Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:04 pm

We have zucchini and tomatoes already. This is the earliest we've ever had them by a couple of weeks.

We also have a groundhog who's about to meet his maker. I'm pretty tolerant about sharing the garden bounty with the other residents of our yard, but this one won't quit. He's eating the cucumbers, beans, and squash non-stop. He's ruining it for everyone. Anyone have any ideas short of shooting it with an air rifle to scare it off?

ffj
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Re: Garden Log

Post by ffj » Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:58 pm

Try one of those live traps. You can buy one or make your own.

I've made this trap in the past and have caught possums and rabbits and groundhogs with it. The coons are able to lift the door and get out but you could make a locking catch on it if you prefer. I was always afraid I would catch a skunk and have to get too close to release it with a locking mechanism.

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Use chicken wire or hardware cloth on the back end so they can see through and old wood for the box. The top part is just a lever made out of wood with string on both ends. Use a nail for the fulcrum. Good luck.

George the original one
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Summer Garden Pics

Post by George the original one » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:55 pm

Saturday was our hottest day so far this year... 90F. Doesn't sound all that hot to most of you, but considering we seldom go above 75F, like today, it was pretty ugly for me. Started the day by taking pictures and then heavily watering the plants in the greenhouse and taking the side panels off the greenhouse for extra ventilation.

So a quick tour. First up is my wife's flower bed, featuring day lilies and irises with a smattering of annual flowers for color accents (which are mostly what you see blooming).
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This next one is the temporary bed we started in 2012 as a holding place for plants until we could find a place for them. Little did we know it would stay put all these years. You can see some of the potatoes in the background. The bed really is slated for a move, though. Any day now. Maybe. :?
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A view of the potatoes with the temporary bed in the background. Sweet corn & brushpiles occupied this space last year.
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The california strawberries that are trying to take over. They've spread out from the two rows I salvaged & transplanted just last year! All that lush growth means I've had difficulty getting to the weeds <ahem> :oops:
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Peas and onions. Was occupied by late-planted potatoes last year and "lawn" in prior years. The dirt strip to the right was a grass path last year, but I found that didn't work well, with the grass and weeds trying to go under the greenhouse and also back into the potatoes. That's a 3'-4' tall lump of weeds I've pulled this spring getting this bed and the potatoes planted.
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Not pictured are the espalier apple trees (planted last year), filbert trees (planted last year), raspberry vines (new this year), space for this year's sweet corn, blueberries (original 4 established bushes plus 7 bushes we brought in 2012), a shade garden next to the house, and the shady border in the backyard to enhance viewing interest from the patio and upstairs windows.

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cmonkey
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Re: Garden Log

Post by cmonkey » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:31 am

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:04 pm
We also have a groundhog who's about to meet his maker. I'm pretty tolerant about sharing the garden bounty with the other residents of our yard, but this one won't quit. He's eating the cucumbers, beans, and squash non-stop. He's ruining it for everyone. Anyone have any ideas short of shooting it with an air rifle to scare it off?
In my experience rabbits and groundhogs are notoriously difficult to catch in a live trap because they have so much food available already. I would recommend baiting with a very fragrant fruit such as a peach or nectarine. Also block off all exits to his den and then make a funnel to the trap on the last remaining exit. That's the only way I have caught our woodchucks. I still haven't caught any rabbits in my trap. I give em 3 or 4 days to go quietly....

This is a lot of work and so I have ultimately resorted to just shooting them, because it only worked half of the time.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:36 pm

I suppose you can't fence out groundhogs because they dig? How come the dogs aren't doing their part?

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:40 pm

Finally, the first tomato sighted in the greenhouse! 8 peppers set on the 5 bell pepper plants... definitely a better result than last year. Strawberries have been slow this year as I've only picked a couple pints despite the hot weather last week.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:29 pm

Results of container-grown potatoes planted extra early: 1-2 weeks earlier consumption of new potatoes compared to just planting them at the normal time and, while sometimes higher-yielding, the container-grown were universally smaller in size with skins less well-developed than the ones planted in the ground at the regular time. It's possible I crowded them too much in the containers resulting in the smaller size.

Overall judgement: there's little material benefit for the work unless one doesn't have the garden space.

