Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
jennypenny
Posts: 5747
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:36 pm

It's been warm here so my garden is still producing a bit. I pick about this much twice a week ...

Image


We have some volunteers in the zucchini bed even though we pulled it up over a month ago. I can't decide if I want to dig them up and try growing them in pots in the sunroom or just build a cover and see if I can keep them going outside.

Image

Image

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:28 pm

Wasn't watching the weather forecast closely, so storm came in and demolished the greenhouse before I could reinforce it. Aluminum frame, fatigued by last year's storms, snapped and then some strong gusts rolled it over. Strapping it down for the winter, like I did last year, wouldn't have kept the frame from snapping. If that storm hadn't done it, last night's storm would have. So... spring project will be a traditional 2x4 wood frame using salvaged panels.

Plucked all the tomatoes that showed color and all the bell peppers.

J_
Posts: 570
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:12 pm
Location: Netherlands/Austria

Re: Garden Log

Post by J_ » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:37 am

Here you see the half of my "harvest" of the apple tree I planted in my small towngarden 3 years ago

Image

yield: 400% + pleasure + good apples

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:33 pm

I have about 5 days until we get another frosty spell. With some sunny spells, the tomatoes are still alive and I've collected another dozen "just turned color" to let them ripen on the kitchen counter. The watermelon vine is nearly dead, so I'm picking one or two melons per day now and hoping for the best: today's selection, a bit larger than a very large cantaloupe, is a ripe one!

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Weather shifted to clear sunny skies, which means cool temps except midday. Gonna stay this way for about a week while folks in the flyover states are suffering real cold spells. Perfect opportunity for me to do some winter gardening cleanup. Yanked a few pounds of potatoes out of the ground for consumption and dug up trailing blackberry by the roots... they'll probably come back one more time, but then that should be the end of them.

I plan on spending an hour or so per day during this week of good gardening weather to just get things in shape for spring. Catching up on the weeding chores, such as those blackberries is the goal. Need to pull down the pea trellis and tear apart the remains of the greenhouse, too. I'd like to rearrange the strawberry beds, but this probably isn't the time to do so.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:51 pm

The new seed catalogs are here! The new seed catalogs are here!

So what new things are people going to try this year?

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:53 pm

George the original one wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:22 pm
Garlic... I must remember to order garlic because I forgot last year!
And... something came up in November and I completely forgot again. There is now a reminder on the calendar for NEXT year (sigh).

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:48 pm

Through the magic powers of Google Earth, I bring this view of our garden evolution:

Image

enigmaT120
Posts: 1022
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Garden Log

Post by enigmaT120 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:00 pm

Cool.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:34 pm

Testing old seeds for germination showed that they're all still viable and I won't bother augmenting with more seeds.

We've had such warm weather (was run out of the garden by a honeybee a few days ago!), I've considered starting my plantings earlier than usual, but the NOAA longrange climate forecast for the Pacific Northwet suggest Feb-Mar will be cooler than average, so I'll be patient and stick to my standard schedule.

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:02 pm

Still have to wait some more months before I can plant anything...

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:30 pm

Had a frost for the first time in nearly a month. So warm that there are even volunteer potato shoots poking an inch above ground already! Fortunately had worked the ground yesterday anticipating the frost and exposing grass roots so they die.

Raided the garden today for the remaining carrots. Indulging in about 3 portions of carrot-raisin salad as I write.

When it comes to wireworms (click beetle larvae), they definitely have a preference for potatoes over carrots. The carrots have relatively minor damage (maybe 5 holes at most) whereas the potatoes are covered with holes.

jennypenny
Posts: 5747
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:48 am

We participated in the bird census this weekend and it was fun! It's still open today if anyone wants to do it.
The Great Backyard Bird Count

I'm planning my garden. I always focus (too much) on production. I'm going to start evaluating my garden's success on more than just food production. We've added plants to attract more birds and bees but not in any systematic way. I'm going to start tracking bees, birds, and butterflies and modify our garden to increase those populations.

A cool tool for determining which plants will attract more birds (just enter zip, no email needed) .. https://www.audubon.org/native-plants

I'm also considering other ways to define 'success' in this area. One measure is number of weeks of production, indoors and out. The longer I can stretch out the season, the better. It will mean less waste, less time harvesting, less need for putting food up, less food needed to supplement over a longer time period, etc. To that end, I'm getting outside this week to start prepping beds since we're going to have a stretch of unusually warm weather. I'm going to try to get the soil in a couple of beds warmed up enough to start planting right away.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:55 pm

Crapola!

My onion starts arrived 4 days early, so the garden hasn't even thawed from the past week of extreme cold (extreme for here) and snow. Forecast is light rain for a couple days, one day of heavy rain, and then a bit of sunshine & clouds interspersed with rain. Guess I'll be planting them tomorrow during the light rain... glad the ground is mostly prepped.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:24 am

Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbook (for weeds, diseases, & insects)
https://pnwhandbooks.org/

This is a guide to pest management once you know what the problem is. You'll need to identify the problem before you can look up the proper management.

enigmaT120
Posts: 1022
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Garden Log

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:56 pm

Our Daphne is blooming. Such a sweet smell, it's spring to me.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:11 pm

Measuring the Garden
"A man with one thermometer knows what the temperature is. A man with two thermometers is never sure."
Since I live where the population density is very low, I can't just copy my neighbors' gardening practices and have to figure things out on my own. Thus understanding how soil temperature at different depths correlates to air temperature and how much difference there is compared to the greenhouse is a lot of work, so automating the data collection as much as possible seems worthwhile.

