Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:27 pm

Speaking of trees, the Raintree catalog arrived today and like any kid at christmas, I've already marked the items I'll be buying :lol:

Back on Jan 2, I began an experiment by planting carrot seed inside a tiny coldframe and outside it as a control. Yes, this was at least 2 months before I usually plant anything, but the state ag office says good results are possible here on the coast. Am a little disappointed because so far nothing has sprouted inside the coldframe despite the soil temp in there averaging about 50F, but, well, you never know how far to push the gardening envelope until you try.

In a larger coldframe, I planted green onion seed a few days ago to make up for not planting it in Aug or Sep.

Carrots holding from last year are doing fine. Garlic is 6" tall; I've always planted it in November and this year was no exception, but I might try earlier next year to see if a bit more growth before winter dormancy is helpful.

Cheepnis
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:59 pm

This will be my 4th season having a garden. I've got two 4x8 beds in the backyard, four 2x2 tomato beds, and a 18"x6' bed I made out of a few pallots. Success rate has been pretty spotty so far. Last year was best for tomatoes, but terrible for carrots (which did great the first two years). First year I had a ridiculous amount of green beans and haven't been able to replicate that success since. 2nd year I tried zucchini and cucumbers which came in strong and last year only a couple vege's per plant.

Haven't figured out cabbage yet, they have failed all 3 years with giant holes all over them. I'm looking at doing potatoes and radishes for the first time this year, give another go at snap peas (which did pretty good last year), and maybe some spinach too.

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:37 am

It's going to be a long February. Polar vortex effects appear relentless... 10-day forecast is a repeat of the previous 10-days, with no evidence of letting up. More snow coming this weekend while the 5" of snow that's been in shade has not yet melted.

The Jan 2 carrot experiment failed. I think only one or two seeds sprouted and since a part of the polar vortex formed over the Pacific Northwest, those few sprouts died and the ground has been too frozen to try again. Haven't been able to check on the unprotected overwintered carrots as the snow is on top and the ground frozen.

The Jan 20 green onion seeds have sprouted in their cold frame despite nightly lows in the 20-25F range for the past 1.5 weeks. Haven't broken above 40F during the days. Apparently I can be fairly aggressive with these!

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 295
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Lemur » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:19 pm

Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:59 pm
This will be my 4th season having a garden. I've got two 4x8 beds in the backyard, four 2x2 tomato beds, and a 18"x6' bed I made out of a few pallots. Success rate has been pretty spotty so far. Last year was best for tomatoes, but terrible for carrots (which did great the first two years). First year I had a ridiculous amount of green beans and haven't been able to replicate that success since. 2nd year I tried zucchini and cucumbers which came in strong and last year only a couple vege's per plant.

Haven't figured out cabbage yet, they have failed all 3 years with giant holes all over them. I'm looking at doing potatoes and radishes for the first time this year, give another go at snap peas (which did pretty good last year), and maybe some spinach too.
Potatoes are pretty easy to plant and they're very resistant. I hardly took care of them (weeds growing all over) and they still grew okay.

I planted radishes for the first time last year. I missed out on size; key with radishes is to plant in loose soil.

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:13 pm

Espalier fruit trees have been pruned. I always have to remember to look at the tags because the Thompson-King variety are tip bearers, so I can't just go madly pruning their watershoots, LOL!

Been holding off on ordering seeds due to the extra snow this year, but got that done on the 15th. Unfortunately, my favorite Oregon Giant peas are backordered and they won't ship until mid-March. Okay, that's only about two weeks late for this year's first planting, so not too bad. This upcoming weekend threatens more snow, so I won't remove the coldframe from the green onions just yet...

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:18 pm

Done with snow! Finally! Whoopee!

Onion plants came in the mail. As usual, you order bundles of 50 and get 100+ per bundle. Anyway, a couple hundred are planted now (my usual walla walla & redwing) and the rain is gradually, slowly moving ashore.

Removed coldframe from the green onions.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 4953
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:59 am

Garden cleanup tomorrow, even though temperatures will be hovering only a few degrees above freezing. The city sent me a notice that I had to clean-up "weeds" in my alleyway, even though I don't have an alleyway. So, I spent 20 minutes on the phone talking to a nice government employee about what actually constitutes a weed or an alleyway, and I was granted an extension on the possibility of $500 fine or imprisonment, likely because he would have done anything to get me off of the phone.

I will also be picking up my gardening organization allotment of cold crop seeds next week, so the 2019 season is officially off to a rollicking start here in Michigan!

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:15 pm

I may be VERY busy with gardening efforts here shortly... got notification that my bundle of 100 alder trees would be shipped this week.

bryan
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: Garden Log

Post by bryan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:22 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:59 am
So, I spent 20 minutes on the phone talking to a nice government employee about what actually constitutes a weed or an alleyway, and I was granted an extension on the possibility of $500 fine or imprisonment, likely because he would have done anything to get me off of the phone.
My sister mentioned that weeds were completely legal in MI as of Dec 6.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 4953
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:00 pm

@bryan:

lol- The debatable "weeds" in my garden were bramble fruit. I have a mild sunburn and a burr rash round my ankle, but the job is done.

jennypenny
Posts: 6213
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:03 pm

I'm evaluating my situation wrt our garden. DH hurt his back and isn't allowed to any kind of bending/lifting/etc for the next few months, which means he won't be able to garden. I'm trying to figure out how much I can realistically do on my own. My kids have just about flown the coop so they can't help me. I'm afraid to overestimate what I can handle because I know DH will ignore doctors orders and help me if I get overwhelmed.

