Garden ramblings

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Garden ramblings

Postby Robert Reynolds » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:34 am

My garden has certainly seen its ups and downs this year. Unuasually warm winter and spring got everything growing early, but it turned dry and windy (20 to 40 mph winds for weeks on end suck the moisture out fast). So the potatoes fizzled out, the aphids snuck in overnight and ravaged the sugar snaps, the broccoli and cauliflower bolted, cabbage didn't bolt but are only making small heads.

Tomatoes are started out great, but it is a challenge keeping them watered in this oppressive heat wave. I am enjoying the red orbs, though! My sweet potato patch was thriving in the heat, until deer ate all the leaves one recent night; ditto for the Black Diamond watermelon patch! Deer have crossed the line now, dammit!

And then there's the chickens. ;) We currently have 79 chooks, from six weeks to adult. Yesterday morning we had 82. Three Dark Brahma hens were harvested yesterday (weren't handling the heat well anyway) and are chilling in the fridge as I type this. Hen and dumplings later in the week, definitely!
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jenise » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:01 am

No tomatoes here yet. Could be a month away though the ten straight days at 74-78 F we just had might have speeded things up some. Of the five I planted, four look good. But one plant, though covered with blossoms, has yet to set a single fruit, and that one is the early-bearing Moskovich that did so well for me last year. Que pasa? Lettuce is doing well, and one of the stars of my garden is the new Par-Cel I planted. It looks like a particularly pretty parsley (large umbrella shaped leaves), but tastes exactly like celery.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:01 am

Robert, this would probably be a good point to re-thank you for the crape myrtles you sent us several years ago. They looked mighty tiny when they came out of the box, but they're doing great now, four scattered around our yard and more adopted out to friends. The biggest and best, planted in a favored sunny location with plenty of compost, is about 18 feet tall now! They've bloomed exceptionally early in the past couple of years, and the big guy is approaching full bloom now. We're hoping the blossoms last well into August.

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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:22 am

I am so bumbed about my tomatoes. The same 6 black cherry tomatoes are hanging on the vine, but show no signs of ripening yet. All plants have ample blossoms, but I have experienced an early bought of "blossom drop", so there is no fruit -- other than the first 6 black cherries. I scratched in calcium and more compost over the weekend in an effort to make the plants healthier and hopefully eat tomatoes in a month or so. Rats!! :evil:
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Robert Reynolds » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:42 am

Robin, I had no doubt that the crape myrtles would thrive. That is a beautiful color! Ironically enough, after having a yard full of those shrubs, now I only have what I've planted since buying the current property, and none are blooming yet. :( But they will, in time.
Jo Ann, hopefully your tomato patch will get with the program soon. I am having the same frustrations with zuchini and cucumbers - both have been blooming for about three weeks, but not setting fruit.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Karen/NoCA » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:44 pm

Such a bummer when the garden does not or can't produce what we've planted. Gene showed me a picture taken over 25 years ago of a garden harvest sitting on my kitchen counter. There must have been 20 nice sized zucchini, 5 eggplants, 2 dozen patty pan squash, dozens of tomatoes and as many cucumbers. Kids were home then and I spent late July and Augest "putting up" produce. Now, all I do is tomatoes, herbs, and peppers. The white flies suck the life out of any large leaf plant such as cucumber/zucchini. Water is more expensive now too as we pay the City once a month rather than the County $8.00 for two months. Big difference, when you have 1/2 acre of landscaping.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Susan B » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:24 pm

I planted a second crop of radishes, beets, arugula and mizuna after the solstice, all in a raised bed with herbs at the extremeties. Everything germinated quickly, then something ate all of the first leaves from the radishes. Next something made its way into the bed (can't be from beneath) and began burrowing near the surface. Now the beet leaves and most of the arugula are gone. I don't know what I've got, but have never had such a problem here before. I did purchase compost for the first time, generally harvest my own, perhaps it is drawing a new critter.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:I am so bumbed about my tomatoes. The same 6 black cherry tomatoes are hanging on the vine, but show no signs of ripening yet.