Searching online for suitable thermometers led me to a company called Ambient Weather, where I found this wireless 8-channel console (https://www.ambientweather.com/amws09c.html) and these wireless wet temperature probes (https://www.ambientweather.com/amf007tp.html). I opted for 4 probes, with 2 to go inside the greenhouse (soil & air temps) and 2 to go outdoors (soil & air temps). Ideally, the unit would also report to my computer and/or the cloud, but, alas, the unit they list as doing that (https://www.ambientweather.com/amws8482.html) never seems to be in stock -- not to mention it doesn't seem to have wet probes. Having a current/hi/lo temperature display with independent reset for each probe is better than nothing!

Reading the specifications, one notices that the accuracy is listed as +/- 2F. Which, frankly, suggests these units are worthless crap. So what can we do about that? For starters, understanding that the sensors are thermistors powered by batteries tells us that they should be fairly repeatable in a narrow range, specificaly the narrow range of our normal climate, provided the battery voltage holds stable. To keep the battery voltage stable over both the temperature range and the battery lifespan, then lithium batteries are the obvious choice. Alkaline batteries are fine only if you can keep the temperature above freezing... below freezing makes readings read significantly low compared to a mercury thermometer; lithium batteries do not have this drawback until the temperature is tens of degrees below freezing.

The second thing to notice about the console is that you can adjust the display readings, which means you can calibrate the probes. Doesn't change the display built into each remote sender, but you're going to read the main console display from inside the comfort of the house rather than walk around to each probe location, right?

Calibration then becomes a matter of locating all the probes next to each other, comparing to a trusted thermometer, and adjusting the display to read correctly for each probe. Ideally, I'd probably drop the probes into an icewater bath with the sending units kept just above freezing on a cold night. Instead, being eager to use the units, I set them outside in a rain-sheltered location with the probes next to each other on a cool, rainy, overcast day to eliminate drift in the air temperature.

After calibration, the console display shows the temperature spread among the probes to be no more than 0.6F, usually within 0.3F of each other, and they're tracking my trusty outdoor wall thermometer within 1F. I can live with that!

Since the senders aren't weatherproof, they'll need shelter. My quick solution is an upside down container (flower pots from the dollar store) attached to a stake pounded into the ground. The stake keeps the units from flying around in stormy weather yet allows me to move them around.

Positives
- Wireless range is adequate for my house and garden, tested good for 150 ft
- Repeatability is sufficient once calibrated and using lithium batteries
- Remote units are low cost

Drawbacks
- Uploading data to a computer or internet connection is not available
- Maximum temperature of 140F is too low for use as a compost thermometer, where 180F is desired
- Each time you add a remote probe, you have to remove/replace the batteries from the console and recalibrate

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 3511
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:29 am

@GTOO: Maybe this article would prove useful? What purpose do you want the system to serve? Do you want Alexa to wake you up at 2 am to go out and put frost blanket on seedlings, or do you wish to implement some degree of automation? I think the greenhouse ventilation fans that are triggered by temperature sensitive switches are kind of cool.

https://rayshobby.net/reverse-engineer- ... rs-part-1/

Very cold March in my neck of the woods. I am currently working full-time within couple mile hike to my garden, but not much can be done yet.

George the original one
Posts: 4502
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:21 pm

Thanks for the link! It will be useful when I get motivated.
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:29 am
Do you want Alexa to wake you up at 2 am to go out and put frost blanket on seedlings
Oh, hell no! LOL

For gardening, I prefer set & forget. With the greenhouse, the vents open automatically using the wax cylinder vent openers (no electricity required), but if the temps are too high, then I need to manually open the sides. I have to use the greenhouse all summer to produce tomatoes, bell peppers(*), cucumbers, and watermelon because nights are otherwise too cool. I can pretty much predict when we'll frost in spring/fall: any time there's a clear night!


Plus, long term, I just like to know how much the greenhouse helps tweak the climate. I haven't been using poly tunnels yet, but can now see how much earlier I can direct sow seeds if I had one or two tunnels... we don't have a particularly cold winter here (1-2 weeks total of 20-25F), but the spring drags on & on & on trying to get to the average last frost date (about May 1) and our mild summers (rarely above 80F).

*If I didn't want the bell peppers, I could possibly skip opening the sides of the greenhouse.
Last edited by George the original one on Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
7Wannabe5
Posts: 3511
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:21 pm

@GTOO:

Gotcha. Pretty much opposite situation in my neck of the woods. Goes right from winter to summer with almost no time to plant and harvest spring crops unless you protect on one or the other or both sides of the seasons. For instance, apply plastic covering to pitch black compost in late March to bed situated to be under deciduous tree that will offer shade by early June. I used to be confused about why peas were so inexpensive to buy, although virtually impossible to grow in any quantity, until I learned to do cross-Atlantic translation of gardening books.

OTOH, summer crops are pretty easy to grow to maturity if started from transplants in May, and constant moderate level of precipitation limits need for either irrigation or serious slug problems. The soil is generally very good, but the weather is so variable, and becoming more so due to that which shall remain unspoken, it's kind of like you have to garden with the resilient optimistic frugal philosophy that something is bound due to do well any given year, and whatever that is will be what you will eat. I have even experienced years when the zucchini failed.

Post Reply