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BlueNote
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Re: Garden Log

Post by BlueNote » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:42 pm

I didn't get around to planting my container garden until late in the year. I am hoping for a warm October!

I planted a pole bean (lazy housewife), cucumber (spacemaster) and three varieties of tomato. I'm also giving away some seedlings to co-workers:

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I'm kind of getting sick of coddling these tomatoes which seem to want to just die in my environment without constant care.

Some animal is burying peanuts in the planters. The animal, not identified yet, also likes to shove peanuts into the plastic pipes I use to bottom water the containers. You'll see I am covering the pipes now. I'm not sure what animal is getting onto the 10th floor of an apartment building to bury peanuts in my planters but it's cute.

ffj
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Re: Garden Log

Post by ffj » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:14 am

@jennypenny
You catch that groundhog yet? Let me show you my little pest. This little guy has been chewing and breaking down my corn stalks just to eat some undeveloped corn. At first I thought it might be a raccoon but they usually wait until the corn is ready to pick.

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He's going for a ride today away from my garden. That's an opossum by the way for non-US folks.

@bluenote

I'm guessing a squirrel. Where is he getting the peanuts?

halfmoon
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Re: Garden Log

Post by halfmoon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:37 am

@ffj, you can bring him to our place! I love possums; they're good rodent killers. We haven't had one stomp around in our garden yet...I think. Hmmm. Something is smashing the onion tops but not actually eating anything. A vole chewed 75% of our pea plants off the root and left them lying there to die, but we caught him. He was not rehomed. :twisted:

ffj
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Re: Garden Log

Post by ffj » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:14 pm

@halfmoon
I like them too. They are so ugly and rat-like you can't help but like them, and if he hadn't been destroying my corn I would have left him alone. I took him a few miles away and dropped him off next to a creek and a soybean field. He was more than happy to get out of that cage! :D

A funny story: The first night I set the trap I left it between the corn rows and as a bait I used a fancy dog treat. Well, when I checked it the next morning the trap was about 10 feet from where I had left it and a bunch of corn had been smashed. And nothing in the trap. It took me a while to figure out that my dog had tried all night to get to the food and in the process ruined more corn than that little bugger possum had even thought about! :cry: :D

So last night I moved it to the SIDE of the garden and covered it up so the dog couldn't reach it. Lesson learned and a possum caught.

halfmoon
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Re: Garden Log

Post by halfmoon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:31 pm

ffj wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:14 pm
I took him a few miles away and dropped him off next to a creek and a soybean field. He was more than happy to get out of that cage!
He's probably still hanging out there, content as a pig in mud. Just needs some voles to round out his diet. By the way: that's an interesting Havahart trap. We have them in a variety of sizes, but they all have a trap door on both ends.

You have to give your dog points for persistence! 8-)

jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:30 pm

Anyone want some zucchini? Last year we didn't get many so this year is payback I guess. Eating lots of tomatoes, and the beans and peaches are almost ready. The cucumbers are still recovering from Mr. Groundhog.

@ffj--My groundhog is gone along with everyone else who was hanging out in my yard. The yard was always full when I went out to have coffee -- rabbits, birds, and even a deer who would come to eat any fruit that had fallen off the trees. They didn't mind me sitting there and would come right up to me (including the deer). The kids said I looked like an old hungover snow white talking to the critters while I had my coffee every morning. But then the neighbor behind us cut all their trees down last week :evil: and I guess a week of chain saws, front loaders and chippers scared everything off. The neighbor then had the nerve to yoo-hoo me and ask 'when' I was going to rip off the vines that are growing on my fence. Uh ... never? (especially now that I have no privacy) Twice I've caught her pulling at it, but when I went out she scurried off. :roll:

Time to start blasting Marylin Manson while I work in the garden.

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cmonkey
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Re: Garden Log

Post by cmonkey » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:44 pm

Does anyone know if late planting winter squash (i.e. now) will help avoid squash bugs? This is the one pest I just can't get a handle on. I got rid of the borers by keeping things covered until after July 4th, but the squash bugs just crawl through the netting.

