ready to see that color on the plate or even to bake them--not me...Your kids are doing just wonderful with cooking for their food they made sounds "great"....My plants doing okay and still alive with my no green thumb but they look pretty and I got about two servings out of my lettuce as well--feel like a rabbit here...clancey
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,219
South Puget Sound, WA
There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes. Many that we never see in the US. We grew purple potatoes last year. They were delicious.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes. Many that we never see in the US. We grew purple potatoes last year. They were delicious.

What variety did you grow, Begreen?

I took some pictures of our shade-cloth covered gardens this morning after my son and I made a few tweaks. Normally I just use clamps and clothes pin to hold the cloth together, but today I replaced those with reusable cable ties. It works better, and I think the cloth will be up for quite some while.

These first two photos are the new garden with the old red shade cloth, and the old garden with the new green shade cloth. I guess I’m used to the red color by now because it doesn’t bother me. I don’t love the green, but I figure I’ll get used to it, too.

F63B7665-5F3F-439C-9C81-1F0DCABB779C.jpeg 1D079E99-C25E-4872-98B3-2A481B0A8094.jpeg


This photo I took to capture my pickling cucumbers. These are covered with female flowers, whereas the slicing cucumbers in the other garden are covered with male flowers. I don’t know if I need to, but I brought a bunch of male flowers over today to try to hand pollinate. We are getting a cucumber here and there, but last year by this time I was fermenting jars of pickles. This year is therefore quite disappointing.

Another thing to note about the photo is the curved line on the ground to the left of the garden bed. That’s simply the sun shining through a gap where two pieces of shade cloth meet. The plants definitely prefer the shade these days. It’s back up to 100 with bright sunshine today.
2AD4A9CE-4878-4A98-9AE2-AB1E0AA87CC3.jpeg

The next couple of plants are ones that I’m proud of for hanging in there. The first is one of the rhubarb plants. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to get it to grow as a perennial rather than an annual down here, but I’m proud of it for making it this long and still putting out shoots at the base. The next is a “Taiga” tomato, bred as part of the True North series by Karen Olivier. I got it as part of a multi-pack special last summer and didn’t try it till this year. It doesn’t have many fruits set, but I consider it impressive that any of set during our recent heat. I’ve read that plants that are resilient in cold can do well in heat. Hopefully I’ll be able to get these to maturity.
58EDD80A-C51E-4CCF-BA8B-BF4B3EBF8223.jpeg 16F21A2B-7CC4-4D69-9FA2-333AB76658A6.jpeg

It’s official, by the way. Our area is now in exceptional drought. We’ve been in drought more often than not (last summer being a notable time when we weren’t) since I’ve lived in Texas. This may well be the first time that we’ve hit “exceptional here,” though, in my years here.

 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
Only 98º today... We and our plants would be in meltdown mode. It was 50º lower here last night. I won't be starting za'atar anytime soon, but congratulations. My Aleppo peppers are asking for sweaters.

What do you do with your Aleppo peppers, Begreen? When I looked them up, everything seems to indicate using them flaked or powdered? Is that what you do? Have you put the plants out under plastic, or are they still in your greenhouse?
 
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Dan Freeman

Feeling the Heat
Dec 3, 2021
395
NE PA
rumble.com
When I first saw that bowl of potatoes, I thought it was a bowl of ice cream until I read your post!

Today I built the wood base for a small 4 x 3 storage shed for the food forest. I am so tired of walking up and down that hill whenever I need a tool, and since I have 2-3 of most tools, I can keep a set down in the food forest.

Thumb of 2022-06-16/MoonShadows/dd9135

Bought a 20 x 16 tarp to cover where I started digging the pond. It poured this morning, and the bit I have already dug out filled with water. I put an inverted garbage can in the middle and stretched the tarp out holding it down with rocks. We are expecting heavy rains again tonight. Hopefully this will help to shed the water away from where I am digging so I can continue, and not have to wait for it to dry up.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,219
South Puget Sound, WA
What do you do with your Aleppo peppers, Begreen? When I looked them up, everything seems to indicate using them flaked or powdered? Is that what you do? Have you put the plants out under plastic, or are they still in your greenhouse?
Yes, we dry a batch of them and make chili flakes. They are great on pizza. We also blend them up with Fresnos to make a killer pepper sauce that is much better than commercial siracha sauce.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,308
Texas
Yes, we dry a batch of them and make chili flakes. They are great on pizza. We also blend them up with Fresnos to make a killer pepper sauce that is much better than commercial siracha sauce.
Sounds yummy.

Have you heard about the sriracha shortage? This caught my attention when I was making dinner yesterday.



We are members of a local farm co-op (local meaning probably a 100 mile radius from San Antonio in this case), and each week it seems that we are hearing of farmers who won’t be able to provide their usual products because of the drought this summer.