Jo Ann, yesterday I examined my own tomatoes a bit more closely and found that though there's fruit aplenty on the sungold cherry tomato plants, there are none--zero--on the black cherry plant. Lots of blossoms, but no fruit.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:18 pm

Looks like a few blossoms are beginning to fruit - about the size of small marbles. Maybe I panicked a bit too early. But, I surely thought I would have tomatoes in July this year. That's not going to happen. I think I'am about 4-6 weeks out. Hope we get a warm spell to help things along. Rats! :?
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Robert Reynolds » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:51 pm

I'm starting to get several slicing tomatoes a day now, and numerous romas. Cukes were looking good with a few on the vines, until the deer at all those leaves two nights ago. There's about to be a garden war... :evil:
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby GeoCWeyer » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:39 pm

Tomatoes have started,the heirlooms as well. The peppers are all reaching full size and could be picked if I wanted them green. Italian basil is a disaster. The Japanese beetles love to eat the leaves and use the plants for fornication locations. All the other herbs are doing well. I think the rain barrel water is really making a difference.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Mark Willstatter » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:13 pm

Jenise wrote:But one plant, though covered with blossoms, has yet to set a single fruit, and that one is the early-bearing Moskovich that did so well for me last year. Que pasa?


It's likely all about temperature, specifically low temperatures. Depending somewhat on variety, tomatoes set fruit best when low temps are between about 58 F and 68 F, a range we rarely get into close to the water in the Pacific Northwest. Get much below that and fruit set suffers; if you get low enough (like below 50) it stops altogether. So success all depends on the particular needs of the varieties you choose and on luck with the weather. I'd guess it's been just warm enough during this odd summer to satisfy your Sungolds and too cool for others. To a degree, to attempt to grow tomatoes in this part of the world is to fight mother nature :( There's a good reason all of those BC tomatoes are grown in hothouses!
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:22 pm

Harvested my first zucchini today, a yellow one.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:57 pm

Tomatos got off to a slow start given the weather, but now starting to set some little ones. The plants are growing like crazy though, due to hot patio they sit on and repeated fish fertilizer applications. Should be a good August!
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:29 pm

Mark Willstatter wrote: I'd guess it's been just warm enough during this odd summer to satisfy your Sungolds and too cool for others. To a degree, to attempt to grow tomatoes in this part of the world is to fight mother nature :( There's a good reason all of those BC tomatoes are grown in hothouses!


Yet this summer has been, I've thought, pretty similar to last summer so I was expected a last-summer tomato like the Moskovich to do better. I'm apparently off a few degrees, perhaps in more ways than one. :)

But hey, had GORGEOUS heirloom tomatoes on Salt Spring Island last weekend. They've got all kinds of ripe stuff over there that we don't have here yet. I'm so jealous!
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Karen/NoCA » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:46 pm

My lettuce bed has been in for 10 days now and it doing well. I also have Tatsoi and a few other greens. It is doing well and looks so pretty. I put a shade cloth overhead because our days are still in the mid to high 90's. The bed gets morning sun and a bit of afternoon sun, but I have a side drop I can lower if the beauties get stressed. I put in about 40 Rosso di Milano onion plants this morning in another bed. I will get spinach and watermelon radishes in tomorrow.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:51 am

And here I am pulling my tomato plants down already--two are done, three are still trying to ripen some fruit but it's close to a futile exercise. My grapes were a bust this year--the grapes stayed green and then just started dropping off the clusters without ripening.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Carl Eppig » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:11 pm

We did even get a blossom on five eggplant plants this year. There has been one pepper on the same number of plants. The tomatoes have been fair we a few still coming (but can still get a half peck from the farm down the road for $9.50). The beans matured faster than I could pick them. Cucumbers and zucchine have been sporatic with best success with yellow zucchine. Lettuce is still hanging on. Basil is booming. Pesto again tonight, but the first freeze which may come soon will destroy them.
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Re: Garden ramblings

Postby Karen/NoCA » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:59 pm

Basil is booming. Pesto again tonight, but the first freeze which may come soon will destroy them.


Carl, take several cuttings from your basil that look healthy and put them into a glass of water. Roots will appear in about 2 weeks. Plant them in potting soil in a pot that will fit on your kitchen counter. I did this last year, and put them outside in the sun whenever I could. The rest of the time they lived in front of the kitchen window over the sink and soaked up the sunshine there. Or put them under a grow light. I had basil all winter long. They finally gave out about the time I planted basil outside. :)
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