I just ripped out my entire winter squash bed today along with the mulch. There were hundreds of squash bugs laying thousands of eggs (not exaggerating). Not dealing with that. I'm going to replant and have them grow vertically and see if I have issues.

halfmoon
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Re: Garden Log

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:41 pm

@jennypenny, you need something with great big thorns on that fence! How about blackberries? :twisted: We're too far-flung to have neighbors from hell, but friends of ours in Portland had a neighbor who kept digging up their flower bulbs and replanting them in her own yard. Still: I'd prefer that to someone who cut all their trees down.

jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:31 am

The butterfly bushes are blooming. I hope that encourages the wildlife to return to the yard.

We did the square foot thing with the tomatoes. I don't like it -- too hard to harvest -- but the tomatoes seem happy with it. They've grown as tall as everything else around here ...

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Here are the zucchini. IIRC, these are from the last of the cmonkey seeds we bought from him two years ago. VERY prolific. All we did was stick the seeds in the ground. You can tell from the picture that I haven't even weeded the bed. :lol:

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George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:41 pm

I could swear strawberries here should already be done, but I picked another couple pints today and there are still green ones set on. These are june-bearing, not everbearing plants! Blueberries & greenhouse tomatoes seem to be on a normal-for-us schedule and expect them to start ripening in a week or two. Onions are nicely adding size & I expect we'll have monsters like last year. As expected, peas are going strong and my daily grazing no longer is enough to stem the tide of Oregon giant peapods... guess it's time to make a stir-fry.

Over in the espalier apple orchard, there's been a minimal return of last year's infestation. As soon as I spot an affected leaf, I nip it off and toss it in the trash. One of the Pink Lady trees seems to be fighting something that turns leaves a mottled black and it doesn't appear to be caused by bugs; gratefully its not showing on the other trees.

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vexed87
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Re: Garden Log

Post by vexed87 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:23 am

Well, we moved in to our new place over the spring, we now have abundant strawberries, cherries and gooseberries courtesy of the previous resident, but the gooseberry bush foliage is being decimated by sawfly. I wonder if it's not very healthy? I think we have some Diatomaceous Earth in the garage, so hopefully I can get that under control.

We weeded and cut back overgrown bushes over the weekend, now I'm just deciding what to do with the unloved lawn, I think we might keep it, but extend the beds into the lawn a few more yards so there's more space for veggies and trees at the perimeter fence and less lawn to cut. I have never cared for a lawn before, it needs a lot of work,it's bumpy, patchy, badly draining in parts and there's huge patches of moss. It also needs de-thatching quite badly. Not sure how long I will be bothered with it given that lawn isn't popular in the permaculture crowd. I'm not feeling inspired, but wouldn't mind a small patch to lie down on on a nice day. DW want's to keep it, and I'm not yet sure what to do with all that otherwise empty space...

We have to maintain the front lawn as a minimum thanks to the street zoning. Definitely considering adding more decorative plants there though so there's more space for veggies in the back and so the pollinators get fed. I'm going to have to get hold of a compost bin, because my traditional simple pile seems to be raided by wildlife constantly and 3 months worth of diligent veg clippings has amounted to nothing but dried out lawn trimmings!

jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:10 am

It's amazing how big zucchini can get in only a week ...

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We're eating it almost daily. I'll make several batches of zucchini bread and freeze them this week. I'm also quartering and slicing them to freeze. I freeze them on a baking sheet first (so no veggie snowballs) and then I put them into old containers in the freezer. I often slice onions and freeze them along with the zucchini. One year I was really organized and froze them together in meal-sized batches and included a few pats of butter and some herbs so all I had to do was toss them into a pan or small crock pot.

Our peaches and blueberries are ready. I'll pick them later in the week when I have time to freeze some and make other things with them. I'll probably make ice cream with some of the peaches. If I have enough blueberries, I'll make muffins and freeze them.

Most of this stuff is usually gone by Christmas. I'll only have 1 kid home soon so maybe it will last a little longer this year.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:01 pm

So I hadn't been in the garden in the past few days due to travels & fishing & then laziness (I was a total blob on Sunday)... because nothing had been picked recently, that results in me sitting for a half hour eating peas after watering, contemplating the priority of activity in the garden on yet another perfect weather day and listening to the bluejays argue. Decided the volunteer potatoes needed to come out so I could use the space for fall crops. An hour later, I had collected 20 lbs of them!

You can still smell strawberries even though they're pretty much done now. Dear wife made blueberry crisp this morning, but it looks like we still have a couple gallons of berries in the freezer.

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