Because of that, I'm tempted to scrub this year and use the time to enrich the soil and give it a vacation of sorts. I could plant some cover crops that I can till into the soil in the fall and work on adding compost and sand to the areas that have become too compacted. It sounds reasonable but I dunno. I would really REALLY miss having fresh vegetables all year. I'll also admit to being teensy bit paranoid that the apocalypse will come the one year I didn't do a large garden.

We've had a tough start to 2019 (lost our dog then DD needed back surgery), so it's possible that I'm just in the doldrums and I'll feel more invigorated once spring arrives.

prognastat
Posts: 1000
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Garden Log

Post by prognastat » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:07 pm

Well either option sound like a very viable plan. Focusing on improving the soil would likely mean a better return for at least the year after and possibly a few years.

Maybe an option is to see which vegetables you tend to use the most in your cooking and focus only on those buying the others?

7Wannabe5
Posts: 4953
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:43 pm

@jp:

If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend that you pick of a copy of "The Resilient Gardener" by Carol Deppe. One of my big takeaways from this book was that SHTF scenarios, or just interruptions to BAU, can occur at any level, from personal to global. So, one of the large benefits of planning a garden (or lifestyle) towards resilience, is that, for instance, the 100 jars of tomatoes you jarred last summer when you and the world were in good stead, can help tide you through the next not-so-good or terrible summer for gardening, whether that is due to your back going out or global climate change.

Anyways, I think green manuring many of your beds, and doing just a bit of lazy gardening otherwise would be a good compromise. Why not throw in a little bit of fun or novelty while you are at it? For instance, instead of hard focusing on production of emergency-stand-by edibles, pick up several packets of brightly colored flowers at whim and then mix them up and scatter on one of your beds. One of the most joyful gardening books I ever read was the memoir of a year let loose to this sort of gardening in the moment.

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:31 pm

@jennypenny:
Rather than big production, you could focus on making a few "best plants ever". They could easily be worked in amongst the cover crop.

sarger17
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Garden Log

Post by sarger17 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:31 pm

Hi All,

New here. In southern New Jersey and looking to start my own home garden. I have a nice size backyard and will likely start with a 10x10 garden. Jersey is known for great tomatoes but other than the obvious vegetables- what are some good things to grow? I'm trying to cut down as much on the grocery bill as possible.

I'm also brand new to gardening. Any recommended books or online videos? Any input is appreciated!

Cheepnis
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by Cheepnis » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:29 pm

Got out there this morning and I tilled the beds, added a little fertilizer, and planted some stuff.

I planted
  • 3 rows of snap peas
  • 2 rows crimson giant radishes (made sure I tilled that corner extra good, thanks for the tip @Lemur)
  • 4 rows of spinach
  • 1 row beets
  • 4 rows carrots
I've got high hopes for the spinach and peas because they did great last year. These particular radishes are supposed to come to maturity in only 28 days so I'll see how those do very soon.

I need to get on it and learn how to properly prune tomato plants for this season. Last year was the best year I've had for tomatoes. But with only 12 full size tomatoes across three plants there's definitely room for improvement. There's a place here that sells a huge variety of foot tall tomato starts for 2 bucks each. Last year I got one each of Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, Rutgers, and Sun Gold. The 3 San Marzano that came in were the most delicious tomatoes I've ever had.

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:46 pm

Finally, finally, my two pear trees and one apple tree and three Columbia Star blackberry vines arrived. I've spent the morning getting them into the espalier orchard & cane berry trellis, respectively. Columbia Star is trailing vine, so trellising happens in the year after the vines grow out, with the first year vines overwintering under a light layer of mulch. Which means next year is the earliest any trellising will happen.

Spring has really sprung in the past two weeks. My overwintered carrots have begun their next growth cycle, the garlic is plumping up, the peas are grabbing their trellis, and I've been autocrossing so much that I've missed two weeks of seeding time.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 4953
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:05 pm

@George:

What fun! My garden partner has come up with a plan to create thorny fence of espaliered Hardy Orange behind mixed herb bed in front of sidewalk.

I just learned that Crabgrass is also known as Polish Millet, because it has been grown by humans as relatively high protein grain that must be hand-harvested. So, now my permaculture project will auto-magically achieve a great boost towards completion as soon as I make a little sign that clearly identifies this crop!

George the original one
Posts: 4746
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:39 am

Frost this morning, apparently just to remind me that May 1 is our average frostfree date. Yesterday I noticed the green onions started under the coldframe have not survived. Seems they are not quite as hardy as I thought.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 4953
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:41 am

Image

Still early spring here, and I am not a great photographer, so might be hard to see full extent of project. I think we have at least 65% of the space planted or prepared for planting now. Only harvests thus far this year have been dandelion greens and Japanese knotweed :lol: However, I am hoping for at least 50% achievement of 2022 goal of providing total weight equivalent of annual food intake of 2 humans = .5 X 3.5 X 365 X 2 = approximately 1300 lbs. harvested. I also hope to forage an equivalent amount from public access sites or over-abundant gardens of others in my circle.

Obviously, meeting fat and protein needs will be most tricky. I am having terrible luck with growing small nut trees/shrubs. Sunflower seeds combined with fishing, and/or tedious processing of gathered acorns might be my best bet. My defined goal isn't full food nutrient self-sufficiency, but I enjoy the challenge of heading in that direction. In terms of imagined idealized plate, this year I hope to be able to fill 1/4 of two plates each meal with fruits and vegetables for most of the year. It is likely that preservation for winter into spring hunger gap eating will take at least as much time, energy and organization as growing food.

Post Reply